Guide to Lecture 17 (The Mexican War and the Compromise of 1850) Background and Primary Point 1850s—increasing sectional tension between North and South—future of slavery Inevitable outcome—Civil War Crisis really began in 1845 Texas admitted to the Union Confrontation with Mexico 1836—Texas War of Independence, republic for 9 years—Mexico never recognized independence 1842—Santa Anna of Mexico—armies captured San Antonio twice Broke diplomatic ties with US Brink of war with US How Did the War Occur? James K. Polk responsible President Jacksonian Democrat from Tennessee Platform frankly expansionist—Manifest Destiny—to the Pacific Victory in election of 1844—mandate—determined to acquire New Mexico and California, purchase if possible, use force if necessary Disputed territory—Mexico (unofficially) would grant loss of Texas north of Nueces River, but not from the Rio Grande 1846—Zachary Taylor was sent to the north bank of the Rio Grande, across from Matamoros, Mexico Mexicans crossed over and killed a few American soldiers in April, 1846—Congress declared war in May The Mexican War Total US victory—never lost a battle Invasion at Vera Cruz to take Mexico City Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, February 1848 Mexican Cession--$15 million for the Southwest—500,000 square miles—Ca., N. Mex., Nevada, Ariz, Utah. The Oregon Question 1846—Polk resolved the Oregon Question with British—extending the boundary at the 49th Parallel to the Pacific. Manifest Destiny was thereby attained The Polk Presidency One of the most successful Presidents—all his major campaign promises were fulfilled Neglected to run for President in 1848 Results of Territorial Expansion Stoked patriotism, almost undid the nation Debate started about extension of slavery to new territories Wilmot Proviso—David Wilmot (Dem, Pa.)—August, 1846, early in Mexican War Forbid slavery in any lands acquired from Mexico Obnoxious to the South, looking forward to expanding slavery Passed the House, not the Senate—equality of representation there Re-introduced several times in 1850s, always defeated Alignment in Senate—along sectional rather than party lines Wilmot Proviso prophesies the eventual breakup of the second party system—its disappearance will ease the breakup of the Union Election of 1848 Showed these divisions—politicians trying to avoid split along sectional lines, straddle the issue of slavery Lewis Cass—Democratic candidate from Michigan Platform—popular sovereignty—a notion which could be sold in two different ways Northern Democrats—stress that popular sovereignty means “free soil.” Arid climate in New Mexico precludes pro-slave majority Southern Democrats—Southern rights are protected—“equal chance” to migrate to the Southwest with slaves Zachary Taylor—Whig candidate from Louisiana War hero—patriotism a unifying factor Southern Whigs—from Louisiana, father-in-law of Jefferson Davis Northern Whigs—let it be known (quietly) that he would not veto the Wilmot Proviso if passed Martin Van Buren—Free Soil Party candidate from New York (former President) Strictly opposed to slavery’s extension—wanted Congressional ban Taylor won—8 slave states, 7 free. Cass had the reverse; Van Buren 10% of popular vote—New York—enough to prevent Cass’s election Note exact equality of slave and free states (15 and 15) California’s Admission to the Union 1849—Taylor supports immediate entry of California into Union as a state Would be a free state due to population type Would upset the balance of free vs. slave states in the Union How could a Southern President support this? Gold Rush of 1849—California’s population expanding rapidly Boom economy—problems with law and order, valued highly by the soldier Taylor Make California a functioning state ASAP to overcome problems The Compromise of 1850 Crisis developed—Civil War could have happened at this time—secession meetings held all over the South Some argued should leave the Union while their strength was still intact With entry of California—anti-slavery strength would be too much-abolition Henry Clay saved the Union one final time Omnibus Bill—package of proposals favoring both sections Hoped that a majority would support the whole lot Comprehensive settlement of sectional crisis Debate raged in Congress Taylor died at this time, 09 July—poisoned by Southerners for his treachery? Disinterred in 1991—no poison. Compromise of 1850 passed in the fall of that year—major provisions: California enters as a free state Rest of Mexican Cession (Utah and New Mexico)—organized on basis of popular sovereignty Texas-New Mexico boundary dispute settled in favor of New Mexico—east of the Rio Grande. Favored the North—Texas was a slave state US paid Texas $10 million for this claim Slave trade (not slavery) abolished in Washington, D.C.—symbolic victory for the abolitionists. Slavery itself, however, continued till the Civil War Fugitive Slave Law was made tougher to appease the South—on the books since 1793. Northerners would have to cooperate in capture and return of runaways. Slave-catchers would bring runaway before federal commissioner $10 for decision in favor of claimant $5 if in favor of the defendant Harriet Beecher Stowe, Christian abolitionist, angered by law Uncle Tom’s Cabin—abolitionist propaganda—written and stirred up animosities between sections Compromise of 1850 brought great relief to the nation—civil war had been averted—actually a ten-year truce between the sections.