Page:The Harvard Classics Vol. 51; Lectures.djvu/54

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

disputed Oregon country open to each nation for a term of years without prejudice to the rights of either.


In the same years the United States was pressing Spain to relinquish Florida. Claiming West Florida and Texas as a part of the Louisiana Purchase, the Government annexed the former piecemeal in 1810 and 1812. Taught by General Jackson's successful although unauthorized invasion of Florida in 1818 that she held that position on the Gulf only at the pleasure of the United States, and hopeful, perhaps, to avert the threatened recognition of the revolting Spanish-American colonies, Spain ceded Florida in 1819,[1] drawing an irregular line between her possessions and those of the United States which left Texas as well as the other southwestern territory in Spain's hands. Recognition of the revolted republics followed in 1823 and thereafter the Union had to deal with Mexico in place of Spain in acquiring mainland possessions. Russia withdrew her claims to territory south of 54° 40′ in 1824, and as a result of the negotiations which preceded this action, as well as by the prospect of European intervention in Spanish America, President Monroe in 1823 announced the famous Doctrine[2] which declared the American continents no longer subject to European colonization or intervention to oppress them or control their destiny.

Early in the thirties American missionaries entered the Oregon country where the Hudson's Bay Company held sway under the English flag. American settlers, chiefly descendants of the hardy frontiersmen of the Mississippi Valley, also made settlements in Mexico's province of Texas. In 1836 the Texans revolted, declared their independence, and appealed to the United States for annexation. The northeastern boundary was settled by the Webster-Ashburton treaty[3] in 1842, leaving the fate of Oregon still undetermined. In that very year an emigration of American farmers began across the plains and mountains to that distant land, and relations between the Union and England became strained. In Texas, also, European interests were involved, for in the long interval between the formation of the Texan Republic and its annexation by the United States,

  1. H. C., xliii, 268.
  2. H. C., xliii, 277.
  3. H. C., xliii, 280.