Unit Nine: The Nationalist Era

Unit Eleven: Manifest Destiny
Mexican – American War
The Election of 1840
• The Election of 1840 was between Democrat
Martin Van Buren and Whig William Henry
• The main issue of the campaign was the Panic
of 1837 with the Whigs calling Van Buren “Martin
Van Ruin”, in return the Democrats called
Harrison a yokel who only needed a log cabin
and hard cider.
• The Whigs used this to create the Log Cabin
Campaign to make Harrison seem as one of the
people. (They used log cabins as rally points
and passed out Hard Cider (apple liquor) to the
people with the slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler
too”. The strategy worked and Harrison won.
Log Cabin Campaign
Click above to hear Tippecanoe
and Tyler too
Van Buren
Whose President?
• A third party developed during the election called
the Liberty Party (abolition/Antislavery) which
nominated James G. Birney but received few
• When Harrison took the oath of office he was 68
years old and gave one of the longest
inauguration speeches on a cold wet day
catching a cold that resulted one month into his
administration in him dying from pneumonia.
• Harrison was the first President to die in office,
which led to the question as to whom should
now be President, since at this time the U.S.
Constitution said nothing about it.
I’m President
• Debates in Congress, among Harrison’s
Cabinet, and the Vice President raged,
but Harrison’s Vice President John Tyler
simply assumed the power and took over
the responsibility of President.
• Tyler was a democrat who switched to the Whigs
because of his dislike for Jackson’s polices, was
a state’s rights man, and extremely pro-slavery;
which brought him at odds with the Whig Party.
• The Whig Party ran by Henry Clay tried to pass
legislation to create a third BUS, a higher tariff,
and distribute surplus money to states, which
Tyler disagreed with most of these actions.
I’m President
• At this point all of the Presidential Cabinet (but
Webster) resigned and Tyler was “read out” (kicked
out) of the Whig Party, at this point they called him
“His Accidency”. (first President without a Party)
• The biggest legislation passed by Tyler and
Congress was the Pre-emption Act of 1841 that
allowed people called Squatters/Preemptors (settle
on public land) the ability to purchase public lands
in the West directly from the government before it
was surveyed.
• This law encouraged people to move West to settle
the land and expand the country. (was also seen as
an attempt to expand slavery)
Tyler Administration
• Tyler also supported annexation of Texas, but
the Senate rejected a bill allowing it. (The issue
was over slavery)
• In 1841-1842 Tyler had to deal with an event
called the Dorr Rebellion led by Thomas Dorr in
Rhode Island for universal suffrage which failed.
• In 1843 the House of Representatives tried to
bring the first charges of impeachment (to
charge a public official of misconduct) against an
acting President, it did not pass.
• In the last year of his term, Tyler also was almost
killed when the cannon on the USS Princeton
blew up while firing. (two cabinet members were
Election of 1844
• In the Election of 1844 Tyler tried to run as a
third party candidate called the National
Democratic Tyler, but dropped out of the race
and returned to his plantation renamed
Sherwood Forest.
• The Whigs chose to run Henry Clay even
though had been defeated twice before for
the job.
• The Democrats chose to run the
dark horse candidate (a person
who is little known) James K. Polk
over Martin Van Buren.
Just Who is James K. Polk?
• Two other third party candidates were
James G. Birney of the Liberty Party and
Joseph Smith Jr. a Mormon independent
candidate who ran until he was
assassinated in an Illinois prison.
• The main issue that developed during the
election was the annexation of Texas as a
• Polk won the election of 1844 and in 1845
Texas became the 28th State, Florida was
also added before Texas as the 27th State.
• James K. Polk was an expansionist, who wanted
to expand the boarders of America from the
coast to coast.
• Polk stated in his inauguration address that he
would serve only one term and that he would
lower the tariff and settle all the land disputes in
the West.
• During the 1830s and 40s many Americans had
moved into Western lands outside of the
jurisdiction of the United States and wanted their
settlements to become part of the U.S., which
led to issues with Britain and Mexico over
Oregon, California, Utah, and the new state of
“Fifty-four Forty or Fight”
• For many years the Oregon Country
was a disputed land between Russia,
Spain, United States, and Brittan.
• In 1828 Brittan and the United States
agreed to a co-ownership of the Oregon
Country, but in the 1840s disputes developed
over where the line between them was.
• From 1844 to 1846 Americans ran the slogan
“Fifty-Four Forty or Fight” meaning that they
wanted all of the Oregon territory or war would
be declared, Polk used this as a bluff to
work out a deal, which split the Oregon
Country along the 49th north latitude at
its current location.
California and New Mexico
• Both Jackson and Tyler had tried to purchase
California from Mexico.
• In 1842 Commodore Thomas Jones actually had
taken over the port city of Monterey raising the
American flag, but found out America and
Mexico were not war and gave it back with an
• In 1843 John C. Fremont had “explored”
California and gave report on what he found
making many expansionists want this area too
especially with the growing issues over Texas.
Texas Dispute
• To handle the issue Polk sent John Slidell
with a special envoy to Mexico City to
purchase California and New Mexico and
handle the border dispute with Jose Joaquin
Herrera, but the Mexican President refused
to meet with Slidell out of fear of revolution in
Mexico due to anti-American sentiment.
• Texas became a disputed land, when
America annexed Texas as a state, the
Mexican government refused to recognize
the treaty and broke diplomatic relations with
Texas Dispute
• Also the boundary between Texas and
Mexico came under dispute with Texas and
America recognizing the Rio Grande and the
Mexicans recognizing Nueces River which
was further north.
• In response to these issues Polk sent
General Zachary Taylor (old rough and ready)
with 3,000 troops to encamp on the Rio
Grande and wait until orders from him or
Mexican aggression.
• The Mexican government saw this as an act
of aggression sent an army to encamp on the
other side and wait for American aggression.
(Mexican standoff)
The Mexican- American War
• While Taylor waited the call for volunteers
went out, which many Americans joined to
fight. (most were unruly, and Taylor
instituted harsh punishment and training to
bring the militias under control)
• Taylor sent 70 scouts to overlook the area
to see if the Mexican Army had crossed
the Rio Grande, while looking into a
hacienda the scouts were attacked known
as the Thornton Affair.
The Mexican- American War
• Shortly after Polk asked for a declaration of war
from Congress and the Mexican-American War
began in 1846. (“American blood, on American
• The war from the beginning was split in
popularity with the southern states in favor and
the New England states against it calling it “Mr.
Polk’s War” to expand the nation and slavery.
• Congressmen Abraham Lincoln even offered the
“spot resolution” in Congress asking if the spot
Americans died was American soil or did they
entice the Mexicans.
The Mexican- American War
• As war broke out John C. Fremont
moved into California aiding a group
of settlers led by William B. Ide who
took the town of Sonoma and established the
Republic of California in the called the Bear Flag
• The military strategy for the war was a three
prong attack: 1.) March from Rio Grande and
secure Northern Mexico, 2.) March from Fort
Leavenworth (Kansas) and take New Mexico
(Santa Fe), 3.) March from Santa Fe and take
The Mexican- American War
• Taylor marched south winning the Battle of Palo
Alto, Battle of Resaca de la Palma, and the
Battle of Monterrey the key to Northern Mexico.
• During this time Santa Anna was allowed past
General Winfield Scott’s Blockade and returned
to Mexico to negotiate a peace treaty, but
instead took back over Mexico.
• After this Santa Anna met Taylor at
the Battle of Buena Vista which the
Americans won forcing Santa Anna
to retreat back to Mexico City.
The Mexican- American War
• While Taylor marched south General Stephan W.
Kearny marched toward Santa Fe taking the
town and control of New Mexico (without a shot
fired), at this time he split his forces in half to
take California and the other to reinforce Taylor.
• Kearny with a force of 300 men helped
Commodore John D. Sloat take San Diego, Los
Angles, and Monterey forcing the Mexican army
out of Alta California.
• With California, New Mexico, and Northern
Mexico under control the focus was turned to
Mexico City and Santa Anna.
Who to Chose?
• After the victory of Buena Vista Taylor received
major press and became a popular war hero in
America, fearing that he would use this to run as
a Whig Presidential candidate, Polk chose to
halt Taylor and allow General Winfield Scott “Ol
Fuss and Feathers” finish the War. (Scott was a
• In 1847 General Winfield Scott made a naval
amphibious landing taking the port city of Vera
Cruz, then marched down the coast line finally in
the Battle for Mexico City defeating Santa Anna
ending the war. (He followed the same path
Cortez had taken to conquer the Aztec)
The Mexican-American War
Zachery Taylor
Winfield Scott
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
• The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the
Mexican-American War which included these
terms: 1.) Mexico gave up claim to Texas up to
Rio Grande, 2.) U.S. got California and New
Mexico, 3.) U.S. paid Mexico 15 million dollars,
4.) U.S. took over 3.5 million in debt Mexico
owed U.S. citizens. (one and two are known as
the Mexican Cession)
• Even though some wanted to take all of Mexico
and others did not like it because of the
possibility of the expansion of slavery, the
Senate ratified the Treaty in 1846.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Polk’s Legacy
• When Polk left office in 1849 he left a legacy of
expanding the American borders from Coast to
Coast and carving out mostly the present borders
of the U.S.
• In 1848 Polk even tried to purchase Cuba for up to
40 million dollars from Spain, but they refused.
• To round the Southwest in 1853 ambassador
James Gadsden purchased the southern part of
Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico for 10
million dollars known as the Gadsden Purchase.
(completed the present borders)
• For the Senate to ratify the purchase a proviso
(amendment) was added by David Wilmot called
the Wilmot Proviso that prohibited the expansion of
slavery in any lands gained by the Mexican War.
Poke’s Legacy
California Gold Rush
• Shortly after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was
signed John Sutter discovered gold at his lumber
town called Sutter’s Mill in 1848.
• News of the gold strike led massive numbers of
usually young single men in 1849 (forty-niners) to
make it rich off the California Gold Strike. (the
people who actually got wealthy were the
merchants and saloon owners (casino/bar))
• These men called prospectors panned for gold
and then would use it to purchase things in the
local Boomtown (town that sprang up quickly).
• When a gold strike went bust the people moved
making the town a ghost town because all the
building were left intake.
New Life in the West
• The gold strike brought many people out west,
even an influx of Chinese immigrants into
California, even though many headed back East
some stayed and settled.
• Two of the biggest problems in the West were
water rights and law and order.
• In the West a law of prior appropriation was
established giving water rights to the first person
to discover it or to dig a well. (big business).
• In Western boom towns law and order was
established by groups of settlers known as
vigilante committees (citizens taking the law into
their own hands).
at the
start of
the Gold
Sutter’s Mill