The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951 Page: 130
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
ported to investigate the causes of that unfortunate war from
unexplored angles; it tied in the war with the Turner thesis and
gave a definite date to the birth of Manifest Destiny. Long out
of print, it is a pleasure to welcome the volume back as one of
a series of reprints proposed by the firm of Peter Smith.
Pratt saw the war as a Western fight, and he examined the
causes of the war from the point of view of the Northwest and
the Southwest. He found himself puzzled by the support which
the states south of Kentucky gave to the Northwestern demand
for annexation of Canada, an acquisition which would have
given dominance to the North long before the 186o's. "Why
then," he asked himself, "did the Southwest support the War?"
His conclusion was that the South and the Southwest had plans to
seize everything on their borders from Florida to all the Spanish
possessions in North America. As Spain was an ally of Great
Britain, war with Great Britain meant war with Spain. The two
sections joined together; it is the study of their attempts and
their failures that make this book so valuable.
The Republican Party in 1812 was already beginning to feel
a sectional rift between North and South. Each section was
jealous of the other, but both sections wanted to benefit terri-
torially. Pratt presents evidence that northern and southern
Republicans came to a definite understanding: Canada for one
group; Florida, at the very least, for the other.
The administration, however, was more interested in obtain-
ing Florida than Canada. When the northern Republicans made
the discovery, they joined with the Federalists in opposing the
annexation of Florida. The result was defeat and disaster on
the northern frontier, where the United States barely held its
own, and frustration on the southern frontier, where the south-
ern expansionists actually took and held Florida for a year be-
fore being forced to relinquish it. Yet the desire for land kindled
by the War of 1812 remained a living force until it blossomed
in 1830 as Manifest Destiny. "Where is it written in the book
of fate," asked the editor of the Nashville Clarion, April 28,
1812, "that the American republic shall not stretch her limits
from the Capes of the Chesapeake to Nootka Sound, from the
Isthmus of Panama to Hudson Bay?" If that is not Manifest
Destiny speaking, it is certainly an excellent imitation.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 54, July 1950 - April, 1951, periodical, 1951; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101133/m1/158/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.