between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains north of California. Those
nations were the United States, Britain, Spain, and Russia.
B. The United States wanted to annex the Oregon country in order to gain access to the
Pacific, but this required getting the other three nations to give up their claims. Spain’s
claim was extinguished in 1819 with the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty, in which
Spain agreed to limit its Pacific coast claims to the area south of California’s northern
border. In 1824 Russia surrendered its claim to any land south of Alaska.
C. Britain refused to give up its claim to Oregon when President John Quincy Adams
proposed dividing Oregon at the 49th parallel in 1825. As a result, the United States
and Britain agreed to extend an 1818 agreement for joint occupation of the area.
D. The first Americans to reach the Oregon country were trappers and traders looking for
beaver furs. Because they spent much of their time hunting and trapping in the Rocky
Mountains, they were often called mountain men. The mountain men lived a rough
life, but their wanderings through the wilderness made them very familiar with the
mountains, rivers, and trails of the West. Some mountain men opened up new trails
through the wilderness. After most of the beavers were gone due to extensive hunting,
mountain men found new work leading groups of settlers to the West.
Discussion Question 12-1
Why was Britain’s refusal to give up its claim to Oregon an obstacle for the United
States? Why did Britain want to compete with the United States for Oregon? (As long
as Britain maintained its claim to Oregon, the United States could not annex the territory.
Answers will vary, but students should discuss the possibility that Britain wanted access to
Oregon’s resources, and that Britain wanted to stop the expansion of the United States.)
II. Settling Oregon (Page 358)
A. American settlers began traveling to the Oregon country in the 1830s, lured by reports
of abundant, fertile land.
Independence, Missouri, for Oregon. In the years that followed, tens of thousands of
Americans made the trip.
C. Among the earliest American settlers in Oregon were Dr. Marcus Whitman and his
wife Narcissa. They built a Christian mission among the Cayuse people. Some settlers
at the mission unknowingly infected the Cayuse with measles, which killed many of
their children. Angered, the Cayuse attacked the mission in November 1847, killing
the Whitmans and several others. But this tragedy did not stop the flow of settlers to
along the Oregon Trail. The trail crossed the Great Plains, wound its way through the
Rocky Mountains following the South Pass, then followed the Snake and Columbia
Rivers into the Oregon country. Most Oregon-bound settlers traveled in canvas-covered
wagons called prairie schooners.
III. The Division of Oregon (Pages 359–360)
A. Most Oregon settlers headed for the fertile Willamette Valley, south of the Columbia
River. Between 1840 and 1845, the population of American settlers in the area rose
from 500 to 5,000. The British population remained at about 700.
B. While settlers were streaming into Oregon in the 1840s, the idea of Manifest Destiny
was taking hold in the United States. It held that the United States was blessed by
God and destined to overspread the North American continent and expand its boundaries
to the Pacific. The idea of Manifest Destiny made Americans, including those
who emigrated to Oregon, more determined than ever to annex the Oregon country
and remove Britain’s claim.
Democratic candidate, ran using the slogan “Fifty-four Forty or Fight.” The slogan
referred to the line of latitude at 54º40” N, which Democrats thought should be the
nation’s northern border in Oregon. Polk’s opponent, Henry Clay (a Whig), did not
take as strong a stand as Polk on annexing Oregon, and lost the election.
D. Determined to make Oregon part of the United States, but unable to get Britain to agree
to a boundary at 54º40” N—which would have turned over almost the whole territory to
the United States—Polk decided to compromise. Polk concluded an agreement with
Britain in June 1846 that split Oregon at 49ºN, with the area south of that line becoming a
territory of the United States.
Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc
frontier. But the Spanish, who controlled Texas, wanted to promote settlement there.
As a result, they offered huge tracts of land to people, called empresarios, who offered
to bring families to Texas and settle them there.
of settlers to Texas, but died before he could organize the project.
the Brazos and Colorado Rivers in Texas.
settle in Texas. To attract new settlers, Mexico passed laws giving cheap land to people
who promised to learn Spanish, convert to Catholicism, and obey Mexican law. But
most Texas settlers continued to be Americans who declined to adopt Mexican ways.
Americans, and aware that the United States wanted to acquire Texas, Mexico forbade
further immigration from the United States to Texas, and discouraged trade with the
United States by taxing American goods.
Stephen F. Austin went to Mexico City to ask Mexico’s president, Antonio Lopez de
Santa Anna, to remove the settlement ban and make Texas a separate state. He agreed
to the first demand but not the second. Soon thereafter, Santa Anna declared himself
dictator and overthrew Mexico’s 1824 constitution. These actions encouraged an
increasing number of American settlers in Texas to seek independence.
Gonzales. After this skirmish, Texans asked for volunteers to help them fight Mexico.
In December the Texans scored their first important victory as they liberated San
Antonio from a larger Mexican force.
and found only a small force barricaded inside a nearby mission called the Alamo.
The defenders at the Alamo, including Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie, held off with
rifle fire the larger and better-armed Mexican force for 12 days. On March 6, 1836,
after Mexican cannon fire smashed the Alamo’s walls, Mexicans soldiers attacked,
killing almost everyone inside. “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry for
Texas rebels during the rest of the war with Mexico.
C. The siege of the Alamo bought the Texas rebels time. While Santa Anna was preoccupied
with the band of rebels at the Alamo, American settlers and Tejanos declared the
independent Republic of Texas and named Sam Houston chief of the Texas forces.
D. At the Battle of San Jacinto, the forces of Houston and Santa Anna clashed. The battle
started on April 21, 1836, when the Texans launched a surprise attack on the Mexican
camp. They killed about 600 of the 1300-man force, and captured 700 other soldiers,
including Santa Anna. After less than one year of fighting, the war was over. Santa
Anna signed a treaty recognizing the independence of Texas on May 14, 1836.
III. The Lone Star Republic (Pages 367–368)
A. In September 1836, Texans elected San Houston the first president of their new republic.
B. Houston sent a delegation to Washington to ask President Andrew Jackson to annex
Texas. But Jackson refused. Texas would enter the Union as a slave state, which would
upset the balance of free states and slave states in Congress at the time. Jackson did
not want to open up that conflict, even to get Texas.turn
was deeply in debt. Also, the government of Mexico refused to accept Santa Anna’s
recognition of Texas’s independence. As a result, sporadic fighting between Mexican
and Texan forces continued.
John Tyler. But when James Polk, a strong believer in Manifest Destiny, became president
in 1844, the situation changed. Polk wanted Texas. With Polk’s support, Congress passed
a resolution to annex Texas. On December 29, 1845, Texas became a state.
Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc
Chapter 12, Section 3
I. The New Mexico Territory (Pages 369–370)
A. In the early 1800s, New Mexico was the name of a vast region between California and
Texas. The Spanish started exploration of the area in the late 1500s and made it part of
the Spanish colony of Mexico.
B. When Mexico won its independence in 1821, New Mexico became part of an
independent Mexico. But Mexico maintained very loose control over the area,
allowing New Mexico a large degree of self-government.
C. To boost its economy, Mexico welcomed American traders. William Becknell was the
first trader to reach Santa Fe, the main settlement in the New Mexico region. He discovered
that he could sell his merchandise in New Mexico for many times what he
would have received for it back in St. Louis. When word spread, other traders followed.
Becknell’s route to New Mexico became known as the Santa Fe Trail. The trail
was used until the arrival of the railroad in 1880.
there to settle. As the idea of Manifest Destiny took hold, many Americans thought
the United States should acquire New Mexico.
II. California’s Spanish Culture (Pages 370–371)
A. Spanish explorers and missionaries were the first European settlers in California.
B. Starting in the 1760s, the Spanish set up a chain of missions, settlements run by
priests, near the California coast between San Diego and Sonoma. There were 21
missions by 1820. They were an important part of Spain’s plan to colonize and
extend control over California.
mission land to settlers, who set up large farms and cattle ranches called ranchos. The
owners of the ranchos, called rancheros, used Native Americans to tend their farms
or whaling ships that stopped along the coast, or as travelers (such as mountain men)
who had come overland from the East. In the 1840s American families began to settle in
California. But by 1845 the number of Americans in California was still only about 700.
mild climate, natural resources, and beauty to friends and families in the eastern
United States, an increasing number of Americans became interested in settling
California and adding it to the United States.
the mid-1840s, but was turned down.
Mexico and the United States, which had already been bad for years. The two countries
also could not agree on the border between Texas and Mexico. The United States
placed the border at the Rio Grande, while Mexico claimed it was at the Nueces River,
150 miles farther north.
B. The United States offered Mexico $30 million for California and New Mexico if Mexico
would accept the Rio Grande as the boundary of Texas. Mexico refused the offer and
announced its intention to retake Texas.turn
C. In response the United States sent troops under General Zachary Taylor across the
disputed territory between the Nueces and the Rio Grande. Mexican soldiers attacked
some of Taylor’s troops in this disputed area on April 24, 1846. Americans who wanted
war with Mexico claimed that Mexico had shed American blood on American soil.
Many Americans turned their anger on Mexico, and on May 11, Congress declared
war on Mexico.
thought Taylor’s troops had been attacked in Mexican territory, meaning there were
no grounds for retaliation or war. Some people, such as antislavery activist Frederick
Douglass, feared that expansion into the West would carry slavery with it.
of the disputed territory in Texas north of the Nueces River and secure the Texas border.
Second, seize New Mexico and California. Third, capture Mexico’s capital, Mexico City.
F. General Zachary Taylor accomplished the first goal by the first part of 1847.
G. American forces under General Stephen Watts Kearney captured Santa Fe, the capital of
New Mexico, without a fight on August 18, 1846. Kearny then led his troops overland
H. In June 1846 a small group of Americans seized the town of Sonoma, north of San
Francisco, and proclaimed the independent Republic of California. It was also called
the Bear Flag Republic after the illustration of a bear on its flag.
I. In July 1846 an American naval squadron captured the ports of Monterey and San
Francisco. The commander of the squadron, Commodore John Sloat, declared
California a part of the United States. Sloat then went on to capture San Diego and
Los Angeles. By January 1847 California was fully under the control of the United
J. In September 1847 American forces under the command of General Winfield Scott
captured Mexico City, completing the last part of President Polk’s plan to win the war
K. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war with Mexico. It was signed in
February 1848. In the treaty, Mexico gave up all claims to Texas and fixed the Texas
border at the Rio Grande. In what is called the Mexican Cession, Mexico also gave
California and New Mexico to the United States in return for $15 million.
along the southern edge of present-day Arizona and New Mexico, called the Gadsden
Purchase. With the Gadsden Purchase, the adjoining 48 states of the mainland reached
its present size.
rush that brought thousands of people into California from all over the world.
gold rush. The gold rush also was responsible for the growth of San Francisco, which
served as a port of entry for gold-seekers arriving in California by ship.
C. Very few of the miners achieved lasting wealth, and most people found little or no
gold. Of those that did strike it rich, most lost their money through gambling or wild
spending. Merchants did make lots of money by charging miners inflated prices for
the things they needed.
rush expanded trade, shipping, and agriculture to meet the miners’ needs for food
and other goods. The population also soared when many people who had come
looking for gold decided to stay in California.
Californians wrote a state constitution in 1849 and applied for statehood in March
1850. Because California’s constitution banned slavery, representatives from slave
states did not want California to join the Union. California, as a free state, would
upset the balance between free and slave states in Congress. As a result California
had to wait six months for statehood, while a compromise was worked out.turn
first non-Native American setters of the Utah area.
religious community, which was unpopular with its neighbors. The Mormons were
forced to move several times, from New York to Ohio, to Missouri, and then to Illinois.
C. In 1844 a mob in Illinois killed Smith. Brigham Young took over as head of the church,
and moved the Mormon community to the area near Great Salt Lake in what was then
the New Mexico territory of Mexico.
D. About 12,000 Mormons began the journey in 1846. In the midst of the harsh desert of
Utah, they founded a community called Deseret, later changed to Salt Lake City. The
Mormons built irrigation canals to water their farms and started local industries so
they could be self-sufficient.
years later, Congress established the Utah Territory. While most areas in the West