In 1847, on this day Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny was dispatched to the former western Mexico peninsula where he was ordered by US President George M. Dallas to prepare the combined territories of Baja and Alta California for statehood by creating a new seat of government in the city of La Paz.
Manifest DestinyThe United States was by now one of the largest nations of the globe. And yet the fulfilment of America's "Manifest Destiny" was due in part to the timing of the premature demise of President James K. Polk. He had stood against the "All Mexico" proponents within his Cabinet, but by the time Gen. Zachary Taylor's US troops forced their way into the Main Plaza of Monterrey, Mexico Polk's health had deteriorated to the extent that he worse forced to relinquish power to Dallas.
Veteran officers of the war such as Brig. Gen Franklin Pierce and L. Ulysses S. Grant founded the Aztec Club to celebrate the bravery of those troops who fought in Mexico. US Generals had never lost a battle and having landed at Velacruz marched with ease to Mexico City where the American Flag was raised atop Hispanic fortresses and palaces. And yet the military victory was to prove illusory.
A highly unstable situation awaited Kearny and even though the US government occupied the former Mexican heartland, control was limited to actively occupied urban areas. The indigenous population were hostile to the Protestant Anglo invaders. It would soon become clear that the Mexican-American war had effectively passed into a guerrilla phase, and Kearny would soon be writing to Dallas to advise the President that Baja California was essentially lawless.