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Prologue to Manifest Destiny

Anglo-American Relations in the 1840's

Howard Jones and Donald A. Rakestraw

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During the 1840s the United States and England were in conflict over two unsettled territories along the undefined Canadian-American border. This riveting account of the Maine and Oregon boundary treaties is brought to life masterfully by Professors Howard Jones and Donald Rakestraw.

The events in this story paved the way for one of the most far-reaching developments in American history: the age of expansion. The United States gradually came to believe in manifest destiny, the irreversible expansion of the States across the continent. The country?s success with England in resolving the two territorial disputes marked the dawn of this new era.

Complicating the U.S.-English situation in the 1840s was a border conflict brewing with Mexico. Failure to resolve the disputes with England might have led the United States to war with two nations at once. Careful negotiations led to settlements with England instead of war. But the United States went to war with Mexico from 1846 to 1848.

Prologue to Manifest Destiny offers a rare, detailed look at the tense Anglo-American relationship during the 1840s and the two agreements reached regarding the land in the Northeast and the Northwest. Presidents John Tyler and James Polk and the robust master of diplomacy, Daniel Webster, were among the American actors who played center stage in the drama, as well as Britain?s Lord Ashburton, who worked closely with Webster to keep the turbulent conflict over the Northeast territory from escalating into war.

This gripping frontier story will fascinate as it educates. Prologue to Manifest Destiny is perfect for courses in American history, international relations, and diplomatic history.

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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 0Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-8420-2488-4 • Hardback • January 1997 • $103.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-8420-2498-3 • Paperback • January 1997 • $34.00 • (£23.95)
Howard Jones is university research professor and chair of the department of history at the University of Alabama. Donald A. Rakestraw is associate professor of U.S. Diplomatic History at the Georgia Southern University.

Chapter 1 The Spirit of '76 and the Search for National Honor: The Northeastern Boundary Dispute
Chapter 2 Freedom Awakened: Remember the Caroline!
Chapter 3 Mother Country at Bay: The Strange Case of Alexander McLeod
Chapter 4 Honor at Sea or Slavery at Home? The African Slave Trade, Right of Search, and the Creole Mutiny
Chapter 5 Machiavellian Prelude to Negotations: Toward the National Interest
Chapter 6 Epilogue to the American Revolution: The Webster-Ashburton Treaty and National Honor
Chapter 7 A New and Even More Troublesome Boundary Dispute: Northwest to Oregon
Chapter 8 Rising Temperature: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever
Chapter 9 Only at the Cannon's Mouth: Young Hickory Takes Charge
Chapter 10 From Crisis to Compromise: The Oregon Treaty
Jones and Rakestraw have provided a comprehensive overview and richly textured, masterful analysis of the Northeast and Northwest boundary disputes. Clearly and engagingly written . . . a magnificent scholarly achievement that undoubtedly will be acknowledged as the definitive study of Anglo-American relations in the expansionist decade of the 1840s....
Edward P. Crapol


This volume combines the impressive and complementary scholarship of two proven authors into a thoughtful and concise analysis of the troubling Anglo-American boundary disputes that found their resolution in the Webster-Ashburton and Oregon treaties. Therefreshing detail and sound judgments assure an enlightening diplomatic venture through this fateful age....
Norman A. Graebner


In an elegantly written, exquisitely detailed account of the Northeast and Northwest boundary disputes with England settled in the 1840s, Jones and Rakestraw depict the diplomacy with abundant background material and colorful descriptions of main characters....



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