by Kenneth Drexler, Digital Reference Specialist
The digital collections of the Library of Congress contain
a wide variety of material associated with the Mexican War
(1846-1848), including manuscripts, maps, broadsides, pictures,
sheet music, books, and government documents. This guide
compiles links to digital materials related to the Mexican
War that are available throughout the Library of Congress
Web site. In addition, it provides links to external Web
sites focusing on the Mexican War and a bibliography containing
selections for both general and younger readers.
Library of Congress Web Site | External
Web Sites | Selected Bibliography
Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress
consists of approximately 20,000 items, including correspondence
and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed
material. Most of the items are from the 1850s through Lincoln's
presidential years. However, there are some documents from
Lincoln's term as a member of the House of Representatives
(1847-49) related to the Mexican War and its aftermath.
Examples of documents concerning the Mexican War include:
As I Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California's Early
Years, 1849 to 1900
This collection consists of the full texts and illustrations
of 190 works documenting the formative era of California's
history through eyewitness accounts, including many references
to the Mexican War.
Among the collection's books concerning the Mexican War
the phrase "Mexican War" to locate more recollections of
Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional
Documents and Debates, 1774-1875
This collection contains the records of Congress from
1774 to 1875, including journals, debates, bills, and
Congressional Globe, U.S.
Statutes at Large, House Journal,
and Senate Journal can all
be researched to examine the role of the Congress during
the Mexican War.
Highlights from the Mexican War in this collection include
- May 11, 1846 - President
James Polk submitted a message to Congress
outlining his reasons for declaring war with Mexico.
- May 11, 1846 - Messages of the President of the United States, with the correspondence, therewith communicated, between the Secretary of War and other officers of the government, on the subject of the Mexican War (H.exdoc.60)
- May 11, 1846 - The House of Representatives approved a resolution declaring war with Mexico by a vote of 174 to 14.
- May 12, 1846 - The Senate approved a resolution declaring war with Mexico by a vote of 40 to 2.
- May 13, 1846 - President Polk signed "An act providing for the prosecution of the existing war between the United States and the Republic of Mexico".
- February 2, 1848 - The
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed by the United
States and Mexico.
- March 10, 1848 - The Senate
ratified the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo by a vote
of 38 to 14.
collection in the 29th and 30th Congresses to locate additional
congressional information on the Mexican War and its aftermath.
James K. Polk Papers
The papers of James K. Polk (1795-1849), governor of Tennessee, representative from Tennessee, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and eleventh president of the United States, contain approximately 20,500 items dating from 1775 to 1891, with the bulk falling in the period 1830-1849.
A selection of highlights concerning the Mexican War includes:
- Series 5: Messages and Speeches, 1833-1849; 1846; May 11, hostilities by Mexico
- Series 5: Messages and Speeches, 1833-1849; 1846; Dec. 22, territorial government in Mexico
- Series 5: Messages and Speeches, 1833-1849; 1847; Feb. 13, war with Mexico
- Series 5: Messages and Speeches, 1833-1849; 1848; Feb. 29, Mexican treaty
- Series 5: Messages and Speeches, 1833-1849; 1848; July 6, Mexican peace
The Library of Congress has custody of the largest and most comprehensive cartographic collection in the world with collections numbering over 5.5 million maps, 80,000 atlases, 6,000 reference works, over 500 globes and globe gores, 3,000 raised relief models, and a large number of cartographic materials in other formats, including over 19,000 cds/dvds. The online map collections represents only a small fraction that have been converted to digital form. Included in this digital collection
are ten maps associated with the Mexican
Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, ca. 1820 to 1860
This collection consists of over 15,000 pieces of sheet
music registered for copyright during the years 1820 to
1860. Included are popular songs, operatic arias, piano
music, sacred and secular vocal music, solo instrumental
music, method books and instructional materials, and some
music for band and orchestra. There are more than fifty
pieces of sheet music written about the Mexican
War in this collection.
Printed Ephemera: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera
The Printed Ephemera Collection at the Library of Congress
is a rich repository of Americana. In total, the collection
comprises 28,000 primary-source items dating from the seventeenth
century to the present and encompassing key events and eras
in U.S. history, including the annexation of Texas and the
This collection includes the following documents concerning
the Mexican War:
Jump Back in Time: The Battle of Buena Vista, February 23, 1847
Back in Time: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Was Signed
In Mexico City, February 2, 1848
This site allows you to search and view millions of historic American newspaper pages from 1789-1924. Search this collection to find hundreds of newspaper articles related to the Mexican War.
Examples of articles about the Mexican War include:
- "War Proclamation! Issued by the President Yesterday," New-York Daily Tribune, May 15, 1846.
- "Vera Cruz. Successful Landing of Gen. Scott," New-York Daily Tribune, April 3, 1847.
- "Important from the Army. Battle of Buena Vista! Gen. Taylor Again Victorious!" Jeffersonian Republican, April 8, 1847.
- "Message of the President. Announcing to Congress the End of the War with Mexico," The Examiner, July 15, 1848.
The Library of Congress presents the National Jukebox, which makes historical sound recordings available to the public free of charge.
Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the treaty signing,
the Library of Congress created an online presentation
on the Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty. It includes page images
of the original treaty housed in the Library of Congress
Manuscript Division and the area map used during the
negotiations from the Geography and Map Division.
Americana: Selected Images from the Collections of the Library
Pictorial Americana, a 1955
Library of Congress publication, contains a chapter
listing selected images related to the Mexican
Search the Prints
and Photographs Online Catalog (PPOC) for additional
images concerning the Mexican
On November 5, 1844, Democratic candidate James K. Polk
defeated Whig party candidate Henry Clay to become the
eleventh president of the United States.
On June 23, 1845, a special session of the legislature
of Texas voted in favor of annexation by the United States.
General Zachary Taylor defeated a detachment of the
Mexican army in a two-day battle at Palo Alto and Resaca
de la Palma on May 8, 1846.
The Battle of Buena Vista was won by the United States
on February 23, 1847. General Zachary Taylor, future
president of the United States, was the commander of
American troops in this victory over Mexican General
Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in Mexico
City on February 2, 1848.
A Continent Divided: The U.S.-Mexico War
This Web site is a joint project of the Center for Greater Southwestern Studies and the Library at the University of Texas at Arlington. It contains essays, biographies, and a timeline that provide background information about the war, as well as primary sources from the war such as proclamations, letters, diaries, images, maps, music, and poetry.
of Mexican War Veterans
This site contains an essay on the Mexican War, as well
as a chronology of events and a bibliography. It also
includes images, government documents, maps, statistics,
and a list of historical sites associated with the war.
This Northern Illinois University Web site contains a
historical overview of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848),
as well as documents, images, sound recordings, and lesson
plans related to the conflict.
Bookshelves: Mexican War
The U.S. Army Center of Military History provides the
full text of online books related to Mexican War and a
bibliography of selected readings.
The National Park Service provides background information
on the battle at Palo Alto and the Mexican War in general.
This site also provides links to external sites associated
with the war.
The Polk Project
The James K. Polk Project and the University of Tennessee Press have arranged with Newfound Press, the digital imprint of the University of Tennessee Libraries, to release all published volumes of the Correspondence of James K. Polk in searchable, open-access pdf versions. Polk's papers contain a large number of documents related to the Mexican War.
Mexican War (1846-1848)
This site on the Mexican War is a companion to a PBS
documentary on the war. It includes an overview on the
war and its aftermath, biographical essays, an interactive
timeline, video clips, and lesson plans. It also contains
primary-source materials such as maps, illustrations,
Bauer, K. Jack. The Mexican War,
New York: Macmillan, 1974.
LC call number: E404 .B37 [Catalog
Eisenhower, John S. D. So Far from
God: The U.S. War with Mexico, 1846-1848. New
York: Random House, 1989.
LC call number: E405 .E37 1989
Frazier, Donald S., ed. The United
States and Mexico at War: Nineteenth-Century Expansionism
and Conflict. New York: Macmillan Reference USA,
LC call number: E404 .U66 1998 [Catalog
Heidler, David S. and Jeanne T. Heidler. The
Mexican War. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2006.
LC call number: E404 .H44 2006 [Catalog
Johannsen, Robert Walter. To the
Halls of the Montezumas: The Mexican War in the American
New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.
LC call number: E404 .J64 1985 [Catalog
Mahin, Dean B. Olive Branch and Sword:
The United States and Mexico, 1845-1848. Jefferson,
N.C.: McFarland & Co., 1997.
LC call number: E408 .M34 1997 [Catalog
Winders, Richard Bruce. Mr. Polk’s
Army: The American Military Experience in the Mexican War.
College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1997.
LC call number: E409.2 .W56 1997
Bardhan-Quallen, Sudipta. The Mexican-American
War. Detroit: Blackbirch Press, 2005.
LC call number: E404 .B35 2005
Carey, Charles W., Jr. The Mexican
War: "Mr. Polk's War". Berkeley Heights,
N.J.: Enslow Publishers, 2002.
LC call number: E404 .C26 2002
Mills, Bronwyn. U.S.-Mexican War.
New York: Facts On File, 2003.
LC call number: E404 .M55 2003 [Catalog
Nardo, Don. The Mexican-American
San Diego, Calif.: Lucent Books, 1999.
LC call number: E404 .N37 1999 [Catalog