Americans' dreams of empire appeared to become reality when the United States gained control over Florida in 1821. Yet although the U.S. controlled a significant portion of the Gulf Coast, the nation remained one among many foreign powers vying for dominance in the region, a fact that raised concerns about future expansion in the minds of many. As of 1821 the U.S. shared the coastline with a newly independent Mexico. At the same time, France, Britain, and Spain remained active in both the Gulf and the Caribbean.1 The combination of new republics and old colonial powers shaped the nature of American expansion, and the rhetoric used to support it. During the antebellum period the United States military defenses along the Gulf Coast were not only bolstered to secure American settlement of Florida by subduing Native American populations and English incursions, but were also used to establish a foothold from which the nation could pursue war against Mexico.
Diaz, Maria Angela
"To Conquer the Coast: Pensacola, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Construction of American Imperialism, 1820-1848,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 95:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol95/iss1/3