During James K. Polk"s presidency, international policy revolved approximately the U.S. Desire for added territory in phibìc America. Even before the Revolutionary War, Americans had actually looked westward, and in the at an early stage years that the republic the United states had increased its boundaries toward and also then beyond the Mississippi River. Whether through a congressional joint resolution, negotiations, purchase, or war, president Polk by the end of his ax intended because that the United states to big from shore to coast, firmly in possession of the Oregon Territory and California.

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Annexation that Texas

President Tyler, in the last months that his term, boldly sent out a share resolution to Congress because that the annexation of Texas. A resolution forced only a simple bulk vote in both dwellings rather 보다 the two-thirds majority in the Senate that is normally compelled for a treaty. Tyler sent Congress a resolution because he knew that the two-thirds poll in the Senate was no to be had. Congress passed the joint resolution a few days prior to Polk"s inauguration in in march 1845. This allowed Texas come bypass the territorial stage and also come into the union together the fifteenth servant state in December 1845. Although Mexico had actually promised war versus the United claims if it linked Texas, no battle followed. But when Texas moved its militia into questioned territory west that the Nueces River, in order to staking a insurance claim to the Rio Grande together its southerly border, Mexico comment by breaking off diplomatic relations with the united States.


During the 1844 campaign, Polk had pledged to clear up the border of the Oregon are with Britain, and also once in office, that moved conveniently to obtain sole location to Oregon. His pendant in the 1844 project had supported the occupation of the whole territory, as encapsulated in your slogan (which Polk did no disavow), "54°40" or Fight." Both good Britain and also the joined States had actually jointly occupied this an ar since 1818, and it was clear that Polk want the west shore of phibìc America because that the joined States, possibly even including Mexican-controlled California. In the beginnings of negotiations, Polk bluffed come Britain the he wanted all the region up to 54°40". In the end, the President"s shrewd however unseemly bluster earned the a compromise fairly than a war v the British. In spite of his very own supporters" much more extreme demands, Polk agreed come a boundary at the 49th parallel, offering the unified States present-day Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, and also control the the Columbia River.

War through Mexico

Polk now turned the entirety of his attention toward Mexico. Much was at stake in the area. Great Britain had actually been mentioning with Mexico for months the opportunity of purchase California. The British previously had readily available to support the self-reliance of Texas in return because that the abolition of enslavement in the area. Even prior to settling the Oregon question, Polk had moved troops into the disputed territory simply north the the Rio Grande and also sent a unique envoy, man Slidell, come Mexico. Slidell lugged with the a U.S. Market to purchase California as well as plenipotentiary powers to settle discussed border claims. Slidell"s arrival in Mexico triggered a revolt against the mexico president—who had indicated a willingness to deal with Slidell—by military officers who pledged to recover the "stolen province of Mexico."

In so late April 1846, mexico troops crossed the Rio Grande and killed eleven U.S. Soldiers. In response, Polk requested a explanation of war from Congress, saying that Mexicans had "shed the blood of ours fellow-citizens ~ above our very own soil." By may 13, 1846, both countries officially to be at war. Many Whigs opposed the war, as did Calhoun, however all remembered just how the country had turn on the Federalists adhering to their opposition come the war of 1812. Hence, only fourteen members the the House and two senators voted versus the declaration. Abraham Lincoln, a first-term Whig congressman native Illinois, condemned the battle as an "unconstitutional" and also aggressive act, even difficult Polk to take him come Texas and also show him "the spot" on which mexicans had shed American blood. This position proved unpopular through his western constituents and figured into his decision no to operation for a 2nd term.

Within 7 months, the U.S. Army completely defeated the much bigger Mexican military on its own soil in 3 triumphant military campaigns. The first phase was carried out by basic Zachary Taylor"s four-thousand-man military in northern Mexico. Engaging much larger forces, Taylor deserve the nickname "Old Rough and Ready" for his victories in ~ Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma and, after gift reinforced by several thousand volunteers, his record of Monterrey in September 1846.

Phase 2 commenced under general Stephen watts Kearny, who on the other hand led an army of fifteen hundred regulars and also fighting frontiersmen west from fort Leavenworth to Santa Fe in new Mexico, occupying it on august 18, 1846. Fifty percent of Kearny"s army then battled their method through the Mexican district of Chihuahua, marching three thousand mile to link up v Taylor"s army at Monterrey in the spring of 1847. The other fifty percent of Kearny"s forces joined American inhabitants in California under the command of Captain man C. Fremont, who had captured Sonoma and also declared California an live independence republic. Their flag, displaying the picture of a grizzly bear, provided rise come the hatchet "bear-flag revolt."

The third phase of the war had actually all the markings that a comic opera. In July 1846, Polk noted safe passage right into Mexico for a previous Mexican army officer who had been toppled in a palace coup in 1844 and exiled to Cuba—the infamous basic Antonio López de Santa Anna. Command of Mexican pressures at the battle of the Alamo, Santa Anna was a man hated through Texans and distrusted by his very own countrymen. He promised Polk that he would certainly make tranquility on American terms in return because that a payoff that $30 million. Once Santa Anna arrived in Mexico City, however, the brand-new government called him can be fried commander that the army and president the the republic. He instantly raised a new army and also marched phibìc in at an early stage 1847 to assault Taylor"s force at Monterrey. In the meantime, Polk was farming increasingly worried around Taylor"s popularity. Angry through the general for having asserted an armistice without his approval after capturing Monterey, Polk transferred half of Taylor"s military to General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, who Polk notified to command an invasion of central Mexico.

Taylor, a Whig that suspected politics intrigue on Polk"s part, met in fight Santa Anna"s fifteen-thousand-man military at Buena Vista top top February 22, 1847. When the smoke cleared, Taylor"s 5 thousand americans had defeated Santa Anna"s military in a fierce battle significant by the courageous counterattack the a Mississippi regiment commanded by young Jefferson Davis. Once news the Taylor"s victory reached back home, his popularity soared and also Whigs started publicly to cite his name as a feasible candidate because that the presidency.

In a daring and also unprecedented amphibious landing, Scott captured the port of Veracruz in in march 1847. Then, in one of the riskiest field maneuvers in the books, he released a five-month, hard-fought campaign over the two hundred mile to Mexico City. Most European armed forces strategists predicted disaster, since not only was Scott"s army outnumbered 3 to one, that was reduced off native its it is provided bases, filled with ill-trained volunteers, and also operating in unknown terrain. Yet in the end, and also after bloody hand-to-hand fighting, Scott"s military stood in possession the Mexico City ~ above September 14, 1847.

With Mexico"s funding in American hands, Polk sent out diplomat Nicholas Trist to negotiate the regards to Mexican surrender v yet another new government, this one having actually overthrown Santa Anna after ~ his loss of Mexico City. Expansionist heat at home in his own party pressured Polk to wring every possible concession indigenous Mexico. Part even dubbed for the addition of "All Mexico," although all Polk really want was California. Trist stood up to Polk"s instructions, however, and so the president recalled him. Regardless of this, the diplomat ongoing to negotiate with Mexico, and on February 2, 1848, that signed the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which authorized U.S. Payment of $15 million for California and new Mexico, and also named the Rio Grande together the Texas border. With the treaty in hand, Polk wisely decided to submit it to the Senate. After ~ a brief debate, the Senate authorized the treaty on in march 10, 1848, by a vote of thirty-eight to fourteen. Half of the opposition came from Democrats who wanted more Mexican territory, and fifty percent from Whigs who wanted none at all. Mexico, in what was called the mexico Cession, ceded over one-third of its territory to the unified States, raising the latter"s dimension by one-fourth. This mexican Cession now contains the contemporary states the Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, lot of brand-new Mexico, and also portions the Wyoming and also Colorado. Just prior to leaving office, Polk developed the department of the internal in an effort to assist organize and provide these vast brand-new western lands.

American deaths in the mexico War exceeded 13,000, although just 2,053 of this number passed away in battle or indigenous wounds received in combat—the rest passed away from disease. An additional 4,100 Americans were wounded. Mexico suffered virtually 50,000 casualties. The Mexican battle was the very first war covered by large numbers the the press, and Polk"s dependence on volunteers gave the war a autonomous character. Influential American men of letters favor Walt Whitman and James Fenimore Cooper experienced it as the start of a world movement to extend democracy.

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Treaty of brand-new Granada

Concerned that Britain could use the war v Mexico to expand its insurance claims in main America and the Caribbean, Polk comment positively come the to plan of new Granada (present-day Colombia) because that a commercial treaty. The agreement, signed by U.S. Minister Benjamin A. Bidlack, conveyed to the U.S. The appropriate of way across the Isthmus of Panama. In return, the United states promised to insurance the neutrality the the isthmus and the sovereignty of new Granada. In therefore doing, Polk led the method for the eventual building in 1914 the the Panama Canal, although a canal connecting the Atlantic and also Pacific oceans already found boosters in ~ Polk"s cabinet. Meanwhile, Polk opened up discussions through Spain v the aim of to buy Cuba, return in this situation his goal was to prevent an additional war of annexation being pushed by details fellow Democrats. However, Spain was no interested in the U.S. Offer.