Impact: Mexican American War / Mexican Session / Willmot Proviso

Mexican American War & Secession [1846-1848]
  • Background

external image james-k-polk_113829t.jpg

President James Polk turned to diplomacy and dispatched a special minister, John Slidell, to try to buy off the Mexicans

    • Mexican leaders refused the offer to purchase the dispatched territories.
    • January 13, 1846; Polk orders Taylor’s army in Texas to move across the Nueces River
    • Mexicans refuses to fight, but according to disputes American accounts, some Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande and attacked some American soldiers
  • The war brought about a lot of opposition among Americansexternal image cerrogordo.gif
    • Whigs- believed that Polk purposely placed the country into conflict with the Mexicans
    • Others argued that conflict with Mexico were draining the resources and attention away from more important issues in the Pacific Northwest; War was basically consuming time America needed to focus on other issues
  • Despite that, the war united the United States with a common cause and was fought almost entirely on a

volunteer basis
  • The Mexican-American War was the first major conflict driven by the idea of "Manifest Destiny" which was the belief that America had a God-given right, or destiny, to increase the country's borders.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

  • Sent by Polk, Nicholas Trist, on February 2, 1848, reached an agreement with the new Mexican Government which ceded California and New Mexico to the U.S. and acknowledged the Rio Grande as the boundary of Texas
    • In return, the U.S. promised to assume any financial claims its citizens had against Mexico, as well as pay Mexico $15 million.
    • Trist, however, did not obtain all of Polk’s demands. Nevertheless, it was approved by the Senate
  • The Session of Mexico gave the U.S. an immense new territory, but it also caused many disruptive issues.
  • The new territories acquired in the Mexican-American War quickexternal image Treaty_of_Guadalupe_Hidalgo.pngly stoked the flames of sectional controversy in American national politics. Even as the fighting continued, northerners partial to free labor and southerners seeking the expansion of slavery began to quarrel over the fate of the impending acquisitions.

external image 00035043.jpgWilmot Proviso
  • Background
    • August 1846, while the Mexican War was still going on, Polk asked congress to appropriate 2 million dollars for purchasing peace with Mexico
    • Rep. David Wilmot, an anti slavery Democrat, introduced an amendment to the appropriation bill, prohibiting slavery in any territory acquired from Mexico. The proviso passed in the HOR, but was rejected in the Senate; but was debated on for years
    • Produced division in American ideals because of the already present tensions among Northern and Southern people, in regard to slavery
  • Caused a lot of tension between Polk and Northerners
    • To the shock of the northerners, Polk lowered the tariff and denied funds for internal improvements.
    • Now they felt a war was being fought to extend the southern way of life; causing even more tension between the North and South, not only on issues of slavery, but in other aspects as well

PHOTO: Black & White fighting
PHOTO: james k polk
PHOTO: guadalupe hidalgo
PHOTO: david wilmot

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