Texan Independence and the Annexation of Texas

Updated: 8/1/2019
Texan Independence and the Annexation of Texas
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US Expansion Lesson Plans

U.S. Territorial Expansion (1783-1959)

Lesson Plans by Richard Cleggett

After the United States gained their independence, they set their sights on the territory to the west, and the expansion carried on into the 20th century. War, economics, culture, and innovation are prevalent and recurring themes surrounding territorial expansion. In these activities, students will explore the acquisition of different territories throughout Colonial America and understand how expansion affected not only our nation's history, but also the history of the world.

U.S. Territorial Expansion 1783-1959

Storyboard Description

US Territorial Expansion - Using a grid storyboard, students will be able to compare and connect Texas's fight for independence as well as their eventual annexation as a territory into the United States. By doing so, students will be able to understand both Texas's path to independence and how this eventually led to their annexation. Furthermore, it will expose to students the offensive against Mexico and how the acquisition of Texas and the Mexican Cession will prove to be pivotal in the debate over the extension of slavery.

Storyboard Text

  • This is OUR independent land!
  • Republic of TEXAS
  • Sam Houston and Stephen Austin led the charge for independence, helping defeat Mexican dictator and general Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Folk hero Davey Crockett also participated, and died, in the fight for Texan independence. Presidents Martin van Buren and John Tyler offered support and diplomatic ties to the independent republic.
  • The iconic Battle of the Alamo was a major event in the fight for independence. Suffering major defeat, Texans used the slogan "Remember the Alamo!" as a rallying cry to eventually defeat Mexican forces at the Battle of San Jacinto. Texas existed as the Republic of Texas from 1836 until their annexation into the U.S. in 1845.
  • Texas's fight for independence is a significant part of America's quest for Manifest Destiny. By defeating Mexico, Texans soon identified strongly with America. Their desire to increase and maintain slavery would play a pivotal role in the slave question for years to come. Texans' fight for independence eventually led to the Mexican-American War in 1845.
  • Texas is ANNEXED!
  • Even while Texas existed as a sovereign republic, slavery continued to be an important issue. The Mexican-American War, initiated by Texas' annexation, compounded this concern. The fight for independence demonstrated that the US would continue to expand their territory.
  • The annexation of Texas involved many major figures, both politically and militarily. President James K. Polk, a major supporter of Manifest Destiny, initiated war with Mexico. The war was led by Zachary Taylor, as well as many future Civil War generals, including Winfield Scott, Robert E. Lee, and Ulysses S. Grant. Mexico continued to be led by General Santa Anna.
  • America emerged as a formidable military force, dominating Mexico in every facet of war. War was declared on May 13, 1846 after failed "negotiations" between Mexico and U.S. emissary John Slidell. The war ended with the capture of Mexico City and the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848.
  • The Annexation of Texas proved extremely pivotal. It further extended slave territory and complicated the slave question. It signified America's dominance over North America, as Mexico ceded 55% of its pre-war lands to the U.S. The war, and Texas' annexation, strained relations with Mexico, and territorial debates and transactions occurred until the 1970s.
  • The effects of Texas' annexation permeated for decades. Texas became a major proponent of the extension of slavery, eventually leading to the Civil War in 1861. In addition, America took on its present territorial boundaries, obtaining states such as Arizona, New Mexico, California, and, of course, Texas.