1846 - Polk provokes war with Mexico

General Zachary Taylor attacking Mexican positions at the battle of Monterrey.

 In April of 1846, after taunting the government of Mexico into a war by training artillery fire on the town square of Matamoros, General Zachary Taylor's soldiers encounter a troop of Mexican soldiers and engage in a skirmish.  This encounter gave President Polk the pretext to declare war on Mexico.

Battle of Cerro Gordo.gif

 The Battle of Cerro Gordo in the Mexican American War

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 This is the pretext for armed aggression (on ersatz American soil) that Polk needs to satisfy his expansionist dreams.  The Mexican ambassador has already told him that any hostilities from American troops will be viewed as an act of war.  Ambassadors are called back, embassies closed.  At Polk's urging, Congress declares war on Mexico after bitter debates.