Oregon Boundary Dispute

Oregon Boundary Dispute
I. This dispute was the result of British and American claims to the Pacific
a. Area disputed: west of the Continental Divide, north of the northern
border of New Spain, south of the southern border of Russian
II. Britain and America had commercial and territorial claims to the area, as
well as claims leftover from treaties with Russia
a. Anglo-American Convention of 1818—Britain and America decided
upon “joint occupancy”, which pushed back the dispute
III. 1844—Democratic Party declared that the US had a claim to the Oregon
Country, appealing to expansionist feelings
IV. James K. Polk, then president, was urged by expansionists to annex the
entire area, tensions grew
V. Negotiations between Britain and America broke down
VI. The press urged Polk to claim all of Oregon Country, resulting in “Manifest
Destiny” becoming a standard phrase
VII. Democratic expansionists called for war rather than negotiations—slogan
“Fifty-Four Forty of Fight”, referring to their desired boundary line
VIII. War calls fueled by distrust of British, belief that US would make better use
of the land
IX. In April 1846, Congress notified the British that they were getting rid of
joint occupancy and allowed the British to offer terms to settle the issue
X. Oregon Treaty ratified on June 18, 1846
a. Border set at 49th parallel (original US proposal)
b. British living on the Columbia River granted navigation rights
XI. Polk criticized for his handling of the situation—brought the nation too
close to a conflict