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American History: Chapter 13


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Mexican War
Started when Taylor's American forces were ordered across the Nueces River and ended with Triste securing California, Texas & New Mexico for $15 million in the Treaty of Guadalupe in 1848. The Texas border was established along the Rio Grande. Polk planned the military strategy, but was wary of making General Zachary Taylor look like a war hero because he might be a future political opponent.
John Brown's Raid
October 16, 1859, Brown led 19 men in an attack on the Harpers Ferry Armory in an attempt to provide munitions for a slave revolt. He was stopped by US Military forces lead by Robert E. Lee, lead to the execution of John Brown and several followers.
Nicolas Trist
agent who was authorized to negotiate a settlement, reached an agreement to end the Mexican war on Feb.2 1848 treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Mexico ceded California, New Mexico and acknowledged Rio-Grande as a Texas boundary, U.S promised to take over Mexico's debts to the citizens of the new territories and pay Mexico 15 million, Trist obtained most of Polk's original demands
Preston Brooks
Preston Brooks was a member of the House of Representatives and he beat Charles Sumner violently with his cane. This happened because Charles Sumner had insulted Andrew P. Butler a senator in a speech about anti-slavery. Andrew P. Butler was Preston Brooks' uncle and being a proud southern man Brooks sought revenge. Charles Sumner became a martyr of the North and Preston Brooks a hero of the South.
John C Fremont
ommissioned by the Senate (especially Benton) to document and survey the west. His descriptions were to make the West look as nice as possible. His famous stories (e.g. Pathfinder) glorified the West and all the abundance of land and possible wealth
Lecompton Constitution
he second of four proposed constitutions for the state of Kansas. Pro-Slavery, Supported by Buchanan and Douglas, split the democratic party. Could have allowed Kansas admittance as a state with fewer people than required, but was voted down.
James Buchanan
Nominated by Democrats for having few enemies with Kansas-Nebraska debate. Elected as the fifteenth President of the United States (1857-1861), ranked as one of the worst Presidents, held that secession was illegal, but that going to war to stop it was also illegal. Mixed views on slavery, but policy was consistent as a slavery sympathizer. Biggest mistakes were supporting the Lecompton Constitution and creating financial panic.
Land grants
areas of land given to settlers by the government in hopes of expanding growth in the west.
California Gold Rush
Gold discovered by James Marshall in the Sierra Nevada in January 1848. By May, word had spread to east coast and hundreds of thousands of people came to California for gold. These "forty-niners" were mostly men, who abandoned their families and jobs. Attracted first Chinese migrants. Many migrants stayed in California and swelled the agricultural and urban populations, so they now had to make a more stable, effective gov.
John C Calhoun
(1830s-40s) Leader of the Fugitive Slave Law, which forced the cooperation of Northern states in returning escaped slaves to the south. He also argued on the floor of the senate that slavery was needed in the south. He argued on the grounds that society is supposed to have an upper ruling class that enjoys the profit of a working lower class.
Lewis Cass
nominated by the democrats for the 1848 election, was a dull aging party regular narrowly lost to Taylor, Van Buren pulled votes away from him which helped Taylor
Steven F. Austin
A young immigrant from Missouri who established the first legal American settlement in Texas in 1822. He was successful in recruiting immigrants to Texas. (Austin, Texas is named for him)
"Dark Horse"
Term in politics meaning the candidate to which it refers is relatively unknown, like, in this case, James K Polk, who happened to be the first Democratic candidate dubbed with this term.
Henry Clay
Distinguished senator from Kentucky, who ran for president five times until his death in 1852. He was a strong supporter of the American System, a war hawk for the War of 1812, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and known as "The Great Compromiser." Outlined the Compromise of 1850 with five main points. Died before it was passed however.
David Wilmot
ember of Congress best known for the "Wilmot Proviso" (1846). This was a plan to not allow slavery in any of the land annexed from Mexico after the Mexican-American War. It did not pass, but was considered the first event in a long slide towards the Civil War.
John C. Breckenridge
Was nominated for the presidency of the United States of America by Democrats in Richmond for the election of 1860. He later became the vice-president.
Ableman v. Booth (1857)
The constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was upheld and the judgment of unconstitutionality from the Supreme Court of Wisconsin was reversed.
popular sovereignty
Allowing the people of a region/state to decide if slavery was going to be legal. This was done in Kansas and Nebraska and led to immense bloodshed and controversy.
Mexican residents of Texas. Many fought with the Americans in the Revolution, but after Texas was independent, the Americans didn't trust them. The Americans feared they were spies and drove many out of Texas.
Liberty Party
A somewhat pro-abolition political party formed in 1840. Their presidential candidate was James G. Birney, an anti-slavery leader from Kentucky. This party supported "free soil"- no slavery in the territories.
Gadsden Purchase
1853, James Gadsden a southern railroad builder bought parts of Arizona and New Mexico from the Mexican government for $10 million
Free Soil Party
A small, short-lived abolitionist, the main goal was to gain territory in the west and assimilate it into the union as free territory. Candidates include John Hale and Martin Van Buren.
Stephen A. Douglas
n July of 1850 he was elected into the U.S. Senate and soon became an important leader. He was 37 years old, a Democrat senator from Illinois, he supported western views and the construction of railroads. In 1854 in attempts to build the transcontinental railroad he proposed what came to be the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In 1858 until the presidential election of 1860 Douglas engaged in a series of debates with his main opponent, Abraham Lincoln. He lost the election to Lincoln in 1860.
Fueled by the idea of "Manifest Destiny" Americans had the view to expand westward settling land from coast to coast to create a large wealthy nation. The ways to expand weren't always peaceful including rebellions by natives and the Mexican American war
John Brown
fervent opponent of slavery in Kansas originally from Ohio, wanted to make Kansas a free state, created the Pottawatomie Massacre, in 1859 he had a plan to seize a mountain fortress in Virginia to which slaves and blacks could flee, achieved goal but surrendered after 10 of his men were killed, later executed
Old Northwest
Territory consisting of the states Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan and the northeastern chunk of Minnesota.
Abraham Lincoln
One of the most skillful politicians in Republican party. Lawyer. Tried to gain national exposure by debates with Stephen A. Douglas. The Lincoln-Douglas debates attracted much attention. Lincoln's attacks on slavery made him nationally known. He felt slavery was morally wrong, but was not an abolitionist. He felt there was not an alternative to slavery and blacks were not prepared to live on equal terms as whites. Won presidency in November election.
"Bleeding Kansas"
Bleeding Kansas was a struggle over the decision of whether Kansas would become a free or slave state. When the decision was originally going to be made there were 1,500 legal voters in Kansas and the vote looked like it was going to be swung in favor of no slavery. Thousands of Missourians who did not want to see this outcome then went into Kansas and swelled the vote to 6,000. Kansas then became a slave state. The opposition felt like they were cheated and met at Topeka to develop a separate state constitution for Kansas. They applied for statehood but President Pierce shut them down. The pro-slave people then attempted to arrest the free-state leaders and robbed their homes. John Brown an abolitionist heard about this and him and his party killed 5 pro-slave people. This only caused more violence all under the heading Bleeding Kansas.
"Joint Occupation":
part of a treaty signed in 1818 between America and Britain that allowed citizens from both countries access to the Oregon Territory, This would last for twenty years. Both Britain and America had claims to the Oregon Territory (Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, parts of Montana and Wyoming, and half of British Columbia) because of claims made in the 1790's by George Vancouver (Britain) and Robert Gray (America).
James K Polk
strong supporter of annexation, first dark horse to win election of his party, 1825-1839, rep. of Tennessee in House of Reps. accepted Texas as state in Feb. 1845, set Oregon boundary to the 49th parallel
Personal Liberty Laws
barred the courts and police officials from helping to return runaways back to the north, complicated the debate about slavery in the territories
"Slave power conspiracy"
the north accused the south of engaging in a conspiracy to spread slavery throughout the US and destroy northern capitalism.
Fugitive Slave Act
(1850)Part of the compromise of 1850 allowed slave catchers to return any runaway slave to their respective owners based on affidavits even if they were in the North it also stated that a fugitive slave has no right to a trial by jury or to testify for his defense some state such as Wisconsin refused to obey this act even after the supreme court ruled to enforce it.
Davy Crockett
enowned frontiersmen and former Tennessee congressmen. One of the "patriots," that valiantly died fighting Santa Anna and the Mexican army at the Alamo in San Antonio.
Compromise of 1850
a series of laws set to resolve the territory and slavery conflicts from the Mexican-American War. The five laws balanced the interests of the slave states of the South and the free states. California was admitted as a free state; Texas received financial compensation for relinquishing claim to lands west of the Rio Grande in what is now New Mexico; the territory of New Mexico was organized without any specific prohibition of slavery; the slave trade (but not slavery itself) was abolished in Washington, D.C.; and the Fugitive Slave Law was passed, requiring all U.S. citizens to assist in the return of runaway slaves regardless of the legality of slavery in the specific states.
Mexia attacks the Mexican city of Tampico to instigate a revolt. He is defeated by Gomez and retreats.
General Winfield Scott
was a United States Army general, diplomat, and presidential candidate. he served on active duty as a general longer than any other man in American history. Over the course of his fifty-year career, he commanded forces in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War, and, the American Civil War.
attacked by the Mexican Army, and had the same fate as the Alamo (defeated). The Mexicans executed most of the force after it had surrendered. 1836.
Martin Van Buren
He was one of the presidents who didn't let the independent Country of Texas to be admitted into the union; he also lost the Democratic nomination for president to James K Polk in the 1844, avoiding the touchy topic of the Texas annexation to prevent alienation of constituents. However, his seeming indecisiveness on the matter actually drove said constituents away.
Senator Albert Butler
senator of South Carolina who defended slavery. Senator Sumner spoke about and enraged Butler's nephew who then beat Sumner with a cane in Senate chambers and almost killed him.
also known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It is a religion that began in upstate New York because of the efforts of Joseph Smith, who published the book of Mormon in 1830. Smith claimed he did not write it, but translated golden tablets given to him by angels of god in the hills of New York. Mormons would later in the 1840's under the leadership of Brigham Young travel west to Salt Lake City with 12,000 people. Mormons were some of the first to move to the west and began to form a trail for future travelers.
Freeport Doctrine
During the 2nd Lincoln-Douglas debates for a senate seat in Freeport Illinois. Douglas said that slavery could be prevented by any territory by the passing of laws against slavery.
Ida Tarbell
among the first people to begin reform known as the "muckrakers." journalists. Tried to expose scandal and corruption to the public. Most notable in the 20th century. Studied the Standard Oil trust. It was first published in magazines and then as a 2-volume book in 1904.
"Gag rule"
Was passed by Congress in 1836. It banned the consideration of abolitionist petitions in Congress and therefore served as a preemptive strike against all anti slavery discussions. It was repealed in 1844 because Northern abolitionists and others were concerned with restrictions of right to petition granted by the Constitution.
"Seventh of March Address"
Speech given by an aging Daniel Webster that was probably the greatest oratorical effort of Webster's career. It was an attempt to calm angry passions and to rally northern moderates to support Clay's Compromise of 1850.
William H. Seward
spokesman of a new, younger group of the Senate. From New York. Opposed Clay's proposed compromise. Felt ideals of Union were less important than eliminating slavery. These new leaders were able to come to a compromise=1850 Compromise.
Marcus and Narcissa Whitman
Missionaries that went to Oregon. Established an important, but unsuccessful, mission among the Cayuse Indians east of the Cascade Mountains. There was an Indian attack on their mission in 1847 because the Indians believed their mission was the cause of the measles epidemic. 13 whites died in the attack, including Marcus and Narcissa
Alamo Mission
located in San Antonio, Texas. Where the Mexican Army, under Santa Anna, defeated the Texas "patriots" (a group that included, among others, the renowned frontiersman and former Tennessee congressman Davy Crockett) in 1836.
Kansas Nebraska Act
A bill proposed by Stephen Douglas to open the Nebraska territory for white settlement. The angle for this was to make that land safe to run the transcontinental railroad through, so as to pass through Douglas's home of Chicago, which would require going through mainly Indian controlled Nebraska. This bill passed, although with the provision that the new states formed would be able to choose through popular sovereignty as to whether or no they would be slave states. However, this also provided opposition, having repealed the Missouri Compromise. This spurred several Democrats, the Whigs, and the Free-soilers to amalgamate (combine) into one party to oppose the act, a party to be known as the Republican Party.
Manifest Destiny
the ideology that most Americans took in the belief that they should expand till America was "sea to shinning sea". A few even care to believe that America should expand throughout the western hemisphere, but some like Henry Clay believed this would cause many issues into the future. [1840's]
Ostend Manifesto
The Ostend Manifesto was a document sent to Pierre Soulé the US diplomat to Spain about the purchase or seizure of Cuba from Spain. This would bring in Cuba as a state and that would screw up the balance between free and slave states. When the public heard about the document after it was leaked the North Eastern wealthy elite business owners were outraged.
Colonel Stephen W. Kearney
was a United States Army officer, noted for his part in the Mexican-American War, especially the conquest of California. He captured Santa Fe, in 1846.
Santa Fe
City in New Mexico, which was captured by Colonel Stephen W. Kearny's troops in the summer of 1846.
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
February 2 1848. The agreement between President Polk and the new Mexican government for Mexico to cede California and New Mexico to the US and acknowledge the Rio Grand as the boundary of Texas. In return, the US promised to assume any financial claims its new citizens had against Mexico and to pay the Mexicans $15 million.
"Fifty-four forty or fight"
Was a term used to discuss the Oregon boundary dispute between America and Great Britain. America and Britain had claimed similar parts of Oregon Country or Columbia District. The area was between 54 degrees and 40 minutes and the 42nd parallel. 54 degrees and 40 minutes was the southernmost parallel of Russian America. Slogan was used as rallying cry stating, 'We either annex everything all the way up to 54 degrees 40 minutes or we go to war. This entire argument stemmed from manifest destiny.
Justice Roger Taney
Chief justice of the supreme court during the Dred Scott Decision. He wrote one of the majority opinions, and said that Scott couldn't bring a suit in the federal courts since he wasn't a citizen. He argued that slaves had virtually no rights under the constitution. The 5th amendment prohibited congress from taking property without due process of the law, so congress couldn't pass a law taking away slaves from the territories. His decision showed that the federal government was powerless to act on the issue and created much controversy. Produced widespread dismay in the North and confidence in the South.
Sacramento Valley
Area of California where many pioneering farmers settled. Many of the settlers here hoped to gain US statehood for California.
People who wanted the United States to expand under Manifest Destiny. They supported adding territories like Oregon, California and Texas to the United States.
Charles Sumner
gave a speech in may 1856 called " the Crime Against Kansas" militant opponent of slavery, beat with a cane by Preston Brooks after the speech, collapsed unconscious and couldn't return to senate for 4 years, symbol throughout the north.
John A. Sutter
Owned a sawmill in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas where James Marshall found the gold that sparked the gold rush. Sutter tried to quiet the news of gold fearing it would threaten his own wealth in the area but word leaked out.
Battle of San Jacinto
fought on April 23, 1836 near present-day Houston. General Sam Houston defeated the Mexican army and took Santa Anna prisoner, who during his captivity signed a treaty giving Texas independence from Mexico. Ended all military efforts by Mexico to win Texas back. Many Mexican soldiers were killed by American troops in retaliation for the executions at Goliad.
Dred Scott v. Sanford
Dred Scott v. Sanford was a pivotal case on March 6, 1857 in the Supreme Court. Dred Scott was a slave who's master had died and was seeking freedom. Sanford was the dead owner's brother and was laying claim to Dred. Taney the chief justice at the time declared that a slave was always a slave no matter where they live. He also said that a slave could not even bring up a case because it was not a citizen, but instead private property. With this statement he also implied that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional because it would be depriving people of their property.
John Bell
Tennessee politician and Plantation owner, nominated for president in 1860 by the United States Constitutional Union Party (Whig's) but lost to Lincoln and the Republicans.
Pottawatomie Massacre
When John Brown (abolitionist) and followers murdered 5 pro-slavery settlers in Kansas then mutilated their bodies to scare other slave supporters and to keep slavery supporters from moving into Kansas.
Vera Cruz
American forces under General Winfield Scott made the country's first amphibious landing at Vera Cruz, a Mexican coastal city, on March 9, 1847. Before the Mexican Army knew it, 12,000 American troops were on land and marching toward Vera Cruz. They captured the city several days later. From there, it was a short, triumphant march to Mexico City, the capital.
Bear Flag Revolt
Summer of 1846 where a well-armed exploring party led by John C. Fremont and the American navy against the Mexicans. To signify that it was free from Mexican control the flag of California was raised in the Sonoma Plaza
Republican Party
(1854) Political party that formed as an effect of the Kansas- Nebraska Act. Members of both the Democratic and Whig Party who opposed Douglass' bill since it repealed the Missouri Compromise called themselves the Anti-Nebraska Whigs and the Anti-Nebraska Democrats. Together they formed a new organization, and the party became a major force in American politics. The Republican party won enough seats in Congress in 1854 to organize the House of Representatives.
General Zachary Taylor
ed the army sent by Polk in the summer of 1845 to protect Texas from any Mexican invasion. He was later nominated by the Whigs and became president in 1848. He believed that the only way to solve the issue of slavery in the US territories was to make them states.
Daniel Webster
Gave a speech to Congress pertaining to the issue of slavery and western expansion. This speech was entitled "Seventh of March Address" and was one of the greatest oratorical efforts of his career. He sought to calm angry passions and to rally northern moderates to support Clays compromise. He was appointed as secretary of state in the summer and removed himself from the debate before its conclusion.
Millard Fillmore
Successor of President Zachary Taylor after his death on July 9th 1850. He helped pass the Compromise of 1850 by gaining the support of Northern Whigs for the compromise.
"Positive good" thesis
Idea of the pro-slavery movement, in Calhoun's words, the idea that the South shouldn't apologize for slavery as a necessary evil and defend it as a "good- a positive good" It was good for the slaves in that they enjoyed better conditions than northern industrial workers. Slavery was good for southern society because it allowed for blacks and whites to live in peace. Finally, it was good for the entire country because the southern economy, which was based on slavery, was key to the prosperity of the entire nation.
Oregon country
The area of land including present day Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and parts of British Columbia. In 1790 simultaneous claims were made on the territory by Robert Grey(U.S)and George Vancouver. A treaty in 1818 allowed joint occupation by the U.S and Britain, through the 1820s and 30s missionaries traveled through the territory and by the 1840s the U.S. was the main occupant in the territory.

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