Manifest Destiny & Its Legacy1841-1848 The American Pageant Chapter 17
Old Tippecanoe… Hard Cider Campaign of 1840 Let Van from his coolers of silver drink wineAnd lounge on his cushioned settee,Our man on a buckeye bench can recline,Content with hard cider is he Martin Van Buren (NY-Dem) vs. William Henry Harrison (OH-Whig) real Whig leaders were Daniel Webster (Sec. of State) and Henry Clay in Senate. Irony of Harrison’s presidency Longest inaugural address-105 minutes; shortest administration-1 month
and Tyler Too Converted from Democratic Party Disapproves of Jackson “dictatorship” Minority of Whigs pro-states righters Whig Platform: not published In reality: Clay’s platform—pro B.U.S., pro-tariff, pro-internal improvements
Tyler vs. the Party Financial reform top priority Bill signed to end independent treasury system Clay pleased “Fiscal Bank” bill rejected Drunken mob gathers outside White House “Fiscal Corporation” bill rejected too Whigs referred to Tyler as “His Accidency” and “Executive Ass” Whig tariff bill initially vetoed as well Final straw Whigs expelled “Democrat” Tyler from party Entire Cabinet resigns except Daniel Webster (Sec. of State) Tried to impeach
Another War w/ England? Anti-British sentiments Lack of Federalists, war memories. Led to literary war of words British authors (Dickens) who could not receive copyright royalties from US sales. Panic of 1837 resulted in states defaulting on British loans. 1837: American citizens’ support Canadian insurrection Caroline attacked on New York shore Canadian named McLeod bragged about involvement Found not guilty in court British in Bahamas offered 130 escaped slaves asylum Creole
War in Maine “Aroostook War” 1838-1839 Proposed road from Halifax to Quebec Maine/Canada fight over disputed territory. Unclear since Treaty of Paris Webster-Ashburton Treaty 1842 US receives more land including Mesabi Range in MN British get desired road route
Texas Shines Alone 1836 Texas Independent of Mexico. Lone Star Republic-province in revolt? Constant fear of Mexican attack Large Military Treaties with France, Holland, and Belgium British interests in using TX Check US expansion into SW Wanted TX for cotton. British abolitionists wanted to use Texas as base to attack slavery in South US afraid of foreign powers (FR) using British & TX vs. US conflict to violate Monroe Doctrine
Texas Issue Raised Due to fears, TX became campaign issue in 1844. Pro expansion Polk (D) defeated Clay (W) Lame Duck Tyler interpreted as mandate to acquire Texas. “Conscience” Whigs opposed of expansion due to slavery issue 1845: Texas annexed by joint resolution instead of treaty Invited to become 28th state Mexico angered.
Manifest Destiny 1844 Election: Whigs chose Clay, expansionists in Democratic Party engineered nomination of Polk 1st “dark horse” candidate Polk: Speaker of House, Governor of TN, backed by Jackson. “Manifest Destiny” was campaign issue Democrats called for annexation of Texas and all of Oregon. Whigs responded by tying Polk to slavery and Clay to liberty. Clay hurt by straddling fence on Texas. Lost New York by 5,000 votes Antislavery Liberty Party won 16,000 votes!
Onward to Oregon Both England and US had strong claims to Oregon based on trade, exploration, occupation. 1818: US/Britain agreed to joint occupation 49th parallel as northern border of LA Purchase Columbia River area disputed 1840s: “Oregon Fever” led to about 5,000 US settlers by 1846 only a few hundred for Britain, British began to realize implications. “54’ 40 or Fight”
Young Hickory Polk develops 4-point program, achieved in under 4 years. 1st point: lowered tariff. Treasury Sec. Walker lobbied Congress for Walker Tariff of 1846. Reduced rates (32% to 25%), but yet gave good revenue b/c strong economy. 2nd point: Independent Treasury restored; Achieved in 1846. 3rd point: Acquire California. 4th point: Acquire Oregon. Polk again proposed 49º, British first said no, but realized Columbia R. not that valuable, area was “furred out.”
Misunderstandings w/ Mexico Polk & others felt Manifest Destiny included California. 1845: CA population mostly Indians and Spanish-Mexicans, less than 1,000 Americans. Polk wanted to buy California, but Mexico upset by damage claims in Texas. Texas dispute heightened by boundary dispute: Nueces River or Rio Grande? Polk kept US troops out of disputed area. Polk thought British might buy it, sent minister (John Slidell)to Mexico City to purchase Mexico refused to even hear offer.
American Blood on American Soil Jan. 1846, Polk ordered Gen. Zachary Taylor to move from Nueces River to Rio Grande did not provoke Mexican army initially. April/May, impatient Polk moved to declare war but his plan worked – Mexico started shooting, 16 US killed. Polk declared shedding of “American blood on American soil,” Congress voted for war. Congressman Abraham Lincoln suspicious, introduces “spot” resolutions to get info about location of attacks. Damaged Polk’s reputation Polk provoked war to grab California, protect from British. Southwestern expansionist also wanted war against Mexico.
War On Polk wanted limited war just to get CA, but Santa Anna double-cross led to larger war. Instead of acting on behalf of America, rallies support of countrymen Opportunist John C. Frémont, with local Americans, proclaimed short-lived California republic. Notable military achievements: Zachary Taylor at Buena Vista. Winfield (“Old Fuss and Feathers” Scott’s brilliant campaign to Mexico City, most distinguished American general since Revolutionary War.
Seeking Peace Polk’s rep. Trist, embarrassed by Santa Anna, finally negotiates Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Terms: (1) US gets all land between Texas and Oregon, incl. California. Terms: (2) US pays $15M for land, and agrees to pay damage claims against Mexico ($3.25M). Two problems with ratification: 1) “Conscience Whigs” got control of House in 1847, threatened to not fund the war. (2) Manifest Destiny expansionists were calling for all of Mexico. Critics suggest $18.25M was for guilty conscience, but need for haste was likely motivator.
Profit and Loss in Mexico War cost 13,000 US lives most from disease (fairly cheap). Enormous gains: US territory increased by 1/3 larger than LA Purchase. Military success impressed British/foreign critics. After war, Latin America feared US, condemned greed. Heightened slavery tension