The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958 Page: 427
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of historical revision. Not agrarian expansionism, he asserts, but
commercial expansionism was responsible for the formulation of
policy that brought it to pass that by 1848 the Washington gov-
ernment controlled the harbors at San Diego, San Francisco,
Puget Sound, and all the coastline in between. Polk, a Southern
agrarian, listened to Whig politicians, merchants, and their sea
captains, and came to entertain views of policy friendly to such
interests of the Northeast. The upper Mississippi Valley leaders
were for their own reasons interested in the lands and harbors
of the Pacific Northwest; they were in part gratified. The nub
of a sound national policy, thus, was the acquisition of prime
Pacific coast harbors.
Three points call for consideration. One. Harbors for what
purpose? For refuge and refitting, by naval and private commer-
cial vessels? Or for trade with the interior areas not too far off?
Or for future railway termini, connecting the Mississippi Valley
with the Pacific Coast? It will not do just to talk of harbors. One
needs to know how and when these harbors are being thought of
by the diplomats and politicians, whether before the age of steam
or after its appearance. Technology makes a difference in the
utilization of a natural asset such as a great embayment on a coast.
Two. When did the vision of a populous American community
stretched the length of the Pacific littoral take shape? This vision
must have exercised some influence on diplomats and politicians.
Such a view was prominent at the end of Polk's regime. Was it
new just then, or did it run back in time, say, to 1827 or even
Three. Was there no Southern commercialism (or shall we say,
agrarian-based commercialism?) that marches forward roughly
parallel with the Yankee commercialism of the 'forties, and that
held its own view of what constituted Southern "assets" on the
Pacific littoral? This is a large point left untreated by the author.
The Memphis Convention of 1845 finds no place in the index to
his volume. Yet the spirit of Southern commercialism reached
expression in that meeting. Then were aired views that envisioned
a railroad connecting Charleston on the Atlantic with Mazatlan
on the Gulf of California by way of a line across Texas and
Northern Mexico. (This interest in a railway terminus on the
west Mexican coast, can it somehow be tied up with that seg-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958, periodical, 1958; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/m1/509/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.