San Jancinto Museum of History

I-10 Rest Area Exhibit

Through Fall 2016



The Road to War


The U.S.-Mexican War was the first armed conflict that the United States fought chiefly on foreign soil.  It pitted a politically divided and militarily unprepared Mexico against the expansionist-minded administration of President James K. Polk, who believed the United States had a Manifest Destiny to spread across the continent to the Pacific Ocean.  A border skirmish along the Rio Grande started the fight and as the situation worsened, both sides sent troops to the area.

From the first engagement in Palo Alto, Texas, to the Halls of Montezuma in Mexico City, art chronicled this decisive and divisive conflict.  Featured here are a few of the artworks, watercolors by soldier-artist Samuel Chamberlain, and popular prints by Nathaniel Currier and Adolphe Jean-Baptiste Bayot, that depict events along the way from Texas to Mexico.