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Lauren Smith

658 words

Period 2

500 word essay


The 1840s happened over 170 years ago. Multiple things happened
during that time period. I chose to focus on three main events. The California
Gold Rush, the Manifest Destiny, and the Mexican American war. During this
time period there were three presidents. William Henry Harrison was elected
president in 1840 he defeated Martin Van Buren he died only 30 days after
he was elected president so John Tyler became the first vice president to
become a president. In 1844 James K. Polk defeated Henry Clay in an
election that focused on foreign policy, the issue of Texas annexation, and
helped lead to the Mexican-American War in 1846. In 1848 Zachary Taylor
defeated Lewis Cass Taylor was a proven leader during the MexicanAmerican War, and died in office in 1850. A lot of what happened was on the
west side of the country. It dealt a lot with expanding the United States
territory, growing economically, there were advancements in technology and
literature. The 1840s was a growing time for America
During the California Gold Rush miners came from all over looking to
make a fortune. James Wilson Marshall, a carpenter from New Jersey, found
flakes of gold in the American River near Coloma, California. Sutter's Mill was
a saw mill owned by John Sutter it was located on the South Fork of the
American River. At the time he was working to build a water powered saw
mill owned by John Sutter. He was a German-born Swiss citizen and founder
of the colony Nueva Helvetia. The colony later became the city of
Sacramento. Marshall later said It made my heart thump, for I was certain it

Lauren Smith

658 words

Period 2

was gold. Days after Marshalls discovery at Sutters Mill, the Treaty of
Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the Mexican-American War and
leaving California to the United States. A storekeeper Sam Brannan started a
craze when he went through the streets showing people a vial of gold. The
Gold Rush helped sped up California's admission to the Union as 31st state.
The term Manifest Destiny first appeared during the 1840s. It referred
to the expansion of America. It meant that the United States was destined to
stretch from the east coast to the west coast. The phrase was said by John L.
OSullivan in an article on the annexation of Texas published in the JulyAugust 1845 edition of the United States Magazine and Democratic Review,
which he edited. This attitude helped with western settlement, Native
American removal and war with Mexico. OSullivan claimed, our manifest
destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free
development of our yearly multiplying millions. The term and the concept
were taken up by those wanted to get Oregon Territory, California, Mexican
land in the Southwest, and in the 1850s, Cuba.
The Mexican American War was a two-year war mainly over territory.
Mexico was against the U.S. and President Polk who believed strongly in the
Manifest Destiny and he was determined to expand the United States
territory. The U.S. had annexed Texas and Mexico warned that any attempt at
annexation would lead to war. Polk wanted to buy California, New Mexico and
what is now the southwest when his offer was rejected he moved troops into

Lauren Smith

658 words

Period 2

a zone between the Rio Grande and Nueces River. Both countries recognized
this as part of the Mexican state of Coahuila. U.S. troops took over Veracruz
and went towards Mexico City. The Mexicans resisted at Cerro Gordo but
lost. Guerilla attacks against U.S. supply lines continued, but the war ended.
On Feb. 2, 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed. Mexico also
recognized the U.S. annexation of Texas, and agreed to sell California and the
rest of its territory north of the Rio Grande for $15 million plus the
assumption of certain damages claims.
Multiple events happened during the 1840s but I believe I chose the
biggest and most important events that happened during this time period.