The big goals for expansionists were texas

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- The big goals for expansionists were… TEXAS (Southerners) – Texas had been settled by Americans since 1821, when Mexico became independent and opened the area to all. By 1835, the settlers were numerous, powerful, and tended to ignore the Mexican gov’t, causing dictator Santa Anna to tighten control. This sparked a rebellion, which culminated in Texan independence and the establishment of the Lone Star Republic in 1836 . Texas opened annexation negotiations w/Washington and Tyler, eager to gain the 1844 Democratic nomination, pushed for it. The Senate, however, rejected it – Northerners and Whigs didn’t like the idea. OREGON (Northerners) – Oregon had been split between the US and Britain since the Convention of 1818, but when “Oregon Fever” broke loose in 1841 fervid expansionists began demanding the entire area for the US [“Fifty-four forty or fight”]. - Naturally, expansion into Oregon and the rejection of Texas worried Southern leaders, who responded by convincing the 1844 Democratic convention to use a new rule – if candidate not chose by 2/3 of convention he’s out. This blocked Van Buren as the nominee and led to 106
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the selection of James K. Polk [hard money Jacksonian, expansionist, slaveholder]. - So in the Presidential Election of 1844 Polk ran against Henry Clay [Whigs] and James Birney [Liberty Party, took votes from Clay] and beat them both. - Right before leaving office, though, Tyler got Texas admitted into the Union [ December 1845 ] through a joint resolution of Congress [requires only simple majority while treaty needs 2/3]. The Road to Civil War (1845 – 1861) *The Mexican War* - In the 1844 election, expansionist Polk [Democratic] was elected. Polk quickly set about accomplishing his territorial goals – starting by provoking a war w/Mexico (right before his inauguration the US had annexed Texas) by urging the Texans to seize all the land to the Rio Grande. - When Mexico argued about the border, Polk sent troops under General Zachary Taylor [“Old Rough and Ready”] to Rio Grande in 1846. Since he really wanted CA, he tried to buy it as a last resort. When that fell through, he simply waited for war to erupt. - On April 24, 1846 Mexican cavalry finally responded to the US invasion and the war began [it was voted for by Congress on May 13 ]. This excited people, and there were many volunteers due to a craving for adventure, racist tendencies, and general expansionist dreams [still, some abolitionists were mad, and even Calhoun got worried that the war could lead to problems down the road]. 107
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- The war in short: Colonel Stephen Kearny invaded New Mexico and CA [where he was helped by rebellious settlers under Captain John C. Frémont ], General Zachary Taylor secured northeastern Mexico and General Winfield Scott went all the way to Mexico City and captured it.
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