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Oregon Treaty of 1846


OREGON TREATY OF 1846. This agreement set the boundary between the United States and Canada at the 49th parallel west of the Rocky Mountains, veering around Vancouver Island and then proceeding through the Strait of San Juan de Fuca. The Oregon Treaty settled the dispute between the United States and Great Britain over the area in Oregon located between the Columbia River and the 49th parallel. In 1818, both countries had agreed to a joint occupation of Oregon, and this agreement had been renewed by treaty in 1827.

Elected in 1844 on an expansionist platform that included the acquisition of the entire Oregon Territory, which extended to 54 degrees, 40 minutes to the north, President James K. Polk had to satisfy the demands of his countrymen for the region. After a compromise proposal was rejected in July 1845, Polk acquired congressional authority in December to abrogate the 1827 treaty. On 15 June 1846, the Senate ratified a treaty that established the boundary at the 49th parallel. Deteriorating relations with Mexico and favorable public opinion made the compromise acceptable to the United States, while Britain was likewise interested in a peaceful solution because it had more pressing domestic and foreign issues to consider.


Bergeron, Paul B. The Presidency of James K. Polk. Lawrence. University Press of Kansas. 1987.

Jones, Howard. Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations to 1913. Wilmington, Del.: Scholarly Resources, 2002.

Ronda, James P. Astoria and Empire. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.


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