1820 - 'National Completeness'

The St. Louis waterfront on the America's western frontier in the 1820s.

        In the 1820s, some political leaders were infatuated by an idea known as 'national completeness.'   National Completeness argued that public domain would one day extend from the Atlantic Seaboard to the western border of Missouri.  Once this new territory had been organized and integrated into the national life, the nation would have reached its limit of development.  At the time, the region designated as 'Indian Territory' had become fixed in the public mind as a "vast inhospitable waste."

         Inspite of Jefferson's boundless imagination for empire building at the turn of the century, by 1820 the nation's leaders could not conceive of a United States that thrust itself beyond the Mississippi river.  John C. Calhoun recommended that President Monroe set aside the region west of the Missouri and Arkansas as a permanent reserve for Indians.  Monroe (and his successors) agreed with Calhoun's recommendation. 

         Congress sets aside a vast tract of Indian Territory situated between the western border of Missouri and the 100th meridian, extending from 43' north to the Red River, in Texas.  It embraced much of the Great Plains and included most of the lands ceded to the United States by France in the treaty with Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803.