Fifty-Four Forty or Fight
"FIFTY-FOUR FORTY OR FIGHT."
"FIFTY-FOUR FORTY OR FIGHT." In 1818 the United States and Great Britain (which controlled British Canada) established a joint claim over the Oregon Territory—the region west of the Rocky Mountains between 42° North (the northern boundary of California) and 54°40' North (the southern boundary of Russia's Alaska Territory). By the 1840s joint control had broken down, and expansionist Democrats, including their 1844 presidential candidate, James K. Polk, claimed the entire territory for the United States. This expansionist design was expressed by Polk's famous campaign slogan, "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" The slogan also became a rally cry of settlers into the territory. The popular phrase was picked up from Sen. William Allen of Ohio, who coined the expression in an 1844 speech on the Senate floor. The boundary dispute was settled after Polk's election by the 1846 Treaty of Oregon, which struck a compromise and roughly fixed the U.S. boundary at 49º North.
Miles, Edwin A. "'Fifty-four Forty or Fight'—An American Political Legend." The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 44 (1957): 291–309.
Rakestraw, Donald A. For Honor or Destiny: The Anglo-American Crisis over the Oregon Territory. New York: P. Lang, 1995.
J. W.Ellison/l. t.
"Fifty-Four Forty or Fight." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (January 21, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fifty-four-forty-or-fight
"Fifty-Four Forty or Fight." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved January 21, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/fifty-four-forty-or-fight
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.