|CP U.S. History I Ms. Horn
Unit IX: Manifest Destiny And Sectionalism
Part I: Manifest Destiny
The Texas Controversy
In the 1820s, Spain invited American to settle in Texas. Why?
So Moses Austin led 300 American families to settle in Texas. Yet Spain’s plan didn’t work, and in 1821 Mexico declared its independence. Mexico allowed Americans to continue settling in Texas. Yet after a revolt in 1826, Mexico realizes the Texans are not loyal, so begins a crack down. Now, Texans must:
Texans do not want to follow these rules, and the rebellion movement continues.
1835: Mexican leader Santa Anna wants Texans to follow Mexican laws
Texans write a constitution in protest; Sam Houston raises an army
Troop clashes lead to Texan Rebellion
Santa Anna leads 7,000 troops to crush the Rebellion
1836: March: Standoff at the Alamo
April: San Jacinto
Is Texas Independent?
What should the U.S. do? Should we annex Texas? (annex = to add on to)
What are the pros and cons?
Texas WANTS to be part of the U.S. Yet Presidents Jackson, Van Buren, and Harrison ALL refuse to annex it. WHY??
Texas remains independent, and separate from the U.S. for 9 years!!
1844: Senate a treaty to annex Texas
The Texas Question becomes the #1 issue in the 1844 Election
1845: U.S. annexes Texas
What convinced the U.S. to finally annex Texas?
convinces Americans it’s the best choice:
Polk changes expansion from being a issue into a issue. After he won the Election of 1844, the Senate signed a treaty annexing Texas and making it a state in 1845.
What happened to change the way Americans viewed expansion?
The term “Manifest Destiny” is traced to an 1845 article by John L. O’Sullivan arguing in favor of annexation of Texas. The belief in Manifest Destiny was the rationale for much of U.S. foreign policy in this time period.
Why . . . in favor of now elevating this question of the reception of Texas into the Union . . . it surely is to be found, found abundantly, in the manner in which other nations have undertaken to intrude themselves into it . . . in a spirit of hostile interference against us for the avowed object of thwarting our policy and hampering our power, limiting our greatness and checking the fulfillment of our manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.
--John L. O’Sullivan, 1845
There was also quite a strong racial component to Manifest Destiny, as seen in this 1846 speech by Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton:
Since the dispersion of man upon earth, I know of no human event, past or present, which promises a greater . . . more beneficent change upon the earth than the arrival of the van of the Caucasian race . . . upon the border of the [Pacific Ocean, and thus Asia]. . . The Mongolian, or Yellow race . . . [is] far below the White; and . . . must receive an impression from the superior race whenever they come in contact. It would seem that the White race alone received the divine command to subdue and replenish the earth! For it is the only race that has obeyed it—the only one that hunts out new and distant lands, and even a New World, to subdue and replenish.
Civilization, or extinction, has been the fate of all people who have found themselves in the track of the advancing Whites, and civilization, always the preference of the Whites, has been pressed as an object, while the extinction has followed as a consequence of its resistance.
--Senator Thomas Hart Benton, 1846
1. What is Manifest Destiny?
2. What factors give the U.S. the right to expand?
This painting, “America’s Progress” by John Gast, illustrates the values of Manifest Destiny. Study the painting and analyze it.
1. How does this painting relate to Manifest Destiny?
2. How might various groups of Americans view Manifest Destiny differently?
Not all Americans supported Manifest Destiny. Senator Corwin, of Ohio, spoke for many when he questioned the policy:
Look at this pretense of want of room. With twenty millions of people, you have about one thousand millions of acres of land, inviting settlement by every conceivable argument. . . . Why, says the chairman of this Committee on Foreign Relations, it is the most reasonable thing in the world! We ought to have the Bay of San Francisco. Why? Because it is the best harbor on the Pacific! It has been my fortune . . . to have practiced a good deal in criminal courts in the course of my life, but [I] have never yet heard a thief, arraigned for stealing a horse, plead that it was the best horse that he could find in the country. . . . You will say you want room for your people. This has been the plea of every robber chief from Nimrod to the present hour.
1. Why did Corwin feel that the United States did not need any more land for its population?
2. What was Corwin’s attitude toward manifest destiny?
3. To what degree do you agree with Corwin? Explain.
4. If you were a support of Manifest Destiny, how would you respond to and refute Corwin’s argument?
President Polk: Manifest Destiny in Action
Polk ran for president in 1844 by promoting Manifest Destiny & promising Americans to annex Texas, Oregon, and even California. He won the election and achieved all of his goals. We’ve already discussed Texas. Let’s look at the rest.
Do you remember the deal we made with England about Oregon after the War of 1812? Explain:
California and the Mexican War
Mexico owns California and the other land west of the United States. Polk wants it.
First, he tries to
Why can’t Polk just start a war with Mexico?
Polk needs a to go to war with Mexico. To get one, he looks at Texas.
1. Explain the significance of the following:
A. Nueces River
B. Rio Grande
2. Explain how and why we went to war with Mexico:
In his war message, President Polk said:
. . . we have tried every effort at reconciliation. The cup of forbearance had been exhausted, even before the recent information from the frontier of the Del Norte. But now, after reiterated menaces, Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory, and shed American blood on American soil. She has proclaimed that hostilities have commenced, and that the two nations are now at war.
1. Summarize Polk’s message.
2. Pretend you are a minister of the Mexican government, and write a response to Polk:
The Mexican war lasted from 1846-1848. It was a brutal, gruesome war. Many Americans objected to the war, including Abraham Lincoln and John C. Calhoun. Henry David Thoreau refused to pay the ‘war tax’ and wrote Civil Disobedience while he was serving time in jail.
Mexico and the United States signed the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 after the U.S. victory. The land won by the U.S. is known as the “Mexican Cession.”
Read the Wilmot Proviso:
1. What did the Wilmot Proviso propose?
2. Why is this controversial?
3. What is a free-soiler?