A School History of the United States
John Bach McMaster
Part 5 out of 10
Effect of the expiration of the charter of the Bank of the
General suspension in 1814.
Reason for chartering the second Bank of the United States.
SETTLEMENT OF OUR BOUNDARIES
%291. Monroe inaugurated.%--The administration of Madison ended on
March 4, 1817, and on that day James Monroe and Daniel D. Tompkins were
sworn into office. They had been nominated at Washington in February,
1816, by a caucus of Republican members of Congress, for no such thing
as a national convention for the nomination of a President had as yet
been thought of. The Federalists did not hold a caucus; but it was
understood that their electors would vote for Rufus King for
[Footnote 1: In 1816 there were nineteen states in the Union (Indiana
having been admitted in that year), and of these Monroe carried sixteen
and King three. The inauguration took place in the open air for the
first time since 1789.]
[Illustration: on the right of the previous paragraph, with caption
%292. Death of the Federalist Party.%--The inauguration of Monroe
opens a new era of great interest and importance in our history. From
1793 to 1815, the questions which divided the people into Federalists
and Republicans were all in some way connected with foreign countries.
They were neutral rights, Orders in Council, French Decrees,
impressment, embargoes, non-intercourse acts, the conduct of England,
the insolence of the French Directory, the triumphs and the treachery of
Napoleon. Every Federalist sympathized with England; every Republican
was a warm supporter of France.
But with the close of the war in 1815, all this ended. Napoleon was sent
to St. Helena. Europe was at peace, and there was no longer any foreign
question to divide the people into Federalists and Republicans. This
division, therefore, ceased to exist, and after 1816 the Federalist
party never put up a candidate for the presidency. It ceased to exist
not only as a national but even as a state party, and for twelve years
there was one great party, the Republican, or, as it soon began to be
called, the Democratic.
%293. The "Era of Good Feeling."%--A sure sign of the disappearance
of party and party feeling was seen very soon after Monroe was
inaugurated. In May, 1817, he left Washington with the intention of
visiting and inspecting all the forts and navy yards along the eastern
seaboard and the Great Lakes. Beginning at Baltimore, he went to New
York, then to Boston, and then to Portland; where he turned westward,
and crossing New Hampshire and Vermont to Lake Champlain, made his way
to Ogdensburg, where he took a boat to Sacketts Harbor and Niagara,
whence he went to Buffalo, and Detroit, and then back to Washington.
Wherever he went, the people came by thousands to greet him; but nowhere
was the reception so hearty as in New England, the stronghold of
Federalism. "The visit of the President," said a Boston newspaper,
"seems wholly to have allayed the storms of party. People _now meet in
the same room_ who, a short while since, _would scarcely pass along the
same street_". Another said that since Monroe's arrival at Boston "party
feeling and animosities have been laid aside, and but one great
_national feeling_ has animated every class of our citizens." So it was
everywhere, and when, therefore, the Boston Sentinel_ called the times
the "era of good feeling," the whole country took up the expression and
used it, and the eight years of Monroe's administration have ever since
been so called.
%294. Trouble with the Seminole Indians.%--Though all was quiet and
happy within our borders, events of great importance were happening
along our northern, western, and southern frontier. During the war with
England, the Creek Indians in Georgia and Alabama had risen against the
white settlers and were beaten and driven out by Jackson and forced to
take refuge with the Seminoles in Florida. As they had been the allies
of England, they fully expected that when peace was made, England would
secure for them the territory of which Jackson had deprived them. When
England did not do this, they grew sullen and savage, and in 1817 began
to make raids over the border, run off cattle and murder men, women, and
children. In order to stop these depredations, General Jackson was sent
to the frontier, and utterly disregarding the fact that the Creeks and
Seminoles were on Spanish soil, he entered West Florida, took St. Marks
and Pensacola, destroyed the Indian power, and hanged two English
traders as spies.
[Footnote 1: Parton's _Life of Jackson_, Chaps. 34-36; McMaster's
_History_, Vol. IV., pp. 430-456.]
%295. The Canadian Boundary; Forty-ninth Parallel.%--This was
serious, for at the time the news reached Washington that Jackson had
invaded Spanish soil and hanged two English subjects, important treaties
were under way with Spain and Great Britain, and it was feared his
violent acts would stop them. Happily no evil consequences followed, and
in 1818 an agreement was reached as to the dividing line between the
United States and British America.
When Louisiana came to us, no limit was given to it on the north, and
fifteen years had been allowed to pass without attempting to establish
one. Now, however, the boundary was declared to be a line drawn south
from the most northwestern point of the Lake of the Woods to the
forty-ninth parallel of north latitude and along this parallel to the
summit of the Rocky Mountains.
%296. Joint Occupation of Oregon.%--The country beyond the Rocky
Mountains, the Oregon country, was claimed by both England and the
United States; so it was agreed in the treaty of 1818 that for ten years
to come the country should be held in joint occupation.
%297. The Spanish Boundary Line.%--One year later (1819) the boundary
of Louisiana was completed by a treaty with Spain, which now sold us
East and West Florida for $5,000,000. Till this time we had always
claimed that Louisiana extended across Texas as far as the Rio Grande.
By the treaty this claim was given up, and the boundary became the
Sabine River from the Gulf of Mexico to 32 deg., then a north line to the
Red River; westward along this river to the 100th meridian; then
northward to the Arkansas River, and westward to its source in the Rocky
Mountains; then a north line to 42 deg., and then along that parallel to the
[Footnote 1: McMaster's _History of the People of the United States_,
Vol. IV., pp. 457-480.]
%298. Russian Claims on the Pacific.%--The Oregon country was thus
restricted to 42 deg. on the south, and though it had no limit on the north
the Emperor of Russia (in 1822) undertook to fix one at 51 deg., which he
declared should be the south boundary of Alaska. Oregon was thus to
extend from 42 deg. to 51 deg., and from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. But
Russia had also founded a colony in California, and seemed to be
preparing to shut the United States from the Pacific coast. Against all
this John Quincy Adams, then Secretary of State, protested, telling the
Russian minister that European powers no longer had a right to plant
colonies in either North or South America.
%299. The Holy Allies and the South American Republics.%--This was a
new doctrine, and while the United States and Russia were discussing the
boundary of Oregon, it became necessary to make another declaration
regarding the rights of European powers in the two Americas.
Ever since 1793, when Washington issued his proclamation of neutrality
(p. 206), the policy of the United States had been to take no part in
European wars, nor meddle in European politics. This had been asserted
repeatedly by Washington, Jefferson, and Monroe, and during all the
wars from 1793 to 1815 had been carefully adhered to. It was supposed,
of course, that if we did not meddle in the affairs of the Old World
nations, they would not interfere in affairs over here. But about 1822
it seemed likely that they would interfere very seriously.
[Footnote 1: See Washington's _Farewell Address_; Jefferson's _Inaugural
Address_, March 4, 1801; also his message to Congress, Oct. 17, 1803;
Monroe's _Inaugural Address_, March 4, 1817, and messages, Dec. 2, 1817,
Nov. 17, 1818, Nov. 14, 1820; see also _American History Leaflets_,
[Illustration: %NORTH AMERICA AFTER 1824%]
Beginning with 1810, the Spanish colonies of Mexico and South America
(Chile, Peru, Buenos Ayres, Colombia) rebelled, formed republics, and in
1822 were acknowledged as free and independent powers by the United
States. Spain, after vainly attempting to subdue them, appealed for help
to the powers of Europe, which in 1815 had formed a Holy Alliance for
the purpose of maintaining monarchical government. For a while these
powers (Russia, Prussia, Austria, France) held aloof. But in 1823 they
decided to help Spain to get back her old colonies, and invited Great
Britain to attend a Congress before which the matter was to be
discussed. But Great Britain had no desire to see the little republics
destroyed, and in the summer of 1823, the British Prime Minister asked
the American minister in London if the United States would join with
England in a declaration warning the Holy Allies not to meddle with the
South American republics. Thus, just at the time when Adams was
protesting against European colonization in the Northwest, England
suggested a protest against European meddling in the affairs of Spanish
America. The opportunity was too good to be lost, and Adams succeeded in
persuading President Monroe to make a protest in behalf of the nation
against both forms of European interference in American affairs. Monroe
thought it best to make the declaration independent of Great Britain,
and in his annual message to Congress, December 2, 1823, he announced
three great guiding principles now known as the
%300. Monroe Doctrine.%--
1. Taking up the matter in dispute with Russia, he declared that the
American continents were no longer open to colonization by
Referring to the conduct of the Holy Allies, he said,
2. That the United States would not meddle in the political affairs of
3. That European governments must not extend their system to any part of
North or South America, nor oppress, nor in any other manner seek to
control the destiny of any of the nations of this hemisphere.
[Footnote 1: McMaster's _With the Fathers_, pp. 1-54; Tucker's _Monroe
The protest was effectual. The Holy Allies did not meddle in South
American affairs, and the next year (1824) Russia agreed to make no
settlement south of 54 deg. 40'.
1. At the presidential election of 1816 the Federalist party, for the
last time, voted for a presidential candidate. Party politics were dead,
and the "era of good feeling" opened.
2. Many important matters which were not settled by the Treaty of Ghent
were disposed of:
A. The forty-ninth parallel was made the boundary from a
point south of the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains.
B. Oregon was held in joint occupation.
C. The line 54 deg. 40' was established.
3. The boundary between the United States and the Spanish possessions
was drawn, and Florida was acquired.
4. The Monroe doctrine was announced.
* * * * *
SOME RESULTS OF THE WAR.
_Death of the Federalist party_ ...
End of the European war.
Disappearance of old party issues.
Monroe elected President.
The "era of good feeling."
_Seminole War_ ...
Creek Indians join the English.
Driven out of Alabama by Jackson.
Take refuge with Florida Seminoles.
After the war rise against the settlers in Georgia.
Destroyed by Jackson.
_The boundaries_ ...
1818. Northern boundary of Louisiana
settled to the Rocky Mountains.
1819. Treaty with Spain settled the south
boundary of Louisiana.
1818. Joint occupation of Oregon.
1824. North boundary of Oregon established at 54 deg. 40'.
_The Monroe Doctrine._
The Holy Allies.
The South American republics.
Proposal of the Holy Allies to reduce the
South American republics.
The Monroe Doctrine announced (1823).
THE RISING WEST
%301. Rush into the West.%--The settlement of our boundary disputes,
especially with Spain, was most timely, for even then people were
hurrying across the mountains by tens of thousands, and building up new
states in the Mississippi valley. The great demand for ships and
provisions, which from 1793 to 1807 had made business so brisk, had kept
people on the seaboard and given them plenty of employment. But after
1812, and particularly after 1815, trade, commerce, and business on the
seaboard declined, work became scarce, and men began to emigrate to the
West, where they could buy land from the government on the installment
plan, and where the states could not tax their farms until five years
after the government had given them a title deed. Old settlers in
central New York declared they had never seen so many teams and sleighs,
loaded with women, children, and household goods, traveling westward,
bound for Ohio, which was then but another name for the West.
As the year wore away, the belief was expressed that when autumn came it
would be found that the worst was over, and that the good times expected
to follow peace would keep people on the seaboard. But the good times
did not return. The condition of trade and commerce, of agriculture and
manufactures, grew worse instead of better, and the western movement of
population became greater than ever.
%302. Rapid Growth of Towns.%--Fed by this never-ending stream of
newcomers, the West was almost transformed. Towns grew and villages
sprang up with a rapidity which even in these days of rapid and easy
communication would be thought amazing. Mt. Pleasant, in Jefferson
County, Ohio, was in 1810 a little hamlet of seven families living in
cabins. In 1815 it contained ninety families, numbering 500 souls. The
town of Vevay, Ind., was laid out in 1813, and was not much better than
a collection of huts in 1814. But in 1816 the traveler down the Ohio who
stopped at Vevay found himself at a flourishing county seat, with
seventy-five dwellings, occupied by a happy population who boasted of
having among them thirty-one mechanics of various trades; of receiving
three mails each week, and supporting a weekly newspaper called the
_Indiana Register_. Forty-two thousand settlers are said to have come
into Indiana in 1816, and to have raised the population to 112,000.
Letters from New York describe the condition of that state west of Utica
as one of astonishing prosperity. Log cabins were disappearing, and
frame and brick houses taking their place. The pike from Utica to
Buffalo was almost a continuous village, and the country for twenty
miles on either side was filling up with an industrious population.
Auburn, where twenty years before land sold for one dollar an acre, was
the first town in size and wealth west of Utica, and land within its
limits brought $7000 an acre. Fourteen miles west was Waterloo, on the
Seneca River, a village which did not exist in 1814, and which in 1816
had fifty houses. Rochester, the site of which in 1815 was a wilderness,
had a printing press, a bookstore, and a hundred houses in 1817.
[Footnote 1: McMaster's _History of the People of the United States_,
Vol. IV., pp. 381-386.]
%303. Scenes on the Western Highways.%--By 1817 this migration was at
its height, and in the spring of that year families set forth from
almost every village and town on the seaboard. The few that went from
each place might not be missed; but when they were gathered on any one
of the great roads to the West, as that across New York, or that across
Pennsylvania, they made an endless procession of wagons and
A traveler who had occasion to go from Nashville to Savannah in January,
1817, declares that on the way he fell in with crowds of emigrants from
Carolina and Georgia, all bound for the cotton lands of Alabama; that he
counted the flocks and wagons, and that--carts, gigs, coaches, and
wagons, all told--there were 207 conveyances, and more than 3800 people.
At Haverhill, in Massachusetts, a train of sixteen wagons, with 120 men,
women, and children, from Durham, Me., passed in one day. They were
bound for Indiana to buy a township, and were accompanied by their
minister. Within thirteen days, seventy-three wagons and 450 emigrants
had passed through the same town of Haverhill. At Easton, Pa., which lay
on the favorite westward route for New Englanders, 511 wagons, with 3066
persons, passed in a month. They went in trains of from six to fifty
wagons each day. The keeper of Gate No. 2, on the Dauphin turnpike, in
Pennsylvania, returned 2001 families as having passed his gate, bound
west, between March and December, 1817, and gave the number of people
accompanying the vehicles as 16,000. Along the New York route, which
went across the state from Albany to Buffalo, up Lake Erie, and on by
way of Chautauqua Lake to the Allegheny, the reports are just as
astonishing. Two hundred and sixty wagons were counted going by one
tavern in nine days, besides hundreds of people on horseback and
[Footnote 1: McMaster's _History_. Vol. IV., pp. 387, 388.]
%304. Life on the Frontier.%--The "mover," or, as we should say, the
emigrant, would provide himself with a small wagon, very light, but
strong enough to carry his family, provisions, bedding, and utensils;
would cover it with a blanket or a piece of canvas or with linen which
was smeared with tar inside to make it waterproof; and with two stout
horses to pull it, would set out for the West, and make his way across
Pennsylvania to Pittsburg, then the greatest city of the West, with a
population of 7000. Some, as of old, would take boats and float down the
Ohio; others would go on to Wheeling, be ferried across the river, and
push into Ohio or Indiana or Illinois, there to "take up" a quarter
section (160 acres) of government land, or buy or rent a "clearing" from
some shiftless settler of an earlier day. Government land intended for
sale was laid out in quarter sections of 160 acres, and after being
advertised for a certain time was offered for sale at public auction.
What was not sold could then be purchased at the land office of the
district at two dollars an acre, one quarter to be paid down, and three
fourths before the expiration of four years. The emigrant, having
gathered eighty dollars, would go to some land office, "enter" a quarter
section, pay the first installment, and make his way in the two-horse
wagon containing his family and his worldly goods to the spot where was
to be his future home. Every foot of it in all probability would be
covered with bushes and trees.
[Illustration: Distribution of the Population of the United States
Fourth Census, 1820]
%305. The Log Cabin.%--In that case the settler would cut down a few
saplings, make a "half-faced camp," and begin his clearing. The
"half-faced camp" was a shed. Three sides were of logs laid one on
another horizontally. The roof was of saplings covered with branches or
bark. The fourth side was open, and when it rained was closed by hanging
up deerskin curtains. In this camp the newcomer and his family would
live while he grubbed up the bushes and cut down trees enough to make a
log cabin. If he were a thrifty, painstaking man, he would smooth each
log on four sides with his ax, and notch it half through at each end so
that when they were placed one on another the faces would nearly touch.
Saplings would make the rafters, and on them would be fastened planks
laid clapboard fashion, or possibly split shingles.
An opening was of course left for a door, although many a cabin was
built without a window, and when the door was shut received no light
save that which came down the chimney, which was always on the outside
of the house. To form it, an opening eight feet long and six feet high
was left at one end of the house, and around this a sort of bay window
was built of logs and lined with stones on the inside. Above the top of
the opening the chimney contracted and was made of branches smeared both
inside and out with clay. Generally the chimney went to the peak of the
roof; but it was by no means unusual for it to stop about halfway up the
end of the cabin.
[Illustration: Log cabin]
[Footnote 1: The birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, restored (reproduced,
together with the first picture on the next page, from Tarbell's _Early
Life of Abraham Lincoln_, by permission of the publishers, S.S.
If the settler was too poor to buy glass, or if glass could not be had,
the window frame was covered with greased paper, which let in the light
but could not be seen through. The door was of plank with leather
hinges, or with iron hinges made from an old wagon tire by the nearest
blacksmith or by the settler himself. There was no knob, no lock,
In place of them there was a wooden latch on the inside, which could be
lifted by a person on the outside of the door by a leather strip which
came through a hole in the door and hung down. When this latch string
was out, anybody could pull it, lift the latch, and come in. When it was
drawn inside, nobody could come in without knocking. The floor was made
of "puncheons," or planks split and hewn with an ax from the trunk of a
tree, and laid with the round side down. The furniture the settler
brought with him, or made on the spot.
[Illustration: Hand mill ]
The household utensils were of the simplest kind. Brooms and brushes
were made of corn husks. Corn was shelled by hand and was then either
carried in a bag slung over a horse's back to the nearest mill, perhaps
fifteen miles away, or was pounded in a wooden hominy mortar with a
wooden pestle, or ground in a hand mill. Chickens and game were roasted
by hanging them with leather strings before the open fire. Cooking
stoves were unknown, and all cooking was done in a "Dutch oven," on the
hearth, or in a clay "out oven" built, as its name implies, out
[Illustration: Corn-husk broom ]
[Illustration: Kitchen utensils ]
[Footnote 1: From originals in the National Museum, Washington.]
%306. Clearing and Planting.%--The land about the cabin was cleared
by grubbing the bushes and cutting down trees under a foot in diameter
and burning them. Big trees were "deadened," or killed, by cutting a
"girdle" around them two or three feet above the ground, deep enough to
destroy the sap vessels and so prevent the growth of leaves.
[Footnote 1: For a delightful account of life in the West, read W. C.
Howells's _Recollections of Life in Ohio_ (edited by his son, William
In the ground thus laid open to the sun were planted corn, potatoes, or
wheat, which, when harvested, was threshed with a flail and fanned and
cleaned with a sheet. At first the crop would be scarcely sufficient for
home use. But, as time passed, there would be some to spare, and this
would be wagoned to some river town and sold or exchanged for
If the settler chose his farm wisely, others would soon settle near by,
and when a cluster of clearings had been made, some enterprising
speculator would appear, take up a quarter section, cut it into town
lots, and call the place after himself, as Piketown, or Leesburg, or
Gentryville. A storekeeper with a case or two of goods would next
appear, then a tavern would be erected, and possibly a blacksmith shop
and a mill, and Piketown or Leesburg would be established. Hundreds of
such ventures failed; but hundreds of others succeeded and are to-day
[Illustration: Mississippi produce boat]
[Footnote 1: From a model in the National Museum at Washington.]
%307. The New States._--While the northern stream of population was thus
traveling across New York, northern Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and into
Michigan, the middle stream was pushing down the Ohio. By 1820 it had
greatly increased the population of southern Indiana and Illinois, and
crossing the Mississippi was going up the Missouri River. In the South
the destruction of the Indian power by Jackson in 1813, and the opening
of the Indian land to settlement, led to a movement of the southern
stream of population across Alabama to Mobile. Now, what were some of
the results of this movement of population into the Mississippi valley?
In the first place, it caused the formation and admission into the Union
of six states in five years. They were Indiana, 1816; Mississippi, 1817;
Illinois, 1818; Alabama, 1819; Maine, 1820; Missouri, 1821.
%308. Slave and Free States.%--In the second place, it brought about
a great struggle over slavery. You remember that when the thirteen
colonies belonged to Great Britain slavery existed in all of them; that
when they became independent states some began to abolish slavery; and
that in time five became free states and eight remained slave states.
Slavery was also gradually abolished in New York and New Jersey, so that
of the original thirteen only six were now to be counted as slave
states. You remember again that when the Continental Congress passed the
Ordinance of 1787 for the government of the territory lying between the
Ohio River and the Great Lakes, Pennsylvania and the Mississippi River,
it ordained that in the Northwest Territory there should be no slavery.
In consequence of this, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois were admitted into
the Union as free states, as Vermont had been. Kentucky was originally
part of Virginia, and when it was admitted, came in as a slave state.
Tennessee once belonged to North Carolina, and hence was also slave
soil; and when it was given to the United States, the condition was
imposed by North Carolina that it should remain so. Tennessee,
therefore, entered the Union (in 1796) as a slave state. Much of what is
now Alabama and Mississippi was once owned by Georgia, and when she
ceded it in 1802, she did so with the express condition that it should
remain slave soil; as a result of this, Alabama and Mississippi were
slave states. Louisiana was part of the Louisiana Purchase, and was
admitted (1812) as a slave state because it contained a great many
slaves at the time of the purchase.
Thus in 1820 there were twenty-two states in the Union, of which eleven
were slave, and eleven free. Notice now two things: 1. That the dividing
line between the slave and the free states was the south and west
boundary of Pennsylvania from the Delaware to the Ohio, and the Ohio
River; 2. That all the states in the Union except part of Louisiana lay
east of the Mississippi River. As to what should be the character of our
country west of that river, nothing had as yet been said, because as yet
no state lying wholly in that region had asked admittance to the Union.
%309. Shall there be Slave States West of the Mississippi
River?%--But when the people rushed westward after the war, great
numbers crossed the Mississippi and settled on the Missouri River, and
as they were now very numerous they petitioned Congress in 1818 for
leave to make the state of Missouri and to be admitted into the Union.
The petitioners did not say whether they would make a slave or a free
state; but as the Missourians owned slaves, everybody knew that Missouri
would be a slave state. To this the free states were opposed. If the
tobacco-growing, cotton-raising, and sugar-making states wanted slaves,
that was their affair; but slavery must not be extended into states
beyond the Mississippi, because it was wrong. No man, it was said, had
any right to buy and sell a human being, even if he was black. The
Southern people were equally determined that slavery should cross the
Mississippi. We cannot, said they, abolish slavery; because if our
slaves were set free, they would not work, and as they are very
ignorant, they would take our property and perhaps our lives. Neither
can we stop the increase of negro slave population. We must, then, have
some place to send our surplus slaves, or the present slave states will
become a black America.
%310. The Missouri Compromise.%--Each side was so determined, and it
was so clear that neither would yield, that a compromise was suggested.
The country east of the Mississippi, it was said, is partly slave,
partly free soil. Why not divide the country west of the great river in
the same way? At first the North refused. But it so happened that just
at this moment Maine, having secured the consent of Massachusetts,
applied to Congress for admission into the Union as a free state. The
South, which had control of the Senate, thereupon said to the North,
which controlled the House of Representatives, If you will not admit
Missouri as a slave state, we will not admit Maine as a free state. This
forced the compromise, and after a bitter and angry discussion it
1. That Maine should come in as a free, and Missouri as a slave, state.
2. That the Louisiana Purchase should be cut in two by the parallel of
36 deg. 30', and that all north of the line except Missouri should be free
soil. This parallel was thereafter known as the "Missouri
[Footnote 1: The Compromise was violated in 1836, when the present
northwest corner of Missouri was taken from the free territory and added
to that state. See maps, pp. 299 and 348]
[Illustration: AREAS OF FREEDOM AND SLAVERY IN 1820]
The admission of Maine and Missouri raised the number of states to
twenty-four. No more were admitted for sixteen years. When Missouri
applied for admission as a state, Arkansas was (1819) organized as a
[Footnote 1: For the compromise read Woodburn's _Historical Significance
of the Missouri Compromise_ (in _Report American Historical
Association_, 1893, pp. 251-297); McMaster's _History of the People of
the United States_, Vol. IV., Chap. 39.]
%311. The Second Election of Monroe.%--This bitter contest over the
exclusion of slavery from the country west of the Mississippi shows how
completely party lines had disappeared in 1820. In the course of that
year, electors of a President were to be chosen in the twenty-four
states. That slavery would play an important part in the campaign, and
that some candidate would be put in the field by the people opposed to
the compromise, might have been expected. But there was no campaign, no
contest, no formal nomination. The members of Congress held a caucus,
but decided to nominate nobody. Every elector, it was well known, would
be a Republican, and as such would vote for the reelection of Monroe and
Tompkins. And this almost did take place. Every one of the 229 electors
who voted was a Republican, and all save one in New Hampshire cast votes
for Monroe. But this one man gave his vote to John Quincy Adams. He said
he did not want Washington to be robbed of the glory of being the only
President who had ever received the unanimous vote of the electors.
March 4, 1821, came on Sunday. Monroe was therefore inaugurated on
Monday, March 5.
1. The dull times on the seaboard, the cheap land in the West, the love
of adventure, and the desire to "do better" led, during 1814-1820, to a
most astonishing emigration westward.
2. The rush of population into the Mississippi valley caused the
admission of six states into the Union between 1816 and 1821.
3. The question of the admission of Missouri brought up the subject of
shutting slavery out of the country west of the Mississippi, which ended
in a compromise and the establishment of the line 36 deg. 30'.
MOVEMENT OF POPULATION.
Effect of hard times in the East.--
Scenes along the highways.--Arrival
of the emigrants in the West.--The
half-faced camp.--The log cabin.--
Household utensils.--Clearing the
land.--Growth of towns.
Moves down the Ohio valley,
across southern Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, and pushes up
The defeat of the Creek Indians
opens their lands in
Mississippi Territory to settlement.
* * * * *
This settlement of the West leads to:
Admission into the Union of:
Admission of these states brings up the question of slavery.
Organization of new territories.
1822. 1823. Florida.
_Status of slavery after 1820_.
_Country west of the Mississippi._
1804. Not settled.
1819. Attempt to make Missouri a slave state.
1820. The compromise.
THE HIGHWAYS OF TRADE AND COMMERCE
%312. Improvement in Means of Travel%.--We have now considered two of
the results of the rush of population from the seaboard to the
Mississippi valley; namely, the admission of five new Western states
into the Union, and the struggle over the extension of slavery, which
resulted in the Missouri Compromise. But there was a third result,--the
actual construction of highways of transportation connecting the East
with the West. Along the seaboard, during the five years which followed
the war, great improvements were made in the means of travel. The
steamboat had come into general use, and, thanks to this and to good
roads and bridges, people could travel from Philadelphia to New York
between sunrise and sunset on a summer day, and from New York to Boston
in forty-eight hours. The journey from Boston to Washington was now
finished in four days and six hours, and from New York to Quebec in
[Illustration: Bordentown, NJ.]
[Footnote 1: From an old engraving. Passengers from Philadelphia landed
here from the steamboat and took stage for New Brunswick.]
[Illustration: map: OLD ROUTE FROM NEW YORK TO PITTSBURG]
In the West there was much the same improvement. The Mississippi and
Ohio swarmed with steamboats, which came up the river from New Orleans
to St. Louis in twenty-five days and went down with the current in
eight. Little, however, had been done to connect the East with the West.
Until the appearance of the steamboat in 1812, the merchants of
Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Louisville, and a host of other towns in the
interior bought the produce of the Western settlers, and floating it
down the Ohio and the Mississippi sold it at New Orleans for cash, and
with the money purchased goods at Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York,
and carried them over the mountains to the West. Some went in sailing
vessels up the Hudson from New York to Albany, were wagoned to the Falls
of the Mohawk, and then loaded in "Schenectady boats," which were
pushed up the Mohawk by poles to Utica, and then by canal and river to
Oswego, on Lake Ontario. From Oswego they went in sloops to Lewiston on
the Niagara River, whence they were carried in ox wagons to Buffalo, and
then in sailing vessels to Westfield, and by Chautauqua Lake and the
Allegheny River to Pittsburg. Goods from Philadelphia and Baltimore were
hauled in great Conestoga wagons drawn by four and six horses across the
mountains to Pittsburg. The carrying trade alone in these ways was
immense. More than 12,000 wagons came to Pittsburg in a year, bringing
goods on which the freight was $1,500,000.
[Illustration: Boats on the Mohawk]
[Footnote 1: From an old print.]
[Illustration: THOMAS HARPER, AGENT FOR INLAND TRANSPORTATION]
With the appearance of the steamboat on the Mississippi and Ohio, this
trade was threatened; for the people of the Western States could now
float their pork, flour, and lumber to New Orleans as before, and bring
back from that city by steamboat the hardware, pottery, dry goods,
cotton, sugar, coffee, tea, which till then they had been forced to buy
in the East.
[Footnote 1: McMaster's _History of the People of the United States_,
Vol. IV., pp. 397-410, 419-421.]
This new way of trading was so much cheaper than the old, that it was
clear to the people of the Eastern States that unless they opened up a
still cheaper route to the West, their Western trade was gone.
[Illustration: The Erie Canal]
%313. The Erie Canal.%--In 1817 the people of New York determined to
provide such a route, and in that year they began to cut a canal across
the state from the Hudson at Albany to Lake Erie at Buffalo. To us, with
our steam shovels and drills, our great derricks, our dynamite, it would
be a small matter to dig a ditch 4 feet deep, 40 feet wide, and 363
miles long. But on July 4, 1817, when Governor De Witt Clinton turned
the first sod, and so began the work, it was considered a great
undertaking, for the men of those days had only picks, shovels,
wheelbarrows, and gunpowder to do it with.
Opposition to the canal was strong. Some declared that it would swallow
up millions of dollars and yield no return, and nicknamed it "Clinton's
Big Ditch." But Clinton was not the kind of man that is afraid of
ridicule. He and his friends went right on with the work, and after
eight years spent in cutting down forests, in blasting rocks, in
building embankments to carry the canal across swamps, and high
aqueducts to carry it over the rivers, and locks of solid masonry to
enable the boats to go up and down the sides of hills, the canal was
[Footnote 1: McMaster's _History_, Vol. IV., pp. 415-418.]
[Illustration: Model of a canal packet boat]
Then, one day in the autumn of 1825, a fleet of boats set off from
Buffalo, passed through the canal to Albany, where Governor De Witt
Clinton boarded one of them, and went down the Hudson to New York. A keg
of water from Lake Erie was brought along, and this, when the fleet
reached New York Harbor, Clinton poured with great ceremony into the
bay, to commemorate, as he said, "the navigable communication opened
between our Mediterranean seas [the Great Lakes] and the
%314. Effect of the Erie Canal%.--The building of the canal changed
the business conditions of about half of our country. Before the canal
was finished, goods, wares, merchandise, going west from New York, were
carried from Albany to Buffalo at a cost of $120 a ton. After the canal
was opened, it cost but $14 a ton to carry freight from Albany to
Buffalo. This was most important. In the first place, it enabled the
people in New York, in Ohio, in Indiana, in Illinois, and all over the
West, to buy plows and hoes and axes and clothing and food and medicine
for a much lower price than they had formerly paid for such things. Life
in the West became more comfortable and easy than ever before.
In the next place, the Eastern merchant could greatly extend his
business. How far west he could send his goods depended on the expense
of carrying them. When the cost was high, they could go but a little way
without becoming so expensive that only a few people could buy them.
After 1825, when the Erie Canal made transportation cheap, goods from
New York city could be sold in Michigan and Missouri at a much lower
price than they had before been sold in Pittsburg or Buffalo.
%315. New York City the Metropolis.%--The New York merchant, in other
words, now had the whole West for his market. That city, which till 1820
had been second in population, and third in commerce, rushed ahead and
became the first in population, commerce, and business.
The same was true of New York state. As the canal grew nearer and nearer
completion, the people from other states came in and settled in the
towns and villages along the route, bought farms, and so improved the
country that the value of the land along the canal increased
A rage for canals now spread over the country. Many were talked of, but
never started. Many were started, but never finished. Such as had been
begun were hurried to completion. Before 1830 there were 1343 miles of
canal open to use in the United States.
%316. The Pennsylvania Highway to the West.%--In Pennsylvania the
opening of the Erie Canal caused great excitement. And well it might;
for freight could now be sent by sailing vessels from Philadelphia to
Albany, and then by canal to Buffalo, and on by the Lake Erie and
Chautauqua route to Pittsburg, for one third what it cost to go
overland. It seemed as if New York by one stroke had taken away the
Western commerce of Philadelphia, and ruined the prosperity of such
inland towns of Pennsylvania as lay along the highway to the West. The
demand for roads and canals at state expense was now listened to, and
in 1826 ground was broken at Harrisburg for a system of canals to join
Philadelphia and Pittsburg. But in 1832 the horse-power railroad came
into use, and when finished, the system was part railroad and
%317. The Baltimore Route to the West.%--This energy on the part of
Pennsylvania alarmed the people of Baltimore. Unless their city was to
yield its Western trade to Philadelphia they too must have a speedy and
cheap route to the West. In 1827, therefore, a great public meeting was
held at Baltimore to consider the wisdom of building a railroad from
Baltimore to some point on the Ohio River. The meeting decided that it
must be done, and on July 4, 1828, the work of construction was begun.
In 1830 the road was opened as far as Ellicotts Mills, a distance of
fifteen miles. The cars were drawn by horses.
The early railroads, as the word implies, were roads made of wooden
rails, or railed roads, over which heavy loads were drawn by horses. The
very first were private affairs, and not intended for carrying
[Footnote 1: The first was used in 1807 at Boston to carry earth from a
hilltop to a street that was being graded. The second was built near
Philadelphia in 1810, and ran from a stone quarry to a dock. It was in
use twenty-eight years. The third was built in 1826, and extended from
the granite quarries at Quincy, Mass., to the Neponset River, a distance
of three miles. The fourth was from the coal mines of Mauchchunk, Pa.,
to the Lehigh River, nine miles. The fifth was constructed in 1828 by
the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company to carry coal from the mines to
%318. Public Railroads.%--In 1825 John Stevens, who for ten years
past had been advocating steam railroads, built a circular road at
Hoboken to demonstrate the possibility of using such means of
locomotion. In 1823 Pennsylvania chartered a company to build a railroad
from Philadelphia to the Susquehanna. But it was not till 1827, when the
East was earnestly seeking for a rapid and cheap means of transportation
to the West, that railroads of great length and for public use were
undertaken. In that year the people of Massachusetts were so excited
over the opening of the Erie Canal that the legislature appointed a
commission and an engineer to select a line for a railroad to join
Boston and Albany.
At this time there was no such thing as a steam locomotive in use in the
United States. The first ever used here for practical purposes was built
in England and brought to New York city in 1829, and in August of that
year made a trial trip on the rails of the Delaware and Hudson Canal
Company. The experiment was a failure; and for several years horses were
the only motive power in use on the railroads. In 1830, however, the
South Carolina Railroad having finished six miles of its road, had a
locomotive built in New York city, and in January, 1831, placed it on
the tracks at Charleston. Another followed in February, and the era of
locomotive railroading in our country began.
%319. The Portage Railroad.%--As yet the locomotive was a rude
machine. It could not go faster than fifteen miles an hour, nor climb a
steep hill. Where such an obstacle was met with, either the road went
around it, or the locomotive was taken off and the cars were let down or
pulled up the hill on an inclined plane by means of a rope and
stationary engine. When Pennsylvania began her railroad over the
Alleghany Mountains, therefore, she used the inclined-plane system on a
great scale, so that in its time the Portage Railroad, as it was called,
was the most remarkable piece of railroading in the world.
[Footnote 1: Such an inclined plane existed at Albany, where passengers
were pulled up to the top of the hill. Another was at Belmont on the
Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, and another on the Paterson and Hudson
road near Paterson.]
The Pennsylvania line to the West consisted of a horse railroad from
Philadelphia to Columbia on the Susquehanna River; of a canal out the
Juniata valley to Hollidaysburg on the eastern slope of the Alleghany
Mountains, where the Portage Railroad began, and the cars were raised to
the summit of the mountains by a series of inclined planes and levels,
and then by the same means let down the western slope to Johnstown; and
then of another canal from Johnstown to Pittsburg.
[Illustration: Inclined plane at Belmont in 1835]
As originally planned, the state was to build the railroad and canal,
just as it built turnpikes. No cars, no motive power of any sort, except
at the inclined planes, were to be supplied. Anybody could use it who
paid two cents a mile for each passenger, and $4.92 for each car sent
over the rails. At first, therefore, firms and corporations engaged in
the transportation business owned their own cars, their own horses,
employed their own drivers, and charged such rates as the state tolls
and sharp competition would allow. The result was dire confusion. The
road was a single-track affair, with turnouts to enable cars coming in
opposite directions to pass each other. But the drivers were an unruly
set, paid no attention to turnouts, and would meet face to face on the
track, just as if no turnouts existed. A fight or a block was sure to
follow, and somebody was forced to go back. To avoid this, the road was
double-tracked in 1834, when, for the first time, two locomotives
dragging long trains of cars ran over the line from Lancaster to
Philadelphia. As the engine went faster than the horses, it soon became
apparent that both could not use the road at the same time; and after
1836 steam became the sole motive power, and the locomotive was
furnished by the state, which now charged for hauling the cars.
[Footnote 1: On the early railroads see Brown's _History of the First
Locomotives in America._]
[Illustration: The first railroad train in New Jersey (1831)]
The puffing little locomotive bore little resemblance to its beautiful
and powerful successors. No cab sheltered the engineer, no brake checked
the speed, wood was the only fuel, and the tall smokestack belched forth
smoke and red-hot cinders. But this was nothing to what happened when
the train came to a bridge. Such structures were then protected by
roofing them and boarding the sides almost to the eaves. But the roof
was always too low to allow the smokestack to go under. The stack,
therefore, was jointed, and when passing through a bridge the upper half
was dropped down and the whole train in consequence was enveloped in a
cloud of smoke and burning cinders, while the passengers covered their
eyes, mouths, and noses.
%320. Railroads in 1835.%--In 1835 there were twenty-two railroads in
operation in the United States. Two were west of the Alleghanies, and
not one was 140 miles long. For a while the cars ran on "strap rails"
made of wooden beams or stringers laid on stone blocks and protected on
the top surface, where the car wheel rested, by long strips or straps
of iron spiked on. The spikes would often work loose, and, as the car
passed over, the strap would curl up and come through the bottom of the
car, making what was called a snake head. It was some time before the
all-iron rail came into use, and even then it was a small affair
compared with the huge rails that are used at present.
%321. Mechanical Inventions.%--The introduction of the steamboat and
the railroad, the great development of manufactures, the growth of the
West, and the immense opportunity for doing business which these
conditions offered, led to all sorts of demands for labor-saving and
time-saving machinery. Another very marked characteristic of the period
1825-1840, therefore, is the display of the inventive genius of the
people. Articles which a few years before were made by hand now began to
be made by machinery.
Before 1825 every farmer in the country threshed his grain with a flail,
or by driving cattle over it, or by means of a large wooden roller
covered with pegs. After 1825 these rude devices began to be supplanted
by the threshing machine. Till 1826 no axes, hatchets, chisels, planes,
or other edge tools were made in this country. In 1826 their manufacture
was begun, and in the following year there was opened the first hardware
store for the sale of American-made hardware.
The use of anthracite coal had become so general that the wood stove was
beginning to be displaced by the hard-coal stove, and in 1827 fire
bricks were first made in the United States. It was at about this time
that paper was first made of hay and straw; that boards were first
planed by machine; that bricks were first made by machinery; that
penknives and pocketknives were first manufactured in America; that
Fairbanks invented the platform weighing scales; that chloroform was
discovered; that Morse invented the recording telegraph; that a man in
New York city, named Hunt, made and sold the first lock-stitch sewing
machine ever seen in the world; that pens and horseshoes were made by
machine; that the reaping machine was given its first public trial (in
Ohio); and that Colt invented the revolver.
%322. Condition of the Cities.%--Yet another characteristic of the
period was the great change which came over the cities and towns. The
development of canal and railroad transportation had thrown many of the
old highways into disuse, had made old towns and villages decline in
population, and had caused new towns to spring up and flourish.
Everybody now wanted to live near a railroad or a canal. The rapid
increase in manufactures had led to the occupation of the fine
water-power sites, and to the creation of many such manufacturing towns
as Lowell (in Massachusetts) and Cohoes (in New York). The rise of so
many new kinds of business, of so many corporations, mills, and
factories, caused a rush of people to the cities, which now began to
grow rapidly in size.
[Illustration: New York in 1830 (St. Paul's Chapel, on Broadway)]
This made a change in city government necessary. The constable and the
watchman with his rattle had to give place to the modern policeman. The
old dingy oil lamps, lighted only when the moon did not shine, gave
place to gas. The cities were now so full of clerks, workingmen,
mechanics, and other people who had to live far away from the places
where they were employed, that a cheap means of transportation about the
streets became necessary. Accordingly, in 1830, an omnibus line was
started in New York. It succeeded so well that in 1832 the first
street horse-car line in America was operated in New York city.
[Footnote 1: Many did not know what the word "Omnibus" painted along the
top of the stages meant. Some thought it was the name of the man who
owned them. It is, of course, a Latin word, and means "for all"; that
is, the stages were public conveyances for the use of all.]
%323. The Owenite Communities.%--The efforts thus made everywhere and
in every way to increase the comforts and conveniences of mankind turned
the years 1820-1840 into a period of reform. Anything new was eagerly
taken up. When, therefore, a Welshman named Robert Owen came over to
this country, and introduced what he considered a social reform, numbers
of people in the West became his followers. Owen believed that most of
the hardships of life came from the fact that some men secured more
property and made more money than others. He believed that people should
live together in communities in which the farms, the houses, the cattle,
the products of the soil, should be owned not by individual men, but by
the whole community. He held that there should be absolute social
equality, and that no matter what sort of work a man did, whether
skilled or unskilled, it should be considered just as valuable as the
work of any other man.
All this was very alluring, and in a little while Owenite communities
were started in Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and New York,
only to end in failure.
[Footnote 2: Noyes's _History of American Socialism._]
%324. The Mormons.%--But there was a social movement started at this
time which still exists. In 1827, at Palmyra, in New York, a young man
named Joseph Smith announced that he had received a new bible from an
angel of the Lord. It was written, he said, on golden plates, which he
claimed to have read by the aid of two wonderful stones; and in 1830 he
gave to the world _The Book of Mormon_.
After the book appeared, Smith and a few others organized a church. Many
at once began to believe in the new religion. But the West seemed so
much better a field that in 1831 Smith and his followers started for
Ohio, and at Kirtland established a Mormon community. There the Mormons
lived for several years, and then went to Missouri, whence they were
expelled, partly because they were an antislavery people. In 1840 they
settled on the banks of the Mississippi in Illinois and built the town
of Nauvoo. At Nauvoo they remained till 1846, when, having adopted
polygamy, they were driven off by the people of Illinois, and, led by
Brigham Young, marched to Council Bluffs, in Iowa. There they stopped to
look about them for a safe place of abode, and finally, in 1847, left
Council Bluffs for Great Salt Lake, then in the dominions of Mexico.
[Footnote 1: Kennedy's _Early Days of Mormonism_.]
1. The rise of the new states in the West, and the appearance of the
steamboat on the Mississippi, were the causes of a great revival of
public interest in internal improvements.
2. The first to build a great western highway was New York state, which,
between 1817 and 1825, built the Erie Canal.
3. This cut down the cost of moving freight to the West, led to
settlement along the banks of the canal, and made New York city the
metropolis of the country.
4. It was during this period, 1815-1830, that many inventions,
discoveries, and improvements were made in the arts and sciences.
5. The railroad was introduced, and the steam locomotive successfully
6. The cities grew, and in New York the omnibus and the street car began
to be used.
The movement of population into the West.--The formation of new states
there.--The rise of manufactures in the East.--The fine market the West
offers for the products and importations of the Eastern States.
* * * * *
Lead to great rivalry between the Atlantic seaboard cities for Western
* * * * *
This rivalry leads to the development of three routes to the West.
_The New York Route._
1807. Steamboats on the Hudson.
1817-25. Erie Canal
1818. Steamboats on the Lakes.
Chautauqua Lake and Allegheny valley.
Effect of Erie Canal.
_The Pennsylvania Route._
Old Conestoga wagons.
Effect of Erie Canal.
1827. Pennsylvania state canals and railroads.
The Portage Railroad.
_The Baltimore Route._
1828. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad commenced.
* * * * *
The expansion of the country.--The development of the steamboat, the
railroad, and manufactures, and the increased opportunities for
* * * * *
Lead to demand for labor-saving and time-saving machinery.
Hard-coal grate and stove.
Paper made from straw.
Sewing machine (Hunt).
Steam printing press.
Matches, etc., etc.
POLITICS FROM 1824 TO 1845
%325. New Political Institutions.%--Of the political leaders of
Washington's time few were left in 1825. The men who then conducted
affairs had almost all been born since the Revolution, or were children
at the time. The same is true of the mass of the people. They too had
been born since the Revolution, and, growing up under different
conditions, held ideas very different from the men who went before them.
They were more democratic and much less aristocratic, more humane, more
practical. They abolished the old and cruel punishments, such as
branding the cheeks and foreheads of criminals with letters, cutting off
their ears, putting them in the pillory and the stocks; they partly
abolished imprisonment for debt; they established free schools,
reformatories, asylums, and penitentiaries. They amended their state
constitutions or made new ones, and extended the right to vote, and
introduced new political institutions, some of which were of doubtful
value, but are still used.
[Footnote 1: John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson were born in 1767;
Henry Clay, in 1777; John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, Martin Van Buren,
and Thomas H. Benton, in 1782.]
%326. Political Proscription; the Gerrymander.%--One of these was the
custom of turning men out of public office because they did not belong
to the party in power, or did not "work" for the election of the
successful candidate. As early as 1792 this vicious practice was in use
in Pennsylvania, and a few years later was introduced in New York by De
Witt Clinton. Jefferson resorted to it when he became President, but it
was not till 1820 that it was firmly established by Congress. In that
year William H. Crawford, who was Secretary of the Treasury and a
presidential candidate, secured the passage of a "tenure of office" act,
limiting the term of collectors of revenue, and a host of other
officials, to four years, and thus made the appointments to these places
rewards for political service.
Another institution dating from this time is the gerrymander. In 1812,
when Elbridge Gerry was the Republican governor of Massachusetts, his
party, finding that at the next election they would lose the
governorship and the House of Representatives, decided to hold the
Senate by marking out new senatorial districts. In doing this they drew
the lines in such wise that districts where there were large Federalist
majorities were cut in two, and the parts annexed to other districts,
where there were yet larger Republican majorities.
The story is told that a map of the Essex senatorial district was
hanging on the office wall of the editor of the _Columbian Centinel_,
when a famous artist named Stuart entered. Struck by the peculiar
outline of the towns forming the district, he added a head, wings, and
claws with his pencil, and turning to the editor, said: "There, that
will do for a salamander." "Better say a Gerrymander," returned the
editor, alluding to Elbridge Gerry, the Republican governor who had
signed the districting act. However this may be, it is certain that the
name "gerrymander" was applied to the odious law in the columns of the
_Centinel_, that it came rapidly into use, and has remained in our
political nomenclature ever since. Indeed, a huge cut of the monster was
prepared, and the next year was scattered as a broadside over the
commonwealth, and so aroused the people that in the spring of 1813,
despite the gerrymander, the Federalists recovered control of the
Senate, and repealed the law. But the example was set, and was quickly
imitated in New Jersey, New York, and Maryland. This established the
institution, and it has been used over and over again to this day.
%327. The Third-term Tradition.%--Another political custom which had
grown to have the force of law was that of never electing a President to
three terms. There is nothing in the Constitution to prevent a President
serving any number of terms; but, as we have seen, when Washington
finished his second he declined another, and when Jefferson (in
1807-1808) was asked by the legislatures of several states to accept a
third term, he declined, and very seriously advised the people never to
elect any man President more than twice. The example so set was
followed by Madison and Monroe and had thus by 1824 become an
[Footnote 1: McMaster's _With the Fathers,_ pp. 64-70.]
%328. New Political Issues.%--The most important change of all was
the rise of new political issues. We have seen how the financial
questions which divided the people in 1790-1792 and gave rise to the
Federalist and Republican parties, were replaced during the wars between
England and France by the question, "Shall the United States be
neutral?" It was not until the end of our second war with Great Britain
that we were again free to attend to our home affairs.
During the long embargo and the war, manufactures had arisen, and one
question now became, "Shall home manufactures be encouraged?" With the
rapid settlement of the Mississippi valley and the demand for roads,
canals, and river improvements by which trade might be carried on with
the West, there arose a second political question: "Shall these internal
improvements be made at government expense?"
Now the people of the different sections of the country were not of one
mind on these questions. The Middle States and Kentucky and some parts
of New England wanted manufactures encouraged. In the West and the
Middle States people were in favor of internal improvements at the cost
of the government. In the South Atlantic States, where tobacco and
cotton and rice were raised and shipped (especially the cotton) to
England, people cared nothing for manufactures, nothing for internal
%329. Presidential Candidates in 1824.%--This diversity of opinion on
questions of vital importance had much to do with the breaking up of the
Republican party into sectional factions after 1820. The ambition of
leaders in these sections helped on the disruption, so that between 1821
and 1824 four men, John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts, Henry Clay of
Kentucky, Andrew Jackson of Tennessee, John C. Calhoun of South
Carolina, were nominated for President by state legislatures or state
nominating conventions, by mass meeting or by gatherings of men who had
assembled for other purposes but seized the occasion to indorse or
propose a candidate. A fifth, William H. Crawford, was nominated by the
congressional caucus, which then acted for the last time in our history.
Before election day this list was reduced to four: Calhoun had become
the candidate of all factions for the vice presidency.
[Illustration: John Quincy Adams]
%330. Adams elected by the House of Representatives.%--The
Constitution provides that no man is chosen President by the electors
who does not receive a majority of their votes. In 1824 Jackson received
ninety-nine; Adams, eighty-four; Crawford, forty-one; and Clay,
thirty-seven. There was, therefore, no election, and it became the duty
of the House of Representatives to make a choice. But according to the
Constitution only the three highest could come before the House. This
left out Clay, who was Speaker and who had great influence. His friends
would not vote for Jackson on any account, nor for Crawford, the
caucus candidate. Adams they liked, because he believed in internal
improvements at government expense and a protective tariff. Adams
accordingly was elected President. Calhoun had been elected Vice
President by the electoral college.
[Illustration: The United States July 4, 1826]
The election of John Quincy Adams was a matter of intense disappointment
to the friends of Jackson. In the heat of party passion and the
bitterness of their disappointment they declared that it was the result
of a bargain between Adams and Clay. Clay, they said, was to induce his
friends in the House of Representatives to vote for Adams, in return for
which Adams was to make Clay Secretary of State. No such bargain was
ever made. But when Adams did appoint Clay Secretary of State, Jackson
and his followers were fully convinced of the contrary.
[Footnote 1: Parton's _Life of Jackson_, Chap. 10; Schurz's _Life of
Clay_, Vol. I., pp. 203-258]
As a consequence, the legislature of Tennessee at once renominated
Jackson for the presidency, and he became the people's candidate and
drew about him not only the men who voted for him in 1824, but those
also who had voted for Crawford, who was paralyzed and no longer a
candidate. They called themselves "Jackson men," or Democratic
Adams, it was known, would be nominated to succeed himself, and about
him gathered all who wanted a tariff for protection, roads and canals at
national expense, and a distribution among the states of the money
obtained from the sale of public lands. These were the "Adams men," or
%331. Antimasons.%--But there was a third party which arose in a very
curious way and soon became powerful. In 1826, at Batavia in New York, a
freemason named William Morgan announced his intention to publish a book
revealing the secrets of masonry; but about the time the book was to
come out Morgan disappeared and was never seen again. This led to the
belief that the masons had killed him, and stirred up great excitement
all over the twelve western counties of New York. The "antimasons" said
that a man who was a freemason considered his duty to his order superior
to his duty to his country; and a determined effort was made to prevent
the election of any freemason to office.
[Illustration: Andrew Jackson ]
At first the "antimasonic" movement was confined to western New York,
but the moment it took a political turn it spread across northern Ohio,
Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and
was led by some of the most distinguished men and aspiring politicians
of the time.
[Footnote 1: Stanwood's _Presidential Elections_, Chap. 18]
%332. The Election of Jackson.%--When the presidential election
occurred in 1828, there were thus three parties,--the "Jackson men," the
"Administration," and the Antimasonic. But politics had very little to
do with the result. In the early days of the republic, the mass of men
were ignorant and uneducated, and willingly submitted to be led by men
of education and what was called breeding. From Washington down to John
Quincy Adams, the presidents were from the aristocratic class. They were
not men of the people. But in course of time a great change had come
over the mass of Americans. Their prosperity, their energy in developing
the country, had made them self-reliant, and impatient of all claims of
superiority. One man was now no better than another, and the cry arose
all over the country for a President who was "a man of the people."
Jackson was just such a man, and it was because he was "a man of the
people" that he was elected. Of 261 electoral votes he received 178,
and Adams 83.
%333. The North and the South Two Different Peoples.%--Before
entering on Jackson's administration, it is necessary to call attention
to the effect produced on our country by the industrial revolution
discussed in Chaps. 19 and 22. In the first place, it produced two
distinct and utterly different peoples: the one in the North and the
other in the South. In the North, where there were no great
plantations, no great farms, and where the labor was free, the marvelous
inventions, discoveries, and improvements mentioned were eagerly seized
on and used. There cities grew up, manufactures nourished, canals were
dug, railroads were built, and industries of every sort established.
Some towns, as Lynn, Lowell, Lawrence, Fall River, Cohoes, Paterson,
Newark, and Pittsburg, were almost entirely given up to mills and
factories. No such towns existed in the South. In the South men lived on
plantations, raised cotton, tobacco, and rice, owned slaves, built few
large towns, cared nothing for internal improvements, and established no
industries of any sort.
This difference of occupation led of course to difference of interests
and opinions, so that on three matters--the extension of slavery,
internal improvements, and tariff for protection--the North and the
South were opposed to each other. In the West and the Middle States
these questions were all-important, and by a union of the two sections
under the leadership of Clay a new tariff was passed in 1824, and in the
course of the next four years $2,300,000 were voted for internal
The Virginia legislature (1825) protested against internal improvements
at government expense and against the tariff. But the North demanded
more, and in 1827 another tariff bill was prevented from passing only by
the casting vote of Vice President Calhoun. And now the two sections
joined issue. The South, in memorials, resolutions, and protests,
declared a tariff for protection to be unconstitutional, partial, and
oppressive. The wool growers and manufacturers of the North called a
national convention of protectionists to meet at Harrisburg, and when
Congress met, forced through the tariff of 1828. The South answered with
anti-tariff meetings, addresses, resolutions, with boycotts on the
tariff states, and with protests from the legislatures. Calhoun then
came forward as the leader of the movement and put forth an argument,
known as the South Carolina Exposition, in which he urged that a
convention should meet in South Carolina and decide in what manner the
tariff acts should "be declared null and void within the limits of
%334. May a State nullify an Act of Congress?%--The right of a state
to nullify an act of Congress thus became the question of the hour, and
was again set forth yet more fully by Calhoun in 1831. That the South
was deeply in earnest was apparent, and in 1832 Congress changed the
tariff of 1828, and made it less objectionable. But it was against
tariff for protection, not against any particular tariff, that South
Carolina contended, and finding that the North would not give up its
principles, she put her threat into execution. The legislature called a
state convention, which declared that the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 were
null and void and without force in South Carolina, and forbade anybody
to pay the duties laid by these laws after February 1, 1833.
[Footnote 1: Houston's _A Critical Study of Nullification in South
Carolina_; Parton's _Jackson_, Vol. III., Chaps. 32-34; Schurz's _Life
of Clay_, Vol. II., Chap. 14; Von Holst's _Life of Calhoun_, Chap. 4;
Lodge's _Life of Webster_, Chaps. 6, 7; Rhodes's _History of the United
States_, Vol. I., pp. 40-50.]
Jackson, who had just been reelected, was not terrified. He bade the
collector at Charleston go on and collect the revenue duties, and use
force if necessary, and he issued a long address to the Nullifiers. On
the one hand, he urged them to yield. On the other, he told them that
"the laws of the United States must be executed.... Those who told you
that you might peacefully prevent their execution deceived you.... Their
object is disunion, and disunion by armed force is treason."
%335. Webster's Great Reply to Calhoun.%--Calhoun, who since 1825 had
been Vice President of the United States, now resigned, and was at once
made senator from South Carolina. When Congress met in December, 1832,
the great question before it was what to do with South Carolina. Jackson
wanted a "Force Act," that is, an act giving him power to collect the
tariff duties by force of arms. Hayne, who was now governor of South
Carolina, declared that if this was done, his state would leave
A great debate occurred on the Force Act, in which Calhoun, speaking for
the South, asserted the right of a state to nullify and secede from the
Union, while Webster, speaking for the North, denied the right of
nullification and secession, and upheld the Union and the
[Footnote 1: Johnston's _American Orations_, Vol. I., pp. 196-212;
Webster's _Works_, Vol. III., pp. 248-355, 448-505; Rhodes's _History
of the United States_, Vol. I., pp. 50-52.]
%336. The Compromise of 1833%.--Meantime, Henry Clay, seeing how
determined each side was, and fearing civil war might follow, came
forward with a compromise. He proposed that the tariff of 1832 should be
reduced gradually till July, 1842, when on all articles imported there
should be a duty equal to twenty per cent of their value. This was
passed, and the Compromise Tariff, as it is called, became a law in
March, 1833. A new convention in South Carolina then repealed the
ordinance of nullification.
%337. War on the Bank of the United States%.--While South Carolina
was thus fighting internal improvements and the tariff, the whole
Jackson party was fighting the Bank of the United States. You will
remember that this institution was chartered by Congress in 1816; and
its charter was to run till 1836. Among the rights given it was that of
having branches in as many cities in the country as it pleased, and,
exercising this right, it speedily established branches in the chief
cities of the South and West. The South and West were already full of
state banks, and, knowing that the business of these would be injured if
the branches of the United States Bank were allowed to come among them,
the people of that region resented the reestablishment of a national
bank. Jackson, as a Western man, shared in this hatred, and when he
became President was easily persuaded by his friends (who wished to
force the Bank to take sides in politics) to attack it. The charter had
still nearly eight years to run; nevertheless, in his first message to
Congress (December, 1829) he denounced the Bank as unconstitutional,
unnecessary, and as having failed to give the country a sound currency,
and suggested that it should not be rechartered. Congress paid little
attention to him. But he kept on, year after year, till, in 1832, the
friends of the Bank made his attack a political issue.
[Footnote 1: Roosevelt's _Life of Benton_, Chap. 6; Parton's _Life of
Jackson_, Vol. III., Chaps. 29-31; Tyler's _Memoir of Roger B. Taney_,
Vol. I., Chap. 3; Von Hoist's _Constitutional History_, Vol. II., pp.
31-52; Schurz's _Clay_, Vol. L, Chap. 13; _American History
Leaflets_, No. 24]
%338. The First National Nominating Convention; the First Party
Platform.%--To do this was easy, because in 1832 it was well known
that Jackson would again be a candidate for the presidency. Now the
presidential contest of that year is remarkable for two reasons:
1. Because each of the three parties held a national convention for the
nomination of candidates.
2. Because a party platform was then used for the first time.
The originators of the national convention were the Antimasons. State
conventions of delegates to nominate state officers, such as governors
and congressmen and presidential electors, had long been in use. But
never, till September, 1831, had there been a convention of delegates
from all parts of the country for the purpose of nominating the
President and Vice President. In that year Antimasonic delegates from
twenty-two states met at Baltimore and nominated William Wirt and
The example thus set was quickly followed, for in December, 1831, a
convention of National Republicans nominated Henry Clay. In May, 1832, a
national convention of Democrats nominated Martin Van Buren for Vice
President; and in that same month, a "national assembly of young
men," or, as the Democrats called it, "Clay's Infant School," met at
Washington and framed the first party platform. They were friends of
Clay, and in their platform they demanded protection to American
industries, and internal improvements at government expense, and
denounced Jackson for his many removals from office. They next issued an
address to the people, in which they declared that if Jackson were
reelected, the Bank would "be abolished." 
[Footnote 1: It was not necessary to nominate Jackson. That he should be
re-elected was the wish of the great body of voters. The convention,
therefore, merely nominated a Vice President]
[Footnote 2: For party platform see McKee's _National Platforms of all
%339. Jackson destroys the Bank.%--The friends of the Bank meantime
appealed to Congress for a new charter and found little difficulty in
getting it. But when the bill went to Jackson for his signature, he
vetoed it, and, as its friends had not enough votes to pass the bill
over the veto, the Bank was not rechartered.
The only hope left was to defeat Jackson at the polls. But this too was
a failure, for he was reelected by greater majorities than he had
received in 1828.
[Footnote 1: Of the 288 electoral votes, Jackson received 219, and Clay
49. Wirt, the Antimason, secured 7.]
%340. Jackson withdraws the Government Money from the Bank.%--This
signal triumph was understood by Jackson to mean that the people
approved of his treatment of the Bank. So he continued to hurt it all he
could, and in 1833 ordered his Secretary of the Treasury to remove the
money of the United States from the Bank and its branches. This the
Secretary refused to do; whereupon Jackson removed him and put
another, who would, in his place. After 1833, therefore, the
collectors of United States revenue ceased to deposit it in the Bank of
the United States, and put it in state banks ("pet banks") named by the
Secretary of the Treasury. The money already on deposit was gradually
drawn out, till none remained.
[Footnote 1: William J. Duane. ]
[Footnote 2: Roger B. Taney. ]
[Footnote 3: Parton's _Jackson,_ Vol. III., Chaps. 36-39; _American
History Leaflets,_ No. 24; Sumner's _Jackson_, Chaps. 13, 14; Von
Hoist's _Constitutional History,_ Vol. II., pp. 52-79; Roosevelt's
_Benton_, Chap. 6. ]
For this act the Senate, when it met in December, 1833, passed a vote of
censure on Jackson and entered the censure on its journal. Jackson
protested, and asked to have his protest entered, but the Senate
refused. Whereupon Benton of Missouri declared that he would not rest
till the censure was removed or "expunged" from the journal. At first
this did not seem likely to occur. But Benton kept at it, and at last,
in 1837, the Senate having become Democratic, he succeeded.
[Footnote 1: When the resolution had passed, the Clerk of the Senate was
ordered to bring in the journal, draw a thick black line around the
censure, and write across it "Expunged by order of the Senate, January
%341. Wildcat State Banks.%--As soon as the reelection of Jackson
made it certain that the charter of the Bank of the United States would
not be renewed, the same thing happened in 1833 that had occurred in
1811. The legislature of every state was beset with applications for
bank charters, and granted them. In 1832 there were but 288 state banks
in the country. In 1836 there were 583. Some were established in order
to get deposits of the government money. Others were started for the
purpose of issuing paper money with which the bank officials might
speculate. Others, of course, were founded with an honest purpose. But
they all issued paper money, which the people borrowed on very poor
security and used in speculation.
%342. The Period of Speculation.%--Never before had the opportunity
for speculation been so great. The new way of doing business, the rise
of corporations and manufactures, drew people into the cities, which
grew in area and afforded a chance for investors to get rich by
purchasing city lots and holding them for a rise in price. Railroads and
canals were being projected all over the country. Another favorite way
of speculating, therefore, was to buy land along the lines of railroads
building or to be built. Suddenly cotton rose a few cents a pound, and
thousands of people began to speculate in slaves and cotton land. Others
bought land in the West from the government, at $1.25 an acre, and laid
it out into town lots, which they sold for $10 and $20 apiece to
people in the East. In short, everybody who could was borrowing paper
money from the banks and speculating.
[Footnote 1: Sometimes ten such lots would be laid out on an acre]
Under these conditions, any cause which should force the banks to stop
loaning money, or to call in that already loaned, would bring on a
panic. And this is just what happened.
%343. The Specie Circular.%--Speculation in government land was so
general that the annual sales rose from $2,300,000 in 1831, to
$24,900,000 in 1836. Finding that these great purchases were paid for
not in gold and silver, but in state bank paper money, Jackson became
alarmed. Many of the banks were of doubtful soundness, and if they
failed, all their money which the government had taken for land would be
lost. In 1836, therefore, Jackson issued his "Specie Circular," which
commanded all officials authorized to sell government land to receive
payment in nothing but gold or silver or land scrip. A great demand for
specie and a removal of it from the banks in the East to those in the
West followed, which of course hurt the Eastern banks, because it took
away some of their money, and that kind of money which they were holding
for the purpose of redeeming their paper.
[Footnote 2: Shepard's _Van Buren_, Chap. 8; Sumner's _Jackson_, pp.
Another thing which hurt the banks, by forcing them to stop loaning and
to call for a settlement of debts, was the distribution of the surplus
revenue among the states.
%344. The Surplus Revenue.%--What caused this surplus revenue? Many
1. The United States had no debt. The national debt, you remember, was
created in 1790 by funding the foreign and Congress debt and assuming
those of the states, and amounted to $75,000,000. When Jefferson was
elected President in 1801, this debt had risen to $80,000,000; but
during his administration it fell to $57,000,000. The war with England
raised it to $127,000,000, after which it once more decreased year by
year till 1835, when every dollar was paid off, and the United States
was out of debt.
[Footnote 1: As bonds, etc., to the value of $35,000 were never
presented for payment, the United States appears to have always been in
debt. This $35,000 probably represents evidences of indebtedness lost by
2. The expenses of the government were not large.
3. There was a heavy importation of foreign goods, which produced a
great revenue under the tariff act.
4. The immense speculation in government lands already described
produced a large income to the government.
[Footnote 1: The land sales were $4,800,000 in 1834, $14,757,000 in
1835, and $24,877,000 in 1836]
In consequence of these causes, the government on June 1, 1836, had in
the banks $41,500,000 more than it needed.
What to do with this useless money sorely puzzled Congress. It could not
reduce the tariff, because that was gradually being reduced under the
compromise of 1833. Some wanted the money derived from the sale of land
distributed. But at last it was decided to take all the surplus the
government had on January 1, 1837, subtract $5,000,000 from it, and
divide the rest by the number of senators and representatives in
Congress, and give each state as many parts as it had senators and
[Footnote 1: One state, New York, was to receive $4,000,000, three
states over $2,000,000, six over $1,000,000, and eight over $500,000]
On January 1, 1837, the surplus was $42,468,000, which, after
subtracting the $5,000,000, left $37,468,000 to be distributed. It was
to be paid in four installments; but only three of them were ever
paid, for, when October 1, 1837, came, the whole country was suffering
from a panic.
[Footnote 1: The days of payment were Jan. 1, April 1, July 1, and Oct.
[Footnote 2: Bourne's _History of the Surplus Revenue of 1837_]
%345. The Panic of 1837.%--Now, when the banks in which the
government surplus was kept were suddenly called on to give it up in
order that it might be distributed among the states, (as they had
loaned this surplus) they were all forced to call it in. More than that,
they would make no new loans. This made credit hard to get. As a
consequence, mills and factories shut down, all buying and selling
stopped, and thousands of workmen were thrown out of employment. As
everybody wanted money, it followed that houses, lands, property of
every sort, was offered for sale at ridiculously low prices. But there
were no buyers. In New York the distress was so great that bread riots
occurred. The merchants, unable to pay their debts, began to fail, and
to make matters worse the banks all over the country suspended specie
payment; that is, refused to give gold and silver in exchange for their
paper bills. Then the panic set in, and for a while the people, the
states, and the government were bankrupt.
[Footnote 1: Shepard's _Van Buren_, Chap. 8.]
%346. Election of Martin Van Buren; Eighth President.%--In accordance
with the well-established custom that no President shall have more than
two terms, Jackson [Illustration: Martin Van Buren] would not accept a
renomination in 1836. So the Democratic national convention nominated
Martin Van Buren and R.M. Johnson. The Whigs, as the National
Republicans called themselves after 1834, did not hold a national
nominating convention, but agreed to support William Henry Harrison. Van
Buren was elected, and inaugurated March. 4, 1837.
[Footnote 1: _Ibid_., Chap. 7.]
%347 The New National Debt; the Independent Treasury.%--But scarcely
had he taken the oath of office when the panic swept over the country,
and his whole term was one of financial distress or hard times. The
suspension of specie payment and the failures of many banks and
merchants left the government without money, and forced Van Buren to
call an extra session of Congress in September, 1837. Before adjourning,
Congress ordered the fourth or October installment of the distributed
revenue to be suspended. It has never been given to the states.
Congress also authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to issue
$10,000,000 in treasury notes, and so laid the foundation for the second
national debt, which one cause or another has continued ever since.
The experience the government had thus twice passed through (1814 and
1837) led the people to believe it ought not to keep its money in state
banks. But just where the money should be kept was a disputed party
question. The Whigs insisted on a third National Bank like the old one
Jackson had destroyed. Van Buren wanted what was called an "Independent
Treasury," and after four attempts the act establishing it was passed
The law created four "receivers general" (one each at Boston, New York,
Charleston, and St. Louis), to whom all money collected by the United
States officials should be turned over, and directed that "rooms,
vaults, and safes" should be provided for the safe keeping of
[Footnote 1: Shepard's _Van Buren,_ Chap. 9.]
As might be expected, the people laid all the blame for the hard times
on Van Buren and his party. The Democrats, they said, had destroyed the
National Bank; they had then removed the United States money, and given
it to "pet" state banks; they had then distributed the surplus, and by
taking the surplus from the state banks had brought on the panic.
Whether this was true or not, the people believed it, and were
determined to "turn out little Van."
The campaign of 1840 was the most novel, exciting, and memorable that
had yet taken place. Three parties had candidates in the field. The
Antislavery party put forward James Gillespie Birney and Thomas Earle.
The Democrats in their convention renominated Van Buren, but no Vice
President. The Whigs nominated W.H. Harrison, and John Tyler of
Virginia. The mention of the Antislavery party makes it necessary to
account for its origin.
%348. The Antislavery Movement%.--The appearance of the Antislavery
or Liberty party marks the beginning in national affairs of an
antislavery movement which had long been going on in the states. When
the Missouri Compromise was made in 1820, many people believed that the
troublesome matter of slavery was settled. This was a mistake, and the
compromise really made matters worse. In the first place, it encouraged
the men in Illinois who favored slavery to attempt to make it a slave
state by amending the state constitution, an attempt which failed in
1824 after a long struggle. In the second place, it aroused certain men
who had been agitating for freeing the slaves to redoubled energy. Among
these were Benjamin Lundy, James Gillespie Birney, and William Lloyd
Garrison, who in 1831 established an abolition newspaper called the
_Liberator_, which became very famous. In the third place, it led to the
formation all over the North, and in many places in the South, of new
abolition societies, and stirred up the old ones and made them more
[Footnote 1: _James G. Birney and his Times_, Chap. 12.]
For a time these societies carried on their work, each independent of
the others. But in 1833, a convention of delegates from them met at
Philadelphia, and formed a national society called the American
[Footnote 1: Its constitution declared (1) that each state has exclusive
right to regulate slavery within it; (2) that the society will endeavor
to persuade Congress to stop the interstate slave trade, to abolish
slavery in the territories and in the District of Columbia, and to admit
no more slave states into the Union.]
%349. Antislavery Documents shut out of the Mails.%--Thus organized,
the society went to work at once and flooded the South with newspapers,
pamphlets, pictures, and handbills, all intended to arouse a sentiment
for instant abolition or emancipation of slaves. The South declared that
these were inflammatory, insurrectionary, and likely to incite the
slaves to revolt, and called on the North to suppress abolition
societies and stop the spread of abolition papers. To do such a thing by
legal means was impossible; so an attempt was made to do it by illegal
means. In the Northern cities such as Philadelphia, Utica, Boston,
Haverhill, mobs broke up meetings of abolitionists, and dragged the
leaders about the streets. In the South, the postmasters, as at
Charleston, seized antislavery tracts and pamphlets going through the
mails, and the people burned them. In New York city such matter was
taken from the mails and destroyed by the postmaster. When these
outrages were reported to Amos Kendall, the Postmaster-General, he
approved of them; and when Congress met, Jackson asked for a law that
would prohibit the circulation "in the Southern States, through the
mails, of incendiary publications intended to instigate the slaves to
insurrection." From the legislatures of five Southern states came
resolutions calling on the people of the North to suppress the
abolitionists. Congress and the legislatures of New York and Rhode
Island responded; but the bills introduced did not pass.
[Footnote 1: South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, Virginia, and
[Footnote 2: _James G. Birney and his Times_, pp. 184-194.]
This attempt having failed, the mobs again took up the work, and began
to smash and destroy the presses of antislavery newspapers. One paper,
twice treated in this manner in 1836, was the _Philanthropist_ published
at Cincinnati by James Gillespie Birney. Another was the _Observer_,
published at Alton by Elijah Lovejoy, who was murdered in defending his
property. The _Pennsylvania Freeman_ was a third.
[Footnote 1: Wilson's _Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America_, Vol.
II., Chap. 27; _James G. Birney and his Times_, pp. 204-219, 241-255.]
%350. The Gag Rule%.--Not content with attacking the liberty of the
press, the proslavery men attacked the right of petition. The
Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging ...
the right of the people ... to petition the government for a redress of
grievances." Under this right the antislavery people had long been
petitioning Congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, and
the petitions had been received; but of course not granted. Now, in
1836, when John Quincy Adams presented one to the House of
Representatives, a member moved that it be not received. A fierce debate
followed, and out of it grew a rule which forbade any petition,
resolution, or paper relating in any way to slavery, or the abolition of
slavery, to be received. This famous "Gag Rule" was adopted by Congress
after Congress until 1844.
[Footnote 1: Morse's _Life of John Quincy Adams, _pp. 249-253, 306-308.]
%351. The Liberty Party formed%.--The effect of these extreme
measures was greatly to increase the antislavery sentiment. But the men
who held these sentiments were largely members of the Whig and
Democratic parties. In the hope of drawing them from their parties, and
inducing them to act together, the antislavery conventions about 1838
began to urge the formation of an antislavery party, which was finally
accomplished at Albany, N.Y., in April, 1840, where James G. Birney was
nominated for President, and Thomas Earle for Vice President. No name
was given to the new organization till 1844, when it was christened
%352. The Log Cabin, Hard Cider Campaign%.--The candidate of the
Democrats (Martin Van Buren) was a shrewd and skillful politician. The
candidate of the Whigs (Harrison) was the ideal of a popular favorite.
To defeat him at such a time, when the people were angry with the
Democrats, would have been hard, but they made it harder still by
ridiculing his honorable poverty and his Western surroundings. At the
very outset of the campaign a Democratic newspaper declared that
Harrison would be more at home "in a log cabin, drinking hard cider and
skinning coons, than living in the White House as President." The Whigs
instantly took up the sneer and made the log cabin the emblem of their
party. All over the country log cabins (erected at some crossroads, or
on the village common, or on some vacant city lot) became the Whig
headquarters. On the door was a coon skin; a leather latch string was
always hanging out as a sign of hospitality, and beside the door stood a
barrel of hard cider. Every Whig wore a Harrison and Tyler badge, and
knew by heart all the songs in the _Log Cabin Songster_. Immense mass
meetings were held, at which 50,000, and even 80,000, people attended.
Weeks were spent in getting ready for them. In the West, where
railroads were few, the people came in covered wagons with provisions,
and camped on the ground days before the meeting. At the monster meeting
at Dayton, O., 100,000 people were present, covering ten acres of
[Footnote 1: Shepard's _Van Buren_, pp. 323-335.]
[Illustration: William H. Harrison]
%353. William Henry Harrison, Ninth President; John Tyler, Tenth
President%.--Harrison was triumphantly elected, and inaugurated March
4, 1841. But his career was short, for on April 4 he died, and John
Tyler took his place. Tyler had never been a Whig. He had always been a
Democrat. Nevertheless, the Whigs, confident of his aid, tried to carry
out certain reform measures.
[Footnote 2: His death was a great shock to the people. Two vice
presidents, George Clinton and Elbridge Gerry, had died in office. But
nobody seems to have thought it likely that a president would die.]
[Illustration: John Tyler]
%354. The Quarrel between Tyler and the Whigs%.--The first thing they
did was to repeal the law establishing the Independent Treasury. This
Tyler approved. They next attempted to reestablish the Bank of the
United States under the name of the "Fiscal Bank of the United States."
Tyler, who was opposed to banks, vetoed the bill, and when the Whigs
sent him another to create a "Fiscal Corporation," he vetoed that also.
Then every member of the cabinet save Webster resigned, and at a meeting
of the great Whig leaders Tyler was formally "read out of the party."
%355. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty%.--Webster was Secretary of State,
and though a Whig, retained his place in order that he might complete a
treaty which determined our boundary line from the source of the St.
Croix to the St. Lawrence, thus settling a long dispute between Maine
and the British provinces of New Brunswick and Canada. The difficulty
arose over the meaning of terms in the treaty of 1783, and though twice
submitted to a joint commission, and once to arbitration, seemed further
than ever from a peaceful settlement when Webster and Lord Ashburton
arranged it in 1842. The treaty ratified, Webster soon resigned.
The people meanwhile had recovered from the excitement of the campaign
of 1840, and at the congressional election of 1842 they made the House
of Representatives Democratic. There were thus a Whig Senate, a
Democratic House, and a President who was neither a Whig nor a Democrat.
As a consequence few measures of any importance were passed till 1845.
1. During 1789-1825 a marked change had taken place in the ideas of
government, and this led to new state constitutions; to an extension of
the right to vote; to the belief that no President should have more than
two terms; to the belief that political offices should be given to
political workers; and to the introduction of the "gerrymander."
2. The disappearance of issues which divided the Federalists and
Republicans; the loss of old leaders; the appearance of a new generation
with new political issues, destroyed old party lines.
3. First to disappear were the Federalists. In 1820 there was but one
presidential candidate (Monroe), and but one political party (the
4. During Monroe's second term the new issues began to break up the
Republican party, and in the election of 1824 the people of the four
great sections of the country presented candidates. For the second time
a President (John Quincy Adams) was elected by the House of
5. In 1828 the Republicans again supported Jackson, and his opponents
under Adams were defeated. In 1827 the antimasonic party arose.
6. The issues now before the people were the tariff, the recharter of
the National Bank, and the use of the surplus revenue, and these became
the leading questions of Jackson's eight years (1829-1837).
7. The general use of the steamboat, and the good roads, so reduced the
cost of transportation that it was possible to introduce a new piece of
political machinery--the national convention--to nominate candidates for
President and Vice President.
8. In Jackson's second term the antislavery movement began in earnest;
the Whig party was organized and named; the national debt was paid off,
and the surplus distributed.
9. Jackson was followed by Van Buren, in whose administration the great
panic of 1837 occurred. Because of this and hard times a second national
debt was started. A new financial measure was the establishment of the
10. This the Whigs under Tyler destroyed. They attempted to replace it
with a third National Bank, but were prevented from doing so by
* * * * *
THE INDUSTRIAL, MECHANICAL, AGRICULTURAL, AND SOCIAL PROGRESS
OF OUR COUNTRY BETWEEN 1800 AND 1840 LEADS TO
_New political ideas_
Extension of the franchise.
No third term for a President.
No nomination by congressional caucus.
_New political issues_.
Use of public lands.
* * * * *
These issues and ideas break up the Republican
party into factions led in 1824 by
Crawford and Gallatin, Caucus candidates.
Adams by House of Representatives.
Calhoun by electoral college.
Renominated in 1828.
Jackson and Calhoun elected.
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