Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821

Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821

Filibusters and Expansionists: Jeffersonian Manifest Destiny, 1800-1821

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 and expanding Jefferson's "empire of liberty. "The first two decades of the 19th century found many Americans eager to move away from the crowded eastern seaboard and into new areas where their goals of landownership might be realized. Such movement was encouraged by Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe- collectively known as the Jeffersonians- who believed that the country's destiny was to have total control over the entire North American continent. Migration patterns during this time changed the country considerably and included the roots of the slavery controversy that ultimately led to the Civil War. By the end 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 amounts of both foreign and domestic correspondence, Frank Lawrence Owsley, Jr., and Gene A. Smith reveal an insider's view of the filibusters and expansionists, the colorful- if not sometimes nefarious- characters on the front line of the United States's land grab. Owsley and Smith describe in detail the actions and characters involving both the successful and the unsuccessful efforts to expand the United States during this period-as well as the outspoken opposition to expansion, found primarily among the Federalists in the Northeast.

Excerpt

Those who have written of U.S. history have long been selective in their choice of topics. Few people schooled in the subject have not heard of the Battle of Bunker Hill, the Boston Tea Party, the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Battle of New Orleans, the Alamo, or even Custer's Last Stand. Little, however, has been written--with the exception of the acquisition of Louisiana and Florida--about the movement in this country to expand into the South and Southwest during the first two decades of the nineteenth century. This early expansion movement ultimately freed the United States from French and Spanish domination and changed the map of the country forever. This book explores the motives of those presidents in office during that time, and also the successful and unsuccessful intrigues and episodes of the entire movement. What may have appeared to be nameless frontiersmen or adventurers simply seeking new lands was, in fact, part of a grand plan, whose designers--Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe--intended to expand the boundaries of the United States in almost any manner. But this story cannot be told without giving some attention to the Northeastern detractors of expansion, for in all great struggles there are winners and losers. This story was no exception. the public and private intrigues in these twenty-odd years give the whole story a flavor of mystery not often known. It is our hope that this study will provide not only knowledge of these diverse actions but also continuity to the events, thereby illustrating that there was always either planning . . .

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