Andrew Jackson and the Annexation of Texas

Thesis: Andrew Jackson had his eye on Texas ever since he took office.

Key Points:

  • Jackson believed that Texas was part of the Louisiana Purchase and J.Q. Adams gave it up. You bet Jackson was ticked off when J.Q. gave it up in the Adams-Onis Treaty (Florida Purchase Treaty).
  • Jackson was so mad that he thought it was treason to give up such a land that “rightfully” belonged to the United States, or so he thought.
  • Jackson’s first few attempts at getting Texas failed. He sent Col. Anthony Butler to try and negotiate Texas back. Instead Butler tried to bribe Mexico with money, an action that really sent Jackson into an angry rage.
  • He was also angry that Mexico was stubborn for not agreeing to a southern boundary of the Rio Grande. Jackson thought that a boundary agreement would eliminate the “collisions” that the two totally different societies would have. If America did not buy Texas or acquire it, the Americans in Texas would revolt and create their own country.
  • Why on earth were people in Texas in the first place? Well the answer lies in the Panic of 1819 when people decided to try a new life in Texas to see if it was any better. They were led by Moses Austin and Steven F. (Austin’s son). Moving into Texas obviously provoked the Mexicans. It was their land.
  • Jackson didn’t want to have a war with Mexico but also did not want to deal with adding what could be another slave state.
  • Sam Houston fled to Texas after marriage problems and told Jackson he would conquer Mexico or Texas and be worth 2 million in 2 years. Jackson blew this off as talk that wouldn’t take a walk.
  • Mexico was angry that Americans were taking advantage of Texas and possibly instigating revolutionary thoughts.
  • Mexico’s Santa Anna was defeated at the Battle of San Jacinto and forced to sign a treaty after marching five thousand men and failing miserably. But Santa Anna took back his word because he was threatened into signing a treaty.
  • Mexican minister Manuel Eduardo de Gorostiza was angry at Jackson and Americans and wanted his passports.
  • At Tampico, Com. Alexander J. Dallas reported that the Mexican authorities denied American vessels water and other necessities and permission to go ashore. They also threatened to kill any American in the Tampico area.
  • Jackson was so angry he shook his fist and had a bit of a tantrum. After he reverted to back to sanity, he told Dallas to blockade Tampico until Mexico gave in to allowing the Americans water and communication to the Consul. He told his Sec of State, John Forsyth, to alert Gorostiza about the commands given to Dallas.
  • Mexico and the US ended up calming down and the blockade was avoided but relations were even worse.
  • Samuel Carson was asked if Santa Anna was going to be allowed back home. He replied yes and Jackson told him that it was risky to let Santa Anna run off into Mexico. He did not want to launch any offensives against Mexico if Santa Anna ran off without recognizing the treaty.
  • There was another problem though, if Texas was annexed, the other countries would view the United States as traitors. Even so, Jackson did not dwell much upon it.
  • The Abolitionists in the north would also be angry about Texas because they knew it would come in as a slave state.
  • Jackson was passionate about Texas but he was more passionate about keeping the Union together. The Union was more important to him.
  • Sam Houston sent Santa Anna to Washington to talk about Texas annexation.
  • Anna first proposed the cession of Texas. Jackson said they had to worry about the disposition of the Texans. Texas had to be acknowledged as Independent first.
  • The proposal Jackson had was that Mexico would recognize the Independence of Texas. The boundaries of the US would include Texas and Northern California.  For this, Mexico would be compensated with 3.5 million dollars.
  • Santa Anna was then sent back to Mexico on a warship but the negotiations were indefinite.
  • William Wharton protested that the US should acknowledge Texas Independence first and follow through with the Annexation and forget about California and the Rio Grande.
  • Congress passed this proposal and Texas was recognized as independent. However, Jackson failed to reach the Rio Grande.
  • Jackson thought Texas had to be annexed quickly or they might be taken into an alliance with a foreign country, possibly an enemy like Great Britain.
  • John Tyler got a treaty of annexation even though the North protested against the annexation.
  • John C Calhoun wrote a rather nasty letter declaring anybody that voted for the proposal was a “protector of slavery”.
  • He successfully killed the treaty in Congress. Even so, the US was responsible for the 10 million dollar debt owed by Texas.
  • Henry Clay thought annexation would cause war with Mexico.
  • Martin van Buren even would not touch a treaty of annexation, making Jackson rather sad. VB was replaced with James A Polk who was up against Henry Clay.
  • Polk won and he promised to re-annex Texas.
  • He did and Texas was annexed…and this awoke Mexico and started a War against Mexico. Adding a slave state would also eventually created a Civil War.
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