This map on the left shows which parts were claimed by the United States and Britain, and what the United States itself claimed. The territory was Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia. The green space under the Anglo-American border has become the main territory in dispute with the term “54-40 or fight” by the United States to repel its claims at the border. The Arriving American settlers were aware of these differences. Although they did a lot of business with HBC and did benefit from HBC`s help and trade, they were also intrigued by the power of the company. One way to advance their own interests and try to limit the company`s influence in the region was for them to organize their own government – an action that affirmed their faith in American values of autonomy and re-ed. Between 1843 and 1845, Oregon settlers founded the provisional government. The first laws provide for the acquisition and securing of land ownership, the holding of elections and the formation of a militia. Subsequent laws provided for an executive and legal department of the government and divided the territory in the counties for local government. What is important is that the provisional government has banned the migration and stay of African Americans to Oregon, both free African Americans and slaves. In short, between 1838 and 1845, the American presence had become minimal to substantial. This change was an important factor in reinforcing the U.S. claim to the territory.
At the national level, too, there has been a desire to make more claim to the Pacific Northwest. Britain and the United States had remained in communication beyond the northwest border, with both sides generally intransigent in their desire to control Puget Sound. Some Americans were impatient to argue, so much so that when James K. Polk ran for president in 1844, he said he wanted the United States to acquire “all” of Oregon, that is, the entire region between California and Alaska, including present-day British Columbia. Another campaign slogan with the same effect, “Fifty-four Forty or Fight” (which meant that if the British did not cede the entire Oregon Country, until the 54-degree, 40-minute parallel, the Americans went to war for it), summed up the aggressiveness of some Americans in this era of the “Destiny Manifesto. This war occurred exactly at a time when Britain was increasingly inclined to leave Western Washington to the United States, and it may have blocked the resolution of the dispute.