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Friars U.S. History

Disputes in the Oregon Territory

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Oregon Territory

1.        Control of the Oregon Territory was a major political issue in the 1840’s

a.      Oregon Territory included the present states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and parts of Montana, Wyoming, and half of British Columbia

2.       Both the U.S. and Britain claimed sovereignty in the area.

3.      1818 agree to allow citizens of both countries equal access to the territory

a.      Agreement was known as “joint occupation” continued for twenty years until it broke down due to increased immigration.

Oregon Dispute

1.        James Polk was elected based on a platform that all of Oregon was possession of the U.S. and there would be no more “joint occupation”.

a.      Coined the phrase “fifty-four forty or fight” which was the proposed border of Oregon Territory

2.       Privately he was willing to compromise and set the boundary at the 49th parallel.

3.      The British Government rejected Polk’s compromise outright.

a.      Caused loose talk of war on Both sides

4.       Neither side really wanted war, finally the British accepted the proposal

5.       President Polk submitted the proposal to Congress without supporting it (didn’t want to offend the expansionist that wanted it all).

6.       Congress agreed setting the boundary at the 49th Parallel which is where it remains today.  

 

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Oregon Territory

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