Chapt . 13 & 14. Ch. 13- Manifest Destiny Ch. 14- North and South. Oregon Country.
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In the 1800’s, four countries claimed the Oregon country, the US, Great Britain, Russia, and Spain. The US claimed it through Robert Grey’s 1792 exploration of the Columbia River and Lewis and Clark’s 1804 exploration of the Louisiana Purchase.
Spain claimed what is now California and In the same treaty that gave the US Florida, the Adams-Onís Treaty, Spain set California’s northern border.
Russia also gave up its claim of all lands south of Alaska.
Britain and the US agreed to Joint Occupation of the territory.
In the early stages of settlement of the area, people known as Mountain Men settled the area and hunted and traded furs. They were very rugged, many of them had Native American wives.
They were extremely important to exploring and developing routes for other people to use to also settle and develop the area.
The most popular route was the Oregon Trail. Others included the California Trail and the Santa Fe Trail.
In the first years of the US’s existence, many people in the US believed that the US was a special place destined to set the example for the world as a model for Freedom and Democracy.
People later evolved this thinking to believing that the US was meant to spread freedom by growing the country all the way to the Pacific.
It also helped that people wanted to continue to grow the US economy by reaching the Pacific ocean to expand trade to the orient (China). They also wanted to claim the vast lands available for settling for the purposes of having a farm of their own.
People also believed it was God’s Providence (will) to settle the land and spread Christianity, freedom and democracy to the new lands and it’s Native Americans.
Although freedom and democracy did later reach these lands, at first what the settlers brought with them were diseases that ended up killing a lot of Native Americans.
As said in previous lectures, Spain ceded Florida to the US in the 1821 Adams-Onís Treatyand Florida became a US Territory. Tallahassee became the territorial capital in 1824 because it was in between Florida’s two main cities at the time, Pensacola and St. Augustine.
At first, fewer than 8,000 people lived in the Territory, not including Native Americans. This number DOES include enslaved people though.
Many planters from Virginia, Georgia and the Carolinas left their farms because of over usage of their soil growing tobacco and cotton. When word got around that Florida had fertile soil they headed south to begin new farms.
In 1837 a successful vote was held to form a state for Florida after the census had shown there were more than 48,000 people were in the state (half of the population were slaves).
Florida’s state constitution was sent to the Federal government for approval and ratification on Jan. 11, 1839.
Florida would have to wait for 6 more years as a US Slave State until another non slave state was also admitted at the same time. WHY?
Finally, the Iowa also applied for statehood as a non slave state which allowed the US to main a balanced amount of slave and non-slave states.
Mexico won independence from Spain in 1821. Non Native Americans numbered around 3,000. These people were known as Tejanoswho were Mexicans who claimed the land as their home. The Mexican government attracted ANYONE to settle in Texas by giving them large tracts of land but they had to agree to being Mexican Citizens and follow Mexican laws.
One of the these settlers, Stephen F. Austin brought 300 American families and was highly successful. Because of his success, he was considered to a leader of the people.
Tensions began to grow when the settlers failed to follow Mexican rules which included learning Spanish and becoming Catholic. Another problem occurred when the Mexican government threated to ban Slavery.
In 1830, the Mexican Government closed its borders to further immigration.
After negotiations between the Mexican government and Texas leaders including Stephen F. Austen and Sam Houston, Texans, including Tejanos planned to secede from the Mexican government.
In 1835, Mexican General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana took an army to Texas to punish the Texan and Tejano rebels.
In December of 1835 Texans captured San Antonio from a much larger Mexican force. This angered Santa Ana and he lead his force of several thousand soldiers to San Antonio to find a small force of 180 Texans and Tejanos hunkered down in a Mission building called the Alamo.
Some very brave and well known were inside the Alamo including Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, and commander William B. Travis.
For 13 long days the Texans battled through several attacks by the Mexican army. They were able to keep them out by excellent rifle fire. Finally the Mexicans destroyed the walls of the Alamo with canon fire. They entered the building and killed everyone except for some women, servants, and children. Only they survived to tell the tales of the Alamo.
The Texans at the Alamo had lost their fight and their lives but their sacrifice allowed gave time for other Texans to gather themselves and supplies for the fight. It also gave the Texans the famous battle cry, “Remember the Alamo!”
Four days after the fall of the fall of the Alamo, Texan and Tejano leaders met to discuss their grievances against the Mexican government. They declared independence on March 2, 1836 and established the Republic of Texas. A separate country on its own.
Texas’ temporary government had named Sam Houston its commander of forces and he organized a force of 900 in what is today called Houston. Santa Ana camped nearby with an army of more than 1300.
On April 21, the Texans launched a surprise attack which killed more than 600 and captured about 700 including Santa Ana.
On May 14, 1836 Santa Ana signed a peace treaty that recognized the independence of Texas.
In September of 1836 Sam Houston, now as elected president of Texas asked then President Andrew Jackson to Annex, which means to take control of, Texas. Jackson could not accept the offer because adding Texas would upset the balance of slave states to non slave states in the US.
Texas would have to wait until 1845 when then President James K. Polk supported the idea of Manifest Destiny and allowed Texas to join the Union regardless of the balance of the slave to non-slave territories.
In the early 1800’s, the New Mexico Territory included all the land that is now New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Colorado.
Trade in the area had drawn many people to the area in the 1820s and beyond and soon many Americans had started to believe that acquiring the New Mexico Territory was part of the Manifest Destiny.
The Santa Fe Trail, was discovered by the first American trader, William Becknell, to reach Santa Fe, previously a Spanish missionary town and now a trading center for the region.
Becknell’s route was mostly flat and made travel by wagon much easier compared to the sand hills that led to many people being forced to, “drink the blood of their mules” as Becknell once wrote in his memoirs about adventurers in the area.
The lands that are now California were at first settled by Native Americans for thousands of years, afterwards the Spaniards had explored and claimed the lands as their own.
After Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821 California became a Mexican state.
Soon, American traders began reaching California and American interests in the land started to grow. A movement amongst Americans was growing to see the country expand so that the east and west coasts were bordered by oceans and not countries that could pose as problems.
President at the time, James K. Polk (1845-1849), offered to purchase California and New Mexico for $30 million but Mexican leaders refused to even discuss the matter. Polk than planned to take the lands by force but he didn’t want to make the first attack so he came up with a scheme to draw Mexico into a war.
Relations between Mexico and the US were already bad because the southern border of Texas was in dispute. The US believed the border was the Rio Grande River (current border) but the Mexicans believed it was the Nueces River.
Polk sent General Zachary Taylor to lead US forces to control the Rio Grande. To the Mexican government this was an invasion of Mexican territory and they responded by attacking the US forces.
The Mexican response attack was the excuse Polk was waiting for. US forces than captured the New Mexico Territoryand California. Mexico still refused to surrender so US Forces than landed in Mexico by ship.
During the religious awakenings of the 1830s and 1840s, a migration of people left the east coast in search of a place to be able to live and practice their religions and customs. The largest of these religions was Mormonism which shares many ideas with Christianity.
The Mormon leader, a man named Joseph Smith took his people and fled NY after being treated poorly by their neighbors who didn’t agree with some of the Mormon traditions such as polygamy. Polygamy was later given up by most Mormons in the decades to come.
They first fled to Illinois but persecution for their religious beliefs and practices continued. It was so bad that their leader Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob of local people.
In 1847, after Smith’s death Brigham Young took over as leader and led his people to the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Life was very hard for them at first by they later developed the land and thrived on their own. Utah became a state in 1896 lead by Brigham Young as their Gov.
Gold was discovered in 1848 at Sutter’s Mill and people migrated from all over the world searching for riches. Most did not become rich or wasted most of their money on gambling and wild spending. But the business owners who were there to help them spend their money were much more successful generally speaking.
In the early phase of the Industrial Revolution, water and steam power was used to automate machines which made products faster and cheaper.
Shipping and travel on steam boats on rivers and canals also made shipping and travel cheaper, faster, and more extensive.
Sailing technology also improved with the new and faster sailing ships. Older ships took 21-28 days to get from Great Britain to New York. The new faster ships halved that time and for that reason were called “Clippers” because they “clipped” or cut the amount of time needed.
Starting in 1829 and 1830 train tracks and steam locomotives later connected the entire nation which added to methods of shipping and travel throughout the nation. In 1840 there were about 3000 miles of train tracks. By 1860 there were 30,000 miles.
Trains were the main source of shipping and migration on land and were the main source of economical progress for the nation for decades to come.
Samuel Morse, in and around 1844 invented the telegraph which allowed short messages to be sent using electrical pulses to be sent back and forward through electrical Telegraph lines that connected different cities. A code, called Morse code which consisted of short and long signals, which sounded like short and long beeps, represented letters in the alphabet.
By 1852, with the help of the Federal Government, there were 23,000 miles of Telegraph lines which enabled information to travel in minutes instead in days as it used to take by horseback messengers in the “Pony Express”.
Telegraphs also allowed businesses to become much more efficient with production and shipping.