« ForrigeFortsett »
I. LOUISIANA.-Before the year 1763, France owned what was known as the Province of Louisiana, a vast region which comprised, east of the Mississippi, the territory south of the thirty-first degree of north latitude and as far east as the Perdido River, and, west of the Mississippi, the whole of the present Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, that part of Minnesota west of the Mississippi, Wyoming and Colorado east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the Arkansas River, and all but a small southwestern section of Kansas and the narrow northwestern strip of Indian Territory. By the Treaty of Paris of 1763, which closed our French and Indian War, the French territory east of the Mississippi passed to England, and that west of the Mississippi to Spain. By the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which ended the Revolution, England gave Florida back to Spain. During the first years of our national history, therefore, Spain owned the western shore of the Mississippi and both shores at its mouth. It was soon seen that our citizens who were settling along the Mississippi would have their commerce threatened and hampered by Spain, especially as that country at first refused us the free navigation of the river. It was not until 1795 that a treaty was negotiated by Thomas Pinckney, whereby Spain granted us free navigation of the river and the right to use New Orleans, or some other place which would be provided, as a place of deposit for merchandise. In 1800 a secret treaty was negotiated between France and Spain by which the latter “retroceded” to France the Province of Louisiana. Napoleon, then First Consul of France, threatened to send an army and fleet to New Orleans. It was feared that French ambition in Louisiana and Spanish designs in Florida would ultimately prove hurtful to us. In 1802 the right of deposit in New Orleans was taken away, and no other place was designated. The western portion of the United States clamored for some governmental action. Congress appropriated $2,000,000 for the purchase of New Orleans, and President Jefferson,
in January, 1803, sent James Monroe as minister extraordinary with discretionary powers, to act with our Minister to France, Robert R. Livingston, in the purchase. Napoleon at this time found himself burdened with debt and threatened with an English war, and proposed to sell the whole Province of Louisiana. A convention to that effect was speedily arranged and signed on April 30, 1803, by Livingston and Monroe for the United States, and Barbé-Marbois for France. The price agreed upon to be paid was $15,000,000, of which $3,750,000 were claims of our citizens against France, which the United States agreed to assume. The people of the United States as a whole rejoiced, though the Federalists claimed that the measure was unwarranted by the Constitution, and even Jefferson thought a constitutional amendment would be necessary. hase, however, was finally accepted without an amendment, and was generally acquiesced in. An early session of Congress was called for October 17, 1803. Two days later the treaty was ratified by the Senate, and on October 25th the House passed a resolution to carry it into effect by a vote of ninety to twenty-five, the Federalists voting in the minority. Napoleon accepted six per cent. bonds, payable in fifteen years, for this territory, which more than doubled the area of the United States. Concerning this purchase Livingston is said to have exclaimed: “We have lived long, but this is the noblest work of our whole lives.” And Napoleon is said to have remarked: “I have just given to England a maritime rival that will, sooner or later, humble her pride." Portions of the boundary line of this purchased territory were in dispute for a long time, but so far as Spain was concerned, the differences of opinion were settled by the treaty of 1819 (see next section of this article), and the treaty of 1846 with Great Britain settled the remainder. (See Northwest Boundary.) The region acquired by this purchase was divided into the Territory of Orleans and the Territory of Louisiana.
II. FLORIDA.—When Great Britain in 1763 acquired that part of Louisiana east of the Mississippi from
France, and Florida from Spain (see preceding section of this article), she joined her portion of Louisiana to Florida and divided by the Apalachicola River West from East Florida. Both of these passed to Spain in 1783. Spain claimed that when, in 1800, she “retroceded ” Louisiana to France, she only gave back what she had obtained from that country, and that West Ilorida, which she obtained from England, still remained hers. The United States maintained that Spain had given to France the whole original extent of Louisiana, and that Florida west of the Perdids was a part of our purchase from France in 1803. Our government did not press this claim till 1810, but then, under direction of the President, Governor Claiborne, of the Territory of Orleans, took possession of all West Florida except Mobile, and in 1813 General Wilkinson obtained possession of Mobile also. There was a growing desire in the United States to seize East Florida. Congress as early as 1811 passed secret acts authorizing the President to take "temporary possession” of it, though nothing came of this. In 1814 and 1818 Jackson made raids into the coveted territory (see Indian Wars), which seemed to show to Spain the danger her territory was in. She did not think it worth defending, and on February 22, 1819, the Spanish Minister at Washington signed a treaty by which Florida was ceded to the United States. Our government in return assumed. claims of its citizens against Spain to the amount of $5,000,000, and accepted the Sabine River as the eastern boundary of Mexico. By the same treaty Spain accepted the forty-second degree of north latitude as the northern limit to her claims of territory west of the Rocky Mountains. The United States Senate at once ratified this treaty, but Spain delayed till early in 1821, and in July of that year possession was surrendered.
III. TEXAS.- Previous to 1819 the United States had claimed as part of the Louisiana purchase the region known as Texas as far as the Rio Grande River, but by the Spanish treaty of that year yielded its claim. Soon afterward, inhabitants of the United States began to
remove to Texas, where they obtained grants of land and settled. It thus grew into a State which was.closely allied to the United States. This emigration to Texas and the subsequent annexation were part of the political scheme of the South to maintain its power in Congress by the addition of slave-territory, to offset the creation of free States in the North. In 1827 and 1829, Clay and Calhoun, as Secretaries of State, tried to obtain Texas by purchase, offering $1,000,000 and $5,000,000, but without success. In March, 1836, Texas, dissatisfied with the government of Mexico, declared its independence. A short war followed. The Mexicans committed massacres at Goliad and the Alamo (see Thermopylæ of Texas), but on April 10th, at the San Jacinto, Santa Anna, the Mexican President, with 5,000 men, was badly defeated by 700 men under General Sam. Houston, the commander of the Texan forces. Santa Anna agreed to a treaty which recognized the independence of Texas. This was not ratified by Mexico, but in March, 1837, the United States recognized the independence of the Republic of Texas, and soon England, France and Belgium did likewise. In 1837 Texas made application to Congress for annexation, but with no immediate result. The presidential campaign of 1844 turned largely on this question. The Democratic convention nominated Polk, who favored annexation, instead of Van Buren, who opposed it. Clay, the Whig candidate, was also supposed to be against the project. In the meantime, Calhoun, Secretary of State, had negotiated a treaty of annexation with Texas in April, 1844, including the territory between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers, disputes as to which finally led to the Mexican War (which see). This treaty failed of ratification at the hands of the Senate. Polis was elected, partly by reason of the votes thrown away on Birney (see Liberty Party), but his election was taken as a sign of popular approval of annexation, and Congress and Tyler's administration now became attached to the project. Early in 1845 Congress authorized the President to negotiate a treaty of annexation. Tyler hastened to accomplish the object, though without a treaty, and on the last day of his term sent a special messenger to Texas. This emissary on June 18th secured the consent of the Congress of Texas, which was ratified by a popular vote on July 4th. A resolution for the admission of Texas as a State was passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of one hundred and forty-one to fifth-six on December 16, 1845, and in the Senate by a vote of thirty-one to thirteen on December 22d, and Texas was declared a State of the Union on December 29, 1845.
IV. NEW MEXICO AND UPPER CALIFORNIA.-The name New Mexico was originally applied to the territory now known as Utah, Nevada and large portions of Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Upper California comprised what is now the State of California. These regions, which belonged to Mexico, were conquered during the Mexican War, and by the treaty of 1848, which ended that contest, passed to the United States. (See Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.) Our government paid to Mexico for this cession $15,000,000, and assumed debts due from Mexico to our citizens amounting to $3,250,000. A portion of this acquisition (that part of New Mexico east of the Rio Grande) was claimed by Texas, and one of the provisions of Henry Clay's Omnibus Bill, passed in 1850, provided for the payment of $10,000,000 to Texas in satisfaction of her claim.
V. GADSDEN PURCHASE.—Disputes still remained with reference to those portions of Arizona and New Mexico south of the Gila River, and Mexican troops were sent thither. Trouble was averted, however, by the Gadsden Treaty, December 30, 1853, so called because it was negotiated by our Minister to Mexico, General James Gadsden. By this treaty the United States obtained the disputed territory, for which we paid $10,000,000.
VI. ALASKA.-By a treaty of March 30, 1867, ratified by the Senate June 20th of the same year, Russia ceded to the United States what is now the Territory of Alaska. The price paid was $7,200,000. The following