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Unit 7 Notes
by MOHAMED SAMATER - Sunday, November 15, 2015, 12:08 PM
Manifest Destiny

•Fell on the idea that America was destined, by God and history, to expand it’s boundaries over the a vast area, including and not restricted, the continent of North America.

•Throughout the 1840s, many defended the idea of western expansion by citing the superiority of the “American race”- white people of northern European origins. They argued the Manifest Destiny could not be absorbed in a republican system.

•Indians, Mexicans, and others in the western regions were racially unfit to be part of an “American” community.

•Clay and other politicians feared territorial expansion would reopen controversy over slavery and threaten the stability of the Union.

Americans in Texas

•Early 1820s, the Mexican government encouraged American immigration. They hoped to strengthen their economy and increase tax revenue. An 1824 colonization law attracted Americans settlers by promising the newcomers cheap land and no taxes for 4 years.

•By 1830, 7,000 Americans were in Texas, twice as much Mexicans.

•Stephen Austin established the first legal American settlement in Texas in 1822. 1826, an American led a revolt to establish Texas as an independent nation. Mexicans crushed it and passed new laws barring American immigration, 4 years later.

•Americans kept coming, and Mexico dropped the ban in 1833. 1835, there were over 30,000 Americans in Texas.

Tensions Between the United States and Mexico

•Mid-1830s, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna became dictator and imposed a new more conservative and autocratic regime on the nation. A new law increased powers of national gov. of Mexico taking from state govs. Stephen Austin was arrested by in Mexico City for encouraging revolts. Violence broke out between the Mexican gov. and American settlers to the point of sending troops and defying rules in 1835 and 1836.

•Santa Anna sent an army to Texas, with American settlers finding it hard to build a defense. Mexican forces destroyed an American garrison at the Alamo mission in San Antonio. By the end of 1836, rebellion seemed to have collapsed.

•General Sam Houston kept a small army, and on April 23rd, 1836, at the Battle of San Jacinto, he defeated the Mexican army and took Santa Anna for prisoner. American troops then killed many Mexican soldiers for the executions in Goliad. Santa Anna, under pressure, signed a treaty to give Texas independence. Though Mexico repudiated the treaty, no military effort to get Texas back.

•The president of Texas, Sam Houston, was to send a delegation to Washington with an offer to join the Union. There were some who supported and did not support, including President Jackson, who did not support annexation and delayed it until 1837. President Van Buren and Harrison did not touch the topics, either.


•Oregon country was half-million square miles including present day Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and parts of Montana and Wyoming, and half of British Columbia. Britain and the US claimed its sovereignty, the British based on the 1790s exploration by George Vancouver, a naval officer, and America was by Robert Gray, a fur trader. They agreed in 1818 with a treaty for citizens of each country equal access to the territory.

•Many white Americans moved to Oregon in the early 1840s, and outnumbered the British settlers. They also devastated much of the Indian population, with a measles epidemic that spread through Cayuse. The tribe blamed the whiteman, and in 1847 they attacked it and killed 13 whites, including Marcus and Narcissa. The white population increasing urged the gov. to get Oregon.

The Westward Migration

•Many people from the Old Northwest, white and black, went on journeys for new opportunities. Most traveled in family groups, until the 1850s, when the gold rush attracted single and young men. Many men were wealthy, but a poor man could join a family or group as a laborer.

•Some wanted the gold, but others planned to take advantage of the vast lands the was selling at a modest price for farming or speculation. Some wanted to be merchants or go on religious missions and escaping the diseases the plaguing the cities in the East.

Life on the Trail

•Most migrants, 300,000 between 1840 and 1860, travelled west along the great trail. They gathered in one of several major depots in Iowa an Missouri w/ a hired guide in a wagon train. Most went on the Oregon Trail, 2,000-miles long, spanning the Great Plains to the Rocky Mountains. Some moved along the Santa Fe Trail.

•They faced many hardships, like thousands of people dying due to cholera in the early 1850s. A usual journey would last 5 or 6 months, May to November. Around 400 migrants died in conflict with the tribes.

•Men would drive the wagon or repair it and go hunting. Women would be cooking, washing clothes, and caring for children. Some found the journey with many experiences with close ones due to the weeks of travel with no other human contact. One most frequent disaster was the communal character breaking down.

The Democrats and Expansion

•James K. Polk represented Tennessee in the House of Representatives for 14 years, 4 as the speaker, and served as governor. By 1844, he was out of office for 3 years and picked democratic nomination for president for his stance on the annexation of Texas, which helped him win.

•February 1845, the outgoing pres. won the congressional approvement and in that December, Texas became a state.

•The British minister in Washington rejected Polk’s compromise of a US-Canada border at the 49th parallel. The British gov. accepted Polk’s offer in 1846 to avoid a war. June 15th, 1846,the Senate approved a treaty that fixed the border at the 49th parallel.

The Southwest and California

•1845, Mexican gov. broke diplomatic relations with Washington. Texans claimed the Rio Grande as the border. Mexico argued that the border had always been the Nueces River. Polk accepted the Texas claim and sent a small army under General Zachary Taylor to protect it against a Mexican invasion in the summer of 1845.

•California had several western Indian tribes and 7,000 Mexicans. Then, a flood of whites came in, including merchants and captains of ships.

The Mexican War

•Polk sent out a special minister, John Spidell, to buy off the Mexicans and was rejected by Mexican leaders. January 13th, 1846, Polk ordered Taylor’s army to go to the Rio Grande. Mexicans did not want to fight, until a Mexican troop crossed the Rio Grande and attacked American soldiers. May 13th, 1846, Congress declared war.

•Whigs accused Polk of deliberately maneuvering the country into conflict and organized the conflict on the border for the declaration. Many said the conflict was draining resources and was preoccupied with Mexico since Oregon .

•Taylor was sent to seize northeastern  Mexico, beginning with Monterrey and then to Mexico City. Taylor captured Monterrey in September, 1846 w/o the Mexican garrison without pursuit. Polk feared Taylor lacked tactical skill for a planned attack on Mexico City and he was becoming a political threat.

•Summer of 1846, a small army under Colonel Stephen Kearny captured Santa Fe w/ no opposition. Then, Kearney joined John Fremont’s exploring party and the American navy: so-called Bear Flag Revolution. Kearney joined the forces together and in the autumn of 1846, he completed the conquest of California.

•General Scott assembled an army at Tempico, with the navy travelling them along the Mexican coast to Veracruz. Outnumbered by more than 14,000, Scott advanced 260 miles along the Mexican National Highway to Mexico City. It kept American casualties low and helped takedown the capital. A new gov. arose, seeking a treaty.

•Polk sent out a presidential envoy, Nicholas Trist, to negotiate a treaty. February 2nd, 1848, a treaty was met with the new gov. on the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Mexico ceded California and New Mexico to the US and the Rio Grande as the boundary of Texas. The US promised financial claims to its new citizens  and pay Mexico $15 million.

Slavery and the Territories

•Rep. David Wilmot of Pennsylvania introduced a new amendment to the appropriation bill prohibiting slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico. It passed in the House but failed at Senate. It would be debated for several years.

•Polk supported a proposal to extend the Missouri Compromise line to the Pacific Coast. Others supported a plan, known as “squatter sovereignty” or “popular sovereignty”, which would allow the people of each territory to decide the status of slavery there.

•General Zachary Taylor became president in 1848. The Free-Soil Party emerged, the Know-Nothing, signaled the inability of the existing parties to contain the political passions slavery was creating.

The California Gold Rush

•In January 1848,James Marshall, a carpenter working on one of John Sutter’s sawmills, found traces of gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. Sutter tried to suppress the news because a gold rush would destroy his empire.

•49ers were California migrants, who did not care about caution. They abandoned their jobs and families to go on ships and ride the trails. 95% of 49ers were men, with a society being fluid and volatile because of the absence of children and females.

•The gold rush attracted some of the first Chinese migrants to the western United States. It was difficult for those poor Chinese peasants to come to America, but the young, adventurous people went anyway. They became free laborers and merchants looking for gold or using this as an economic opportunity.

•As white vigilantes, calling themselves “Indian hunters”, were hunting down and killing thousands of Indians (while the Native American pop. in Cali. dropped from 150,000 to 30,000). A state law permitted the arrest of “loitering” or orphaned Indians and their assignment to a term of “indentured labor”.

Rising Sectional Tensions

•Taylor believed statehood could become the solution to the issue of slavery. At Taylor’s urging, California quickly adopted a constitution that prohibited slavery, and in December 1849, Taylor asked Congress for California to be a free state. Congress balked due to abolishment in Washington, D.C and in the North, liberty laws barring courts and police officers from returning runaway slaves. Also, in 1849, the number of free and slave states was 15 each. California would unbalance it.

The Compromise of 1850

•Henry Clay put together a piece of legislation and presented it to Senate on January 29th, 1850. Among them was the admission of California as a free state, territorial government in lands of former Mexico, with restrictions on slavery, and the abolition trade of slavery.

•The first dominant voices were old men, who argued for or against the compromise on basis of broad ideals. John C. Calhoun, 68 years and barely able to sit while a colleague read his speech. He insisted the the North grant the South equal rights in the territories, cease attacking slavery, and Congress build dual presidents w/one for the North and South, a veto apiece.

•Congress defeated Clay’s proposal. Clay left Washington to spend his summer resting in the mountains. Calhoun didn’t even make it to the vote in July. And Webster became secretary of state, leaving the Senate and debate.

•William Seward rose, while being opposed the proposed compromise. Ideals of Union were less than emancipating slaves to him. Also, Jefferson Davis was a rep. of the South and saw slavery less than economic self-interest. Most important was Stephen Douglas, a westner from a rapidly growing state. His career was mostly towards sectional gain and personal self-promotion.

•Zachary Taylor said after California and maybe New Mexico were states, then other issues would be discussed. July 9th, 1850, Taylor had died by a violent stomach disorder. He was succeeded by Millard Fillmore, who supported the compromise and used it to persuade Northern Whigs into line.

•Douglas’s first step, after Clay left, was to break up the “omnibus bill” that Clay saw as a great solution to the sectional crisis and introduce instead a series of measures to be voted one by one.

•The Compromise of 1850 was not made of widespread agreement on common national ideas, but Congress hailed it as a triumph of statesmanship.

The Uneasy Truce

•Both political parties endorsed the Compromise of 1850, and Democrats chose Franklin Pierce and the Whigs cose General Winfield Scott as presidential candidates. But the Whigs faced massive defections from antislavery members angered by the party’s evasiveness on the issue. Many joined the Free-Soil Party, with John P. Hale as the pres. candidate. This helped the Democrats take the win.

•Franklin avoided divisive issues, like slavery, to keep national harmony. Northern opposition grew to the Fugitive Slave Act, with Southerners looking for the people labeled as fugitives. Mobs formed in northern cities to prevent law enforcement with some states barring the deportation of slavery.

“Young America”

•“Young America” saw the expansion of American democracy throughout the world as a way to divert attention from the controversies of slavery. They dreamed as well of expanding American commerce in the Pacific and getting new territories in the Western  Hemisphere.

•1854, his group sent a private document from Ostend, Belgium, making the case for seizing Cuba by force. The publication of the Ostend Manifesto enrage antislavery northerners, charging the administration with conspiring to bring a new slave state into the Union.

•The kingdom of Hawaii agreed to join the United States in 1854, but the treaty died in Senate because it contained a clause prohibiting slavery in the islands.

Slavery, Railroads, and the West

•By the 1850s, the line of substantial white settlement moved beyond the boundaries of Missouri, Iowa, and present day Minnesota into a great expanse of plains, many people believed unfit for cultivation. Prospective settlers used the gov. to open area for them and dislodge tribes.

•To fix communication with the older states and areas west of the Mississippi by building a transcontinental railroad. Northerners favored Chicago being the eastern terminus, the rapidly growing capital of the free states of the Northwest. Southerners voted St. Louis, Memphis, or New Orleans, all being in slave states.

•Pierce’s secretary of war, Jefferson Davis, removed one obstacle to a southern route. Surveys indicated a railroad with a southern terminus would have to pass through an area in Mexican territory. 1835, Davis sent James Gadsden, a southern railroad builder, to persuade the Mexican gov. to accept $10 million in exchange for a strip of land that comprises Arizona and New Mexico today.

The Kansas-Nebraska Controversy

•Being and representing Chicago, Stephen Douglas wanted the railroad in his home. His argument was that the northern route west of the Mississippi would go through substantial Indian pop. As a result, Douglas introduced a bill in January 1854 to organize a huge new territory, known as Nebraska.

•Douglas added a provision that slavery would be determined by the territorial legislature. In theory, the region could choose to open itself to slavery. With pressure from southern Democrats, Douglas added a new clause repealing the Missouri Compromise and agreed to divide the area into territories, Kansas and Nebraska. It became a law in May 1854.

•The divisions in the Democratic party after the Kansas-Nebraska Act helped spur the creation of a new party. Those who opposed Douglas’s bill called themselves Anti-Nebraska Democrats and Whigs. In 1854, they formed a new organization named the Republican Party, and in that year, with allies among the Know-Nothings, were allowed to organize the House of Representatives.

“Bleeding Kansas”

•For the 2 years in Kansas, there was political turmoil. One example was when people from the North and the South, and in the spring of 1855, elections were held with only 1,500 legal voters in Kansas, with pro-slavery forces electing a majority of legislature.

•John Brown considered himself an instrument of God’s will to destroy slavery, which is a reason he moved to Kansas with his sons. After the events in Lawrence, he gathered 6 followers, 4 being his sons, and killed 5 pro-slavery settlers, leaving their bodies to discourage other supporters of slavery entering Kansas.

•After hearing remarks of Charles Sumner about Senator Andrew Butler’s wife, Preston Brooks went to Charles Sumner’s desk during a recess and beat him relentlessly. Sumner, trapped in desk, stood up and tore his desk from the bolts holding it down. He collapsed, bleeding and unconscious. Sumner was unable to return to the Senate for 4 years. Butler resigned, moved to South Carolina, and was re-elected.

The Free-Soil Ideology

•Abolitionists believed slavery was a moral evil needed to be destroyed, white northerners saw it slavery as dangerous because of what it threatened to do to whites. They argued, in the heart of American society, was the right of all citizens to own property, control their labor, and to have access to opportunities for advancement.

•“Slave Power conspiracy” was that the South extending slavery throughout the nation and thus to destroy the openness of northern capitalism and replace it with closed, aristocratic system of the South.

The Pro-Slavery Argument

•White southerners were building an intellectual defense for slavery, like Professor Thomas Dew of the College of William and Mary in 1832. Calhoun stated that the essence of the case in 1837: Southerners should stop apologizing for slavery as a necessary evil and defend it as “a good-a positive good”. They said slavery was the only way that the 2 races could live together.

•Southern apologists argued slavery was good because it served as the basis for the southern way of life- a way of life superior to any other in the United States. They saw the North with greed and the horror of the factory system. They saw themselves a stable, orderly society.

Buchanan and Depression

•Democratic leaders wanted a pres. candidate who was not closely associated with the explosive question of “Bleeding Kansas”. They chose James Buchanan. Republicans chose John C. Fremont with a reputation as an explorer of the Far West. The Know-Nothing party was breaking apart, nominated former president Millard Fillmore.

•Buchanan, 65 and the oldest president except Harrison, won a narrow victory. He was a very timid and indecisive president. The year he was brought to office, a financial panic occurred, and a depression years later. In the North, it strengthened the Republican Party because the working class moved closer to Republican party.

The Dred Scott Decision

•On March 6th, 1857,the Supreme Court put its idea on the sectional controversy in Dred Scott v. Sandford. Dred Scott was a Missouri slave, once owned by an army surgeon who took Scott to Illinois and Wisconsin, both with no slavery. 1846, after the surgeon died, Scott sued his master’s widow for freedom on the grounds that his residence in free territory. John Sandford, the brother of the widow, was now claiming ownership of Scott.

•The Supreme Court was unable to issue a single ruling on the case. Chief Justice Roger Taney, declared that Scott could not bring in a suit in federal courts because he was not a citizen. Taney argued, blacks had no citizenship and no rights under the Constitution.

•The statement that the fed. gov. was powerless to act on the issue was a drastic and startling one. Southern whites were elated, while northerners produced widespread dismay.

Deadlock over Kansas

•President Buchanan endorsed the Dred Scott decision. During this, he tried to resolve the controversy over Kansas by supporting its admission to the Union as a slave state. In 1857, in Lecompton, with pro-slavery forces dominated the constitutional convention by framing a constitution legalizing slavery.

•Most of Kansas opposed slavery, but Buchanan was pressured by Congress to admit Kansas under the Lecompton constitution. Douglass and other western Democrats refused to support the president’s proposal, which died in the House of Representatives. In April 1858, Congress made a compromise to let citizens in Kansas postpone statehood or join the Union, and it was postponed until the final months of Buchanan's admin. as a free state.

The Emergence of Lincoln

•Lincoln was a successful lawyer who had been involved state politics. He served several terms in the Illinois legislature and one undistinguished term in Congress. He tried to gain visibility by disputing Douglas in debates. The debates brought in enormous crowds and received wide attention.

•Douglas appeared to have no moral position on the issue and, Lincoln claimed, did not care whether slavery was up or down. Lincoln believed slavery was morally wrong, but not an abolitionist. He could not envision an easy alternative to slavery in the areas where it existed.

•Lincoln lost the election but gained a big following in and out the state. The elections did not go in favor for the Democrats. The party remained control the Senate but lost its majority in the House.

John Brown’s Raid

•In the fall of 1859, John Brown made elaborate plans to seize a mountain fortress in Virginia. On October 16, he and a group of 18 followers attacked and seized control a US arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. But the slave rising Brown hoped for never happened and surrounded by citizens, local militias, and troops under Robert Lee. After 10 of his men died, Brown surrendered. He was tried in a Virginia court for treason and sentenced to death by being hanged with 6 followers.

The Election of Lincoln

•The Democratic party was torn apart by a battle of southerners and westerners. The party convention met in April in Charleston, South Carolina. When the convention endorsed popular sovereignty, delegates from 8 states in the lower South walked out. They couldn’t pick a presidential candidate, then they agreed to meet in Baltimore in June, where they picked Stephen Douglas. Those who walked out, nominated John Bethridge.

•Meanwhile, the Republicans broadened their appeal to interest group in the North that feared the South was blocking its economic aspirations. The Republican nomination was Abraham Lincoln because of his firm but moderate position on slavery and relative obscurity.

•Lincoln won the election, but the Republicans didn’t do too well in Congress and disunion began with a bloody war between two groups.

Crash Course 17 & 18

•Journalist John O’Sullivan coined the term Manifest Destiny to describe America's god given right to take over all the land between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

•By 1860, nearly 300,00 people made the trip known as the “Oregon Trail” with a lot of people dying of dysentery and cholera.

•A majority of Americans supported the The Mexican War. And it was the first war for American troops to fight on foreign soil.

•After the Treaty of Guadalupe, Mexicans in America were still seen inferior to men though they legally should have rights to property.

•There was a rising tide of anti-Catholic, known as nativism and the party of Know-Nothing because if you asked them about their politics, they said nothing.

•The Californian Constitution of 1850 gave rights to white men, no one else could cote or testify in court and Indians were kicked off their land if it had mineral value, while orphans were sold as slaves.

•New fugitive slave law require to turn in anyone they knew to be a slave to authorities. But free blacks could still be sent to jail if a person swore in front of a judge. Many decided to move to Canada.

•The Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and displayed popular sovereignty.

•There were many incidents of North and South violence, like a town being taken over by cannons.