I. President John Tyler A. 1840 Election: Harrison (Whig) defeated Van Buren (Democrat)
1. Slogan: "Tippecanoe and Tyler Too" (Harrison & Tyler for
2. Prominent Whigs (Webster and Clay) sought to control Harrison
3. Harrison died of pneumonia after 4 weeks in office
4. Vice President Tyler became president; blocked plans of
Webster & Clay B. Tyler was a Jacksonian in philosophy but did not like Jackson
1. Opposed Whig Party's support for Clay’s "American System"
2. Vetoed more bills than any single-term president in U.S. history.
C. End of Independent treasury system (Van Buren’s "Divorce
-- Tyler signed bill; Whigs sought a 3rd national bank.
D. Tyler vetoed bill for creation of a 3rd national bank
E. Tyler expelled from his party by congressional caucus of Whigs F. Whig attempt to impeach him led to resignation of entire cabinet
G. 1842, Tyler signed bill to raise protective tariff to 32%.
II. U.S. Conflict with England in late 1830s & early 1840s
A. Caroline Incident (1837 -- during Van Buren’s presidency)
1. U.S ship set on fire on NY shore and sunk by British; one
2. 1840, a Canadian man arrested for alleged role in the attack.
-- British stated his execution would mean war as man was part of
B. Creole incident,1841: British in Bahamas offered asylum to 130
Virginia slaves who had rebelled and captured the U.S. ship Creole -- US-British relations soured as Southerners wanted compensation
C. Maine boundary dispute
1. British desired to build a road connecting Halifax, Nova Scotia,
-- Road ran through disputed territory in northern Maine.
2. "Aroostook War" (1838)
a. Canadian lumberjacks entered Aroostook River Valley to claim
land; were confronted by Maine Militia; conflict was bloodless.
b. Conflict threatened to widen into a real war.
c. British diplomat, Lord Ashburton negotiated with U.S.
secretary of state Daniel Webster.
4. Webster-Ashburton Treaty (1842)
a. U.S. retained over half of the territory while British got
b. British expressed regret for destruction of Caroline c. British promised to avoid interference in freeing slaves (as in
d. Both agreed to cooperate in patrolling African coast to prevent
e. U.S. gained land in Minnesota (later, valuable iron ore
f. Significance: improved U.S.-British relations.
III. Manifest Destiny A. Millions of Americans in 1840s & 50s believed that God chose
Americans to control of the Western Hemisphere.
1. Felt mission was to spread democratic institutions from "sea to
2. Land greed and ideals joined into a potent mix for expansion
3. Thomas Hart Benton -- leading proponent of expansionism, free
land, and internal improvements.
4. "Manifest destiny" phrase coined in 1844 by John L. Sullivan
5. Movement really began in 1830s with Jackson & Van Buren
removing Indians B. Election of 1844 an expression of Manifest Destiny
1. Expansionist Democrats supported "Young Hickory" James K.
Polk a. Historians often extend "Jacksonian Democracy" through
b. Sought to annex Texas & gain Oregon up to the 54-40 parallel.
2. Clay’s attempt to straddle the Texas issue cost him the presidency
3. Liberty Party: 1st party created for the anti-extension of slavery
a. Candidate: James G. Birney, founder of Kentucky Anti-Slavery
b. Party ran in both 1840 and 1844 elections.
4. Polk d. Clay 170-105 (Clay lost NY by 5K votes; that was the
5. Democrats claimed mandate for annexation; moot when Tyler’s
C. Polk’s 4-point program (achieved in less than four years)
1. Lowered tariff of 1842 from 32% to 25% (Walker Tariff, 1846) -- Proved to be excellent revenue producer as it was followed by
2. Restoration of the Independent Treasury System (1846)
3. Acquisition of California
4. Settlement of the Oregon dispute
IV. Oregon Treaty (1846) A. Region had been disputed in certain sections by Spain, Russia,
Britain, & U.S. 1. John Jacob Astor: Developed the American Fur Company into a
C. U.S. initiated 3-pronged attack; Polk sought a limited war
1. California by land
a. Capt. John C. Fremont captured California, after the state had
earlier won its independence in the Bear Flag Revolt
b. 1846, Gen. Stephen W. Kearny captured Santa Fe and moved
2. California by sea
-- Commodore John D. Sloat seized Monterey & San Francisco.
3. Gen. Zachary Taylor victorious at Monterey and Buena Vista
-- Taylor an overnight hero (became president in 1848)
4. Gen. Winfield Scott pushed inland from Vera Cruz and captured
-- Mexico still refused to negotiate and instead carried on guerrilla
D. Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo(Feb.2, 1848)
1. Nicholas Trist negotiated treaty with Mexico despite being
recalled by Polk for bungling a deal (bribe) with Santa Anna who
took the money and ran
a. U.S. gained California, and modern-day NM, AZ, UT and NV -- ½ of Mexican territory
b. U.S. to pay $15 million and assumed claims of U.S. citizens
against Mexico of $3,250,000
3. Treaty approved by Senate 38-14 despite bitter debate
a. "Mexican Whigs" disapproved of war & even threatened to cut
off supplies to U.S. forces in Mexico;
b. Expansionists in South clamored for all of Mexico
c. Calhoun pushed for treaty immediately before significant
E. Results of Mexican War
1. Most significantly, slavery issue aroused: Slavery or not in new
a. In a broad sense, Mexican War resulted in Civil War
b. Abolitionists saw Mexican War as conspiracy of southern slave