Tensions between the unified States and also Mexico quickly deteriorated in the 1840s together American expansionists eagerly eyed mexican land come the west, including the lush northern Mexican district of California. Indeed, in 1842, a U.S. Naval fleet, mistakenly believing battle had broken out, seized Monterey, California, a component of Mexico. Monterey was reverted the following day, but the illustration only included to the uneasiness through which Mexico regarded its north neighbor. The forces of expansion, however, could not it is in contained, and also American voters chosen James Polk in 1844 since he promised to deliver an ext lands. Chairman Polk fulfilled his promise by obtaining Oregon and, most spectacularly, provoking a war v Mexico that at some point fulfilled the wildest fantasies the expansionists. By 1848, the joined States encompassed much of north America, a republic that stretched from the Atlantic come the Pacific.
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JAMES K. POLK and THE TRIUMPH that EXPANSION
A fervent id in expansion gripped the United claims in the 1840s. In 1845, a new York newspaper editor, john O’Sullivan, introduced the concept of “manifest destiny” to define the really popular idea that the special duty of the United claims in overspreading the continent—the divine right and duty the white americans to seize and settle the American West, thus spreading Protestant, autonomous values. In this climate the opinion, voter in 1844 chosen James K. Polk, a slaveholder indigenous Tennessee, because he vowed to annex Texas together a brand-new slave state and also take Oregon.
Annexing Oregon was an essential objective for U.S. Foreign policy because it showed up to be an area well-off in commercial possibilities. Northerners favored U.S. Manage of Oregon because ports in the Pacific Northwest would certainly be gateways because that trade v Asia. Southerners hope that, in exchange for their assistance of growth into the northwest, northerners would certainly not oppose plans for growth into the southwest.
President Polk—whose campaign slogan in 1844 had been “Fifty-four fourty or fight!”—asserted the joined States’ best to obtain full regulate of what was well-known as Oregon Country, from its southern border at 42° latitude (the existing boundary with California) to its north border in ~ 54° 40′ latitude. According to one 1818 agreement, good Britain and also the unified States organized joint ownership of this territory, yet the 1827 treaty of joint Occupation opened the land to settlement by both countries. Realizing that the british were not willing to cede all claims to the territory, Polk propose the land be split at 49° latitude (the current border in between Washington and also Canada). The British, however, refuse U.S. Cases to land phibìc of the Columbia river (Oregon’s existing northern border) ((Figure)). Indeed, the British foreign secretary refused also to relay Polk’s proposal come London. However, reports that the difficulty Great brothers would face defending Oregon in the occasion of a U.S. Attack, linked with concerns over affairs in ~ home and elsewhere in the empire, quickly readjusted the minds of the British, and also in June 1846, Queen Victoria’s federal government agreed to a department at the forty-ninth parallel.
This map the the Oregon territory throughout the period of joint occupation by the United says and great Britain mirrors the area whose ownership was disputed by the 2 powers.
In January 1846, the U.S. Force that was ordered come the banks of the Rio Grande to develop a fort on the “American” next encountered a Mexican cavalry unit ~ above patrol. Shots rang out, and also sixteen U.S. Soldiers were eliminated or wounded. Angrily advertising that Mexico “has invaded our territory and also shed American blood ~ above American soil,” president Polk inquiry the United says declare war on Mexico. On might 12, conference obliged.
The tiny but vocal antislavery faction decried the decision to go to war, suggesting that Polk had deliberately furious hostilities so the unified States might annex much more slave territory. Illinois representative Abraham Lincoln and other members of conference issued the “Spot Resolutions” in which they demanded to recognize the specific spot top top U.S. Soil wherein American blood had actually been spilled. Many Whigs also denounced the war. Democrats, however, sustained Polk’s decision, and also volunteers because that the army came front in droves indigenous every part of the nation except brand-new England, the seat of abolitionist activity. Enthusiasm for the war was aided by the extensively held id that Mexico was a weak, impoverished country and also that the mexico people, perceived as ignorant, lazy, and also controlled through a corrupt roman Catholic clergy, would certainly be basic to defeat. ((Figure)).
Anti-Catholic sentiment played an important role in the Mexican-American War. The American public widely regarded Roman Catholics together cowardly and vice-ridden, favor the priest in this ca. 1846 lithograph who are displayed fleeing the Mexican city of Matamoros accompanied by pretty women and also baskets complete of alcohol. (credit: Library of Congress)
The contract of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in February 1848, to be a triumph for American expansionism under which Mexico delivered nearly half its land to the united States. The mexican Cession, as the occupation of floor west the the Rio Grande to be called, had the current states of California, new Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and also portions the Colorado and also Wyoming. Mexico also recognized the Rio Grande as the border with the unified States. Mexico citizens in the delivered territory were promised U.S. Citizenship in the future when the areas they were living in came to be states. In exchange, the United says agreed to assume $3.35 million precious of mexico debts fan to U.S. Citizens, payment Mexico $15 million for the ns of that land, and also promised come guard the residents of the mexico Cession indigenous Indian raids.
As considerable as the mexico Cession was, some suggested the joined States have to not it is in satisfied until it had taken all of Mexico. Numerous who to be opposed to this idea were southerners who, if desiring the addition of an ext slave territory, go not desire to make Mexico’s large mestizo (people of combined Indian and European ancestry) population component of the joined States. Rather did not desire to absorb a huge group of roman Catholics. These expansionists can not expropriate the idea of new U.S. Territory filled through mixed-race, Catholic populations.
Explore the U.S.-Mexican war at PBS to read around life in the Mexican and U.S. Militaries during the war and to learn an ext about the assorted battles.
CALIFORNIA and also THE gold RUSH
The joined States had no method of understanding that component of the land about to be ceded by Mexico had actually just end up being far much more valuable than anyone can have imagined. Top top January 24, 1848, James Marshall found gold in the millrace of the sawmill that had developed with his partner John Sutter on the south fork the California’s American River. Word conveniently spread, and also within a couple of weeks every one of Sutter’s employees had actually left to find for gold. As soon as the news reached San Francisco, most of its citizens abandoned the town and headed because that the American River. Through the end of the year, countless California’s residents had gone north to the gold areas with visions of riches dancing in your heads, and in 1849 thousands of people from approximately the world followed lock ((Figure)). The yellow Rush had begun.
Word around the discovery of gold in California in 1848 easily spread and thousands soon made their means to the West coastline in find of fast riches.
The fantasy of immediate wealth induced a fixed exodus come California. Inhabitants in Oregon and also Utah rushed come the American River. Easterners sailed approximately the southern reminder of southern America or to Panama’s Atlantic coast, wherein they crossed the Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific and booked ship’s i for mountain Francisco. As California-bound vessels stopped in southern American harbor to take it on food and fresh water, thousands of Peruvians and Chileans streamed aboard. Easterners who could not afford come sail come California overcome the continent on foot, on horseback, or in wagons. Rather journeyed from as much away as Hawaii and Europe. Chinese people came as well, including to the polyglot population in the California boomtowns ((Figure)).
This Currier & Ives lithograph indigenous 1849 imagines the extreme lengths that human being might walk to in order come be component of the California gold Rush. In enhancement to the guys with picks and shovels do the efforts to reach the delivery from the dock, airships and also rocket are presented flying overhead. (credit: Library that Congress)
Once in California, gathered in camps with names like Drunkard’s Bar, Angel’s Camp, Gouge Eye, and Whiskeytown, the “forty-niners” go not uncover wealth so simple to come by together they had first imagined. Although part were may be to discover gold by panning because that it or shoveling floor from flow bottoms right into sieve-like contraptions called rockers, many did not. The placer gold, the gold that had been washed down the mountains into streams and also rivers, was easily exhausted, and also what remained was deep below ground. Live independence miners to be supplanted by providers that could afford not only to acquisition hydraulic mining an innovation but also to hire laborers to work the hills. The disappointed of many a miner to be expressed in the native of Sullivan Osborne. In 1857, Osborne created that he had actually arrived in California “full of high hopes and also bright anticipations the the future” only to discover his desires “have long because perished.” back $550 million precious of yellow was found in California between 1849 and 1850, very small of it saw individuals.
Observers in the gold fields also reported abuse of indians by miners. Part miners required Indians to work-related their claims for them; others drove ind off your lands, stole native them, and even murdered them. However, were usually disliked, particularly those from south America. The most despised, however, to be the hundreds of Chinese migrants. Passionate to knife money to send to their families in Hong Kong and southern China, they conveniently earned a reputation as frugal men and hard employees who frequently took end diggings others had actually abandoned together worthless and also worked them until every scrap of gold had actually been found. Many American miners, often spendthrifts, resented their presence and also discriminated against them, believing the Chinese, who represented about 8 percent the the virtually 300,000 who arrived, to be depriving lock of the opportunity to do a living.
Visit The Chinese in California to learn more about the experience of Chinese migrants who came to California in the Gold sirloin era.
In 1850, California implemented a taxation on foreign miners, and also in 1858 the prohibited all immigrant from China. Those Chinese who remained in the confront of the farming hostility were regularly beaten and also killed, and also some Westerners do a sports of cutting off Chinese men’s queues, the long braids the hair worn under their backs ((Figure)). In 1882, Congress took up the power to restrict immigrant by banning the additional immigration of Chinese.
“Pacific Chivalry: encouragement to Chinese Immigration,” which showed up in Harper’s Weekly in 1869, depicts a white guy attacking a Chinese guy with a whip together he holds that by the queue. Americans periodically forcefully reduced off the queues of Chinese immigrants. This might have serious after-effects for the victim. Until 1911, all Chinese men were required by their nation’s law to undertake the queue together a authorize of loyalty. Miners return to China without it can be placed to death. (credit: Library the Congress)
As civilization flocked to California in 1849, the population of the brand-new territory swelled from a few thousand to around 100,000. The new arrivals easily organized themselves into communities, and the trappings of “civilized” life—stores, saloons, libraries, phase lines, and also fraternal lodges—began come appear. Papers were established, and musicians, singers, and acting providers arrived to game the yellow seekers. The epitome of these Gold rush boomtowns was san Francisco, i m sorry counted just a couple of hundred occupants in 1846 but by 1850 had reached a populace of thirty-four thousand ((Figure)). So quickly did the territory grow that by 1850 California was ready to get in the Union as a state. Once it seek admission, however, the problem of enslavement expansion and sectional tensions arised once again.
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This daguerreotype shows the bustling harbor of mountain Francisco in January 1851, simply a couple of months after san Francisco became component of the new U.S. State that California. (credit: Library that Congress)