NEGenWeb Project
Resource Center OLLibrary



Sketchhis cork leg. The Mexican army was completely dispersed, yet the Mexican government declared its determination to carry on the war, and never make peace with the United States of the north.
   3. After this victory, the Americans, without resistance, took possession of Jalapa, of Perote, guarded by the strongest fortress in Mexico after San Juan de Ulloa, and of Puebla, a city second only in importance to the capital. Here Scott waited nearly three months to replenish his army.
   Santa Anna, meanwhile, was planning new means for the defence of the capital. He organized bands of guerrillas to cut off the communication of the Americans with Vera Cruz, and with surprising energy, in the face of many difficulties, raised another army to oppose their advance.
   4. Scott resumed his march towards the capital, August 7, after having received reënforcements.
In three days the army had passed the crest of the Cordilleras, when the grand valley of Mexico burst upon their gaze. Lakes, plains, cities, and cloud-capped mountains spread around and beneath. "Far to the left was descried the giant peak of Popocatapetl; before them lay the Lake Tezcuco; and beyond, the domes and towers of the Montezumas."1 But in the path of the invaders lay more than thirty thousand Mexican troops, and strong fortifications to be overcome.
   5. The Americans advanced cautiously, and met with no opposition till the 19th, when they found their march impeded by the fortified camp of Contreras, fourteen miles from the city of Mexico. The next morning the camp was assaulted and carried. This success was followed, the same day, by the forcing of San Antonio, and the brilliant victory of Churubusco, and the whole Mexican army was driven back upon the city.
In these engagements nine thousand Americans had routed more than three times as many Mexicans, with a loss to the vanquished of seven thousand, including among the prisoners eight generals. The loss of the Americans was little more than one thousand in killed and wounded. After these victories General Scott granted an armistice to Santa Anna for the purpose of negotiating a peace. Perceiving, however, that negotiations would be of no avail, and that the treacherous Mexican was strengthening his defences, hostilities were resumed.

   1 The Montezumas were a race of native kings that occupied the throne of Mexico before the conquest by Cortez (see p. 12, ¶ 2).

   QUESTIONS. -- 3. After this victory, of what places did the Americans take possession? How long and for what purpose did Scott wait at Puebla? -- How was Santa Anna employed meanwhile? 4. When did Scott resume his march towards the capital? -- What lay in the path of the invaders? 5. When and where did the Americans find their march impeded? What was done on the morning of the 20th? What other successes followed the same day? -- what farther is said of these engagements? What of an armistice?




   6. On September 8, General Worth took by storm the strong position of Molino del Rey.1 On the 13th, the almost inaccessible castle of Chapultepec, the last fortification that defended the capital, yielded to the victorious Americans, and the next day the army entered the city, and the stars and stripes waved over the national palace.2
Santa Anna fled from the city, and collected a portion of his demoralized army; but his efforts were ineffectual, and the vanquished chief soon after escaped from the country.

   1 The King's Mill.
   2 In this series of battles, Generals Twiggs, Worth, Pillow, Shields, Cadwalader, Colonel Harney, and other brave and efficient officers, nobly seconded their able commander-in-chief. Among the gallant officers who won brevets at Contreras, Churubusco, and Chapultepec, were Captain Robert E. Lee, Lieutenants P. G. T. Beauregard, Daniel H. Hill, Thomas J. Jackson, and George B. McClellan. Lieutenants Don Carlos Buell, James Longstreet, Nathaniel Lyon, Earl Van Dorn, John Sedgwick, and Captain Philip Kearny, at Contreras and Churubusco, and Captains Joseph Hooker and Jesse L. Reno, at Chapultepec, also gained brevet rank. Among the officers brevetted for gallant conduct in the storming of Molino del Rey and at Chapultepec, was Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant, who had served with great credit in the army under Taylor, from the opening of the war through the siege of Monterey, and with Scott thus far in his campaign. Captains Robert Anderson, James Longstreet, and Lieutenant-Colonels Sumner, and Joseph E. Johnston, also obtained brevets for gallantry.

   QUESTIONS. --6. What Is said of the fall of Molino del Rey and Chapultepec? When did the Americans enter the city of Mexico? -- What farther is said of Santa Anna?



   7. The fall of the capital may be considered as closing this war. A treaty was concluded, February 2, Sketch1848, at Guadalupe Hidalgo, and peace was proclaimed by President Polk the next 4th of July. By this treaty the United States gained a vast expanse of territory, extending south to the River Gila and west to the Pacific,1 and stipulated to pay Mexico fifteen millions of dollars, and to assume her debts to American citizens to the amount of over three millions more.

   V. FROM THE CLOSE OF THE WAR WITH MEXICO TO THE ACCESSION OF TAYLOR. -- 1. The territory acquired from Mexico proved to be a subject of contention. As early as August, 1846, when it Sketchbecame evident that the war would result in the acquisition of territory, David Wilmot, a representative in Congress from Pennsylvania, introduced a proposition, known as the Wilmot Proviso, by which slavery was to be excluded from ail territory acquired of Mexico. Although the proviso did not become a law, it brought the subject of slavery before Congress and the people, for violent debate, and still further strengthened the anti-slavery sentiment in the north. The party opposed to the extension of slavery took the name of the Free Soil party.2
   2. A little before the conclusion of a treaty with Mexico, gold was found to abound in California.3 News of this discovery caused a wonderful tide of emigration from all parts of the civilized world to set towards the land of gold.
Sketch   3. In 1848 Wisconsin4 was admitted to the Union.
Wisconsin, a part of the Territory of Illinois,5 was attached to the Territory of Michigan6 in 1818, and became a separate territory in 1836. As a territory it included a part of the Louisiana Purchase Sketchnorth of Missouri.7 Green Bay was founded in 1745, by the French, who had, many years before, established a mission, trading-post, and fort here, as well as at Prairie du Chien and Le Pointe. French missionaries and traders explored portions of Wisconsin as early as 1639.

   1 The boundary between Mexico and the United States was to be the Rio Grande, from its mouth to New Mexico; thence to the River Gila; that river to its junction with the Colorado; thence in a straight line to the Pacific, at a point ten miles south of San Diego.
   2 See p. 206, ¶ 12       3 See p. 214, ¶¶ 3, 4.
   4 The state is named from the River Wisconsin. The name signifies "the gathering of the waters."
    5 See p. 191, ¶ 2, and note 3.
   6 See p. 200, ¶ 15.      7 See Iowa, p. 206, ¶ 13, and Minnesota, p. 225, ¶ 5.

   QUESTIONS. -- 7. When and where was a treaty concluded? By this treaty what did the United States gain and what stipulate? V. 1. What is said of the territory acquired from Mexico? What is the Wilmot Proviso? What was the result of its introduction into Congress? What was the party opposed to the extension of slavery named? 2. What was found to abound in California? Effect of news of this discovery? 3. When was Wisconsin admitted to the Union? -- Give an account of the early history of Wisconsin.



   4. At the presidential election in 1848, the Whig candidates, Zachary Taylor, of Louisiana, for president, and Millard Fillmore, of New York, for vice-president, were elected.

Horz. bar



Sketch   1. GENERAL TAYLOR found the government surrounded by difficulties which threatened the disruption of the Union. The questions relating to slavery added the bitterness of sectional controversy to the strife of party. 1st. The majority in the slave states contended that the territory acquired from Mexico by the blood and treasure of the whole Union should be open to the people of every section of the country, with all their property, including slaveholders with their slaves; and it was proposed to extend the line of the Missouri Compromise2 to the Pacific, prohibiting slavery north of the line, and permitting it south of it. In the free states slavery was generally believed to be an evil and a sin, and there was a large and growing party3 which, although it had no disposition to molest the institution where it already existed, would not consent to its extension to territory then free, and such, by the laws of Mexico, was the condition of the territory recently acquired. 2d. California formed a constitution, and petitioned to be admitted to the Union as a free state, with her Present boundaries. Since a part of this territory extended

   1 See Appendix, p. 21.      2 See p. 191, ¶ 3.      3 See p. 218, ¶ 1.

   QUESTIONS. -- 4. Who were elected next president and vice-president? Chap. XI. 1. What the condition of the government on the accession of Taylor? How did sectional controversy arise in regard to territory acquired from Mexico? In regard to the admission of California?



south of the proposed line of compromise, to grant the petition would exclude slavery from a region into which slaveholders maintained that they had a right to remove with their slaves. 3d. Petitions had for years been pouring in upon Congress, praying that the slave trade and slavery might be abolished in the District of Columbia. 4th. The south had also found cause of complaint in the fact that fugitive slaves had been assisted to escape by people in the free states. 5th. To add to these sources of sectional animosity, Texas set up a claim to a part of the acquired territory, which, should it be allowed, would consign to slavery the region claimed.
Under the lead of John C. Calhoun,1 attempts were made to induce the people of the south to accept no compromise on the sectional issues before the country. The more violent urged secession from the Union and the establishment of a Southern Confederacy,2 but more moderate counsels prevailed.
   3. In the midst of these dangers to the republic, a committee3 was appointed in the United States Senate Sketchto devise a plan for the settlement of the difficulties. Henry Clay,4 himself a slaveholder, but opposed to the extension of slavery, was chairman, and in May, 1850, made a report, embracing several measures, known as the Omnibus Bill, and designed to arrange the subjects in dispute by compromise.
   4. Pending the discussions on Mr. Clay's report, the nation was called a second time5 to mourn the death of its chief magistrate. President Taylor died July 9, 1850.
Called to his high station from a life of active service in the camp, without any experience in the administration of civil affairs, he had shown himself equal to the position, and the confidence reposed in his integrity and patriotism by the people of all sections of the country, caused his death, at this time of national peril, to be felt as an irreparable calamity.
   5. Millard Fillmore, the vice-president, now became president, and was inaugurated the day after the death of General Taylor.

   1 See p. 198, ¶ 9.
   2 Henry S. Foote, at that time senator from Mississippi, is evidence that Calhoun prepared a constitution for such a confederacy.
   3 The committee consisted of thirteen members. Besides the chairman, Mr. Clay, there were six from free and six from slave states.
   4 See p. 199, ¶ 9.      5 See p. 203, ¶ 1.

   QUESTIONS. -- How in regard to the District of Columbia? In regard to fugitive slaves? In regard to the claim set up by Texas? 2. What attempts were made under the lead of Mr. Calhoun? What was urged by the more violent? 3. For what purpose was a committee appointed in the United States Senate? Who was chairman of the committee? -- What bill did he report, and what did it embrace? 4. What melancholy event occurred during the discussions on Mr. Clay's report? -- What further is said of President Taylor? 5. Who now became president?



   The cabinet having resigned, Mr. Fillmore nominated another, at the head of which, as secretary of Sketchstate, was Daniel Webster,1 who, as United States senator, had thrown the whole weight of his powerful influence in favor of Mr. Clay's report.
   6. The compromise measures reported by Mr. Clay passed Congress, but not as a single bill, and Sketchreceived the president's signature in September. They provided, 1st. For the admission of California2 as a free state. 2d. For establishing the boundary of Texas, as at present, and paying that state ten millions of dollars to relinquish all claim to additional territory. 3d. For the organization of territorial government in the remainder of the region acquired from Mexico, without any provision for or against slavery. 4th. For prohibiting the slave trade in the District of Columbia; and, 5th For the enactment of a Fugitive Slave Law, to enable masters to recover their slaves escaping to a free state.
The fugitive slave law met with great opposition in the north, and several instances of its execution created intense excitement. In the south a convention of disunionists met at Nashville for the purpose of encouraging the slave states to secede; but before Fillmore retired from the presidency, the people of both sections had generally acquiesced in the compromise measures.
   8. In 1852, Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, was elected president, and William Rufus King,3 of Alabama, vice-president. They were the candidates of the Democratic party, and friendly to the compromise measures.

   1 See p. 203, ¶ 2.      2 See p. 14, ¶5; p. 68, ¶ 2; p. 214, and p. 218, ¶¶ 7, and 2.
   3 Mr. King never took his seat as president of the Senate. By special act of Congress the oath of office was administered to him in Cuba (whither he had gone for the benefit of his health) by the American consul-general at Havana. He died in April, 1853, soon after his return to Alabama.

   QUESTIONS. -- Who was at the head of the new cabinet? 6. For what did Mr. Clay's compromise measures provide? When did they receive the president's signature? 7. What is said of the fugitive slave law? Of a convention of disunionists? Of the people of both sections before the close of the administration? 8. Who became the next president and vice-president?
   19 *

Previous Page Button
Appendix Button
Contents Button
Pronouncing Index Button
Next Page Button

© 1999, 2000, 2001 for NEGenWeb Project by Ted & Carole Miller