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Historical Geography of the Gadsden Purchase TOSBMI ?. HAZAIlD Seattle, Washington The politico-statesman has committed many actual crimes through ignorance of the earth as the home of man. Geography, then, Bhould pay sincere tribute to those few far-sighted men in the public life of the past who have been both scientist and servant. The vaunted vision of Daniel Webster failed him a few miles beyond the Mississippi River. .Alaska was, in the United States Senate, "Seward's Polar Bear Garden." Senator Benton of Missouri described the areal treasures of the Gadsden Purchase as, "Utterly desolate, desert, and God-forsaken ." Sir George Simpson convinced Victoiian England that all Canada , west and north of the Great Lakes, was an impossible wilderness and devoid of all agricultural possibilities. In contrast, Thomas Jefferson gave us the West, Andrew Jackson, Florida, and James Gadsden, his great "Purchase." Strangely, all three of these bloodless acquisitions of territory essential to the future greatsess of the United States were inspired by our first geographer-president, Thomas Jefferson. These are, briefly, the facts that link the three territorial purchases together : Andrew Jackson, our first president from west of the Atlantic Seaboard , was greatly influenced in his political vision by Jefferson. In 1814 James Gadsden was Jackson's aide-de-camp and became western-minded through Jackson's influence. Later, in 1850, Gadsden was retired from the presidency of the South Carolina R.R. by his stockholders because he insisted on a westward extension toward the pacific. Gadsden told his story to Marcy, Sec. of State under Pres. Pierce, and was appointed Ambassador to Mexico by Marcy. Together, Gadsden and Marcy found that due to a mistake in the Treaty of Guadalupe the United States had been deprived of a half degree of latitude and two degrees of longitude, throwing EL PASO below the American Line. This would throw any possible railroad going west, over N. Franklin Peak, 7140 feet altitude, would miss the gentle gradients of the Mesilla Valley, on the present Meming Route, and would thereby make the proposed western road impossible, except through Mexican territory. Then, too, both men had learned of the mineral wealth south of the Gila. Santa Ansa had been returned to power in Mexico, needed money, and was willing to deal. He boasted , later, about the ten million purchase price, never learning that Gadsden had short-changed him five million. Thus did we acquire an agricultural and mineral empire. (IM) ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1551-3211
Print ISSN
0066-9628
Pages
p. 24
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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