Western Expansion: Texas and the War with Mexico
In the mid-nineteenth century, the United States found expansion necessary. Many factors necessitated the increase the countries size. The population of this young country grew from five million to almost twenty-three million, and by 1850 almost four million people had migrated westward. Two economic depressions, one in 1818 and another in 1839, further provoked migration, leaving the nation searching for hope, prosperity, and a new life in the frontier land. The people of the United States were enticed by inexpensive, vast, plots of land, opportunities to become self-sufficient. The vast lands of the west seemed to hold a chance for individuals to advance themselves and partake in new commercial interests promised in these new western territories.
However, while the Anglo-Saxon’s openly welcomed the opportunity to migrate into western territories, they may not have anticipated the differences they would have assimilating with their new neighbors. The Caucasians who moved to the western frontier, specifically those who found themselves on the border of Mexico, felt superior to their brown-skinned, Catholic neighbors. This racial superiority was motive for the notion of Manifest Destiny, or, a god-given right for those from the United States to usurp land from less-worthy counterparts in order to continue with the expansion of commerce. Mexico, on the other-hand, had difficulties with the fact that the Americans were bringing slaves into their territory, since Mexico had already eradicated slavery. When General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna sent troops in to promote a centralized authority, however, this did not go over well. This attempt at imposing a central government resulted in a rebel government comprised of American’s and Tejano’s striving for Texan independence. Santa Anna put an end to this provisional government at The Alamo, which killed 187 Mexican and American
References: Forner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. 2012. W. W. Norton & Company. Web. Madaras, Larry, and James M. SoRelle. Taking Sides: Clashing Views in United States History. Dubuque, Iowa.: McGraw-Hill, 2006. Web. Masri, L.. N.p.. Web. 19 Apr 2013. <http://www.pbs.org/kera/usmexicanwar/index_flash.html>.