Chapter 12-15 Vocabulary

Terms in this set (72)

Santa Fe
The Santa Fe trail was a 900-mile trail that was opened by American merchants for trading purposes, following Mexico's liberalization of the trading policies of Spain, formerly very restrictive. It was established in 1821, and was a popular path to get to California, Oregon, and the Mormon community in Utah.
Oregon Trail
This was one of the famous Overland trails that was over 2,000 miles long. It brought American settlers from the Midwest to new settlements in Oregon, California, and Utah. Independence, Missouri was the most common starting point to the trail. Previously dangerous, it became safer and safer as more and more people traveled over it. It was hugely traveled during the 1840s and 1850s.
This trail was first used in 1846, when Bingham Young led a group of about 150 Mormon settlers, unhappy with their treatment in their former homes. They traveled through the western U.S. and settled by the Great Salt Lake in Utah. They were isolated there for a bit, but with the California Gold Rush of 1849, more and more people were traveling on the path trailblazed by the Mormons. Their settlement by the Great Salt Lake was very successful.
A trail of about 2,000 miles that took pioneers across the western part of the United States into what is now California. The first half went along the same path as the Oregon trail, but then veered south along the Humboldt River to lead settlers into California. It was used heavily from 1845 to 1869, until the Transcontinental Railroad was established.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1808 and was commissioned as a first lieutenant in the infantry that same year. Taylor quickly became a military hero during the War of 1812 while serving under General William Henry Harrison. He distinguished himself during the Black Hawk War in 1832 and the Second Seminole War in Florida between 1835 and 1842. He was promoted to brigadier general in 1837 after his victory at the Battle of Lake Okeechobee. In 1845, soon after the annexation of Texas, President Polk ordered Taylor and an army of four thousand men to the Rio Grande. Border hostilities with Mexico over the boundary between the two countries escalated into full battles in May of 1845. Taylor's troops defeated an invading Mexican army at the Battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. That same month the United States declared war on Mexico. Taylor and his army invaded Mexico and advanced to Monterrey, capturing the city in late September. His military career was put in doubt, however, when a letter became public in which Taylor criticized President Polk and his secretary of war, William L. Marcy. An angry Polk could not relieve the popular war hero of his command, but he stripped Taylor of his best troops and ordered him to adopt a defensive posture. Taylor, who was nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready," disobeyed Polk's orders and defeated a Mexican army that outnumbered his troops by four to one at the Battle of Buena Vista in February 1847. This stunning victory guaranteed Taylor the status of national hero. The Whig Party nominated Taylor as its presidential candidate in 1848, even though Taylor had no interest in politics (he had never voted in an election) and was a slave owner. Taylor defeated the Democratic candidate, Lewis Cass, in the November general election. Taylor's brief service as president was unremarkable. Having no political background, Taylor was unprepared for the give-and-take of Washington politics. The biggest issue facing him was statehood for California and New Mexico, which had been acquired from Mexico as a result of the war. Although he owned slaves, Taylor was opposed to the expansion of slavery into the new territories, a position that alienated Southern Whigs and Democrats in Congress. When California voted to prohibit slavery, the South opposed its admission to the Union. Attempts by Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky to negotiate a compromise were shot down by Taylor. As this political conflict unfolded in the summer of 1850, Taylor contracted cholera. He died on July 9, 1850, in Washington, D.C. Taylor was succeeded by Vice President, Millard Fillmore, who quickly agreed to resolve the Mexican territories issue with the Compromise of 1850. This act admitted California into the Union as a free state, gave the territories of Utah and New Mexico the right to determine the slavery issue for themselves at the time of their admission to the Union, outlawed the slave trade in the District of Columbia, and gave the federal government the right to return fugitive slaves in the Fugitive Slave Act.
After meeting with President James K. Polk, he left Washington, D.C. on May 15, 1845. He raised a group of 62 volunteers in Saint Louis. He arrived at Sutter's Fort, on December 10, 1845. He went to Monterrey, California, to talk with the American consul, Thomas Larkin, and Mexican major-domo Jose Castro. In 1846, with the arrival of the USS Congress, Fremont was appointed lieutenant colonel of the California Battalion, also called U.S. Mounted Rifles, which he had helped form with his survey crew and volunteers from the Bear Flag Republic, now totaling 428 men. In June 1846, at San Rafael mission, Fremont sent three men, one of which was Kit Carson, to confront three unarmed men debarking from a boat at Point San Pedro. Kit Carson asked Fremont whether they should be taken prisoner. Fremont replied, "I have got no room for prisoners." They then advanced on the three and deliberately shot and killed them. One of them was an old and respected Californian, Don Jose R. Berreyesa, whose son was the Alcalde of Sonoma who had been recently imprisoned by Fremont. The two others were twin brothers and sons of Don Francisco de Haro of Yerba Buena, who had served two terms as the first and third Alcalde of Yerba Buena (later named San Francisco). These murders were observed by Jasper O'Farrell, a famous architect and designer of San Francisco, who wrote a letter detailing it to the Los Angeles Star published on September 27, 1856. This eyewitness account, together with others, were widely published during the presidential election of 1856, which featured Fremont as the first anti-slavery Republican nominee versus Democrat James Buchanan. It is widely speculated that this incident, together with other military blunders, sunk Fremont's political aspirations. In late 1846 Fremont, acting under orders from Commodore Robert F. Stockton, led a military expedition of 300 men to capture Santa Barbara, California, during the Mexican-American War. Fremont led his unit over the Santa Ynez Mountains at San Marcos Pass in a rainstorm on the night of December 24, 1846. In spite of losing many of his horses, mules and cannons, which slid down the muddy slopes during the rainy night, his men regrouped in the foothills the next morning, and captured the presidio without bloodshed, thereby capturing the town. A few days later Fremont led his men southeast toward Los Angeles, accepting the surrender of the leader Andres Pico and signing the Treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847, which terminated the war in upper California. On January 16, 1847, Commodore Stockton appointed Fremont military governor of California following the Treaty of Cahuenga. However, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny, who outranked Fremont (and who arguably had the same rank as Stockton, which was one star), said he had orders from the U.S. president and secretary of war to serve as governor. He asked Fremont to give up the governorship, which the latter stubbornly refused to do for a time. Kearny gave Fremont several opportunities to change his position. When they arrived at Fort Leavenworth in August 1847, Kearny arrested Fremont and brought him to Washington, for court martial. Fremont was convicted of mutiny, disobedience of a superior officer and military misconduct. While approving the court's decision, Pres. James K. Polk quickly commuted his sentence of dishonorable discharge due to his services and Fremont resigned.