American Expansion, Marbury v Madison, Thomas Jefferson, The Louisiana Purchase, The Lewis and Clark Journey, The War of 1812, Missouri Compromise, Monroe Doctrine, Indian Removal Act, The Battle of the Alamo, Mexican American War – 1803-1853
American Expansion, Marbury v Madison, Thomas Jefferson, The Louisiana Purchase, The Lewis and Clark Journey, The War of 1812, Missouri Compromise, Monroe Doctrine, Indian Removal Act, The Battle of the Alamo, Mexican American War – 1803-1853
1803 Marbury v. Madison
1803 Louisiana Purchase
1804-06 Lewis and Clark Expedition
1812-1815 War of 1812
1820 Missouri Compromise
1823 Monroe Doctrine
1830 Indian Removal Act
1836 Battle of the Alamo and San Jacinto
1846-1848 Mexican American War
Marbury v. Madison is a landmark case in United States law. It formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution. This case resulted from a petition to the Supreme Court
by William Marbury, who had been appointed by President John Adams as Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia but whose commission was not subsequently delivered. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to force Secretary of State James Madison to deliver the documents, but the court, with John Marshall as Chief Justice, denied Marbury’s petition, holding that the part of the statute upon which he based his claim, the Judiciary Act of 1789, was unconstitutional. Marbury v. Madison was the first time the Supreme Court declared something “unconstitutional,” and established the concept of judicial review in the U.S. (the idea that courts may oversee and nullify the actions of another branch of government). The landmark decision helped define the “checks and balances” of the American form of government.
Major Historical Figures: John Marshall, William Cushing, William Paterson, Samuel Chase, Bushrod Washington, Alfred Moore, James Madison, William Marbury, John Adams
The Louisiana Purchase was the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,800 square miles (2,147,000 km2) of France’s claim to the territory of Louisiana in 1803. The U.S. paid $15 million for the Louisiana territory.
The Louisiana Purchase encompassed all or part of 14 current U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The land purchased contained all of present-day Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, parts of Minnesota that were west of the Mississippi River, most of North Dakota, nearly all of South Dakota, northeastern New Mexico, the portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado east of the Continental Divide, and Louisiana west of the Mississippi River, including the city of New Orleans. (The Oklahoma Panhandle, and southwestern portions of Kansas and Louisiana were still claimed by Spain at the time of the Purchase.) In addition, the Purchase contained small portions of land that would eventually become part of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The purchase, which doubled the size of the United States, comprises around 23% of current U.S. territory. The purchase was a vital moment in the presidency of Thomas Jefferson. At the time, it faced domestic opposition as being possibly unconstitutional. Although he felt that the US Constitution did not contain any provisions for acquiring territory, Jefferson decided to purchase Louisiana because he felt uneasy about France and Spain having the power to block American trade access to the port of New Orleans. Napoleon Bonaparte, upon completion of the agreement, stated, “This accession of territory affirms forever the power of the United States, and I have given England a maritime rival who sooner or later will humble her pride.”
Major Historical Figures: Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte
The Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) was the first overland expedition undertaken by the United States to the Pacific coast and back. The expedition team was headed by the United States Army soldiers;
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and assisted by Sacajawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. The expedition’s goal was to gain an accurate sense of the resources being exchanged in the Louisiana Purchase. The expedition laid much of the groundwork for the westward expansion of the United States.
Major Historical Figures: Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Sacajawea, Toussaint Charbonneau
The War of 1812 was a war fought between the United States of America and the British Empire. Lasting from 1812 to 1815, it was fought chiefly on the Atlantic Ocean and on the land, coasts and waterways of North America.
The United States took the initiative in declaring war for multiple reasons.
In 1807, Britain introduced a series of trade restrictions to impede on-going American trade with France, Britain’s long-time rival. The U.S. contested these restrictions as illegal under international law. Both the impressment of American citizens into the Royal Navy, and Britain’s military support of American Indians who were attacking American settlers moving into the Northwest further aggravated tensions. Indian raids hindered the expansion of U.S. into potentially valuable farmlands in the Northwest Territory, comprising the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Some British officials – and some dissident Americans – charged that the goal was to annex part of Canada, but they did not specify which part. The states nearest Canada strongly opposed the war. Most important, the United States sought to uphold its national honor in the face of what they considered to be British insults, such as the Chesapeake affair. Although the British made some concessions before the war on neutral trade, they insisted on the right to reclaim their deserting sailors.
The British also had the long-standing goal of creating a large “neutral” Indian state that would cover much of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. They made the demand as late as the fall of 1814 at the peace conference, but lost control of western Ontario at key battles on Lake Erie, thus giving the Americans control of the proposed neutral zone.
The war was fought in four theaters. Warships and privateers of both sides attacked each other’s merchant ships. The British blockaded the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and mounted large-scale raids in the later stages of the war. Battles were also fought on the frontier, which ran along the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River and separated the U.S. from Upper and Lower Canada, and along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. During the war, the Americans and British invaded each other’s territory. These invasions were unsuccessful or temporary.
At the end of the war, the British held parts of Maine and some outposts in the sparsely populated West, while the Americans held Canadian territory near Detroit, but these occupied territories were restored at the end of the war. In the U.S., battles such as New Orleans and the earlier successful defense of Baltimore (which inspired the lyrics of the U.S. national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner) produced a sense of euphoria over a “second war of independence” against Britain. It ushered in an “Era of Good Feelings,” in which the partisan animosity that had once verged on treason practically vanished. Canada also emerged from the war with a heightened sense of national feeling and solidarity. Britain, which had regarded the war as a sideshow to the Napoleonic Wars raging in Europe, was less affected by the fighting; its government and people subsequently welcomed an era of peaceful relations and trade with the U.S.
Major Historical Figures: James Madison, Henry Dearborn, Jacob Brown, Winfield Scott, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Lord Liverpool, George Prevost, Isaac Brock, Roger Sheaffe, Gordon Drummond, Robert Ross, Tecumseh
The institution of slavery had been a divisive issue in the United States for decades before the territory of Missouri petitioned Congress for admission to the Union as a state in 1818. Since the Revolution, the country had grown
from 13 states to 22 and had managed to maintain a balance of power between slave and free states. There were 11 free states and 11 slave states, a situation that gave each faction equal representation in the Senate and the power to prevent the passage of legislation not to its liking. The free states, with their much larger populations, controlled the House of Representatives, 105 votes to 81. In February 1819, New York Representative James Tallmadge proposed an amendment to ban slavery in Missouri even though there were more than 2,000 slaves living there. The country was again confronted with the volatile issue of the spread of slavery into new territories and states. The South’s economy was dependent upon black slavery, and 200 years of living with the institution had made it an integral part of Southern life and culture. The South demanded that the North recognize its right to have slaves as secured in the Constitution. Through the efforts of Henry Clay, “the great pacificator,” a compromise was finally reached on March 3, 1820, after Maine petitioned Congress for statehood. Both states were admitted, a free Maine and a slave Missouri, and the balance of power in Congress was maintained as before, postponing the inevitable showdown for another generation. In an attempt to address the issue of the further spread of slavery, however, the Missouri Compromise stipulated that all the Louisiana Purchase territory north of the southern boundary of Missouri, except Missouri, would be free, and the territory below that line would be slave.
Major Historical Figures: James Tallmadge, Henry Clay
The Monroe Doctrine is a United States policy that was introduced on December 2, 1823, which stated that further efforts by European countries to colonize land or interfere with states in the Americas would be viewed by the United States of America as acts of aggression requiring US intervention. The Monroe Doctrine asserted that the Western Hemisphere was not to be further colonized by European countries, and that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies nor in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued at the time when
many Latin American countries were on the verge of becoming independent from Spain, and the United States, reflecting concerns echoed by Great Britain, hoped to avoid having any European power take Spain’s colonies. US President James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to Congress. It became a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets, invoked by U.S. presidents, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, and others. It would have been nearly impossible for Monroe to envision that its intent and impact would persist with only minor variations for almost two centuries. Its primary objective was to free the newly independent colonies of Latin America from European intervention and control. The doctrine put forward that the New World and the Old World were to remain distinctly separate spheres of influence, for they were composed of entirely separate and independent nations.
Major Historical Figures: James Monroe
In 1823 the Supreme Court handed down a decision (Johnson v. M’Intosh) which stated that Indians could occupy lands within the United States, but could not hold title to those lands. The Indian Removal Act, part of a United
States government policy known as Indian removal, was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 26, 1830. The Removal Act was strongly supported in the South, where states were eager to gain access to lands inhabited by the “Five Civilized Tribes”. In particular, Georgia, the largest state at that time, was involved in a contentious jurisdictional dispute with the Cherokee nation. President Jackson hoped removal would resolve the Georgia crisis. The Indian Removal Act was also very controversial. While Native American removal was, in theory, supposed to be voluntary, in practice great pressure was put on Native American leaders to sign removal treaties. Most observers, whether they were in favor of the Indian removal policy or not, realized that the passage of the act meant the inevitable removal of most Indians from the states. Some Native American leaders who had previously resisted removal now began to reconsider their positions, especially after Jackson’s landslide re-election in 1832. The Indian Removal Act paved the way for the reluctant—and often forcible—emigration of tens of thousands of American Indians to the West. The first removal treaty signed after the Removal Act was the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek on September 27, 1830, in which Choctaws in Mississippi ceded land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West. The Treaty of New Echota (signed in 1835) resulted in the removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. The Seminoles did not leave peacefully as did other tribes; along with fugitive slaves they resisted the removal. The Second Seminole War lasted from 1835 to 1842 and resulted in the forced removal of Seminoles, only a small number to remain, and around 3,000 were killed amongst American soldiers and Seminoles.
Major Historical Figures: Andrew Jackson
Battle of the Alamo
The Alamo was already a hundred years old at the time of the siege and battle. It was founded in 1718 as a Spanish mission for the purpose of Christianizing the Indians indigenous to the area. The Indians themselves built
the mission under the supervision of the Spanish priests and it was named Mission “San Antonio de Valero.” By 1793, most of the Indians had died from disease and “San Antonio de Valero” was closed as a mission. In 1803, a Spanish cavalry unit from Alamo de Parras, Mexico, was quartered in the mission and it was from this unit that the mission received the name “Pueblo del Alamo.” The Spanish word “alamo” means “cottonwood”.
In 1821, Mexico won her independence from Spain and claimed all the land that Spain owned including Texas. In 1824, Mexico created a democratic constitution based on the United States Constitution. Mexico opened Texas for colonization, offering land very cheaply to new settlers. Many people, both Americans and Europeans, relocated to the area which offered the opportunity for a fresh start. In 1833, a Mexican general, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, was elected President of Mexico, but it wasn’t long before he turned his presidency into a dictatorship. Santa Anna sent his brother-in-law, General Martin de Cos, to reinforce the Alamo. General Cos arrived in San Antonio, quartered himself and his troops in the Alamo, and converted the old mission into a fortress. He added some 21 cannons which he placed around the walls and began to prepare for a siege and battle. Almost two months after Cos’ arrival, in December of 1835, a force of 400 Texans led by Ben Milam made their way into San Antonio and engaged General Cos in battle. After several days of fighting Cos surrendered. The Texan force of 400 suffered 19 casualties while defeating Mexican forces of 1100 and gained the most important military stronghold north of the Rio Grande. The defeat of Cos angered Santa Anna.
It became a matter of honor to teach the Texans a lesson and he began to raise an army which he would personally lead to San Antonio. In the meantime, despite the obvious importance of the Alamo location, Texas Army Commander Sam Houston ordered the Alamo abandoned and destroyed. Feeling that the outpost was far too isolated. he sent Colonel James Bowie with 30 men to carry out his orders. Hearing that Santa Anna was marching toward The Alamo, he became determined to save the Alamo. Committed to death inside the Alamo were 189 known patriots who valued freedom more than life itself. Many were colonists. Theirs was a fight against Santa Anna’s intolerable decrees. Others were volunteers such as David Crockett and his “Tennessee Boys” who owned nothing in Texas, and owed nothing to it. Theirs was a fight against tyranny wherever it might be. A handful were native Texans of Spanish and Mexican descent who suffered under the same injustices as the other colonists.
It came suddenly in the chilly, pre-dawn hours of March 6. Columns of Mexican soldiers attacked from the north, the east, the south and the west. Twice repulsed by withering musket fire and cannon shot, they concentrated their third attack at the battered north wall. The Mexicans swarmed through the breach and into the plaza. Santa Anna’s loses numbered nearly 600.
1836 – Battle of San Jacinto
On April 21, 46 days after the fall of the Alamo, less than 800 angered Texans and American volunteers led by General Sam Houston launched a furious attack on the Mexican army of 1,500 at San Jacinto. Shouting “Remember the Alamo!”, they completely routed the Mexican army in a matter of minutes, killing 630 while losing 9. Santa Anna was captured. Texas was free; a new republic was born. An independent nation for nearly 10 years, Texas was officially annexed to the United States on December 29, 1845.
Major Historical Figures: James Bowie, David Crockett, William Travis, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Sam Houston
The Mexican War between the United States and Mexico began with a Mexican attack on American troops along the southern border of Texas on Apr. 25, 1846. Fighting ended when U.S. Gen. Winfield Scott occupied
Mexico City on Sept. 14, 1847; a few months later a peace treaty was signed (Feb. 2, 1848) at Guadalupe Hidalgo. In addition to recognizing the U.S. annexation of Texas, defeated Mexico ceded California and New Mexico (including all the present-day states of the Southwest) to the United States.
At the time of the war, Mexico had a highly unstable government. The federal constitution of 1824 had been abrogated in 1835 and replaced by a centralized dictatorship. During that time numerous rebellions and insurgencies occurred within Mexican territory, including the temporary disaffection of California and the Texas Revolution, which resulted in the independence of Texas.
James Polk won the 1844 presidential election by advocating a belligerent stand against Britain on the Oregon Question. Once in office he declared that “the people of this continent alone have the right to decide their own destiny.” About the same time the term Manifest Destiny came into vogue to describe what was regarded as a God-given right to expand U.S. territory. Fearing that American patience was running short, Herrera seemed determined to settle the issue. He requested that the United States send a minister to Mexico, and President Polk appointed John Slidell. Slidell was authorized to purchase California and New Mexico from Mexico and to settle the Texas boundary. While the Republic of Texas had claimed the Rio Grande as its boundary, the adjacent Mexican state of Tamaulipas claimed the area north of the Rio Grande to the Nueces River. When Slidell arrived, Herrera, in an effort to save his government, refused to meet with him. A few days later (December 14), Parades issued a revolutionary manifesto; he entered Mexico City at the head of an army on Jan. 2, 1846. Herrera fled, and Parades, who assumed the presidency on January 4, ordered Slidell out of Mexico.
After the failure of the Slidell mission, Polk ordered Zachary Taylor to move his army to the mouth of the Rio Grande and to prepare to defend Texas from invasion. Taylor did so, arriving at the Rio Grande on Mar. 28, 1846. Before Taylor had moved to the Rio Grande, Parades had begun mobilizing troops. On April 4 the new dictator of Mexico ordered the attack on Taylor. When his commander at Matamoros delayed, Parades replaced him, issued a declaration of war (April 23), and reordered the attack. On April 25, 1846, Mexican troops crossed the Rio Grande and ambushed a detachment of American dragoons commanded by Captain Seth B. Thornton. Taylor’s report of this ambush reached President Polk. On Wednesday, May 13, over the vigorous opposition by the abolitionists, the U.S. Congress voted to declare war on Mexico. In the meantime two more Mexican attacks had been made across the Rio Grande at Palo Alto ( May 8 ) and Resaca de la Palma (May 9), and both had been repulsed.
The U.S. victories against a larger, better trained force were attributed to the effectiveness of the American light artillery. The Mexican garrison evacuated Matamoros, moving to the south. The Mexicans did not attack again because the Centralist government was collapsing. On July 28, Parades turned the government over to his vice-president and went into hiding. The Centralists’ government fell completely with the resignation of the vice-president on August 6. On August 22 the Federalists solemnly restored the constitution of 1824, and Valentin Gomez Farias, who had been deposed as vice-president by the Centralists in 1834, assumed temporary control of the government as the nation’s only legitimate official. In the meantime, Santa Anna had returned to Mexico. Having promised President Polk that he would work to effect a truce, he was allowed to pass through the U.S. naval blockade and land at Veracruz on August 16. He soon received command of the Mexican army; in December he was elected president by the Mexican Congress but did not formally assume office until the following March. In the meantime, Taylor began his advance on Monterrey. He reached that fortified town, which had a garrison of more than 10,000 troops, on September 19 and began his attack on the morning of September 21. With about 2,000 men, Gen. William J. Worth captured the road between Monterrey and Saltillo and by noon was storming Federation Hill. Total Mexican casualties were estimated at 367. The Americans had 368 wounded and 120 killed.
In January 1847, Santa Anna moved north with about 20,000 men to dislodge Taylor. Dispatches captured by the Mexicans had revealed that most of Taylor’s forces were being withdrawn to take part in Gen. Winfield Scott’s proposed landing at Veracruz. Word of Santa Anna’s approach reached Taylor on February 21, and although outnumbered almost 3-1, he took up a position at the hacienda of Buena Vista, a few miles from Saltillo. The Mexican attack began on February 22, when troops led by Ampudia gained an advantage and forced the Americans to abandon important defensive positions. The next morning the main Mexican force nearly overcame the U.S. defense. However, a dramatic charge led by Col. Jefferson Davis about noon and a determined artillery advance under Capt. Braxton Bragg finally saved the day for the Americans. Their casualties numbered about 700, but the Mexican losses were about 1,800. Santa Anna withdrew that night and moved south to intercept Scott’s invasion force. No further fighting occurred in northern Mexico, but Taylor remained in command of a small force there until he returned to the United States in November 1847. The decisive campaign of the war was Scott’s advance from Veracruz to Mexico City. Scott’s expedition began at a staging area at the mouth of the Rio Grande in February 1847. He assembled an army of approximately 12,000. A combined naval and land attack began on March 22. Heavy shelling from navy guns forced the almost impregnable town to surrender on March 28. Almost immediately Scott began the advance toward Mexico City. Only sporadic resistance was encountered until his army reached the village of Cerro Gordo about 80 km (50 mi) inland. There Santa Anna prepared to turn back the Americans. The attack on Cerro Gordo was led by units under William J. Worth on April 18. The U.S. engineers, who included Robert E. Lee, George B. McClellan, Joseph E. Johnston, and P. G. T. Beauregard, found a trail that enabled the Americans to envelop and rout Santa Anna’s forces. The Mexicans lost 1,000 men in casualties and another 3,000 as prisoners. The Americans had 64 killed and 353 wounded.
On May 14-15, Worth and John A. Quitman moved into Puebla, about 80 km (50 mi) closer to Mexico City. They expected heavy resistance because of Santa Anna’s reported presence there. However, the town’s leaders and the priests had decided to open Puebla to the Americans. Santa Anna had only about 2,000 cavalry, which the Americans easily routed. During June and July, Santa Anna frantically prepared to defend Mexico City. On August 7, Scott began his advance from Puebla. The first heavy fighting occurred on August 19-20 at Contreras, outside Mexico City, where Mexican losses were estimated at 700 and American casualties at 60. Santa Anna fell back about 8 km (5 mi) to Churubusco, where he took up a defensive position in a fortified convent. Advancing under extremely heavy fire on August 20, Scott’s men finally forced the convent’s surrender, although Santa Anna and much of his command escaped. Mexican losses were estimated at more than 4,000 killed and wounded and more than 2,500 prisoners; by contrast, American losses were slightly more than 1,000. Scott might have moved promptly into the capital. Instead he granted (August 24) the armistice of Tacubaya to permit the negotiation of a peace treaty. Santa Anna used the time to muster his forces and prepare a final defense of the city. Fighting was renewed on September 7-8 at Molino del Rey, where the Americans forced the Mexican position but lost nearly 800 soldiers. The Mexican losses totaled about 2,700. The final battle for Mexico City took place at the fortified hill of Chapultepec. American artillery bombardment on September 12 was followed the next day by an infantry assault. The citadel was heroically defended by cadets from the Mexican Military College, but they were forced to surrender before noon. American troops entered Mexico City that afternoon, and shortly after midnight Santa Anna evacuated his troops. The war was over. In just over five months, Winfield Scott had done what many had considered impossible. On September 16, Santa Anna resigned the Mexican presidency and fled the country. The new acting president, Pedro Maria Anaya, began negotiations with the American peace commissioner Nicholas Trist in November. Trist had just been recalled to Washington, but he decided to negotiate without credentials. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was the unsatisfactory result of Nicholas Trist’s unauthorized negotiations. It was reluctantly approved by the U.S. Senate on Mar. 10, 1848, and ratified by the Mexican Congress on May 25. Mexico’s cession of California and New Mexico and its recognition of U.S. sovereignty over all Texas north of the Rio Grande formalized the addition of 3.1 million sq km (1.2 million sq mi) of territory to the United States. In return the United States agreed to pay $15 million and assumed the claims of its citizens against Mexico. A final territorial adjustment between Mexico and the United States was made by the Gadsden Purchase in 1853.
Major Historical Figures: James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Winfield Scott, Stephen W. Kearny, John D. Sloat, Antonio López de Santa Anna, Mariano Arista, Pedro de Ampudia, José María Flores
Many US soldiers in this war became commanders in the US Civil War, including: Lewis Addison Armistead, P.G.T. Beauregard, George Cadwalader, Jefferson Davis, Richard S. Ewell, Ulysses S. Grant, Winfield Scott Hancock, A. P. Hill, Joseph Hooker, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, George B. McClellan, George Meade, John F. Reynolds, Winfield Scott, Thomas W. Sherman