Today in History, May 11: 1846 – President James K. Polk asks for and is given a declaration of war against Mexico, beginning the Mexican-American War. The war would prove to be a training ground for a cadre of American officers that would fight in the coming US Civil War on both sides. Perhaps the Civil War lasted as long as it did because the combatants knew the tactics and personalities of those across the battlefield well, having grown up together. Ironically, two men (amongst others) shared the opinion that the Mexican-American war was unjust…a strong nation taking unfair advantage of a weaker nation…a young lawyer from Illinois who argued against the action and one of the young officers that fought valiantly in Mexico City, showing off his amazing horsemanship to win the battle. 15 years later Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant would be fighting the Civil War…a war they believed in.