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Mr. Matt_ Jones89

on 31 March 2015

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The New Mexico Territory/ California's Spanish Culture/ War With Mexico
Clash of Cultures/ Struggle for Independence
The people of Texas in solemn convention assembled, appealing to a candid world for the necessities of our condition, do hereby resolve and declare, that our political connection with the Mexican nation has forever ended and that the people of Texas do now constitute a free, Sovereign, and independent republic.
Map of the United States in 1846
Independence for Texas
War With Mexico
A Clash of Cultures
Struggle for Independence
Friday, March 20, 2015
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Rivalry in the NW/ Oregon & Manifest Destiny
The Oregon Country
California Gold Rush/ Religious Refuge in Utah
California and Utah
The Oregon Country was the huge area located between the Pacific Ocean and the Rocky Mountains north of California.
In the early 1800's, 4 nations claimed the vast, rugged land known as the Oregon Country.
The U.S. based their claim on Robert Gray's discovery of the Columbia River in 1792 and on the Lewis & Clark expedition.
Britain based their claim on British explorations of the Columbia River.
Spain, which had also explored the Pacific coast in the late 1700's, controlled California to the South.
Russia had settlements that extended south from Alaska into Oregon.
Adams-Onis Treaty
Many Americans wanted control of Oregon in order to access the Pacific Ocean.
In 1819, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams negotiated the Adams-Onis Treaty with Spain in which Spain agreed to set their border at what is now California's northern border and renounce all claims to Oregon.
In 1824 Russia also gave up its claim to the land south of Alaska.
In 1818 Adams worked out a joint occupation agreement with Great Britain of the Oregon territory.
When Adams became President in 1825 he proposed that the two nations divide Oregon along the 49 degree North line of latitude.
Britain refused, insisting on more territory.
Unable to resolve their dispute the two countries agreed to extend joint occupation.
Mountain Men
The 1st Americans to reach the Oregon Country were not farmers but fur traders.
They came to trap beaver, whose skins were in great demand in the eastern U.S. and in Europe.
The British had established several trading posts in the region, as did merchant John Jacob Astor of New York.
As of 1808 Astor organized the American Fur Company which went on to become the most powerful fur company in America trading on the East Coast, Pacific Northwest, and in China.
The people who spent most of their time in the Rocky Mountains became known a Mountain Men.
These tough, independent men made their living by trapping beaver and many married Native American wives.
Adopted Native American ways by living in buffalo-skin lodges and dressed in fringed buckskin pants, moccasins, and beads.
Mountain Men worked for fur trading companies and some worked for themselves.
Throughout the spring and early summer, they hiked across the mountains setting traps and collecting beaver pelts.
As they did their work, the mountain men explored the mountains, valleys, and trails of the West.
Jim Beckwourth, an African American from Virginia, explored Wyoming's Green River.
Robert Stuart and Jedediah Smith found the South Pass, a broad break though the Rockies.
In late summer the mountain men would gather for a rendezvous or meeting.
The annual rendezvous was the most important event of the year for the mountain men.
They met with the trading companies to exchange their "hairy banknotes" (beaver skins) fur traps, guns, coffee, and other goods.
It was also a social event in which mountain men got to meet up with old friends and exchanged news.
Over time the majority of mountain men could no longer make a living by trapping beaver due to over trapping of the animal.
Many moved to Oregon and settled on farms.
Some with their knowledge of the western lands worked as guides leading parties of settlers now streaming west.
Beginning in the 1830's, the mountain men carved out several east-to-west passages that played a vital role in western settlement.
The most popular of these routes became known as the Oregon Trail.
Other popular passages included the California Trail and the Sante Fe Trail.
The Whitman Mission
Dr. Marcus Whitman and his wife, Narcissa, went to Oregon in 1836 and built a mission among the Cayuse people near the present site of Walla Walla Washington.
New settlers to the mission unknowingly brought measles to the mission killing many of the Cayuse people.
The Cayuse blamed the Whitmans for the sickness and attacked the mission in 1847 killing the Whitmans and 11 other settlers.
The Oregon Trail
By the 1840's "Oregon Fever" had swept through the Mississippi Valley.
The recession brought on by the Panic of 1837 was a major motivating factor for the "Great Migration" to Oregon.
Tens of thousands of people made the trip emigrating out of the United States to go to Oregon.
Pioneers made the 2,000 mile journey in the wagons called "Prairie Schooners".
Gathering at Independence or other towns in Missouri the embarked upon their journey along the Oregon Trail across the Great Plains, along the Platte River, and through the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains.
Once through the mountains pioneers traveled north and west along the Snake and Columbia Rivers into the Oregon Country.
Manifest Destiny
Since colonial times many Americans had believed their nation had a special role to fulfill.
Initially the "American Vision" was to be a model of freedom and democracy but in the 1800's that mission began to change to spread freedom by occupying the entire continent.
John O'Sullivan (NY Newspaper Editor) declared it was America's:
"Manifest Destiny to overspread and to possess the whole of the continent which Providence has given us."
O'Sullivan meant that the U.S. was destined by God to extend its boundaries all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
"Fifty-Four Forty or Fight"
Many Americans wanted the United States to own all of the Oregon Territory.
In the 1844 presidential election, James K. Polk, supported this demand using the slogan "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight".
Henry Clay, the Whig candidate did not take a strong position on the Oregon issue.
Polk won the election because Whig support was not united behind Clay.
Britain refused to accept a border at 54-40 and the two nations settled in 1846 on a border along the 49th line of latitude north.
Conflict over Texas began in 1803, when the United States bought the Louisiana Territory from France.
Americans claimed that the land in present-day Texas was part of the purchase.
Spain protested and in the Adams-Onis Treaty, the U.S. agreed to drop its claim to the region.
Land Grants
In 1803 very few people lived in Texas and most of the residents (about 3,000) were known as Tejanos or Mexicans who claimed Texas as their home.
Native Americans, such as the Comanches, Apaches and Kiowas, also lived in the region.
The Spanish wanted to promote the growth of Texas, they offered vast tracts of land to people who agreed to bring families to settle there.
The people who obtained these land grants and recruited the settlers were called empresarios.
American Moses Austin received the 1st land grant in 1821, but he died before he could establish, or set up, his colony.
Stephen F. Austin received permission from the new Mexican government to organize the colony following Mexico winning its independence from Spain in 1821.
Austin recruited 300 American families to settle in Texas.
His success made him a leader among the American settlers.
From 1823-1825, Mexico passed laws offering new settlers land at extremely low prices.
In return the colonists agreed to learn Spanish, become Mexican citizens, convert to Catholicism, and obey Mexican law.
Mexican leaders hoped to attract settlers from all over, but most settlers came from the United States.
Growing Tensions
By 1830 Americans in Texas far outnumbered Mexicans and these American colonists had not adopted Mexican ways.
By this point the U.S. had twice offered to buy Texas from Mexico.
The Mexican government viewed the growing American influence in Texas with alarm.
In 1830 the Mexican government issued a decree or official order, that stopped all immigration from the United States.
At the same time, the decree encouraged the immigration of Mexican and European families with generous land grants.
Trade between the United States and Mexico was discouraged by placing a tax on imported goods from the United States.
These new policies angered the Texans because the prosperity of many citizens depended on trade with the U.S.
Many had friends and relatives who wanted to come to Texas.
To make matters worse, those who owned slaves in the Texas Territory were uneasy about the Mexican government's plans to end slavery.
Attempt at Reconciliation
Some of the American settlers called for independence while others hoped to stay within Mexico but on better terms.
In 1833 Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna became President of Mexico.
Stephen F. Austin traveled to Mexico City with the Texans demands to remove the ban on American settlers and to make Texas a separate state of Mexico.
Santa Anna agreed to remove the ban on American settlers but refused to make Texas a separate state.
Austin sent a letter back to Texas suggesting that preparations for independence get underway.
The Mexican government intercepted the letter and arrested Austin.
While Austin was in jail, Santa Anna named himself dictator and overthrew Mexico's constitution of 1824.
Without a constitution to protect their rights, Texas felt betrayed and to make matters worse Santa Anna placed Texas under greater central control.
This loss of local power dismayed many people and, even Austin, now released from jail, concluded that war was unavoidable.
Throughout the year 1835 unrest amongst the Texans often erupted in open conflict.
Santa Anna sent an army into Texas to punish the rebels and in October some Mexican troops tried to seize a cannon held by Texans at the town of Gonzales.
The Texans taunted the Mexican troops and after a brief skirmish drove them away.
Texans consider this to be the first fight of the Texan Revolution.
Texans called for volunteers and many answered, including African Americans and Tejanos.
In December 1835, the Texans freed San Antonio from a larger Mexican force.
Despite these two early victories, problems arose:
Various groups argued over who would lead and what actions to take.
In early 1836, when Texas should have been preparing to face Santa Anna, plans for independence had stalled.
The Battle of the Alamo
Santa Anna marched north, furous at the loss of San Antonio.
When his army reached the city in late February 1836, it found a small Texan force barricaded inside a nearby mission called the Alamo.
Although the Texans had cannons they did not have any gunpowder.
They were at a further disadvantage as well because they had only about 180 soldiers to take on Santa Anna's army of several thousand.
The Texans had brave leaders including Davy Crockett and a tough Texan named Jim Bowie.
The commander was William B. Travis, 26 years old, and was determined to hold his position.
For 12 long days, through several attacks, the defenders of the Alamo kept Santa Anna's army at bay with rifle fire.
On March 6, 1836, Mexican cannon fire smashed the Alamo's walls.
The Mexicans were too numerous to hold back and they entered the fortress killing all the defenders including Travis, Crockett, and Bowie.
Texas Declares its Independence
During the siege of the Alamo, Texan leaders were meeting at Washington-on-the-Brazos, where they were writing a new constitution.
It was here on March 2, 1836 , 4 days before the fall of the Alamo, American settlers and Tejanos declared independence from Mexico.
They then established the Republic of Texas.
The Texas Declaration stated that the governme of Santa Anna had violated the Mexican Constitution.
It noted that the Texan's protests against these violations were met with force.
With Mexican troops in Texas it was not possible to hold and election to ratify the constitution and vote for new leaders so Texs leaders set up a temporary government.
The government named Sam Houston as commander in chief of the Texas forces.
Houston wanted to prevent the Mexicans from overrunning other forts.
He ordered the troops at Goliad to abandon their position.
As they retreated, however, they came face to face with Mexican troops.
After a fierce fight, several hundred Texans surrendered.
Santa Anna ordered the Texans to be executed.
This action outraged Texans who began calling it the "Goliad Massacre".
The Battle of San Jacinto
Houston gathered an army of 900 troops at San Jacinto near the site of present day Houston.
Santa Anna was camped nearby with an army of more than 1,300 soldiers.
On April 21, the Texans launched a surprise attack, shouting, "Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!"
They killed more than 600 of Santa Anna's troops and captured 700 more- including Santa Anna.
On May 14, 1836 Santa Anna signed a treaty that recognized the independence of Texas.
The Lone Star Republic
In September 1836, Texans elected Sam Houston as their President.
Mirabeau Lamar, who had fought at San Jacinto, served as vice president.
Houston sent a delegate to Washington, D.C., asking the United States to annex, or take control of, Texas.
Andrew Jackson, however, refused their request.
An addition of another slave state would upset the balance of slave and free states in Congress.
For the moment, Texas would remain an independent country.
The Road to Statehood
After winning Independence, Texas still faced difficulties with Mexico along with mounting debt.
Many Texans wanted to join the United States and Southerners in the U.S. favored Texas annexation, but Northerners opposed admitting another slave state to the Union.
President Van Buren did not wish to inflame the slavery issue or risk war with Mexico.
John Tyler who became President in 1841 favored Texas annexation.
The Senate, however, was still divided over the slavery issue and failed to ratify the annexation treaty.
The situation changed with the 1844 presidential campaign.
Manifest Destiny was a popular idea at the time and the South wanted Texas while the North favored gaining all of the Oregon Territory.
Candidate James K. Polk supported both actions and after he won, Congress passed a resolution to annex Texas.
In 1845 Texas joined the Union.
In the early 1800's, New Mexico was the vast region between the Texas and California territories.
It included all of present-day New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Utah, as well as parts of Colorado and Wyoming.
Native Americans had lived in the area for thousands of years.
Spanish conquistadors began exploring there in the late 1500's and made it part of Spain's colony in Mexico.
In 1610 the Spanish founded the settlement of Sante Fe.
When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, it inherited New Mexico.
The Spanish had tried to keep Americans away from Sante Fe, fearing that they would take over the area.
The Mexican government however, welcomed Americans hoping that this move would boost the economy of the province.
William Becknell, the 1st American trader to reach Sante Fe, arrived in 1821 with a supply of goods.
His route came to be known as the Sante Fe Trail which started near Independence, Missouri, and crossed the prairies to the Arkansas River.
It followed the river west toward the Rocky Mountains before turning south into New Mexico.
The trail was mostly flat, and Becknell used wagons to transport his goods.
Other traders followed Becknell, and the Sante Fe Trail became a busy trade route.
As trade with New Mexico increased, Americans began settling the area.
Many saw New Mexico as part of the Manifest Destiny of the U.S.
California's Spanish Culture
Spanish explorers and missionaries from Mexico settled California in the 1700's.
Captain Gaspar de Portola and Father Junipero Serra built a chain of missions that eventually extended from San Diego to Sonoma.
The missions were used to convert Native Americans to Christianity.
Native Americans also farmed the land and worked at weaving and other crafts.
After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, California became a state in the new Mexican nation.
Mexican settlers bought available mission lands and set up huge estates called RANCHOS and were called RANCHEROS- Ranch owners.
Native Americans worked the land in return for food and shelter but were treated almost like slaves.
In the 1840's, more Americans reached California.
John C. Fremont, an army officer, wrote of the region's mild climate and vast natural resources.
Americans began to talk about adding California to the Union arguing that the nation would then be safely bordered by the Pacific Ocean rather than by a foreign country.
Shippers also hoped to build ports on the Pacific coast for trade with East Asia.
War With Mexico
President Polk saw New Mexico and California as belonging to the U.S.
Mexico refused to sell the lands however, and Polk was left to plot how to gain them through war.
He wanted to provoke Mexico to strike first so that he could justify a war.
U.S.- Mexico relations were extremely strained with Mexico still claiming Texas as its own in addition to disagreeing about the Texas-Mexico border.
The U.S. insisted that the Rio Grande fomed the border while Mexico claimed that the border lay along the Nueces River, 150 miles farther north.
Conflict Begins
Polk sent John Slidell to Mexico to propose a deal.
Slidell was authorized to offer $30 million for California and New Mexico in return for Mexico's acceptance of the Rio Grande as the Texas boundary.
In addition the U.S. would take over payment of Mexico's debts to American citizens.
Mexico, however, refused to discuss the offer and announced its intention to reclaim Texas for Mexico.
Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor to march his soldiers across the disputed borderland and on April 25, 1846, Mexican soldiers attacked Taylor's force.
On May 11, the president told Congress that Mexico had:
"invaded our territory and shed American blood upon the American soil."
Congress passed a declaration of war against Mexico.
Polk's War Plan
Polk's war plan had 3 components:
First- American troops would drive Mexican forces out of the disputed border region in Texas and secure the border.
Second- The U.S. would seize New Mexico and California.
Third- American forces would would take Mexico City, the capital of Mexico.
Zachary Taylor accomplished the first goal and by early 1847 his army had captured the towns of Matarmoros, Monterrey, and Buena Vista thus securing the Texas border.
While Taylor made progress in Northern Mexico along the Texas border, additional American forces led by General Stephen Watts Kearny led about 1,500 troops along the Sante Fe Trail from Fort Leavenworth to New Mexico.
The Mexican governor fled, allowing the Americans to capture New Mexico's capital, Sante Fe, on August 18, 1846.
Kearny then led his army across the deserts toward California.
The Bear Flag Republic
In June of 1846 a small group of Americans seized the town of Sonoma north of San Francisco and proclaimed the independent Republic of California calling their new country the Bear Flag Republic.
John C. Fremont and mountain man Kit Carson also met in Sonoma where Fremont declared that he would conquer California.
Many Californios, the Mexicans who lived in California, were outraged by his declaration.
The Californios might have supported a revolt for local control, but they opposed what looked like an attempt to seize land.
In July of 1846, a U.S. Navy force under Commodore John Sloat captured the ports of Monterey and San Francisco.
Sloat then declared California annexed to the U.S.
Sloat's fleet then set sail for San Diego with Fremont and Carsons.
The Americans captured San Diego and then sailed North to Los Angeles.
After Sloat's ships left, Californios in San Diego revolted against the Americans who had taken control of the city.
General Kearny and his troops put down the uprising and by January of 1847, California was fully controlled by the U.S.
The Capture of Mexico City
President Polk gave the task of capturing Mexico City to General Winfield Scott and in March of 1847, Scott's troops landed near the Mexican port of Veracruz.
The army captured the port after a 3 week siege and then marched some 300 miles to Mexico City.
By mid-September 1847, the Americans had taken Mexico City and the Mexican government had surrendered.
The U.S. Expands
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, was signed in February 1848.
Mexico gave up Texas and agreed that the border between Texas and Mexico was the Rio Grande River.
In what was called the Mexican Cession, Mexico ceded, or gave up, California and New Mexico to the U.S. for the price of $15 million.
In 1853 the U.S. paid Mexico $10 million for the Gadsden Purchase, a strip of land along the southern edge of present-day Arizona and New Mexico.
Gold was discovered in California in 1848 and people from all over the world traveled to the region in search of riches.
Those who arrived in the year 1849 were called FORTY-NINERS (49ers).
Many arrived by sea while other traveled on the Oregon Trail and Sante Fe Trail while Americans made up 80% of the 49ers.
Others came from Mexico, South America, Europe, and Australia.
300 men arrived from China making them the first large group of Asian immigrants to settle in America.
Some returned to China but some remained and established California's Chinese American community.
The Californios
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ended the war with Mexico and made Californios citizens of the United States.
The Treaty also guaranteed them the rights to their lands.
When a new settler claimed a Californio's land, the two parties would go to court, and the Californio would have to prove that they owned the land.
Some were successful but many lost their land.
Life in California
As people rushed to a new area in search of gold, they built new communities, called boomtowns that sprang up almost overnight.
Cities also flourished during the Gold Rush as ships arrived daily with gold seekers, San Francisco grew from a tiny village to a city of about 20,000 people.
The majority of 49ers had no experience in mining.
Whenever they heard that gold had been discovered at a particular site they would rush in and attack the hillsides with pickaxes and shovels.
Many would spend hours over streambeds, "washing" or "panning" the water for gold dust and nuggets.
The California Gold Rush more than doubled the world's supply of gold.
For all their hard work however, very few 49ers achieved lasting wealth with the majority finding little to no gold.
Many 49ers that did find gold lost it through gambling and or wild spending.
Boomtown merchants, however, made huge profits.
They could charge whatever price they wanted for food and other essential items because of a lack of competition from other nearby stores.
Levi Strauss sold miners sturdy pants made of denim and his Levi's made him rich.
Gold Rush Society
Mining camps contained men of all backgrounds, but very few women.
Lonely, and suffering hardships, many men spent their free time drinking, gambling, and fighting.
Mining towns had no police or prisons making them lively and lawless.
As a result, citizens formed committees of groups known as VIGILANTES to protect themselves-
Took the law into their own hands and acted as police, judge, jury, and sometimes executioner.
Economic and Political Progress
The Gold Rush had lasting effects on California:
Agriculture/ Shipping/ Trade all grew to meet the demand for food and other goods.
Many who arrived in search of gold remained to farm or run a business.
Rapid growth brought the need for better government and in 1850, California wrote a constitution in an effort to apply for statehood.
The California's constitutional ban on slavery, however, caused a crisis in Congress.
Southern States strongly opposed California's admission and as a result California did not enter the Union until the Compromise of 1850 was reached later that year.
Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Mormons settled in Utah to fulfill their vision of a godly life.
The First Mormons
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was among a number of religious movements that sprang up during the religious awakenings of the 1830's and 1840's.
The founder of the Mormon Church was Joseph Smith, a New Englander living in western New York.
Smith claimed that he had received visions that led him to build a new Christian church so he began preaching Mormon ideas in 1830.
Smith published The Book of Mormon that year, announcing that it was a translation of words written on golden plates that he had received from an angel.
The text told of the coming of god and the need to build a kingdom on Earth to receive him.
Smith hoped to use his visions to build an ideal society.
Smith believed that property should be held in common.
He supported polygamy, the idea that a man could have more than one wife.
This idea angered a large number of people and Mormons eventually gave up on this practice.
Smith formed a community in New York, but unsympathetic neighbors disapproved of the Mormon's religion and forced them to leave.
The Mormons eventually settled in Illinois and in 1839 they bought the town of Commerce, Illinois and renamed it Nauvoo.
Nauvoo became a prosperous community.
Persecution of the Mormons, however, continued and in 1844 a mob of local residents killed Joseph Smith.
Following Smith's death, Brigham Young took over as head of the Mormons and Young decided that the Mormons ought to move again to escape persecution in order to find religious freedom.
The Mormons would move west to the Great Salt Lake in present-day Utah despite the fact that Utah was a part of Mexico at this time.
A Haven in the Desert
The Mormon migration began in 1846 and about 12,000 Mormons made the journey.
The Mormons forged their way along a path that became known as the Mormon Trail.
In 1847 the Mormons finally reached the Great Salt Lake.
Young declared that the Mormons would build a new settlement.
The land was dry and wild but the Mormons staked a claim on the land they called Deseret and soon they had set up farming communities.
At first life was difficult for the settlers but the Mormons made Deseret flourish because of their hard work and determination to succeed.
Mormons planned their towns carefully and built irrigation canals to water their farms.
Property was taxed, and the use of water, timber, and other natural resources was regulated.
Mormons also founded industries in an effort to remain self-sufficient.
Mormon merchants sold supplies to 49ers who passed through Utah on their way to California.
In 1848 the U.S. acquired the Salt Lake area as part of the settlement with the war with Mexico and in 1850 Congress established the Utah Territory.
President Millard Fillmore made Brigham Young the governor of the Utah Territory.
By 1860 there were numerous Mormon communities throughout the Utah regions.
Utah was not easily incorporated, or included, into the U.S.
The Mormons often had conflicts with federal officials.
In 1857 and 1858, war almost broke out between the Mormons and the U.S. Army.
Utah did not become a state until 1896.
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