In 1847, the bank loaned the U.S. government $16 million for the Mexican War and covered the loan by selling bonds to financial companies in London. The Aztec Club of 1847 was founded in Mexico City at the time the American Army occupied that capital during the Mexican War. Its original members represent most of the major figures of the Mexican War and a significant group of those whose fame would come fifteen years later as leaders of the Union and Confederate armies in the Civil War. West Point’s class of 1846 was the most impacted, producing ten Confederate generals and twelve Union generals. The youthful bonds that developed between them as cadets, and fellow West Point graduates, were cemented by the maturing experience of war, not once but twice. Many of the Aztec Club’s original members later opposed each other in battle. Examples include George B. McClellan and Pierre G. T. Beauregard, both members of the Aztec Club serving together on General Winfield Scott’s staff in Mexico, who led opposing armies during the Civil War. Ulysses S. Grant and Simon Bolivar Buckner battled at Fort Donelson. In 1847 Captain Robert E. Lee, also a member of the Club, commended a red-whiskered young Lieutenant, Ulysses S. Grant, on his initiative and daring in battle. When Grant and Lee met face to face at Appomattox Court House that eventful day in 1865, their conversation began with reminiscences of Mexico. After the Civil War, the bond even stronger than before, these warhorses came together to perpetuate the unique bond they shared. There is still not a federally-funded memorial to those who fought in the U.S.-Mexican War This war is so little studied and known about in the United States A minority in the United States were opposed to what they and Whig party members called "Mr. Polk's War." There was talk of the war not being Christian. Whigs and northerners accused Polk and the South of wanting to win Mexican territory for the purpose of spreading and strengthening slavery. Polk refused to concede that slavery had anything to do with his going to war against Mexico or his support of expansion westward. His accusers had no way of proving that their conclusions about Polk's motives were correct and allowed their suspicions to take the form of assumption. Mexico's governor in California, Pío de Jesus Pico (North America's first "black" governor - actually part Indian, black and European) wrote of California being threatened by "hordes of Yankee emigrants" whose wagons had scaled the Sierra Nevadas. Pico complained of the Yankees "cultivating farms, establishing vineyards, erecting mills, sawing up lumber, building workshops and a thousand and one other things which seem natural to them but which Californians neglect or despise." Mexico was not rushing in settlers of its own, and Pico, speaking for California's Mexicans rather than its Indians, asked whether they were to "become strangers in [their] own land?" Mention the U.S.-Mexican War and most Americans react with a glazed, questioning look. Mexicans, on the other hand, remember. Passionately. The war was initiated when the U.S., already having border disputes with Mexico, sent 4,000 troups to the Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo as it is known in Mexico). On the heels of that move, U.S. President James Polk proposed that Mexico sell its northern half to the U.S. Hostilities commenced and the U.S. crossed the border to occupy Matamoras. Soon after, U.S. warships attacked Veracruz and landed troops, who fought their way overland to Mexico City. Santa Anna led a defending army, but the Mexicans were overwhelmed. In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, virtually dictated by the U.S., Mexico agreed to sell its northern territories to the victor for $15 million.
Back to North Carolina in the Mexican War Veterans Pages