Group Outline Per 3 III The Mexican Borderlands

Chapter 13-The Way West (Part 2)
Group Outline Per 3
III The Mexican Borderlands
• 1840s-Americans branched out off main Oregon Trail
• Land consisted of high plateaus and dry basins
• Mexico inherited the territory when it won its independence from Spain in 1821
• Mexico lost Texas in 1837
• American’s began to settle in Utah and California-set stage for Mexican War
A. The Peoples of the Southwest
Imperial Spain had split the Southwestern population into four main groups: Indians
who were full blooded and kept their native languages traditions, Mestizos who were racially
mixed, Criollos who were American-born whites with Spanish ancestors, and
Spaniards made up the smallest part of the population but dominated the economy with
the criollos and controlled the labor of mestizos
The Indians made up the majority of the population and many had still remained free
from direct Mexican or Spanish control up until the 1820s. Those who had were part of the
mission system which forced them to live on a reservation, convert to Catholicism and do hard
manual labor
Spanish missions were aimed to civilize the Indians, but it only forced them to abandon
their traditions and beliefs and adopt European type civilizations which meant agricultural
communities under the strict supervision of friars who were protected by presidios, or Spanish
soldiers and royal officers.
Most of the Indians, approximately 300,000 in the 1760s, lived in California
Major farming Indians east of California were the Pueblo peoples of Arizona and New
Pueblos made peace with Spaniards - major enemies were nomadic tribes that lived by
hunting and raiding.
Tribes along the Mexican border included Narajon, Apaches, Comanches, Kiowas -
Comanches were the most feared.
Three focal points of
white settlements in the
northern boarders of Mexico
were never linked by an
effective network of
communications - most of
these settlements economy
were based off illegal trade
with Britain, France, and
American merchants and
were an offshoot of Hispanic
Mexican government
invited America into Texas to
serve as a buffer against the
The Americanization of Texas
Mexico could not control Texas because small
pop. & poor economy—granted Americans land but had to
become Mexican citizen, convert to Catholicism, and obey
Empresario—getting land in exchange of bringing settlers, slowly becoming plantation
economy with slaves and cotton
Settlers ignored Mexican laws; slavery was outlawed but continued to bring them, and
closed immigration borders.
Newcomers lived apart from Mexicans and rejected Mexican citizenship. Cultural
tensions escalated
Protestant Americans viewed Catholicism as
a superstitious religion and ignored legal
requirements to accept this faith.
Gen. Santa Anna elected president of Mexico
in 1833. He enforced a strict, centralist rule that
ended any hope of Texas gaining its independence.
Anglo-Tejano leadership wants to overthrow
Santa Anna so rebuild constitution and win separate
statehood for Texas.
Santa Anna crushes uprising to declare complete independence in 1836. Four days later
four thousand member Mexican army defeats 187 members of the Alamo.
Volunteers from South America aid Texans led by Sam Houston. His victory in April
1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto established the independence of Texas.
Santa Anna caught while trying to flee signs treaty granting Texas its freedom in 1836
(south and west of Rio Grande).
A Mexicans View of The Texans In 1828
(A journal kept by Jose Maria Santonchez, member of the boundary commission)
Pre Journal:
• Late 1820’s Mexico was reassessing policy of encouraging American immigration to
•Mexican gov’t appointed commission in 1827 which would strengthen Mexico’s hold on
Important Questions:
•Texas appeal for Americans?
•How did Americans enter Texas and occupy land?
•Why was Mexican gov’t ineffective at maintaining control over Texas?
•Why did Mexicans fear they would lose Texas?
A Mexican View of The Texans:
• Americans have taken possession of eastern Texas, mostly without permission of
•They take possession of land & build homes without consent
•Mexican population of Texas reduced to Bejar, Nacogdoches and La Bahía del Espiritu
Santo- wretched settlements with population under 3k combined
•Gov’t with seat at Saltillo knows little about possession, and even less about territory
•Several supreme court appeals have been made regarding the protection of land,
however none have been acted upon
The village of Austin & American Colony founded by Stephen Austin
•population nears 200- only 10 Mexican, rest American & European
•Two stores: one selling whisky, rum, sugar & coffee- other selling rice, flour, lard &
cheap cloth
• Sánchez sees American as “lazy people of vicious character”
•Most farm corn with help of “negro
slaves whom they treat with
considerable harshness”
•Beyond village upon hills lives
scattered families brought By
Austin- today numbering over 2k
•“In my judgment, the spark that
will start the conflagration that will
deprive us to Texas, will start from
this colony. All because the
government does not take vigorous
measures to prevent it. Perhaps it
does not realize the value of what
it is about to lose.”
B. The Push into California and the Southwest
Mexican rule in California was weak- Sonoran desert and resistance of Yuman Indians
cut off Mexico from direct contact with California
1830s California entered its rancho era- (rancheros-source of cheap labor)
New England merchants traded with the rancheros
Inner valleys of California-Midwestern farm families
California belonged to Mexico only by name- American merchants and California
rancheros ran the economy (both groups joined separatist movements against Mexican rule)
Santa Fe Trail- from Independence, Missouri to Santa Fe, New Mexico
Brent's Old Fort was a major point in trade with Indians, trappers, caravans and locals
that increased the culture and economy in New Mexico.
The leaders of New Mexico worked with the Americans so the Americans would help
protect their autonomy.
. Utah was home to the Bannocks, Utes, Navajos, and Hopis, and also attracted leaders of
the Mormons because of its isolation. It was ignored by the Mexicans.
Joseph Smith founded Mormonism, which stressed hard work and economic cooperation
under the leadership of patriarchal leaders. Mormonism grew when they left the East due to
persecution and went west.
The Mormons’ intense communitarianism made the distribution of land and irrigation
very easy.
IV. Politics, Expansion, and War
President Polk of the Democratic party wanted to purchase California and New Mexico
in 1844
Polk kept quiet about his interest in doing so because he had a fear of further
antagonizing the Mexicans
Ordered US troops to the mouth of the Rio Grande river
On April 1846, war broke out between the US and Mexico, it was a US victory
Mexican Cession of 1848- result of the war, added half a million square miles to the US
Finalized acquisition of Texas
US spanned a continent
A. Manifest Destiny
The idea of overspreading and possessing the whole continent of North America
A central concept that was brought about was the assumption that white Americans were
special people, a view that dated back to the Puritans beliefs.
There was an explicitly racial component to the Manifest Destiny. Whites were
considered the superior race, and believed that they possessed natural rights as the chosen people
to expand westward.
This lumped Indians and Mexicans together as inferior peoples
Manifest Destiny was associated with the Democratic Party, who always stressed the
need for more land
B. The Mexican War
Polk was willing to compromise with Oregon because he did not want to start another
war with the United States against both the Mexicans and British.
In 1846, the British set a boundary in the 49th parallel, and Britain-American trade began
to flourish once congress approved the offer.
Arguments over where the boundary between Mexico and Texas ran. The United States
insisted it was the Rio Grande River, while Mexico said it was the Nueces River.
Polk sent General Zachary Taylor to the Nueces River, and planned to seize Californian
Ports if war broke out.
Polk went John Slidell to Mexico offering 30 million dollars for CA. and to secure the
Rio Grande River but the offer was declined.
1846, General Taylor blocked off the mouth of the Rio Grande River, and attacked and
repulsed Mexicans.
Congress declared war on Mexico on May 13, 1846
V. Conclusion
• Population pressure in overcrowded eastern farms sparked westward migration.
• The stereotype of migration was that it was a peaceful and evolutionary democratic change,
however people forget that it also led to the spread of slavery, violent confrontations and the
uprooting/displacement of NAs.
• By 1850, the trans-Mississippi west no longer served as a permanent Indian
• The Sioux and Comanches were still feared by whites but they too would eventually be
• Whites believed that Spnaish-speaking people were second-class citizens
• The belief of Manifest Destiny proved to be working out for Americans
• It became clear during this time that the United States was the dominant power in North
• The only real threat to their dominance that would come in the future would arise from inside
the country rather than outside