By J. C. A. Stagg
In studying how the USA received regulate over the northern borderlands of Spanish the United States, this paintings reassesses the international relations of President James Madison. Historians have assumed Madison’s reason in sending brokers into the Spanish borderlands among 1810 and 1813 used to be to subvert Spanish rule, yet J. C. A. Stagg argues that his actual cause used to be to discover peaceable and felony resolutions to long-standing disputes over the bounds of Louisiana at a time while the Spanish-American empire was once within the technique of dissolution. Drawing on an array of yank, British, French, and Spanish resources, the writer describes how a myriad forged of neighborhood leaders, officers, and different small gamers affected the borderlands international relations among the United States and Spain, and he casts new gentle on Madison’s contribution to early American expansionism. (20100301)
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Extra info for Borderlines in Borderlands: James Madison and the Spanish-American Frontier, 1776-1821 (The Lamar Series in Western History)
55 At times, Madison could also speak and write as if hostilities with Spain were inevitable, if Madrid continued denying American claims. ”56 Usually, though, he was more cautious. Madison was well aware Congress lacked the political will and the resources to settle foreign disputes by force, and he privately acknowledged that Florida and Louisiana were better secured to Spain by American weakness than they were threatened by American strength. ”58 Yet as Madison continued to argue for access to New Orleans, he did not abandon his earlier thinking about the importance of Florida, even though it was now the task of American diplomacy to persuade Spain to accept the boundary on the 31st parallel rather than to push it to the Gulf Coast.
On that score, he invoked the law of nations, as Vattel had summarized it, to the effect that when two nations at peace held different portions of a river, each was entitled to a right of “innocent passage” on the whole, subject to only “a moderate toll” collected for trade regulation by the power at the river mouth. The claim to free ports in West Florida, furthermore, derived from the right and the necessity to make the navigation of the Mississippi meaningful in a commercial sense. Otherwise, he pointed out, commerce on the river, by its very nature, could only be a mere trade to New Orleans and not beyond.
He hinted Congress might withdraw the concessions it had offered to Spain in 1781, but it did not do so, out of concern that the result would be a quarrel with France. Madison was also aware that to revise yet again the instructions for Jay risked reopening divisions among the states over the future national domain at a time when the ﬁnancial position of Congress could hardly afford any reduction in its size. 43 25 26 A TROUBLESOME NEIGHBOR The peace negotiations hardly conformed to these expectations.