“In July 1821, Stephen F. Austin set off from Louisiana for the Texas territory in the northeastern corner of Mexico. The Spanish government had promised to give his father, Moses, a huge tract of Texas land if the elder Austin settled 300 American families there. Moses died before he could fulfill his end of the deal. On his deathbed, he asked Stephen to take his place in Texas. When Austin settled in Texas, it was not a wild and empty land. Long a part of Spain’s Mexican colony, the area was under Mexican control after the country achieved independence from Spain in 1821. The Spanish-speaking inhabitants of the area, called Tejanos,had established settlements in the southern portion of the region but few Tejanos lived north of these settlements. That area was the territory of the Apache, Comanche, and other Native American groups.
Unable to persuade its own citizens to move closer to the Native American groups, Mexico decided to continue Spanish policy and invite Americans and other foreigners to settle there. Between 1823 and 1825 Mexico passed three colonization laws, which offered cheap land to nearly anyone willing to come. The last law granted new immigrants a 10-year exemption from paying taxes but required that they become Mexican citizens, live under Mexican law, and convert to Roman Catholicism. But for various reasons, few settlers did. The Spanish Catholic Church was alien to the traditions of most American settlers, and only a few bothered to learn Spanish. In 1830 Mexico closed its borders to further immigration by Americans and banned the import of enslaved labor as well. Mexico also placed taxes on goods imported from foreign countries, hoping to discourage trade with the United States. These new laws infuriated the settlers. Without immigration their settlements could not grow. The import tax meant higher prices for goods they were accustomed to purchasing from the United States. Perhaps worst of all, the Mexican government was telling them what they could and could not do. They saw no reason to follow the orders of a government they hardly considered their own. Over time, war was declared and Texas gained its independence. In September 1836 the newly independent republic called its citizens to the polls. They elected Sam Houston as their first president and voted in favor of annexation, or becoming part of the United States. President Andrew Jackson did not want to increase North-South tensions or risk a costly war with Mexico, which continued to claim ownership of Texas. Jackson made no move toward annexation, though on his last day in office he did sign a resolution officially recognizing Texas as an independent nation.” ~ The American Vision
1. During its years as a Mexican province, Texas
(1) Became a haven for runaway slaves.
(2) Received offers of financial aid from Britain for abolishing slavery.
(3) Expanded trade with Mexico along the Santa Fe Trail.
(4) Attracted American settlers with inexpensive land grants.
2. By 1830, American settlers in Texas had displeased Mexican authorities by
(1) Evading import duties on goods from the United States.
(2) Refusing to emancipate their slaves.
(3) Insisting on local self-government.
(4) Failing to convert to Catholicism.
(5) All of the answers are correct.
Timeline: Mexican-American War 1845
U.S. President John Tyler wished to annex Texas but the Senate rejected an annexation treaty due to Northern anti-slavery forces who feared Texas would become a slave holding state.
March 1: United States Congress voted to annex the Republic of Texas.
March 4: Expansionist James K. Polk became president of the United States. One of the goals of his administration was to acquire California and New Mexico from Mexico. The main interest was San Francisco Bay as an access point for trade with Asia. Polk claimed the Rio Grande as the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico.
December 29: Texas became the 28th state of the United States. Mexico broke diplomatic relations with the United States.
Mexico did not accept the border at the Rio Grande River.
March 8: American General Taylor was authorized to move south into disputed territory.
March 28: American General Taylor reached the Rio Grande. The Mexican commander in Matamoros considered this an invasion of Mexican territory but was not authorized to attack.
By April, fighting erupted. American Congress declares war.
America reached compromise with Britain over Pacific Northwest with the Canadian-U.S. border set at the 49th parallel.
July 4: American settlers in California declared independence from Mexico and established the “Bear Flag” Republic.
July 7: Mexican Congress declared war on the U.S.
January 24: Gold discovered at Sutter’s Mill in California [Gold Rush]
February 2: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo signed. America gained California, Nevada Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. Mexico lost 55% of its prewar territory. America paid $15 million in compensation. Mexicans living in lands ceded (about 80,000) were to be treated as U.S. citizens.
July 31 Last of American troops departed Mexico.
1. How did President Polk provoke the Mexican-American War?
(1) By refusing to negotiate a diplomatic solution
(2) By ordering an attack on Mexican troops using moveable artillery
(3) By campaigning on the policy of “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!”
(4) By sending troops south of the Nueces River into Mexican territory 2. In the 1820s, New Mexico, Texas, and California attracted expansionists because
(1) The U.S. government had influence over Spain.
(2) They were rich in resources and thinly settled.
(3) The Mexican government did not want to develop these provinces.
(4) Congress had passed new legislation called Manifest Destiny. 3. What was the outcome of Polk’s expansionist policies in the Oregon Territory?
(1) The Oregon Territory was split between the United States and Britain.
(2) Mexico received part of the Oregon Territory.
(3) Polk forced Britain to surrender its land in the Oregon Territory.
(4) The United States and Britain warred over rights to the Oregon Territory. 4. Who was president of the United States during the Mexican-American War?
(1) Henry Clay (3) James K. Polk
(2) Zachary Taylor (4) Andrew Jackson 5. The slogan “Fifty-four forty or fight!,” the annexation of Texas, and the Mexican War all relate to the
(4) California and Oregon. 10. People who believed in Manifest Destiny were known as
(1) Mountain men. (3) Missionaries.
(2) Expansionists. (4) Trappers.
Mini-Thematic Essay [January 2014] :
Theme: Geography – Territorial Acquisition
Throughout the nation’s history, the United States has expanded through the acquisition of new territories. These acquisitions have had both positive and negative effects on the United States. Task:
Select one territory acquired by the United States and
• Describe the historical circumstances that led the United States to acquire the territory
• Discuss positive and/or negative effects of the acquisition of this territory on the United States Some suggestions you might wish to consider include Texas (1845), the Oregon Territory (1846), and California (1848)
Based on the map, state two methods used by the United States government to acquire new territory. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________