However great the temptation, it is impossible in a work of this character, which covers the disposition of our lands, to tell the romantic and fascinating story of the several great acquisitions of territory by which the Original Thirteen States and the subsequently
formed nation expanded to the Mississippi, then to the Rocky Mountains and then to the Pacific. A brief outline only will be attempted.
It is to be hoped that some day a work will issue which will adequately present all of the statecraft, the diplomacy, the intrigue, the inner spirit, motives and springs of action, the exciting and dramatic incidents, the national and international relations of great moment involved in our accessions by war and purchase.
Whether it be clothed in the romantic garb of fiction or presented in the bare narrative of historical facts, which in themselves constitute national and world-wide chapters of fascinating interest, the story when fully told will grip the minds, hearts and imaginations of the American people, bring a keener realization of the meaning of American citizenship and a deeper conception of the mission of the Republic.
Original States. Treaty with England.
In that narrative you will enter the secret councils of American statesmanship, mingle with men with "empires on their brains," and vision a superb future.
You will journey over the waters which Columbus sailed and in Paris follow Franklin, Jay, Adams and Laurens, the American negotiators, representing the Confederation of the Original Thirteen States which fought and won the Revolutionary War, and thrill with
them and the three million colonists for whom they spoke, when the Treaty with England was signed which ceded not only a narrow fringe of land between the Atlantic seaboard and the Alleghanies but a vast area extending westward even unto the Father of Waters ; not only the historic ground from northern Maine to southern Georgia, hallowed by a hundred battles and countless sacrifices of the Revolutionary War, the ground of
Plymouth Rock, Valley Forge, Bunker Hill, Saratoga and Yorktown, but that deep land of endless virgin territory in whose wilderness recesses the frontier woodsmen, patriot soldiers, fought the conflicts of Kaskaskia and Vincennes; land of the incredible achievements of George Rogers Clark and other chiefs of the border and the forest hinterland. They fought with French, Indian, Spanish, and English foes for control of that inland and its great flowing highway of navigation of which the Ohio was the main tributary to the East. Water transportation was the sine qua non of commerce and growth.
The cession went to and beyond, in the estimation of many, the utmost possibilities territorially of the new nation to be. It conveyed to America forever that entire region east of the great water artery which formed the all-important route between the Great Lakes, so near the St. Lawrence ocean outlet in the North, and the Gulf of Mexico, the sea highway of the South.
Again, in 1803, you will cross the ocean and be with the American representatives, Livingston, Minister to France, and Monroe in the Court of France and follow the intricate maze of diplomacy of Talleyrand and Marbois as they prolonged negotiations through weary, humiliating months to be suddenly cut short by the decision of Napoleon, to the surprise of Livingston and his compatriots and in violation of his pledge to Spain, to sell to America not merely New Orleans, commanding the mouth of the. Mississippi, which was vital to American water commerce around to our own eastern coast and for foreign export of the products of the "inland empire," but the colossal area extending from the Mississippi to the fabled and mysterious Rocky Mountains ; a second empire comprising an "unknown country" of nearly one million square miles, practically doubling in one stroke the size of the United States.
The dream of France and England of later regaining their lost dominion by force of arms was never realized.
Napoleon lost to Wellington at Waterloo. Pakenham and his trained and disciplined English veterans were defeated at New Orleans by Jackson. America's ownership was at last secure.
The Louisiana Purchase Territory was to become, through the spirit of exploration, enterprise and heroism of the frontiersman, the abiding place of forty millions of people, a mighty bulwark of national solidarity, resource, wealth and progress. Its vastness and
inexhaustible riches were but partly disclosed by the historic expedition sent forth by Jefferson. For generations it was story-land and battle-ground in which mingled fur-hunter, scout, Indian, soldier, buffalo, cattle, cowboy, stage coach and pony express; the arena of adventure, ambition, hope and realization.
The thin, steel edge of the forerunners cut gradually through the wilderness. Behind followed the homebuilder. Tragedy, massacre, conflict, sorrow and death mingled with drama, victory, exaltation and surging triumph to final settlement and development into a
civilization the marvel of which could not have been conceived by even the Napoleonic imagination.
You next turn your faces to the southeast extremity of the nation. There lies an oblong flat, bright-hued land, not to be compared in magnitude with the imperial expanse of the purchase from the Little Corsican, yet strategically and materially vital to the security of the United States. It is the great Peninsula of Florida, Land of Flowers, extending from
Fernandina on the North to Key West on the South, a half-thousand miles, containing more than 30,000 lakes in addition to Okeechobee's 1,250 square miles of shallow waters.
Here early in 1513 came Juan Ponce De Leon exploring and searching for the fabled Fountain of Youth on the Island of Bimini. This land, by the very logic of situation and integral connection as part of the mainland must be secured. Not then was it a land of
fruit, grain, vegetables, cotton and fisheries. Naught but the brilliant flowers which gave it name met the eager and curious eyes of the explorers who followed De Leon : Miruelo, Narvaez, DeSoto, De Luna, Ribault, Laudonniere and Menendez.
By the Treaty of Paris, 1763, Florida was ceded to England. More than two centuries after De Leon and after the founding by Menendez of St. Augustine, oldest of American Atlantic cities, we come to the American national period ; to the picturesque military exploits of the tempestuous and imperative General Jackson and of the brave feats and impressive utterances of the dignified, eloquent Indian character, Osceola, Chief of the Seminoles. In 1779 Spain declared war against Great Britain, seized the English forts in West Florida and in 1781 captured Pensacola. By the Treaty of Paris, 1783, Florida reverted to Spain. In 1810 West Florida declared itself an independent state and sought admission into the American Union. Congress annexed it to the State of Louisiana. President Madison,
holding the theory that West Florida was ceded by Spain to France in 1800 as a part of Louisiana Territory and thus was included in the sale of Louisiana to America in 1803, proclaimed it under the jurisdiction of the United States. Ports on the Gulf of Mexico
were necessary to America. West Florida was therefore needed as well as New Orleans. Negotiations for West Florida for this purpose in 1803 by strange chance led to and resulted in the Louisiana Purchase. The smaller object was lost in the immensely great
acquisition, although the supposition remained that the lesser, West Florida, was included in the greater, Louisiana.
Again war between Great Britain and the United States was approaching, and occurred, 1812-1814. British troops in 1817 landed at Pensacola which General Jackson promptly captured and as promptly evacuated to recapture it in 1818. By the treaty of 1819
Spain formally ceded East and West Florida to the United States. This completed ownership in and possession to America of all land east of the Mississippi. Once again she looked to the West where brightly burned the Star of Empire.
You now trek to the illimitable plains of Texas and see and read anew the dramatic story of the Lone Star State; how by American bravery and the unquenchable spirit of independence its mighty area was wrested from Mexico, after the sacrifice of Bowie and many indomitable lives at the Alamo, through the vengeance victory of San Jacinto; how the banner of Mexico sank from the flag staff and the Lone Star Flag swept up in triumph to take its place:
With absorbing interest you review its early history in which sailed and walked and rode, as early as 1528, the romantic figures of De Vaca and Coronado, Spaniards, and La Salle, Frenchman. The Spanish, however, maintained their ascendancy and planted ecclesiastical missions, military presidios and civil pueblos.
The territory now made a province was named Tajas (Texas) from the Indians of that name. American invasion was attempted by Philip Nolan in 1799, by Gutierrez and Magee in 1812 who actually captured San Antonio, were victorious over several Mexican
forces but finally succumbed, to be followed by another abortive attempt by a former officer of the Navy, James Long. These attempts were sacrificial forerunners of a deep need and purpose, advance eddies of the coming current of destiny moving in the hearts and minds of the American people ; preliminary outbursts of the ever-surging and resurging impulses to "make way for liberty" and its necessity of room and yet more
room whereon to plant its advancing, myriad feet.
With the ratification in 1821 of the cession of Florida by Spain, vague American claims to Texas were surrendered ; but for Spain it was a hollow gain as Mexican revolution was imminent and soon followed to a successful conclusion. Texas became a part of the
Republic of Mexico. But immediately American settlement began. Austin was founded on the Brazos.
The frontier people of the United States poured on Texas soil. The striking figures of Austin, Wharton, Smith, Robinson and Archer stalk into view ; Johnson, Bowie and Fannin stand forth. Then came, in 1835, under dynamic General Sam Houston, the Lone Star
Flag, an Independent State, the Republic of Texas.
It was American. It came unto its own in the inevitable climax. The Stars and Stripes superseded the Lone Star Flag when by joint resolution of Congress in 1845, Texas became the most gigantic state in the Union.
And so Texas came and remained and helped to fight in the war with Mexico which followed. It counts its citizens by the millions and her many great cities rise and grow and expand. Its ports give outlet over the Gulf of Mexico. Its cattle and cotton and wool and oil help to feed, clothe and transport the people of America and of the world, including those of Spain which once had claim to its immense domain.
Oregon Territory Cession.
But the great expansion was not yet at an end. The tremendous impulse of a restless, fresh, eager people was not yet exhausted. The deep-seated urge of wil-
derness-conquering thousands, strong and insistent, drove onward. It was yet to carry them to the Pacific in the North and in the South.
You follow up the trail of Lewis and Clark, pole-boat up the yellow-mottled Missouri, take with you as guide the most remarkable Indian woman character in all our history, Sacajawea, climb over snow-capped mountain ranges and descend to the deep valley "where rolls the Oregon."
Again, you carry the plow in ox-hauled, covered wagon over the interminable stretches of the Oregon -Trail. You pass Fort Laramie, Fort Caspar, the "Firey Narrows of the North Platte," so designated by Stuart and his five companions in 1812 on their return
journey from Astoria, discovering the South Pass and establishing the route which became the Oregon Trail ; Independence Rock, named by De Smet "The Register of the Desert"; follow the Sweetwater River to its headwaters, swing over South Pass to Fort Bridger,
travel on to Fort Hall and the Snake River. Thence you come again where sweep westward through primeval forests the blue waters of the Columbia.
Or perhaps you explore with Fremont to the summit of the sharp-ridged Wind River Mountains of the Rockies. Or hunt and trap the buffalo, bear and beaver and fight the Redmen over the mountains with the first wheeled vehicles to camp in the great basin
of the Green River with Bonneville whose travels were given to the world by Washington Irving. Or you penetrate westward through picturesque Hoback Canyon to enter Jackson Hole and stand in awe before the sublimity of the granite-peaked Tetons and reluctantly pass on ever to the North and West across that wonderland, later the Yellowstone National Park, to stand entranced before Old Faithful and the dreamland of beautiful Yellowstone Canyon. Onward again till you mount the Cascades and dip down to Vancouver Bay, or portage down the magnificent Columbia to the rolling waves of the Pacific. You have reached the great objective.
Here in 1792 Captain Gray of the American Navy discovered and named the Columbia, an important factor in the Treaty consideration a half century later. You stand on the shores of the Western Sea and turning landward you behold in imagination splendid cities
rearing themselves on river and hill between ocean tide and the soaring peaks of eternally snow-crowned, majestic Rainier and Hood.
Or you mingle with a group of those few thousand hardy Americans who pressed over the great trail to the Northwest between 1841 and 1843, among them heroic women, mothers of men, to stay and plant and reap and to grow. You stand with them at that critical meeting at Champoeg, in 1843, pregnant with national significance and future possibilities, that meeting since memorialized by federal ceremony and monument, that gathering "of the people" where, by the majority of two, the "settlers" carried against English, French and Canadian claims and votes a resolution declaring for the Flag and jurisdiction of the United States. They "represented" a wonderful region over which no flag of earth had ever flown in recognized right by both discovery and occupation conquest by
habitation, until the Oregon Settlement Treaty with England in 1846 surrendered it to the young, giant, puissant nation of the West. The northern boundary was fixed, regardless of our slogan "54-40 or fight," at the 49th parallel. That line of three thousand miles has ever since been one of harmony and peace with Canada.
Thus came United States authority over the Oregon Territory and in this manner was extended the jurisdiction of the new nation throughout the Northwest to the shore of the mightiest of oceans, on whose further side, five thousand miles toward the setting sun, lay the Orient with its teeming millions of olden peoples.
With your Seventy times Seven League Boots, in which you strode in successive giant strides from the soil of the Original Thirteen States to the forested basin of the Mississippi, back southward to the everglades of Florida, westward again across the prairies to the Rockies and once again to the wooded harbors of the Pacific Northwest, you now take the final gigantic stride to the Southwest; at once, in its widely separated and contrasting regions, a land of desert and of flower; of sullen, sterile sand leagues awaiting the
coming of life-giving waters and of vine-bearing gentle hills; of cold, wind-swept heights and semi-tropical lowlands; of heated valleys of death and luxuriant slopes of foliage and fruit; of barren mountain chains and rushing mountain streams; land of the ancient
civilizations of the Mayan, the Aztec, the Pueblo and the Apache; land of the Missions with bells calling the Spaniard and the Mexican to worship.
After the accession of Texas in 1845 the northern end of Mexico was a barrier to the westward movement of the American people. Disputed territory lay between Texas and the Mexican line on the West. At the direction of President Polk, General Zachary Taylor crossed the Nueces and occupied the disputed ground. Clashes with Mexican armed forces occurred at Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma and Monterey. Tampico was taken. Declaration of war followed the first bloodshed. Hostilities opened on the Rio Grande. Buena Vista saw the Americans victorious. California was occupied by American land and naval forces.
General Winfield Scott landed at Vera Cruz and marched through successive battles through Cerro Gordo, Contreras, Del Rey and ancient Chapultepec and on September 14, 1847, ran up the American Flag over the citadel of the Montezumas, Mexico City, the
Capital, to remain aloft until the treaty of Guadaloupe Hidalgo, the following year, ceded the great Southwest to America.
Of this accession Webster said in the United States Senate, March, 1848, discussing the land indemnity from Mexico, that it was all a barren waste "not worth a dollar." Clay, however, looking intently westward and being asked of what he was thinking, said, "I am
listening to the tramp of the oncoming millions."
Immediately after the Treaty with Mexico was signed in 1848, the discovery of gold by James W. Marshall, on January 19, 1848, became known. This discovery, on the American River, at Sutter's Mill, California, was the first of many similar discoveries and developments which were to pour into the coffers of the nation and its people hundreds of millions of dollars of mineral wealth.
And over this land of the Great Salt Lake, of the Golden Gate, of Mt. Shasta, and Mt. Whitney, of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, of the Santa Fe Trail, of petrified trees, oldest of dead things, of redwood forests, oldest of living things in all the world, of
hidden immense oil deposits, of unknown, fabulous lodes of copper and silver and gold an irresistible tide of Americans swept even to the south line of the small Gadsden Purchase of 1853. This line should have continued due west as it began in which event it would have included the mouth of that sinuous giant of waters, the Colorado River, and the north end and harbor of the Gulf of California into which it throws its turbid flood.
Thus the flag of the Union was carried to the southwest shore and our territorial acquisitions rounded out. Through these dramatic and swift moving events we
finally breasted the white surf of the Pacific nearly two thousand miles by coast line south of the 49th parallel at Vancouver.
And thus finally the United States of America came, under the purposes of Providence, to occupy and expand its power over the whole of this magnificent land from sea to sea and from the Rio Grande to Canada.
The national spirit had swept our people in sixty years across the continent. It was the most rapid and the strongest folk movement over the greatest and richest
area with the most far-reaching results known to history.
Destiny determined that we must have entire dominion from ocean to ocean ; that our physical base and material resources must be broad and wide and great and rich in order to be commensurate with, and to protect and advance, the great principles of free gov-
ernment which we had enunciated to the world. The United States has grown to be the mightiest nation of the earth. On the foundations of those principles our governmental structure of free and beneficent civilization is yet to be raised to still greater heights.