James Polk was a remarkable man who accomplished much in the four years he was in office. One of these accomplishments was the acquisition of California from Mexico before any other European power managed to do so. The reason for this had to do with San Francisco being a key point for major sea travel and access to Asia’s imports, which was highly sought after for silk and tea. With San Francisco under American control, the future of Asian imports could be secured and make America and even larger naval and trading power.
However, Polk made a number of mistakes in choosing to send Sidell, an American diplomat. Word was leaked out about Sidell’s intention and shortly very wanted to do business with him due to many being angry about no compensation being given over the loss of Texas. In the end, Sidell was refused, forcing President Polk to send in General Zachary Taylor with a firmer message of America’s intent to buy California. When Sidell returned to the States, Polk felt the refusal of admitting his diplomat was an insult and went to Congress to request the right to go to war.
Polk won the right to go to war, but made a mistake in trusting Antonio Lopez Santa Anna to assist him in requesting the leaders of Mexico sell California. However, Santa Anna betrayed the United States and instead attempted to drive the Americans from Mexico. However, Taylor would not be undermined and with the assistance of Winfield Scott crushed the opposing victory in a swift and decimating fashion. They then went on to capture Mexico City and with one victory after another, Mexico was forced to accept Polk’s treaty which gave the United States California and other lands.