After mastering this chapter, you should be able to:
10. Explain the spirit and meaning of the Manifest Destiny that inspired American expansionism in the 1840s.
20. Outline the major conflicts between Britain and the United States over debts, Maine, Canada, Texas, Oregon, and growing British hostility to slavery.
30. Explain why the U.S. government increasingly saw the independent Texas Republic as a threat and sought to pursue annexation.
40. Indicate how the issues of Oregon and Texas became central in the election of 1844 and why Polk’s victory was seen as a mandate for Manifest Destiny.
50. Explain how President Polk’s goals for his administration, especially the acquisition of California, led to the Texas boundary crisis and war with Mexico.
60. Describe how the dramatic American victory in the Mexican War led to the breathtaking territorial acquisition of the whole Southwest.
70. Describe the consequences of the Mexican War, and especially how the Mexican territorial acquisitions explosively opened the slavery question.
To build your social science vocabulary, familiarize yourself with the following terms.
10. caucus An unofficial organization or consultation of like-minded people to plan a political course or advance their cause, often within some larger body. “ . . . the stiff-necked Virginian was formally expelled from his party by a caucus of Whig congressmen. . . .”
20. royalty The payments to an inventor, author, composer, and so on, usually as a percentage of the sales or profits from their work. “. . . they were being denied rich royalties by the absence of an American copyright law.”
30. default To fail to pay a loan or interest due. “. . . several states defaulted on their bonds. . . .”
40. repudiate To refuse to accept responsibility for paying a bill or debt. “When . . . several states . . . repudiated [their bonds] openly, honest English citizens assailed Yankee trickery.”
50. protectorate The relation of a strong nation to a weaker political entity, which comes under its control and protection but still retains elements of autonomy; a colony is a territory under direct ownership or control of the imperial power. “. . . Texas was driven to open negotiations . . . in the hope of securing the defensive shield of a protectorate.”
60. colossus In politics, an entity of extraordinary size and power. “Such a republic would check the southward surge of the American colossus. . . .”
70. resolution In government, a formal statement of policy or judgment by a legislature, but requiring no legal statute. “He therefore arranged for annexation by a joint resolution.”
80. intrigue A plot or scheme formed by secret, underhanded means. “. . . the Lone Star Republic had become a danger spot, inviting foreign intrigue that menaced the American people.”
90. parallel In geography, the imaginary east-west lines, parallel to the earth’s equator, marking latitude. Meridians are the imaginary north-south lines, marking longitude on the globe. “ . . . the United States had sought to divide the vast domain at the forty-ninth parallel.”
100. deadlock To completely block or stop action as a consequence of the mutual pressure of equal and opposed forces. “The Democrats, meeting later in the same city, seemed hopelessly deadlocked.”
110. dark horse In politics, a candidate with little apparent support who unexpectedly wins a nomination or election. “Polk may have been a dark horse, but he was hardly an unknown or decrepit nag.”
120. mandate In politics, the belief that an official has been issued a clear charge by the electorate to pursue some particular policy goal. “Land-hungry Democrats . . . proclaimed that they had received a mandate from the voters to take Texas.”
130. platform The campaign document stating a party’s or candidate’s position on the issues, and upon which they “stand” for election. “Polk . . . had no intention of insisting on the . . . pledge of his own platform.”
140. no-man’s-land A territory to which neither of two disputing parties has clear claim and where they may meet as combatants. “. . . Polk was careful to keep American troops out of virtually all of the explosive no-man’s-land between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. . . .”
150. indemnity A repayment for loss or damage inflicted. “Victors rarely pay an indemnity. . . .”
00001PART II: Checking Your Progress
Where the statement is true, circle T; where it is false, circle F.
10. T F After President Harrison’s death, Vice President John Tyler carried on the strong Whig policies of party leaders like Clay and Webster.
20. T F By the 1840s, American relations with British Canada were largely peaceful.
30. T F The Aroostook War, over the Maine boundary, was settled by a territorial compromise in the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.
40. T F A primary motive driving Americans to annex Texas was fear that the Lone Star Republic would become an ally or protectorate of Britain.
50. T F Texas was annexed by a simple majority resolution of both houses of Congress because the two-thirds vote necessary for a treaty of annexation could not be obtained in the Senate.
60. T F The British claim to the disputed Oregon country was considerably strengthened by the thousands of British settlers in the region supported by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
70. T F In the election of 1844, Clay lost to Polk partly because he tried to straddle the Texas annexation issue and thus lost antislavery support.
80. T F Polk’s victory in the election of 1844 was interpreted as a mandate for Manifest Destiny and led directly to the annexation of Texas and a favorable settlement of the Oregon dispute.
90. T F President Polk proved unable to implement his four-point program for his presidency because of strong opposition from anti-imperialist Whigs.
100. T F The immediate cause of the Mexican War was an attempt by Mexico to reconquer Texas.
110. T F Polk’s primary objective in fighting the Mexican War was to obtain California for the United States.
120. T F The overwhelming American military victory over Mexico led some expansionist Americans to call for the United States to take over all of Mexico.
130. T F The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo added Texas to the territory of the United States.
140. T F The outcome of the Mexican War became a source of continuing bad feeling between the United States and much of Latin America.
150. T F The Wilmot Proviso prohibiting slavery in territory acquired from Mexico enabled the slavery issue to be temporarily removed from national politics.
00001B. 0Multiple Choice
Select the best answer and circle the corresponding letter.
10. The conflict between President Tyler and Whig leaders like Henry Clay took place over issues of0
a0. slavery and expansion.
b0. banking and tariff policy.
c0. foreign policy.
d0. agriculture and transportation policy.
e0. Whig party leadership and patronage.
20. Among the major sources of the tension between Britain and the United States in the 1840s was0
a0. American involvement in Canadian rebellions and border disputes.
b0. British support for American abolitionists.
c0. American anger at British default on canal and railroad loans.
d0. American intervention in the British West Indies.
e0. American involvement in the prohibited international slave trade.
30. The Aroostook War involved a0
a0. battle between American and French fishermen over Newfoundland fishing rights.
b0. conflict over fugitive slaves escaping across the Canadian border.
c0. battle between British and American sailors over impressment.
d0. battle between Americans and Mexicans over the western boundary of Louisiana.
e0. battle between American and Canadian lumberjacks over the northern Maine boundary.
40. During the early 1840s, Texas maintained its independence by0
a0. waging constant small-scale wars with Mexico.
b0. refusing to sign treaties with any outside powers.
c0. relying on the military power of the United States.
d0. establishing friendly relations with Britain and other European powers.
e0. declaring absolute neutrality in the conflicts between the United States, Britain, and Mexico.
50. Which of the following was not among the reasons why Britain strongly supported an independent Texas?0
a0. Britain was interested in eventually incorporating Texas into the British Empire.
b0. British abolitionists hoped to make Texas an antislavery bastion.
c0. British manufacturers looked to Texas as a way to reduce their dependence on American cotton.
d0. A puppet Texas nation could be used to check the power of the United States.
e0. An independent Texas would provide a shield for European powers to re-enter the Americas and overturn the Monroe Doctrine.
60. Texas was finally admitted to the Union in 1844 as a result of0
a0. the Mexican War.
b0. the Texans’ willingness to abandon slavery.
c0. an agreement that Texas would eventually be divided into five smaller states.
d0. a compromise agreement with Britain.
e0. President Tyler’s interpretation of the election of 1844 as a mandate to acquire Texas.
70. Manifest Destiny represented the widespread nineteenth-century American belief that0
a0. Americans were destined to uphold democracy and freedom.
b0. the irrepressible conflict over slavery was destined to result in a Civil War.
c0. Mexico was destined to be acquired by the United States.
d0. the American Indians were doomed to disappear as white settlement advanced.
e0. God had destined the United States to expand across the whole North American continent.
80. The British finally agreed to concede to the United States the disputed Oregon territory between the Columbia River and the forty-ninth parallel because
a0. they did not really want to fight a war over territory that American settlers might overrun.
b0. they recognized that the Lewis and Clark expedition has established America’s prior claim to the territory.
c0. they determined that their own harbors at Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, were superior to those on Puget Sound.
d0. the Americans had concentrated superior military and naval forces in the region.
e0. the Hudson’s Bay Company no longer considered the area economically valuable.
90. Henry Clay lost the election of 1844 to James Polk primarily because0
a0. his attempt to straddle the Texas annexation issue lost him votes to the antislavery Liberty party in New York.
b0. his strong stand for expansion in Texas and Oregon raised fears of war with Britain.
c0. he supported lower tariffs and an independent Treasury system.
d0. he lacked experience in presidential politics.
e0. Polk persuaded voters that Clay would not aggressively seek to acquire California for the United States.
100. The direct cause of the Mexican War was0
a0. American refusal to pay Mexican claims for damages caused by the Texas war for independence.
b0. Mexico’s refusal to sell California to the United States.
c0. Mexican support for the antislavery movement in Texas.
d0. American determination to conquer and annex northern Mexico.
e0. Mexican anger at American discrimination against Latinos in Texas.
110. President Polk was especially determined that the United States must acquire San Francisco from Mexico because
a0. it was the most strategic fort on the entire Pacific Coast.
b0. it was the home of most of the American settlers in Mexican California.
c0. the discovery of gold in California meant that San Francisco would be the gateway to the gold fields.
d0. the harbor of San Francisco Bay was considered the crucial gateway to the entire Pacific Ocean.
e0. the Franciscan Catholic missionaries there were using it as a base to counteract American Protestant missions in Oregon.
120. The phrase “spot resolutions” refers to0
a0. President Polk’s message asking Congress to declare war on Mexico on the spot.
b0. the amendment introduced after the Mexican War declaring that not one new spot of land could be opened to slavery.
c0. Congressman Abraham Lincoln’s resolution demanding that President Polk specify the exact spot, on American soil, where American blood had supposedly been shed.
d0. the congressional act determining which spots of Mexican land should be ceded to the United States.
e0. Congress’s resolution declaring that the key spot America should seize from Mexico was San Francisco Bay.
130. The brilliant American military campaign that finally captured Mexico City was commanded by General0
a0. Stephen W. Kearny.
b0. John C. Frémont.
c0. Zachary Taylor.
d0. Robert E. Lee.
e0. Winfield Scott.
014. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ending the Mexican War provided for0
a0. a return to the status quo that had existed before the war.
b0. the eventual American acquisition of all of Mexico.
c0. American acquisition of about half of Mexico and payment of several million dollars in compensation.
d0. the acquisition of California and joint U.S.-Mexican control of Arizona and New Mexico.
e0. American guarantees of fair treatment for the Mexican citizens annexed by the United States.
150. The major domestic consequence of the Mexican War was0
a0. the decline of the Democratic party.
b0. a sharp revival of the issue of slavery.
c0. a large influx of Mexican immigrants into the southwestern United States.
d0. a significant increase in taxes to pay the costs of the war.
e0. a public revulsion against the doctrines of Manifest Destiny and expansionism.
Supply the correct identification for each numbered description.
01. __________ American ship involved in supplying Canadian rebels that was sunk by British forces, sparking an international crisis between Britain and the United States
02. __________ Outbreak of fighting between American and Canadian lumberjacks over disputed Maine boundary
03. __________ Antislavery Whigs who strongly opposed the annexation of Texas as a conspiracy by the slave power
04. __________ Northern boundary of Oregon territory jointly occupied with Britain, advocated by Democratic party and others as the desired line of American expansion
05. __________ Two-thousand-mile-long path along which thousands of Americans journeyed to the Willamette Valley in the 1840s
06. __________ The widespread American belief that God had ordained the United States to occupy all the territory of North America
07. __________ Small antislavery party that took enough votes from Henry Clay to cost him the election of 1844
08. __________ Reduced tariff law sponsored by President Polk’s secretary of the Treasury that produced substantial revenue and bolstered the U.S. economy
09. __________ Rich Mexican province that Polk was determined to buy and Mexico refused to sell
010. __________ River that Mexico claimed as the Texas-Mexico boundary, crossed by Taylor’s troops in 1846
011. __________ Resolution offered by Congressman Abraham Lincoln demanding to know the precise location where Mexicans had allegedly shed American blood on American soil
012. __________ Short-lived West Coast republic proclaimed by American rebels against Mexican rule just before the arrival of U.S. troops in the province
013. __________ Site of major victory by American troops under Zachary Taylor over Mexican troops under Santa Anna.
014. __________ Treaty ending Mexican War and granting vast territories to the United States
015. __________ Controversial amendment, which passed the House but not the Senate, stipulating that slavery should be forbidden in all territory acquired from Mexico
00001D. 0Matching People, Places, and Events
Match the person, place, or event in the left column with the proper description in the right column by inserting the correct letter on the blank line.
d0. Increased American determination to annex Texas
e0. Split the Whigs and caused the entire cabinet except Webster to resign
f0. Heated up the slavery controversy between North and South
g0. Sparked bitter feuds over Canadian rebels, the boundaries of Maine and Oregon, and other issues
h0. Turned antislavery voters to the Liberty party and helped elect the expansionist Polk
i0. Created widespread popular support for Polk’s expansionist policies on Texas, Oregon, and California
j0. Strengthened American claims to the Columbia River country and made Britain more willing to compromise
00001G. Developing Historical Skills
00001Reading Maps for Routes
Historical maps often include the routes taken in connection with particular events. The map of the Major Campaigns of the Mexican War includes a number of such routes. Answer the following questions.0
10. Near what Mexican port city did both General Taylor and General Scott pass?
20. From which city (and battle site) did American forces move both west to California and south toward Buena Vista?
30. According to the map, where did American naval forces come from? Where did they go during the course of the war? Where were they involved in battles?
40. Across what territories did Kearny and Frémont pass during the war? In which significant battles did each of them take part?
00001H. 0Map Mastery
Using the maps and charts in Chapter 17, answer the following questions.
10. Maine Boundary Settlement, 1842: The Webster-Ashburton Treaty line settled the boundary between the American state of Maine and which two Canadian provinces?
20. The Oregon Controversy, 1846: The part of the Oregon Country that was in dispute between the United States and Britain lay between what two boundaries?
30. The Oregon Controversy, 1846: How many degrees and minutes (°, ΄) of latitude were there between the northern and southern boundaries of the whole Oregon Country?
40. Major Campaigns of the Mexican War: Which major western river did Stephen Kearney have to cross on his route from Santa Fe to the Battle of San Pasquial in December 1846?
50. Major Campaigns of the Mexican War: Name any three of the cities within present-day Mexico that were occupied by the armies of generals Taylor or Scott.
Using the map of Major Campaigns of the Mexican War, write a brief essay explaining the relation between the movement of American military forces during the war and the politicalissues of the Mexican War.
00001PART III: Applying What You Have Learned
10. What led to the rise of the spirit of Manifest Destiny in the 1840s, and how did that spirit show itself in the American expansionism of the decade?
20. How did rivalry with Britain affect the American decision to annex Texas, the Oregon dispute, and other controversies of the 1840s?
30. Most Americans believed that expansion across North America was their destiny. Was expansion actually inevitable? What forces might have stopped it? How would American history have changed if, say, the Mexican War had not occurred?
40. Could the United States have accepted a permanently independent Texas? Why or why not?
50. Did James Polk really receive a mandate for expansion in the election of 1844?
06. Did Polk deliberately provoke the Mexican War, as Congressman Abraham Lincoln charged? Or was the war largely inevitable given U.S.-Mexican tensions following the annexation of Texas?
70. How was the Manifest Destiny of the 1840s—particularly the expansion into Texas and Mexico—related to the sectional conflict over slavery?
08. Many conscience Whigs and others believed that the annexation of Texas and the Mexican War itself were part of a conspiracy by the slave power to expand slavery and guarantee its future in the United States. Is there any evidence to suggest such goals on the part of Polk or others?
09. Why was the Wilmot Proviso proposal, prohibiting slavery in the whole territory acquired from Mexico, so divisive and explosive? Was it intended to reignite sectional controversy or actually to defuse it?