JAMES K. POLK is an expansionist.
He and the supporters of Manifest Destiny wanted to acquire California.
The whole southwest, including California was part of the Mexican territory.
Mexico/Santa Ana still does not acknowledge Texas as a lone star republic.
Boundary dispute → America thinks the border is at the Rio Grande and Mexico claims it is at the Nueces River.
Concern that England wanted to buy or seize California for themselves.
Polk sends John Slidell to Mexico to offer to buy California for $25 million and demand Rio Grande be the southern border of Mexico.
Mexico refuses the offer.
Polk orders General Zachary Taylor (old Rough and Ready) into the disputed territory along the Rio Grande river in 1846.
Mexican forces don’t like that the Americans are on Mexican soil so they attack, beginning the Mexican-American War (training ground for the civil war).
16 Americans are killed
Congress votes for War, but Northerners are suspicious.
Abraham Lincoln (Part of the Whig party) → introduces the Spot Resolution
Northern Whigs are concerned the war is an excuse by southerners to expand slavery
Most of the war was fought in mexican territory by small groups of Americans.
During the first year of the war, David Wilmot of PA proposed the Wilmot Proviso.
It said that any new territories acquired from Mexico would prohibit slavery.
Although it passed in the House twice, it was defeated in the Senate and contributed to Northern and Southern tensions.
For Mexico, the war was a military disaster from the start, but the Mexican government was unwilling to sue for peace or concede the loss of its northern lands.
After the Fall of Mexico city, the Mexican government had little choice but to agree to U.S terms.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was negotiated by Mexico and an American diplomat.
1. Mexico recognized the Rio Grande as the southern border of Texas.
2. The United States took possession of the former Mexican provinces of California and New Mexico (Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona etc)--the Mexican Cession. The U.S paid $15 million and assumed responsibility for any claims of American citizens against Mexico.
The US territory increases by ⅓ whilst Mexico loses about half of its territory.
Polk was very successful in expanding united states, but he chooses not to run again.
Democrats nominated Senator Cass who pledged to popular sovereignty.
Whigs nominated Zachary Taylor (Mexican War hero) who had never been involved in politics and took no position on slavery.
Free Soil Party nominated Martin Van Buren.
TAYLOR Narrowly defeated Cass.
“A Frenzy of Fortune Seekers”
The discovery of gold in CA set off the first of many migrations to the west → the mining boom brought thousands of men.
Western cities arose as a result of railroads, mineral wealth and farming that attracted business owners.
Boomtowns formed → helping CA gain statehood.
Merchants made the most money in the gold rush.
CA became the 31st state → setting off the balance between free and slave states: south gets angry!
America wanted to build a canal through central America - Great Britain wanted to do the same.
This treaty stated that neither nation would attempt to take executive control of any future canal route in Central America.
President PIERCE succeeded in adding a strip of land to the American Southwest for a transcontinental railroad.
In 1853, Mexico agreed to sell thousands of acres of semi desert land to the U.S for $10 million → became part of Arizona and New Mexico.
Many Southerners were dissatisfied with the territorial gains from the Mexican War → they hoped to gain territories in Latin America.
Polk had offered to buy Cuba from Spain for $100 million, but Spain refused to sell it.
FRANKLIN PIERCE adopted pro-Southern policies and dispatched three American diplomats to Ostend, Belgium, where they secretly negotiated to buy Cuba from Spain.
It was leaked to the U.S and antislavery members of Congress became angry.
William Walker unsuccessfully tried to take Baja California from Mexico in 1853.
Leading a force of mostly Southerners, he took over Nicaragua in 1855.
His scheme to develop a proslavery Central American empire collapsed when a coalition of Central American countries invaded and defeated him.
He was executed in 1860.
Over Speculation of Land.
Prices for midwestern Farmers, dropped sharply, and unemployment in Northern cities increased.
Cotton prices remained high, the South was less affected.
Southern believed that their plantation economy was superior and that continued union with the Northern economy was not needed.