He had many American social and commercial ties, as well as an American wife. The English in turn liked Webster, the only Harrison cabinet member to stay on under President Tyler. Webster had been in England three years earlier and had made friends in the British government, including Lord Ashburton. Although the United States in the initial agreement received something over half of the disputed territory, the Senate balked at the loss of land in Maine. However, historian Jared Sparks had found a map in the French archives which showed the Canada-Maine boundary marked in red.
Era of U.S. Continental Expansion
Webster had an older map which showed the same thing. The maps were used to gain consent from the senators from Maine and Massachusetts, who were in on the talks, as was President Tyler at one point. The four-sided negotiations Secretary Webster, Minister Ashburton, and the Senators from Massachusetts and Maine, which had been part of Massachusetts until puzzled Ashburton, who did not see why he could not settle the matter with Webster alone; he had become frustrated with the August heat in Washington.
Webster explained that when the treaty was negotiated by him and Ashburton, it would still have to be approved by the Senate in order to become effective. Webster felt that having the senators most directly concerned in on the proceedings would iron out difficulties of ratification in advance. The British were not particularly happy with the initial agreement either, but another map suggested that Americans might have a right to the entire area.
On the other hand, an earlier map could have been used to make the case that the British had a rightful claim to the entire area. The four Senators helped with ratification, and the Webster-Ashburton Treaty was approved by a Senate vote of Lord Ashburton also drafted a formal explanation that in effect apologized for the Caroline affair and closed that matter once and for all. His goals for establishing world peace following World War I were thwarted to some extent by the fact that he failed to take any senators or Republicans with him on his mission to negotiate the Versailles Treaty and create the League of Nations.
The Senate never did ratify the treaty nor approve United states membership in the League. Another issue under dispute concerned the exact location of the New York-Vermont boundary with Canada. Americans had been constructing a fort in the area, and the British claimed it was being built on Canadian soil. That issue was settled by use of a map and left the fort in American territory. The remaining boundary between the United States and Canada was resolved out to the area of the Lake of the Woods in northern Minnesota and thence along the 49th parallel to the Rocky Mountains.
The Oregon territory was left under dual occupancy.
Manifest Destiny : Westward Expansion by Shane Mountjoy
In the end the United States lost 5, square miles in Maine but gained 6, square miles in Minnesota, including the rich Mesabi iron ore deposits. Finally both sides agreed to keep squadrons off the African coast to enforce their own laws. The film Amistad, mentioned in the previous section, also portrays some of the tensions regarding the international slave trade. Although the Webster-Ashburton Treaty left the Oregon boundary question open, the agreement helped pave the way for peaceful settlement of the issue in The two nations would have occasional disagreements in later years, but no real threat to peaceable relations between the former colonies and the mother country ever arose thereafter.
The history of Texas is among the most colorful histories of all American states and territories. Spain first arrived in Mexico in , and Nueva Mexico was part the vast territory known as New Spain. Where the British saw each colony as a separate political entity to be governed more or less independently, Spain tended to govern its entire empire from the center. That tradition was passed on to the Mexican government once the Mexican revolution against Spain was complete, and virtually all of Mexico was governed from Mexico City.
The individual provinces of Mexico, including the province of Coahuila, of which Tejas—Texas—was a part, had very little self-determination. That situation was challenged by the arrival of Americans who immigrated to Texas in order to obtain land grants being generously offered by the Mexican government. Following the Louisiana Purchase of , Americans began to look hungrily at the land just across their Southwest border. The Mexican government, following the lead of Spanish authorities, granted colonization rights to the American Moses Austin.
In so doing they hoped to create a buffer territory against encroachment by land-hungry Americans. The Mexican government, in other words, decided to fight fire with fire.
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By allowing a limited number of American immigrants into Mexico under certain restrictions, they could prevent more Americans from simply seizing the territory. Moses Austin died before his colonization project became a reality, but the mission was taken over by his son, Stephen F. In Stephen Austin brought families across Sabine River to the region along the Brazos River, where the first American colony in Texas was established. In exchange for generous land grants, the Mexican government attached certain conditions to those grants.
Each settler had to agree to become a Mexican citizen, to adopt the Roman Catholic religion, and to give up the practice of slavery. Since the Texas colony was governed loosely, much as the early American colonies had been controlled by Great Britain, the Mexican government turned a blind eye to violations of the agreements. The status of Mexican citizenship changed very little in terms of the loyalties of the American settlers; they were Americans first, Mexicans second. As far as the Catholic religion was concerned, there were no Catholic priests in the province, and therefore attendance at confession and mass could not be demanded nor controlled in any way.
As to slavery, the Mexican government was willing to accept a compromise in authorizing the practice of lifetime indentured servitude. The difference between that status and slavery was, of course, only technical, but it satisfied both sides. The Texans were also obliged to pay taxes to the Mexican government, but there were no tax collectors in the Texas province, so that point was also moot.
In other words, the situation of the Americans in Texas was similar to that of the American colonists on the east coast of North America in They were treated with benign neglect, and the Texans possessed a de facto sense of self rule if not outright independence. The men and women who came to Texas tended to be a rough and ready lot. Many who emigrated were of Scots-Irish descent from the Shenandoah and other regions west of the Appalachians.
Adventurous American women learned that if they came to Mexico and married a Mexican citizen, they could gain very generous land grants and have significant rights to the titles. Thus a complex society emerged, a mixture of Mexican and American along with Comanche, Apache, Kiowa and other Indian tribes on the edges of the Texas colony.
They developed a small but robust society. President John Quincy Adams tried in to purchase as much of Texas as he could get from Mexico, without success.
Henry Clay also worked on the issue while Secretary of State under Adams. Mexico was insulted by American overtures, and the negotiations went nowhere. Under Stephen Austin the Texas community thrived.
Austin spoke fluent Spanish, played by the rules, and developed good relations with the central government in Mexico City. He insisted that the Americans who came to Mexico understand and abide by the rules under which they were granted land. Between and the Texas population grew from 2, to 35, settlers. Some were men like Jim Bowie, a fighter and gambler whose brother invented the Bowie knife.
Texas was, however, subject to the political affairs of greater Mexico. Mexico had adopted a constitution in under which the Texans believed that their rights were more or less assured. As long as they were left alone, they were free to create a society according to their own designs. When revolution began in Mexico, however, things began to change for the Texans. In the Mexican government reversed itself and prohibited further immigration into Texas. What happened in Texas is typical of situations in which people get used to doing things their own way and are suddenly forced to obey the dictates of others.
The Texans rebelled; Santa Anna vowed to make them behave. As mentioned above, Texas was something of a refuge for Americans who had reason to leave home.
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One such emigrant was Sam Houston, a colorful figure who could be considered the most significant figure in American history between and A close friend of Andrew Jackson, he had fought with the general during the War of Houston was elected governor of Tennessee in He married Eliza Allen, a member of a prominent Tennessee family, but the marriage ended quickly and badly. Details have remained murky, but the Allen family apparently pressured Houston to leave the state.
In any case, Houston resigned his governorship and left Tennessee. For a time Houston dwelt among the Cherokee Indians, who adopted him as a son.
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He married a Cherokee woman and represented Cherokee interests with the United States government. It was that business that eventually took Houston to Texas. As a natural leader, Sam Houston quickly rose to prominence in the rough-edged territory. He married his third wife, who helped him overcome his drinking problem. They also created the rudiments of a national government, using the American Declaration of Independence and Constitution as models. But they were willing to fight. After a few brief skirmishes, Mexican dictator Santa Anna personally led an army of several thousand well trained troops into Texas to put down the insurrection.
The Texas army, which never numbered more than and had little experience in war, faced a daunting task. Santa Anna, however, unwittingly aided the Texan cause by branding the revolutionaries as outlaws and criminals and treating them as such. While the Texans were deciding on their Declaration of Independence and considering the political future of Texas, Santa Anna was slaughtering Texans and giving them no quarter.
The Alamo. The most famous clash took place at an old Spanish mission at San Antonio de Bexar known as the Alamo early in , the last year of the administration of Andrew Jackson. At the Alamo fewer than Texans under Lieutenant Colonel William Travis held off about 3, Mexicans for 13 days, inflicting heavy casualties on the attackers. The Mexican army eventually overpowered the fortress, and all the Texan defenders died, including Travis, Jim Bowie, and former Congressman Davy Crockett. Santa Anna then had their bodies burned rather than giving them a Christian burial.