The slogan for the American side in the coming American-Canadian war. It means that we want all the land up the Pacific Coast up to a latitude of 54'40'. And if we don't get it, there's gonna be trouble. See James K. Polk.
The capital of British Columbia, Victoria has a population that is smaller than the famous "Hollywood North" - better known as Vancouver. This leads many to wonder - "Why isn't Vancouver the capital city of British Columbia? It has a bigger economy, it's situated on the mainland, the city is huge... Why?!" ... The answer lies in history ...

Back in the days of the Manifest Destiny, America's "God given right to the entirety of North America", the US/CAN border was still under dispute. The Americans wanted all land up to the 54'40" parallel, and advertised this fact with posters and rallies. A common chant south of the Canadian border was "54-40 or fight," which frankly, scared the bejeezus out of the Canadian Government. The Canada-spanning railroad was still trying to break through the rocky mountains, so a quick injection of troops was not an option - Canada needed to place its forts in a place that was easy to defend. Various locations were cited, some high-north (Alaska area) and some in the Rocky Mountains. But the final decision came down to the southern tip of Vancouver Island - it was only accessible by water, making an assault perilous at best, plus it was well south of the 49th parallel; an optimal launching point for any counter-attacks against US soil. Though it is not confirmed, many historians beleive that a western-canada invasion never occured because of this strategic placement.

James K. Polk was the originator of this slogan, and it accompanied the Oregon Treaty of 1846. Apollo's_Squirrel writes an interesting article on the manifest destiny.

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