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John Tyler

Vice president under William Henry Harrison for four weeks, he was a Democrat at heart who refused to bend from his principles, vetoing Clay's bills at every turn. Vastly unpopular among the Whig population, he was not re-elected to a full term.

The Caroline

American steamer subject to an 1837 raid by a British-Canadian force while crossing the Niagara River, sinking just short of the falls.

The Creole

American ship captured in 1841by 130 rebellious Virginian slaves, who were in turn offered safety by the British in the Bahamas.

Aroostook War

Conflict during the Maine boundary dispute of the early 1840s, in which lumberjacks from Maine and Canada claimed the no-man's-land of the eponymous valley, both sides eventually calling for the militia.

Lord Ashburn

London financier who established diplomatic relations with Daniel Webster, agreeing to compromise on the Maine boundary, allowing the Americans to retain 7,000 of the 12,000 square miles of land.

Oregon Trail

Dangerous cross-country route taken west in the 1840s by pioneering Americans eager to stake a claim in the land south of the Columbia River.

James K. Polk

Speaker of the House in the early 1840s, he was the Democrats' surprise nominee for the presidency in 1844, winning on a campaign of Manifest Destiny and expansionist ideals.

Manifest Destiny

Belief wielded by James K. Polk and the Democratic party in 1844 that God had set out a grand fate for the American people, to spread their institution over the entire continent and perhaps into South America.

Tariff of 1842

Whig tax repeatedly vetoed by Tyler, who objected to what he saw as wastefulness of federal funds. He approved it after the Whigs redrafted it to provide additional revenue.

John Slidell

Minister sent by James K. Polk to Mexico City in 1845, instructed to offer up to $25 million for California and eastern territory.

Zachary Taylor

General in the Mexican-American conflict known as "Old Rough and Ready", repelling twenty thousand Mexican troops from Santa Anna in February 1847, clinching the 1848 presidential election for him.

Stephen W. Kearney

General in the Mexican-American conflict who captured Santa Fe in 1846 with seventeen hundred troops.

John C. Freemont

American explorer who helped to overthrow California with General Kearny in 1846, establishing the short-lived California Bear Flag Republic.

Winfield Scott

General given command of the main expedition to northern Mexico due to his service in War of 1812, capturing Mexico City in 1847 despite disease and lack of numbers.

Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

1848 treaty arranged by Nicholas P. Trist and Winfield Scott, confirming the American title to Texas and granting them California and territory eastward,.

Wilmot Amendment

1846 amendment by a Pennsylvania congressman, mandating that slavery should never be practiced in the territory gained from Mexico.

Wilmot Proviso

Name for the conflict in Washington over the Wilmot amendment in 1846.

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