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10 Westward Expansion
Transcript of 10 Westward Expansion
In the early 1800s, Americans pushed steadily
westward. The rush to the West occurred, in
part, because of the “high hat,” made of
water-repellent beaver fur, which was
popular in Europe. Gradually the beaver population in the East was killed off, pushing fur trappers West in search for more furs. American merchant John Jacob Astor created one of the largest fur businesses, the American Fur Company. His company bought skins from western fur traders and trappers who become known as mountain men.
Mountain Men were men hired by eastern companies to trap animals for fur in the Rocky Mountains and other western regions of the United States.
2,000 mile trail from Missouri and Illinois into the Oregon Territory. They traveled in groups along this trail, in wagon trains ranging from 10-40 wagons. They brought a lot of supplies, but the trip always took longer than they thought, and the travelers fought hardships of food and water shortages, bad weather, and geographic barriers such as mountains and rivers. Native Americans often traded with them and there are few incidents of Indian attacks on this trip to Oregon. After the Rocky Mountains, the trail forked, those that stayed on the Oregon Trail ended up in what is now Portland Oregon today.
The Oregon Trail
The California Trail
Southern fork of the Oregon Trail… those that traveled south after crossing the Rocky Mountains on the Oregon Trail were taking the California Trail, which ended up near what is now San Francisco. Not many took this route as it was occupied by the Spanish and well-populated Spanish Territory.
A trail from Illinois to Salt Lake used by Mormons seeking religious freedom in the West. Mormons follow the teachings of Joseph Smith. Smith told his followers that he had found and translated a set
of golden tablets containing religious teachings. The writings were called the Book of Mormon. Church membership grew rapidly, but certain beliefs and practices caused Mormons to be persecuted. For example, beginning in the 1850s some Mormon men practiced polygamy—a practice in which one man is married to several women at the same time. The church outlawed this practice in 1890. Persecution caused Mormons to move west in search of religious freedom. They tried to move from their roots in New York, to Ohio, then Missouri, and finally Illinois. When Smith was murdered by an angry mob in 1844, leaving Brigham Young in charge of the church, Young led a group of Mormons to settle the area around Salt Lake in what is now Utah, establishing the Mormon Trail.
Primarily a trade route, this trail went from Missouri into Spanish Territory, ending in what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico. Although the trail was hot, dry, and Native Americans could be dangerous, trade with the Spanish was highly profitable and many American merchants were willing to make the trip.
The Santa Fe Trail
Old Spanish Trail
Extended the trade route of the Santa Fe Trail all the way to the Pacific Ocean to what is now Los Angeles.
Causes of the Texas Revolution
1. Mexico wins its independence from Spain.
In 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla led a revolt of 80,000 people in an effort to overthrow the Spanish hold on Mexico. It failed, but the act gained momentum and by 1821 Mexico had become independent.
2. Mexico wants more settlers in what is now Texas.
The new Mexico government started recruiting Americans to move into their country. They would get free land, as long as they agreed to follow Mexican laws. One of the most famous settlers was Stephen F. Austin, whom Austin, Texas, the state’s capitol is named after. Austin started a Texas colony on the lower Colorado River. The first 300 families became known as the Old Three Hundred. Austin's successful colony attracted other agents, and American settlers flocked to the region.
3. Mexico suspends American settlement and
centralizes authority in Mexico City
4. Conflict begins… In October 1835, the Mexican
Army tried to remove a cannon from the town of
By 1830 two things had happened in Texas. First of all, while most Americans agreed to follow Mexican laws, they were not doing so. They were not paying taxes and they would often bring slaves even though slavery was illegal in Mexico. Second, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, had taken over Mexico. Mexico had banned future settlement by Americans in Texas, and Santa Anna turned his attention to the growing unrest in Texas. Many ‘Texicans’ as Americans, who lived in Texas called themselves, were extremely angry about the new policies regarding American settlement in Texas.
Rebels stood next to the cannon. Their flag read, “Come and take it.” In the battle, the Texans won, and the Texas Revolution, or ‘War of Texas Independence’, had begun. On March 2, 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico. Sam Houston was chosen to lead the Texas army, while Stephen F. Austin went to the US to get troops and money.
The Texans’ actions angered Santa Anna. He began assembling a force of thousands to stop the rebellion. A hastily created army of Texas volunteers had been clashing with Mexican troops for months. Under Colonel William Travis, a small force took the town of San Antonio. It then occupied the Alamo, an abandoned mission near San Antonio that became an important battle site in the Texas Revolution. Volunteers from the United States, including frontiersman Davy Crockett and Colonel Jim Bowie, joined the Alamo’s defense. The rebels, numbering less than 200, hoped to stall the huge Mexican force while a larger Texas army assembled. For almost two weeks, from February 23 to March 6, 1836, the Texans held out. Before dawn on March 6, the Mexican army attacked. The Mexicans suffered heavy losses but overcame the Texans. All the defenders of the Alamo were killed, though some civilians survived. Following a later battle, at Goliad, Santa Anna ordered the execution of 350 prisoners who had surrendered. Texans were enraged by the massacres.
The Alamo 2:21
Santa Anna - Mexican general and politician, he was president of Mexico and became a dictator. Santa Anna fought in the Texas Revolution and seized the Alamo but was defeated and captured by Sam Houston at San Jacinto
Battle of San Jacinto
Santa Anna now chased the untrained forces of Sam Houston. Outnumbered, the Texans fled east. Finally, they reorganized at the San Jacinto River, near Galveston Bay. There, the Texans took a stand. Santa Anna was confident of victory, but he was careless in choosing the site for his camp. On the afternoon of April 21, 1836, while Mexican troops were resting, Houston’s forces swarmed the camp, shouting, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” The fighting ended swiftly. Santa Anna’s army was destroyed. In the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texans captured Santa Anna and forced him to sign a treaty giving Texas its independence.
Governor of Tennessee
Texas Revolutionary war hero
Elected President of Texas
Namesake of the city Houston TX
Texas offered land to Americans who settled in Texas, and most Texans want the United States to
annex, or take over, Texas and add it as a state.
The U.S. Congress also wanted to annex Texas. But
President Andrew Jackson refused. Jackson was
concerned that admitting Texas as a slave state
would upset the fragile balance of free and
slave states. The President also did not want to
have a war with Mexico over Texas.
Jackson finally recognized Texas as an independent nation. France did so in 1839.
Britain, which wanted to halt U.S.
expansion, recognized Texas in 1840. The Mexican government, however, did not
recognize Santa Anna’s forced handover
of Texas. For this reason, in 1837 the
republic organized the Texas Rangers
to guard its long frontier from Mexican
and Native American attacks.
Finally, in 1844 Texas and Mexico signed a peace treaty. Disputes about the treaty Santa Anna signed continued with Mexico, but in 1844 a formal peace treaty was agreed to; however the actual border will still be a point of controversy and won’t be settled until the Mexican-American War.
Can Texas Secede from the Union? 3:32
Some people believed it was America’s manifest destiny, or obvious fate, to settle land all the way to the Pacific Ocean in order to spread democracy. O’Sullivan coined the term in 1845. He wrote that it was America’s “manifest destiny to overspread and to possess the whole continent which Providence [God] has given us for the development of the great experiment of liberty…”
John Gast’s 1872 painting American Progress shows the spirit of manifest destiny.
Not everyone agreed with the way this "destiny was pursued.
"The American as conqueror is unwilling to appear in public as a pure aggressor: he dare not seize a California as Russia has seized so much land in Asia, or as Napoleon, with full French approval, seized whatever he wanted. The American wants to persuade not only the world, but himself, that he is doing God service, in a peaceable spirit, even when he violently takes what he has determined to get."
1844 Presidential Election
(James K. Polk defeats Henry Clay)
A question arose as America expanded about whether the new territories and states would allow slavery. John Tyler’s fondness for slavery made him unpopular his Whig Party, so the Whigs put Henry Clay up instead. The Democrats chose James K. Polk of Tennessee. Both candidates wanted to annex Texas and Oregon, but southerners feared Henry Clay would not be as aggressive in annexing Texas, thus not adding an important slave state, so Polk was able to narrowly defeat Clay in the election of 1844.
By the 1820s, Russia and Spain had given up their claims to Oregon Country. Britain and the United States had agreed to occupy the territory together. As more Americans settled there, they began to ask that Oregon become part of the United States. Polk wanted to protect these settlers’ interests. Some politicians noted that Oregon Country would provide a Pacific port for growing United States trade with China.
Meanwhile, Britain and the United States disagreed over how to draw the United States–Canadian border. American expansionists cried “Fifty-four forty or fight!” This slogan referred to the 54°40’ north latitude, the line to which Americans wanted their northern territory to extend. Neither side really wanted a war, though. In 1846 Great Britain and the United States signed a treaty that gave the United States all Oregon land south of the forty-ninth parallel. This treaty drew the border that still exists today…Texas came next.
America Acquires Oregon
By March 1845, Congress had approved annexation and needed only the support of the Republic of Texas. Americans continued to pour into Texas. Texas politicians hoped that joining the United States would help solve the republic's financial and military problems. The Texas Congress approved annexation in June 1845. Texas became part of the United States in December. This action angered the Mexican government, which considered Texas to be a “stolen province.”
This would lead to WAR!
Annexation of Texas
Mexico had lost Texas but controlled other areas in the present-day Southwest: New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California. The mission system was important in California, carrying out huge farming and ranching operations using Native American labor. Missions were organized through the Catholic Church, and worked to control the Californios (Mexican colonists) and Indians that lived in an area, controlled trade, and acted as local
California under Mexican Rule
governments. Under Mexican rule, missions were broken up in the 1830s. The territory was then divided by land grants given to the wealthiest California settlers. These wealthy landowners created vast ranchos, or ranches worked by vaqueros, or Mexican cowboys. About 3,200 settlers, or Californios, were in California in the early 1820s. Anglos, settlers from the United States, started to arrive in small numbers. Because of the distance that California had from Mexico City, the various groups living in California began calling for independence from Mexico.
The United States and Mexico were engaged in border disputes, particularly around the exact border of Texas. Mexico said their border extended to the Nueces River, while the US argued it extended to the
Rio Grande (present border), which was several hundred miles south, and west.
Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor and his army into the border region around the Rio Grande in 1846. U.S. troops clashed with Mexicans in April of 1846. The war began when Congress declared war on Mexico in April, 1846. Taylor’s forces won battles south of the Rio Grande in Mexico while General Stephen Kearny seized control of New Mexico.
Polk sent John Slidell to Mexico to try to buy New Mexico and California for $30 million. Mexican officials refused to speak to him.
(or excuse to start a fight?)
Only about 500 Americans were in California in 1846, in contrast to about 12,000 Californios. These Americans seized Sonoma and declared California to be an independent nation on June 14, starting the Bear Flag Revolt. They created a flag with a bear on it which many Mexicans made fun of, saying the bear on the flag looked more like a pig. John C. Frémont, leader of a U.S. Army mapping expedition, entered California to support its independence but eventually U.S. naval and military forces invaded California in June 1846 and claimed California for the United States. Like Texas, the end game for the Americans in California was annexation by the United States.
General Zachary Taylor’s forces defeated the Mexican army under Santa Anna at Buena Vista, California in February 1847. Buena Vista was a fierce battle with heavy casualties on both sides. Later General Winfield Scott’s forces seized the port of Veracruz in March 1847. Veracruz was the strongest fortress in Mexico. The final blow was when General Winfield Scott’s troops took Mexico City in September 1847 after a brave defense by Mexican soldiers.
End of the Mexican-American War
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
As a result of the Mexican-American War, the United States added territory in the Southwest. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo officially ended the war in 1848, and it awarded the US the Mexican Cession. The Mexican Cession included present-day California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. Mexicans in the cession areas were “protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty and property, and secured in the free exercise of their religion.” The cession also included area claimed by Texas north of Rio Grande. The Mexican Cession increased size of United States by almost 25 percent.
•Mexico recognized Texas as part of the U.S.
•Mexico recognized the Rio Grande River as the border with Texas
•Mexican Cession - Gave up lands that are present day California, Nevada, and Utah, and parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming
•U.S. paid $15,000,000 for the land and #3,500, 000 to American Citizens for debts that were owed them by Mexico
In the Gadsden Purchase of 1853, the United States paid $10 million to Mexico for southern parts of present-day Arizona and New Mexico. This was the final step in drawing the border of what we call the ‘continental United States’, i.e. the part of the United States that does not include Alaska and Hawaii.
American settlement in the Mexican Cession produced conflict and a blending of cultures. The new American settlers battled Mexicans and Native Americans for control of land, water, and minerals. Most Mexicans and Native Americans faced legal, economic, and social discrimination from the American settlers. However, the blending of the cultures shaped one another despite the conflicts. The names of many American southwest cities still reflect the Spanish, Mexican, and Native American heritage of the area and their knowledge and traditions shape those local economies and cultures to this day.
The California Gold
RushGold was discovered at
near present day San Francisco in 1848, leading about 80,000 people to come to California in 1849 seeking their fortune. These gold seekers came to be called ‘49ers’. Because California grew in population so fast, it quickly became a state and cities in California grew up almost overnight!
The Donner Party
The most famous group of California settlers was the Donn er Party, a group that got lost trying to find a shortcut through he Sierra Nevada Mountains during a heavy snow storm. They lost 42 of 87 members due to starvation. Their story is still a classic American story of perseverance.
California Grows Quickly
The lure of gold attracted miners from around the world. Many Chinese men came in hopes of making great wealth and then returning to China—about 24,000 from 1849 to 1853. Many Americans did not welcome the Chinese, but the Chinese still worked in gold mines, opened their own businesses, and held other jobs. Eventually, the Chinese are instrumental in building the railroads. In 1853, California placed a high monthly tax on foreign miners and the legal system favored Americans over immigrants. In 1849 alone, about 20,000 immigrants arrived in California from China, Europe, Mexico, and South America. The gold rush has a lasting impact on California’s population and economy. The population explosion quickly made California eligible for statehood and it became the 31st state in 1850.
The rapid growth had negative effect on Californios and Native Americans in California. But, the new businesses and industries transformed California. Completion of transcontinental railroad in 1869 ended isolation from rest of country and aided economy.
The California Gold Rush
Gold Rush 2:48
Westward / Donner Party / Story of US 10:00