African American Expansionism

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America in the mid 18th century experienced countless controversy over a variety of political, religious, and moral ideals. The arguments of slavery itself remained a sensitive topic throughout the Jacksonian era and continued to evoke strong emotions of Americans throughout the civil war. Following the Indian Removal Act set in place by Jackson, an idea of conquest swept through the states, this was known as Manifest Destiny. The newly independent Republic of Mexico held that territory, yet President James K. Polk, a democratic and pro-expansionist, held nothing back in respect to claiming that territory for the United States. Positioning troops to various strongholds around the unidentified territory led by military General Zachary Taylor, …show more content…
Polk took presidency in 1845, he made the acquisition of California known as a proposition he intended to complete while in office. He was known as a model of manifest destiny, an impulsive expansionist who desired the western pacific ports and territory for the states, despite the Mexican Republic owning the land. The Mexican government denied Polk 's request to purchase the land, and as a result Polk appointed troops to the disputed lands between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. An African American Newspaper, "The National Era", saw this idea of manifest destiny as an act of war, stating that the slaves could "lift [their] exulting eyes...your white masters have new victims found." The slaves felt that the American people would do nothing to stop at acquiring the new land, even if it led to war. The slaves feel an overwhelming connection to those falling victim to the American 's, seeing them as "comrades" that will suffer together. However, those who opposed the expansion to Mexico were seldom heard by the determined President, and Polk resorted to more threatening actions. After the failure of appointing John Slidell to negotiate terms with the Mexicans, tensions spiked when Mexican troops claimed the lives of twelve Americans under command of Zachary Taylor. On May 11, 1846 just two weeks after the attack, President Polk drafted a letter addressed to Congress urging them " to recognize the existence of war." Congress remained on the fence between war and peace, yet fell victim to the democratic demands and decided to allocate troops and supplies to the Mexican border. In the novel "The Fate of Their Country" author Michael Holt describes the decision of war by the commander and chief as a move to "pursue his personal agenda"..."pr[ying] open the lid on Pandora 's box." This decision expanded the gap between the Whigs and the Democrats, leading to much controversy that would divide the nation in the years to

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