History & Culture

Mockingbird standing on a U.S. six-pound field gun.

NPS Phto

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 U.S. and Mexico led to war, residents of both nations clamored for details. Battle accounts filled the columns of the daily papers and places like Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma became household names. The names of soldiers who served in these opening battles became well known and many emerged as heroes and celebrities. Politicians and citizens got caught in the excitement of the moment and engaged in fierce debates about the causes, justice, and meaning of the conflict.

Still Resonating

Today, the Battle of Palo Alto and the U.S.-Mexican War have faded from public attention. They 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 places and stories that so captured public attention so long ago.

  • Oil painting depicting a Mexican War era U.S. Army military camp.

    Learn more about notable individuals from the U.S.-Mexican War and how they shape the futures of their countries.

  • The sun sets behind a pink sky over the chaparral.

    Learn how the opening stanzas of the U.S.-Mexican War played out in the lower Rio Grande Valley.

  • Color painting of U.S. dragoons cutting through Mexican artillery placements at Resaca de la Palma.

    The annexation of Texas opened the door to war with Mexico and would test the resolve of the first "dark horse" President of the U.S.

Last updated: May 15, 2023

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