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The Canadian Review of American Studies, Volume IX, Number 2, Fall, 1978 Britain and Russia in America ~ov.ard Jones. To the Wehster-Ashburton Treaty: 1Stud1111Anglo-American Relations, I 783-1843. :hapel Hill· University of North Carolina Press, 1977. :~I+ ~x PP H;,v.ard I Kushner. Conflict on the Northwest Coast: in:eruan-RussianRi,•alry in the Pacific Northll'est, 1790-/867. \l~tport. Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1975. 227 + xii pp. Patrick C. T White The relations between Canada and the United States in the nineteenth century me characterized by political crises followed by diplomatic compromise. The great and single exception to this was the War of 1812.The causes of this m were to be found largely in the great European conflict which raged between Britain and France, although for reasons of tactics the American m1htary operations were carried out along the Canadian border. The peace ,.h1ch followed was a compromise that accurately reflected the state of the .:ightmg which had occupied Britain and the United States for three years. i\et the peace left unresolved problems which were soon to exacerbate relations between British North America and the United States. First among thesewere matters involving the accurate drafting of the boundary line ,eparatingthe countries in both the east and the west. , Thetreaty of 1783had seemed to be precise enough. The boundary between :hetwo nations was to follow the St. Croix River north to the highlands that ~eparated the waters flowing into the St. Lawrence from those flowing into the ~tlantic.It was then to proceed along these highlands to the Connecticut R1,er and thence south along this stream until it met the 45th parallel; from thereit was to go westward to the St. Lawrence River and further west :hroughthe Great Lakes and then from the tip of Lake Superior along a due "4est hne until it met the Mississippi. No provision was made for a line west ufthe Mississippi, for neither party laid claim to this vast hinterland and :imherwas prescient enough to realize that it would become a source of bitter I 180 Patrick (. T, H'h1:c 1 contention in the future. On the Pacific coast matters were apparentlv le,, complicated. Great Britain had a firm trading hold on the coast of wh~t ~~: called the Oregon territory. The United States had discovered the mouth i:" the Columbia, and Lewis and Clark had traced that great river from 1 ~. source to its exit in the Pacific. The areas to the north and south weremth; hands of others-California belonging to Spain and Alaska to Russia '.\either Britain nor America were concerned over the disposition oithN enormous and strategic areas in 1783,and why should they have been?Bntali: had enough territory to satisfy her need for fish and naval supplies; the l!mted States. concerned with the building of a new form of government, hadill!.: interest in a distant and uncharted area. If the United States had am interests of great moment they concerned, as Madison observed in hisgre;, paper of 1794, Florida and Louisiana- the first because in the handsof: foreign power it posed a military threat to America, and the second because foreign control of the mouth of the Mississippi threatened to choke theOou of agricultural commodities from the interior. The resolution of theset~c issues was achieved with the purchase of Louisiana in 1803 and throughtr; Adams-Onis treaty which gave Florida to America in 1819.But these notab:, achievements- the former, the greatest diplomatic triumph of Jefferson\ presidency and the latter, one of the shining accomplishments of John Quine~ Adams' distinguished career- coincided with a new and powerful amb1t10~ in America to straddle the continent. The westward thrust of America towards the Pacific was as swift a~11 \\a, determined. The obstacles to this dream were not only the natural barner; the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, but also the presence of Spa1r. Russia and Britain. Happily, neither of the first two proved to be strong enough to resist the advances of sucessive administrations in Washtngto-: Britain, however, proved to be made of sterner stuff. Her position wasdoub\ significant; not only did she have a powerful historic claim to...


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