Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821

Synopsis

This compelling narrative demonstrates the passionate interest the Jeffersonian presidents had in wresting land from less powerful foes andexpanding Jefferson's "empire of liberty."The first two decades of the 19th century found many Americanseager to move away from the crowded eastern seaboard and into new areaswhere their goals of landownership might be realized. Such movement wasencouraged by Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe- collectively knownas the Jeffersonians- who believed that the country's destiny was to havetotal control over the entire North American continent. Migration patternsduring this time changed the country considerably and included the rootsof the slavery controversy that ultimately led to the Civil War. By theend of the period, although expansionists had not succeeded in moving into British Canada, they had obtained command of large areas from the Spanish South and Southwest, including acreage previously controlled by Native Americans. Utilizing memoirs, diaries, biographies, newspapers, and vast amountsof both foreign and domestic correspondence, Frank Lawrence Owsley, Jr.,and Gene A. Smith reveal an insider's view of the filibusters andexpansionists, the colorful- if not sometimes nefarious- characters onthe front line of the United States's land grab. Owsley and Smith describein detail the actions and characters involving both the successful andthe unsuccessful efforts to expand the United States during this period-as well as the outspoken opposition to expansion, found primarily amongthe Federalists in the Northeast.