Texas In 1823, after winning its national independence from Spain, Mexico hoped to attract settlers to farm its northern frontier province of Texas. Moses Austin, a Missouri banker, obtained a large land grant, but died before he could carry out his plan to recruit American settlers for the land. His son, Stephen Austin, succeeded in bringing 300 families into Texas and began a steady migration of Americans settlers to the area. By 1830, Americans outnumbered the Mexicans in Texas by three to one. Problems developed between the Americans and the Mexicans when, in 1829, Mexico outlawed slavery and required all immigrants to convert to Roman Catholicism. When many settlers refused to obey the laws, Mexico closed Texas to additional American immigration. Many Americans ignored the new law and poured into Texas by the thousands. A change in Mexico’s government intensified the conflict. In 1834, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna made himself dictator of Mexico and abolished the nation’s existing government. When he tried to enforce Mexican law in Texas, a group of settlers led by Sam Houston revolted and declared Texas an independent republic in March of 1836. Santa Anna led the Mexican Army and captured the town of Goliad. He followed this by attacking the Alamo in San Antonio, where all of the American defenders where killed including Jim Bowie, William B. Travis, and Davy Crockett. The Texans followed up by surprising the Mexicans at San Jacinto and capturing Santa Anna. The Mexican General was forced to sign a treaty recognizing Texas’ independence. The Mexican legislature would reject the treaty and continue to insist that Texas was still part of Mexico. As the first president of the Republic of Texas, Houston applied for his country to be annexed to the United States. Both Presidents Jackson and Van Buren, however, delayed this request because of the opposition of northerners to adding more slave territory (there was the potential for the area to be divided up into five new slave states). The threat of war with Mexico also added to the negatives associated with adding Texas. President John Tyler, however, worried about British influence in Texas and pushed Congress to make the deal. During Polk’s presidency in 1845, Texas finally became a state.
MAKE SURE YOU CAN TEACH SOMEONE:
1. ORIGINALLY BELONGED TO…
2. THIS MAN AND HIS SON LED AMERICAN SETTLERS INTO MEXICO…
3. WHAT BEGAN PROBLEMS BETWEEN THE SETTLERS AND MEXICO?
4. WHAT FAMOUS AMERICANS DIED AT THE ALAMO?
5. WHO WAS THE MEXICAN GENERAL IN CHARGE AT THE ALAMO?
6. HE WAS THE FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF TEXAS…
7. BECAME A STATE IN…
Oregon In the 1840S one of the more serious British-American disputes involved Oregon. It stretched as far north as the Alaskan border. At one time the territory had been claimed by four different nations: Spain, Russia, Great Britain, and the United States. Spain ended its claim to the region with the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819. Britain’s claims remained because of the the Hudson Fur Company’s profitable fur trade with the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. By 1846, however, there were fewer than a thousand British citizens living north of the Columbia River. The U.S. based their claims on the discovery of the Columbia River by Captain Robert Gray in 1792, the expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1805, and the fur trading post and fort in Astoria, Oregon. Protestant missionaries and farmers from the United Sates had settled the area in the 1840s. 5,000 Americans had traveled 2,000 miles over the Oregon Trail to settle the area south of the Columbia River. By the time of the election in 1844, many Americans believed their country’s manifest destiny included undisputed possession of all of Oregon and to annex Texas as well. When James K. Polk of Tennessee was elected in 1844 (the lesser known or “dark horse” candidate) with the Democratic slogan of “Fifty-four Forty or Fight!” it became clear that American westerners and southerners were in an expansionist mood. This slogan referred to the line of latitude that marked the border between the Oregon Territory and Russian Alaska. Polk decided to compromise with Britain and actually backed down from the campaign slogan. Rather than fighting for all of Oregon, the president settled for just the southern half of it. The territory was divided at the 49th parallel (which had been established in 1818 for the Louisiana territory). Final settlement of the issue was delayed until the U.S. agreed to grant Vancouver Island to Britain and guaranteed its rights to navigate the Columbia River. Although some northerners views this treaty as a sellout because it removed British Columbia as a source of potential free states, by this time war had broken out with Mexico and Americans did not want to fight two nations at once. Senate opponents of the treaty reluctantly voted for the compromise. MAKE SURE YOU CAN TEACH SOMEONE:
1. WHAT TRAIL DID AMERICANS TRAVEL TO SETTLE IN OREGON?
2. WHAT WAS POLK’S CAMPAIGN SLOGAN?
3. WHERE WAS THE TERRITORY DIVIDED?
4. WHY DID THE AMERICANS AGREE TO THE BORDER (WHAT DID THEY NOT WANT)?
California While the United States sent John Slidell to hold talks with Mexico in 1845 in response to their anger over the annexation of Texas, he also ordered General Zachary Taylor to place his army along the Rio Grand River. When the Mexican army crossed the river and captured an American army patrol on April 24,1846, the Mexican-American War officially began. Polk used the killing of 11 American soldiers as the catalyst for his war message presented to Congress. A large majority in both houses approved the war resolution. Most of the war was fought in Mexican territory; however, General Stephen Kearney succeeded in taking Santa Fe, New Mexico, and southern California. John C. Fremont used the aid of several dozen soldiers, a few navy officers, and American civilians who had recently settled California to overthrow the Mexican rule in Northern California in June of 1846. California was proclaimed to be an independent republic with a bear on its flag (this was known as the Bear Flag Revolt). After General Winfield Scott’s army captured Mexico City in September of 1847, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Mexican Cession) was signed. Mexico recognized the Rio Grande as the southern border of Texas and the U.S. took possession of the former Mexican provinces of California and New Mexico. The U.S. paid $15 million and assumed the claims of Americans against Mexico in return. From this war America gained parts of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, and Utah.
The discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill in California in 1848 set off a rush of migration to California over the next two years. The 49ers and those that followed later caused California’s population to soar from 14,000 in 1848 to 380,000 by 1860. California was made a state in 1850 by the Compromise of 1850. The gold rush to California was followed by gold or silver rushes in Colorado, Nevada, the Black Hills of the Dakotas, and other western territories. What is often forgotten is that these discoveries also brought miners from around the world. By the time of the Civil War, almost one-third of the miners in the West were Chinese. MAKE SURE YOU CAN TEACH SOMEONE:
1. WHEN DID THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR BEGIN?
2. WHAT GENERAL TOOK SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?
3. WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE REVOLT IN WHICH CALIFORNIA DECLARE ITSELF INDEPENDENT?
4. WHAT WAS THE TREATY OF MEXICAN CESSION ALSO KNOWN AS?
5. WHAT SET OFF A RUSH OF MIGRATION TO CALIFORNIA?
6. WHAT MADE CALIFORNIA A STATE?
Utah Joseph Smith founded the Mormon religion, also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in 1830. Smith based his religious thinking on the Book of Mormon, which traced a connection between the Native Americans and the lost tribes of Israel. Smith gathered a following and moved from New York State to Ohio, Missouri, and, finally Illinois. In 1844, Smith and his brother were murdered by a local mob. To escape persecution, the Mormons under the leadership of Brigham Young migrated to the far west frontier where they established what they referred to as the “New Zion” on the banks of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. The Mormons prospered in the desert; however, accusations of polygamy (allowing a man to have more than one wife) aroused hostility against the group. By the end of 1848 some five thousand settlers had arrived in the new Mormon settlement.
Although the church had traveled to Mexican territory, the Mexican-American War soon made this part of the United Sates. Brigham Young was made territorial governor in 1850. There was armed conflict with the U.S. Army in 1857, but the quarrel was finally ended after an invasion of Utah by the U.S. Army. Young agreed to step down and was replaced by a non-Mormon territorial governor named Alfred Cumming. Antipolygamy laws were passed by Congress in 1862 and 1882 and this issue also further delayed statehood for the area until 1896. The Mormon Church officially abandoned the practice of polygamy in 1890 which was upheld by church documents again in 1904. “Fundamentalist” groups still practicing polygamy today are not part of the official Mormon Church The Mormon Church was part of a Second Great Awakening that swept the United States in the early 19th century.
MAKE SURE YOU CAN TEACH SOMEONE:
1. WHO FOUNDED THE MORMON RELIGION?
2. WHO LED THE MORMON CHURCH INTO UTAH?
3. TO WHOM DID THE SALT LAKE AREA BELONG WHEN THE CHURCH FIRST TRAVELED THERE?
4. WHAT IS POLYGAMY?
5. WHAT MADE THE TERRITORY PAR T OF THE UNITED STATES?
6. WHEN DID UTAH BECOME A STATE?
Manifest Destiny Manifest Destiny expressed the belief that the United States had a divine mission to extend its power and civilization across North American from coast to coast. It was driven by a number of forces: nationalism, population increase, rapid economic development, technological advances, and reform ideas. It did, however, help to accentuate the growing problems of the debate over slavery. As the first year of the war between Mexico and American came to a close in 1846, Pennsylvania Congressman David Wilmot proposed that a bill be amended to forbid slavery in any of the new territories acquired by Mexico. It was known as the Wilmot Proviso, and although it passed the House, it was defeated twice in the Senate. Some historians see this as the first round in an escalating political conflict that eventually led to the Civil War. For some, Manifest Destiny extended beyond the continental borders. The Ostend Manifesto was an attempt of Franklin Pierce to secretly negotiate to buy Cuba from Spain. When it was leaked to the press in the U.S., an angry reaction from antislavery members of Congress forced Pierce to drop the idea. (Polk had originally offered to buy Cuba from Spain during his administration but the idea was rejected by Spain). The Walker Expedition was an attempt of Southern adventurer William Walker to take Baja California from Mexico in 1853. Walker eventually took over Nicaragua (1955) and stayed in control gaining temporary recognition from the U.S. in 1856. He planned to set up a proslavery Central American empire. He was invaded and defeated by a coalition of Central American countries and then executed by Honduran officials in 1860. The Gadsden Purchase gave President Pierce a strip of land in the American Southwest for a railroad. In 1853, Mexico agreed to sell thousands of acres o for $10 million. This land formed the southern sections of present-day New Mexico and Arizona.