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.
2. 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...
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