Across a Hundred Mountains Notes and Quotes Essay

Across a Hundred Mountains Notes and Quotes Essay.

• Eleven-year-old Juana lives with her Amá and Apá in their little shack at the outskirts of their village in Mexico. • On the night of a flood, which enters their shack, her mother leaves Juana on top of the table holding the baby, Anita, to go look for her husband.

• Juana falls asleep and loses hold of the baby, which drowns. Now in debt again to the wealthiest man in the village, Don Elías, who paid for the funeral, Apá decides to risk everything and go to America to earn the money to pay off Don Elías.

• When no word comes from Apá – Miguel Garcia – the other villagers taunt Juana and her mother, Lupe, with the hideous word: abandoned. But there’s still Don Elías to pay off, and there’s only one thing he’s asking for and one thing Lupe can give: her body.

• As her mother declines further into guilt, depression, craziness and alcohol, Juana never gives up hope that her father is just across the mountains, that he hasn’t forgotten or abandoned them.

Her determination to find him sees her travel to Mexico City, where she meets Adelina, who helps her find the coyote that helped her father cross the border Characters

• Juana: A 12 years old girl with black hair, she was thin, very innocent, poor, aggressive and honest. She had a hard life and always felt guilty of the death of her little sister. Her purpose was to find her father in “El otro Lado”. She is the main character of this book and she will live the hardest times of her life trying to find her missing father.

• Adelina: A more less 17 years old girl, she works as a prostitute, she lives in Mexico. She run away from his house because she fall In love of her boyfriend, and he was the one who introduce her in the prostitution business, she is a friendly, good, honest and poor person.

• Miguel Garcia (Apa): He was a campesino and he worked in the fields planting and harvesting crops. He felt guilty of his little daughter dead. He wants a better life for his family so he decided to go to “El otro Lado”, and he died trying it.

• Lupe (Ama): A religious woman who follows the Mexican traditions and prays a lot to the Virgen de Guadalupe, she has a long hair, loves her family, she was with a lot of grudge with Juana because of Anita’s dead. Later she became an indigent woman, alcoholic and with mental

• Don Elias: A fat pig man who is the richest man in the town, everybody is afraid of him, he is the one who pay for Anita’s funeral, and the Garcia family owns him money. Is a repugnant man with no values, he don’t care of nobody, he just care of himself and he will do the necessary to get what he wants.

• Don Ernesto: A very good man who helped Adelina (Juana), when she arrives to Los Angeles city, later he became like some kind of father figure to Adelina (Juana). He offers the shelter as a temporary house, but she breaks her final promise to him when she denies giving a chance to be happy with Sebastian.

Across a Hundred Mountains Notes and Quotes Essay

Hawaii Climate vs Mexico Climate Essay

Hawaii Climate vs Mexico Climate Essay.

Hawaii climate is tropical with remarkable differences in climate within short distances. Hawaii’s climate is warm throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 20 to 28°C (68 to 85°F). The rainy season is between December to March; rain can be heavy in the mountains but elsewhere it is confined to short showers. The climate of Hawaii is a typical for a tropical area and regarded as more subtropical than the latitude would suggest because of the moderating effect of the surrounding ocean.

Temperatures and humidity tend to be less extreme. However, the most influencing factor of Hawaii’s weather is orographic – caused by the mountains.

The higher the mountain the greater the extremes. The mild, uniform climate of Hawaii is famous all over the world. Wide temperature changes are unknown in the state. Despite Hawaii’s location in a tropical zone, cooling ocean currents keep the climate moderate. Unlike Hawaii, Mexico is a land of contrasts, from tropical coastal plains to deserts and mountains.

Climate is largely determined by altitude; beach resorts are generally hot and humid whilst the colonial cities on Mexico’s central plateau have almost constant spring temperatures. Mexico has pronounced wet and dry seasons.

Most of the country experiences a rainy season from June to mid-October and significantly less rain during the remainder of the year. Mexico lies squarely within the hurricane belt, and all regions of both coasts are susceptible to these storms from June through November. Hurricanes are relatively rare events in the Hawaiian Islands. Records show that strong windstorms have struck all major islands in the Hawaiian Island chain since the beginning of history. The first officially recognized hurricane in Hawaiian waters was Hurricane Hiki in August of 1950.

Hawaii’s mountains significantly influence every aspect of its weather and climate. Orographic interception of moisture carried by the northeast trade wind is the primary control on Hawaiian rainfall patterns. Hawaii is the most noted example of hotspot volcanism. ?Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Kohala Mountain is the oldest in Hawaii, which is also a volcanoe. Areas near the summit of Kohala that receive greater than about 1200 mm rainfall today were drier and cooler during most of the last glacial period. Like Hawaii, even Mexico gets affected with hurricanes.

Hurricane Hugo passed directly over Cancun in September 1989, with winds in excess of 200 kilometers per hour producing major damage to hotels in the resort area. In September 1988, Hurricane Gilbert struck northeast Mexico. Mexico lies squarely within the hurricane belt, and all regions of both coasts are susceptible to these storms. Most of Mexico is an immense, elevated plateau, flanked by mountain ranges that fall sharply off to narrow coastal plains in the west and east. The State of Hawaii, which has both major and minor islands were formed by volcanic eruptions.

Since, Hawaii is in the tropics, where the length of day and temperature are relatively uniform throughout the year. Hawaii’s longest and shortest days are about 13 1/2 hours and 11 hours respectively. Uniform day lengths result in small seasonal variations. The topography of Mexico is very diverse, and the climate reflects this fact. At any time of the year you can find an area of Mexico with a perfect climate. Many parts of the central highlands and some coastal locations, have “perfect” weather all year round.

In the tropics, the temperature drops with altitude, and that is why most people in Mexico live on the central plateau of the country. Cities like Guadalajara and Lake Chapala are located at approximately 5000 feet above sea level. Mexico is located around 7000 ft. The Tropic of Cancer cuts across Mexico near Mazatlan and Ciudad Victoria and south of the tropic it’s hot and humid all year long along the coastal plains on either side of the country. The hot, wet season runs from May to October with the hottest and wettest months falling between June and September for most of the country.

Low-lying coastal areas are wetter and hotter than elevated inland ones. Though the hottest summer extremes are generally found on the coastal plains, temperatures in the Altiplano and the Plataforma Yucateca often reach higher than 100 degrees F (38 degrees C). Hawaii’s heaviest rains are come from winter storms between October and April. While the effects of terrain on storm rainfall are not as great as on trade wind showers, large differences over small distances do occur, because of topography and location of the rain clouds. Differences vary with each storm.

The mild temperature of the islands is matched by dependable patterns of sunshine and rainfall. Puako, on the Big Island, has about 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rainfall during an average year. It is the driest area in the Hawaiian chain. On the Yucatan peninsula, along the mainland Pacific coast, along the Gulf coast north of Veracruz and in the Depresion de Balsas, annual rainfall reaches 30 inches (80 centimeters) or more. Mexico ’s highest rainfall totals are in northeastern Chiapas and along the Gulf coastal plains of Tabasco with over 98 inches (250 centimeters) per year.

In conclusion, though Hawaii and Mexico share a tropical climate both are prone to hurricanes. Therefore, their rainfall is usually seasonal and, their summers are dry. In the wetter regions, where rainfall comes from both winter storms and trade wind showers, seasonal differences are much smaller. A dry winter, followed by a normally dry summer and another dry winter, can have serious effects. The absence of trade winds affects mostly the windward and upland regions, which receive a smaller proportion of their rain from winter storms.

Hawaii Climate vs Mexico Climate Essay

The Second Letter of Henan Cortes to Charles V Essay

The Second Letter of Henan Cortes to Charles V Essay.

The Second letters to Charles V were written by Hernan Cortés of Spain in 1520. The letters were sent to Charles V to justify Cortés actions of attacking the Aztec’s against his superiors order. The letters that Cortés wrote details the lifestyle, and culture of the Aztec’s and how worshipped pagan gods. This document is a set of letters that Hernan Cortés wrote detailing his experiences within the area known today as Mexico. These documents allow readers to see the Aztec culture through the eyes of Cortés during his conquest in Mexico.

As a result of this, there is a bias against the Aztecs in the letters since Cortés was a very religious Christion. This article was intended mainly for the Emperor, but the details Cortés put into explaining the power of Aztecs would eventually be used to present the achievements of Cortés. [1: Arkenberg, Cortés. “Hernan Cortés: From Second Letter to Charles V, 1520.

” Internet History Sourcebooks. January 1, 1998. Accessed November 13, 2014.]

In 1485, Hernan Cortés was born in Spanish kingdom of Castile and would later on die in 1547 at the age of 62. Cortés would go to become a Spanish Conquistador and would eventually lead a campaign that would end in the creation of New Spain or future Mexico. His most well-known achievement would be his ability to conquer the Aztec empire in 1521. Cortés did have an education since he studied at the University of Salamanca to become a lawyer but would drop out after two years, to chase after the tales and stories of the new world. As a result, Cortés education allows the Second letter to Charles V to illustrate the society of the Aztecs in a sharp way. Cortés was also very intelligent in the way he wrote the letters to CharlesV.

Cortés was trying to justify his actions for attacking the Aztecs, and the emphasis he puts on the Aztecs, pagan beliefs would appeal to the Christian Emperor Charles V. Another point where Cortés was smart about writing the document was commenting on the wealth of Montezuma the King of the Aztecs. This type of writing on about how great a king Montezuma was attempted to touch on the jealously that Charles V might have that a pagan king can have such wealth and power. [2: Hernan Cortés and Anthony Pagden, In Letters from Mexico (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), 11. ][3: Cortés, and Pagden, In Letter from Mexico, xli]

An essential thing to determine was what reason did Cortés have for creating this document. The reason that Cortés created these letters was to justify his actions of heading to the region of Mexico against the wishes of the governor of Cuba who was Diego Velázquez. The region of Mexico was something that fell under Velázquez authority so when Cortés decided to try and conquer Spain this was a threat to his power within the region. As a result, Cortés wrote to Charles V to justify his actions of conquering the region that would be named Mexico. Furthermore, Cortés within his document begins to portray himself as the perfect image for the emperor in this new region. An example of this would be when Cortés writes about “purifying the chapels in which they had stood, as they were all polluted with human blood, shed ill the sacrifices. In the place of these I put images of Our Lady and the Saints, which excited not a little feeling in Montezuma and the inhabitants.”

This particular action of placing images of the Saints on pagan idols was something that would have portrayed Cortés as the perfect representation of the Emperor. The significance of religion was a key factor to promote his conquest to the emperor since the conversions of natives was beginning to gain considerable prominence within the new world. As a result Cortés made sure to explain the Aztec culture, religious believes to support this idea that these pagans required Christianisation. Cortés continues to support his point of the need to convert these savages within the letter criticising the customs of the Aztecs specifically the use of human’s sacrifices. Cortés also made sure to describe the Aztecs as primitive people who worshiped false gods and viewed the king as a “barbarous monarch”. As a result, Cortés placed himself in a strong position to be the symbol of the crown that could bring a stable Christian society to save these people.[4: Cortés, and Pagden, In Letter from Mexico, 11][5: Arkenberg, Hernan Cortés: From Second Letter to Charles V, 1520][6: Arkenberg, Hernan Cortés: From Second Letter to Charles V, 1520]

The primary intended audience was Charles V to in an attempt to gain support from him to have authority over the territory of New Spain. Cortés wanted to set up a position where he did not have to answer to the governor of Cuba but only had to address himself to the Emperor. The audience of the document was not only meant to be for Charles V, but most people in Spain were able to read. Cortez went into great detail about the power of the Aztecs to add to his glory of how he was able to conquer a whole nation. As a result, Cortés did his best to relate what he was experiencing to cities in Spain and the old world to allow readers get an idea how the cities and culture functioned in the new world. Cortés also made sure to touch a lot on the culture and the traditions of the natives in an effort to convey the Aztecs way of life. As result anyone who would end up doing the research on the Aztec culture would see this source as a helpful primary document.

The document does have a significant historical importance as it provides readers with a view into the Aztec empire. The letter that Cortés wrote begins by providing a detailed look into the culture of the Aztecs, and the structure of their society. This message is important since the Aztecs did not have a formal way to record their history. This letter gives readers an understanding of how the Aztecs dealt with their surrounding neighbours and how they practised their religious beliefs. The letter also covers the architecture that the Aztecs used within their community, and the origins of where the Aztecs originated. For anyone doing research on the Aztecs Cortés letter to Charles, V is an important primary document to use. Readers of the letters can expect to find Christian bias within the document that looks down on particular traditions of the Aztecs since Christians condemn certain actions as savage. Within the document, there is a push by the narrative to view the Natives as savages, but the central sense from the letters is that the Aztecs had a civilized society.

The document continues to show readers that the Aztecs had a very cultural society with a complicated system of ceremonial practices within the Aztec court. Even Cortés who regularly described the Aztecs as barbarous was surprised by the amount ceremonial proceedings involved in their court. Even though Cortés goes into detail about the ceremonial and complexity of the Aztecs it is not with the right tensions. Cortés hoped to make Charles V jealous about the wealth of this new king and hence would be more likely to allow Cortés to conquer the region of present day Mexico. This type of information is critical to having an understanding to the Aztec way of life since the culture and ceremonies were at the foundation of understanding most ancient cultures.

The letter also provides an understanding of the Aztec way of administrating the regions under their control. The letter goes into detail explaining the use of collectors to collect tribute from the surrounding areas of Tenochtitlán. The letter even goes into detail touching on the fact that the king would receive a large array of different sources of tribute. In conclusion, the letters that Cortés wrote provide readers with profound insight into the world of the Aztecs. [7: Arkenberg, Hernan Cortés: From Second Letter to Charles V, 1520][8: Cortés, Hernan Cortés: From Second Letter to Charles V, 1520]

The letters that Cortés writes allows historians a chance to see the new world in through the eyes of the Christians conquistadors. Through the use of the document, the readers get a chance to see the mentality of the Christian Conquistadors and how they were able to justify their actions against the Indigenous population in the new world. Readers also get to examine the logic of how the Spanish were able to condemn the Aztecs as savages regardless of the achievements and complexity of their society. Historians who study the letter are then able to understand how slavery of the native population was seen to be justified by the Christians as they developed the idea that the indigenous population was just pagan savages. In conclusion, this document provides insight into the world of the Aztecs and how Christian Conquistadors viewed the indigenous population of the new world.

In conclusion, the letters that Cortés wrote to Charles V was a tool to receive justification for conquering the Aztecs to create the region of New Spain. This document does have a bias within the documentation, but it provides a first-person account about the lifestyle and structure of the Aztec society. In conclusion, Cortés did cover a significant amount of information about the Aztecs, by providing a person view into the world.


Hernan Cortés, and Anthony Pagden, In _Letters from Mexico_ (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 2001), 11.

Jerome S. Arkenberg. “Hernan Cortés: From Second Letter to Charles V, 1520.” Internet History Sourcebooks. January 1, 1998. Accessed November 13, 2014.

The Second Letter of Henan Cortes to Charles V Essay

Independence Movement of Brazil and Mexico Essay

Independence Movement of Brazil and Mexico Essay.

If “revolutionary movement” is defined as a social movement dedicated to changing the power or the organizational structures by an independence movement, and if “most” is defined as greatest, “successful” as a desired outcome and “original rationale and/or purpose” is defined as an fundamental intentional reason, then between the countries of Brazil and Mexico, Brazil had the most successful revolutionary movement in terms of its original rationale and/or purpose because Brazil, unlike the Mexican independence movement, had a greater universal agreement about independence between every social class, Brazil was politically stable after independence and it was economically stable after independence.

Before Mexico gained independence from Spain it had multiple social classes, all of whom had different motives before it began. The Mexican Independence was sculptured by the tension between the Peninsulares, who composed 0.2% of the population, and the Creole, who comprised 17.8% of the population. The Peninsulares, were the Spanish born Spaniards of Mexico, and the Creole unlike the Peninsulares, were Mexican born Spaniards (Bethell 54).

The rest of the populations were lower class citizens that were 60% Indian, and 22% mixed (Bethell 55). Once Napoleon invaded the Iberian Peninsula on 1808 on July 16, dethroned Ferdinand VII and put his brother at the throne, the alliance that was forming between the Creole bourgeoisie and property-owning elite broke up in the immediate wake of the collapse (Bethell 58). “Jose Primo Verdad and Juan Francisco Azcarate, a friar from Peru, adopted a resolution on July 15 calling upon the viceroy, Jose de Iturrigaray, to assume direct control of the government in the name of Ferdinand VII and the representatives of the people” (Bethell 58).

Although a similar case is present in Brazil there is a slight difference. Through Brazil’s system of clientele and patronage, middle class and lower class individuals could find a place within elites (Viotti da Costa 22). In 1808 Napoleon’s invasion of the Iberian Peninsula caused the Monarch of Portugal, King Joao VI to flee to Brazil, and “elevated the colonial capital to the capital of the Empire”(Meade 74). ” In 1821, under threat from the Cortes of losing his imperial throne entirely, Joao returned to Portugal leaving his son, Pedro, as the Prince Regent of Brazil” (Meade 74). When King Joao VI sought to end the dual kingdom status, Dom Pedro, his son, declared Brazil independent from Portugal in what is known as the Cry of Ipiranga (Meade 74).

The fact that the entire nation of Brazil was in universal agreement for securing independence proves Brazil to be the most successful independence movement with respect to its original rationale and purpose. The mixed and Indian population had no power in Mexico at all, but fully supported independence because they believed it was the first step to eliminating segregation by formal law, and poverty. The chief source of the Mexican conflict was the idea of “Creolism”, meaning the Creoles wanting to attain more power for themselves. This ideology was what caused the social divide of the Peninsulares and Creole. The Peninsulares controlled all the power of the country and were the elite of Mexico. The Creoles were also fabulously wealthy and even noblemen but they were not on equal terms economically, socially, and politically with the Peninsulares, which angered them. For example a wealthy Creole man who marries a freshly immigrated poor Peninsular woman, finds all his wealth and land belonging to the Peninsular women’s father, brother, uncle and other relatives (Ian Li).

Once a window of opportunity was created by Napoleons invasion, the Creole saw this as their chance to present the idea of independence. The Peninsulares on the other hand, saw no need for independence as they lived as the elite of Mexico, and even saw the idea of autonomy treasonable (Bethel 59). This idea of Creolism was what caused the violent insurgencies enacted by the Creole against the Peninsulares, and turned the Mexican Independence movement into a revolutionary civil war. “The war of independence was not a lopsided contest with a foregone conclusion; it was, rather, a struggle in which the nation was divided into loyalties and in which the final outcome was not inevitable; it was a revolutionary civil war” (Bethell 70). In Brazil independence was in universal agreement between all social classes, since Brazil was only split into two classes, due to their unique system that allows a slave to earn his freedom and make a living.

Because of its system of clientele and patronage, the racial and social tension present in Mexico was less severe in Brazil, which is why Mexico had a dissenting agreement on the matter of independence. The support for independence was in concordance from both sides of these social classes of Brazil. “Acting with the support of the Brazilian aristocracy, who were anxious to preserve their considerable landholdings from which they exported sugar, coffee, and cotton, and with the backing of the British, who were eager to monopolize the trade with Brazil, the monarch moved to secure Brazil’s autonomy” (Meade 74).

The slave populations as well as the Brazilian aristocracy were in full support of independence, creating a national bond on the subject. “Lower class blacks and mulattoes saw independence as a step towards eliminating the racial discrimination that prohibited their appointment to administrative positions” (Viotti da Costa 8). Since the idea of independence was not fully supported by the whole of Mexico, it was only successful to a section of the social class of Mexico making it partly successful. The idea of the Mexican independence movement being a revolutionary civil war shows how unsuccessful it really was. Since independence in Brazil was fully supported by the whole nation, of every individual social class, it is the most successful independence movement in terms to its original rationale and purpose in this case.

Because Spain exploited the economy of Mexico, it was a critical factor for them to achieve independence. Before Mexico gained its independence, it was the richest colony of the Spanish empire (Bethell 51). “The colony’s total output of goods and services stood in 1800 at approximately 240 million pesos, or roughly 40 pesos per capita. This was only half the per capita production of the United States at the time…” (Bethel 51). Although Mexico was Spain’s richest colony, Spain imposed a number of economic constraints on its colony. For example Spain prohibited Mexico to trade with foreign ports, in order to monopolize trade of tobacco, gun powder, mercury, and other commodities (Bethell 54).

As well as monopolizing trade with its colony, Spain also imposed taxes that have been calculated to cost Mexico 2.88 pesos per person, roughly 35 times the burden imposed by the British on its thirteen American colonies (Bethell 54). According to Leslie Bethell, a professor of Hispanic and Brazilian history at University College London, “Spanish Economic controls and monopolies were a major source of colonial complaints” (51). Because of how violent and prolonged the Mexican revolution was, it left the economy in shambles. “The wars for independence left Mexico in disorder and decay” (Skidmore and Smith 226). It left the vast majority of the population in poverty, and since the Creole expelled all the Peninsulares from Mexico, after gaining independence, the upper class and aristocrats of Mexico were gone as well as an important source of capital from the economy (Skidmore and Smith 226).

Brazil’s economy also faced a similar situation before it decided to gain independence. “Portugal maintained as far as possible a monopoly of trade within its empire and, as well as being the hubs of the trade in Portuguese goods, Lisbon and Oporto were the entrepots for non-Portuguese goods exported to the colonies and colonial produce imported and re-exported to the rest of Europe” (Bethell 157). Because the Brazil independence movement was much more peaceful and much shorter than the Mexican independence movement, its economy did not plummet. According to Thomas E. Skidmore, a professor of Latin American and Brazilian Studies, “Brazil’s relatively nonviolent acquisition of independence from Portugal in 1822 left the country with an auspicious start. The lack of large-scale conflict meant that physical and economic destruction was minimal” (Skidmore 147).

The Economical rationale and purpose of both countries, was to free themselves from the economic restrictions of their parent countries, and we can infer that they would want to become economically stable and self sufficient. Brazil was more successful here as it still remained stable after independence due to how much shorter it lasted, and how much more peaceful it was. “Conditions were far worse in Mexico than in Argentina or brazil because the actual fighting had been so much more widespread and protracted in Mexico. Spaniards had taken their capital out of the country. Production plummeted to one-third its pre war level” (Skidmore and Smith 226).

A strong central government, a goal the countries of Brazil and Mexico both desired, was an original rationale of both countries. To become sovereign by establishing a stable government, and remove the monarchy that had placed them under their control was one of their goals. Once the Creole got control of Mexico after independence, they fell victim to the control of the Caudillos, or political bosses. “The Caudillos often supported the interests of the oligarchy, even as he pretended to help the common people. The army which he controlled also served the elite” (Skidmore and Smith 550).

Although Mexico had been in control of multiple Caudillos, the most devastating effect of the Caudillo was under the control of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna who lost over half of Mexico as a result of his poor leadership in the revolution of Texas in 1836, and the Mexican War in 1848 (Skidmore and Smith 550). Brazil on the other hand was able to establish a constitutional monarchy under a prince of the ruling dynasty. “The second Emperor of Brazil, Pedro II ruled Brazil for 42 years before he was invited to leave. He provided the country, with good government and encouraged economic development” (Skidmore and Smith 550).

Because the countries of Brazil and Mexico desire to be politically stable after independence, Brazil was more successful in this case, because Brazil did not become politically unstable. Brazil established a constitution in order to limit the powers of the monarchy, and for that reason Brazil did not fall into anarchy like Mexico did. In terms of the political purpose and rationale, Brazil was the most successful, being able to maintain a stable government after independence.

Brazil’s independence movement has been the most successful independence movement in terms of its original rationale and purpose for three important reasons. The whole of Brazil had a universal agreement of independence, and it was economically and politically stable after independence. It can be inferred that no country would want to be victim to chaos once their independence is secured, which is why the Mexican Independence movement was a failure to their original rationale and purpose.

The Mexican independence movement put the country worse off than it was before independence, and made conditions worse. In Brazil, Peaceful means of achieving independence, and a significantly shorter time, proves how much more organized and stable it was compared to the Mexican Independence, making it the most successful independence movement in terms of its original rationale and purpose.


Bethell, Leslie. The Cambridge History of Latin America. New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

Meade, Teresa A. Brief History of Brazil. New York: Checkmark Books, 2004.

Newhill, Esko E. Exploring World cultures. Lexington: Ginn and Company, 1986.

Skidmore E, Thomas, and Smith, Peter H. Modern Latin America, Fourth Edition. New York: Oxford University, 1997.

Viotti da Costa, Emilia. The Brazilian Empire Myths and Histories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Independence Movement of Brazil and Mexico Essay

Manifest destiny: was it really imperialism? Essay

Manifest destiny: was it really imperialism? Essay.

Imperialism is, by definition, the extension of rule or influence by one government, nation or society over another; manifest destiny is the belief held by many Americans in the 1840s that the United States was “destined” to expand across the continent. This belief of “destined expansion” was nothing new to America’s leaders for their vision of the United States when they first established it was that of a nation that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The American people themselves had underlying reasons for their imperialistic actions as well, mostly economic and political.

During the conquest of manifest destiny the US acquired Texas, Oregon and California. Americans tooled over the West like an aggressive imperialistic empire reaching over unclaimed lands full of Native Americans and Mexicans in order to accomplish their political and economic destiny.

Stimulated by the American Revolution, Americans felt the need to expand its territories. In February of 1821, Congress ratified the Transcontinental Treaty, which completely excluded Texas from American territory.

American’s feelings towards Texas quickly changed when they realized that cotton flourished on the Texas plains. The South quickly took interest in the land. Mexican authorities even offered free land to groups of settlers following the treaty and by 1830 there were 20,000 white Americans and 2,000 slaves living in Texas. In 1836 Texas declared their independence from Mexico and ten years later was annexed into the US.

The annexation of Texas had been a controversy for years because of the slavery issue. Slavery was another issue that further fueled expansionism, as the North and South each wanted the nation to admit new states that supported its section’s economic, political, and slave policies. The United States had no reason to annex Texas other than the fact that they wanted the fertile land and more votes in Congress. They hid behind the idea of “Manifest Destiny” but the truth is that each section wanted the land for its own purposes. We even fought a war of it. The unnecessary annexation of Texas is a perfect example of imperialism in the United States.

The expansion campaign in America during the 19th century stretched all the way west to Oregon. Oregon was a territory that was shared with the British under the Treaty of 1818. Americans pressured the British to give up their claim to Oregon territory. This allowed the Americans to fulfill their Manifest Destiny and own land all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Not many people lived in Oregon before but suddenly, in the early 1840’s, a huge caravan of people began to move to Oregon, spurred on by manifest destiny. The land in Oregon was fertile and the fur plentiful. This trip to Oregon became known as the Oregon Trail. These pioneers fought little wars with the Native Americans along the route, argueing over posession of land once they arrived. Many Americans took their land in Oregon by the way of the gun. They pointed their guns at everything that moved in order to get their land. This is imperialism, how the government gave permission to kill thousands without giving any recognition whatsoever to who was living there before, to who’s home that might have been.

Another example of imperialism in the US can be seen by looking at the way we handled California. California was really the key to the Pacific and the trade routes with Asia and China. West Coast harbors such as San Diego, San Francisco and the Strait of Juan de Fuca were considered “the keys to the trade” and the Americans wanted them. A caravan of American pioneers embarked on the California trail and, as the Mexicans had expected, the settlers brought word back and the US now wanted to annex California. President Polk had sent an envoy to Mexico City in an attempt to purchase California and other parts of the Southwest.

In May 1846 Mexico refused the offer. This refusal was one factor–along with the Texas annexation–that led to the Mexican War. This land was not ours, we had no right to fight a war over it. That is imperialism; the extending a nation’s power by territorial acquisition, by force at times. America ended up winning the Mexican War and acquiring Texas and California along with all the trade routes, and it was phenomenal for our economy but the end does not justify the means.

To conclude Manifest destiny, the American policy of acquiring certain choice territories, can be labeled as nothing more than aggressive imperialism for that is what it is. We wanted land and we got it just because we did. We trampled over Native Americans and Mexicans just to establish trade routes and to gain political power. In the end we extended our borders by about 66% through manifest destiny, the doctrine that was no more that an excuse for Americans to become aggressive imperialists.

Manifest destiny: was it really imperialism? Essay