Hugh C. Bailey


If many Americans were concerned with western expansion in 1819, it is equally true that many were greatly interested in expansion to the south. America’s spirit of ‘‘manifest destiny” was by no means blunted with the purchase of Louisiana, and at the time of Alabama’s admission to the Union the question of the acquisition and disposition of Florida had become a major issue. Nowhere was the concern greater than among the group which dominated the early years of Alabama’s political life, “the Georgia Machine.” Composed of former Georgians, many of whom originally came from Virginia, the “machine” was nurtured and directed from Washington by Secretary of the Treasury William H. Crawford. He and such Alabama “Georgians” as the former Georgia senators Charles Tait and William Wyatt Bibb were quite familiar with the efforts which had been made for Southern expansion.