A few days after the Bear Flag was raised, William Ide, now elected leader of what had quickly become known as the Bear Flag Party, issued a proclamation setting forth the goals of the new California Republic: " establish and perpetuate a liberal, a just and honorable Government, which shall secure to all civil, religious and personal liberty; which shall insure the security of life and property; which shall encourage industry, virtue and literature...relying on love of Liberty and hatred of Tyranny. And further promises that a Government...must originate among its people: its officers should be its servants..."Obviously these words were heavily influenced by those of both the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

With Mexican authority rapidly eroding, both the United States and Great Britain moved hungrily to California. The U.S. reaped the first results: Fremont added volunteers to his expedition and formed a unit called the California Battalion. In a series of small but violent engagements, this force secured much of the Bay Area to be eventually handed over to the Americans.

The takeover by the U.S. would come when Commodore John D. Sloat of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Squadron raised the 28-star American flag over the Alta Californian capital of Monterey and claimed the territory for his country.

Two days later, U.S. Navy Lt. Joseph Warren Revere , Paul Revere's grandson, arrived in Sonoma and hauled down the Bear Flag, running up in its place the Stars and Stripes. Revere handed the Bear Flag to Midshipman John E. Montgomery, who, because the flag snagged a few times as it was lowered, would later write in a letter to his mother "Cuffy came down growling." "Cuffy" being his nickname for the bear on the flag.