A Brief History of the United States
John Bach McMaster

Part 5 out of 8

Lewis and Clark were so exciting that the St. Louis Fur Company was
organized to hunt and trap on the upper Missouri.


REFORMS IN THE STATES.--During the years which had passed since the
adoption of the Federal Constitution, great political reforms had been
made. The doctrine that all men are born politically equal was being put
into practice, and the states had begun to reform their old constitutions
or to adopt new ones, abolishing religious qualifications for
officeholders or voters, [12] and doing away with the property
qualifications formerly required of voters. [13] Some states had reformed
their laws for punishing crime, had reduced the number of crimes
punishable with death from fifteen or twenty to one or two, and had
abolished whipping, branding, cutting off the ears, and other cruel
punishments of colonial times. The right of man to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness was more fully recognized than ever before.

REFORMS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.--When the Republican party came into
power in 1801, it was pledged to make reforms "to put the ship of state,"
as Jefferson said, "on the Republican tack." About a third of the
important Federalist office-holders were accordingly removed from office,
the annual speech at the opening of Congress was abolished, and the
written message introduced--a custom followed ever since by our
Presidents. Internal taxes were repealed, the army was reduced, [14] the
cost of government lessened, and millions of dollars set aside annually
for the payment of the national debt.

That there might never again be such a contested election as that of 1800,
Congress submitted to the states an amendment to the Constitution
providing that the electors should vote for President and Vice President
on separate ballots, and not as theretofore on the same ballot. The states
promptly ratified, and as the Twelfth Amendment it went into force in 1804
in time for the election of that year.

JEFFERSON REËLECTED.--The Federalist candidates for President and Vice
President in 1804 were Charles C. Pinckney and Rufus King; but the
Republican candidates, Thomas Jefferson and George Clinton, [15] were
elected by a very large majority.

BURR KILLS HAMILTON.--Vice-President Burr, who had consented to be a
candidate for the presidency in 1801 (p. 235) against Jefferson, had never
been forgiven by his party, and had ever since been a political outcast.
His friends in New York, however, nominated him for governor and tried to
get the support of the Federalists, but Hamilton sought to prevent this.
After Burr was defeated he challenged Hamilton to a duel (July, 1804) and
killed him.

BURR'S CONSPIRACY.--Fearing arrest for murder, Burr fled to Philadelphia
and applied to the British minister for British help in effecting "a
separation of the western part of the United States from that which lies
between the Atlantic and the mountains"; for he believed the people in
Orleans territory were eager to throw off American rule. After the end of
his term as Vice President (March 4, 1805) Burr went west and came back
with a scheme for conquering a region in the southwest, enlisted a few men
in his enterprise, assembled them at Blennerhassets Island in the Ohio
River (a few miles below Marietta), and (in December, 1806) started for
New Orleans. The boats with men and arms floated down the Ohio, entered
the Mississippi, and were going down that river when General James
Wilkinson, a fellow-conspirator, betrayed the scheme to Jefferson. Burr
was arrested and sent to Virginia, charged with levying war against the
United States, which was treason, and with setting on foot a military
expedition against the dominions of the king of Spain, which was a "high
misdemeanor." Of the charge of treason Burr was acquitted; that of high
misdemeanor was sent to a court in Ohio for trial, and came to naught.

[Illustration: BURR'S GRAVE AT PRINCETON, N. J.]


1. With the establishment of government under the Constitution, confidence
was restored and prosperity began.

2. Banks were chartered by the states, some roads and canals were
constructed, and money was gathered by lotteries for all sorts of public

3. New industries were started, and the cotton gin and other machines were

4. The defeat of the Indians, the removal of the British and Spanish from
our Western country, and the sale of public land on credit encouraged a
stream of emigrants into the West.

5. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio entered the Union, and the territories of
Mississippi, Indiana, and Michigan were organized.

6. The cession of Louisiana to France in 1800, and the closing of the
Mississippi River to Americans, led to the purchase of Louisiana in 1803.

7. This great region was organized into the territories of Orleans and
Louisiana; and the width of the continent from St. Louis to the mouth of
the Columbia was explored by Lewis and Clark.

8. Many reforms were made in the state and national governments tending to
make them more democratic.

9. In 1804 Jefferson was reelected President, but Burr was not again
chosen Vice President. Having engaged in a plan for conquering a region in
the southwest (1806), Burr was arrested for treason, but was not

[Illustration: PIONEER HUNTER.]


[1] Read "Town and Country Life in 1800," Chap. xii in McMaster's
_History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. II.

[2] The Middlesex from Boston to Lowell; the Dismal Swamp in Virginia; the
Santee in South Carolina.

[3] In those days lotteries for public purposes were not thought wrong.
The Continental Congress and many state legislatures used them to raise
revenue. Congress authorized one to secure money with which to improve
Washington city. Faneuil Hall in Boston and Independence Hall in
Philadelphia were aided by lotteries. Private lotteries had been forbidden
by many of the colonies. But the states continued to authorize lotteries
for public purposes till after 1830, when one by one they forbade all

[4] Parliament in 1774 forbade any one to take away from England any
drawing or model of any machine used in the manufacture of cotton goods.
No such machines were allowed in our country in colonial times. In 1787,
however, the Massachusetts legislature voted six tickets in the State Land
Lottery to two Scotchmen named Burr to help them build a spinning jenny.
About the same time £200 was given to a man named Somers to help him
construct a machine. The models thus built were put in the Statehouse at
Boston for anybody to copy who wished, and mills were soon started at
Worcester, Beverly, and Providence. But it was not till 1790, when Samuel
Slater came to America, that the great English machines were introduced.
Slater was familiar with them and made his from memory.

[5] Eli Whitney was born in 1765, and while still a lad showed great skill
in making and handling tools. After graduating from Yale College, he went
to reside in the family of General Greene, who had been given a plantation
by Georgia. While he was making the first cotton gin, planters came long
distances to see it, and before it was finished and patented some one
broke into the building where it was and stole it. In 1794 he received a
patent, but he was unable to enforce his rights. After a few years, South
Carolina bought his right for that state, and North Carolina levied a tax
on cotton gins for his benefit. But the sum he received was very small.

[6] James Rumsey, as early as 1785, had experimented with a steamboat on
the Potomac, and about the same time John Fitch built one in Pennsylvania,
and succeeded so well that in 1786 and in 1787 one of his boats made trial
trips on the Delaware. Later in 1787 Rumsey ran a steamboat on the Potomac
at the rate of four miles an hour.

[7] Not the Indiana of to-day, but the great region including what is now
Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and half of Michigan and Minnesota. The
settlements were Mackinaw, Green Bay, Prairie du Chien, Cahokia, Belle
Fontaine, L'Aigle, Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, Fort Massac, and
Vincennes. Notice that most of these names are of French origin. The
governor was William H. Harrison, afterward a President.

[8] In 1809 Illinois territory was created from the western part of
Indiana territory. When the census was taken in 1810, nearly 1,000,000
people were living west of the Appalachians.

[9] Read the scene between Napoleon and his brothers over the sale of
Louisiana, as told in Adams's _History of the U. S._, Vol. II, pp. 33-39.

[10] The transfer of Louisiana to France took place on November 30, 1803,
and the delivery to us on December 20. Our commissioners William C. C.
Claiborne and James Wilkinson met the French commissioner Laussat (lo-
sah') in the hall of the Cabildo (a building still in existence, p. 243),
presented their credentials, received the keys of the city, and listened
to Laussat as he proclaimed Louisiana the property of the United States.
This ceremony over, the commissioners stepped out on a balcony to witness
the transfer of flags. The tricolor which floated from the top of a staff
in the Place d'Armes (now Jackson Square) was drawn slowly down and the
stars and stripes as slowly raised till the two met midway, when both were
saluted by cannon. Our flag was then raised to the top of the pole, and
that of France lowered and placed in the hands of Laussat. One hundred
years later the anniversary was celebrated by repeating the same ceremony.
The Federalists bitterly opposed the purchase of Louisiana. Read
McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. II, pp. 629-631. For
descriptions of life in Louisiana, read Cable's _Creoles of Louisiana_,
_The Grandissimes_, and _Strange True Stories of Louisiana_.

[11] Both Lewis and Clark were Virginians and experienced Indian fighters.
On their return Lewis was made governor of the upper Louisiana territory,
later called Missouri territory; and died near Nashville in 1809. Clark
was likewise a governor of Missouri territory and later a Superintendent
of Indian Affairs; he died at St. Louis in 1838. He was a younger brother
of George Rogers Clark.

[12] Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia.

[13] In Pennsylvania all free male taxpayers could vote. Georgia and
Delaware gave the suffrage to all free white male taxpayers. In Vermont
and Kentucky there had never been a property qualification.

[14] In 1802, however, there was founded the United States Military
Academy at West Point.

[15] Clinton was born in 1739, took an active part in Revolutionary
affairs, was chosen governor of New York in 1777, and was reflected every
election for eighteen years. He was the leader of the popular party in
that state, was twice chosen Vice President of the United States, and died
in that office in 1812.

[16] Burr's trial was conducted (in a circuit court) with rigid
impartiality by Chief-Justice John Marshall, one of the greatest judges
our country has known. As head of the Supreme Court for thirty-four years
(1801-35), he rendered many decisions of lasting influence.



WAR WITH TRIPOLI.--In his first inaugural Jefferson announced a policy of
peace, commerce, and friendship with all nations; but unhappily he was not
able to carry it out. Under treaties with Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis, we
had paid tribute or made presents to these powers, to prevent them from
attacking our ships. In 1800, however, when Adams sent the yearly tribute
to Algiers, the ruler of Tripoli demanded a large present, and when it did
not come, declared war. Expecting trouble with this nest of pirates,
Jefferson in 1801 sent over a fleet which was to blockade the coast of
Tripoli and that of any other Barbary power that might be at war with us.
But four years passed, and Tripoli was five times bombarded before terms
of peace were dictated by Captain Rodgers under the muzzles of his guns
(1805). [1]

GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE.--While our contest with Tripoli was dragging
along, France and Great Britain again went to war (1803), and our neutral
rights were again attacked. British cruisers captured many American ships
on the ground that they were carrying on trade between the ports of France
and her colonies.

Napoleon attacked British commerce by decrees which closed the ports of
Europe to British goods, declared a blockade of the British Isles, and
made subject to capture any neutral vessels that touched at a British
port. Great Britain replied with orders in council, blockading the ports
of France and her allies, and requiring all neutral vessels going to a
closed port to stop at some British port and pay tribute. [2]

As Great Britain ruled the sea, and Napoleon most of western Europe, these
decrees and orders meant the ruin of our commerce. Against such rules of
war our government protested, claiming the right of "free trade," or the
"freedom of the seas,"--the right of a neutral to trade with either
belligerent, provided the goods were not for use in actual war (as guns,
powder, and shot).

OUR SAILORS IMPRESSED.--But we had yet another cause of quarrel with Great
Britain. She claimed that in time of war she had a right to the services
of her sailors; that if they were on foreign ships, they must come home
and serve on her war vessels. She denied that a British subject could
become a naturalized American; once a British subject, always a British
subject, was her doctrine. She stopped our vessels at sea, examined the
crews, and seized or "impressed" any British subjects found among them--
and many American sailors as well. Against such "impressment" our
government set up the claim of "sailors' rights"--denying the right of
Great Britain to search our ships at sea or to seize sailors of any
nationality while on board an American vessel.

THE ATTACK ON THE CHESAPEAKE.--Before 1805 Great Britain confined
impressment to the high seas and to her own ports. After 1805 she carried
it on also off our coasts and in our ports. Finally, in 1807, a British
officer, hearing that some British sailors were among the crew of our
frigate _Chesapeake_ which was about to sail, only partly equipped,
from the Washington navy yard, ordered the _Leopard_ to follow the
_Chesapeake_ to sea and search her. This was done, and when Commodore
Barron refused to have his vessel searched, she was fired on by the
_Leopard_, boarded, searched, and one British and three American
sailors were taken from her deck. [3]


CONGRESS RETALIATES.--It was now high time for us to strike back at France
and Great Britain. We had either to fight for "free trade and sailors'
rights," or to abandon the sea and stop all attempts to trade with Europe
and Great Britain. Jefferson chose the latter course. Our retaliation
therefore consisted of

1. The Long Embargo (1807-9).
2. The Non-intercourse Act (1809).
3. Macon's Bill No. 2 (1810).
4. The Declaration of War (1812).

THE LONG EMBARGO.--Late in December, 1807, at the request of Jefferson,
Congress laid an embargo and cut off all trade with foreign ports. [4] The
restriction was so sweeping and the damage to farmers, planters,
merchants, shipowners, and sailors so great, that the law was at once
evaded. More stringent laws were therefore enacted, till at last trade
along the coast from port to port was made all but impossible. Defiance to
the embargo laws became so general [5] that a Force Act (1809) was passed,
giving the President authority to use the army and navy in enforcing
obedience. This was too much, and such a storm of indignation arose in the
Eastern states that Congress repealed the embargo laws (1809) and

THE NON-INTERCOURSE ACT.--This forbade commerce with Great Britain and
France, but allowed it with such countries as were not under French or
British control. If either power would repeal its orders or decrees, the
President was to announce this fact and renew commerce with that power.

Just at this time the second term of Jefferson ended, [6] and Madison
became President (March 4, 1809). [8]

THE ERSKINE AGREEMENT(1809).--And now the British minister, Mr. Erskine,
offered, in the name of the king, to lift the orders in council if the
United States would renew trade with Great Britain. The offer was
accepted, and the renewal of trade proclaimed. But when the king heard of
it, he recalled Erskine and disavowed the agreement, and Madison was
forced to declare trade with Great Britain again suspended.

MACON'S BILL NO. 2.--Non-intercourse having failed, Congress in 1810 tried
a new experiment, and by Macon's Bill No. 2 (so-called because it was the
second of two bills introduced by Mr. Macon) restored trade with France
and Great Britain. At the same time it provided that if either power would
withdraw its decrees or orders, trade should be cut off with the other
unless that power also would withdraw them.

Napoleon now (1810) pretended to recall his decrees, but Great Britain
refused to withdraw her orders in council, whereupon in 1811 trade was
again stopped with Great Britain.

THE DECLARATION OF WAR.--And now the end had come. We had either to submit
tamely or to fight. The people decided to fight, and in the elections of
1810 completely changed the character of the House of Representatives. A
large number of new members were elected, and the control of public
affairs passed from men of the Revolutionary period to a younger set with
very different views. Among them were two men who rose at once to
leadership and remained so for nearly forty years to come. One was Henry
Clay of Kentucky; [9] the other was John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.
Clay was made speaker of the House of Representatives, and under his lead
the House at once began preparations for war with Great Britain, which was
formally declared in June, 1812. The causes stated by Madison in the
proclamation were (1) impressing our sailors, (2) sending ships to cruise
off our ports and search our vessels, (3) interfering with our trade by
orders in council, and (4) urging the Indians to make war on the Western

THE BATTLE OF TIPPECANOE.--That the British had been tampering with the
Indians was believed to be proved by the preparation of many of the Indian
tribes for war. From time to time some Indian of great ability had arisen
and attempted to unite the tribes in a general war upon the whites. King
Philip was such a leader, and so was Pontiac, and so at this time were the
twin brothers Tecumthe and the Prophet. The purpose of Tecumthe was to
unite all the tribes from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico in a
general war, to drive the whites from the Mississippi valley. After
uniting many of the Northern tribes he went south, leaving his brother,
the Prophet, in command. But the action of the Prophet so alarmed General
Harrison, [10] governor of Indiana territory, that he marched against the
Indians and beat them at the Tippecanoe (1811). [11]


MADISON REËLECTED.--As Madison was willing to be a war President the
Republicans nominated him for a second term of the presidency, with
Elbridge Gerry [12] for the vice presidency. The Federalists and those
opposed to war, the peace party, nominated DeWitt Clinton for President.
Madison and Gerry were elected. [13]

THE WAR OPENS.--The war which now followed, "Mr. Madison's War" as the
Federalists called it, was fought along the edges of our country and on
the sea. It may therefore be considered under four heads:--

1. War on land along the Canadian frontier.
2. War on land along the Atlantic seaboard.
3. War on land along the Gulf coast.
4. War on the sea.

Scarcely had the fighting begun when news arrived that Great Britain had
recalled the hated orders in council, but she would not give up the right
of search and of impressment, so the war went on, as Madison believed that
cause enough still remained.

[Illustration: WAR OF 1812.]

FIGHTING ON THE FRONTIER, 1812.--The hope of the leaders of the war party,
"War Hawks" as the Federalists called them, was to capture the British
provinces north of us and make peace at Halifax. Three armies were
therefore gathered along the Canadian frontier. One under General Hull was
to cross at Detroit and march eastward. A second under General Van
Rensselaer was to cross the Niagara River, join the forces under Hull,
capture York (now Toronto), and then go on to Montreal. The third under
General Dearborn was to enter Canada from northeastern New York, arid meet
the other troops near Montreal. The three armies were then to capture
Montreal and Quebec and conquer Canada.

But the plan failed; Hull was driven out of Canada, and surrendered at
Detroit. Van Rensselaer did not get a footing in Canada, and Dearborn went
no farther than the northern boundary line of New York.

FIGHTING ON THE FRONTIER, 1813.--The surrender of Hull filled the people
with indignation, and a new army under William Henry Harrison was sent
across the wilds of Ohio in the dead of winter to recapture Detroit. But
the British and Indians attacked and captured part of the army at
Frenchtown on the Raisin River, where the Indians massacred the prisoners.
They then attacked Fort Meigs and Fort Stephenson, but were driven off.

BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE.--Meantime a young naval officer, Oliver Hazard Perry,
was hastily building at Erie (Presque Isle) a little fleet to attack the
British, whose fleet on Lake Erie had been built just as hurriedly. The
fight took place near the west end of the lake and ended in the capture of
all the British ships. [14] It was then that Perry sent off to Harrison
those familiar words "We have met the enemy and they are ours." [15]

BATTLE OF THE THAMES.--This signal victory gave Perry command of Lake Erie
and enabled him to carry Harrison's army over to Canada, where, on the
Thames River, he beat the British and Indians and put them to flight. [16]
By these two victories of Perry and Harrison we regained all that we had
lost by the surrender of Hull. On the New York frontier neither side
accomplished anything decisive in 1813, though the public buildings at
York (now Toronto) were destroyed, and some villages on both sides of the
Niagara River were burned.

FIGHTING ON THE FRONTIER, 1814.--Better officers were now put in command
on the New York frontier, and during 1814 our troops under Jacob Brown and
Winfield Scott captured Fort Erie and won the battles of Chippewa and
Lundys Lane. But in the end the British drove our army out of Canada.

Further eastward the British gathered a fleet on Lake Champlain and sent
an army to attack Plattsburg, but Thomas Macdonough utterly destroyed the
fleet in Plattsburg Bay, and the army was repulsed.

FIGHTING ALONG THE SEABOARD.--During 1812 and 1813 the British did little
more than blockade our coast from Rhode Island to New Orleans, leaving all
the east coast of New England unmolested. [17] But in 1814 the entire
coast was blockaded, the eastern part of Maine was seized and occupied,
and Stonington in Connecticut was bombarded.

WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE ATTACKED.--A fleet entered Chesapeake Bay and
landed an army which marched to Washington, burned the Capitol, the
President's house, the Treasury Building, and other public buildings, [18]
and with the aid of the fleet made a vain attack on Baltimore.

It was during the bombardment of a fort near Baltimore that Francis Scott
Key, temporarily a prisoner with the British, wrote _The Star-spangled


FIGHTING ALONG THE GULF COAST.--After the repulse at Baltimore the British
army was carried to the island of Jamaica to join a great expedition
fitting out for an attack on New Orleans. It was November before the fleet
bearing the army set sail, and December when the troops landed on the
southeast coast of Louisiana and started for the Mississippi. On the banks
of that river, a few miles below New Orleans, they met our forces under
General Andrew Jackson drawn up behind a line of rude intrenchments,
attacked them on the 8th of January, 1815, and were badly beaten.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS. From an old print.]

THE SEA FIGHTS.--The victories won by the army were indeed important, but
those by the navy were more glorious still. In years before the war
British captains laughed at our little navy and called our ships "fir-
built things with a bit of striped bunting at their mastheads." These fir-
built things now inflicted on the British navy a series of defeats such as
it had never before suffered from any nation.

[Illustration: NAVAL CANNON OF 1812.]

Before the end of 1812 the frigate _Constitution,_ "Old Ironsides" as she
is still popularly called, [19] beat the _Guerrière_ (gar-e-ar') so badly
that she could not be brought to port; the little sloop _Wasp_ almost shot
to pieces the British sloop _Frolic_; [20] the frigate _United States_
brought the _Macedonian_ in triumph to Newport (R.I.); [21] and the
_Constitution_ made a wreck of the _Java_.

[Illustration: CUTLASS.]

In 1813 the _Hornet_, Commander James Lawrence, so riddled the British
sloop _Peacock_ that after surrendering she went down carrying with her
nine of her own crew and three of the _Hornet's_. The brig _Enterprise_,
William Burrows in command, fought the British brig _Boxer_, Captain
Blythe, off Portland harbor, Maine. Both commanders were killed, but the
Boxer was taken and carried into Portland, where Burrows and Blythe,
wrapped in the flags they had so well defended, were buried in the Eastern
Cemetery which overlooks the bay.

THE CHESAPEAKE CAPTURED.--But we too met with defeats. When Lawrence
returned home with the _Hornet_, he was given command of the _Chesapeake_,
then fitting out in Boston harbor, and while so engaged was challenged by
the commander of the British frigate _Shannon_ to come out and fight. He
went, was mortally wounded, and a second time the _Chesapeake_ struck to
the British. As Lawrence was carried below he cried out, "Don't give up
the ship--keep her guns going--fight her till she sinks"; but the British
carried her by boarding.

The brig _Argus_, while destroying merchantmen off the English coast,
was taken by the British brig _Pelican_. [22]

PEACE.--Quite early in the war Russia tendered her services as mediator
and they were accepted by us. Great Britain declined, but offered to treat
directly if commissioners were sent to some neutral port. John Quincy
Adams, Henry Clay, Albert Gallatin, James A. Bayard, and Jonathan Russell
were duly appointed, and late in December, 1814, signed a treaty of peace
at Ghent. Nothing was said in it about impressment, search, or orders in
council, nor indeed about any of the causes of the war.

Nevertheless the gain was great. Our naval victories made us respected
abroad and showed us to be the equal of any maritime power. At home, the
war aroused a national feeling, did much to consolidate the Union, and put
an end to our old colonial dependence on Europe. Thenceforth Americans
looked westward, not eastward.

THE HARTFORD CONVENTION.--News of the treaty signed in December, 1814, did
not reach our country till February, 1815. [23] Had there been ocean
steamships or cables in those days, two famous events in our history would
not have happened. The battle of New Orleans would not have been fought,
and the report of the Hartford Convention would not have been published.
The Hartford Convention was composed of Federalist delegates from the New
England states, [24] met in December, 1814, and held its sessions in
secret. But its report proposed some amendments to the United States
Constitution, state armies to defend New England, and the retention of a
part of the federal taxes to pay the cost. Congress was to be asked to
agree to this, arid if it declined, the state legislatures were to send
delegates to another convention to meet in June, 1815. [25] When the
commissioners to present these demands reached Washington, peace had been
declared, and they went home, followed by the jeers of the nation.


1. The war with Tripoli (1801-5) ended in victory for our navy.

2. The renewal of war between France and Great Britain involved us in more
serious trouble.

3. When France attacked British commerce by decrees, Great Britain replied
with orders in council (1806-7). In these paper blockades we were the
chief sufferers.

4. Great Britain claimed a right to take her subjects off American ships,
and while impressing many British sailors into her navy, she impressed
many Americans also.

5. She sent vessels of war to our coast to search our ships, and in 1807
even seized sailors on board an American ship of war, the

6. Congress retaliated with several measures cutting off trade with France
and Great Britain; these failing, war on Great Britain was declared in

7. War on land was begun by attempts to invade Canada from Detroit,
Niagara, and northeastern New York. These attempts failed, and Detroit was
captured by the British.

8. In 1813 Perry won a great naval victory on Lake Erie; and the American
soldiers, after a reverse at Frenchtown, invaded Canada and won the battle
of the Thames.

9. In 1814 the Americans won the battles of Chippewa and Lundys Lane, but
were later driven from Canada. A British invasion of New York met disaster
at Plattsburg Bay.

10. Along the seaboard the British blockaded the entire coast, seized the
eastern part of Maine, took Washington and burned the public buildings,
and attacked Baltimore.

11. Later New Orleans was attacked, but in 1815 Jackson won a signal
victory and drove the British from Louisiana.

12. On the sea our vessels won many ship duels.

13. Peace was made in 1814, just as the New England Federalists were
holding their Hartford Convention. The war resulted in strengthening the
Union and making it more respected.




[1] During the war, in 1803, the frigate _Philadelphia_ ran on the rocks
in the harbor of Tripoli, and was captured by the Tripolitans. The
Americans then determined to destroy her. Stephen Decatur sailed into the
harbor with a volunteer crew in a little vessel disguised as a fishing
boat. The Tripolitans allowed the Americans to come close, whereupon they
boarded the _Philadelphia_, drove off the pirate crew, set the vessel
on fire, and escaped unharmed.

[2] The French decrees and British orders in council were as follows: (1)
Napoleon began (1806) by issuing a decree closing the ports of Hamburg and
Bremen (which he had lately captured) and so cutting off British trade
with Germany. (2) Great Britain retaliated with an order in council (May,
1806), blockading the coast of Europe from Brest to the mouth of the river
Elbe. (3) Napoleon retaliated (November, 1806) with the Berlin Decree,
declaring the British Isles in a state of blockade, and forbidding English
trade with any country under French control. (4) Great Britain issued
another order in council (November, 1807), commanding her naval officers
to seize any neutral vessel going to any closed port in Europe unless it
first touched at a British port, paid duty, and bought a license to trade.
(5) Napoleon thereupon (December, 1807) issued his Milan Decree,
authorizing the seizure of any neutral vessel that had touched at any
British port and taken out a license. Read Adams's _History of the U. S._,
Vol. III, Chap. 16; Vol. IV, Chaps. 4, 5, 6; McMaster's _History of the
People of the U. S._, Vol. III, pp. 219-223, 249-250, 272-274.

[3] The British sailor was hanged at Halifax. The three Americans were not
returned till 1812. Read Maclay's _History of the Navy_, Vol. I, pp. 305-

[4] The Federalists ridiculed the embargo as the "terrapin-policy"; that
is, the United States, like a terrapin when struck, had pulled its head
and feet within its shell instead of fighting. They reversed the letters
so that they read "o-grab-me," and wrote the syllables backward so as to
spell "go-bar-'em."

[5] Read McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. III,
pp. 279-338.

[7] The people would gladly have given him a third term. Indeed, the
legislatures of eight states invited him to be a candidate for reflection.
In declining he said, "If some termination to the services of the Chief
Magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his
office, nominally four years, will in fact become for life; and history
shows how easily that degenerates into an inheritance." The examples of
Washington and Jefferson established an unwritten law against a third term
for any President.

[8] James Madison was born in Virginia in 1751, and educated partly at
Princeton. In 1776 he was a delegate to the Virginia convention to frame a
state constitution, was a member of the first legislature under it, went
to Congress in 1780-83, and then returned to the state legislature, 1784-
87. He was one of the most important members of the convention that framed
the United States Constitution. After the adoption of the Constitution, he
led the Republican party in Congress (1789-97). He wrote the Virginia
Resolutions of 1798, and in 1801-9 was Secretary of State under Jefferson.
As the Republican candidate for President in 1808, he received 122
electoral votes against 47 for the Federalist candidate Charles C.
Pinckney. He died in 1836.

[9] Henry Clay, the son of a Baptist minister, was born in Virginia in
1777 in a neighborhood called "the Slashes." One of his boyhood duties was
to ride to the mill with a bag of wheat or corn. Thus he earned the name
of "the Mill Boy of the Slashes," which in his campaigns for the
presidency was used to get votes. His education was received in a log-
cabin schoolhouse. At fourteen he was behind the counter in a store at
Richmond; but finally began to read law, and in 1797 moved to Kentucky to
"grow up with the country." There he prospered greatly, and in 1803 was
elected to the state legislature, in 1806 and again in 1809-10 served as a
United States senator to fill an unexpired term, and in 1811 entered the
House of Representatives. From then till his death, June 29, 1852, he was
one of the most important men in public life; he was ten years speaker of
the House, four years Secretary of State, twenty years a senator, and
three times a candidate for President. He was a great leader and an
eloquent speaker. He was called "the Great Pacificator" and "the Great
Compromiser," and one of his sayings, "I had rather be right than be
President," has become famous.

[10] William Henry Harrison was a son of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of
the Declaration of Independence. He was born in Virginia in 1773, served
in the Indian campaigns under St. Clair and Wayne, commanded Fort
Washington on the site of Cincinnati, was secretary of the Northwest
Territory, and then delegate to Congress, and did much to secure the law
for the sale of public land on credit. He was made governor of Indiana
Territory in 1801, and won great fame as a general in the War of 1812.

[11] Tecumthe's efforts in the South led to a war with the Creeks in 1813-
14. These Indians began by capturing Fort Mims in what is now southern
Alabama, and killing many people there; but they were soon subdued by
General Andrew Jackson. Read Edward Eggleston's _Roxy_; and Eggleston
and Seelye's _Tecumseh and the Shawnee Prophet_.

[12] Gerry was a native of Massachusetts and one of the delegates who
refused to sign the Constitution when it was framed in 1787. As a leading
Republican he was chosen by Adams to represent his party on the X. Y. Z.
Mission. As governor of Massachusetts he signed a bill rearranging the
senatorial districts in such wise that some towns having Federalist
majorities were joined to others having greater Republican majorities,
thus making more than a fair proportion of the districts Republican. This
political fraud is called Gerrymandering. Gerry died November 23, 1814,
the second Vice President to die in office.

[13] Eighteen states cast electoral votes at this election (1812). The
electors were chosen by popular vote in eight states, and by vote of the
legislature in ten states, including Louisiana (the former territory of
Orleans), which was admitted into the Union April 8, 1812. The admission
of Louisiana was bitterly opposed by the Federalists. For their reasons,
read a speech by Josiah Quincy in Johnston's _American Orations_, Vol. I,
pp. 180-204.

[14] Perry's flagship was named the _Lawrence_, after the gallant
commander of the _Chesapeake_, captured a short while before off
Boston. As Lawrence, mortally wounded, was carried below, he said to his
men, "Don't give up the ship." Perry put at the masthead of the _Lawrence_
a blue pennant bearing the words "Don't give up the ship," and fought two
of the largest vessels of the enemy till every gun on his engaged side was
disabled, and but twenty men out of a hundred and three were unhurt. Then
entering a boat with his brother and four seamen, he was rowed to the
_Niagara_, which he brought into the battle, and with it broke the enemy's
line and won.

[15] The story of the naval war is told in Maclay's _History of the Navy_,
Part Third; and in Roosevelt's _Naval War of 1812_.

[16] In this battle the great Indian leader Tecumthe was killed.

[17] In New England the ruin of commerce made the war most unpopular, and
it was because of this that the British did not at first blockade the New
England coast. British goods came to Boston, Salem, and other ports in
neutral ships, or in British ships disguised as neutral, and great
quantities of them were carried in four-horse wagons to the South, whence
raw cotton was brought back to New England to be shipped abroad. The
Republicans made great fun of this "ox-and-horse-marine."

[18] For a description of the scenes in Washington, read McMaster's
_History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp. 138-147; or Adams's
_History of the U. S._, Vol. VIII, pp. 144-152; or _Memoirs of Dolly
Madison_, Chap. 8.

[19] Read Holmes's poem _Old Ironsides_.

[20] This battle was fought on a clear moonlight night and was full of
dramatic incidents. A storm had lashed the sea into fury and the waves
were running mountain high. Wave after wave swept the deck of the _Wasp_
and drenched the sailors. The two sloops rolled till the muzzles of their
guns dipped in the sea; but both crews cheered heartily and fought on
till, as the _Wasp_ rubbed across the bow of the _Frolic_, her jib boom
came in between the masts of the _Wasp_. A boarding party then leaped upon
her bowsprit, and as they ran down the deck were amazed to see nobody save
the man at the wheel and three wounded officers. As the British were not
able to lower their flag, Lieutenant Biddle of the _Wasp_ hauled it down.
Scarcely had this been done when the British frigate _Poictiers_ came in
sight, and chased and overhauled the _Wasp_ and captured her.

[21] Of all the British frigates captured during the war, the _Macedonian_
was the only one brought to port. The others were shot to pieces and sank
or were destroyed soon after the battle. The _Macedonian_ arrived at
Newport in December, 1812. When the lieutenant bearing her flag and
dispatches reached Washington, he was informed that a naval ball was being
held in honor of the capture of the _Guerrière_ and another ship, and that
their flags were hanging on the wall. Hastening to the hotel, he announced
himself and was quickly escorted to the ballroom, where, with cheers and
singing, the flag of the _Macedonian_ was hung beside those of the other
two captured vessels.

[22] In October, 1812, the frigate _Essex_, Captain Porter in command,
sailed from Delaware Bay, cruised down the east and up the west coast of
South America, and captured seven British vessels. But she was captured
near Valparaiso by the British frigates _Cherub_ and _Phoebe_ in March,
1814. In January, 1815, the _President_, Commodore Decatur, was captured
off Long Island by a British squadron of four vessels. In February the
_Constitution_, Captain Stewart, when near Madeira, captured the _Cyane_
and the _Levant_.

[23] Some idea of the difficulty of travel and the transmission of news in
those days may be gained from the fact that when the agent bearing the
treaty of peace arrived at New, York February 11, 1815, an express rider
was sent post haste to Boston, at a cost of $225.

[24] The states of Vermont and New Hampshire sent no delegates to this
convention; but three delegates were appointed by certain counties in
those states. When Connecticut and Rhode Island chose delegates, a
Federalist newspaper published in Boston welcomed them in an article
headed "Second and Third Pillars of a New Federal Edifice Reared." Despite
the action of the Hartford Convention, the fact remains that Massachusetts
contributed more than her proportionate share of money and troops for the

[25] The report is printed in MacDonald's _Select Documents_.



TRADE, COMMERCE, AND THE FISHERIES.--The treaty of 1814 did not end our
troubles with Great Britain. Our ships were still shut out of her West
Indian ports. The fort at Astoria, near the mouth of the Columbia River,
had been seized during the war and for a time was not returned as the
treaty required. The authorities in Nova Scotia claimed that we no longer
had a right to fish in British waters, and seized our fishing vessels or
drove them from the fishing grounds. We had no trade treaty with Great
Britain. In 1815, therefore, a convention was made regulating trade with
Great Britain and her East Indian colonies, but not with her West Indies;
[1] in 1817, a very important agreement limited the navies on the Great
Lakes; [2] and in 1818 a convention was made defending our fishing rights
in British waters. [3]

BANKS AND THE CURRENCY.--But there were also domestic affairs which
required attention. When the charter of the Bank of the United States (p.
224) expired in 1811, it was not renewed, for the party in power denied
that Congress had authority to charter a bank. A host of banks chartered
by the states thereupon sprang up, in hope of getting some of the business
formerly done by the national bank and its branches.


In three years' time one hundred and twenty new state banks were created.
Each issued bank notes with a promise to exchange them for specie (gold or
silver coin) on demand. In 1814, however, nearly all the banks outside of
New England "suspended specie payment"; that is, refused to redeem their
notes in specie. Persons having gold and silver money then kept it, and
the only money left in circulation was the bank notes--which, a few miles
away from the place of issue, would not pass at their face value. [4]

Business and travel were seriously interfered with, and in order to
provide the people with some kind of money which would pass at the same
value everywhere, Congress in 1816 chartered a second Bank of the United
States, [5] very much like the first one, for a period of twenty years.

MANUFACTURES AND THE TARIFF.--Before the embargo days, trade and commerce
were so profitable, because of the war in Europe, that manufactures were
neglected. Almost all manufactored articles--cotton and woolen goods,
china, glass, edge tools, and what not--were imported, from Great Britain

But the moment our foreign trade was cat off by the embargo, manufactures
sprang up, and money hitherto put into ships and commerce was invested in
mills and factories. Societies for the encouragement of domestic
manufactures were started everywhere. To wear American-made clothes, walk
in American-made shoes, write on American-made paper, and use American-
made furniture were acts of patriotism which the people publicly pledged
themselves to perform. Thus encouraged, manufactories so throve and
flourished that by 1810 the value of goods made in our country each year
was $173,000,000.

When trade was resumed with Great Britain after the war, her goods were
sent over in immense quantities. This hurt our manufacturers, and
therefore Congress in 1816 laid a tariff or tax on imported manufactures,
for the purpose of keeping the price of foreign goods high and thus
protecting home manufactures.

PROSPERITY OF THE COUNTRY.--Despite the injury done by British orders,
French decrees, the embargo, non-intercourse, and the war, the country
grew more prosperous year by year. Cities were growing, new towns were
being planted, rivers were being bridged, colleges, [6] academies,
schools, were springing up, several thousand miles of turnpike had been
built, and over these good roads better stagecoaches drawn by better
horses carried the mail and travelers in quicker time than ever before.

ROUTES TO THE WEST.--Goods for Pittsburg and the West could now leave
Philadelphia every day in huge canvas-covered wagons drawn by four or six
horses, and were only twenty days on the road. The carrying trade in this
way was very great. More than twelve thousand wagons came to Pittsburg
each year, bringing goods worth several millions of dollars. From New York
wares and merchandise for the West went in sloops up the Hudson to Albany,
were wagoned to the falls of the Mohawk, where they were put into
"Schenectady boats," which were pushed by poles up the Mohawk to Utica.
Thence they went by canal and river to Oswego on Lake Ontario, in sloops
to Lewiston on the Niagara River, by wagon to Buffalo, by sloop to
Westfield on Lake Erie, by wagon to Chautauqua Lake, and thence by boat
down the lake and the Allegheny River to Pittsburg.


THE STEAMBOAT.--The growth of the country and the increase in travel now
made the steamboat possible. Before 1807 all attempts to use such boats
had failed. [7] But when Fulton in that year ran the _Clermont_ from
New York to Albany and back, practical steam navigation began. In 1808 a
line of steamboats ran up and down the Hudson. In 1809 there was one on
the Delaware, another on the Raritan, and a third on Lake Champlain. In
1811 a steamboat went from Pittsburg to New Orleans, and in 1812 there
were steam ferryboats between what is now Jersey City and New York, and
between Philadelphia and Camden. [8]

[Illustration: AN EARLY FERRYBOAT.]

By the use of the steamboat and better roads it was possible in 1820 to go
from New York to Philadelphia between sunrise and sunset in summer, and
from New York to Boston in forty-eight hours, and from Boston to
Washington in less than five days.

THE RUSH TO THE WEST.--After the peace in 1815 came a period of hard
times. Great Britain kept our ships out of her ports in the West Indies.
France, Spain, and Holland did their own trading with their colonies.
Demands for our products fell off, trade and commerce declined, thousands
of people were thrown out of employment, and another wave of emigration
started westward. Nothing like it had ever before been known. People went
by tens of thousands, building new towns and villages, clearing the
forests, and turning the prairies into farms and gardens. Some went in
wagons, some on horseback; great numbers even went on foot, pushing their
children and household goods in handcarts, in wheelbarrows, in little box
carts on four small wheels made of plank. [9]

Once on the frontier, the pioneer, the "mover," the "newcomer," would
secure his plot of land, cut down a few trees, and build a half-faced
camp,--a shed with a roof of sapling and bark, and one side open,--and in
this he would live till the log cabin was finished.

THE LOG CABIN.--To build a log cabin the settler would fell trees of the
proper size, cut them into logs, and with his ax notch them half through
at the ends. Laid one on another these logs formed the four sides of the
cabin. Openings were left for a door, one window, and a huge fireplace;
the cracks between the logs were filled with mud; the roof was of hewn
boards, and the chimney of logs smeared on the inside with clay and lined
at the bottom with stones. Greased paper did duty for glass in the window.
The door swung on wooden hinges and was fastened with a wooden latch on
the inside, which was raised from the outside by a leather string passed
through a hole in the door. Some cabins had no floor but the earth; in
others the floor was of puncheons, or planks split and hewn from trunks of
trees and laid with the round side down. [10]

[Illustration: CORN-HUSK MOP.]

PIONEER LIFE.--If the farm were wooded, the first labor of the settler was
to grub up the bushes, cut down the smaller trees, and kill the larger
ones by cutting a girdle around each near the roots. When the trees were
felled, the neighbors would come and help roll the logs into great piles
for burning. From the ashes the settler made potash; for many years potash
was one of the important exports of the country.

In the land thus cleared and laid open to the sun the pioneer planted his
corn, flax, wheat, and vegetables. The corn he shelled on a gritter, and
ground in a handmill, or pounded in a wooden mortar with a wooden pestle,
or carried on horseback to some mill perhaps fifteen miles away.

Cooking stoves were not used. Game was roasted by hanging it by a leather
string before an open fire. All baking was done in a Dutch oven on the
hearth, or in an out oven built, as its name implies, out of doors. [11]

Deerskin in the early days, and later tow linen, woolens, jeans, and
linseys, were the chief materials for clothing till store goods became
common. [12] The amusements of the pioneers were like those of colonial
days--shooting matches, bear hunts, races, militia musters, raisings, log
rollings, weddings, corn huskings, and quilting parties.

[Illustration: BREAKING FLAX.]

FIVE NEW STATES.--The first effect of the emigration to the West was such
an increase of population there that five new states were admitted in five
years. They were Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), Illinois (1818),
Alabama (1819), Missouri (1821). As Louisiana (1812) and Maine (1820) had
also been admitted by 1821, the Union then included twenty-four states
(map, p. 279).

POWER OF THE WEST.--A second result of this building of the West was an
increase in its political importance. The West in 1815 sent to Congress 8
senators and 28 members of the House; after 1822 it sent 18 senators out
of 48, and 47 members of the House out of 213.


TRADE OF THE WEST.--A third result was a straggle for the trade of the
West. Favored by the river system, the farmers of the West were able to
float their produce, on raft and flatboat, to New Orleans. Before the
introduction of the steamboat, navigation up the Mississippi was all but
impossible. Flatboats, rafts, barges, broadhorns, with their contents,
were therefore sold at New Orleans, and the money brought back to
Pittsburg or Wheeling and there used to buy the manufactures sent from the
Eastern states. But now a score of steamboats went down and up the
Mississippi and the Ohio, stopping at Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis,
Natchez, and a host of smaller towns, loaded with goods obtained at
Pittsburg and New Orleans. [13] Commercially the West was independent of
the East. The Western trade of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore was
seriously threatened.

THE ERIE CANAL.--So valuable was this trade, and so important to the East,
that New York in 1817 began the construction of the Erie Canal from Albany
to Buffalo, and finished it in 1825. [14] The result, as we shall see in a
later chapter, was far-reaching.

SLAVERY.--A fourth result of the rush to the West was the rise of the
question of slavery beyond the Mississippi.

Before the adoption of the Constitution, as we have seen, slavery was
forbidden or was in course of abolition in the five New England states, in
Pennsylvania, and in the Northwest Territory. Since the adoption of the
Constitution gradual abolition laws had been adopted in New York (1799)
and in New Jersey (1804). [15] Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana,
Mississippi, and Alabama came into the Union as slave-holding states; and
Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (besides Vermont) as free states. So in 1819
the dividing line between the eleven free and the eleven slave states was
the south boundary line of Pennsylvania (p. 81) and the Ohio River.

SLAVERY BEYOND THE MISSISSIPPI.--By 1819 so many people had crossed the
Mississippi and settled on the west bank and up the Missouri that Congress
was asked to make a new territory to be called Arkansas and a new state to
be named Missouri.

Whether the new state was to be slave or free was not stated, but the
Missourians owned slaves and a settlement of this matter was important for
two reasons: (1) there were then eleven slave and eleven free states, and
the admission of Missouri would upset this balance in the Senate; (2) her
entrance into the Union would probably settle the policy as to slavery in
the remainder of the great Louisiana Purchase. The South therefore
insisted that Missouri should be a slave-holding state, and the Senate
voted to admit her as such. The North insisted that slavery should be
abolished in Missouri, and the House of Representatives voted to admit her
as a free state. As neither would yield, the question went over to the
next session of Congress.

MAINE.--By that time Maine, which belonged to Massachusetts, had obtained
leave to frame a constitution, and applied for admission as a free state.
This afforded a chance to preserve the balance of states in the Senate,
and Congress accordingly passed at the same time two bills, one to admit
Maine as a free state, and one to authorize Missouri to make a proslavery

THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE, 1820.--The second of these bills embodied the
Missouri Compromise, or Compromise of 1820, which provided that in all the
territory purchased from France in 1803 and lying north of the parallel
36° 30' there never should be slavery, except in Missouri (map p. 279).

This Compromise left a great region from which free states might be made
in future, and very little for slave states. We shall see the consequences
of this by and by.

EXPLORATION OF THE WEST.--West of Missouri the country was still a
wilderness overrun by Indians, and by buffalo and other wild animals. Many
believed it to be almost uninhabitable. Pike, who (1806-7) marched across
the plains from St. Louis to the neighborhood of Pikes Peak and on to the
upper waters of the Rio Grande, and Long, who (1820) followed Pike,
brought back dismal accounts of the country. Pike reported that the banks
of the Kansas, the Platte, and the Arkansas rivers might "admit of a
limited population," but not the plains. Long said the country west of
Council Bluffs "is almost wholly unfit for cultivation, and of course
uninhabitable by people depending on agriculture," and that beyond the
Rockies it was "destined to be the abode of perfect desolation."


THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT.--This started the belief that in the West was a
great desert, and for many years geographers indicated such a desert on
their maps. It covered most of what is now Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma,
and parts of Texas, Colorado, and South Dakota. One geographer (1835)
declared, "a large part maybe likened to the Great Sahara or African

THE NORTHWESTERN BOUNDARY.--When Louisiana was purchased in 1803 no
boundary was given it on the north or west.

By treaty with Great Britain in 1818, the 49th parallel was made our
northern boundary from the Lake of the Woods to the summit of the Rocky
Mountains. [17]

THE OREGON COUNTRY.--The country west of the sources of the Missouri River
and the Rocky Mountains, the region drained by the Columbia, or as it was
sometimes called, the Oregon River, was claimed by both Great Britain and
the United States. As neither would yield, it was agreed that the Oregon
country should be held jointly for a time. [18]

THE SPANISH BOUNDARY.--South of Oregon and west of the mountains lay the
possessions of Spain, with which country in 1819 we made a treaty, fixing
the western limits of the Louisiana Purchase. We began by claiming as far
as the Rio Grande, and asking for Florida. We ended by accepting the line
shown on the map, p. 278, and buying Florida. [19]


1. The treaty of peace in 1814 left several issues unsettled; it was
therefore followed by a trade treaty with Great Britain, an agreement to
limit naval power on the northern lakes, and (1818) a treaty about
fisheries in British waters.

2. The suspension of specie payments by the state banks during the war
caused such disorder in the currency that a national bank was chartered to
regulate it.

3. The embargo, by cutting off importation of British goods, encouraged
home manufactures. Heavy importations after the war injured home
manufactures, and to help them Congress enacted a protective tariff law.

4. Despite commercial troubles and the war, the people were prosperous.
New towns were founded, travel was improved, the steamboat was introduced,
and the West grew rapidly.

5. After 1815 a great wave of population poured over the West.

6. Seven new states were admitted between 1812 and 1821.

7. A struggle for the trade of the growing West led to the building of the
Erie Canal.

8. A struggle over slavery led to the Missouri Compromise (1820).

9. By treaties with Great Britain and Spain, boundaries of the Louisiana
Purchase were established, Florida was purchased, and the Oregon country
was held jointly with Great Britain.

[Illustration: AN OLD STAGECOACH.]


[1] A serious quarrel over the West Indian trade now arose and was not
settled till 1830. Read McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._,
Vol. V, pp. 483-487.

[2] The agreement of 1817 provided that each power might have one armed
vessel on Lake Ontario, two on the upper lakes, and one on Lake Champlain.
Each vessel was to have but one eighteen-pound cannon. All other armed
vessels were to be dismantled and no others were to be built or armed. In
Europe such a water boundary between two powers would have been guarded by
strong fleets and forts and many armed men.

[3] The fishery treaty provides (1) that our citizens may _forever_ catch
and dry fish on certain parts of the coasts of Newfoundland and of
Labrador; (2) that they may not catch fish within three miles of any other
of the coasts of the British dominions in America; (3) that our fishermen
may enter the harbors on these other coasts for shelter, or to obtain
water, or wood, or to repair damages, "and for no other purpose whatever."

[4] As to the straits to which people were put for small change, read
McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp. 297-298.

[5] This bank had branches in the various states, and specie could be had
for its notes at any branch. Hence its notes passed at their face value
over all the country, and became, like specie, of the same value
everywhere. Authority to charter the bank was found in the provision of
the Constitution giving Congress power to "regulate the currency."

[6] Thirty-nine of our colleges, theological seminaries, and universities
were founded between 1783 and 1820.

[7] For Rumsey and Fitch, see p. 239. William Longstreet in 1790 tried a
small model steamboat on the Savannah River; and in 1794 Elijah Ormsbee at
Providence and Samuel Morey on Long Island Sound, in 1796 John Fitch on a
pond in New York city, in 1797 Morey on the Delaware, in 1802 Oliver Evans
at Philadelphia, and in 1804 and 1806 John Stevens at Hoboken,
demonstrated that boats could be moved by steam. But none had made the
steamboat a practical success.

[8] The state of New York gave Fulton and his partner, Livingston, the
sole right to use steamboats on the waters of the state. This monopoly was
evaded by using teamboats, on which the machinery that turned the paddle
wheel was moved by six or eight horses hitched to a crank and walking
round and round in a circle on the deck. Teamboats were used chiefly as
ferryboats. Read McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV,
pp. 397-407.

[9] Read McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp.
381-394. All the great highways to the West were crowded with bands of
emigrants. In nine days 260 wagons bound for the West passed through one
New York town. At Easton, in Pennsylvania, on a favorite route from New
England (map, p. 194), 511 wagons accompanied by 3066 persons passed in a
month. A tollgate keeper on another route reported 2000 families as having
passed during nine months. From Alabama, whither people were hurrying to
settle on the cotton lands, came reports of a migration quite as large.
When the census of 1820 was taken, the returns showed that there were but
75 more people in Delaware in 1820 than there were in 1810. In the city of
Charleston there were 24,711 people in 1810 and 24,780 in 1820. In many
states along the seaboard the rate of increase of population was less
during the census period 1810-20 than it had been before, because of the
great numbers who had left for the West.

[10] If the newcomer chose some settlement for his home, the neighbors
would gather when the logs were cut, hold a "raising," and build his cabin
in the course of one day. Tables, chairs, and other furniture were
generally made by the settler with his own hands. Brooms and brushes were
of corn husks, and many of his utensils were cut from the trunks of trees.
"I know of no scene more primitive," said a Kentucky pioneer, "than such a
cabin hearth as that of my mother's. In the morning a buckeye backlog, a
hickory forestick, resting on stones, with a johnny cake on a clean ash
board, set before the fire to bake; a frying pan with its long handle
resting on a splint-bottom chair, and a teakettle swung from a log pole,
with myself setting the table, or turning the meat. Then came the blowing
of the conch-shell for father in the field, the howling of old Lion, the
gathering around the table, the blessing, the dull clatter of pewter
spoons on pewter dishes, and the talk about the crops and stock."

[11] For an account of the social conditions in 1820, read McMaster's
_History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, Chap, xxxvii; also
Eggleston's _Circuit Rider_, Cooper's _Prairie_, and _Recollections of
Life in Ohio_, by W. C. Howells.

[12] A story is told of an early settler who was elected to the
territorial legislature of Illinois. Till then he had always worn buckskin
clothes, but thinking them unbecoming a lawmaker, he and his sons gathered
hazel nuts and bartered them at the crossroads store for a few yards of
blue strouding, out of which the women of the settlement made him a coat
and pantaloons.

[13] On the Ohio River floated odd craft of many sorts. There were timber
rafts from the mountain streams; pirogues built of trunks of trees;
broadhorns; huge pointed and covered hulks carrying 50 tons of freight and
floating downstream with the current and upstream by means of poles,
sails, oars, or ropes; keel boats for upstream work, with long, narrow,
pointed bow and stern, roofed, manned with a crew of ten men, and
propelled with setting poles; flatboats which went downstream with the
pioneer never to come back--flat-bottomed, box-shaped craft manned by a
crew of six, kept in the current by oars 30 feet long called "sweeps" and
a steering oar 50 feet long at the stern. Those intended to go down the
Mississippi were strongly built, roofed over, and known as "Orleans
boats." "Kentucky flatboats" for use on the Ohio were half roofed and
slighter. Mingled with these were arks, galleys, rafts, and shanty boats
of every sort, and floating shops carrying goods, wares, and merchandise
to every farmhouse and settlement along the river bank. Now it would be a
floating lottery office, where tickets were sold for pork, grain, or
produce; now a tinner's establishment, where tinware was sold or mended;
now a smithy, where horses and oxen were shod and wagons mended; now a
factory for the manufacture of axes, scythes, and edge tools; now a dry-
goods shop fitted up just as were such shops in the villages, and filled
with all sorts of goods and wares needed by the settlers.

[14] This canal was originally a ditch 4 feet deep, 40 feet wide, and 363
miles long. The chief promoter was De Witt Clinton. The opponents of the
canal therefore called it in derision "Clinton's big ditch," and declared
that it could never be made a success. But Clinton and his friends carried
the canal to completion, and in 1825 a fleet of canal boats left Buffalo,
went through the canal, down the Hudson, and out into New York Bay. There
fresh water brought from Lake Erie in a keg was poured into the salt water
of the Atlantic.

[15] It was once hoped that Southern states also would in time abolish
slavery; but as more and more land was devoted to cotton raising in the
South, the demand for slave labor there increased. The South came to
regard slavery as necessary for her prosperity, and to desire its
extension to more territory.

[16] Meantime Arkansas (1819) had been organized as a slave-holding
territory. As Missouri had to make a state constitution and submit it to
Congress she did not enter the Union till 1821. The Compromise line 36°
30' was part of the south boundary of Missouri and extended to the 100th
meridian. Missouri did not have the present northwestern boundary till
1836; compare maps on pp. 279 and 331. On the Compromise read the speech
of Senator Rufus King, in Johnston's _American Orations_, Vol. II, pp. 33-
62; and that of Senator Pinckney, pp. 63-101.

[17] By the treaty with Great Britain in 1783 a line was to be drawn from
the Lake of the Woods _due west_ to the Mississippi. This was impossible,
but the difficulty was ended by the treaty of 1818. From the
northwesternmost point of the Lake of the Woods a line (as the treaty
provides) is drawn due south to the 49th parallel. This makes a little
knob on our boundary.

[18] We claimed it because in 1792 Captain Gray, in the ship _Columbia_,
discovered the river, entered, and named it after his ship; because in
1805-6 Lewis and Clark explored both its main branches and spent the
winter near its mouth; and because in 1811 an American fur-trading post,
Astoria, was built on the banks of the Columbia near its mouth. Great
Britain claimed a part of it because of explorations under Vancouver
(1792), and occupation of various posts by the Hudson's Bay Company. At
first Oregon was the country drained by the Columbia River. Through our
treaty with Spain, in 1819, part of the 42d parallel was made the southern
boundary. In 1824, by treaty with Russia, the country which then owned
Alaska, 54° 40' became the northern boundary. The Rocky Mountains were
understood to be the eastern limit.

[19] What is called the purchase of Florida consisted in releasing Spain
from all liability for damages of many sorts inflicted on our citizens
from 1793 to the date of the treaty, and paying them ourselves; the sum
was not to exceed $5,000,000.

[Illustration: THE UNITED STATES IN 1824.]



THE PARTY ISSUES.--The issues which divided the Federalists and the
Republicans from 1793 to 1815 arose chiefly from our foreign relations.
Neutrality, French decrees, British orders in council, search,
impressment, the embargo, non-intercourse, the war, were the matters that
concerned the people. Soon after 1815 all this changed; Napoleon was a
prisoner at St. Helena, Europe was at peace, and domestic issues began to
be more important.

THE ERA OF GOOD FEELING.--The election of 1816, however, was decided
chiefly on the issues of the war. James Monroe, [1] the Republican
candidate for President, was elected by a very large majority over Rufus
King. During Monroe's term domestic issues were growing up, but had not
become national. They were rather sectional. Party feeling subsided, and
this was so noticeable that his term was called "the Era of Good Feeling."
In this condition of affairs the Federalist party died out, and when
Monroe was renominated in 1820, no competitor appeared. [1] The
Federalists presented no candidate.

POLITICAL EVENTS.--The chief political events of Monroe's first term
(1817-21), as we have seen, were the admission of several new states, the
Compromise of 1820, and the treaties of 1818 and 1819, with Great Britain
and Spain. The chief political events of his second term (1821-25) were: a
dispute over the disposition of public lands in the new states; [3] a
dispute over the power of Congress to aid the building of roads and
canals, called "internal improvements"; the recognition of the
independence of South American colonies of Spain; the announcement of the
Monroe Doctrine; the passage of a new tariff act; and the breaking up of
the Republican party.

THE SOUTH AMERICAN REPUBLICS.--In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain, drove out
the king, and placed his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. Thereupon
many of the Spanish colonies in America rebelled and organized themselves
as republics. When Napoleon was sent to St. Helena, the Spanish king (who
was restored in 1814) brought back most of the colonies to their
allegiance. La Plata, however, rebelled, and was quickly followed by the
others. In 1822 President Monroe recognized the independence of La Plata
(Argentina), Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Central America.

THE HOLY ALLIANCE.--The king of Spain, unable to conquer the revolted
colonies, applied for aid to the Holy Alliance which was formed by Russia,
Prussia, Austria, and France for the purpose of maintaining monarchical
government in Europe. For a while these powers did nothing, but in 1823
they called a conference to consider the question of restoring to Spain
her South American colonies. But the South American republics had won
their independence from Spain, and had been recognized by us as sovereign
powers; what right had other nations to combine and force them back again
to the condition of colonies? In his annual message (December, 1823), the
President therefore took occasion to make certain announcements which have
ever since been called the Monroe Doctrine. [4]

[Illustration: AN OLD-TIME SOFA.]

THE MONROE DOCTRINE.--Referring to the conduct of the Holy Alliance, he

1. That the United States would not meddle in the political affairs of

2. That European governments must not extend their system to any part of
North and South America, nor in any way seek to control the destiny of any
of the nations of this hemisphere.

As Russia had been attempting to plant a colony on the coast of
California, which was then a part of Mexico, the President announced (as
another part of the doctrine)--

3. That the American continents were no longer open for colonization by
European powers.

[Illustration: AN OLD-TIME PIANO.]

THE TARIFF OF 1824.--Failure of the tariff of 1816 to shut out British
manufactures, the hard times of 1819, and the general ruin of business led
to a demand for another tariff in 1820. To this the cotton states were
bitterly opposed. In the South there were no manufacturing centers, no
great manufacturing industries of any sort. The planters sold their cotton
to the North and (chiefly) to Great Britain, from which they bought almost
all kinds of manufactured goods they used. Naturally, they wanted low
duties on their imported articles; just enough tax to support the
government and no more.

In the North, especially in towns now almost wholly given up to
manufactures, as Lynn and Lowell and Fall River and Providence and Cohoes
and Paterson and others; in regions where the farmers were raising sheep
for wool; in Pennsylvania, where iron was mined; and in Kentucky, where
the hemp fields were, people wanted domestic manufactures protected by a
high tariff.

The struggle was a long one. At each session of Congress from 1820 to 1824
the question came up. Finally in 1824 a new tariff for protection was
enacted despite the efforts of the South and part of New England.

BREAKING UP OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.--Though the three questions of
internal improvements, the tariff, and the use of the public lands led to
bitter disputes, they did less to break up the party harmony than the
action of the leaders. After the second election of Monroe the question of
his successor at once arose. The people of Tennessee nominated Andrew
Jackson; South Carolina named the Secretary of War, Calhoun; Kentucky
wanted Henry Clay, who had long been speaker of the House of
Representatives; the New England states were for John Quincy Adams, the
Secretary of State. Finally the usual party caucus of Republican members
of Congress nominated Crawford of Georgia, the Secretary of the Treasury.

THE ELECTION OF 1824-25.--The withdrawal of Calhoun from the race for the
presidency left in it Adams, Clay, Crawford, and Jackson, representing the
four sections of the country--Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest.
As no one had a majority of the electoral votes, it became the duty of the
House of Representatives to elect one from the three who had received the
highest votes. [5] They were Jackson, Adams, and Crawford. The House chose
Adams, [6] who was duly inaugurated in 1825. [7] The electoral college had
elected Calhoun Vice President. [8]

THE CHARGE OF CORRUPTION.--The friends of Jackson were bitterly
disappointed by his defeat. He was "the Man of the People," had received
the highest number of electoral votes (though not a majority), and ought,
they said, to have been elected by the House. That he had not been elected
was due, they claimed, to a bargain: Clay was to urge his friends to vote
for Adams; if elected, Adams was to make Clay Secretary of State. No such
bargain was ever made. But after Adams became President he appointed Clay
Secretary of State, and then the supporters of Jackson were convinced that
the charge was true.

RISE OF THE NEW PARTIES.--The legislature of Tennessee, therefore, at once
renominated Jackson, and about him gathered all who, for any reason,
disliked Adams and Clay, all who were opposed to the tariff and internal
improvements, or wanted "a man of the people" for President. They were
called Jackson men, or Democratic Republicans.

Adams, it was well known, would also be renominated, as the candidate of
the supporters of the tariff and internal improvements. They were the
Adams men, or National Republicans. Thus was the once harmonious
Republican party broken into fragments, out of which grew two distinctly
new parties.


THE TARIFF OF 1828.--The act of 1824 not proving satisfactory to the
growers and manufacturers of wool, a new tariff law was enacted in 1828.
So many and so high were the duties laid that the opponents of protection
named the law the Tariff of Abominations. To the cotton states it was
particularly hateful, and in memorials, resolutions, and protests they
declared that a tariff for protection was unconstitutional, unjust, and
oppressive. They made threats of ceasing to trade with the tariff states,
and talked of nullifying, or refusing to obey the law, and even of leaving
the Union.

THE ELECTION OF 1828.--Great as was the excitement in the South over this
new tariff law, it produced little effect in the struggle for the
presidency. The campaign had really been going on for three years past and
would have ended in the election of Jackson had the tariff never existed.
"Old Hickory," the "Hero of New Orleans," the "Man of the People," was
more than ever the favorite of the hour, and though his party was anti-
tariff he carried states where the voters were deeply interested in the
protection of manufactures. Indeed, he received more than twice the number
of electoral votes cast for Adams. [9]


1. After the election of Monroe (1816) the Federalist party died out, the
old party issues disappeared, and Monroe's term is known as the Era of
Good Feeling.

2. The South American colonies of Spain, having rebelled, formed
republics, and were recognized by the United States. To prevent
interference with them by European powers, especially by the Holy
Alliance, Monroe announced the doctrine now known by his name (1823).

3. The growth of the West and the rise of new states brought up the
question of internal improvements at national expense.

4. The growth of manufactures brought up the question of more protection
and a new tariff. In 1824 a new tariff law was enacted, in spite of the
opposition of the South, which had no manufactures and imported largely
from Great Britain.

5. These issues, which were largely sectional, and the action of certain
leaders, split the Republican party, and led to the nomination of four
presidential candidates in 1824.

6. The electors failed to choose a President, but did elect a Vice
President. Adams was then elected President by the House of

7. A new tariff was enacted in 1828, though the South opposed it even more
strongly than the tariff of 1824.

8. In 1828 Jackson, one of the candidates defeated in 1824, was elected



[1] James Monroe was a Virginian, born in 1758; he entered William and
Mary College, served in the Continental army, was a member of the Virginia
Assembly, of the Continental Congress for three years, and of the Virginia
convention that adopted the Federal Constitution in 1788. He strongly
opposed the adoption of the Constitution. As United States senator (1790-
94), he opposed Washington's administration; but was sent as minister to
France (1794-96). In 1799-1802 Monroe was governor of Virginia, and then
was sent to France to aid Livingston in the purchase of Louisiana; was
minister to Great Britain 1804-6, and in 1811-17 was Secretary of State,
and in 1814-15 acted also as Secretary of War. In 1817-25 he was
President. He died in 1831.

[2] Monroe carried every state in the Union and was entitled to every
electoral vote. But one elector did not vote for him, in order that
Washington might still have the honor of being the only President
unanimously elected.

[3] In the new Western states were great tracts which belonged to the
United States, and which the Western states now asked should be given to
them, or at least be sold to them for a few cents an acre. The East
opposed this, and asked for gifts of Western land which they might sell so
as to use the money to build roads and canals and establish free schools.

[4] Read McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. V, pp.

[5] Jackson had 99 votes, Adams 84, Crawford 41, and Clay 37. The
Constitution (Article XII of the amendments) provides that if no person
have a majority of the electoral votes, "then from the persons having the
highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as
President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by
ballot, the President."

[6] By a vote of 13 states, against 7 for Jackson, and 4 for Crawford.

[7] John Quincy Adams was born at Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1767, went
with his father John Adams to France, and spent several years abroad; then
graduated from Harvard, studied law, and was appointed by Washington
minister to the Netherlands and then to Portugal, and in 1797 to Prussia.
He was a senator from Massachusetts in 1803-8. In 1809 Madison sent him as
minister to Russia, where he was when the war opened in 1812. Of the five
commissioners at Ghent he was the ablest and the most conspicuous. In 1815
Madison appointed him minister to Great Britain, and in 1817 he came home
to be Secretary of State under Monroe. In 1831 he became a member of the
House of Representatives and continued as such till stricken in the House
with paralysis in February, 1848.

[8] John Caldwell Calhoun was born in South Carolina in 1782, entered Yale
College in 1802, studied law, and became a lawyer at Abbeville, South
Carolina, in 1807. In 1808 he went to the legislature, and in 1811 entered
Congress, and was appointed chairman of the committee on foreign
relations. As such he wrote the report and resolutions in favor of war
with Great Britain. At this period of his career he favored a liberal
construction of the Constitution, and supported the tariff of 1816, the
charter of the Second Bank of the United States, and internal
improvements. He was Secretary of War in Monroe's Cabinet, and was Vice
President from 1825 until 1832, when he resigned and entered the Senate,
where he remained most of the time till his death in 1850.

[9] This election is noteworthy also as the first in which nearly all the
states chose electors by popular vote. Only two of the twenty-four states
made the choice by vote of the legislature; in the others the popular vote
for Jackson electors numbered 647,276 and that for Adams electors 508,064.
A good book on presidential elections is _A History of the Presidency_, by
Edward Stanwood.



In many respects the election of Jackson [1] was an event of as much
political importance as was the election of Jefferson. Men hailed it as
another great uprising of the people, as another triumph of democracy.
They acted as if the country had been delivered from impending evil, and
hurried by thousands to Washington to see the hero inaugurated and the era
of promised reform opened. [2]

THE NEW PARTY.--Jackson treated the public offices as the "spoils of
victory," and within a few weeks hundreds of postmasters, collectors of
revenue, and other officeholders were turned out, and their places given
to active workers for Jackson. This "spoils system" was new in national
politics and created immense excitement. But it was nothing more than an
attempt to build up a new national party in the same way that parties had
already been built up in some of the states. [3]

JACKSON AS PRESIDENT.--In many respects Jackson's administration was the
most exciting the country had yet experienced. Never since the days of
President John Adams had party feeling run so high. The vigorous
personality of the President, his intense sincerity, his determination to
do, at all hazards, just what he believed to be right, made him devoted
friends and bitter enemies and led to his administration being often
called the Reign of Andrew Jackson. The questions with which he had to
deal were of serious importance, and on the solution of some of them hung
the safety of the republic.


THE SOUTH CAROLINA DOCTRINE.--Such a one was the old issue of the tariff.
The view of the South as set forth by the leaders, especially by Calhoun
of South Carolina, was that the state ought to nullify the Tariff Act of
1828 because it was unconstitutional. [4] Daniel Webster attacked this
South Carolina doctrine and (1830) argued the issue with Senator Hayne of
South Carolina. The speeches of the two men in the Senate, the debate
which followed, and the importance of the issue, make the occasion a
famous one in our history. That South Carolina would go so far as actually
to carry out the doctrine and nullify the tariff did not seem likely. But
the seriousness of South Carolina alarmed the friends of the tariff, and
in 1832 Congress amended the act of 1828 and reduced the duties.

SOUTH CAROLINA NULLIFIES THE TARIFF.--This did not satisfy South Carolina.
The new tariff still protected manufactures, and it was protection that
she opposed; and in November, 1832, she adopted the Ordinance of
Nullification, which forbade any of her citizens to pay the tariff duties
after February 1, 1833.

When Congress met in December, 1832, the great question was what to do
with South Carolina. Jackson was determined the law should be obeyed, [5]
sent vessels to Charleston harbor, and asked for a Force Act to enable him
to collect the revenue by force if necessary. [6]

THE GREAT DEBATE.--In the course of the debate on the Force Act, Calhoun
(who had resigned the vice presidency and had been elected a senator from
South Carolina) explained and defended nullification and contended that it
was a peaceable and lawful remedy and a proper exercise of state rights.
Webster [7] denied that the Constitution was a mere compact, declared that
nullification and secession were rebellion, and upheld the authority and
sovereignty of the Union. [8]


THE COMPROMISE OF 1833.--Clay meantime came forward with a compromise. He
proposed that the tariff of 1832 should be reduced gradually till 1842,
when all duties should be twenty per cent on the value of the articles
imported. As such duties would not be protective, Calhoun and the other
Southern members accepted the plan, and the Compromise Tariff was passed
in March, 1833. [10] To satisfy the North arid uphold the authority of the
government, the Force Act also was passed. But as South Carolina repealed
the Ordinance of Nullification there was never any need to use force.

FIRST NATIONAL NOMINATING CONVENTIONS.--In the midst of the excitement
over the tariff, came the election of 1832. Since 1824, when the
Republican party was breaking up, presidential candidates had been
nominated by state legislatures and caucuses of members of state
legislatures. But in 1831 the Antimasons [11] held a convention at
Baltimore, nominated William Wirt and Amos Ellmaker for President and Vice
President, and so introduced the national nominating convention.

The example thus set was quickly followed: in December, 1831, a national
convention of National Republicans nominated Clay (then a senator) for
President, and John Sergeant for Vice President. In May, 1832, a national
convention of Jackson men, or Democrats as some called them, nominated
Martin Van Buren for Vice President. There was no need to renominate
Jackson, for in a letter to some friends he had already declared himself a
candidate, and many state legislatures had made the nomination. He was
still the idol of the people and was re-elected by a greater majority than
in 1828.

THE BANK ATTACKED.--One of the issues in the campaign was the recharter of
the Bank of the United States, whose charter was to expire in 1836.
Jackson always hated that institution, had attacked it in his annual
messages, and had vetoed (1832) a recharter bill passed (for political
effect) by Clay and his friends in Congress.

REMOVAL OF THE DEPOSITS.--Jackson therefore looked upon his reflection as
a popular approval of his treatment of the bank. He continued to attack
it, and in 1833 requested the Secretary of the Treasury, William Duane, to
remove the deposits of government money from the bank and its branches.
When Duane refused, Jackson turned him out of office and put in Roger B.
Taney, who made the removal. [12]

The Senate passed resolutions, moved by Clay, censuring the President for
this action; but Senator Benton of Missouri said that he would not rest
till the censure was expunged. Expunging now became a party question;
state after state instructed its senators to vote for it, and finally in
1837 the Senate ordered a black line to be drawn around the resolutions
and the words "Expunged by order of the Senate" to be written across them.

RISE OF THE WHIG PARTY.--The hatred which the National Republicans felt
for Jackson was intense. They accused him of trying to set up a despotic
government, and, asserting that they were contending against the same kind
of tyranny our forefathers fought against in the War of Independence, they
called themselves Whigs. In the state elections of 1834 the new name came
into general use, and thenceforth for many years there was a national Whig

THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT.--The Missouri Compromise was supposed to have
settled the issue of slavery. But its effect was just the reverse.
Antislavery agitators were aroused. The antislavery newspapers grew more
numerous and aggressive. New antislavery societies were formed and old
ones were revived and became aggressive, and in 1833 delegates from many
of them met at Philadelphia and formed the American Antislavery Society.

ANTISLAVERY DOCUMENTS.--The field of work for the anti-slavery people was
naturally the South. That section was flooded with newspapers, pamphlets,
pictures, and handbills intended to stir up sentiment for instant
abolition of slavery and liberation of the slaves.


Against this the South protested, declared such documents were likely to
cause slaves to run away or rise in insurrection, and called on the North
to suppress them.

PROSLAVERY MOBS.--To stop their circulation by legal means was not
possible; so attempts were made to do it by illegal means. In many
Northern cities, as Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Utica, and elsewhere,
mobs broke up the antislavery meetings. In Charleston, South Carolina, the
postmaster seized some antislavery documents and the people burned them.
At Cincinnati the newspaper office of James G. Birney was twice sacked and
his presses destroyed (1836). Another at Alton, Illinois, was four times
attacked, and the owner, Elijah Lovejoy, was at last killed by the mob
while protecting his press.

THE RIGHT OF PETITION.--Not content with this, the pro-slavery people
attempted to pass a bill through Congress (1836) to exclude antislavery
documents from the mails, and even attacked the right of petition. The
bill to close the mails to antislavery documents failed. But the attempt
to exclude antislavery petitions from the House of Representatives
succeeded: a "Gag Rule" was adopted which forbade any petition,
resolution, or paper relating in any way to slavery or the abolition of
slavery to be received, and this was in force down to 1844. [14]

OUR COUNTRY OUT OF DEBT.--Despite all this political commotion our country
for years past had prospered greatly. In this prosperity the government
had shared. Its income had far exceeded its expenses, and by using the
surplus year by year to reduce the national debt it succeeded in paying
the last dollar by 1835.

THE SURPLUS.--After the debt was extinguished a surplus still remained,
and was greatly increased by a sudden speculation in public lands, so that
by the middle of 1836 the government had more than $40,000,000 of surplus
money in the banks.

What to do with the money was a serious question, and all sorts of uses
were suggested. But Congress decided that from the surplus as it existed
on January 1, 1837, $5,000,000 should be subtracted and the remainder
distributed among the states in four installments. [15]

THE ELECTION OF VAN BUREN.--When the time came to choose a successor to
Jackson, a Democratic national convention nominated Martin Van Buren, with
Richard M. Johnson for Vice President. The Whigs were too disorganized to
hold a national convention; but most of them favored William Henry
Harrison for President. Van Buren was elected (1836); but no candidate for
Vice President received a majority of the electoral vote. The duty of
choosing that officer therefore passed to the United States Senate, which
elected Richard M. Johnson.

THE ERA OF SPECULATION.--On March 4, 1837, Van Buren [16] entered on a
term made memorable by one of the worst panics our country has
experienced. From 1834 to 1836 was a period of wild speculation. Money was
plentiful and easy to borrow, and was invested in all sorts of schemes by
which people expected to make fortunes. Millions of acres of the public
land were bought and held for a rise in price. Real estate in the cities
sold for fabulous prices. Cotton, timber lands in Maine, railroad, canal,
bank, and state stocks, and lots in Western towns which had no existence
save on paper, all were objects of speculation.

[Illustration: NEW YORK MERCHANT, 1837.]

PANIC OF 1837.--Money used for these purposes was borrowed largely from
the state banks, and much of it was the surplus which the government had
deposited in the banks. When, therefore, in January, 1837, the government
drew out one quarter of its surplus to distribute among the states, the
banks were forced to stop making loans and call in some of the money they
had lent. This hurt business of every sort. Quite unexpectedly the price
of cotton fell; this ruined many. Business men failed by scores, and the
merchants of New York appealed to Van Buren to assemble Congress and stop
the further distribution of the surplus. Van Buren refused, and the banks
of New York city suspended specie payment, that is, no longer redeemed
their notes in gold and silver. Those in every other state followed, and a
panic swept over the country. [17]

THE NEW NATIONAL DEBT.--With business at a standstill, the national
revenues fell off; and the desperate financial state of the country forced
Van Buren to call Congress together in September. By that time the third
installment of the surplus had been paid to the states, and times were
harder than ever. To mend matters Congress suspended payment of the fourth
installment, and authorized the debts of the government to be paid in
treasury notes. This put our country again in debt, and it has ever since
remained so.

POLITICAL DISCONTENT.--As always happens in periods of financial distress,
hard times bred political discontent. The Whigs laid all the blame on the
Democrats, who, they said, had destroyed the United States Bank, and by
their reckless financial policy had caused the panic and the hard times.
Whether this was true or not, the people believed it, and various state
elections showed signs of a Whig victory in 1840. [18]

THE LOG-CABIN CAMPAIGN.--The Whigs in their national convention nominated
William Henry Harrison and John Tyler. The Democrats renominated Van
Buren, but named no one for the vice presidency. The antislavery people,
in hopes of drawing off from the Whig and Democratic parties those who
were opposed to slavery, and so making a new party, nominated James G.

The Whig convention did not adopt a platform, but an ill-timed sneer at
Harrison furnished just what they needed. He would, a Democratic newspaper
said, be more at home in a log cabin drinking cider than living in the
White House as President. The Whigs hailed this sneer as an insult to the
millions of Americans who then lived, or had once lived, or whose parents
had dwelt in log cabins, and made the cabin the emblem of their party. Log
cabins were erected in every city, town, and village as Whig headquarters;
were mounted on wheels, were drawn from place to place, and lived in by
Whig stump speakers. Great mass meetings were held, and the whole campaign
became one of frolic, song, and torchlight processions. [19] The people
wanted a change. Harrison was an ideal popular candidate, and "Tippecanoe
[20] and Tyler too" and a Whig Congress were elected.

DEATH OF HARRISON; TYLER PRESIDENT (1841).--As soon as Harrison was
inaugurated, a special session of Congress was called to undo the work of
the Democrats. But one month after inauguration day Harrison died, and
when Congress assembled, Tyler [21] was President.


1. The inauguration of Jackson was followed by the introduction of the
"spoils system" into national politics.

2. The question of nullification was debated in the Senate by Webster and
Hayne. Under Calhoun's leadership, South Carolina nullified the tariff of
1832. Jackson asked for a Force Act; but the dispute was settled by the
Compromise of 1833.

3. Jackson vigorously opposed the Bank of the United States, and after his
reëlection he ordered the removal of the government deposits.

4. This period is notable in the history of political parties for (1) the
introduction of the national nominating convention, (2) the rise of the
Whig party, (3) the formation of the antislavery party.

5. Slavery was now a national issue. An attempt was made to shut
antislavery documents out of the mails, and antislavery petitions were
shut out of the House of Representatives.

6. Financially, Jackson's second term is notable for (1) the payment of
the national debt, (2) the growth of a great surplus in the treasury, (3)
the distribution of the surplus among the states.

7. The manner of distributing the surplus revenue among the states
interrupted a period of wild speculation and brought on the panic of 1837.

8. Van Buren, who succeeded Jackson as President, called a special session
of Congress; and the fourth installment of the surplus was withheld.

9. Financial distress, hard times, and general discontent led to a demand
for a change; and the log-cabin, hard-cider campaign that followed ended
with the election of Harrison (1840).


[1] Andrew Jackson was born in Waxhaw, North Carolina, 1767, but always
considered himself a native of South Carolina, for the place of his birth
was on the border of the two states. During the Revolution a party of
British came to the settlement where Jackson lived. An officer ordered the
boy to clean his boots, and when Jackson refused, struck him with a sword,
inflicting wounds on his head and arm. Andrew and his brothers were taken
prisoners to Camden. His mother obtained his release and shortly after
died while on her way to nurse the sick prisoners in Charleston. Left an
orphan, Jackson worked at saddlery, taught school, studied law, and went
to Tennessee in 1788; was appointed a district attorney, in 1796 was the
first representative to Congress from the state of Tennessee, and in 1797
became one of its senators. In 1798-1804 he was one of the judges of the
Tennessee supreme court. His military career began in 1813-14, when he
beat the Indians in the Creek War. In 1814 he was made a major general, in
1815 won the battle of New Orleans, and in 1818 beat the Seminoles in
Florida. He was the first governor of the territory of Florida. He died in
June, 1845. Read the account of Jackson's action in the Seminole War and
the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, in McMaster's _History of the
People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp. 439-456.

[2] The inauguration was of the simplest kind. Uncovered, on foot,
escorted by the committee in charge, and surrounded on both sides by gigs,
wood wagons, hacks full of women and children, and followed by thousands
of men from all parts of the country, Jackson walked from his hotel to the
Capitol and on the east portico took the oath of office. A wild rush was
then made by the people to shake his hand. With difficulty the President
reached a horse and started for the White House, "pursued by a motley
concourse of people, riding, running helter-skelter, striving who should
first gain admittance." So great was the crowd at the White House that
Jackson was pushed through the drawing room and would have been crushed
against the wall had not his friends linked arms and made a barrier about
him. The windows had to be opened to enable the crowd to leave the room.

[3] Editors of newspapers that supported Jackson were given office or were
rewarded with public printing, and a party press devoted to the President
was thus established. To keep both workers and newspapers posted as to the
policy of the administration, there was set up at Washington a partisan
journal for which all officeholders were expected to subscribe. The
President, ignoring his secretaries, turned for advice to a few party
leaders whom the Adams men nicknamed the "Kitchen Cabinet."

[4] Calhoun maintained (1) that the Constitution is a compact or contract
between the states; (2) that Congress can only exercise such power as this
compact gives it; (3) that when Congress assumes power not given it, and
enacts a law it has no authority to enact, any state may veto, or nullify,
that law, that is, declare it not a law within her boundary; (4) that
Congress has no authority to lay a tariff for any other purpose than to
pay the debts of the United States; (5) that the tariff to protect
manufactures was therefore an exercise of power not granted by the
Constitution. This view of the Constitution was held by the Southern
states generally. But as the two most ardent expounders of it were Hayne
and Calhoun, both of South Carolina, it was called the South Carolina

[5] On the anniversary of Jefferson's birthday, April 13, 1830, a great
dinner was given in Washington at which nullification speeches were made
in response to toasts. Jackson was present, and when called on for a toast
offered this: "Our Federal Union, it must be preserved."

[6] Read McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp.

[7] Daniel Webster was born in New Hampshire in 1782, graduated from
Dartmouth, studied law, wrote some pamphlets, and made several Fourth of
July orations, praising the Federal Constitution and denouncing the
embargo. In 1813 he entered Congress as a representative from New
Hampshire, but lost his seat by removing to Boston in 1816. In 1823
Webster returned to Congress as a representative from one of the
Massachusetts districts, rose at once to a place of leadership, and in
1827 entered the United States Senate. By this time he was famous as an
orator. Passages from his speeches were recited by schoolboys, and such
phrases as "Our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country,"
"Thank God, I, I also, am an American," "Independence _now_, and
Independence forever!" passed into everyday speech. In his second reply to
Hayne of South Carolina, defending and explaining the Constitution (p.
290), he closed with the words "Liberty and Union, now and forever, one
and inseparable." In 1836 he received the electoral vote of Massachusetts
for the presidency. He was a senator for many years, was twice Secretary
of State, and died in October, 1852.

[9] Read the speeches of Calhoun in Johnston's _American Orations_,
Vol. I, pp. 303-319.

[10] Shortly before February 1, 1833, the day on which nullification was
to go into effect, the South Carolina leaders met and suspended the
Ordinance of Nullification till March 3, the last day of the session of
Congress. This, of course, they had no power to do. The state authorities
did not think it wise to put the ordinance in force till they saw what
Congress would do with the tariff.

[11] In 1826 a Mason named William Morgan, living at Batavia, in western
New York, threatened to reveal the secrets of masonry. But about the time
his book was to appear, he suddenly disappeared. The Masons were accused
of having killed him, and the people of western New York denounced them at
public meetings as members of a society dangerous to the state. A party
pledged to exclude Masons from public office was quickly formed and soon
spread into Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New England, where it became very

[12] This so-called removal consisted in depositing the revenue, as it was
collected, in a few state banks, the "pet banks,"--instead of in the
United States Bank as before,--and gradually drawing out the money on
deposit with the United States Bank. Read an account of the interviews of
Jackson with committees from public meetings in McMaster's _History of
the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp. 200-204.

[13] The principles of this new society, formulated by William Lloyd
Garrison, were: (1) that each state had a right to regulate slavery within
its boundaries; (2) that Congress should stop the interstate slave trade;
(3) that Congress should abolish slavery in the territories and in the
District of Columbia; (4) that Congress should admit no more slave states
into the Union.

[14] Read Whittier's poem _A Summons_--"Lines written on the adoption
of Pinckney's Resolutions."

[15] The surplus on January 1, 1837, was $42,468,000. The amount to be
distributed therefore was $37,468,000. Only three installments (a little
over $28,000,000) were paid. For the use the states made of the money,
read McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp. 351-

[16] Martin Van Buren was born in New York state in 1782, studied law,
began his political career at eighteen, and held several offices before he
was sent to the state senate in 1812. From 1815 to 1819 he was attorney
general of New York, became United States senator in 1821, and was
reflected in 1827; but resigned in 1828 to become governor of New York.
Jackson appointed him Secretary of State in 1829; but he resigned in 1831
and was sent as minister to Great Britain. The appointment was made during
a recess of the Senate, which later refused to confirm the appointment,
and Van Buren was forced to come home. Because of this "party persecution"
the Democrats nominated him for Vice President in 1832, and from 1833 to
1837 he had the pleasure of presiding over the body that had rejected him.
He died in 1862.

[17] Specie payment was resumed in the autumn of 1838; but most of the
banks again suspended in 1839, and again in 1841. Read the account of the
panic in McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp.

[18] Financial distress was not the only thing that troubled Van Buren's
administration. During 1837 many Canadians rebelled against misrule, and
began the "Patriot War" in their country. One of their leaders enlisted
aid in Buffalo, and seized a Canadian island in the Niagara River. The
steamer _Caroline_ was then run between this island and the New York
shore, carrying over visitors, and, it was claimed, guns and supplies.
This was unlawful, and one night in December, 1837, a force of Canadian
government troops rowed over to the New York shore, boarded the
_Caroline_, and destroyed her; it was a disputed question whether she
was burned and sunk, or whether she was set afire and sent over the Falls.
The whole border from Vermont to Michigan became greatly excited over this
invasion of our territory. Men volunteered in the "Patriot" cause,
supplies and money were contributed, guns were taken from government
arsenals, and raids were made into Canada. Van Buren sent General Scott to
the frontier, did what he could to preserve peace and neutrality, and thus
made himself unpopular in the border states. There was also danger of war
over the disputed northern boundary of Maine. State troops were sent to
the territory in dispute, along the Aroostook River (1839; map, p. 316);
but Van Buren made an unpopular agreement with the British minister,
whereby the troops were withdrawn and both sides agreed not to use force.

[19] In the West, men came to these meetings in huge canoes and wagons of
all sorts, and camped on the ground. At one meeting the ground covered by
the people was measured, and allowing four to the square yard it was
estimated about 80,000 attended. Dayton, in Ohio, claimed 100,000 at her
meeting. At Bunker Hill there were 60,000. In the processions, huge balls
were rolled along to the cry, "Keep the ball a-rolling." Every log cabin
had a barrel of hard cider and a gourd drinking cup near it. On the walls
were coon skins, and the latch-string was always hanging out. More than a
hundred campaign songs were written and sung to popular airs. Every Whig
wore a log-cabin medal, or breastpin, or badge, or carried a log-cabin
cane. Read McMaster's _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI,
pp. 550-588.

[20] The battle fought in 1811, meaning Harrison, the victor in that
battle. See note on p. 254.

[21] John Tyler was born in Virginia in 1790 and died in 1862. At twenty-
one he was elected to the legislature of Virginia, was elected to the
House of Representatives in 1821, and favored the admission of Missouri as
a slave state. In 1825 he became governor of Virginia, and in 1827 was
elected to the United States Senate. There he opposed the tariff and
internal improvements, supported Jackson, but condemned his proclamation
to the milliners, voted for the censure of Jackson, and when instructed by
Virginia to vote for expunging, refused and resigned from the Senate in




Back to Full Books