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will be a slave-holding country; and I frankly avow my unwillingness to do any thing which shall extend the slavery of the African race on this continent, or add another slaveholding State to the Union." "The South," said the Legislature of Mississippi, speaking of slavery, "does not possess a blessing with which the affections of her people are so closely entwined, and whose value is more highly appreciated. By the annexation of Texas an equipoise of influence in the halls of Congress will be secured, which will furnish us a permanent guarantee of protection."

The battle ended in Southern victory. In March, 1845, Texas was received into the Union. The slave-power gained new votes in Congress, and room for a vast extension of the slave-system.

General Jackson was succeeded in the Presidential office by Martin Van Buren in 1837.

CHAPTER XVIII.

MEXICO AND THE MEXICAN WAR.

TURNING from the peaceful and enlightened empire in the North, history next leads us into the dreamy lands of the sun. Mexico, with nearly ten million inhabitants, occupies the most luxuriant part of the continent, and yet with its glorious climate, natural wonders, rich mines, and teeming population, exercises but little influence on the thought, commerce, and common progress of the American world. The romantic age of Mexico faded with the Spanish Conquest and the death of Montezuma. After the Conquest the country was for a long time governed by Spanish viceroys. The nation seemed to lose its native spirit, and to wither under the influence of Spain. In 1824 Mexico declared her independence, and became a republic.

Martin Van Buren, who began a long line of commonplace Presidents of the United States, was succeeded by William Henry Harrison, a man of great promise, and a true patriot, but who died a few weeks after his inauguration. John Tyler, who had been elected Vice-President, became President. He was succeeded in 1845 by James K. Polk of Tennessee.

Mexico was displeased with the annexation of Texas, but did not manifest so quickly as it was hoped she would any disposition to avenge herself. A war with Mexico was a thing to be desired, because Mexico must be beaten, and could then be plundered of territory. To provoke Mexico

the Unready, an army of four thousand men was sent to the extreme south-western confine of Texas. A Mexican army of six thousand lay near. The Americans, with marvellous audacity, erected a fort within easy range of Matamoras, a city of the Mexicans, and thus the city was in their power.

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After much hesitation the Mexican army attacked the Americans, and received, as they might well have anticipated, a severe defeat. Thus, without the formality of any declaration, the war was begun.

President Polk hastened to announce to Congress that the

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