Chapter 17: Manifest Destiny and Its Legacy 1841-1848

The Accession of "Tyler Too":

  • William Henry Harrison was basically controlled by Secretary of State Daniel Webster and Henry Clay
  • Harrison died of pneumonia after 4 weeks in the White House
  • Virginian John Tyler became president - kind of a Democrat - had problems w/ Whig pro-bank, pro-protective tariff, pro-internal improvement ideals

John Tyler: A President Without a Party:

  • Clay designed new "Fiscal Bank" - reestablish Bank of the United States - Tyler vetoed
  • Whigs pushed bank again, called it "fiscal corporation" - Tyler vetoed
  • Whigs started hatin' on Tyler - entier Cabinet resigned except for Webster
  • Whigs devised tariff - distribution among states of revenue from land sales in the West. Tyler vetoed.
  • Redevised tariff bill w/o dollar distribution (rates about Tariff of 1832) 32% tax - Tyler reluctantly signed 1842.

A War of Words with Britain:

  • Hatred against Britain brewed (because 2 wars, Federalists dead, snide comments from British travellers)
  • "3rd war with England" - only ink was spilled - Yankees indebted to England *tsk tsk* - Panic of 1837
  • British force set American vessel on fire "The Caroline" at Niagara, Canada. McLead (mastermind behind burning) freed w/ airtight alibi.

The Lone Star of Texas Shines Alone:

  • Mexico didn't acknowledge Texas; independence, viewed them as "province in revolt"
  • Texas made treates w/ France, Holland, Belgium for protection (1839). Britain also wanted to help TX - they could check US power in South and make it easier for foreigners to acquire land there - Britain also wanted to trade at Texas (no US tariff) and grow cotton in TX (less dependence on US)

The Belated Texas Nupitals:

  • Campaign of 1844 - James K. Polk (pro-expansionist Democrat) vs. Henry Clay (Whig) - Democratic vitory = "mandate to acquire TX"
  • Tyler passed resolution early 1845 and hello, Texas!

Oregon Fever Populates Oregon:

  • Wilderness from top of Cali to bottom of Alaska - once claimed by: Spain, Russia, Britain, US.
  • Britain and Us both had claims on Oregon at the moment
  • American pioneers travelled in covered wagons on Oregon trail
  • Americans outnumbered British in oregon -> dispute over columbia River/49th parallel/pacific ocean region -> tossed into election of 1844.

A Mandate(?) for Manifest Destiny:

  • Polk=former speaker of the House, friend of Jackson, "Young Hickory"
  • Manifest Destiny = God had destined the Americans to control the continent, spread democracy. Land greed + "empire," "liberty"
  • Polk's campaign = Man. Dest., "Reannexation of TX," "Reoccupation of Oregon" (54'40 or fight!)
  • Clay Whigs campaigned "Clay, Union, and Liberty." Clay ( a compromiser ) said he favored annexing TX (to appease the South), but favored postponement (for the North)
  • Polk won (anti-Texas Liberty Party screwed Whigs over)
  • Democrats winning=mandate for Texas

Polk the Purposeful:

  • Polks goals:
  1. Lower tarrif: Secretary of Treasury Robert J. Walker lowered 32% Tariff of 1842 to 25% (Walker Tariff of 1846). Went through Congress - New England mad :(
  2. Independent Treasury: Whigs opposed, but it passed in 1846
  3. Acquisition of California
  4. Settlement of Oregon dispute - 1846 British (after denying this) proposed 49' border - Senate approved.

Misunderstandings with Mexico:

  • California - Mexicans and Indians
  • Polk wanted to buy Cali, but relations w/ Mexico sucked
  • Rumors that Britain wanted Cali - Polk sent John Slidell to Mexico City 1845 to offer $25 million max for Cali - Mexicans refused

American Blood on American(?) Soil:

  • Polk sent troops (under Zachary Taylor) to taunt Mexicans by Rio Grande. Nothing happened.
  • Polk asked Congress to declare war on Mexico for 1)unpaid claims, and 2)Slidell's rejection. Congress wanted Mex to fire first - and they did! April 25, 1846, attacked Taylor's army
  • Congress voted war!
  • Polk: "Mexicans shed American blook on American soil!" Whigs: You sure it's our soil? You sure you ain't just provokin' them?

The Mastering of Mexico:

  • Mexican dictator was banished to Cuba - tricked Americans to sneaking him back to Mexico, but then helped Mexicans.
  • General Stephen Kerny w/ help of John Fremont (explorer) overthrew Mexican rule in Cali 1846
  • General Zachary Taylor marched to Buena Vista - victory!
  • General Winfield Scott - battled Mexico City in 1847 - brilliance! Best general ever!

Fighting Mexico for Peace:

  • Trist and Scott arranged for armistice w/ Santa Anna, bribed him w/ $10,000
  • Trist signed Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in Feb 1848
  • Treaty confirmed US title to Texas, and huge are to Cali (half of Mexico) for $15 mil and cancel all debts
  • Treaty went to Senate. Whigs against war. Some greedy Southerners wanted all of Mexico. But the treaty was approved!

The Californios:

  • Californios: descendents of Spanish and Mexican conquerors in Cali.
  • 1769 - Spanish missions for Indians
  • => secularization
  • W/ American rule, riches to rags

Profit and Loss in Mexico:

  • Small war, American increased by 1/3
  • Trained army and navy for the upcoming Civil War
  • Worsened relations with Mexico and Latin America
  • Yanks (against Mex war) thought South just wanted Cali for another slave state - provoked slavery conflict
  • Wilmot amendment - no slavery in newly acquired Mexico territory - not passed in Congress but enforced in all but 1 free states.


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