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Chapter 17.  Clay and Webster’s presumptuous assumption. ◦ Webster was Sec. of State. Clay the leader of the party in Congress.  Harrison’s reaction.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 17.  Clay and Webster’s presumptuous assumption. ◦ Webster was Sec. of State. Clay the leader of the party in Congress.  Harrison’s reaction."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 17

2  Clay and Webster’s presumptuous assumption. ◦ Webster was Sec. of State. Clay the leader of the party in Congress.  Harrison’s reaction  Clay leads party in power and is ready to finally put his policies into law  Harrison dies 40 days into presidency.  Tyler takes over. Wm. Henry Harrison Shortest Term of any President.

3  First vice president to take over for a president who died in office.  Why is he on the ticket.  Tyler is an old-school Virginian.  Why did he leave the Democratic Party for the Whigs?  Part of the minority wing of the Whig party that adhered to State’s rights.  His views are quite different from Clay and Webster.

4  Unofficial platform of the majority of the party  Tyler’s views on unofficial platform  Whigs accuse him of being a Democrat in Whig clothing  Another defeat for Clay. Henry Clay: foiled again

5  Whigs try to get their agenda enacted into law.  Repeal Independent Treasury. Passed.  Second part: Renew the Bank of the US. ◦ Tyler’s reaction.  “His Ascendancy”  What do Whig’s do to Tyler?  What does his cabinet do?

6  British-American relationship erupted in war of words in ◦ Causes?  Caroline affair.  Lumberjack war—Aroostook Valley, Maine. Maine boundary vague  Webster-Ashburton treaty


8  Texas in a precarious position.  US had spurned request for annexation.  Mexico still claims Texas as its Territory,  Threatened to take it back and threatened war with US if US annexed.  Many European countries were courting Texas  Britain especially was very interested. ◦ Why?

9  Texas becomes a leading issue in election of  Dem. James K Polk vs. Whig Henry Clay.  Democrats position.  Whigs position.  Polk wins.  What does Tyler do as a result..  Mexico angry and accuses US of theft.  Is Mexico right?

10  Oregon Territory: everything North of California, West of the Rockies up to  Both US and Brit have claims to the Territory.  Treaty of 1818: Joint occupation.  In 1840s,Oregon Trail. ◦ 5000 American in Oregon by Brits had only 700  Only a small areas really in dispute. Columbia river north to the 49th Par.


12  Election of 1844 Clay (Whig) against James K. Polk (Dem.).  James K Polk of Tenn. ◦ First “dark-horse” nominee ◦ Had been Speaker of the House and governor of Tenn. for two terms. ◦ Jackson sponsored him. ◦ Dems publicized him as a young Jackson. ◦ Southern expansionist

13  Dems expansionist. Platform was for annexation of Texas and taking Oregon all the way up to “54-40 or Fight”  Dems campaigned on Manifest Destiny ◦ What is “Manifest Destiny”  Whigs were mostly against annexation of Texas, equating it with an expansion of slavery, but Clay couldn’t win without votes in the south. ◦ He tried to be both for and against annexation, and his waffling hurt him  Other issues: tariff, slavery, the bank and internal improvements.

14  Polk won in a close election.  New York the key state.  Clay lost there by 5000 because Liberty Party not split the vote. ◦ Why did Clay loose votes to Liberty Party?  Tyler saw the election results as a mandate to annex Texas and started the ball rolling before he left office.

15  Polk not dynamic or impressive physically.  Serious and worked very hard.  Not brilliant, but was dogged, shrewd and well organized. Did not delegate much.  Four-point program for his presidency  Only one-term President to make the list of Top-10.

16  One: Reduced Tariff. Succeeded in reducing the tariff from 32 to 25%.  Two: Restoration of Independent Treasury. Accomplished.  Three: Settlement of Oregon. ◦ Polk and southern Dems. didn’t want all of Oregon, despite platform. Why? ◦ Brits recognize that they must compromise.  Why? ◦ Brits agree to divide at 49 th Par.

17  Acquiring California Polk’s fourth goal. ◦ Why does he want it?  US likely to get eventually through settlement, but Polk doesn’t want to wait. ◦ Why?  Offers to buy from Mexico. Mexico doesn’t want to sell. ◦ Ongoing disputes with Mexico

18  Polk’s strategy to get Mexico?  Continuing dispute with Mexico over border of Texas. Nueces or Rio Grande?  Polk sends Zachery Taylor’s troops across the Nueces into disputed Terr.  Mexican troops cross Rio Grande and attack Taylor.  Polk asks for a declaration of war claiming that US troops attacked on “US” soil.


20  How did rivalry with Britain affect the American decision to annex Texas, the Oregon dispute, and lesser controversies of the period?

21  America catches war fever  Spot resolution. ◦ What? ◦ Who?  Many Whigs vehemently against the war. ◦ Why?  Mexican’s spoiling for war, as well. ◦ Why?  Assessing Polk’s actions

22  Santa Anna dupes the US  Steven Kearny, Santa Fe 1846  John C. Fremont (Great Pathfinder), Bear Flag Rebellion  Zachery Taylor defeats Santa Anna at Battle of Buena Vista Zachery Taylor

23  Polk leaves Taylor where he is. Why?  Winfield Scott (“Old Fuss and Feathers”) Vera Cruz and March on Mexico City.  One of the most brilliant campaigns in US history. Captures Mexico City.  Scott hero during the war of  Best general produced by US between Rev. War and Civil War.

24  2/2/1848.  Terms? ◦ American title to Texas confirmed with Rio Grande the border. ◦ Mexico yielded Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada to US. (with Texas, is about ½ of Mexico.) Land referred to as Mexican Cession. ◦ US to pay 15 Million and assume claims of citizens there against Mexico worth about 3 Million. (18.5 Mill compared to 25 Mill. prepared to pay for Cal. before the war.)

25  Identify the short and long-term consequences of the war.

26  What caused the Mexican War? Did Polk provoke the Texas-boundary conflict in order to gain California or expand slavery, as war opponents like Lincoln charged?  What were the benefits and costs of the Mexican War both immediately and in the longer run of American History?

27  Wilmot Proviso  Mexican American War was the opening chapter on events that led to the Civil War because of the new territory added.  Foreshadows the Civil War: ◦ Practice for military leaders ◦ More land to dispute over slavery

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