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#9: Antebellum America, PT 2 .pdf

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University of Toronto St. George
Professor Candace Sobers

ANTEBELLUM AMERICA WESTERN EXPANSION AND CIVIL WAR, 1845-1861 INTRODUCTION : M ANIFEST D ESTINY •Americans expanding westward is nothing new -- they’ve been doing this since the colonies •But, now it is different •Manifest destiny suggests that it is America’s divine right to spread across the continent This idea isn’t new -- think City Upon a Hill • •Old idea, but the term was coined in the 1840s •Indians flee as American progress goes west •It is an inherently racist idea -- they mean white, Christian Americans •Free land and free soil for the few •Because the indians weren’t using the land “properly,” it was their right to take it from them •Remember that Spain still exists on the continent •A. Jackson got busted trying to eject the Seminole Indians from Florida -- he succeeds •While there they start to negotiate a treaty (the Transcontinental treaty) -- Spain gives Florida in exchange for the area around Texas • But the Americans still want this land “M R. POLK 'S W AR ”: W AR WITH M EXICO O REGON AND C ALIFORNIA OREGON •Oregon is inhabited by a range of Indians •Oregon had been the site of everyone fighting -- English, Russian, and Spanish •Spanish give up control because they don’t want it, and the Russians move north •Mostly, Oregon is kind of empty •British and Americans agree to jointly occupy Oregon -- Americans are unhappy about this Oregon had good conditions for farming • •In the election of 1844, the Democrats call for the takeover of Oregon, they don’t care if they have to start a war with the British th th •The most aggressive say that they need to go north of the 49 parallel to the 54 parallel (Alaska) •British and Americans sign the Oregon Treaty in 1846 -- hardens the 49 parallel CALIFORNIA ANTEXAS •Same diverse mix of people, in addition to Spanish-Europeans and American settlers •Mexico declares independence from Spain in 1821 ANTEBELLUM AMERICA WESTERN EXPANSION AND CIVIL WAR, 1845-1861 •This means that all Spanish territory in the United States of America are really part of Mexico -- that is, California, Texas, and the New Mexico region •Mexico is led by a dictator, Santa Anna -- the Americans in this area do not want to be under Mexican rule 1829 -- Mexico bans slavery • •Major reason Americans would be against the Mexican government •Annex Texas in 1837 •Americans begin moving into Mexico -- this is an illegal migration •This area of Mexico is not well populated •Santa Anna encourages the Americans to move to Mexico •Problem: Americans believe this territory would make a great state, but it is part of Mexico, where slavery is banned •General Santa Anna starts discouraging American migration 1835 -- Americans create the Republic of Texas • •Open warfare between Texans (who believe themselves to be an independent nation) and Mexico •Key mythic battle: the Alamo •It is a mission (a building) in which missionaries enslaved the indigenous population •Everyone at the Alamo dies, the Mexicans win -- it becomes a rallying cry for Texans •General Santa Anna wrote that this was a glorious victory Texans regroup under a new general, Sam Houston, and defeat the Mexicans -- • Mexican General is forced to sign a peace treaty •The treaty says that Texan border is at Rio Grande as opposed to Rio Nueces -- this means Texas grew! •Because he signs everything away, central authority overthrows him -- therefore everything he signs was void •Congress says “no” to Texas because they don’t want war -- Jackson doesn’t even recognize the Independent Republic of Texas until his last days in office •In 1845, under John Taylor, Texas is finally recognized as an American state E LECTION OF 1844 AND THE M EXICAN A MERICAN W AR •In the Election of 1844 Polk wins! •He wins because he is pro-expansion -- wants Texas, Oregon, and California •Zachary Taylor orders his troops to stand in the disputed territory because it will anger the Mexicans •Mexicans were the first to shoot -- Polk uses this to ask for a war declaration (May, 1846) •Polk lies to Congress -- this was not American territory, it is disputed territory •Mexicans don’t recognize the treaty that Americans are upholding ANTEBELLUM AMERICA WESTERN EXPANSION AND CIVIL WAR, 1845-1861 The vast majority of Americans are excited about this war -- they are excited about • taking the wealth of Montezuma •The north is unhappy because Polk lied and this territory would become slave- powered •The north is getting worried about the slave power (the slave power aristocracy) •They start debating this issue •Wilmot Proviso of 1846 -- suggests that neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude will occur in any territory acquired by the United States of America •The south isn’t happy about this -- it gets defeated •Northerners care because the idea of Manifest Destiny transcends north and west -- the north also wants to expand, but they want to get paid for their work and they are racist •These idea coalesce into the new party, Free Soil Party -- their platform is free soil for white famers, not wealthy planation owners •Meanwhile the Mexican-American war is over •The Americans won •Signed the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo in May 1848 -- gets California, Texas, and the entire area of New Mexico in exchange for $15 million •These new areas are important because it allows access to the Pacific •Western edge of Texas extends to Rio Grande •The War reopens the debate over slavery it also divides the democrats and whigs further ELECTION OF 1848 •3 candidates and 3 parties •The Free Soil Party (van Buuren), Democrats (Lewis Cass), and Whigs
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