Western Expansion (02:12)
The American Frontier reaches as far as the Great Plains. Tecumseh dies in battle while Andrew Jackson is elected President.
Battle of the Alamo (04:14)
Davy Crockett prepares to fend off Mexican troops in San Antonio, Texas. The Texians are outnumbered fifteen to one. General Santa Ana sends constant forces to breach the fortress. (Credits)
Mexican Army Emerges Victorious (03:19)
Most accounts believe that Crockett lasted until the end of the fighting; General Santa Ana orders the survivors executed and then set on fire. Word of the slaughter at the Alamo spreads and enrages the American Public. Jackson needs Texas to assert its independence.
Gonzales Texas (02:07)
Sam Houston calls on Texians to avenge Crockett's death and remember the Alamo. The Army of Texas positions itself by the San Jacinto River.
Battle of San Jacinto (03:41)
The Army of Texas surprises General Santa Ana's troops at the mouth of the river. Mexico surrenders Texas; Congress debates the territory's slavery policies. Americans do not know how to settle the Pacific Northwest.
The Oregon Trail (05:14)
The United States Army sends John C. Fremont to map a route that wagon trains can travel in 1842. Kit Carson agrees to guide the expedition. Together they lead three dozen men 2,000 miles over five months.
The State of Texas (04:29)
James K. Polk runs for the presidency and advocates further expansion. After his election, Polk annexes Texas. Experts discuss the impact of Jackson's life.
Building on Jackson's Legacy (04:21)
Polk wants to seize California's wealth for the United States. The president hires Fremont to incite a rebellion in California.
Inciting a Rebellion (04:02)
Fremont and Carson arrive at Sutter's Fort in modern day Sacramento. Mexico does not allow settlers to own land in the California territory.
The Mexican-American War Begins (02:37)
Congress will not approve a war. Mexico attacks a patrol on April 25th, 1846, giving Polk the excuse to formally declare one. Fremont equips an army with rifles to win California.
Bear Flag Revolt (03:37)
Polk orders Fremont to secure California for the United States. Carson and Fremont lead Los Osos, a group of rebel fighters who attack an undefended Sonoma.
Capturing California (03:05)
Polk sends a cavalry unit from Texas led by General Stephen Kearny to capture Santa Fe. Fremont captures Los Angeles, the final stronghold of the Mexican government. Carson travels through the territories to deliver news to Polk.
Carson's Expedition (07:50)
Carson attempts to cross through the Sonoran desert, harvesting water from underground creek beds and cactus roots. Kearny pulls rank and orders Carson to guide him to San Diego.
Heading Back West (04:58)
The army takes eight weeks to travel through the Sonoran Desert. Outside of San Diego, Carson discovers the Mexican Army. Kearny decides to attack, underestimating his opponents.
Siege of San Pasqual (03:16)
Carson finds his rifle and begins picking off the enemy. Kearny orders his unit to retreat. Carson volunteers to travel through enemy lines to obtain help.
Carson's Mission (05:55)
Carson travels through enemy lines to reach San Diego in one day. The Mexican army retreats after he returns to San Pasqual with 200 reinforcements.
Mexico's Final Stronghold (05:20)
Fremont travels south toward Los Angeles. Kearny's forces overwhelm the Mexican army. Polk invades Mexico to force the country to capitulate.
The California Territory (04:22)
Fremont is appointed temporary governor. Polk wants as many settlers as possible in California. Prospectors discover gold, compelling thousands to move west; Carson delivers the message to Polk.
California Gold Rush (05:33)
The United States stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. Prospectors discover gold compelling hundreds of thousands to move west; California becomes the 31st state in 1850. Frontiersmen are tough and relish danger.
Credits: Empire of Liberty (00:40)
Credits: Empire of Liberty
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