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Settlers and Trappers Were Attracted to Oregon Oregon Country—a huge region west of the Rocky Mountains that included present-day Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and parts of Wyoming, Montana, and western Canada. – Good farmland along the Pacific coast attracted farmers. – Fertile soil – Mild temperatures year round – Plentiful rainfall – Forests further inland and in the Rocky Mountains attracted fur trappers. – Beavers and other fur-bearing animals At first, four countries claimed Oregon—United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Russia. Later, Spain and Russia dropped their claims. Life On the Oregon Trail Beginning in 1843, wagon trains left an area near Independence, Missouri, every spring and followed trails 2,000 miles west to Oregon. The route became known as the Oregon Trail. – People met there and formed themselves into wagon trains. – Each group elected leaders. – On the trail, people awoke at dawn. Everyone had a job to do. – Often people discarded belongings along the way to lighten their wagons. – Wagon trains faced many dangers—rain-swollen rivers in the spring, blistering heat in the summer, early snows in the fall. The biggest threat was sickness. – Pioneers often traded with Native Americans for food. Americans in Texas Come Into Conflict With Mexico 1821 • Spain granted an American, Moses Austin, the right to set up a colony in Texas. • Mexico gained independence from Spain. • Moses Austin’s son Stephen obtained Mexico’s permission to carry out his father’s grant. • Austin gathered about 300 families, who began settling in Texas. These settlers agreed to become Mexican citizens and worship in the Roman Catholic Church. 1830 • About 20,000 Americans were living in Texas. By this time, few kept the agreement with Mexico. Most felt little loyalty to Mexico. Most were Protestant. They also had 2000 slaves which was against Mexican law. • Mexico barred any more American settlers. It was feared that Americans would try to make Texas a part of the United States. The Mexican government began to enforce the old law that required Texans to worship in the Catholic Church as well as laws banning slavery. Americans in Texas Come Into Conflict With Mexico 1833 General Antonio López de Santa Anna came to power in Mexico. Two years later he became dictator, a ruler with absolute power and authority. Americans in Texas felt that Santa Anna would drive them from Mexico and that they must do something. 1835 Americans in Mexico had the support of many Tejanos, Mexicans who lived in Texas. The Tejanos wanted Santa Anna out of power. Texans in the town of Gonzales clashed with Mexican troops, forcing the Mexicans to withdraw. Two months later, Texans occupied San Antonio. Santa Anna marched north with a large army. 1836 A group of Texans declared independence for the Republic of Texas and made Sam Houston commander of the army. The Siege of the Alamo • By the time Santa Anna reached San Antonio with 6,000 troops, about 150 Texans had taken up positions in an old Spanish mission called the Alamo. The Texans had little ammunition, food, water, or medicine. • On February 23, 1836, Mexican troops began a siege—enemy forces try to capture a position by surrounding and bombarding it. • The American commander, William Travis, sent a message asking for aid. He sent scouts to find volunteers and food. About 40 men joined the fighters in the Alamo. • The siege continued for 12 days. Finally, on March 6, a Mexican cannon shattered the mission walls. Thousands of Mexican soldiers poured over the walls, shouting “Viva Santa Anna!” About 180 Texans and almost 1,500 Mexicans lay dead. • The fall of the Alamo ignited cries for revenge. “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry as Texans fought for independence • The 5 survivors were tracked down and executed and all American bodies were soaked in oil and burned. • . • http://www.americanwest.com/pages/alam o.htm Texan Independence • A few weeks after the Alamo, Mexican troops killed several hundred Texas soldiers after they had surrendered at Goliad. This action made Texans furious. • Sam Houston worked to turn the volunteers into an effective army. • On April 21, 1836, Texans surprised Santa Anna and his army near the San Jacinto River. In the Battle of San Jacinto, the outnumbered Texans defeated the Mexicans. The next day, the Texans captured Santa Anna and forced him to sign a treaty granting Texas independence. • Texans nicknamed their new nation the Lone Star Republic. They wrote a constitution modeled after the United States Constitution. Sam Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas. American Support for Westward Expansion • Every year, more Americans moved west. The United States government offered to buy California from Mexico. • Some Americans wanted control of the ports at San Francisco and San Diego. • Many people believed that Americans had a right and duty to spread their culture and its democratic government all the way to the Pacific Ocean. This belief was called Manifest Destiny. Manifest means clear or obvious. Destiny means something that is sure to happen. • Many Americans believed that expansion would open new opportunities for the United States economy. • Some people believed that white Americans were superior to Native Americans and Mexicans and deserved to take the land from those people. The United States Gains Oregon and Texas Oregon • The United States and Britain agreed to a compromise. The two countries divided Oregon at latitude 49°N latitude. • Later, the Oregon Territory became the states of Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. Texas • In 1844, Texan president Sam Houston signed a treaty of annexation with the United States. • Fearing war with Mexico, the United States Senate refused to ratify the treaty. • Houston pretended that Texas might ally itself with Britain. This move prompted Congress to pass a joint resolution admitting Texas to the Union. Causes and Results of the Mexican War Causes Mexico did not accept Texan independence and was outraged by the United States annexation of Texas. Americans resented Mexico’s rejection of President Polk’s offer to buy California and New Mexico. A border dispute sparked war. Both nations claimed land between the Rio Grande and the Nueces River and sent troops into the area. President Polk claimed Mexico had invaded American soil and asked Congress to declare war Results During the war, Americans in northern California revolted against Mexican rule and declared California an independent republic, the Bear Flag Republic. In the fighting, the United States won control of all of New Mexico and California. Despite the heroic stand of young Mexican soldiers in a battle at Chapultepec near Mexico City, American forces took over the Mexican capital. The Mexican government moved to make peace. In 1848, it signed the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, ending the war. The United States Acquires New Lands In the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, Mexico had to cede, or give up, some of its lands. – Mexico ceded all of California and New Mexico to the United States. These lands were called the Mexican Cession. – In return, the United States paid Mexico $15 million. – The United States agreed to respect the rights of Spanish-speaking people in the Mexican Cession. In 1853, the United States bought the Gadsden Purchase. – The United States wanted to build a railroad across an area that is now the southern part of Arizona and New Mexico. – The United States paid Mexico $10 million for the strip of land, known as the Gadsden Purchase. The California Gold Rush • In 1848, James Marshall was supervising the building of a sawmill for John Sutter, when he discovered a lump of gold. • Sutter tried to keep the news a secret, but within days people from San Francisco and other California towns were rushing to Sutter’s Mill to look for gold. • Soon, thousands of Americans, as well as people from around the world, were rushing to California to search for gold. They became known as forty-niners. • Early miners found gold easily. Some miners found a way to get the gold out of riverbeds. Yet, very few miners struck it rich. Many went broke trying to find gold. Still, although many miners left the gold fields, they stayed in California to farm or work at other jobs. The California Gold Rush • San Francisco grew from a sleepy town to a bustling city. • When crime grew in the mining camps, miners and city- dwellers formed vigilance committees. Vigilantes, or self- appointed law enforcers, dealt out punishments. Sometimes, a person accused of a crime was lynched— hanged without a trial. • Californians realized they needed a strong government. In 1849, they wrote a state constitution and asked to be admitted to the Union.
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