Texas and the Mexican War
Polk's grandfather Ezekiel, his father, Sam, and the president himself had all established slave plantations on the westward-moving frontier; and the expansion of plantation slavery into Texas held deep personal meaning for the president. Polk had always felt a need to prove himself, and the early humiliations he had experienced in governing his slaves may have contributed to the belligerence of the diplomatic and military policies through which he demonstrated his determination to show the Mexicans who was in control. By whipping a war resolution through the House of Representatives against the wishes of 35 percent of its members, President Polk planted the seeds of a towering political conflict over the aims of the war with Mexico: was slavery to be legalized in the territory west of Texas that Polk wished to seize?
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