Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
—I. LOUISIANA. One of the earliest physical problems with which American statesmen were called to deal was found in the position and necessities of the emigrants who had crossed the Alleghanies and were beginning to fill the valley of Mississippi. If they were to be permanently retained in the Union it was essential that some easier communication should be formed between them and the older states, and that they should not be annoyed by Spanish restrictions upon the free navigation of the Mississippi and its affluents. All through the closing hours of the revolution, Washington's attention was drawn to this question, and, in 1784, a tour to Pittsburgh and a personal examination of the Alleghanies convinced him that, by deepening the Potomac and the James on one side, and the head waters of the Ohio on the other, canal communication between the east and the west was possible. This scheme, which would have offered engineering difficulties then almost insurmountable, had gone so far as incorporation by Virginia and Maryland, when Washington reluctantly allowed himself to be withdrawn from it by the voice of the whole country to the presidency of the convention of 1787, and afterward of the United States.
—It had long been the fixed policy of Spain to exclude all foreign commerce from the Mississippi. She had refused, in 1780-2, to make a treaty with the United States, the main reason for her refusal being Minister Jay's demand for the free navigation of the Mississippi. She had then even designed, as appears from one of Dr. Franklin's letters to congress, to confine the United States to the territory east of the Alleghames, on the ground of a proclamation by the king of Great Britain in 1763, forbidding his North American governors to grant lands westward of the sources of the rivers falling into the Atlantic ocean. In July, 1785, when Don Diego Guardoqui, a chargé daffier, arrived at Philadelphia, the claims of Spain had been finally modified to the Florida's, all the west bank of the Mississippi, the east bank to a point considerably north of the present southerly boundary of the state of Mississippi, and an exclusive navigation thence to the mouth of the river. The commercial states of the north were anxious for a treaty of commerce with Spain even at the price of the abandonment of the interests of the western settlers, and Guardoqui refused a treaty on any other terms. Aug. 29, 1786, by a vote of seven northern to five southern states, the congress of the confederacy withdrew its demand for free navigation of the Mississippi, and before Oct. 6, their secretary of foreign affairs, Jay, had agreed upon an article by which the claim was suspended for twenty-five years, though not formally relinquished. But, while congress had been deliberating, a nation had been forming in the Mississippi valley; and the remonstrance's, public and private, of its inhabitants were so emphatic, and in some instances so violent, that in September, 1788, congress in desperation relegated the whole subject to the new federal government, which was to assemble in March, 1789. Negotiations with Spain were dropped until February, 1793, when Messrs. Carmichael and Short again attempted, but in vain, to make a treaty. The year 1795 was more auspicious. Spain was exhausted by war with the French republic; her virtual ruler, Manuel Goody, prince of the peace, was aware that hostile expeditions against New Orleans, under Genet's directions, had, in 1793, with difficulty been suppressed by the federal government, (see
—Art. 4. ***** "And his Catholic majesty has likewise agreed that the navigation of the said river (Mississippi), in its whole breadth, from its source to the ocean, shall be free only to his subjects and the citizens of the United States, unless he should extend this privilege to the subjects of other powers by special convention.
—Art. 22. And, in consequence of the stipulations contained in the fourth article, his Catholic majesty will permit the citizens of the United States, for the space of three years from this time, to deposit their merchandises and effects in the port of New Orleans, and to export them from thence without paying any other duty than a fair price for the hire of the stores; and his majesty promises, either to continue this permission, if he finds during that time that it is not prejudicial to the interests of Spain or, if he should not agree to continue it there, he will assign to them, on another part of the banks of the Mississippi, an equivalent establishment."
—With this article, when it was some three years later, honorably executed, the people of the west were fairly satisfied.
—By the third article of the secret treaty of St. Ildefonso, Oct. 1, 1800, in return for the erection of the kingdom of Etruria for the prince of Parma, the king of Spain's son-in-law, Spain "retrocede" to France the vast province of Louisiana, stretching from the source to the mouth of the Mississippi, and thence west to the Pacific (but see
—The ferment in the west, caused by the retrocession of Louisiana, was increased by the orders of the Spanish intendant, Morales, issued Oct. 2, 1802, abrogating the right of deposit, without substituting any other place for New Orleans, as the treaty of 1795 above given, required. In congress James Ross, senator from Pennsylvania, introduced resolutions authorizing the president to call out 50,000 militia and take possession of New Orleans. Intend of this, congress appropriated $2,000,000 for the purchase of New Orleans, and the president, Jan. 10, 1803, sent James Monroe as minister extraordinary, with discretionary powers, to co-operate with Livingston in the proposed purchase.
—Monroe found his work done to his hand. A new war between England and France was on the point of breaking out, and in such an event England's omnipotent navy would make Louisiana a worse than useless possession to France. April 11, 1803, Livingston, who had already begun a hesitating negotiation for the purchase of New Orleans alone, was suddenly invited by Napoleon to make an offer for the whole of Louisiana. On the following day Monroe arrived in Paris, and the two ministers decided to offer $10,000,000. The price was finally fixed at $15,000,000, one fourth of it to consist in the assumption by the United States of $3,750,000 worth of claims of American citizens against France. The treaty was in three conventions, all signed the same day, April 30, 1803, by Livingston and Monroe on one part, and Barbé-Marbois for France on the other. The first convention was to secure the cession, the second to ascertain the price, and the third to stipulate for the assumption by the United States of the claims above named. Its important articles in this connection are the first and third of the first convention, as follows: ART. 1. "whereas, by article the third of the treaty concluded at St. Ildefonso, the 9th Vendémiaire, an. 9 (Oct. 1, 1800), between the first consul of the French republic and his Catholic majesty it was agreed as follows: His Catholic majesty promises and engages on his part, to retrocede to the French republic, six months after the full and entire execution of the conditions and stipulations herein relative to his royal highness the duke of Parma, the colony or province of Louisiana, with the same extent that it now has in the hands of Spain, and that it had when France possessed it; and such as it should be after the treaties subsequently entered into between Spain and other states; and whereas, in pursuance of the treaty, and particularly of the third article, the French republic has an incontestable title to the domain and to the possession of the said territory: The first consul of the French republic, desiring to give to the United States a strong proof of his friendship, doth hereby cede to the said United States, in the name of the French republic, forever and in full sovereignty, the said territory, with all its rights and appurtenances, as fully and in the same manner as they have been acquired by the French republic in virtue of the above mentioned treaty, concluded with his Catholic majesty. ART. 3. The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the federal constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; and in the meantime they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property, and the religion which they profess."
—The annexation of Louisiana was the source of unbounded exultation to the president and his party. Its constitutionality was at once angrily attacked by the federalists, and never defended by Jefferson. He says, in a private letter: "The constitution has made no provision for our holding foreign territory, still lese for incorporating foreign nations into our union. The executive, in seizing the fugitive occurrence which so much advances the good of their country, have done an act beyond the constitution. The legislature, in casting behind them metaphysical subtleties, and risking themselves like faithful servants, must ratify and pay for it, and throw themselves on their country for doing for them, unauthorized, what we know they would have done for themselves had they been in a situation to do it. It is the case of a guardian, investing the money of his ward in purchasing an important adjacent territory, and saying to him when of age, 'I did this for your good; I pretend to no right to bind you; you may disavow me and I must get out of the scrape as I can; I thought it my duty to risk myself for you.' " (For the amendment, which was to cover the case, see CONSTITUTION, IV.)
—"The news of the transfer of Louisiana was like a thunder-stroke for the cabinet of Madrid, who then perceived the enormous fault it had committed in sacrificing the safety of Mexico. Florida, inclosed on both sides by the United States, was separated in the middle from the Spanish dominions, and would fall on the first occasion into the hands of its neighbors." It is supposed that, in addition to the non-fulfillment by Napoleon of essential points of the treaty of St. Ildefonso, that treaty had annexed a secret condition that France should not alienate Louisiana, and that Bonaparte had, as he frequently did in other cases, contemptuously disregarded it. It is certain that Spain refused with indignation to believe the first news of its alienation, filed a formal protest against it, and only consented to it at last after a course of unfriendly conduct, which, according to a report of a house committee in January, 1806, fully justified a declaration of war against her.
—Ratifications were to be exchanged within six months from the date of the treaty, that is, before Oct. 30, 1803. The president therefore called an early session of congress for Oct. 17, and in two days the treaty was confirmed by the senate. In the house, Oct. 25, the resolution to carry the treaty into effect was passed, by a vote of 90 to 25, over the opposition of the federalists, who maintained the unconstitutionality of the annexation on the grounds assigned by Jefferson himself above. (See
—II FLORIDA. Until 1763 the eastern boundary of Louisiana was the river Perdido. When Great Britain in that year became the owner of that part of Louisiana east of the Mississippi she at once united it to Florida, and created two territories, east and west Florida, separated by the Appalachicola. By the fifth article of the treaty of 1783, "his Britannic majesty ceded and guaranteed to his Catholic majesty eastern and western Florida." Spain therefore claimed, and not without considerable appearance of reason, that she could not retrocede to France what France had not ceded to her in 1763; that Louisiana east of the Mississippi had disappeared from the map in 1763 and become a part of Florida, and that, when she retroceded "Louisiana" to France in 1800, she had no intention of ceding with it the separate territory of west Florida, acquired by her after 1763, from Great Britain. She had therefore retained Mobile, the key to the rivers of Alabama, and in its custom house levied heavy duties on goods to or from the upper country. The United States, however, claimed that, as Spain's retrocession and France's cession were, of "Louisiana, with the same extent that it had when France possessed it" (see
—Through all this period the determination of the southern states to gain east Florida also had been rapidly growing. Acts of congress of Jan. 15, and March 3, 1811, passed in secret, and first published in 1818, had authorized the president to take "temporary possession" of east Florida. The commissioners appointed under these acts, Matthews, and his successor, Mitchell, both of Georgia, had stirred up an insurrection in the coveted territory, and, when the president refused to sustain the commissioners, the state of Georgia declared Florida necessary to its peace and welfare, and practically declared war on its own private account. Its expedition, however, resulted in nothing. In 1814 general Andrew Jackson, then in command at Mobile, having, by a raid into Pensacola, driven out a British force which had settled there, restored the place to the Spanish authorities and retired. In 1818, during the Seminole war, being annoyed by Spanish assistance afforded to the Indians, Jackson again raided east Florida, captured St. Marks and Pensacola, hung Arbuthnot and Ambrister, two British subjects who had given aid and comfort to the Seminoles, as "outlaws and pirates," and again demonstrated the fact that Florida was completely at the mercy of the United States. The Spanish minister at Washington therefore signed a treaty, Feb. 22, 1819, by which Spain ceded Florida, 59,268 square miles, to the United States, in return for the payment by the latter country of claims of American citizens against Spain, amounting to $5,000,000. The ratification of Spain was only obtained in 1821, after an unsuccessful effort on her part to secure, as the price of it, the refusal of the United States to recognize the independence of the revolted Spanish-American colonies. By this treaty the western boundary of Louisiana was fixed as follows: "Beginning at the mouth of the Sabine in the gulf of Mexico; up the west bank of the Sabine to the 32nd degree of north latitude; thence north to the Red river; along the south bank of the Red river to the 100th degree of longitude east from Greenwich; thence north to the Arkansas; thence along the south bank of the Arkansas to its source; thence south or north, as the case might be, to the 42nd degree of north latitude, and along that parallel to the Pacific." As the price of Florida, therefore, the United States gave up the claim to Texas and the Rio Grande as its western boundary.
—III. TEXAS. The inevitable result of the two previous annexations was the annexation of Texas. It had been persistently claimed before 1763 by Spain; and France, though claiming it as part of Louisiana, had made only a few futile attempts to colonize it. It had been one of the ultimate objects of the Burr conspiracy. During Wilkinson's hasty preparations to defend New Orleans against Burr in October, 1806, he had agreed with the Spanish commander upon the Sabine as a provisional boundary between the Spanish and American territory, and upon the consequent suspension of the American claim to Texas as part of Louisiana; and the treaty of 1819 above mentioned made this boundary permanent, Considerable opposition, of which resolutions offered by Henry Clay were an expression, was manifested against the "alienation" by treaty of soil to which the United States had a claim, but the annexation of Florida covered all dissatisfaction in the south, and when Mexico's revolt was successful, by the treaty of Cordova, Feb. 24, 1821, "Texas and Coahuila" became one of the states of the Mexican republic.
—The Missouri struggle, (see
—The finances of Texas early fell into extreme disorder. Her government had borrowed and expended so recklessly that borrowing would no longer avail, and its operations had almost come to a stand-still for sheer want of money. Under these circumstances annexation was as desirable to Texas as to the south, and in August, 1837, by her minister at Washington, Texas made application to the executive for membership in the United States. A proposition to that effect was introduced in the senate, by Preston, of South Carolina, and tabled by a vote of 24 to 14. The matter then rested for some years, and Texas, undisturbed by Mexico's continued refusal to recognize her, proceeded in the prodigal sale and distribution throughout the south and southwest of a vast mass of land warrants, whose owners were at once converted into advocacy of Texas and annexation. Jan. 10, 1843, Gilmer, member of congress from Virginia, in a letter to a Baltimore newspaper, eloquently appealed to the people to annex Texas in order to forestall Great Britain in so doing; and his appeal was seconded by the legislatures of various southern states. From this time Texas annexation became a game, skillfully played in partnership by the southern politicians, who wished to increase the number of southern states, and the Texas land and scrip speculators, who wished to make their worthless ventures profitable. A letter was obtained from ex-president Jackson, March 12, 1843, warmly counseling immediate annexation. The democratic national convention was put off from December, 1843, until May, 1844, and in the interval Van Buren, the chosen candidate of the northern democracy, was formally questioned by letter as to his position on annexation. April 20, 1844, Van Buren declared against it, as also did Clay, the leading whig candidate, April 17. May 17, the democratic convention met at Baltimore, and as a preliminary adopted the rule of the conventions of 1832 and 1835, which has since been the rule in all democratic conventions, that a nomination should only be by a two-thirds vote. This made Van Buren's nomination impossible, and insured to the southern minority the ultimate choice of an annexation candidate. On the 8th ballot Van Buren was withdrawn, having fallen from 146 to 104 out of 266 votes, and on the next ballot Polk was nominated. Not only was the candidate strongly in favor of immediate annexation; the platform also warmly demanded the re-occupation of Oregon, and the re-annexation of Texas.
—In the meantime, an annexation treaty had actually been concluded with Texas, April 12, 1844, by Calhoun, whom Tyler, in the course of his drift back toward the democratic party, had called into his cabinet (see
—In the presidential election of 1844 votes were gained for Polk in the north by the demand for the re-occupation of Oregon, and by the cry of "Polk, Dallas and the tariff of 1842," (see
—IV. NEW MEXICO, AND UPPER CALIFORNIA. These two pieces of territory had been conquered during the Mexican war, the former, (including Utah, Nevada, and a large part of Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado), by Kearney, and the latter by the navy under commodore Stockton and a small land force under Fremont, and both were held as conquered territory until the end of the war. From the opening of hostilities, the acquisition, by force or purchase of a liberal tract of Mexican territory as "indemnity for the past and security for the future," had been a principal object of the war, and at its close, by the treaty known as the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed Feb. 2, 1848, by Mr. Nicholas P. Trist and three Mexican commissioners, and ratified by the senate March 10, the territory above named was added to the United States, the price being fixed at $15,000,000, besides the assumption by the United States of $3,250,000 in claims of American citizens against Mexico. The territory thus annexed, including that part of New Mexico east of the Rio Grande, which was claimed by Texas, and for which Texas was afterwards paid $10,000,000 by the United States, added to the area of the United States 545,783 square miles.
—V. GADSDEN PURCHASE. During the next five years disputes arose as to the present southern part of Arizona, the Mesilla valley, from the Gila river to Chihuahua. A Mexican army was marched into it by Santa Anna and preparations were begun for a renewal of war. By the Gadsden treaty, Dec. 30, 1853, so called from its negotiator, the United States, at the price of $10,000,000, obtained the disputed territory, as well as a right of transit for troops, mails, and merchandise over the isthmus of Tehuantepec. By this annexation, 45,535 square miles were added to the United States.
—VI. ALASKA. This territory, distant about 400 miles from the United States, and valuable only for its fur-bearing animals, was first claimed by Russia by right of discovery; and by right of possession of opposite shores, Siberia and Alaska, (or Aliaska), Russia also claimed the northern Pacific as a sort of inland water. By treaty of March 30, 1867, ratified by the senate in special session June 20, 1867, Russia ceded the whole of this territory, 577,390 square miles, to the United States for $7,200,000.
The boundaries of the United States were established by art. 2 of the provisional treaty of Nov. 30, 1782, (8 Stat. at Large, 54), and by art. 2 of the definitive treaty of Sept. 3, 1783, (8 Stat. at Large, 80).
—I. See Barbé-Marbois' History of Louisiana and its Cession; Gayarre's History of Louisiana; Monette's History of the Mississippi Valley; 1 Lyman's Diplomacy of the United States, 107; 5 Hildreth's United States, 449, 480; 3 Benton's Debates of Congress; 2 von Holst's United States, 548; 3 Jefferson's Works, (edit. 1829), 491, 512; and earlier authorities under SECESSION. The Spanish treaty of Oct. 27, 1795, is in 8 Mat at Large, 138; the Louisiana treaty and subsidiary conventions of April 30, 1803, are in 8 Stat at Large, 200, 206, 208. II. See 6 Hildreth's United States, 223, 658-712; 2 Lyman's Diplomacy, 126; 4 Adams' Memoirs of John Quincy Adams; 4 Calhoun's Works; and other authorities under JACKSON, ANDREW; FLORIDA. The Florida treaty of Feb. 22, 1819, is in 8 Stat. at Large, 252; the acts of Jan. 15 and March 3, 1811, are in 3 Stat. at Large, 471, 472. III. See 2 von Holst's United States, 551; 1 Greeley's American Conflict, 147; Wise's Seven Decades; 7, 11 Adams' Memoirs of John Quincy Adams; Jay's Review of the Mexican War; 4 Calhoun's Works; 2 Benton's Thirty Years View, 94, 581; 2 Statesman's Manual; 15, 16 Benton's Debates of Congress; and authorities under TEXAS. The resolution to annex Texas, March 1, 1845, is in 5 Stat. at Large, 797; the resolution to admit Texas, Dec. 29, 1845, is in 9 Stat. at Large, 108. IV. See authorities last cited, and those under CALIFORNIA, and COMPROMISES, V. The Mexican treaty of Jan. 12, 1828, (art. 2, defining boundary), is in 8 Stat. at Large, 374; the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Feb. 2, 1848, is in 9 Stat. at Large, 922. V. The Gadsden treaty, of Dec. 30, 1853, is in 10 Stat. at Large, 1031. VI. The Russian treaty of March 30, 1867, is in 15 Stat. at Large, 539.
—For areas, summary, etc., see Walker's Statistical Atlas of the United States, (ninth census).
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