Evaluating President James K. Polk’s Foreign Policy Toward Mexico PURPOSE Jam

Evaluating President
James K. Polk’s Foreign Policy Toward Mexico

Evaluating President
James K. Polk’s Foreign Policy Toward Mexico
James K. Polk made assertions about the reasons American should go to war against Mexico when he asked Congress to declare war on Mexico in 1846. As citizens, there is no more important task before you than to determine, first, if the president is being honest with such a request, and second, if the course he favors (making war on a foreign country) is good for the United States to do. As a citizen you have an obligation to make up your own mind and not blindly stand by without an intelligent analysis of it before deciding whether to support it or not. Abraham Lincoln and Henry David Thoreau did not support Polk after doing their job as just explained. That does not mean that they were right and Polk was wrong. But it does mean that they did their job as citizens in asking and trying to answer these questions before presenting their positions on them.
But how do we decide whether a foreign policy is likely to be good or bad? We do so by scrutinizing the likelihood that it will make our nation more secure while upholding the principles or ideals that our nation stands for. You will have a chance to go through this exercise with this assignment.
You will write a video in which you record yourself reading a script of 500 to 750
words that you have written yourself, in answer to the following question:
Decribe and analyze three ways in which James K. Polk’s foreign policy toward Mexico strengthened American’s objective foreign policy security interests and three ways it weakened America’ objective foreign policy security interests.
In this assignment, you will create a video in which you speak extemporaneously (not reading a script but from your own memory of what you have learned from The American Yawp). You will be graded on the extent to which your generalizations and specific examples are accurate, comprehensive and derived from The American Yawp, and with your eyes focused on the webcam and not a script.
Important: You are welcome to prepare for this assignment in part by running the above question through ChatGPT, but you do not have to do so. Frankly I do not know if ChatGPT would help you or hinder you, but I DO KNOW THAT CHATGPA CAN BE a GRADE CRUSHER. Let me explain.
What you will be doing is following the underlined instructions above. Here is what I received when I ran the question through ChatGPT. Here are the problems that would get you a bad grade if you just copied and pasted this:
Chat GPT’s horrible, terrible, no-good response (see footnotes below for why it is horrible, terrible and no-good): What follows in quotation marks is what I got from Chat GPT:
“James K. Polk’s foreign policy towards Mexico, particularly during his presidency from 1845 to 1849, had both positive and negative implications for America’s objective foreign policy security interests.) Here are three ways in which his policies strengthened these interests and three ways in which they weakened them: (1)
Ways in which Polk’s Foreign Policy Strengthened American Security Interests:
Territorial Expansion and Manifest Destiny: Polk’s pursuit of territorial expansion, fueled by the belief in Manifest Destiny (the idea that Americans were destined to expand across the continent), led to the annexation of Texas and the acquisition of the Oregon Territory through diplomatic negotiations with Britain. (2) This expansionist policy helped to secure American interests by extending its borders westward and strengthening its territorial integrity. The acquisition of these territories provided valuable resources and potential for economic growth, (3) contributing to America’s overall security and power.
Resolution of the Oregon Dispute: By resolving the Oregon boundary dispute with Britain through diplomatic negotiations, Polk successfully avoided a potential conflict with a powerful global nation. The compromise established the 49th parallel as the border between the United States and British North America (Canada), thus ensuring peaceful relations with an important trade partner and preventing a military confrontation that could have diverted resources and attention away from other security concerns. (4)
Mexican-American War and Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo: While controversial, the Mexican-American War resulted in a significant territorial gain for the United States, including present-day California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and parts of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war secured these territorial gains, further strengthening America’s security by expanding its borders, resources, and strategic positions along the western coast.
Ways in which Polk’s Foreign Policy Weakened American Security Interests:
Mexican-American War and Opposition: Polk’s decision to provoke the Mexican-American War by sending troops into disputed territory between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande strained diplomatic relations and led to significant domestic opposition. (5) The war’s questionable legitimacy and heavy casualties eroded public support, which could have undermined America’s unity and strength in the face of other potential security threats.
Erosion of International Reputation: The aggressive pursuit of territorial gains at the expense of Mexico, coupled with the controversial circumstances surrounding the war’s initiation, damaged America’s international reputation. This erosion of goodwill and trust could have weakened America’s ability to forge alliances and partnerships, potentially leaving it more vulnerable to security challenges that require international cooperation. (6)
Risk of Escalation and Confrontation: The annexation of Texas and the expansionist policies pursued by Polk risked creating conflicts with other global powers, notably Britain, (7) which had its own interests in the region. The potential for escalation and confrontation with major powers could have diverted American resources and attention away from addressing other critical security concerns, thereby weakening the nation’s overall security posture.
In summary, Polk’s foreign policy towards Mexico had both positive and negative impacts on America’s objective foreign policy security interests. While it expanded America’s territorial boundaries and secured valuable resources, it also led to conflicts, strained diplomatic relations, and eroded international reputation, potentially leaving the nation more vulnerable in the long run (8).”
This just restates my question, which I already know. If you used this you would get an F for your introduction.
The Oregon territory was irrelevant to Polk’s f.p. toward Mexico! ChatGPT is often wrong, as it is here!
Vague. What do you (or, rather what does ChatGPA mean)? You must be more specific.
This whole Paragraph is irrelevant. The Oregon territory was irrelevant to Polk’s f.p. toward Mexico! ChatGPT is often wrong, as it is here!
Too general. What do you mean? Strained it how?
This is too general as well. How so? Must be more specific.
Why Britain?
This sentence just repeats the over-generalizations of the essay before the end, which ChaptGPT never explained!
As you can see ChatGPT just gives you something else to read, something much less accurate than your textbook. Much of this is off topic and will burn your grade if you include it in your presentation. Isn’t The American Yawp and the documents assigned enough for you? Especially when you consider that the information in American Yawp is specific and approved, and, if you read only the sections on Polk’s relations with Mexico, relevant! ChatGPT presents garbage along with some relevant facts– you still need to use your learning to tell the one from the other.
Remember also you must be able to look into the camera and explain off script what the specific answers to your questions are. I will grade the video–I do not want you to turn in a script or a written version of the video. If you make a mistake, just keep recording new versions until you completely answer the question extemporaneously and in your own words. If you say things that are wrong from ChatGPT, you will lose points for your errors of fact, no matter how well you learned those errors. Hemming and hawing inbetween the facts will not hurt your grade. Reading from a script will get you an “F.”
My advice to you: ChatGPT may hurt you as well as help you with this assignment. Since it is an extra and dangerous step, I advise you NOT to use it. I won’t know if your errors come from ChaptGPT or somewhere else, but I will take points off for errors when I see them. And we know that ChatGPT errs!
Here are other variations on the question that you need to answer:
How well did Polk achieve the two objectives of any nation’s foreign policy (achieving a nation’s objective security interests and philosophical ideals)?
Who was responsible for the Mexican War, really? (Polk or Mexico?)
How legitimate were Polk’s reasons for going to war with Mexico?
Did Polk’s acquisition of Mexican territories help strengthen America’s objective security interests in the long-term–or did it somehow hurt the nation’s objective security interests?
In order to answer these questions in your video script, you will have the familiarize yourself with the two goals of a nation’s foreign policy, and therefore the goals of the U.S. President’s foreign policy, since he or she is the shaper of the foreign policy of the United States, no matter who she or he is. Here is a video that will help you get ready for this assignment:
How to Begin to Evaluate Polk’s Foreign Policy (youtube.com)
Required Readings
12. Manifest Destiny | THE AMERICAN YAWP
James K. Polk, War Message to Congress, May 13, 1846 – Google Docs

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