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it. Despairing of being received into the American Union, Texas was apparently ready to accept the British proposal, but Lord Aberdeen's plan was defeated by the refusal of Mexico to recognize under any conditions the independence of Texas. Aberdeen was willing to coerce Mexico and, if need be, to fight the United States, but Louis Philippe was not willing to go that far. Meanwhile the Texas question had become the leading political issue in the United States. The Democratic platform of 1844 demanded “the reannexation of Texas at the earliest practicable period," and on this platform Polk was elected President. Tyler, however, did not wait for his successor to carry out this mandate of the American people, but in the last days of his administration pushed through Congress a joint resolution providing for the admission of Texas.1
Mexico promptly severed diplomatic relations with the United States. As Mexico had never recognized the independence of Texas, she had of course never agreed upon any boundary with the new republic. This was a matter which had to be adjusted and there were also a number of private claims of American citizens against the government of Mexico which that government refused to settle. President Polk took up both questions with characteristic vigor, and on the refusal of Mexico to receive a special minister sent by him for the purpose of discussing these questions, he ordered General Taylor to occupy the disputed area between the Nueces river and the Rio
E. D. Adams, "British Interests and Activities in Texas, 1838-1845 " (1910); Justin H. Smith, "The Annexation of Texas" (1911) and "The War with Mexico," 2 vols. (1919); Diplomatic Correspondence of the Re. public of Texas, edited by G. P. Garrison (Annual Reports, Am. Hist. Ass'n, 1907, 1908).
Grande. Thus began the Mexican War, which established the boundary of the United States on the Rio Grande and added the vast region of New Mexico and California to the Union. Here the tide of American expansion to the South was stayed for a full half century.
With the decline of the Spanish power Great Britain had succeeded to naval supremacy in the Caribbean. As has been related in previous chapters, the United States and Great Britain long regarded Cuba with jealous eyes and had a controversy lasting for half a century over the control of the proposed Isthmian canal. Secretary Seward at the close of the civil war sought to strengthen the position of the United States in the Caribbean by the acquisition of Santo Domingo and the Danish West Indies. In 1867 a treaty was concluded with Denmark providing for the cession of the islands of St. Thomas and St. John for $7,500,000, on condition that the inhabitants should by popular vote give their consent. In undertaking these negotiations the United States was influenced on the one hand by the desire to acquire a naval base, and on the other by the fear that these islands might fall into the hands of one of the greater European powers. The plebiscite in St. John and St. Thomas was overwhelmingly in favor of the cession, and the treaty was promptly ratified by the Danish Rigsdag, but the Senate of the United States took no action until March, 1870, when Senator Sumner presented an adverse report from the Committee on Foreign Relations and the treaty was rejected.
In 1867 Admiral Porter and Mr. F. W. Seward, the assistant secretary of state, were sent to Santo
Domingo for the purpose of securing the lease of Samana bay as a naval station. Their mission was not successful, but the following year the president of the Dominican Republic sent an agent to Washington proposing annexation and requesting the United States to occupy Samana bay at once. In his annual message of December 8, 1868, President Johnson advocated the annexation of Santo Domingo and a joint resolution to that effect was introduced into the House, but it was tabled without debate by an overwhelming vote. President Grant became much interested in this scheme, and soon after entering the White House he sent one of his private secretaries, Colonel Babcock, to the island to report on the condition of affairs. Babcock negotiated a treaty for the annexation of the Dominican Republic, and another for the lease of Samana bay. As Colonel Babcock was without diplomatic authority of any kind, the Cabinet received the treaties in silent amazement, and Hamilton Fish, who was secretary of state, spoke of resigning, but Grant persuaded him to remain in office. The annexation treaty was submitted to the Senate in January, 1870, but encountered violent opposition, especially from Sumner, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations. It was finally rejected June 30 by vote of 28 to 28.
The advance of the United States into the Caribbean was thus delayed until the Spanish War. As a result of that conflict the United States acquired Porto Rico and a protectorate over Cuba. The real turning-point in the recent history of the West Indies was the HayPauncefote treaty of 1901, under the terms of which Great Britain relinquished her claim to an equal voice