Learning Objectives

By the end of the area, you'll be able to:

  • Identify the causes of the Mexican-American War
  • Describe positive results regarding the war in 1848, particularly the Mexican Cession
  • Describe the end result associated with the Ca Gold Rush on westward expansion

Tensions between your united states of america and Mexico quickly deteriorated in the 1840s as United states expansionists eagerly eyed Mexican land to the west, like the lush north Mexican province of California. Indeed, in 1842, a U.S. naval fleet, improperly thinking war had broken away, seized Monterey, Ca, an integral part of Mexico. Monterey was came back the very next day, but the episode just added to the uneasiness with which Mexico viewed its northern neighbor. The forces of expansion, but cannot be included, and US voters elected James Polk in 1844 because he promised to deliver more lands. President Polk fulfilled their promise by gaining Oregon and, most spectacularly, provoking a war with Mexico that finally fulfilled the wildest fantasies of expansionists. By 1848, the usa encompassed much of the united states, a republic that stretched from Atlantic to your Pacific.

A fervent belief in expansion gripped the usa in the 1840s. In 1845, a fresh York newsprint editor, John O’Sullivan, introduced the idea of “manifest destiny” to spell it out the popular notion of the special role for the united states of america in overspreading the continent—the divine right and responsibility of white People in america to seize and settle the American West, thus distributing Protestant, democratic values. In this climate of opinion, voters in 1844 elected James K. Polk, a slaveholder from Tennessee, because he vowed to annex Texas as a brand new slave state and take Oregon.

Annexing Oregon ended up being an important goal for U.S. international policy because it appeared to be a place abundant with commercial opportunities. Northerners preferred U.S. control of Oregon because ports in Pacific Northwest would be gateways for trade with Asia. Southerners hoped that, in return for their help of expansion to the northwest, northerners will never oppose plans for expansion to the southwest.

This map regarding the Oregon territory throughout joint career by america and britain shows the region whose ownership had been contested by both powers.

President Polk—whose campaign motto in 1844 was indeed “Fifty-four forty or fight!”—asserted the United States’ to gain complete control of that which was known as Oregon nation, from its southern border at 42° latitude (the existing boundary with Ca) to its north border at 54° 40′ latitude. In accordance with an 1818 contract, Great Britain and the united states of america held joint ownership of the territory, however the 1827 Treaty of Joint Occupation launched the land to settlement by both nations. Realizing that the British are not willing to cede all claims towards the territory, Polk proposed the land be divided at 49° latitude (the present edge between Washington and Canada). The British, however, denied U.S. claims to secure north of the Columbia River (Oregon’s present northern edge). Certainly, the Uk international secretary declined also to relay Polk’s proposal to London. However, reports for the trouble the uk would face defending Oregon in the event of a U.S. assault, along with issues over affairs in the home and elsewhere in its kingdom, quickly changed the minds associated with the British, plus in June 1846, Queen Victoria’s government consented to a division within forty-ninth parallel.

As opposed to the diplomatic solution with Great Britain over Oregon, when it found Mexico, Polk together with United states individuals proved prepared to use force to wrest more land for the United States. In keeping with voters’ expectations, President Polk set his places regarding Mexican state of California. Following the mistaken capture of Monterey, negotiations about purchasing the port of san francisco bay area from Mexico broke down until September 1845. Then, after a revolt in Ca that left it divided in 2, Polk attempted to buy Upper Ca and New Mexico and. These efforts went nowhere. The Mexican government, angered by U.S. actions, refused to acknowledge the liberty of Texas.

Finally, after almost a decade of public clamoring for the annexation of Texas, in December 1845 Polk formally decided to the annexation of this former Mexican state, making the Lone celebrity Republic one more slave state. Incensed that the usa had annexed Texas, however, the Mexican government refused to discuss the problem of attempting to sell land towards the United States. Certainly, Mexico refused even to acknowledge Polk’s emissary, John Slidell, who was simply provided for Mexico City to negotiate. Not to ever be deterred, Polk encouraged Thomas O. Larkin, the U.S. consul in Monterey, to help any American settlers and any Californios, the Mexican residents associated with state, whom wished to proclaim their independency from Mexico. By the finish of 1845, having broken diplomatic ties with the United States over Texas and achieving grown alarmed by United states actions in California, the Mexican government warily anticipated another move. It would not have long to hold back.

In 1845, whenever Texas joined up with the United States, Mexico insisted the usa had a right and then the territory northeast regarding the Nueces River. The usa argued in turn that it need title to any or all land between the Nueces therefore the Rio Grande as well.

Expansionistic fervor propelled america to war against Mexico in 1846. The usa had very long argued that the Rio Grande had been the edge between Mexico and also the United States, and at the end of Texas war for independency Santa Anna had been forced to concur. Mexico, however, declined to be bound by Santa Anna’s guarantees and insisted the edge lay farther north, at Nueces River. Setting it on Rio Grande would, in effect, allow the United States to regulate land it had never ever occupied. In Mexico’s eyes, consequently, President Polk violated its sovereign territory when he ordered U.S. troops into the disputed lands in 1846. From the Mexican viewpoint, it appeared the United States had occupied their country.

In January 1846, the U.S. force which was purchased to the banking institutions associated with Rio Grande to create a fort regarding the “American” part encountered a Mexican cavalry device on patrol. Shots rang out, and sixteen U.S. soldiers had been killed or wounded. Angrily declaring that Mexico “has invaded our territory and shed United states bloodstream upon United states soil,” President Polk demanded america declare war on Mexico. On 12, Congress obliged.

The little but vocal antislavery faction decried the decision to go to war, arguing that Polk had intentionally provoked hostilities and so the usa could annex more slave territory. Illinois representative Abraham Lincoln alongside members of Congress issued the “Spot Resolutions” in which they demanded to learn the complete just right U.S. soil where United states blood was in fact spilled. Many Whigs additionally denounced the war. Democrats, however, supported Polk’s choice, and volunteers the army arrived ahead in droves out of each and every part of the nation except brand new England, the chair of abolitionist activity. Passion for the war had been aided by the commonly held belief that Mexico was a weak, impoverished nation which the Mexican individuals, regarded as ignorant, lazy, and managed by a corrupt Roman Catholic clergy, will be an easy task to beat.

Anti-Catholic belief played an important role in Mexican-American War. The American general public commonly regarded Roman Catholics as cowardly and vice-ridden, like clergy in this ca. 1846 lithograph that shown fleeing the Mexican town of Matamoros followed closely by pretty females and baskets filled with alcohol. (credit: Library of Congress)

U.S. military strategy had three main goals: 1) Take control of north Mexico, including New Mexico; 2) seize Ca; and 3) capture Mexico City. General Zachary Taylor and their Army of the Center were assigned to complete the initial objective, along with superior tools they quickly grabbed the Mexican town of Monterrey. Taylor quickly became a hero into the eyes associated with American individuals, and Polk appointed him commander of all of the U.S. forces.

General Stephen Watts Kearny, commander of Army regarding the western, accepted the surrender of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and moved on to take control of Ca, making Colonel Sterling Price in demand. Despite Kearny’s assurances that brand new Mexicans do not need to fear for their life or their home, as well as in fact the region’s residents rose in revolt in January 1847 in an effort to drive the People in america away. Although cost been able to put an end to the rebellion, tensions remained high.

Kearny, at the same time, found its way to Ca to get it already in American fingers through joint efforts of California settlers, U.S. naval commander John D. Sloat, and John C. Fremont, a previous army captain and son-in-law of Missouri senator Thomas Benton. Sloat, at anchor off the coast of Mazatlan, learned that war had started and quickly set sail for California. He seized the city of Monterey in July 1846, under a month after a group of American settlers led by William B. Ide had taken control of Sonoma and declared California a republic. Per week following the autumn of Monterey, the navy took San Francisco without any opposition. Though some Californios staged a short-lived rebellion in September 1846, many more submitted towards the U.S. takeover. Hence Kearny had small to do besides take command of California as the governor.

Leading the Army of the South ended up being General Winfield Scott. Both Taylor and Scott were possible rivals the presidency, and believing—correctly—that whoever seized Mexico City would become a hero, Polk assigned Scott the campaign to prevent elevating the greater popular Taylor, who was simply affectionately referred to as “Old Rough and prepared.”

Scott captured Veracruz in March 1847, and moving in a northwesterly direction from there (much as Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés had done in 1519), he slowly shut in on money. Every action regarding the means was a hard-fought victory, but and Mexican soldiers and civilians both fought courageously to truly save their land from the American invaders. Mexico City’s defenders, including young army cadets, fought towards the end. According to legend, cadet Juan Escutia’s final act would be to save your self the Mexican banner, in which he leapt from city’s walls along with it wrapped around his human anatomy. On September 14, 1847, Scott entered Mexico City’s central plaza; the town had dropped. While Polk as well as other expansionists required “all Mexico,” the Mexican federal government therefore the usa negotiated for peace in 1848, resulting in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

Generally Scott’s Entrance into Mexico (1851), Carl Nebel illustrates General Winfield Scott on a white horse entering Mexico City’s Plaza de los angeles Constitución as anxious residents of city watch. One girl peers furtively from behind the curtain of an upstairs window. Regarding left, a person bends down to get a paving stone to toss at invaders.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in February 1848, had been a triumph for United states expansionism under which Mexico ceded nearly half its land on usa. The Mexican Cession, once the conquest of land western regarding the Rio Grande was called, included the current states of Ca, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and portions of Colorado and Wyoming. Mexico additionally recognized the Rio Grande because the border utilizing the united states of america. Mexican residents within the ceded territory were guaranteed U.S. citizenship in the foreseeable future whenever territories these people were surviving in became states. In trade, the usa consented to assume $3.35 million worth of Mexican debts owed to U.S. citizens, paid Mexico $15 million the loss of its land, and promised to guard the residents regarding the Mexican Cession from Indian raids.

As considerable due to the fact Mexican Cession ended up being, some argued america really should not be satisfied until it had taken most of Mexico. Numerous who were opposed to this concept had been southerners whom, while desiring the annexation of more servant territory, did not desire to make Mexico’s big mestizo (people of mixed Indian and European ancestry) population part of the united states of america. Others failed to want to absorb a sizable band of Roman Catholics. These expansionists couldn't accept the thought of new U.S. territory filled up with mixed-race, Catholic populations.

Explore the U.S.-Mexican War at PBS to see about life within the Mexican and U.S. armies throughout the war and also to learn more about the various battles.

term about the finding of gold in California in 1848 quickly distribute and thousands quickly made their option to the western Coast in search of fast riches.

The United States had no chance of comprehending that an element of the land about to be ceded by Mexico had simply become much more valuable than anyone might have thought. On January 24, 1848, James Marshall discovered silver in the millrace associated with sawmill he had constructed with his partner John Sutter regarding south fork of California’s American River. Word quickly spread, and within 2-3 weeks every one of Sutter’s employees had left to search for gold. Whenever news reached San Francisco, the majority of its inhabitants abandoned the town and headed for the American River. By the conclusion of the year, a huge number of California’s residents had opted north to your silver fields with visions of wealth dancing in their heads, as well as in 1849 tens and thousands of individuals from across the world followed them. The Gold Rush had started.

The dream of immediate wealth induced a mass exodus to Ca. Settlers in Oregon and Utah hurried to the American River. Easterners sailed across the southern tip of South America or even to Panama’s Atlantic shore, where they crossed the Isthmus of Panama to your Pacific and scheduled ship’s passage for san francisco bay area. As California-bound vessels stopped in South American ports to defend myself against meals and fresh water, a huge selection of Peruvians and Chileans streamed aboard. Easterners whom cannot manage to sail to California crossed the continent by foot, on horseback, or in wagons. Others journeyed from because far as Hawaii and European countries. Chinese people came too, increasing the polyglot population in the California boomtowns.

This Currier & Ives lithograph from 1849 imagines the extreme lengths that folks might visit to be an element of the Ca Gold Rush. In addition to the guys with picks and shovels trying to achieve the ship from the dock, airships and rocket are shown traveling overhead. (credit: Library of Congress)

When in California, gathered in camps with names like Drunkard’s Bar, Angel’s Camp, Gouge Eye, and Whiskeytown, the “forty-niners” failed to find wealth so easy to come by as they had first thought. Although some could find silver by panning for this or shoveling soil from river bottoms into sieve-like contraptions called rockers, many did not. The placer silver, the gold that were washed down the mountains into streams and rivers, ended up being quickly exhausted, and exactly what stayed ended up being deep below ground. Separate miners had been supplanted by companies which could afford not just to purchase hydraulic mining technology but in addition to employ laborers to operate the hills. The frustration of several a miner had been expressed in terms of Sullivan Osborne. In 1857, Osborne published he had found its way to Ca “full of high hopes and bright anticipations of the future” only to find his aspirations “have long since perished.” Although $550 million worth of gold had been within Ca between 1849 and 1850, little of it went along to people.

Observers in silver areas also reported punishment of Indians by miners. Some miners forced Indians to the office their claims for them; others drove Indians off their lands, took from their store, as well as murdered them. Foreigners had been generally speaking disliked, especially those from South America. The most despised, but were the thousands of Chinese migrants. Eager to build an income to send to their families in Hong Kong and southern China, they quickly attained a reputation as frugal men and hard workers who regularly took over diggings other people had abandoned as worthless and worked them until every scrap of gold was indeed discovered. Many American miners, often spendthrifts, resented their existence and discriminated against them, thinking the Chinese, whom represented about 8 per cent for the nearly 300,000 who arrived, were depriving them associated with the opportunity to make a living.

Go to the Chinese in Ca to learn more concerning the experience of Chinese migrants whom found Ca inside Gold Rush era.

This daguerreotype shows the bustling port of bay area in January 1851, just a few months after san francisco bay area became area of the brand new U.S. state of California. (credit: Library of Congress)

In 1850, Ca imposed an income tax on foreign miners, plus in 1858 it prohibited all immigration from China. Those Chinese whom remained in the face of the growing hostility were frequently beaten and killed, plus some Westerners made a hobby of cutting off Chinese men’s queues, the long braids of locks used down their backs. In 1882, Congress took up the power to limit immigration by banning the further immigration of Chinese.

As people flocked to California in 1849, the people regarding the new territory swelled from a couple of thousand to about 100,000. This new arrivals quickly arranged themselves into communities, additionally the trappings of “civilized” life—stores, saloons, libraries, stage lines, and fraternal lodges—began to seem. Magazines had been established, and performers, vocalists, and acting organizations arrived to amuse the gold seekers. The epitome of the Gold Rush boomtowns ended up being bay area, which counted only some hundred residents in 1846 but by 1850 had reached a population of thirty-four thousand ([link]). So quickly did the territory grow that by 1850 Ca ended up being prepared to enter the Union as a situation. When it sought admission, but the issue of slavery expansion and sectional tensions emerged yet again.

“Pacific Chivalry: Encouragement to Chinese Immigration,” which starred in Harper’s Weekly in 1869, illustrates a white man attacking a Chinese guy with a whip as he holds him by the queue. Us americans sometimes forcefully take off the queues of Chinese immigrants. This might have severe consequences for the target. Until 1911, all Chinese males had been needed by their nation’s law to wear the queue as a sign of commitment. Miners going back to Asia without it could possibly be put to death. (credit: Library of Congress)

President James K. Polk’s management had been a time period of intensive expansion the United States. After overseeing the final details concerning the annexation of Texas from Mexico, Polk negotiated a peaceful settlement with Great Britain regarding ownership associated with Oregon nation, which brought america what are now the states of Washington and Oregon. The acquisition of extra lands from Mexico, a country many in the us regarded as poor and substandard, wasn't so bloodless. The Mexican Cession added almost 1 / 2 of Mexico’s territory to your United States, including brand new Mexico and Ca, and established the U.S.-Mexico edge at the Rio Grande. The Ca Gold Rush quickly expanded the people for the brand new territory, and prompted concerns over immigration, particularly from China.

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Glossary

Californios Mexican residents of California

forty-niners the nickname for individuals who traveled to Ca in 1849 assured of finding silver

Mexican Cession the lands west associated with the Rio Grande ceded towards the united states of america by Mexico in 1848, including California, Arizona, brand new Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado

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