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Chapter 17 Manifest Destiny and Its Legacy, 1841–1848.

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1 Chapter 17 Manifest Destiny and Its Legacy, 1841–1848

2 I. The Accession of “Tyler Too” “Old Tippecanoe” enters office and is bombarded with Whig spoilsmen. Although president of the Whig party, the real leaders were Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. William Henry Harrison, trying to prove that he wasn’t as old and frail as he looked decided to give his incredibly long inaugural address out in the freezing cold without a coat… bad decision. He got pneumonia and died 4 weeks in to his administration.

3 John Tyler would be the first Vice President to take over the office. The ex-Democrat Tyler was probably still a bit more Democrat than Whig, but his named rhymed with “Tippecanoe” so what are you going to do?

4 II. John Tyler: A President Without a Party After a hard fought victory, the Whigs were excited to outline their strong nationalistic programs. – Pro-Bank – Pro-Protective tariff – Pro-internal improvements Clay pushes “Fiscal Bank” through Congress to establish a new bank of the United States. Tyler veto’s it for both practical and constitutional grounds.

5 Whig leaders tried once again to pacify their party president by passing a “Fiscal Corporation” bill, but the president still vetoed it. – Democrats were ecstatic! – Whigs officially expel Tyler from their party and the majority of his cabinet resigns. Tyler does sign the Tariff of 1842 after it was scaled back considerably. He didn’t like the protective tariff, but realized the need for additional revenue.

6 V. The Lone Star of Texas Shines Alone After 1836, Mexico still refused to recognize Texas as independent. – And threatened war if the U.S. allied itself with Texas. Texas was forced to maintain an expensive military in order to protect itself from an attack from Mexico that could come at any time. Texas then looked to Britain and France for protection.

7 In 1839 and 1840, Texas made treaties with France, Holland, and Belgium. Britain was very interested in an independent Texas. – Having influence over Texas would enable them to: check U.S. expansion Manipulate Texas to move against the U.S. creating a diversion so Britain could move into the Americas and challenge the Monroe Doctrine

8 VI. The Belated Texas Nuptials The topic of Texas became the leading issue during the Presidential campaign of 1844. Pro-expansion Democrat James K. Polk wins the election over Whig Henry Clay. Many see this as a “mandate” to acquire Texas. The Lame duck president Tyler couldn’t get the two-thirds vote in the Senate, so he arranged for annexation by a joint resolution. – This required only a simple majority in both houses of Congress. – The resolution passed in 1845, and Texas was invited into the Union.

9 VII. Oregon Fever Populates Oregon Oregon country was a huge wilderness that stretched from California to southern tip of Alaska. British claims to Oregon stemmed from: – Prior discovery and exploration – Treaty rights – Actual occupation (Hudson’s Bay Company)

10 American claims could also point to : – Past exploration Captain Robert Gray in 1792 finds and names Columbian River. Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804-1806 – Actual occupation (missionaries and other settlers) Americans had proposed dividing the territory at the 49 th parallel, but the British refused because they wanted the Columbia River. They then agreed on “joint occupation.”

11 By 1846 the American number had reached about 5,000 settlers just south of the Columbia River and was rising, while the British were only able to increase their number to 700 (just north of the river.) The British saw the importance of coming to a peaceful settlement line. – British offer the Columbian River – Americans offer 49 th parallel

12 VIII. The Campaign of 1844… A Mandate for Manifest Destiny??? The campaign of 1844 was influenced by the emotional surge of Manifest Destiny. – Henry Clay (whig) loses to pro-expansionist James K. Polk. During the 1840s and 1850s people felt a sense of mission, they believed that God had destined them to spread democracy over at least North America, possibly South America too.

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14 During the campaign of 1844, expansionist Democrats were calling for the Oregon territory shouting “All of Oregon or None!” – “Fifty-four forty or fight” begins two years later in 1846. They also pointed out that Clay was a dirty slaveowner… they didn’t say anything about the slaves that Polk owned though. Polk came in with 170 to 105 in the Electoral College and 1,338,464 to 1,300,097 in popular vote.

15 Whether it was a mandate or not who knows, but Tyler passes the resolution just the same.

16 IX. Polk the Purposeful One of Polk’s goals was a lowered tariff. He had his secretary of treasury Robert Walker reduce the Tariff of 1842 rates from 32% to 25%. – The Walker Tariff made its way through Congress and proved to be an excellent revenue producer. The main reason however, was because it preceded a booming economy with heavy imports.

17 Another of Polk’s major objectives was to restore the independent treasury dropped by the Whigs in 1841. The third and fourth points Polk wanted to accomplish were to acquire California and to settle the dispute in Oregon. – Once the southern Democrats had annexed Texas, they began losing interest in fighting for the northwest. – We offered the 49 th parallel and Britain insisted on the Columbia River. We say 54 40 or fight and Britain says, “how about the 49 th parallel?”

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19 X. Misunderstandings with Mexico The population of California was mixed. – 13,000 Spanish Mexicans – 75,000 Natives – Less than 1,000 “foreigners” Polk wanted to buy California from Mexico, but relations between the U.S. and Mexico were strained (they threatened war if the U.S. allied with Texas.)

20 The U.S. had claims against Mexico for the tune of $3 million in damages against American citizens property. Mexico, after threatening war if the U.S. allied with Texas, recalled its minister from Washington so all communication was cut off. The southwestern border of Texas had been the Nueces River. But the expanding Texans claimed the border was actually the Rio Grande (they were full of it.)

21 The Mexicans didn’t really care what the Texans claimed because to them all of Texas was still theirs anyway. Polk was fighting rumors that Britain was about to buy California from Mexico, so he sent John Slidell to Mexico City with orders to buy California for a maximum of $25 million. Mexico wouldn’t even allow Slidell to present his “insulting” proposition.

22 XI. American Blood on American (?) Soil Polk was ready for a showdown. – Jan. 13, 1846, he ordered 4,000 men under General Zachary Taylor to march from the Nueces River to the Rio Grande. – Polk hoped that the Mexicans would fire on the troops so a war would break out… it didn’t happen. – Polk then started drafting a request for congress to declare war on Mexico because of the (1) unpaid claims and (2) Slidell’s rejection.

23 – As fate would have it, April 25 th, 1846, Mexican troops cross the Rio Grande and attack Taylor’s troops. – A giddy Polk sends a message to Congress declaring, “despite our best efforts” to avoid war, we are forced into it by the shedding of “American blood upon the American soil.” – Lincoln calls for a spot resolution… He wanted to know the “spot” American blood was shed.

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