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Chapter 11 Section 3: The Mexican-American War
Transcript of Chapter 11 Section 3: The Mexican-American War
In Canvas, go to "Discussions". Click on the discussion topic labeled "Bellwork for March 7, 2014".
Type your answer in the "reply" field, and hit submit.
Another Tennessee President
William Henry Harrison was elected president in 1840, but died after only a month in office.
John Tyler, Harrison's vice-president took over, and he was pro-slavery and favored annexing Texas. His fellow Whigs disagreed about both of these issued and expelled Tyler from the party.
In 1844, the Whigs nominated Henry Clay for president, and the Democrats could not settle on a well-known candidate. So, they nominated a dark horse (a surprise, unknown choice), James K. Polk of Tennessee.
Both candidates favored acquiring Texas and Oregon, but Polk was perceived as the expansionist candidate and won the election.
Acquiring New Territory
Americans had decided that they did not want to share Oregon with the British any longer, and they cried "Fifty-four forty or fight!" in reference to where they thought the northern border should be.
In 1846, a treaty was signed that set the border of the Oregon Territory where it is today (modern-day Washington state).
By March 1845, Congress had approved annexation of Texas, and Texas became a state in December of that year. This obviously angered the Mexican government, which felt the U.S. had stolen Texas.
Mexico still controlled modern-day New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California. Americans continued to pour into these areas.
Mexico had long said its northern border was at the Nueces River, but the U.S. said it was at the Rio Grande. In 1845, Polk sent General Zachary Taylor and his army into the disputed region.
He also sent a diplomat to Mexico to try and buy New Mexico and California for $30 million. Mexico refused.
Taylor's army had camped across from Mexican forces near the town of Matamoros, Mexico. The Mexican commander ordered Taylor to withdraw, and he refused.
The two sides clashed with several soldiers getting killed.
President Polk declared that Mexico had shed American blood and the U.S. declared war on Mexico.
The U.S. won many early victories against the Mexican army.
On August 18, 1846, Santa Fe, New Mexico was captured by General Stephen Kearny and the province was claimed for the U.S.
Kearny then moved west and captured California.
Armies under American General Zachary Taylor and Mexican General Santa Anna clashed at Buena Vista in February 1847, with the Americans winning.
Then, General Winfield Scott captured the Mexican city of Veracruz on March 29.
Scott then moved to capture Mexico City, the capital of Mexico. After a long, hard-fought battle, the Mexicans surrendered the city on September 14, 1847.
American Settlement in the Mexican Cession
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war in February 1848. Mexico was forced to turn over much of its territory.
Known as the Mexican Cession, this land included present-day California, Nevada, Utah, most of Arizona and New Mexico, part of Colorado and Wyoming.
In exchange for all this land, the U.S. paid Mexico $15 million.
Some northerners wanted to outlaw slavery in all part of the Mexican Cession. Representative David Wilmot offered the Wilmot Proviso that would have outlawed slavery in any part of the territory. It did not pass, but it did show the growing tensions surrounding the slavery issue in the U.S.
In 1853, the U.S. Minister to Mexico purchased the southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico in what is know as the Gadsden Purchase. This was so a southern railroad could be built across the U.S.
President James K. Polk
Polk and his wife, Sarah
Polk and his cabinet. President Polk is on the front row, third from the left.