1804 – US Senate ratifies Louisiana purchase
The United States Senate ratifies a treaty with France securing the latter’s North American holdings adjacent to that of the young republic. Known as the Louisiana Purchase, this act opened up a vast frontier that would turn America’s attention westward.
September 1821 – Mexican independence
Much as the United States cast off her European master, Mexico achieved independence from Spain. However, Mexico was not the inheritor of a democratic tradition dating back to the Magna Carta and would be plagued by lack of good governance. Unstable and fractious leadership would leave her weak and vulnerable.
1829 – USA attempts to purchase Texas
Driven in part by emerging sectional politics, the United States attempts to extend her territory by purchasing the Mexican Department of Tejas. Though rebuffed, a sizeable number of her citizens had already settled in the region.
1836 – Texas declares independence
Frustrated by increasingly meddlesome interference in their affairs with no tangible benefit, the residents of Texas declare their independence. Though instigated by American settlers and their descendants, the movement has broad support even amongst native Tejanos.
1838-39 Aroostock War
The War of 1812 failed to demark the precise boundaries between Canada and the United States that in time led to a confrontation between Maine and New Brunswick over property rights. This conflict escalated drawing in both British and American regular forces. The former quickly gained the upper hand over the inexperienced Americans. This conflict was settled through the Webster-Ashburn treaty which finally put to bed the last vestiges of the Revolutionary War of 1776.
1844 – Henry Clay (Whig) elected President
Henry Clay was elected as the 11th President of the United States by a razor-thin margin, in large part due to the splinter candidacy of John Tyler. Clay’s chief aim was to mediate the growing sectional tensions and it is generally agreed that in this he succeeded. A notable accomplishment to this end was the purchase of Cuba from the Spanish crown.
October 1845 – Texas officially independent
After a decade of conflict during which Mexican dictator Santa Anna failed to decisively end the rebellion and the United States disavowed interest in annexation, Mexico finally succumbed to the futility of retaining the region and through British, French and American emissaries entered into negotiations to settle the conflict. On October 13, 1845 the Republic of Texas entered the international stage.
November 1845 – California Republic declares independence
Buoyed by the recent Texican secession, American settlers around San Francisco Bay in the Mexican District of Alta California establish the California Republic and declare their independence from Mexico. Californios in the Los Angeles region do not support the Anglos and Mexican forces are dispatched to prevent further dissolution of the country.
January 1847 – Republic of California signs truce and soon asks for admission to US
After the indecisive Battle of San Luis Obispo, the California Republic and Mexico sign the Truce of Monterrey. Though not recognized as a sovereign nation, the Republic of California had achieved de facto independence. Her residents were, however, overwhelmingly in favor of annexation by the United States.
1846 – Brigham Young leads Mormons to Great Salt Lake
Fleeing sustained harassment, Brigham Young leads his Mormon congregation on an arduous trek to the Great Salt Lake in hopes of settling in a region where they can practice their faith without invoking the ire of their neighbors.
1848 – Lewis Cass (Democrat) elected President
The election of 1848 again witnessed splintering of the major parties along the slavery issue. This time it would be to the Whigs detriment as the Free Republic party coalesced from its ranks to run former President Van Buren as their Candidate. The election was even closer than 1844’s as frontrunner Lewis Cass failed to gain a majority of electoral votes leading to the first instance of the President being chosen by the House of Representatives.