Page:The Story of Mexico.djvu/371

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339
CHAPULTEPEC TAKEN.

might have remained to this day undiscovered, with its wealth still hidden in the earth. Whatever comfort this may be, is open to the losing side.

The war left them disgraced and humiliated, with ruined cities and desolated homes scattered over the land. It is probable, however, that the permanent effect of the war was beneficial. It taught the Mexicans, for one thing, to distrust the prestige of their army, and humbled the pretensions of a crowd of military men, who, while they aspired to the highest offices of government, proved themselves not only incapable of serving their country thus, but incompetent in the field. High praise, however, is always to be assigned to the courage and bravery of the army, its commanders, and private soldiers, especially in the defence of their capital when the struggle reached its last agony.

The United States by the war acquired an immense extent of territory, by many of its citizens, however, even at the time, regarded as a questionable good. The acquisition of so much slave territory without doubt hastened the crisis which called for the civil war of 1861. The experiences of the American army in the Mexican war, and the glory, exaggerated perhaps, which attached to their feats of arms, stimulated the taste for military pursuits, before very moderate in a peaceful and industrious land. The heroes of the campaign of Anahuac were transferred to the field of politics. General Taylor became President of the United States, and General Scott narrowly escaped it. The defects of the army were recognized and in great measure remedied, so