Chapter 12 Section 1 I. Rivalry in the Northwest

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Chapter 12
Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc

Chapter 12 Section 1

I. Rivalry in the Northwest (Pages 356–358)

A. In the early 1800s, four nations claimed the Oregon country—the huge area that lay

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.

B. The first large-scale trip west took place in 1843 when more than 1,000 pioneers left

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


D. Pioneers headed for Oregon began their trip in Missouri and traveled for 2,000 miles

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.

C. Oregon became an issue in the presidential election of 1844. James K. Polk, the

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

Chapter 12 Section 2

I. A Clash of Cultures (Pages 362–365)

A. In the early 1800s, few people lived in Texas, which was part of Mexico’s northern

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.

B. The first Texas land grant went to Moses Austin in 1821. He agreed to bring a number

of settlers to Texas, but died before he could organize the project.

C. After Moses died, his son Stephen F. Austin recruited 300 settlers to live on land along

the Brazos and Colorado Rivers in Texas.

D. Mexico wanted to encourage settlers from many places, not just the United States, to

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.

E. By 1830 there were more Americans than Mexicans in Texas. Alarmed by the number of

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.

F. Texans were angered by the ban on American immigration and the taxes on trade.

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.

II. The Struggle for Independence (Pages 365–367)

A. The first fight of the Texan Revolution occurred in October 1835 at the town of

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.

B. Santa Anna, furious at the loss of San Antonio, marched north to retake the settlement

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

C. Texas was forced to remain independent during a very difficult time. The republic

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.

D. Texas remained independent throughout the administrations of Martin Van Buren and

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.

D. As trade with New Mexico increased, so did the number of Americans who went

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.

C. When Mexico became independent in 1821, California became a state of Mexico.

D. In 1833 the government of Mexico abolished the missions. Mexico sold huge tracts of

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

and cattle.

E. By the early 1800s, Americans had been arriving in California for many years on trading

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.

F. As more and more people who had seen California sent glowing reports about its

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.

G. President Polk twice offered to buy California and New Mexico from Mexico during

the mid-1840s, but was turned down.

III. War with Mexico (Pages 371–374)

A. The annexation of Texas by the United States in 1845 worsened relations between

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.

D. Some Americans opposed war with Mexico. Abraham Lincoln, a member of Congress,

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.

E. Polk had a three-part plan to win the war with Mexico. First, drive Mexican troops out

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

toward California.

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

with Mexico.

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.

L. In 1853 the United States paid Mexico an additional $10 million for a strip of land

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.


Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc

Chapter 12, Section 4


I. California Gold Rush (Pages 375–377)

A. The discovery of gold along California’s American River in early 1848 set off a gold

rush that brought thousands of people into California from all over the world.

B. Boomtowns sprang up almost overnight in northern California as the result of the

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.

D. The gold rush lasted just a few years but had lasting effects on California. The gold

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.

E. Rapid growth in California brought the need for more effective government.

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

II. A Religious Refuge in Utah (Pages 377–378)

A. The Mormons, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were the

first non-Native American setters of the Utah area.

B. Joseph Smith founded the Mormon Church in 1830 in New York State. He formed a

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.

E. The United States acquired the Salt Lake area in 1848 with the Mexican Cession. Two

years later, Congress established the Utah Territory. While most areas in the West

wanted to be a part of the United States, the Mormons preferred their independence

and resisted federal authority. Utah did not become a state until 1896.

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