Abraham Lincoln’s view on James K. Polk and Mexican Territory

On January 12, 1848, Abraham Lincoln, a Whig congressman from Illinois, gave a speech questioning the Mexican-American war. He believed it was “unnecessarily and unconstitutional.” A month earlier, Lincoln had asked President Polk to submit evidence that the initial cause and the first battle of the war was indeed fought on American territory.

In his speech, Lincoln analyzed the President’s evidence. He focused on six points dealing with the question of whether the causalities occurred in the territory of the government of Texas or the United States. In Lincoln’s opinion, “there is not one word in all the President has said which would either admit or deny the declaration.”

After analyzing every piece of evidence President Polk had submitted, Lincoln called on Polk again to “answer, fully, fairly, and candidly.” On January 3rd, the House of Representatives passed an amendment faulting the president for beginning an unnecessary war. Lincoln told the president that if blood was indeed spilled on United States soil, he would happily reverse his vote.

Polk believed that the war would only last a few months. Lincoln stated that Polk could not show his people a light at the end of the tunnel.

Source: Abraham Lincoln’s view on James K. Polk and Mexican Territory
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