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date: 18 September 2018

Andrew Jackson and US Foreign Relations

Summary and Keywords

The foreign relations of the Jacksonian age reflected Andrew Jackson’s own sense of the American “nation” as long victimized by non-white enemies and weak politicians. His goal as president from 1829 to 1837 was to restore white Americans’ “sovereignty,” to empower them against other nations both within and beyond US territory. Three priorities emerged from this conviction.

First, Jackson was determined to deport the roughly 50,000 Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles living in southern states and territories. He saw them as hostile nations who threatened American safety and checked American prosperity. Far from a domestic issue, Indian Removal was an imperial project that set the stage for later expansion over continental and oceanic frontiers.

Second and somewhat paradoxically, Jackson sought better relations with Great Britain. These were necessary because the British Empire was both the main threat to US expansion and the biggest market for slave-grown exports from former Indian lands. Anglo-American détente changed investment patterns and economic development throughout the Western Hemisphere, encouraging American leaders to appease London even when patriotic passions argued otherwise.

Third, Jackson wanted to open markets and secure property rights around the globe, by treaty if possible but by force when necessary. He called for a larger navy, pressed countries from France to Mexico for outstanding debts, and embraced retaliatory strikes on “savages” and “pirates” as far away as Sumatra. Indeed, the Jacksonian age brought a new American presence in the Pacific. By the mid-1840s the United States was the dominant power in the Hawaiian Islands and a growing force in China. The Mexican War that followed made the Union a two-ocean colossus—and pushed its regional tensions to the breaking point.

Keywords: Andrew Jackson, Monroe Doctrine, Indian Removal Act, Second Seminole War, US South Seas Exploring Expedition, Webster-Ashburton Treaty, US-Mexican War, cotton, tariffs, Law of Nations

The US and Indian Nations

The native peoples of eastern North America were the only clear losers of the War of 1812. Around the Great Lakes, they were abandoned by Great Britain and hounded by American generals and governors for new land cessions. Along the Gulf Coast, the Creek Nation reeled from civil war and invasion by Andrew Jackson’s mixed force of Tennessee militia, US regulars, and Choctaw and Cherokee allies. Once he crushed the rebellious Creeks in early 1814, Jackson turned on his native allies, demanding huge transfers of land and unconditional travel and trading rights in whatever tribal grounds remained.1

For Jackson, ridding the slave states of “Indian Country” was an old and personal goal. As a young man in the early 1790s, he had survived a nightmarish war between the settlers of mid-Tennessee and Cherokee and Creek fighters, raging at the US government for treating “savage nations” as legitimate powers. (His wife, another survivor, saw the wholesale slaughter of native enemies as God’s will.) He hailed 1812 as an “hour of national vengeance” against demonic foes and craven governments. After his promotion to Major General in the US Army in 1814, he detailed plans for a Deep South population “unmixed by Indians.” Only then would his nation be sovereign—and safe—at last.2

Besides fellow hardliners in the US Army, Jackson’s closest allies here were state-level politicians in Tennessee (where war parties had struck at will in 1812), Georgia (which had been waiting for the government to extinguish native lands since 1802), and Mississippi and Alabama (established from conquered lands in 1817 and 1819, respectively). Generally happy with the Virginian James Monroe in the White House until 1824, these southerners watched in alarm as his Massachusetts successor, John Quincy Adams, balked at removal efforts while northern churches set up schools and missions for the “Civilized Tribes.” For them, Indian lands were barriers to Atlantic and Gulf markets and sanctuaries for runaway slaves and former scalp-hunters. Almost 100 percent of the voters in these states favored Jackson in 1828.3

He did not disappoint them. At first, Jackson simply watched as the four states “extended” their laws over native ground, effectively abolishing those nations as legal and territorial entities. Then he pressed for the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which narrowly passed due to overwhelming support from the slave states. It affirmed the president’s right to negotiate removal treaties and allocated $500,000 toward that end. His most trusted lieutenants then made quick deals with friendly or corrupt native leaders. The first victims were the Choctaws, who were told as of late 1830 to leave their Mississippi homelands.4

Aside from recommending steamboats to rush the natives out, President Jackson kept his distance from the practical matters of deportation. The job fell to the overwhelmed War Department, which only began to consider the details a few months before the first group of Choctaws left for Oklahoma. Once on the road, the deportees lacked food, water, and shelter during a brutal winter. A second group fell in droves to cholera, which had just escaped British India in one of several 19th-century pandemics. They also made easy targets for debt collectors and thieves.5

Creek leaders tried to avoid this fate by signing an allotment treaty in 1832. In theory, it gave each head of family a claim to 320 acres of what had been tribal land, with twice that amount reserved for tribal leaders. In practice, Creek men could not make or protect those claims because the extension laws barred them from court. White speculators thus gobbled up huge swaths of Alabama and Georgia and sold the fraudulent titles to incoming planters, who frantically bought slaves from the notorious “Negro traders” of the Upper South. Native refugees and black slaves passed each other on overloaded steamboats that sometimes blew up or sank in the muddy Mississippi.6

The bad faith and sheer chaos of Indian Removal appalled many Americans. Evangelical women sent petitions on behalf of native communities while Whig leaders denounced “King Andrew” for his authoritarian ways. To their minds, the United States was bound to the treaties it had signed with native peoples—a dozen with the Cherokees alone, one of which clarified the nation’s desire “to remain on this side of the Mississippi”—just as the president was to the Constitution. They also cited the “Laws of Nations,” which was both a text by the Swiss theorist Emmerich Vattel and a general code of conduct for an international society of nations.7

In response, Jacksonian Democrats used Vattel as a call for national self-assertion. Scorning women’s activism and Yankee moralism, they embraced the people’s natural right to rid themselves of Indians, blacks, and other “nuisances.” The president warned native leaders that he would not protect them from the sovereign states and dismissed the Supreme Court’s 1832 ruling on behalf of the Cherokees as “stillborn.” And when native revolts broke out in central Alabama and northern Florida in late 1835 and early 1836, Jackson sent US forces to restore his version of order.8

The Florida uprising turned into the Second Seminole War, the longest in US history until Vietnam. Led by Osceola, who had survived Jackson’s war on the Creeks in 1814, Seminole militants hit plantations around St. Augustine and wiped out a whole detachment of US troops in the so-called Dade Massacre. Small numbers of escaped slaves joined the Seminoles, reinforcing the view of black people as a hostile nation within the United States. Through 1842, much of the 10,000-man US Army was concentrated in Florida, leaving only small garrisons for the northern and western frontiers.9 After Osceola’s capture in late 1837, General Zachary Taylor launched seek-and-destroy missions in central Florida. Yet the war dragged on. Desperate to find the enemy, Taylor explored the use of Cuban bloodhounds to track fugitive slaves. More than thirty of these dogs were ready for service by 1840; when northerners mocked the idea, the territorial governor seethed that people from “peaceful lands” did not understand life on the southern frontiers.10

Andrew Jackson and US Foreign RelationsClick to view larger

Figure 1. “Forced Move (Trail of Tears).” Native peoples were taken from their southern homelands by a mix of US soldiers, state militia, and hired guards. Painting by Max D. Standley.

Photo courtesy of R. Michelson Galleries.

The war cost about $30 million and 1,600 dead soldiers. Together with the other deportations, the total bill for Jackson’s signature project approached $50 million, about as much as the US government spent on infrastructure in all the years before the Civil War. More than 1,000 Cherokees died along their 1838 “Trail of Tears,” and the overall toll of their displacement was far higher. Yet from the Jacksonian perspective, Indian Removal opened 25 million acres for white sovereignty and black slavery. The American nation was “a young population,” the president enthused, free at last to “range unconstrained” in search of new homes and fortunes.11

The US and Great Britain

At the end of the First Seminole War (1817–1818), Jackson’s men executed two British nationals fighting alongside the native and black enemies in Florida. This nearly started a third Anglo-American war just as the two governments were demilitarizing the Great Lakes and agreeing to share the Oregon Territory, at least for the moment.12

But in his first Annual Message, Jackson praised Britain as “alike distinguished in peace and war.” Soon after, he loosened trade restrictions with the Empire in the spirit of “direct, open, and honorable competition.” This set the tone for his two terms and beyond. In word and deed, America’s “great avenger” fostered a new era of peaceful—if tense—rivalry between the United States and Great Britain.13

On the British side, the roots of this world-shaking change trace to 1820, when Tory statesmen and London merchants officially committed the Empire to free trade. Given the financial sophistication of the British state and the technological supremacy of British manufacturers, the Crown had nothing to fear from global competition. All it needed was global access.14

The most promising new markets were the South American republics, just liberated from Spanish colonial restrictions and already in debt to British merchants. The Crown’s goal there was not direct control, Lord Castlereagh had confided in 1807, but rather “the extension of our own commerce” and “the opening to our manufacturers of [its] markets.” Besides coffee- and timber-rich Brazil, the British were interested in Argentina, which they recognized in 1824, two years after the United States had done so. A liberal trade deal followed, delighting wealthy estancieros who wanted to send more hides to British leather producers. By contrast, South American craftsmen despaired, for they knew that a single British ship could bring 19,000 pairs of cheap shoes into their countries.15

That same year, the US Congress took a different path by enacting a new series of protective tariffs. (Eyeing a presidential run in which he would need pro-tariff Pennsylvania, Senator Andrew Jackson voted for them.) Most northerners and westerners wanted to favor American manufactures and spend federal money on roads and canals. Henry Clay even imagined a hemispheric economy of North and South American republics: an “American System.” His blend of liberal internationalism and economic patriotism had counterparts in France and Russia, whose leaders sought to catch up to Britain before accepting its free trade demands.16

Superficially, the Monroe Doctrine of late 1823 marked another stand against European and British power. Rather than accept Britain’s recent offer to join forces in stopping French or Spanish re-colonization of the Americas, Monroe rejected any Old World imperialism in the New World. (He was worried about Russians in California.) But London was as happy with US as Argentinian independence, so long as British goods and capital could move freely through the new republics. And as a new cotton boom began in 1824, southern planters acted much like South American ranchers, rejecting plans for home markets in favor of a commercial free-for-all.17

“Now, that we are independent,” noted a South Carolina planter and judge in 1827, “Nature has bound [Britain and the United States] together . . . We raise the raw material, and they manufacture it for us.” He called for “a free and uninterrupted commerce with the whole world, and particularly with England” and invited “capitalists” of all nations to bring their silver pieces and bank notes to southern ports. Taking Adam Smith’s ideas to new extremes, southern thinkers now rejected tariffs and government spending as dangerous impositions on the “individual owners” of the nation.18

Despite his earlier support for tariffs and his gathering fury at anti-tariff extremists, Jackson’s economic instincts were more South Carolinian than Pennsylvanian. Before the War of 1812 he had run an ambitious import-export business, blaming its failure on native, Spanish, and British obstacles to cotton planting and debt collection. After the war he opened millions of new acres for cotton and did the same thing, on a larger scale, through the removals of the 1830s. British demand for the slave-grown fibers surged that decade as textile factories expanded in Lancashire and captive buyers multiplied in Africa and Asia.19

During Jackson’s first term, the value of US cotton exports surpassed 50 percent of the country’s total sales abroad, up from 32 percent in 1820. Most of the bales were bound for Britain, pushing hopes for a Pan-American economy to the margins. After a compromise tariff in 1833, protective rates began a decade-long decline, mostly satisfying both southern and British free traders. For those who saw economic diversity among equal citizens as the key to national progress, this was a step backward: As of 1838, slave-grown cotton and tobacco made up over 70 percent of America’s exports, dwarfing the output of small farms and manufacturers.20

“American houses” in England did not pay US cotton planters in cash. Instead they opened new lines of credit for frontier fortune-seekers who had to spend massively before the new plantations turned out white gold. More loans followed as various merchants carried the product to European markets. All the while, east coast wholesalers used British “bills of exchange” to bring their customers the high-quality, low-priced goods pouring out of British workshops. The trade imbalance between the two countries thus grew no matter how many profits were drawn from the fertile lands and whipped backs of the cotton fields.21

Would the Americans pay? British creditors had worried about this for decades. They also remembered how revolutionary Virginia had “sequestered” the private debts its citizens owed to His Majesty’s subjects, allowing them to pay in watered-down paper bills. But as Argentina and other South American republics defaulted on British loans in the late 1820s, capital flows shifted to the northern half of the hemisphere.22

Once again, Andrew Jackson played a key role, for he was as militant about the repayment of debts as he was about the removal of natives. He pledged strict economy and warned France of the “retributive judgments of Heaven” if it did not pay Napoleon-era damages as agreed in an 1831 treaty. With such a man in the White House, one English agent advised, Britons no longer had to fear “the law of debtor and creditor” in the booming United States. The moneyed men of England thus bought up state bonds to pay for the roads and canals that Americans wanted. While tariff revenues allowed the US government to retire its own debt in early 1835, then, states’ debts rose 660 percent in the 1830s, much of it due in London.23

Neither side was comfortable with these entanglements. Especially after the Imperial Abolition Act of 1833, southern leaders warned that the British were “gradually and silently” planning America’s ruin, perhaps by shifting to South Asian cotton. Democrats noted that British humanity did not extend to non-white workers in that part of the world, nor to Irish sailors pressed into the Crown’s service. American officials refused to let the Royal Navy inspect ships flying the Stars and Stripes off the African coast, even as France, Portugal, Russia, and many other European and African leaders agreed to such searches.24

For their part, British authorities protected the hundreds of runaway slaves who made it to Bermuda or the Bahamas and the thousands who fled to Canada. British law formed a “sacred aegis” under which all men were free, they told the exasperated Americans. Crown officials also complained about southern laws that forced their black sailors to spend shore leaves in prison.25

Whenever tensions came to a boil, though, cooler heads prevailed. In 1833, British ships took the Falkland Islands from Argentina, violating the Monroe Doctrine. The Jacksonians winked: The British would protect American vessels and permit free trade, whereas the Argentinians had barred foreigners from taking seals and fish. In 1837, British authorities on the Great Lakes announced that they would no longer give weapons and other presents to native visitors from the United States. Indians and Americans were fighting a “civil war,” the secretary of state for war and the colonies reasoned, and the Crown wanted no part of it.26 Late the next year, armed rebellions broke out around Montreal and Toronto. The anti-British “Patriots” had thousands of supporters from Maine to Michigan, who assumed that Washington would help them, especially after a British-Canadian force destroyed an American ship in the Niagara River. Instead, Jackson’s successor, Martin Van Buren, issued a stern warning—to the Patriots. Anyone who took up arms against “a neighboring and friendly power” was a criminal, he declared. Van Buren also signed a Neutrality Act to repress anti-British filibusters on US soil and approved British troop movements over disputed lands on the Maine frontier. Their North American domains secured, the British invaded Afghanistan in late 1838, determined to protect their South Asian empire from Russian influence.27

The US and the “Distant Seas”

Traditionally, support for a large fleet on the model of the Royal Navy came from New England’s merchant elite. By the early 1800s, their ships could be found in Patagonia, Zanzibar, and China. Nantucket ships ranged far beyond the Pacific trails blazed by James Cook in the 1770s, reporting huge sperm whale pods off Chile and vast seal and sea otter populations near Alaska. They broke up their multi-year voyages with bacchanalian shore leaves on the Hawaiian archipelago. British and New England missionaries followed close behind, explaining to the natives that people were inherently depraved.28

Andrew Jackson and US Foreign RelationsClick to view larger

Figure 2.Daniel and Charlotte Dole, circa 1853.” The Doles were among the first wave of Protestant missionaries in Hawaii. Their son, Sanford Ballard Dole, played a key role in the overthrow of the Hawai’ian monarchy in the 1890s; another family member went on to build the famous pineapple and fruit company. Creative Commons License, public domain.

By contrast, southerners were skeptical of large militaries. Jefferson had even tried to replace the blue-water fleet with small gunboats; a young Andrew Jackson built some of them along the Tennessee River. But many changed their minds after the War of 1812 exposed the “nakedness” of the southeastern and Gulf shores. The British had launched their invasion of New Orleans from Caribbean bases and might well return with more “Jamaica recruits.” In 1824, Congress authorized a Navy Yard at Pensacola, which Jackson had twice seized before the official 1821 transfer from Spanish to American control. But construction was slow, sporadic, vulnerable to yellow fever, and dependent on rented slaves.29

British abolitionism intensified southern fears just as the cotton economy focused attention on the Gulf of Mexico. Each year by the 1830s, cargoes of the slave-grown crop—twenty times more valuable than New England’s fisheries—slipped through the Florida straits on their way to New York, London, or Liverpool. Ships packed with Virginia and Maryland slaves passed them, bringing human cargoes to Alabama and Mississippi planters. The British squadrons based in Jamaica and the Bahamas looked on, as if waiting to pounce with modern steamers “loaded with black troops.” In such a world, even a states-rights fanatic like John C. Calhoun embraced a large navy as “our sword and shield.”30

Nearly as popular with northern “tars” as he was among cotton planters, Andrew Jackson saw American rights on the high seas as extensions of its vital interests on North American rivers. In his mind, individual commercial desires became natural and national rights, sanctified by the blood of fallen patriots and authorized by the legal category of salus populi, the safety of the people within a terrifying world. In the Senate in 1823–1824 he voted for extreme anti-piracy measures in the Caribbean and armed escorts for fur traders on the Upper Missouri.31

Those proposals failed, but once in the White House he successfully pressed for more funding and missions for US ships. The Navy “will not only protect your rich and flourishing commerce in distant seas,” he argued, “but will enable you to reach and annoy the enemy.” When he learned that three sailors on a Massachusetts vessel trading spices (and opium) had been killed in western Sumatra, he dispatched a frigate to the scene of the crime. Somewhere between 60 and 150 villagers—“lawless pirates,” Jackson called them—died in the ensuing bombardment. American consuls and commanders in Buenos Aires were nearly as harsh with Argentine officials who had detained Yankee seal hunters.32 In novels and newspapers no less than in political discourse, both naval personnel and ordinary sailors became symbols of American daring and manhood. They were the tip of civilization’s spear, the younger branch of an “Anglo-Saxon race” whose “commerce whitens every sea.” Many white sailors internalized these views. They disdained their black shipmates and described strange peoples around the world as just like North America’s aboriginals: inherently savage and providentially doomed.33

Jacksonian nationalism also fueled the US South Seas Exploring Expedition of 1838–1842, better known as the Wilkes Expedition for its controversial leader, Charles Wilkes of New York. The idea came from New England whalers who wanted more maps and charts of the southern Pacific. A strong supporter, Jackson signed a $300,000 appropriation late in his second term. A fleet of six vessels and over 400 officers and men finally left Virginia in the fall of 1838, charged to promote “the great interests of commerce and navigation” on the far side of the world. For months they explored the Antarctic waters, grumbling about the harsh discipline they thought should be reserved for “the insolence of a negro.”34

In the summer of 1840 they went to the Fiji Islands, encouraging the natives to raise more hogs to feed more whalers. Wilkes said that he came in peace, although he also walked around with a huge dog who snarled at anyone of the “colored race.” When some islanders stole a boat, the Americans burned a village and its crops. Soon after, two officers were killed on the island of Malolo. Wilkes named a nearby isle in their memory and then turned to punish “the Scene of the Massacre.” One crewman noted that his comrades “had no idea of sparing anyone” and that he felt an “inward joy” while killing the natives. The Polynesian of Honolulu assured American readers that the victims were all cannibals.35

Wilkes had a different reception in the Oregon country, where growing settlements of rough Missourians and pious New Englanders lived in relative peace with British-Canadian trappers under the loose rule of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Her Majesty’s officials were generous hosts. They even granted the Americans an ox to roast on July 4, 1841, when Wilkes’s men and other Yankees marched past a Company fort on Puget Sound, cheering wildly as the British watched in smug toleration. Wilkes returned with maps and stories that whetted plans for northwest expansion.36

Expansion or Union?

Just before leaving office, Andrew Jackson threatened naval reprisals on Mexico if the new republic did not pay outstanding sums to US citizens. By the time he was back at the Hermitage, rumors that British creditors had soured on US debtors led to a series of bank closings in the so-called Panic of 1837. A second downturn in 1839 brought state defaults and low cotton prices. American credit sank in the eyes of London investors, whose power to shape events should not be forgotten. Under pressure from the Committee of the Spanish American Bondholders, for example, the British government sent ships to the Argentine coast in 1845 to ensure free navigation and foreign access.37

If the “hard times” made Van Buren politically vulnerable all over the Union, his support for British authority in the Canadas made him positively hated along its northern fringes. Despite the 1838 Neutrality Act, both American and Canadian Patriots organized raids into British territory, determined to chase the Crown off the continent. (Among their most fervent foes were black exiles from the United States, for whom British ground was a Promised Land.) Twenty Americans were killed in sporadic fighting. Eighty were exiled to Tasmania, where they cursed Van Buren as a “Queen’s man.”38

After beating Van Buren in 1840, the Whigs briefly controlled the White House and Congress. President John Tyler, an ex-Democrat from Virginia, pleased New England merchants and whalers by extending the Monroe Doctrine to the Hawaiian Islands and signing a liberal trade agreement with China. Congress raised tariffs, trying as Clay said to “unite, harmonize, and improve” the Union before enlarging it. Otherwise the Whigs followed the pro-British path. In the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, the two powers clarified the Maine-New Brunswick borders and agreed to deliver fugitives wanted for certain crimes, including theft and forgery. British officials discretely told their Canadian counterparts that this did not refer to black runaways.39

Jackson had been able to appease Britain without worrying his southern base. Who could doubt his patriotism? With slavery abolished across the British domains and Calhoun calling the peculiar institution a positive good, however, the tension between the slave-owning republic and the anti-slavery empire intensified. Southerners raged at Her Majesty’s tender feelings for their internal enemy. Needing British creditors as much as they hated British abolitionists, they pushed for a larger navy and the seizure of Cuba and other Spanish islands. Needing American cotton as much as they deplored its source, British manufacturers looked for a way out of their “suicidal dependence” on Jacksonian planters.40

For both powers, the greatest prize—and danger—was Texas. After breaking away from Mexico in 1836, the Anglo Tejanos struggled to finance their cotton-based country during the long years of low prices that followed. British loans were one solution. In 1842 and 1843, Her Majesty’s government considered this along with mass English immigration to Texas, both with an eye to what Lord Aberdeen, the foreign secretary, called “the general abolition of slavery throughout the world.” The possibility of an anti-slavery Texas on their western border to go along with the free states to their north and the Royal Navy to their east and south pushed southern Democrats to demand annexation.41

Retired at the Hermitage, Andrew Jackson made that his last cause. The only way to secure slavery, he now saw, was to extend American sovereignty all the way to the Pacific, taking not just the Lone Star republic but also the disputed lands south to the Rio Grande and west to New Mexico and Alta California. In early 1844 Jackson warned of Britain’s “dangerous interference” in the region and entrusted one of his Tennessee protégés, James K. Polk, to lead the Democracy back to power. Old Hickory died the next year, confident that Young Hickory would honor his memory and continue his work.42

Although Congress narrowly approved the annexation of Texas before he took office, President Polk was not satisfied. In Jacksonian form, he boasted of standing up to Britain, as by claiming Oregon up to the 54’50 latitude. Also in Jacksonian form, he quietly negotiated with London, accepting the 49th parallel over the objections of northern expansionists like Charles Wilkes. Polk also signed the Walker Tariff of 1846, slashing rates just as the British phased out their Corn Laws. The “simultaneous triumph of free trade” in the English-speaking powers was “the greatest event of our age,” a Democratic paper trumpeted.43

By contrast, Polk made a show of friendly negotiation with Mexico while planning for war. He advised US ships in both oceans to target Mexican ports and ordered Gen. Zachary Taylor, the hero of the Seminole War, to move US troops down to the Rio Grande, into disputed lands that were nonetheless Mexican in population. Once fighting broke out, Polk revised his war message. Instead of carping about unpaid debts and fruitless talks, he declared that “the cup of forbearance” had been exhausted now that the Mexicans had “shed American blood upon American soil.”44

Mexico was still recovering from its brutal war for independence thirty years before. Comanche raids had just devastated its northern states, and its Californio settlers lived in fear of an Indian population ten times larger than their own. American forces in two groups invaded from the Atlantic coast while filibusters and US regulars took Los Angeles and Santa Fe after brief and bitter fighting. By late 1847, the defeated republic fell into the racial apocalypse that so haunted Americans: Mayan peasants rebelled on the Yucatán, the start of a long “Caste War” that depopulated much of the peninsula.45

The quick victory showed why Jacksonian America was so much more formidable than its small army might suggest. Its restless millions were united by an epic national concept that authorized both endless expansion and “just vengeance” on those in the way. They saw themselves as pilgrims venturing to unholy lands, backed by the avenging arm of God’s most favored nation. This turned footloose pioneers and fortune-seekers into loyal Americans, even when they defied or ignored federal policy.

Yet the spoils of the Mexican War exposed the deepening rift between North and South. Together with the endless coddling of Britain and the clear move toward free trade, slavery’s rapid expansion convinced many northern Democrats that theirs was not the party of the common man, after all. Instead it was, as one member from Ohio put it, “Southern, Southern, Southern!”46

In late 1846, the Pennsylvania Democrat David Wilmot proposed a pre-emptive ban on slavery in any lands taken from Mexico. Ominously, the votes on the “Wilmot Proviso” were sectional rather than partisan. Two years later a “Free Soil” convention in Buffalo resolved to confront the South’s peculiar demands. Deep South slaveowners grew even more militant, clamoring for Caribbean and Central American lands as well as African and Brazilian slaves as something more than “manifest destiny.” The creation of a vast southern empire, they now argued, was the only way to defy northern majorities at home and British machinations abroad.47

Discussion of the Literature

Jacksonian Americans were proud of their country’s independence and determined to discard its neo-colonial character. They spoke of their Union as a world unto itself. This is reflected in newspaper coverage, which increasingly prioritized domestic over international news. With important exceptions such as John Belohlavek’s classic Let the Eagle Soar!, historians have followed these trails, focusing on issues of democracy, capitalism, and slavery within the United States rather than American engagements with the rest of the world. But this is changing due to new work on imperialism, finance, and global slavery.48 Scholars now see “settler colonialism” as an especially harsh form of imperialism by Euro-American states. Viewed in this light, Indian Removal was as important to the foreign as to the domestic policy of Jacksonian America—a prolonged exercise in both diplomatic pressure and military coercion. New work by Christina Snyder, Dawn Peterson, Alfred A. Cave, and Ethan Davis explores the deportations as a highly contingent project, launched not by a faceless bureaucracy but by a range of people with distinct interests, memories, and fantasies.49

Scholars such as Stephen Mihm and Jessica Lepler are reconsidering the Jacksonian economy in Atlantic-wide terms of money, credit, and rumors. They note the enormous power of the Bank of England, not the Second Bank of the United States against which Jackson waged war as of 1832. (Indeed, England had its own “bank wars” in the 1820s and 1830s.) Running parallel to these trans-national studies of capitalism is new work on the global cotton economy. Sven Beckert and Walter Johnson describe a “cotton kingdom” that stretched from Mississippi plantations to Manchester factories, indeed to the far reaches of Britain’s formal and informal empires.50

The growing power of Deep South planters over US foreign policy is a central theme in recent scholarship by Matthew Karp, Don E. Fehrenbacher, and others. Their work demolishes the comforting image of the slave states as backward, isolated, and otherwise destined to fade away. Especially after 1840, planters drove national expansion not only toward the west but also into the Caribbean and Pacific, embracing state activism in service to (their) private interests. Caitlin Fitz also demonstrates a mid-1820s turning point in federal politics, during which southern leaders rejected the Latin American revolutions as dangerous experiments in mixed-race republicanism.51

The other side of this story is the transatlantic struggle against slavery. A good starting place here is David Brion Davis’s Inhuman Bondage, which draws on decades of research. Eric Foner and Matthew Mason show how American and British abolitionists worked out tense partnerships, while Michael Schoeppner explores the legal tensions that grew out of southern efforts to shield the “peculiar institution” from Crown influence. Mary Hershberger and Christine Stansell link Anglo-American abolitionism with new arguments for women’s rights, while Van Gosse shows how black Americans embraced the British Empire and vice versa.52

Finally, there is renewed interest in the history of American exploration as a state-sponsored endeavor. In What Hath God Wrought, a magisterial synthesis of the Jacksonian age, Daniel Walker Howe stresses the federal government’s role in oceanic surveying and technological advances such as the telegraph. Brian Rouleau’s new book on American sailors offers both a social history of the maritime workforce and a new framework for understanding such projects as the Wilkes Expedition.53

Primary Sources

The best source for early US foreign relations is the Annals of Congress, titled The Debates and Proceedings from 1789 to 1824, The Register of Debates from 1824 to 1837, and the Congressional Globe from 1833 to 1877. These contain long debates on subjects including the First and Second Seminole Wars, Caribbean pirates, fur-trapping expeditions, Indian Removal, Pacific islands, the China trade, and the Wilkes Expedition. Reading these debates alongside the “Foreign Relations,” “Indian Affairs,” and “Naval Affairs” series in the American States Papers reveals how politicians selectively drew from reports and memoranda.

Also invaluable are the papers of major statesmen, starting with Jackson himself. The Papers of Andrew Jackson, a massive project led by Daniel Feller at the University of Tennessee, sets a new standard for both precision and scope. The Papers also direct the reader to the huge Jackson collection at the Library of Congress. Because so much of Jackson’s career was spent in disputed territories of the south and west, the Territorial Papers of the United States are also essential, as is Charles J. Kappler’s Indian Treaties: 1778–1883. Many treaties are also available at the Avalon Project from Yale Law School. Multivolume compilations of writings from John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and James K. Polk are full of material about foreign relations.

Databases such as America’s Historic Newspapers make it possible to trace news items across space and time, as by comparing initial reports from the Wilkes Expedition in The Polynesian of September 1840 to the Nantucket Inquirer of February 1841. Word searches enable us to track certain ideas, including “manifest destiny” as applied to Cuba or Hawaii as well as California. Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires since 1820, part of a larger project edited by Thomas Dublin and Katherine Kish Sklar, contains letters, maps, diaries, passports, and other materials from the British, French, Ottoman, and Russian as well as US empires.

The best archival repository for foreign relations is the National Archives in Washington, DC, which houses the records of the US government. Among other collections, the Archives holds the Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State: a treasure trove of letters, dispatches, and reports from consuls and diplomats all over the world. Historical societies and research libraries with strong maritime collections, such as the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts also have excellent sources.

Further Reading

Belohlavek, John M. “Let the Eagle Soar!” The Foreign Policy of Andrew Jackson. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985.Find this resource:

Cave, Alfred A. Sharp Knife: Andrew Jackson and the American Indians. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2017.Find this resource:

Dagenais, Maxime, and Julien Mauduit, eds. The “Canadian Revolution” and the American People. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s Press, forthcoming.Find this resource:

DeLay, Brian. War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Feller, Daniel. The Public Lands in Jacksonian Politics. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984.Find this resource:

Fitz, Caitlin. Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions. New York: Liveright Publishing, 2016.Find this resource:

Gosse, Van. “‘As a Nation, the English Are Our Friends’: The Emergence of African American Politics in the British Atlantic World, 1772–1861.” American Historical Review 113 (October 2008): 1003–1028.Find this resource:

Greenberg, Amy S. Manifest Manhood and the Antebellum American Empire. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.Find this resource:

Howe, Daniel Walker. What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Johnson, Walter. River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Karp, Matthew. This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016.Find this resource:

Opal, J. M. Avenging the People: Andrew Jackson, the Rule of Law, and the American Nation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.Find this resource:

Rothman, Seth. “Jacksonian America.” In American History Now, Vol. 3. Edited by Eric Foner and Lisa McGirr, 2–74. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Rouleau, Brian. With Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime Empire. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Snyder, Christina. Great Crossings: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in the Age of Jackson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.Find this resource:


(1.) David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, Old Hickory’s War: Andrew Jackson and the Quest for Empire (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003); Alan Taylor, The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, and Indian Allies (New York: Vintage Books, 2010); and Jon Latimer, 1812: War with America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); The War of 1812: Writings from America’s Second War of Independence, ed. Donald R. Hickey (New York: Library of America, 2013).

(2.) Andrew Jackson to Second Division, March 7, 1812, in Papers of Andrew Jackson, ed. Daniel Feller et al. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1980) 2:290 (“hour of vengeance”) (hereafter AJ and PAJ); AJ to John Williams, May 18, 1814, in PAJ 3:75 (“unmixed”); J. M. Opal, Avenging the People: Andrew Jackson, the Rule of Law, and the American Nation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017); Tom Kanon, Tennesseans at War, 1812–1815: Andrew Jackson, the Creek War, and the Battle of New Orleans (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2014); and Melissa Jean Gismondi, “Rachel Jackson and the Search for Zion, 1760s–1830s” (PhD diss., University of Virginia, 2017).

(3.) Christina Snyder, Great Crossings: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in the Age of Jackson (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017); Caitlin Fitz, Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions (New York: Liveright Publishing, 2016); and Michael J. Dubin, United States Presidential Elections, 1788–1860: The Official Results by County and State (Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Company, 2002), 42–51.

(4.) Ethan Davis, “An Administrative Trail of Tears: Indian Removal,” American Journal of Legal History 50 (January 2008–2010): 49–100 (hereafter AJLH); and Alfred A. Cave, Sharp Knife: Andrew Jackson and the American Indians (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger, 2017).

(5.) Davis, “Administrative Trail of Tears”; Steven Inskeep, Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab (New York: Penguin, 2015); and Richard Evans, “Epidemics and Revolutions: Cholera in Nineteenth-Century Europe,” Past and Present 120 (1988): 123–146 (hereafter P&P).

(6.) Mary E. Young, “The Creek Frauds: A Study in Conscience and Corruption,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 42 (December 1955): 412 and 411–437; Robert H. Gudmestad, A Troublesome Commerce: The Transformation of the Interstate Slave Trade (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2003); Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013); and Edward E. Baptist, “‘Cuffy,’ ‘Fancy Maids,’ and ‘One-Eyed Men’: Rape, Commodification, and the Domestic Slave Trade in the United States,” American Historical Review 106 (December 2001): 1619–1650.

(7.) Treaty with the Cherokee [1819], in Charles J. Kappler, Indian Treaties, 1778–1883 (New York: Interland Publishing, 1973), 177 (the number twelve does not include agreements made before the Constitution or an 1828 treaty with the Western Cherokee); Anne-Marie Burley, “The Alien Tort Statute and the Judiciary Act of 1789: A Badge of Honor,” AJLH 83 (July 1989): 461–498; Mary Hershberger, “Mobilizing Women, Anticipating Abolition: The Struggle Against Indian Removal in the 1830s,” Journal of American History, 86 (June 1999): 15–40; Eliga H. Gould, Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press); and Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815–1848 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

(8.) AJ to John Coffee, April 7, 1832, in PAJ 10:226 (“still born”); Opal, Avenging the People, 224–225.

(9.) John K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War, 1835–1842 (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1967); Peter S. Onuf, “‘To Declare Them a Free and Independent People’: Race, Slavery, and National Identity in Jefferson’s Thought,” Journal of the Early Republic 18 (Spring 1998): 1–46 (hereafter JER); Matthew T. Pearcy, “The Ruthless Hand of War: Andrew A. Humphreys in the Second Seminole War,” Florida Historical Quarterly 85 (Fall 2006): 123–153 (hereafter FHQ); Francis Paul Prucha, “Distribution of Regular Army Troops Before the Civil War,” Military Affairs 16 (Winter 1952): 169–173; and Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (New York: Vintage Books, 2014), 107–108 (Vietnam comparison).

(10.) James W. Covington, “Cuban Bloodhounds and the Seminoles,” FHQ 33 (October 1954): 116 (quote) and 111–119.

(11.) AJ, “Second Annual Message,” December 6, 1830, in A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents, 1789–1897, ed. James D. Richardson, 20 vols. (New York: Bureau of National Literature, 1897), 2:521 (hereafter CMP); Pearcy, “Ruthless Hand of War,” 153; Matthew T. Gregg and David M. Wishart, “The Price of Cherokee Removal,” Explorations in Economic History 49 (October 2012): 423–442; Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 365 (federal spending); and Nicholas J. Santoro, Atlas of the Indian Tribes of North America and the Clash of Cultures (Bloomington: iUniverse, 2009), 89 (acres).

(12.) Deborah Rosen, Border Law: The First Seminole War and American Nationhood (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015); and Taylor, Civil War of 1812, 430–435.

(13.) AJ, “First Annual Message, December 8, 1829,” in CMP 2:443; AJ, “Second Annual Message,” in CMP 2:503; Opal, Avenging the People, 170; and John M. Belohlavek, “Let the Eagle Soar!” The Foreign Policy of Andrew Jackson (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1985), 56–59.

(14.) Boyd Hilton, A Mad, Bad, and Dangerous People? England, 1783–1846 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), esp. 264–268; and William D. Grampp, “How Britain Turned to Free Trade,” Business History Review 61 (Spring 1987): 86–112 (hereafter BHR).

(15.) H. S. Ferns, “Britain’s Informal Empire in Argentina, 1806–1914,” P&P 4 (November 1953): 62 (quotes), 66 (shoes), and 60–75; Ferns, “Investment and Trade between Britain and Argentina in the Nineteenth Century,” Economic History Review 3 (1950): 203–218 (hereafter EHR); and Eugene Ridings, “Chambers of Commerce and Business Elites in Great Britain and Brazil in the Nineteenth Century: Some Comparisons,” BHR 75 (Winter 2001): 739–773. My thanks to Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert and Catherine C. LeGrand for their help with these sources.

(16.) William K. Bolt, Tariff Wars and the Politics of Jacksonian America (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2017), 2–3 and 50–57; James L. Huston, “Virtue Besieged: Virtue, Equality, and the General Welfare in the Tariff Debates of the 1820s,” JER 14 (Winter 1994): 523–547 (hereafter JER); Daniel Peart, “Looking Beyond Parties and Elections: The Making of United States Tariff Policy during the Early 1820s,” JER 33 (Spring 2013): 87–108; Susan P. McCaffray, “What Should Russia Be? Patriotism and Political Economy in the thought of N. S. Mordvinov,” Slavic Review 59 (Autumn, 2000): 572–596; and Pamela Pilbeam, “The Economic Crisis of 1827–32 and the 1830 Revolution in Provincial France,” The Historical Journal 32 (June 1989): 319–338.

(17.) Ernest R. May, The Making of the Monroe Doctrine (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1975).

(18.) Brutus [pseud.], The Crisis: Or, Essays on the Usurpations of the Federal Government (Charleston: A. E. Miller, 1827), 51, 115, 155; William Branch Giles to AJ, October 22, 1829, in PAJ 7:504 (“individ­ual owners”); and Kevin R. Gutzman, “Preserving the Patrimony: William Branch Giles and Virginia Versus the Federal Tariff,” Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 104 (Summer 1996): 341–72.

(19.) Beckert, Empire of Cotton, 98–135; and Peter Temin, “The Anglo-American Business Cycle, 1820–60,” EHR 27 (March 1974): 207–221.

(20.) Beckert, Empire of Cotton, 120–121; Bolt, Tariff Wars, 2–3 and 134–138; and Alexander Trotter, Observations on the Financial Position and Credit of such of the States of the North American Union as have Contracted Public Debts (London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1839), 381 (full breakdown of exports and imports from 1838).

(21.) Jessica M. Lepler, The Many Panics of 1837: People, Politics, and the Creation of a Transatlantic Financial Crisis (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013); and Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 363.

(22.) Richard B. Morris, The Forging of the Union, 1781–1789 (New York: Harper and Row, 1987), 197 (sequestration); Namsuk Kim and John Joseph Wallis, “The Market for American State Government Bonds in Britain and the United States, 1830–43,” EHR 58 (November 2005): 736–754; and J. Fred Rippy, “Latin America and the British Investment ‘Boom’ of the 1820s,” Journal of Modern History 19 (June 1947): 122–129.

(23.) AJ, “Sixth Annual Message to Congress,” December 1, 1834, in CMP 3:107; Leland Hamilton Jenks, The Migration of British Capital to 1875 (London: Nelson, 1963), 365n; Dorothy R. Adler, British Investment in American Railways, 1834–1898, ed. Muriel E. Hidy (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1970), 8–9; and Trotter, Observations on the Financial Position.

(24.) Matthew J. Karp, “Slavery and American Sea Power: The Navalist Impulse in the Antebellum South,” Journal of Southern History 77 (May 2011): 301 (quote from southern Whig) and 283–324 (hereafter JSH); and Edward B. Rugemer, “The Southern Response to British Abolitionism: The Maturation of Proslavery Apologetics,” JSH 70 (May 2004): 221–248.

(25.) Van Gosse, “‘As a Nation, the English Are Our Friends’: The Emergence of African American Politics in the British Atlantic World, 1772–1861,” American Historical Review 113 (October 2008): 1013 and 1003–1028; and Philip M. Hamer, “Great Britain, the United States, and the Negro Seamen Acts, 1822–1848,” JSH 1 (February 1935): 3–28.

(26.) Appendix to the Fourth Volume of the Journal of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada (Montreal, 1845), EEE-24 (my thanks to Nathan Ince for this citation); Christian J. Mais, “The Falkland/Malvinas Islands Clash of 1831–32: U.S. and British Diplomacy in the South Atlantic,” Diplomatic History 24 (April 2000): 185–209; and William Dusenberry, “Juan Manuel de Rosas as Viewed by Contemporary American Diplomats,” Hispanic American Historical Review 41 (November 1961): 495–514.

(27.) Martin Van Buren, “A Proclamation,” January 5, 1838, in CMP 3:481; Julien Mauduit, «Vrais Républicains d’Amérique: Les Patriotes Canadiens en Exil aux États-Unis (1837–1842)» (PhD diss., Université de Québec à Montréal, 2016); Marc L. Harris, “The Meaning of Patriot: The Canadian Rebellion and American Patriotism,” Michigan Historical Review 23 (Spring 1997): 33–69; Samuel Watson, “United States Army Officers Fight the ‘Patriot War’: Responses to Filibustering on the Canadian Border,” JER 18 (Autumn 1998): 485–518; and Linda Colley, Captives: Britain, Empire, and the World, 1600–1850 (London: Random House, 2002), 347–373.

(28.) Brian Rouleau, With Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime Empire (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2014); and Noenoe K. Silva, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004).

(29.) Karp, “Slavery and American Sea Power,” 295 (“naked”), 305 (“Jamaica”); Opal, Avenging the People, 125 and 157–164; and Thomas Hulse, “Military Slave Rentals, the Construction of Army Fortifications, and the Navy Yard in Pensacola, Florida, 1824–1863,” FHQ 88 (Spring 2010): 497–539.

(30.) Karp, “Slavery and American Sea Power,” 301 (“loaded”), 298 (Calhoun). Trotter, Observations on the Financial Position, 381 (lists $3.2 million in American exports from the oceanic trades [fish and oil] in 1838, against $61.6 million in cotton).

(31.) Opal, Avenging the People, 195–197.

(32.) Belohlavek, “Let the Eagle Soar!”, 41; AJ, “Fourth Annual Message,” December 4, 1832, in CMP 2:596; David F. Long, “‘Martial Thunder’: The First Official American Armed Intervention in Asia,” Pacific Historical Review 42 (May 1973): 143–149; and Mais, “The Falkland/Malvinas Islands Clash.”

(33.) Simeon North, Anglo-Saxon Literature (Utica: Roberts, Sherman, and Colston, 1847), 7; and Rouleau, With Sails Whitening Every Sea.

(34.) Captain G. S. Bryan, “The Purpose, Equipment, and Personnel of the Wilkes Expedition,” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 82 (June 29, 1940): 558 and 551–560; and Brian Rouleau, “Maritime Destiny as Manifest Destiny: American Commercial Expansionism and the Idea of the Indian,” JER 30 (Fall 2010): 396 (“insolence”), 377–411.

(35.) Autobiography of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes, U.S. Navy, 1798–1877, ed. William James Morgan et al. (Washington, DC: Department of the Navy, 1978), 462, 471; Rouleau, “Maritime Destiny as Manifest Destiny,” 390 (“no idea” and “joy”); and Herman J. Viola, “The Wilkes Expedition on the Pacific Coast,” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 80 (January 1989): 21–31; The Polynesian (Honolulu), September 26, 1840.

(36.) Viola, “Wilkes Expedition on the Pacific Coast,” 24–25; Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 712–714.

(37.) AJ to the Senate and House of Representatives, February 6, 1837, in CMP 3:278; Lepler, Many Panics of 1837; Dorothy R. Adler, British Investment in American Railways, 1834–1898, ed. Muriel E. Hidy (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1970); and Jenks, Migration of British Capital; Ferns, “Britain’s Informal Empire,” 66.

(38.) Harris, “The Meaning of Patriot,” 57 (“Queen’s man”); Mauduit, «Vrais Républicains d’Amérique»; and Gosse, “‘As a Nation, the English are our Friends,’” 1012, 1013n.

(39.) Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 706 (Clay quote) and 706–707; Gosse, “‘As a Nation, the English are our Friends,’” 1014; and Douglas A. Irwin and Peter Temin, “The Antebellum Tariff on Cotton Textiles Revisited,” Journal of Economic History 61 (September 2001): 777–798 (hereafter JEH); Webster-Ashburton Treaty, Article 10.

(40.) Beckert, Empire of Cotton, 121 (quote); Gosse, “‘As a Nation, the English are our Friends,’” 1028; and Karp, “Slavery and American Sea Power.”

(41.) William A. Freehling, The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay, 1776–1854 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), 408 and 364–371, 407–410, 433–439.

(42.) John S. D. Eisenhower, “The Election of James K. Polk, 1844,” Tennessee Historical Quarterly 53 (Summer 1994): 77 and 74–87.

(43.) Cincinnati Enquirer quoted in Bolt, Tariff Wars, 185; Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 740–743; Viola, “Wilkes Expedition on the Pacific Coast,” 29; and Irwin and Temin, “Antebellum Tariff.”

(44.) Polk quoted in Howe, What Hath God Wrought, 741, and see 740–43; Walter Nugent, “The American Habit of Empire, and the Cases of Polk and Bush,” Western Historical Quarterly 38 (Spring 2007): 4–24, esp. 13–14; and James K. Polk, “Inaugural Address,” March 4, 1845, in CMP 4:376–380.

(45.) Michael Gonzales, “War and the Making of History: The Case of Mexican California, 1821–1846,” California History 86 (2009): 15–16 and 18; Brian DeLay, War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008); and Terry Rugeley, “Rural Political Violence and the Origins of the Caste War,” The Americas 53 (April 1997): 469–496, esp. 489–491.

(46.) James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 53; and Amy S. Greenberg, A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico (New York: Vintage Books, 2012).

(47.) McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom, 52–54 and 61–62; Matthew Karp, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2016); and Johnson, River of Dark Dreams, 366–420.

(48.) Belohlavek, “Let the Eagle Soar!”.

(49.) Snyder, Great Crossings; Dawn Peterson, Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2017); Cave, Sharp Knife; Davis, “Administrative Trail of Tears”; and Lisa Ford, Settler Sovereignty: Jurisdiction and Indigenous People in America and Australia, 1788–1836 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Historical Studies, 2011).

(50.) Stephen Mihm, A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of the United States (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007); Lepler, Many Panics of 1837; Peter L. Rousseau, “Jacksonian Monetary Policy, Specie Flows, and the Panic of 1837,” JEH 62 (June 2002): 457–59; Johnson, River of Dark Dreams; and Beckert, Empire of Cotton.

(51.) Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Slaveholding Republic: An Account of the United States Government’s Relations to Slavery, ed. Ward M. McAfee (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001); Karp, This Vast Southern Empire; and Fitz, Our Sister Republics.

(52.) David Brion Davis, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006); Eric Foner, Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2015); Matthew Mason, Slavery and Politics in the Early American Republic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006); Michael Schoeppner, “Navigating the Dangerous Atlantic: Racial Quarantines, Black Sailors, and United States Constitutionalism” (PhD diss., University of Florida, 2010); Hershberger, “Mobilizing Women, Anticipating Abolition”; Christine Stansell, The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present (New York: Modern Library, 2010); and Gosse, “‘As a Nation, the English are our Friends.’”

(53.) Howe, What Hath God Wrought; and Rouleau, With Sails Whitening Every Sea.