Chapter 9 – Expansion Leads to Conflict. Section Notes. Video. Expansion Leads to Conflict. Manifest Destiny Texas Independence War with Mexico. Maps. American Trails West Oregon Divided Texas Revolution The Mexican-American War. History Close-up. The Battle of San Jacinto.
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Chapter 9 – Expansion Leads to Conflict
Expansion Leads to Conflict
War with Mexico
American Trails West
The Mexican-American War
The Battle of San Jacinto
Causes and Effects of the Mexican-American War
Visual Summary: Expansion Leads to Conflict
A Day on the Trail
The Long Tom
Romanticizing Native American Life
From Republic to State
Few gave thought to how manifest destiny would affect native peoples.
Mountain men went west to trap and trade.
Missionaries hoped to convert Native Americans to Christianity.
Americans believed in manifest destiny, the idea that the nation had a God-given right to all of North America.
The first major western trail was the Santa Fe Trail, which stretched 800 miles from Independence, Missouri, to the town of Santa Fe, the capital of Spanish New Mexico. It began as a trade route.
Santa Fe Trail
The 2,000-mile Oregon Trail stretched from Independence, Missouri, to the rich farming lands of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. It was used by Native Americans, Lewis and Clark, fur traders and mountain men, and finally migrants.
Between 1847 and 1853, some 16,000 Mormons migrated west following the 1,300-mile route that became known as the Mormon Trail. It ran from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City in present-day Utah.
In 1848 gold was discovered in the American River at John Sutter’s sawmill in northern California.
When the news reached the United States, most considered it a rumor.
President James K. Polk announced the gold discovery in his State of the Union address on December 5, 1848.
Newspapers across the country carried the story, and thousands of Americans caught “gold fever.”
The gold rush was a mass migration of miners and people who made money off the miners to California.
The migrants who left for California in 1849 were called forty-niners.
Golden dreams brought people from around the world, but 80 percent of them came from the United States.
The Oregon Treaty
Presidential candidate James K. Polk campaigned in 1844 on the promise of securing the Oregon Country for the United States even if it meant war.
The United States and Britain had jointly controlled Oregon since 1818.
Polk won, but made a treaty with Britain, setting the boundary between the United States and British Canada at the 49th parallel.
The original inhabitants were Native Americans, living in Texas for thousands of years.
The Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to visit Texas, crossing it several times during the 1500s. Spain claimed Texas based on these explorations. Finding little wealth in the region, they made no attempt to settle.
In 1689, the Spanish discovered the ruins of a French fort built on the coast that had been destroyed by local Indians. Alarmed that the French would try to claim the land, the Spanish came up with a plan to settle Texas.
The mission system
The Spanish attempted to settle Texas by building missions, small settlements designed to convert the Indians to Christianity.
The Spanish had effectively used the mission system in Mexico.
They built two dozen missions and presidios between the late 1600s and 1700s; they also built San Antonio and Nacogdoches.
Despite Spanish hopes, the missions failed and the towns never flourished.
The mission system ends
Native Americans rejected mission life, where they were expected to give up their culture as well as their religion.
Some Indian groups viewed the Spanish as dangerous trespassers, attacking the missions and towns.
The system was built to convert the Indians and to thwart French claims. In 1762, France ceded to Spain much of its land claim in North America.
By 1800, Spain still claimed Texas, but had only three settlements in the region.
In 1820, Austin proposed to Spanish colonial officials that, in exchange for land, he would build a colony in Texas. The Spanish agreed, but Austin died before he could start. His son, Stephen F. Austin, would carry out his wish for a colony. By 1824 about 300 families lived on farms and ranches throughout Austin’s colony.
Mexican independence and the empresarios
Mexico gained its independence in 1821. The new government wanted Texas settled. They assigned large amounts of land to empresarios, contractors who recruited settlers and established colonies. Austin was the most successful of the empresarios.
By 1830, Texas had more than a dozen colonies with 30,000 settlers. This included several thousand enslaved Africans and 4,000 Tejanos, or Texans of Mexican heritage.
American settlers in Texas had to agree to certain conditions in exchange for receiving land. They had to surrender their American citizenship; swear allegiance to Mexico; adopt the Roman Catholic religion; and hold the land for seven years.
The settlers ignored the Mexican rules. They kept bringing in slaves, even after Mexico outlawed slavery. Settlers were still Americans, not Mexican. In 1830, Mexico passed a law halting American immigration and sent troops to Texas to enforce it.
Tensions in Texas
Mexican officials suspected that the U.S. wanted to acquire Texas. Originally claimed as part of the Louisiana Purchase, the U.S. had dropped its claim. But when an offer was made to buy a large part of Texas for $1 million, Mexicans refused, but their fears of U.S. intentions were confirmed.
Tensions between settlers, now calling themselves Texans, and the Mexican government grew continually worse.
After several bloody protests, Texans held conventions to discuss the best course of action. A plan to make Texas a separate Mexican state failed. The new Mexican president, Antonio López de Santa Anna, supported a strong central government and enforced new laws banning state militias.
War came when violence erupted at Gonzales over possession of a cannon. Though small, it was the first battle of the Texas Revolution, and hopes for a peaceful resolution between the Texans and Mexico diminished. At a meeting, called the Consultation, the settlers founded a government and asked Sam Houston to raise an army.
Rebel Texan forces captured San Antonio, which contained a fort called the Alamo. Santa Anna led an army into Texas to punish the rebels and put down the unrest once and for all.
On February 23, 1836, Santa Anna’s force of 6,000 soldiers reached San Antonio. A demand of surrender was met with cannon fire from William Travis. The Mexican army laid siege to the fort, pounding it for 12 days and nights. The fort was finally stormed, with nearly all defenders killed.
While the Alamo was under siege, a small group of Texans met at Washington-on-the-Brazos to issue the Texas Declaration of Independence. They wrote a constitution for the new, independent nation.
March 2, 1836
The Runaway Scrape
Santa Anna’s army continued to defeat the Texan rebels. Prisoners were held in the presidio at Goliad.
After Mexican soldiers executed 340 prisoners at Goliad, Houston retreated to the east with his poorly trained army.
Word of Houston’s retreat and the news of the Goliad Massacre started a panic.
In what would be called the Runaway Scrape, thousands of Texans, including many Tejanos, fled Santa Anna’s advancing army.
Santa Anna’s army followed Houston’s forces to San Jacinto, where Houston managed to take the Mexican army by surprise. Texans shouted, “Remember the Alamo!”and“Remember Goliad!”as they won a quick victory.
The captured Santa Anna was forced to sign the Treaties of Velasco, ending the war. Mexico had to withdraw its troops and recognize Texas independence.
Problems with Mexico continued for the Republic of Texas.
Americans who believed in Manifest Destiny wanted to admit Texas to the Union.
Supporters viewed the Texas Revolution in the spirit of the American Revolution.
Southerners supported annexation because Texas allowed slavery, and its admission would boost the South’s political power.
Americans were concerned that the U.S. would have to bear the substantial Texas debt.
Northerners opposed annexation because it would spread slavery westward and increase slave states’ voting power in Congress.
A major argument in Congress was that the Constitution said nothing about admitting an independent nation.
A Republic for nine years
The annexation question was a significant issue in the 1844 presidential election. When James K. Polk, the pro-annexation candidate, won, Mexico warned that it would consider the annexation of Texas as a declaration of war.
Tyler signs the joint resolution
Outgoing president John Tyler signed the joint resolution of Congress into law just three days before the end of his term, in March 1845.
Texas becomes a state
Voters in Texas overwhelmingly approved annexation, and Texas became a part of the United States on December 29, 1845.
The annexation of Texas enraged the Mexican government. Mexico had refused to recognize the Republic of Texas, and they broke off diplomatic ties with the U.S. after the vote for annexation.
In March 1845, James K. Polk became president. He wanted the nation to acquire the land between Texas and the Pacific Ocean. These sparsely populated territories, New Mexico and California, belonged to Mexico. Polk sought an opportunity to acquire these remote regions.
Polk and Manifest Destiny
The U.S. needed to secure the boundary between Texas and Mexico. Texans put the border at the Rio Grande. Mexico maintained it was at the Nueces River. There were also disputes about money, and Polk wanted these issues resolved.
The boundary dispute
In the fall of 1845, Polk sent a special envoy to Mexico.
John Slidell arrived with a U.S. offer to cancel the $3 million in claims against Mexico in exchange for Mexico’s recognition of the Rio Grande as its boundary with the U.S.
He was further authorized to pay Mexico up to $30 million to purchase New Mexico and California for the United States.
Neither of the rivals for Mexico’s presidency would meet with him. An angry Slidell recommended to Polk that Mexico be punished.
While Slidell was in Mexico, Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to take his troops into the disputed border territory. The U.S. used the event of a minor skirmish to declare war on Mexico.
The war starts
American forces under Taylor advanced into northern Mexico. General Winfield Scott marched his forces into Mexico City. In a matter of months, U.S. forces had captured New Mexico and California. When their capital fell, the Mexican government was forced to give in.
Fighting the war
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hildago (1848) forced Mexico to turn over a huge tract of land known as the Mexican Cession, while the U.S. paid Mexico $15 million. Debate continues over whether the Mexican-American War was justified.
Results of the war
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