In 1818, when the United States accepted the idea of a common occupation, it did not really have the resources to make a strong impression on the Pacific Northwest. There was no navy as powerful as the British, nor was there a colonization agent as well organized and concentrated as the Hudson`s Bay Company. The vast majority of the population lived far east of the Mississippi River. Its fur traders and trappers did not successfully enter the Rockies until the 1820s or found paths through the mountains to the west coast. Some Americans supported the idea of a port on the Pacific coast, but most did not imagine that the United States would expand its stocks beyond the continental ditch. To establish itself as a nation and impose their borders and control of the territory, the United States had to accomplish two things. First, it had to expropriate and expel the natives and destroy their claims. The final lesson is that this process is beginning to work among The Pacific Northwest Indians (although under British and non-American influence). Secondly, it had to interact with other non-indigenous powers, particularly the nations of Europe, to define and defend American territorial claims. Sometimes this interaction was peaceful, and sometimes it wasn`t. Most U.S.
territories have entered the nation`s possession through wars or purchases. Thus, the War of Independence produced most of the territory east of the Mississippi River and the war with Mexico between 1846 and 1848 encompassed the southwest, while Louisiana Purchase brought most of the country between the Mississippi and the Rockies to the nation in 1803 and reached an agreement with Russia in 1867. The territory, which became the American Northwest, was annexed to the nation in a somewhat unusual way, by comparison. First, it went through a phase where the two main non-native complainants, the United Kingdom and the United States, agreed to share it indefinitely – so-called common occupation. Second, the national ownership of the region was not resolved by war or purchase, but by contract, with both parties negotiating a border dispute. The Dispute on the Pacific Coast, resolved in 1846, was oversted by a dispute on the Atlantic coast that was settled in 1842 between Maine and Canada. These two negotiations are part of the process in which Britain and the United States reached a larger agreement after the conflicts of the American Revolution and the War of 1812. It should be noted that, although both Great Britain and the United States claimed the entire country of Oregon, the two parties largely expected to share the territory; Both could reasonably expect to acquire the entire Oregon Country. To the east of the continental chasm, the United States and Great Britain had agreed on a border west of the Great Lakes at the 49th parallel.
Almost from the beginning of the Oregon discussions, the British expected that this boundary would continue west of the Columbia River and then follow that river to the ocean. So they were prepared to leave everything in the United States south of the 49th parallel, then south and east of the Columbia River. But they wanted access to the river itself, which was ultimately the main thoroughfare of the journey in HBC`s stocks, and they wanted control of Puget Sound, which they rightly considered to be a superior port. At the same time, Americans generally did not expect to win anything north of the 49th parallel, but they coveted Puget Sound and access to Juan de Fuca Street. Remember that in the 1820s and 1830s, the United States did not have a good port on the Pacific coast. San Diego and San Francisco were first Spanish ports, then Mexican ports. The Oregon coast did not offer a large port for ships, and the bar at the mouth of Columbia was infamous for disrupting transportation between the ocean and the river. Until the end of the war with Mexico, 1846-48, the United States considered Puget Sound the best place to acquire a protected deep-water port on the Pacific coast.