=The Outcome of the War.=—The foregone conclusion was soon reached. General Taylor might have delivered the fatal thrust from northern Mexico if politics had not intervened. Polk, anxious to avoid raising up another military hero for the Whigs to nominate for President, decided to divide the honors by sending General Scott to strike a blow at the capital, Mexico City. The deed was done with speed and pomp and two heroes were lifted into presidential possibilities. In the Far West a third candidate was made, John C. Fremont, who, in cooeperation with Commodores Sloat and Stockton and General Kearney, planted the Stars and Stripes on the Pacific slope.
In February, 1848, the Mexicans came to terms, ceding to the victor California, Arizona, New Mexico, and more—a domain greater in extent than the combined areas of France and Germany. As a salve to the wound, the vanquished received fifteen million dollars in cash and the cancellation of many claims held by American citizens. Five years later, through the negotiations of James Gadsden, a further cession of lands along the southern border of Arizona and New Mexico was secured on payment of ten million dollars.
=General Taylor Elected President.=—The ink was hardly dry upon the treaty that closed the war before “rough and ready” General Taylor, a slave owner from Louisiana, “a Whig,” as he said, “but not an ultra Whig,” was put forward as the Whig candidate for President. He himself had not voted for years and he was fairly innocent in matters political. The tariff, the currency, and internal improvements, with a magnificent gesture he referred to the people’s representatives in Congress, offering to enforce the laws as made, if elected. Clay’s followers mourned. Polk stormed but could not win even a renomination at the hands of the Democrats. So it came about that the hero of Buena Vista, celebrated for his laconic order, “Give ’em a little more grape, Captain Bragg,” became President of the United States.
THE PACIFIC COAST AND UTAH
=Oregon.=—Closely associated in the popular mind with the contest about the affairs of Texas was a dispute with Great Britain over the possession of territory in Oregon. In their presidential campaign of 1844, the Democrats had coupled with the slogan, “The Reannexation of Texas,” two other cries, “The Reoccupation of Oregon,” and “Fifty-four Forty or Fight.” The last two slogans were founded on American discoveries and explorations in the Far Northwest. Their appearance in politics showed that the distant Oregon country, larger in area than New England, New York, and Pennsylvania combined, was at last receiving from the nation the attention which its importance warranted.