United States and American History: 1846

About the history of the United States in 1846, prohibition encouraged, the Mexican-American War begins, the Oregon treaty is dissolved.


--A former alcoholic turned temperance lecturer, John Bartholomew Gough began a campaign for a prohibition amendment.

Feb. 4 Under pressure from the governor of Illinois, who wanted to avoid a violent confrontation, the 1st contingent of Mormons left Illinois, crossing the frozen Mississippi River for the Iowa side, the preliminary step in their migration west to the Salt Lake Basin.

Mar. Gen. Zachary Taylor was ordered to advance and occupy positions on or near the Rio Grande in mid-January; however, Taylor was delayed by rains and mud and arrived in March. Mexico refused to honor the boundary claimed by the State of Texas, formerly the Mexican province of Texas. For almost a month the Mexicans and Americans played cat-and-mouse, with the Mexicans ordering the Americans to retreat but not attempting to enforce this demand.

Apr. 24 Polk notified Britain that the U.S. was terminating the 1827 agreement concerning the Oregon Territory.

Apr. 25 Word arrived in General Taylor's camp that the Mexicans had crossed the Rio Grande. The next day a guide informed Taylor that the dragoons sent to verify the crossing had been killed, wounded or taken prisoner. This report proved false. However, on the 26th, Taylor sent a report to Washington indicating hostilities had commenced.

Apr. 30-May 8 The Mexican Army crossed the Rio Grande. Fort Texas was placed under siege and the 1st important battle, the Battle of Palo Alto, was fought.

May 12

We can easily defeat the armies of Mexico, slaughter them by thousands, and pursue them perhaps to their capital; we can conquer and "annex" their territory; but what then? . . . Is not Life miserable enough, comes not death soon enough, without resort to the hideous enginery of War?

People of the U.S.! Your Rulers are precipitating you into a fathomless abyss of crime and calamity!. Why sleep you thoughtless on its verge, as though this was not your business.....

--Horace Greeley, editorial in the New York Tribune

May 13 President Polk told Congress, Mexico had "invaded our territory and shed American blood on American soil." Congress declared war and appropriated an initial $10 million.

June 15 The Oregon Treaty was signed. The U.S. compromised, accepting the 49th parallel--instead of 54 degree 40'--for a common border.

June 19 A New York Knickerbocker baseball player, Davis by name, was fined 6cent for swearing at the umpire. The umpire happened to be Alexander J. Cartwright, a bewhiskered surveyor, who had originated modern baseball 2 years earlier.

Gen. Abner Doubleday, a West Pointer who became a Union hero in the Civil War, was said to have invented baseball at Cooperstown, N.Y., in 1839. This is a myth. No one invented baseball. The game evolved naturally from an imported English sport called "Rounders." As for Doubleday's developing modern game, this claim was promoted by a relative. Doubleday neither played anything resembling baseball nor did he write a word about it in his long literary career. The real founder was Cartwright, who sketched the 1st diamond, laid out the 1st rules, and assembled the 1st team.

Dec. 8 In his 2nd annual message to Congress, President Polk declared: "The war [with Mexico] will continue to be prosecuted with vigor as the best means of securing peace."

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