President James K. Polk

President James K. Polk

Library of Congress (no known restrictions)

Setting the stage

"The jurisdiction of the United States…has passed the capes of Florida and been peacefully extended to the Del Norte." That's how President James K. Polk, in his December 1845 message to Congress, characterized the recent annexation of Texas by the United States. With that statement, Polk declared the boundary between Texas and Mexico was the Rio Del Norte or Rio Grande.

Sea to shining sea

Polk campaigned for the Presidency with a pledge to extend the United States to the Pacific Ocean. The addition of the Republic of Texas as the 28th state represented a major step toward that goal.

Mexican War overview

Follow the links below for an overview of the Mexican War and the events which led to the Battle of Palo Alto.

A fight for Texas - Disputes over the ownership and boundaries of Texas thrust the U.S. and Mexico into war.

Battles along the Rio Grande - The gauntlet is thrown down as the two countries head into war.

An extended war - The war pulls U.S. troops deep into Mexico.

Peace and after - The conflict has a lasting effect on both countries.

Mexican War links - A broad list of U.S.-Mexican War related sites


More stories

A place of great significance, like Palo Alto Battlefield, tends to generate many interesting stories.

A site of mythical importance - Fact or fiction? You'll see sometimes it's a little of both

Soldier pastimes - Learn how soldiers battled an invisible enemy, boredom

Women in the U.S.-Mexican War - Whether on the home front or the battlefront, women served their nation in a variety of ways

Lock, stock, and barrel - The infantryman's friend - the musket

Did You Know?