Mexican Americans Role in Civil War

Mexican Americans Role in Civil War

As much as the Civil War has been the central part of the discussion in American history, some participants and aspects of the war have gone unrecognized. Avila is among the few historians who brings into the light the untapped elements and unforgotten players of the Civil War. For example, he examines the contribution of the Mexican Americans and the dis-remembered Rio Grande Valley region in the Civil War. In the bid to identify the role played by Mexican Americas in the war, Avila digs in the untold history of the multi-sided war that took place in Texas and Mexico, and the significance of Rio Grande Valley region during the war and on the war outcome: PLAGIARIZED SAMPLE-ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

Avila presented the Mexican Americans’ participation and the role they played in the two sides of the war where some of them joined the Union while others joined the Confederate. The Civil War started in 1861 when thousands of Mexican Americans were living in New Mexico, Texas and California territories; these were parts of Mexico that had been claimed by the United States in the 1840s. Still tired of the Mexican-American War, the Mexican Americans, Tejanos, found themselves in the center of the war on the American soil. First, the Mexican Americans were non-aligned to any of the two warring sides. The decision to avoid the Civil War at first was caused by the disloyalty accusation that was leveled against them before the war started. The Mexican-American War played a crucial role in determining which side the Tejanos will take. With the thoughts of the Mexican American war fresh in their minds, some of the Mexicans Americans viewed themselves as Mexican citizens while others were forced by the increasing division to take sides.

In the event of joining the war, some of the Mexican Americas joined the Confederate faction while the others joined the Union. The majority of those who joined Confederate were from Texas while those who sided with the Unions were mostly from California and New Mexico. The main reason why Mexican Americans joined the Union was to oppose slavery. Mexico had abolished enslavement in 1829, and therefore, they found it wise to support the Union whom they shared the same perception towards slavery. The role of Tejanos to end slavery in the United States cannot go unnoticed; mainly the role played by the Union supporters who helped the runaway slaves to escape to Mexico. At the same time, the Mexican Americans who were the Confederate subscribers aided in recapturing the escaping slaves. For example, Colonel Santos Benavides whom his income depended on the slave trade was the top most senior officer in the Mexican American Confederate Army, and he frequently recaptured the escaping slaves and returned them to their owners at a compensation. As per the above analysis, it is apparent that Mexicans Americans took different roles in the Civil War with the Union subscribers fighting against the slavery while the Confederate admirers accelerated the war by supporting the continuance of the slavery.

In his book, Avila explains how the Rio Grande Valley’s impact on the Civil War has been forgotten. Rio Grande Valley was long associated with the border crossing, but its contribution to the Civil War is worth recognition. Most of the war turning events including the international intrigue, ethnic tensions as well as Union-Confederate classes took place in the valley marking the unfolding and aftermath of the war. The importance of Rio Grande is attributable to the history of Mexico and more so the forced annexation of the region by the United States in 1848. During the war, the valley was gaining much attention not only for the United States but in the global scope as dictated by the individual destinies, economic forces, the intersection of races, historical dynamics, and cultures. The region was a vital point for the Confederates since it facilitated the transportation of cotton to the outside world. Upon the sealing off of ports of Texas and Virginia by the U.S. Naval ships, the Confederates cotton traders relied on the Rio Grande where they used Mexican flagships to transport the “white gold,” and for long the valley was a critical determinant of the sustainability of cotton trade as well as the Confederate war. The booming cotton trade in the Rio Grande through Fort Brown enhanced the economy of the city of Brownsville. The city caught the attention of the Union forces who in 1863 invaded the coast of Texas and captured Brownsville in the bid to stop the cotton transportation. However, the Union forces victory would be short-lived because in 1864 barely less than ten months after their invasion, the city was recaptured by the Confederate forces: PLAGIARIZED SAMPLE-ORDER YOUR PAPER NOW

The transfer of war to the Rio Grande was an indication that the Civil War was coming to an end as it was exhibited by the resignation of General Robert E. Lee in 1865. Fearing that the Union soldiers will attack them, the Confederates signed an informal cease-fire that collapsed after one month when the Union forces engaged the Confederates in the effort to force them out of Brownsville. In the end, the Union forces evicted Confederate troops out of the Brownsville, the key strategic point for the cotton trade, and this marked the end of the Civil War. As such, the Rio Grande Valley was an essential determinant on the progress and outcomes of the Civil War. The valley sustained the Confederates financial muscles through the cotton trade, and also it marked the final region where the Civil War was fought. If it was not for the Union forces invasion to Brownsville may be the Civil War could have lasted for long.


In exploring the role of Mexicans and Americans in the civil war and the implication of Rio Grande Valley in the conduct and outcome of the war, it has appeared that both Mexican Americans and the Rio Grande facilitated in the thriving as well as ceasing of the war. The Mexican American who joined the Union helped the escaping slaves by providing their entry to Mexico and hence reducing the cotton production, an economic activity that sustained the Confederates. On the other hand, the Mexican Americans who ascribed the Confederates ideology captured the escaping slaves and returned them to their masters and therefore, helping in the continuance of cotton production. At first, the Rio Grande Valley helped to sustain the economic power of the Confederate leaders since it was used as an exit point for transportation of cotton to the international markets. However, upon its invasion by the Federal forces in 1865, the Confederates were left economically weak marking the climax of the Civil War.


Avila, Rolando. 2018. The Civil War Era and the Lower Rio Grande Valley: A Brief History. Texas: University of Texas.

Bacha-Garza, Roseann, Christopher L. Miller, and Christopher L. Miller. 2019. The Civil War on the Rio Grande, 1846–1876. Texas: Texas A&M University Press.

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