You are on page 1of 6

President John Tyler

President William Henry Harrison:

-- Meant to be a "puppet" controlled by Clay and Daniel Webster
1. Contracted pneumonia after making the longest inaugural address [in the rain]
2. Died after only 4 weeks in the White House (shortest)

President John Tyler:

-- Lonewolf, VA gentleman stubbornly attached to principle
-- Resigned from the Senate, rather than accept disdainful instructions from the VA legis
-- His minority wing of the Whigs embraced states' righters
-- Put on the ticket to get the vote of the group, many who were southern gentry
-- "Democrat in Whig clothing"
-- At odds with virtually every major issue with the majority of the Whigs

The President vs. the Whigs

1. Whig Congress passed a bill ending the independent treasury (signed)
2. Clay drove a bill for a "Fiscal Bank" through Congress (vetoed)(practical/constitutional)
-- Attempted again, as "Fiscal Corp." (vetoed)
3. Whigs proposed tariff, also contained dollar-distribution (vetoed)
-- Dollar-distribution: distribution of revenue from sales of public lands in the West
4. Redrafted tariff bill (dollar-distribution) (1842: signed)

Makers of America: The Californios

-- Descendants of the Spanish and Mexican conquerors who had once ruled California
-- 1769: Spanish first arrived in California

-- Father Junipero Serra (Franciscan friar) established 21 missions along the CA coast
-- Encouraged Indians to adopt Christianity
-- Forced them to work endlessly as farmers
-- Indians occupied the lowest rung of Spanish colonial society

-- Pioneers from the Mexican heartland to New Spain
-- Trailed Serra, claiming land and civil offices
-- 1821: Mexicans overthrew Spanish colonial government
-- Jails emptied to populate the north
-- Transferred power from missions to secular authorities
-- 1830s: Missions weakened, and most land was transferred confiscated by Californios
-- Their glory faded with the Mexican War and the Gold Rush
-- By 1870: They had basically vanished
Polk and Manifest Destiny
Election of 1844:
1. Democrats nominated James K. Polk [TN], first "dark horse" candidate
-- Former Speaker of the House and Governor on TN
-- "Young Hickory" was sponsored by Andrew Jackson
2. Whigs nominated Henry Clay

Manifest Destiny:
-- American belief that Almighty God had "manifestly" destined them to dominate North Ame
and possibly South America

Democrat Campaign:
-- "Reannexation of Texas"
-- "Reoccupation of Oregon" all the way to 54 40'

-- "All Oregon or None"

-- Condemned Clay as a "corrupt bargainer"
Whig Campaign:
-- "Hooray for Clay"
-- "Polk, Slavery and Texas, or Clay, Union, and Liberty"

-- Polk pulled it out 170 to 105 votes
-- Clay lost NY by 5000 votes, causing him to lose the election
-- The (anti-TX) Liberty Party took about 16,000 votes, ironically helping pro-TX Polk
-- Democrats declared their victory was a mandate to annex TX

President Polk's Five-Point Plan:

1. Lowered Tariff
-- Walker Tariff of 1842: lowered average rates from 32% to about 25%
-- Excellent revenue producer
2. Restoration of the Independent Treasury
-- 1846: Despite Whig opposition the measure passed
3. Acquisition of California (from Mexico)
-- Part of the Mexican Cession
4. Settlement of Oregon Dispute (with Britain)
-- See Conflict with England
5. Annexation of Texas
-- Tyler did it before he could
Conflict with England
War of Words:
1. British travelers wrote travel books bashing American lifestyles and unsavory features
2. British magazines enlarged on the travel books
-- American journals fought back with "you're another" arguments
3. Americans borrowed large sums to build expensive canals and railroads from ENG credito
-- 1837: Several states defaulted on their bonds because of the panic
4. 1837: Americans began supplying Canadian rebels with arms
-- A British force attacked the American ship, Caroline, carrying arms to Canadian rebe
5. 1841: 130 VA slaves hijacked the Creole and sailed down to the Bahamas
-- The British gladly offered them asylum

Maine Controversy:
1. British planned to build a road from Halifax to Quebec
-- Ran through disputed territory (ME and Canada)
2. Fights flared up between lumberjacks on both sides dubbed the "Aroostook War"
3. 1842: London sent an unprofessional diplomat, Lord Ashburton, to America
-- Negotiated with Daniel Webster
4. Reached a compromise, Ashburton-Webster Treaty
-- Maine retained 7,000 miles of original land and 12,000 miles of disputed territory
-- Americans snuck in a secret clause, giving them a valuable 6,500 miles in the West

Oregon Fever:
-- Stretched north of CA to the 54 40' line, west to the Pacific, and east to the Rockies

1. British and Americans both claimed land north of the Columbia River
-- British: discovery, exploration, treaty rights, occupation, and profitable fur trade
-- American: explorations of Gray (1792) and Lewis/Clark(1804-06) and missionary prese
2. 1840s: Hundreds of Americans began venturing the Oregon Trail
3. 1846: 5,000 Americans settled south of the Columbia and only 700 British to the north
4. British began to see the wisdom of a peaceful treaty
-- Americans offered the 49th Parallel and the British the Columbia River

Oregon Compromise:
1. President Polk insisted on the 54 40' line, but in compromise proposed the 49th parallel

2. British anti-expansionists persuaded that the Columbia River was not that important
3. 1846: The British came around and accepted the compromise
-- Congress quickly approved the treaty ending the controversy peacefully

The Mexican-American War

1. Mexicans owed $3 million in damages to American citizens
-- The government had been forced to default on its payments
2. Mexican government threatened war in America annexed Texas
3. Texas Border (Nueces or Rio Grande?)
-- Polk defended Texans' claim of land south to the Rio Grande
-- Mexicans believed that Texas was still theirs, only in revolt
4. Slidell was dispatched to Mexico City, offering to buy CA for $25 million
-- Not permitted to present his proposition

Polk's War?:
1. 1/13/1846: Gen. Taylor dispatched to disputed territory to provoke Mexican forces
2. 4/25/1846: Mexican forces attacked Taylor's command (16 casualties)
3. 5/9/1846: Polk urged Congress to declare war
-- Based on unpaid claims and Slidell's rejection
-- News of Mexican aggression arrived
4. Polk Got His War
-- Both fired by moral indignation (US: Mexican Aggression)(MEX: American Provocation)

Mexican War:
1. 1846: Stephen Kearny led troops over the Santa Fe Trail, easily capturing the city
2. 1846: John Fremont led the Bear Flag Revolt in Sonoma, overthrowing Mexican rule
3. Gen. Zachary Taylor, "Old Rough and Ready" fought his way over the Rio Grande at Ma
4. 1847: Gen. Taylor repelled a much larger Mexican force at Buena Vista
5. 1847: Gen. Winfield Scott succeeded at Vera Cruz
-- By September he reached, and conquered Mexico City

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848):

1. Recognized American annexation of TX
2. Yielded land from TX to CA (Mexican Cession)
3. Americans paid $15 million for the land and assumed about $3 million in claims against Me

American Profit and Loss:

Profit: Loss:
-- Increased area by about 1/3 -- Latin Americans distrust of the US
-- Priceless field experience for officers
-- Revived slavery issue
(i.e. Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant)
-- 1802: Military Academy at West Point
-- Increased sectional tensions
-- Increased respect for American army