Between 1845 and 1846 relations between Mexico and the United States pushed past the breaking point over where the border was between the two nations. Historically it had been at the Nueces River but after Texas independence the Texans and President James K. Polk wanted to extend it to the Rio Grande.
Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor into the disputed territory with an army that provoked a war that led U.S. troops all the way to Mexico City. Polk claimed that it was a defensive measure and that the Mexicans had provoked a war. The Whigs thought differently. They thought it was a war of aggression.
Among those protesting Polk's actions were notable statesmen like Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, former President John Quincy Adams, and a lot of ordinary citizens like Henry David Thoreau who refused to pay his one dollar poll tax.
One young Freshman Congressman from Illinois introduced the 'Spot Resolutions' demanding that the President prove to everyone that the spot where initial American blood was shed was actually inside the United States;
Whereas the President of the United States, in his message of May 11, 1846, has declared that "the Mexican Government not only refused to receive him, [the envoy of the United States,] or listen to his propositions, but, after a long-continued series of menaces, has at last invaded our territory and shed the blood of our fellow-citizens on our own soil:"
And again, in his message of December 8, 1846, that "we had ample cause of war against Mexico long before the breaking out of hostilities; but even then we forbore to take redress into our own hands until Mexico herself became the aggressor, by invading our soil in hostile array, and shedding the blood of our citizens:"
And yet again, in his message of December 7, 1847, that "the Mexican Government refused even to hear the terms of adjustment which he [our minister of peace] was authorized to propose, and finally, under wholly unjustifiable pretexts, involved the two countries in war, by invading the territory of the State of Texas, striking the first blow, and shedding the blood of our citizens on our own soil."
And whereas this House is desirous to obtain a full knowledge of all the facts which go to establish whether the particular spot on which the blood of our citizens was so shed was or was not at that time our own soil: Therefore,
Resolved By the House of Representatives, That the President of the United States be respectfully requested to inform this House --
1st. Whether the spot on which the blood of our citizens was shed, as in his messages declared, was or was not within the territory of Spain, at least after the treaty of 1819, until the Mexican revolution.
2d. Whether that spot is or is not within the territory which was wrested from Spain by the revolutionary Government of Mexico.
3d. Whether that spot is or is not within a settlement of people, which settlement has existed ever since long before the Texas revolution, and until its inhabitants fled before the approach of the United States army.
4th. Whether that settlement is or is not isolated from any and all other settlements by the Gulf and the Rio Grande on the south and west, and by wide uninhabited regions on the north and east.
5th. Whether the people of that settlement, or a majority of them, or any of them, have ever submitted themselves to the government or laws of Texas or the United States, by consent or compulsion, either by accepting office, or voting at elections, or paying tax, or serving on juries, or having process served upon them, or in any other way.
6th. Whether the people of that settlement did or did not flee from the approach of the United States army, leaving unprotected their homes and their growing crops, before the blood was shed, as in the messages stated; and whether the first blood, so shed, was or was not shed within the enclosure of one of the people who had thus fled from it.
7th. Whether our citizens, whose blood was shed, as in his message declared, were or were not, at that time, armed officers and soldiers, sent into that settlement by the military order of the President, through the Secretary of War.
8th. Whether the military force of the United States was or was not sent into that settlement after General Taylor had more than once intimated to the War Department that, in his opinion, no such movement was necessary to the defence or protection of Texas.
'Wrong war, wrong time' was certainly the protest of these great statesmen -- including that young Freshman Congressman, Abraham Lincoln.
'Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you will be
criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.'
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
'Any man who would refrain from criticizing the President in a time of war is guilty of moral treason.'