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Alaska border dispute, there are numerous views about the incident and the way that it was settled. To fully understand what happened there will be a focus on: what has been said about the topic in general, the lines of debate, the viewpoints of the different authors, the interpretive frameworks, the status of the conversation, the opinions that are supported by sources, the beliefs from each side, what they are trying to achieve and their long-term objectives. Together, these different elements will put the events of the border dispute into perspective. This is when everyone will have a true understanding of the situation and how it influenced Canada's relationship with different nations going forward (based upon the historiography that is provided).
What's been said on the topic (in general)?
The Alaska border dispute is from of a series of misinterpretations by the different parties. As far as the American perspective is concerned, the U.S. had a right to islands based upon their purchase of them Russia (under the Anglo Russia Treaty of 1825). This created clear divisions as to which territories belonged to Great Britain (i.e. Canada) and Russia (which was bought by the U.S.). Moreover, the gold rush in 1896 set the stage for a showdown from the vast amounts of natural resources and access to the Pacific Ocean.
The British believed that the treaty was still enforce, despite the American purchase of Alaska. However, they were facing challenges from the fact that the U.S. was quickly becoming a rising world power and they wanted to repair the damaged relationship (since the American Revolution). At the same time, previous border disputes had been fought between the U.S., Canada and Great Britain over similar issues with no clear outcome. The British wanted to avoid similar challenges and had a desire to improve their relationship with the U.S.
The Canadians felt that inlet of islands belonged to them. This is because the treaty did not address who controlled these areas (with some falling in between the dividing line). Furthermore, Canada believed it had a strong ally who would heavily influence the U.S. To respect their territorial claims. However, the outcome showed that Canada and Great Britain were of different viewpoints on the dispute. This set the stage for Canadian self-rule that was independent of England.
Where are the lines of debate?
The lines of debate are based upon interpreting how the 1825 treaty is applied. From an American perspective, the U.S. is entitled to all of Russia parts of Alaska (based upon their legal purchase of the territory). While the British are not as concerned about who controls the inlets. Instead, they want to lookout for their own self-interests and maintain some kind of authority in the process. Whereas the Canadians, believed that the treaty did not cover the islands that were sitting on the dividing line (which they considered to be their land). These different interpretations are what created the dispute between the various sides.
Where do the authors line up in the debate (pro/anti)?
The authors are demonstrating how there are contrasting explanations of these events and their underlying meanings. For example, Hodgins (1903) argues that the U.S. is correct in their position. This is because the various treaties can be applied to the purchase of Alaska to include: the Anglo Russian Treaty of 1825, the Russian-American Alaska Treaty of 1867 and the Anglo American Conventions of 1892, 1894 as well as 1897. These different provisions give the U.S. access to the islands and all territory that was owned by Russia.
Moreover, Kaufman (2005) took a similar point-of-views on the dispute. However, his ideas are different because he believes that England wanted to repair its damaged relations with the U.S. At the same time, U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt had lobbied heavily for the British to side with the Americans. This is because he thought that the U.S. was an emerging world power and should be treated as an equal to Great Britain. The desire to become closer with America; meant that the British would favor the position of the U.S. versus that of Canada.
However, Kohn (2004) believes that the event is a defining moment for Canada and its future. This is because Canadians realized that they have different objectives and ambitions in comparison with the British. The fact that England sided with the U.S., was evidence of the changing views between the two nations. This led directly to Canada's independence from Great Britain and it highlighted some of the lingering challenges the nation was dealing with in the border dispute. Alaska is one of the last places where this occurred, which created dramatic transformations in the Canadian mindset.
These different viewpoints are showing how there were numerous opinions and political objectives, about the best approaches to resolve the border issues in Alaska.
Interpretative frameworks (idealist/Marxist/realist/liberal/internationalist) quickly group the authors together under these categories
The different authors which are taking more of an idealist point-of-view include: Kohn (2004), Royal (2011) and Mills (1899). This is because they are discussing select areas that focusing on key interpretations or nationalist perspectives. The individuals who are influenced by Marxist views include: Nugent (2009) and Gale (2010). The way that this is taking place is with the authors are examining the legality and economic incentives for the different sides. Those who supported the realist viewpoint are: the Joint Report of Commissioners (1896), Scidmore (1891) and Balch (1903). As far as liberal ideology is concerned, there are a number of sources that are illustrating these ideas to include: (Bowal) (2005) and Batten (2010). In the case of international perspectives some of the various authors that are taking these viewpoints include: (Bowal) (2005), Batten (2010) and Royal (2011). In many cases, there are certain ideas that will fall into more than one category. This is because the author is expressing these views and utilizing different perspectives to understand the situation.
What is the status of the conversation?
The conversation is focusing on if the decision by the British was considered to be legal. This is because England had ulterior motives that would affect their relations with the U.S. The fact that they used this to achieve these objectives; is a sign that they may not have taken the Canadian views into account. Moreover, there were heavily amounts of undue influence from the American side to sway their opinion. This affected the outcome of negotiations.
What is the overall sense the sources are going with?
The sources are going with the fact that the compromise was based upon an unfair advantage given to the Americans. This is because the U.S. was rapidly expanding and England wanted to repair the damage to this strained relationship. At the same time, the fact that Canada was still controlled by the British meant that their voice and viewpoints were not weighed as heavily. This created a sense of anger in Canada and the desire to establish some form of independent government (which could respond to these issues). The combination of these factors created a situation where the U.S. was able to maintain control of the additional islands. While Canada, became more determined to influence their own future (effectively setting the stage for an end to British rule).
What are the different points-of-view (American, Canadian and Russian)?
The American point-of-view is that the U.S. is entitled to the inlets based on the treaties of 1825 and 1867. This is because they purchased all land from Russia and agreed to follow these basic provisions. The fact that Canada is claiming some of the islands; is a sign that they are trying to strong arm the U.S. into giving them more territory. After gold was discovered in Alaska, is when they began to bring up these issues (in an effort to control more of its natural resources).
As far as Canada is concerned, the treaty of 1825 had different areas that are on the dividing line or sitting on the Canadian side. This means that Canada is entitled to control some of these areas (based upon this ambiguity). These views are showing how the U.S. -- Canada border dispute is continuing (which is infringing on Canada's territorial integrity and national sovereignty).
In the case of Russia, they sided with the U.S. This is because they sold their territory to America in 1867 and supported all claims that are made. The dispute over the different islands is something that the British and Canadians have been trying to use for decades to gain more land.
What are they striving to achieve?
The U.S. wants to maintain control of the natural resources of Alaska, trade and utilize the territory for military purposes. While Canada, wants to have access to another port that links them to the Pacific and control some of the natural resources in the area. Whereas Great Britain; is focused on maintaining the status quo and improving relations with America. This will help them to forge economic and military alliances with the…[continue]
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