1. Discuss the status of foreign claims and possessions in the trans-Mississippi West from 1811 to 1840. Trace the development of American interests in the region during this era. Between the years 1811 to 1840, Americans had migrated into the trans-Mississippi West in order to obtain defined boundaries with Canada and Mexico; moreover, they went westward to acquire the western edge of the continent. Commercial goals fueled early interest as traders firs sought beaver skins in Oregon territory as early as 1811 and then bison robes prepared by the Plains tribes in the area around the upper Missouri River and its tributaries.
Many of the men in the fur business married Indian women, thereby making valuable connections with Indian tribes involved in trapping. In the Southwest, the collapse of the Spanish Empire gave American traders an opportunity they had long sought. Their economic activity prepared the way for military conquest. To the south, land for cotton rather than trade or missionary fervor attracted settlers and squatters in the 1820s at the very time that the Tejano population of 2,000 was adjusting to Mexican independence.
On the Pacific, a few New England traders carrying sea otter skins to China anchored in the harbors of Spanish California in the early nineteenth century. By the 1830s, as the near extermination of the animals ruined this trade, a commerce based on California cowhides and tallow developed. New England ships brought clothes, boots, hardware, and furniture manufactured in the East to exchange for hides collected from local ranchers. Among the earliest easterners to settle in the trans-Mississippi West were tribes from the South and the Old Northwest whom the American government forcibly relocated in the present-day Oklahoma and Kansas. . Justify American westward expansion in the 1840s. American expansion was due to the rapid population growth, advances in transportation, communication, and the bolstering idea of national superiority, known as Manifest Destiny. This sense of uniqueness and mission was a legacy of early Puritan utopianism and Revolutionary republicanism. By the 1840s, the successful absorption of the Louisiana Territory also contributed to the American expansion towards the best. Publicists of Manifest Destiny proclaimed that the nation not only could but must absorb new territories.
This Manifest Destiny, the slogan in which they used to justify this expansion, was begun by John L. O’Sullivan. He expressed the conviction that the country’s superior institutions and culture gave Americans a God-given right, even an obligation, to spread their civilization across the entire continent. 3. From 1823 to 1845, Texas grew from a sparsely settled region of northern Mexico to an independent republic to a state in the American Union. Discuss the reasons for and the major events of this transformation.
Texas was able to separate from Mexico into the American Union by yearning for their own independence, winning the battle at San Jacinto, and their new republic they were able to create. It began in 1823, when the Mexican government resolved to strengthen border areas by increasing population. To attract settlers, it offered land in return for token payments and pledges to become Roman Catholics and Mexican citizens. In 1829, the Mexican government altered its Texas policy. Determined to curb American influence, the government abolished slavery in Texas in 1830 and forbade further emigration from the United States.
Officials began to collect customs duties on goods crossing the Louisiana border; hoowever, little changed in Texas. American slave owners freed their slaves and then forced them to sign life indenture contracts. Emigrants still crossed the border and outnumbered Mexicans. With the victory at San Jacinto, Texas gained its independence. The new republic started off shakily, financially unstable, and unrecognized by its enemies. For the next few years, the Lone Star Republic led a precarious existence. 4. Analyze President Polk’s actions in handling the Oregon question.
Was Polk luck or smart in achieving a peaceful compromise with Britain? Polk was not willing to go to war with Great Britain for Oregon, so he withdrawed his suggestion, while he created more difficulties and complicated the resolution, and achieved a peaceful compromise by sheer luck. Polk began by setting out the American position that settlement carried the presumption of possession. Polk recognized the reality that Americans has not hesitated to settle the disputed territories. His flamboyant posture and expansive American claims complicated the conflict’s resolution.
He offered a compromise to Great Britain, but in a tone that antagonized the British. Discussions about Oregon occupied Congress for month. Debate gradually revealed deep divisions about Oregon and the possibility of war with Great Britain. Polk took the unorthodox step of forwarding this proposal to the Senate for a preliminary response. Escaping some of the responsibility for retreating from slogans by sharing it with the Senate, Polk ended the crisis just a few weeks before the declaration of war with Mexico. 5.
What led so many Americans to sell most of their possession and embark on an unknown future thousands of miles away in Oregon or California during the 1840s? The lands east of the Mississippi began to fill up, and American automatically called on familiar ideas to justify expansion; they moved west for more lands to settle and more opportunity. Americans lost little time in moving into the new territories. During the 1840s, 1850s, and 1860s, thousands of Americans left their homes for the West. By 1860, California alone had 3800,000 settlers.
At the same time, thousands of Chinese headed south and east to destinations like North and South America to escape the opium wars in the 1840s with Great Britain, internal unrest, and poor economic conditions. Most who came to California called it the “Gold Mountain. ” Most of the emigrants who headed for the Far West, where slavery was prohibited, were white and American-born. They came from the Midwest and Upper South. They had very different routes to arriving West, but they all had the same intention, to reach the riches and the better opportunities to live. 6.
Contrast the different lives and tasks face by pioneers on the agricultural, mining, and urban frontiers in the West of the 1840s and 1850s. In contrast to the agricultural settlements, where early residents were isolated and the community expanded gradually, the discovery of gold or silver spurred rapid, if usually short-lived, growth. Mining camps, ramshackle and often hastily constructed, soon housed hundreds or even thousands of miners and people serving them. Merchants, saloon keepers, cooks, druggists, gamblers, and prostitutes hurried into boom areas as fast as prospectors.
Usually, about half the residents of any mining camp were there to prospect the miners rather than the mines. Given the motivation, character, and ethnic diversity of those flocking to boom towns and the feeble attempts to set up local government in what were perceived as temporary communities, it was hardly surprising that mining life was often disorderly. If mining life was usually not this violent, it tolerated behavior unacceptable farther east. Miners were not trying to re-create eastern communities but to get rich. 7. Emigrants passing through Utah encountered a Mormon society that seemed “familiar and orderly, yet foreign and shocking. Explain The visitors were able to relate and admire the attractively laid of town with irrigation and tidy houses, but as they noted the decorous nature of everyday life, they gossiped about polygamy and searched for signs of rebellion in the faces of Mormon women. Emigrants who opposed slavery were fond of comparing the Mormon wife to the black slave. They were amazed that so few Mormon women seemed interested in escaping from the bonds of plural marriage. Non-Mormon emigrants passing through Utah found much that was recognizable.
The government had familiar characteristics. Most Mormons were farmers; many of them came originally from New England and the Midwest and shared mainstream customs and attitudes. But outsiders also perceived profound differences, for the heart of Mormon society was not the individual farmer on his own homestead but the cooperative village. 8. Describe the culture and political organization of the Plains Indians. Discuss how and why their relationship with white Americans changed from the 1840s to 1851. White American first came in contact with this Plains tribes, and witnessed hat their culture differed from that of all the other Indian tribes. This ordinary encounter on the overland trail points to the social and cultural differences separating white Americans moving west and the native peoples with whom they came in contact. Confident of their values and rights, emigrants had little regard for those who had lived in the West for centuries and no compunction in seizing their lands. The Plains tribes were similar in other tribes because the had adopted a nomadic way of life after the introduction of Spanish horses in the sixteenth century.
Mobility also increased tribal contact and conflict. And war played a central part in the lives of the Plains tribes. This pattern of conflict on the Plains discouraged political unity. But they had signed no treaties with the United States and had few friendly feelings toward whites. Their contact with white society had brought gains through trade in skins, but the trade had also introduced alcohol and destructive epidemics of smallpox and scarlet fever. 9. Write a brief overview of American westward expansion from 1820 to 1860 from the Mexican point of view.
For working-class Hispanic Americans, who became laborers for Anglo farmers or mining or railroad companies, we earned less and did more unpleasant jobs than Anglo workers. By 1870, the average Hispanic-American worker’s property was worth only about one-third of what its value had been 20 years earlier. Some of us resisted American expansion into the Southwest. Other Hispanics adopted different tactics. In New Mexico, members of Las Gorras Blancas ripped up railroad ties and cut the barbed-wires fences of Anglo ranchers and farmers.
The religiously oriented Penitentes tried to work through the ballot box. Ordinary men, women, and children resisted efforts to convert them to Protestantism and clung to familiar customs and beliefs even as they learned some of the skills needed to survive in a changing culture. This movement seemed to benefit everyone, except for us. We were treated like dirt and was not able to obtain the full potential opportunity everyone else had. We had to struggle to make a living. This American westward expansion was tough on us Mexicans.