"America", Arrowsmith, John
Subject: Western Hemisphere - America
Period: 1832 (dated)
Color: Hand Color
18.7 x 23.6 inches
47.5 x 59.9 cm
The United States and Great Britain established in 1818 joint claim over the Oregon Territory - the region north of Spanish controlled Upper California up to the southern boundary of Russia's Alaska Territory at North latitude 54°40'. By the late 1830's this arrangement was beginning to fall apart.
In the 1840's the expansionist Democrats, including their 1844 presidential candidate, James Polk, claimed the entire region for the United States. Their expansionist desires were expressed by Polk's famous campaign slogan, "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" The slogan also became a rally cry for Americans desiring to settle the territory. Following Polk's election, the dispute was resolved by the 1846 Treaty of Oregon, which struck a compromise that fixed the U.S./Canadian boundary at 49º North.
This handsome map of the Americas was published just a few years prior to the Texas Revolution, and shows Texas and the southwest US still under Spanish control. The northern border of the United States is still undefined in the west due to the Oregon boundary dispute between the United States and the British Empire. Alaska is labeled "Russian America." The river systems and mountain ranges are clearly defined throughout the map, with key cities noted. In South America, Colombia encompasses Ecuador despite the fact that Ecuador had gained its independence in 1830. Uruguay is still labeled "Banda Oriental." The map extends east to the British Isles to show the relative distance and scale.
Contemporary outline color on lightly toned paper with archival repairs to several centerfold separations and a couple of tiny tears along the centerfold.