Chapter 11 Manifest Destiny Lesson 1
Rivalry in the Northwest
The Oregon country was the huge area between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains north of California.
Four nations, Great Britain, Spain, Russia, and the United States, claimed the land.
The United States wanted to control the Oregon country, so Americans could have access to the Pacific Ocean to build trade.
The U.S. based its claim on Robert Gray’s exploration of the Columbia River in 1792 and on Lewis and Clark’s explorations.
Secretary of State John Quincy Adams negotiated a treaty with Spain’s foreign minister, Louis De Onis.
In the Adams-Onis Treaty, Spain agreed to set the limits of their territory at what is now California’s northern border and gave up their claim to Oregon.
In 1824, Russia gave up its claim.
Adams worked out a deal with Britain for joint occupation of the area, which meant that people from both Britain and the United States could settle in Oregon.
When Adams became president in 1825, he proposed that the two nations divide the area, but Britain refused.
Early Americans in Oregon
The first Americans to reach Oregon country were fur traders called mountain men.
Mountain men traveled in the mountains in the spring and summer, collecting beaver pelts, and they met for a rendezvous, or meeting, in the late summer.
John Jacob Astor established the American Fur Company, which became the largest fur company in America.
Robert Stuart and Jedediah Smith found the South Pass, a broad break through the Rockies that later became the main route to Oregon.
Mountain men had to be skillful and resourceful to survive in the wilderness.
In time the mountain men killed off most of the beaver.
Missionaries were among the first settlers in Oregon country.
They wanted to bring Christianity to the Native Americans.
Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife, Narcissa, built a mission among the Cayuse people near the present site of Walla Walla, Washington.
New settlers unknowingly brought sickness to the Cayuse, and the Cayuse retaliated by attacking the mission.
The Whitmans and 11 others were killed.
In the early 1840s, a desire to go to Oregon swept across the people of the Mississippi Valley.
People banded together to make the trip to Oregon.
These pioneers, called emigrants because they left the United States to go to Oregon, traveled the 2,000 mile journey in covered wagons following the Oregon Trail.
Between 1840 and 1845, the American population in the fertile Willamette Valley rose from 500 to 5,000.
The British population remained about 700.
The United States began to question ownership of the area again.
Many Americans believed their mission was to expand the boundaries of the United States to the Pacific Ocean.
This idea was called Manifest Destiny.
Pressure mounted for the United States to take ownership of the Oregon Country.
James K. Polk represented the Democratic Party in the presidential election of 1844.
He believed in the United States’ sole ownership of Oregon.
Henry Clay, the Whig Party candidate, did not take a strong position on the Oregon issue.
He lost the election to Polk.
In 1846, Britain and the United States compromised, settling the boundary of Oregon at latitude 49º North.
Independence for Texas
In 1803, the United States claimed Texas, despite Spain’s protests.
The United States dropped its claim to Texas in 1819.
Most of Texas’s residents were Tejanos, or Mexicans who claimed Texas as their home.
Spain offered tracts of land to people who would settle in Texas.
The people who obtained grants and recruited settlers were called empresarios.
Moses Austin received the first land grant in 1821, but before he could set up his colony, Mexico declared independence from Spain.
Austin died soon afterward, and the land passed to his son, Stephen F. Austin.
He recruited 300 American families to settle in Texas.
By 1830, Americans far outnumbered Mexicans in Texas.
Mexico issued a decree, or official order, that stopped all immigration from the United States and taxed all American goods entering Texas.
These policies enraged Texans.
In 1833, Mexican president General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna agreed to remove the ban on American settlers, but he refused to change Texas’s political status.
Santa Anna became a dictator and overthrew Mexico’s constitution.
The Struggle for Independence
During 1835, conflicts occurred between Texans and Mexican troops.
In October, Mexican troops tried to take a cannon held by Texans in the town of Gonzales, but they were driven back by the Texans.
Texans called on volunteers to join their fight against Mexico, offering free land to anyone who would help.
Davy Crockett was one who volunteered.
In December 1835, the Texans liberated the town of San Antonio from Mexican forces.
Many Texans left San Antonio after the liberation, thinking the war was won.
Santa Anna, furious over the loss of San Antonio, marched north, reaching San Antonio in February 1836.
A small force of Texans was barricaded inside the Alamo, a nearby mission.
For 13 days, the small group of Texans, including Davy Crockett, William B. Travis, and Jim Bowie, kept the Alamo from Mexican forces.
On March 6, 1836, Mexican forces broke through the Alamo and killed all the Texas forces.
Only a few women and children and some servants survived.
American settlers and Tejanos declared independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836, while defenders fought at the Alamo
The Texas Declaration of Independence was similar to the national Declaration.
Texas leaders set up a temporary government until elections could be held.
The government named Sam Houston commander in chief of Texas forces.
Houston ordered troops at Goliad to abandon their positions, but they intercepted Mexican forces after retreating.
Santa Anna ordered the Texans executed.
Houston gathered about 900 troops at San Jacinto, near present-day Houston.
Santa Anna was camped nearby with an army of about 1,300.
On April 21, 1836, Texans attacked the Mexican camp, capturing Santa Anna.
Santa Anna signed a treaty recognizing the independence of Texas on May 14, 1836.
Texans elected Sam Houston president in September 1836.
Houston asked the United States to annex - take control of - Texas.
Southerners favored the annexation, but Northerners objected.
Fighting continued between Texas and Mexico because the Mexican government refused to honor Santa Anna’s recognition of Texas independence.
John Tyler, who became president in 1841, supported the Texas annexation, but the Senate did not.
James K. Polk, elected President in 1844, supported the annexation of Texas and pressed Congress to agree.
In 1845, Texas was granted statehood.
New Mexico was the name of the vast region between the Texas and California territories.
New Mexico had been part of Spain’s colony of Mexico.
In 1610, Spain founded the settlement of Santa Fe.
Mexico inherited New Mexico when it won independence from Spain in 1821.
William Becknell traveled to New Mexico and was the first American trader to reach Santa Fe.
The route he traveled became known as the Santa Fe Trail.
Other traders followed Becknell, and the trail became a busy trade route.
As trade increased with Mexico, more Americans began settling in the region.
As the idea of Manifest Destiny became popular, Americans began thinking that New Mexico should belong to the United States.
California’s Spanish Culture
The first Europeans to settle in California were Spanish explorers and Mexican missionaries.
The first settlement at San Francisco was founded in 1776, and seven years later a mission system was build along a route known as El Camino Real.
Jedediah Smith was an American mountain man who visited the San Gabriel mission and reported on life there.
California became a state of Mexico after Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821.
People from Mexico began settling in California.
In 1833, the Mexican government passed a law abolishing the Spanish missions in California.
The government gave some of the mission land to Native Americans.
Rancheros - ranch owners - bought the remainder of the land and built huge properties called ranchos.
Mexico granted land to John Sutter in 1839, and he built a trading post that became one of the first stopping points for Americans traveling to California.
In the 1840s, American families began to arrive in California, making the journey on the Oregon Trail.
John C. Fremont traveled several times through California and wrote about the region.
Americans began to talk about making California a state of the United States.
President James Polk twice offered to buy California and New Mexico, but Mexico refused.
War With Mexico
After the annexation of Texas, relations between Mexico and the United States were strained.
The two countries also disagreed on the Texas-Mexico border.
The United States insisted the Rio Grande formed the border; Mexico claimed that the border lay along the Nueces River, about 150 miles farther north.
President James K. Polk was determined to annex California and New Mexico.
After Mexico refused to sell the territories, Polk plotted to provoke war with Mexico.
Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to march his soldiers across the Nueces River into the disputed territory.
Taylor followed orders and built a fort there.
Mexican soldiers attacked Taylor’s soldiers, and Congress passed a declaration of war.
Democrats backed the war, but Whigs believed the war was unjust.
Abraham Lincoln, an Illinois congressman, claimed that Polk had no reason for blaming Mexico for the attack.
President Polk planned for U.S. forces to drive Mexico out of the disputed area in Texas, then move forces into California and New Mexico before taking Mexico City.
Taylor succeeded in defeating the Mexicans to secure the Texas border.
General Stephen Kearney led troops to California and New Mexico.
In 1846, a small group of Americans had seized the town of Sonoma and proclaimed California independent.
John C. Fremont declared he would seize California, which enraged the Californios, the Mexicans who lived in California.
U.S. naval forces captured San Francisco and Monterey in July 1846, and Commodore John Sloat declared California annexed.
The Americans then captured San Diego and Los Angeles.
By 1847, California was under U.S. control.
American forces then marched to take Mexico City, succeeding in September 1847.
In the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico gave up all claims to Texas and agreed to the Rio Grande as the border between Texas and Mexico.
Mexico also ceded - gave - California and New Mexico to the United States.
New Settlers in California and Utah
California Gold Rush
James Marshall discovered gold while building a sawmill on the South Fork of the American River in California.
The prospect of gold brought thousands of people from all over the world to California in 1848 and 1849.
Those who arrived in 1849 were called forty-niners.
Some gold seekers sailed to California.
Most who came by sea traveled around the tip of South America.
The greatest number of people came overland on the Oregon Trail or Santa Fe Trail.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the war with Mexico made Californios citizens of the United States and guaranteed them the right to their lands.
However, the Land Law of 1851 established a group of people to review the Californios’ land claims.
The Californios were unable to prove what land they owned, and many lost their land.
As people rushed to California, boomtowns, new communities, sprang up almost overnight.
Cities in California also flourished.
Most forty-niners had no experience in mining, and very few of them achieved lasting wealth.
Merchants made large profits since they could charge whatever they liked for goods because miners had nowhere else to buy them.
Very few women lived in mining towns, and men spent their free time drinking, gambling, and fighting.
Crime was a problem, and vigilantes took the law into their own hands, acting as police, judge, and jury.
The Gold Rush had lasting effects on California’s economy.
Many people who came looking for gold settled in California.
California became a state in 1850.
A Religious Refuge in Utah
Joseph Smith had visions that led him to found the Mormon church.
Smith founded a community in New York, but neighbors who disapproved of the religion drove them out.
The Mormons traveled to Ohio, Missouri, then Illinois.
In 1844, a mob in Illinois killed Smith, and Brigham Young took over as leader of the Mormons.
About 12,000 Mormons settled in Utah near the Great Salt Lake to live a godly life.
In 1848, the United States acquired the Great Salt Lake area from Mexico.
Two years later, Congress set up the Utah Territory, and Brigham Young became governor.
Utah became a state in 1896.
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