The New International Encyclopædia/United States, Extension of the Territory of the

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The New International Encyclopædia
United States, Extension of the Territory of the

Edition of 1905.  See also History of the United States on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

UNITED STATES, Extension of the Territory of the. Prior to 1781 only six of the thirteen original States, viz. New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, had exactly defined boundaries. Of the remaining seven States, some claimed to extend to the Pacific Ocean and others to the Mississippi River. The States with inexact bounddaries ceded to the General Government their claims to lands west of their present limits in succession, as follows: March 1, 1781, New York; March 1, 1784, Virginia, the cession including the territory which now forms the State of Kentucky and the parts of the States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois which lie south of the forty-first parallel, Virginia, however, reserving from this cession for military-bounty lands the entire territory, 6570 square miles, between the Scioto and Little Miami rivers, from their sources to the Ohio River; April 19, 1785, Massachusetts, including her claims to territory west of the present boundary of New York; September 14, 1786, Connecticut, the cession being the territory west of the Alleghanies between the parallels of 41° and 42°, except a strip 120 miles in length lying directly west of Pennsylvania retained for the benefit of her public schools and later known as the Western Reserve (q.v.), which she ceded to the United States in 1800; August 9, 1787, South Carolina, the territory ceded being a strip of land about 12 miles wide, south of the thirty-fifth parallel and extending along the southern boundaries of North Carolina and Tennessee to the Mississippi; February 25, 1790, North Carolina, the territory ceded constituting what is now Tennessee; June 16, 1802, Georgia, after receiving that part of the cession of South Carolina lying within her present limits, ceding all between her present western boundary and the Mississippi, and between the South Carolina cession and the thirty-first parallel, embracing a large part of what is now Mississippi and Alabama. The foregoing cessions secured to the General Government nearly all territory ceded by Great Britain, not included in the original thirteen States, as in the main now bounded. On November 25, 1850, the State of Texas ceded all her claims to lands west of the twenty-sixth meridian west of Washington (103d Greenwich) and between latitudes 32° and 36° 30′.

Cessions by Foreign Powers. In the treaty of September 3, 1783, with Great Britain the western limits of the United States were declared to be the Mississippi River to the thirty-first parallel. On April 30, 1803, by treaty with France, the ‘Province of Louisiana’ was acquired. (See Louisiana Purchase.) Its western boundary as finally adjusted, February 22, 1819, by treaty with Spain, ran up the Sabine River, to and along the seventeenth meridian (94th Greenwich), to and along the Red River, to and along the twenty-third meridian (100th Greenwich), to and along the Arkansas River, to and along the Rocky Mountains, to and along the twenty-ninth meridian (106th Greenwich), to and along the forty-second parallel, to the Pacific Ocean. Its northern boundary conformed to the boundary established between the British possessions and the United States. On the east it was bounded by the Mississippi as far south as the thirty-first parallel, where different boundaries were claimed. The United States construed the cession of France to include all the territory between the thirty-first parallel and the Gulf of Mexico, and between the Mississippi and Perdido, the latter of which is now the western boundary of Florida. Under this construction of the cession, the ‘Province of Louisiana’ is now covered by those portions of the States of Alabama and Mississippi which lie south of the thirty-first parallel; by Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota west of the Mississippi, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and the Indian Territory; and by the portion of Colorado lying east of the Rocky Mountains and north of the Arkansas River, and that portion of Wyoming lying east of the Rockies and south of the forty-second parallel. Spain, from which power France had acquired Louisiana by treaty in 1800 (see San Ildefonso, Treaty of), claimed that she had ceded to France no territory east of the Mississippi except the ‘Island of New Orleans.’ and also contended that her Province of West Florida included all of the territory south of the thirty-first parallel and between the Perdido and Mississippi, except the ‘Island of New Orleans.’ Under this construction, the ‘Province of Louisiana’ included on the east of the Mississippi only the territory bounded on the north and east by the “rivers Iberville and Amite and by the lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain.” By the treaty of 1803 the national territory was increased by 1,171,931 square miles. The extreme northwestern portion of this territory was claimed by Great Britain, with which power the United States concluded the Northwest Boundary Treaty in 1846. By the treaty of February 22, 1819, Spain formally ceded the territory now covered by Florida, by those portions of Alabama and Mississippi which lie south of the thirty-first parallel, and by that portion of Louisiana which lies east of the Mississippi and is not included in the ‘Island of New Orleans.’ This territory was styled by Spain the ‘provinces of East and West Florida.’ Previous to this cession, by the authority of the joint resolution of January 15, 1811, and tlie acts of January 15, 1811, and March 3, 1811, passed in secret session and first published in 1818, the United States had taken possession of the East and West Floridas. In fact, as early as 1810 the Americans controlled all of West Florida except Mobile, while in 1814 Jackson temporarily seized Pensacola, and again in 1818 occupied both Pensacola and Saint Marks. The United States, however, did not take formal possession until 1821. After prolonged negotiations, and a vigorous political contest, Texas, formerly a portion of Mexico, and later an independent republic, was admitted to the Union by a joint resolution of Congress, approved by President Tyler on March 1, 1845, as a result of the Mexican War (q.v.), by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (q.v.), on February 2, 1848, Mexico ceded the territory now covered by California and Nevada, also her claims to the territory covered by the present Texas, by Utah, by the bulk of Arizona and of New Mexico, and by portions of Wyoming and Colorado. That part of Arizona and that part of New Mexico lying south of the Gila and known as the Gadsden Purchase were ceded by Mexico on December 30, 1853. By treaty of March 30, 1867, Russia ceded Alaska. At the close of the Revolutionary War the territory really occupied by the old thirteen States covered scarcely a quarter of a million square miles, and after the treaty of 1783 the nation occupied only 825,000 square miles, but in 1867 the territory belonging to the United States had an area in round numbers of 3,561,000 square miles. A further accession was effected in 1898, when, on July 6th, Congress passed a joint resolution annexing Hawaii (q.v.) to the United States. In the following year negotiations were concluded by which the island of Tutuila, Samoa, on which is located the excellent harbor of Pago-Pago, was ceded absolutely to the United States. An important accession of territory was that incident to the Spanish-American War (q.v.), and formally effected in the treaty of December 10, 1898, in accordance with which Spain ceded Porto Rico (q.v.) and the Philippine Islands (q.v.), together with the island of Guam (q.v.), to the United States.

Bibliography. The most important volume in this connection, with all the texts, is the Treaties and Conventions, published by the Government (Washington, 1889). Some useful maps illustrating these treaties are to be found in The United States of America, 1765-1865, by Channing (New York, 1896). Consult also, as to treaty of 1803, Adams, History of the United States, vol. ii., and Roosevelt, Winning of the West, vol. iv. Of special works, consult: Adams, Maryland's Influence on the Land Cessions (Baltimore, 1885); Gannett, Boundaries of the United States; Garrett, South Carolina Land Cession; Donaldson, Public Domain (Washington, 1884); and the appendix to vol. vii. of Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America (Boston, 1886-89).


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