History & Culture
Library of Congress
War on the Horizon
In the Spring of 1846, all eyes turned toward events on the Rio Grande.
When a long-brewing territorial dispute between the United States and Mexico erupted into war, residents of both nations clamored for details. Battle accounts filled the columns of the daily papers. Places like Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma became household names.
So did the names of dozens of soldiers who served in these battles and emerged as heroes or celebrities. Caught in the excitement of the moment, politicians and citizens alike engaged in fierce debates about the causes, justice, and meaning of the conflict.
Today, the Battle of Palo Alto and the U.S.-Mexican War have faded from public attention. They still remain an important part of the history of both nations though. We encourage you to learn more about this conflict and rediscover some of the stories and places that so captured public attention in the spring of 1846.
Did You Know?
Americans celebrated the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma with songs, artwork, and poetry. One enterprising company even marketed a men’s hat called the “Palo Alto.” Sales were so brisk that a “Resaca” women’s hat soon followed.