A School History of the United States
John Bach McMaster
Part 6 out of 10
| | 18|32
| | ______________|_________________________________
Tariff. | | | |
Of 1824, opposed | Clay defeated. Jackson reelected. 1827, Rise of Antimasons.
by the South. Finance Van Buren Vice President 1831, Originate national
Of 1828, \ ________________ | nominating convention.
Of 1832, / Nullified | | ________________|___________________________________
by South Attack on the | | | | |
Carolina Bank of the Removal of the Surplus. Specie | Speculation
in 1832. United States. deposits. Cause of Circular |
|___________| Renewal of Censure of the amount. | +--------+
| charter vetoed. President. "Deposit" or | Payments of the
Compromise Censure distribution | national dept,
of 1833. | expunged. among the | 1835.
|_____________________| states. |
| |____________| |
Great increase of | |
state banks. | |
Van Buren elected in 1836.
Inaugurated, March, 1837.
Panic of 1837.
Causes of the panic. Great opposition to the Democratic party.
Suspension of the banks. Union of this opposition in 1840 with the Whigs.
New national debt. ___________________|______________________________
Suspension of distribution of | | |
the revenue. Democrats. Whigs. Antislavery
Establishment of Independent Issue their first Issue no platform. party.
Treasury. party platform. Nominate Harrison. Origin of.
Nominate Van Buren. Elect him. Nominates J.
Are defeated. G. Birney.
EXPANSION OF THE SLAVE AREA
%356. Texas secures Independence.%--The fact that Tyler now belonged
to no party enabled him to commit an act which, had he belonged to
either, he would not have ventured to commit at that time,--to make a
treaty of annexation with Texas.
[Illustration: %TERRITORY CLAIMED BY TEXAS% WHEN ADMITTED INTO THE
In 1821 Mexico, which for years past had been fighting for independence,
was set free by Spain, and soon established herself as a republic under
the name of the United States of Mexico. The old Spanish provinces were
the states, and one of these provinces was Texas. As a country Texas had
been very attractive to Americans, and the eastern part would have been
settled early in the century if it had been definitely known who owned
it. Now that Mexico owned it, a citizen of the United States, Moses
Austin, asked for a large grant of land and for leave to bring in
settlers. A grant was made on condition that he should bring in 300
families within a given time. Moses Austin died; but his son Stephen
went on with the scheme and succeeded so well that others followed his
example till seventeen such grants had been perfected.
For some years the settlers managed their own affairs in their own way.
But about 1830 Mexico began to rule them harshly, and when they were
unable to stand it any longer they rebelled against her in 1833, and in
1836 set up the republic of Texas. At first the Texans were defeated,
and on two memorable occasions bands of them were massacred by the
Mexican soldiers after they had surrendered. Money and troops and aid of
every sort, however, were sent from the United States, and at length
Santa Anna, the President of Mexico, who commanded the Mexicans, was
defeated and captured and his army destroyed by the Texans under Samuel
Houston at the battle of San Jacinto (1836). The victory was hailed with
delight all over our country, and the independence of Texas was
acknowledged by the United States (1837), England, France, and Belgium.
%357. Texas applies for Admission to the Union.%--As soon as
independence was acknowledged, the people of Texas became very anxious
to have their republic become a state in our Union; but slavery existed
in Texas, and the men of the free states opposed her admission.
At last in 1844 Tyler secretly negotiated a treaty of annexation with
the Texan authorities, and surprised the Senate by submitting it
[Footnote 1: The Senate rejected the treaty]
The politicians were very indignant, for the national nominating
conventions were to meet in May, and the President by his act had made
the annexation of Texas a political issue. The Democrats, however, took
it up and in their platform declared for "the reannexation of Texas,"
and nominated James K. Polk of Tennessee for President and George
Mifflin Dallas of Pennsylvania for Vice President.
%358. The Joint Occupation of Oregon is continued.%--But there was
another plank in the Democratic platform of 1844 which promised the
acquisition of a great piece of free soil. We left the question of the
ownership of Oregon at the time when the United States and Great Britain
(in 1818) agreed to hold the country in joint occupation for ten years;
and when Russia, the United States, and Great Britain had (in 1824 and
1825) made 54 deg. 40' the boundary line between the Oregon country and
Alaska. Before the ten-year period of joint occupation expired, Great
Britain and the United States, in 1827, agreed to continue it
indefinitely. Either party could end the agreement after a year's notice
to the other.
%359. Attempts to end Joint Occupation.%--Before this time the men
who came to the Oregon country were explorers, trappers, hunters,
servants of the great fur companies, who built forts and trading
stations, but did little for the settlement of the region. After this
time missionaries were sent to the Indians, and serious efforts were
made to persuade men to emigrate to Oregon. Some parties did go, and as
a result of their work, and of the labors of the missionaries, Oregon,
in the course of ten years, became better known to the people of the
Efforts were then begun to persuade Congress to extend the jurisdiction
of the United States over Oregon, order the occupation of the country,
and end the old agreement with Great Britain. Petitions were sent
(1838-1840), reports were made, bills were introduced; but Congress
stood firmly by the agreement, and would not take any steps toward the
occupation of Oregon. In 1842, Elijah White, a former missionary, came
to Washington and so impressed the authorities with the importance of
settling Oregon that he was appointed Indian Agent for that country, and
told to take back with him as many settlers as he could. Returning to
Missouri, he soon gathered a band of 112 persons and with these, the
largest number of settlers that had yet started for Oregon, he set off
across the plains in the spring of 1842. At the next session of Congress
(1842-1843) another effort was made to provide for the occupation of
Oregon at least as far north as 49 deg., and a bill for that purpose passed
Meanwhile a rage for emigration to Oregon broke out in the West, and in
the early summer of 1843, nearly a thousand persons, with a long train
of wagons, moved out of Westport, Missouri, and started northwestward
over the plains. Like the emigrants of 1842, they succeeded in reaching
Oregon, though they encountered many hardships.
%360. "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight."%--So much attention was thus
attracted to Oregon, in 1843, that the people by 1844 began to demand a
settlement of the boundary and an end of joint occupation. The Democrats
therefore gladly took up the Oregon matter. Their plan to reannex Texas,
which was slave soil, could, they thought, be offset by a declaration in
favor of acquiring all Oregon, which was free soil. The Democratic
platform for 1844, therefore, declared that "our title to the whole of
Oregon is clear; that no portion of the same ought to be ceded to
England or any other power; and that the reoccupation of Oregon and the
reannexation of Texas" were great American measures, which the people
were urged to support. The people thought they were great American
measures, and with the popular cries of "The reannexation of Texas,"
"Texas or disunion," "The whole of Oregon or none," "Fifty-four forty or
fight," the Democrats entered the campaign and won it, electing James K.
Polk and George M. Dallas.
The Whigs were afraid to declare for or against the annexation, so they
said nothing about it in their platform, and nominated Henry Clay of
Kentucky and Theodore Frelinghuysen of New Jersey. The real question of
the campaign was of course the annexation of Texas, and though the
platform was silent on that subject their leader spoke out. In a public
letter which appeared in a newspaper and was copied all over the Union,
Clay said that he believed slavery was doomed to end at no far away day;
that the admission of Texas could neither hasten nor put off the arrival
of that day, and that he "should be glad to see" Texas annexed if it
could be done "without dishonor, without war, and with the common
consent of the Union and upon just and fair terms."
[Illustration: James K. Polk]
Language of this sort did not please the antislavery Whigs; and in New
York numbers of them voted for James G. Birney and Thomas Morris,
candidates of the Liberty party. The result was that the vote for Birney
in New York in 1844 was more than twice as great as he received in the
whole Union in 1840. Had half of these New Yorkers voted for Clay
instead, he would have received the electoral vote of New York and would
have been President.
[Illustration: %THE OREGON COUNTRY%]
%361. Texas annexed to the United States.%--Tyler, who saw in the
result of the election a command from the people to acquire Texas, urged
Congress in December, 1844, to annex it at once. But in what manner
should it be acquired? Some said by a treaty. This would require the
consent of two thirds of the Senate. But the Democrats did not have the
votes of two thirds of the Senate and so could not have secured the
ratification of such a treaty. It was decided, therefore, to annex by
joint resolution, which required but a majority for its passage. The
House of Representatives accordingly passed such a resolution for the
admission of Texas, and with her consent for the formation of four
additional states out of the territory, those north of 36 deg. 30' to be
free. The Senate amended this resolution and gave the President power to
negotiate another treaty of annexation, or submit the joint resolution
to Texas. The House accepted the amendment. Tyler chose to offer the
terms in the joint resolution. Texas accepted them, and in December,
1845, her senators and representatives took their seats in Congress.
%362. Oregon.%--By the admission of Texas, the Democrats made good
one of the pledges in their platform of 1844. They were now called on to
make good the other, which promised the whole of Oregon up to 54 deg. 40'.
To suppose that England would yield to this claim, and so cut herself
off entirely from the Pacific coast, was absurd. Nevertheless, because
of the force of popular opinion, the one year's notice necessary to
terminate joint occupation was served on Great Britain in 1846. The
English minister thereupon presented a treaty extending the 49th
parallel across Oregon from the Rocky Mountains to the coast, and
drawing a line down the strait of Juan de Fuca to the Pacific. Polk and
the Senate accepted this boundary, and the treaty was proclaimed on
August 5, 1846. Two years later, August 14, 1848, Oregon was made a
%363. General Taylor enters Texas; War with Mexico begins.%--When
Texas came into the Union, she claimed as her western boundary the Rio
Grande from its mouth to its source and then a line due north to 42 deg..
Now this line was disputed by Mexico, which claimed that the Nueces
River was the western boundary of Texas. The disputed strip of territory
was thus between the Nueces and the Rio Grande (p. 321).
President Polk, however, took the side of Texas, claimed the country as
far as the Rio Grande, and in January, 1846, ordered General Zachary
Taylor to march our army across the Nueces, go to the Rio Grande, and
occupy the disputed strip. This he did, and on April 25, 1846, the
Mexicans crossed the river and attacked the Americans. Taylor instantly
sent the news to Washington, and, May 12, Polk asked for a declaration
of war. "Mexico," said he, "has passed the boundary of the United
States; has invaded our territory and shed American blood on American
soil." Congress declared that war existed, and Polk called for 50,000
volunteers (May 13, 1846).
When the Mexicans crossed the Rio Grande and attacked the Americans at
Fort Brown, Taylor was at Point Isabel. Hurrying southward to the relief
of the fort, he met the enemy at Palo Alto, beat them, pushed on to
Resaca de la Palma, beat them again, and soon crossed the river and took
possession of the town of Matamoras. There he remained till August,
1846, waiting for supplies, reinforcements, and means of transportation,
when he began a march toward the city of Monterey. The Mexicans,
profiting by Taylor's long stay at Matamoras, had gathered in great
force at Monterey, and had strongly fortified every position. But Taylor
attacked with vigor, and after three days of continuous fighting, part
of the time from street to street and house to house, the Mexican
General Ampudia surrendered the city (September 24, 1846). An armistice
of six weeks' duration was then agreed on, after which Taylor moved on
leisurely to Saltillo (sahl-teel'-yo).
%364. Scott in Mexico.%--Meantime, General Winfield Scott was sent to
Mexico to assume chief command. He reached the mouth of the Bio Grande
in January, 1847, and called on Taylor to send him 10,000 men. Santa
Anna (sahn'-tah ahn'-nah), who commanded the Mexicans, hearing of this
order, marched at once against Taylor, who took up a strong position at
Buena Vista (bwa'-nah vees'-tah), where a desperate battle was fought
February 23, 1847. The Americans won, and Santa Anna hurried off to
attack Scott, who was expected at Vera Cruz. Scott landed there in
March, and, after a siege of a few days, took the castle and city, and
ten days later began his march westward along the national highway
towards the ancient capital of the Aztecs. It was just 328 years since
Cortez with his little band started from the same point on a precisely
similar errand. At every step of the way the ranks of Scott grew thinner
and thinner. Hundreds perished in battle. Hundreds died by the wayside
of disease more terrible than battle. But Scott would not turn back, and
victory succeeded victory with marvelous rapidity. April 8 he left Vera
Cruz. April 18 he stormed the heights of Cerro Gordo. April 19 he was at
Jalapa (hah-lah'-pah). On the 22d Perote (pa-ro'-ta) fell. May 15 the
city of Puebla (pweb'-lah) was his. There Scott staid till August 7,
when he again pushed westward, and on the 10th saw the city of Mexico.
Then followed in rapid succession the victories of Contreras
(con-tra'-rahs), Churubusco (choo-roo-boos'-ko), Molino del Rey
(mo-lee'-no del ra), the storming of Chapultepec (chah-pool-ta-pek'),
and the triumphal entry into Mexico, September 14, 1847. Never before in
the history of the world had there been made such a march.
[Illustration: %CAMPAIGN OF GEN. SCOTT%]
%365. The "Wilmot Proviso."%--In 1846 the Mexican War was very
hateful to many Northern people, and as a new House of Representatives
was to be elected in the autumn of that year, Polk thought it wise to
end the war if possible, and in August asked for $2,000,000 "for the
settlement of the boundary question with Mexico." This, of course, meant
the purchase of territory from her. But Mexico had abolished slavery in
1827, and lest any territory bought from her should be made slave soil,
David Wilmot of Pennsylvania moved that the money should be granted,
_provided_ all territory bought with it should be free soil. The proviso
passed the House, but not the Senate. Next year (1847) a bill to give
Polk $3,000,000 with which to settle the boundary dispute was
introduced, and again the proviso was attached. But the Senate rejected
it, and the House then gave way, and passed the bill without
%366. Conquest of New Mexico and California.%--While Taylor was
winning victories in northeastern Mexico, Colonel Stephen W. Kearny was
ordered to march into New Mexico. Leaving Fort Leavenworth in June,
1846, he went by the Upper Arkansas River to Bents Fort, thence
southwest through what is now Colorado, and by the old Santa Fe trail to
the Rio Grande valley and Santa Fe (p. 330). After taking the city
without opposition, he declared the whole of New Mexico to be the
property of the United States, and then started to seize California. On
arriving there, he found the conquest completed by the combined forces
of Stockton and Fremont.
%367. The Great American Desert.%--But how came Fremont to be in
California in 1846?
If you look at any school geography published between 1820 and 1850 you
will find that a large part of what is now Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado,
Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Texas is put down as "THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT."
Many believed it was not unlike the Desert of Sahara, and that nobody
would ever want to cross it, while there was so much fertile land to the
eastward. This view made people very indifferent as to our claims to
Oregon, so that when Thomas H. Benton, one of the senators from
Missouri, and one of the far-sighted statesmen of the day, wanted
Congress to seize and hold Oregon by force of arms, he was told that it
was not worth the cost. "Oregon," said one senator, "will never be a
state in the Union." "Build a railroad to Oregon?" said another. "Why,
all the wealth of the Indies would not be sufficient for such a work."
[Illustration: ROUTES OF THE %EARLY EXPLORERS% of the West]
%368. The Santa Fe and Oregon Trails.%--Some explorations you
remember had been made. Lewis and Clark went across the Northwest to the
mouth of the Columbia in 1804-1805, and Zebulon M. Pike had penetrated
in 1806 to the wild mountainous region about the head waters of the
Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande and had probably seen the great
mountain that now bears his name. Major Long followed Pike in 1820, gave
his name to Longs Peak, and brought back such a dismal account of the
West that he was largely responsible for the belief in a desert. The
great plains from the sources of the Sabine, Brazos, and Colorado rivers
to the northern boundary Were, he said, "peculiarly adapted as a range
for buffaloes, wild Goats, and other wild game," and "might serve as a
barrier to prevent too great an expansion of our population westward;"
but nobody would think of cultivating the plains. For years after that
the American Fur Trading Company of St. Louis had annually sent forth
its caravans into Oregon and New Mexico. Because the way was beset by
hostile Indians, these caravans were protected by large and strongly
armed bands, and in time wore out well-beaten tracks across the prairies
and over the mountain passes, which came to be known on the frontier as
the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails. In 1832 Captain Bonneville took a
wagon train over the Rocky Mountain divide into the Green River Valley,
and Nathaniel J. Wyeth led a party from New England to the Oregon
country, and in 1834 established Fort Hall in what is now Idaho. Still
later in the thirties went Marcus Whitman and his party.
[Footnote 1: Bead his adventures as told by Washington Irving.]
%369. %Explorations of Fremont.%--By this time it was clear that the
tide of westward emigration would soon set in strongly towards Oregon.
Then at last Benton succeeded in persuading Congress to order an
exploration of the far West, and in 1842 Lieutenant Fremont was sent to
see if the South Pass of the rocky Mountains, the usual crossing place,
would best accommodate the coming emigration. He set out from Kansas
City (then a frontier hamlet, now a prosperous city) with Kit Carson, a
famous hunter, for guide, and following the wagon trails of those who
had gone before him, made his way to the pass. He found its ascent so
gradual that his party hardly knew when they reached the summit. Passing
through it to the valley beyond, he climbed the great peak which now
bears his name and stands 13,570 feet above the sea.
Though Fremont discovered no new route, he did much to dispel the
popular idea created by Long that the plains were barren, and the
American Desert began to shrink. In 1843 Fremont was sent out again.
Making his way westward through the South Pass, where his work ended in
1842, he turned southward to visit Great Salt Lake, and then pushed on
to Walla Walla on the Columbia River (see map on p. 330). Thence he went
on to the Dalles, and then by boat to Fort Vancouver, and then, after
returning to the Dalles, southward to Sutter's Fort in the Sacramento
valley, and so back to the States in 1844.
In 1845 Fremont, who had now won the name of "Pathfinder," was sent out
a third time, and crossing what are now Nebraska and Utah, reached the
vicinity of Monterey in California. The Mexican authorities ordered him
out of the country. But he spent the winter in the mountains, and in the
spring was on his way to Oregon, when a messenger from Washington
overtook him, and he returned to Sutter's Fort.
%370. The Bear State Republic.%--This was in June, 1846. Rumors of
war between Mexico and the United States were then flying thick and
fast, and the American settlers in California, fearing they would be
attacked, revolted, and raising a flag on which an image of a grizzly
bear was colored in red paint, proclaimed California an independent
republic. These Bear State republicans were protected and aided by
Fremont and Commodore Stockton, who was on the California coast with a
fleet, and together they held California till Kearny arrived.
[Illustration: %TERRITORY CEDED BY MEXICO 1818 and 1853%]
%371. Terms of Peace.%--Thus when the time came to make peace, our
armies were in military possession of vast stretches of Mexican
territory which Polk refused to give up. Mexico, of course, was forced
to yield, and in February, 1848, at a little place near the city of
Mexico, called Guadalupe Hidalgo, a treaty was signed by which Mexico
gave up the land and received in return $15,000,000. The United States
was also to pay claims our citizens had against Mexico to the amount of
$3,500,000. This added 522,568 square miles to the public domain.
[Footnote 1: This new territory included not only the present California
and New Mexico, but also Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and parts of Colorado
%372. The Gadsden Purchase.%--When the attempt was made to run the
boundary line from the Rio Grande to the Gila River, so many
difficulties occurred that in 1853 a new treaty was made with Mexico,
and the present boundary established from the Rio Grande to the Gulf of
California. The line then agreed on was far south of the Gila River, and
for this new tract of land, 45,535 square miles, the United States paid
Mexico $10,000,000. It is generally called the Gadsden Purchase, after
James Gadsden, who negotiated it.
Much of this territory acquired in 1848, especially New Mexico and
California, had long been settled by the Spaniards. But the acquisition
of it by the United States at once put an end to the old Mexican
government, and made it necessary for Congress to provide new
governments. There must be American governors, American courts, American
judges, customhouses, revenue laws; in a word, there must be a complete
change from the Mexican way of governing to the American way. To do this
ought not to have been a hard thing; but Mexico had abolished slavery in
all this territory in 1827. It was free soil, and such the
anti-extension-of-slavery people of the North insisted on keeping it.
The proslavery people of the South, on the other hand, insisted that it
should be open to slavery, and that any slaveholder should be allowed to
emigrate to the new territory with his slaves and not have them set
free. The political question of the time thus became, Shall, or shall
not, slavery exist in New Mexico and California?
%373. The Free-soil Party.%--As a President to succeed Polk was to be
elected in 1848, the two great parties did their best to keep the
troublesome question of slavery out of politics. When the Whig
convention met, it positively refused to make a platform, and nominated
General Zachary Taylor of Louisiana, and Millard Fillmore of New York,
without a statement of party principles.
When the Democratic convention met, it made a long platform, but said
nothing about slavery in the territories, and nominated Lewis Cass of
Michigan and William O. Butler.
This refusal of the two parties to take a stand on the question of the
hour so displeased many Whigs and Wilmot-Proviso Democrats that they
held a convention at Buffalo, where the old Liberty party joined them,
and together they formed the "Free-soil party." They nominated Martin
Van Buren and Charles F. Adams, and in their platform made four
1. That Congress has no more power to make a slave, than to make a king.
2. That there must be "free soil for a free people."
3. "No more slave states, no more slave territories."
4. That we will inscribe on our banners "Free soil, free speech, free
labor, and free men."
They also asked for cheaper postage, and for free grants of land to
The Whigs won the election.
%374. Zachary Taylor, Twelfth President.%--Taylor and Fillmore were
inaugurated on March 5,1849, because the 4th came on Sunday. Their
election and the triumph of the Whigs now brought on a crisis in the
question of slavery extension.
[Illustration: %Zachary Taylor%]
%375. State of Feeling in the South.%--Southern men, both Whigs and
Democrats, were convinced that an attempt would be made by Northern and
Western men opposed to the extension of slavery to keep the new
territory free soil. Efforts were at once made to prevent this. At a
meeting of Southern members of Congress, an address written by Calhoun
was adopted and signed, and published all over the country. It
1. Complained of the difficulty of capturing slaves when they escaped to
the free states.
2. Complained of the constant agitation of the slavery question by the
3. And demanded that the territories should be open to slavery.
A little later, in 1849, the legislature of Virginia adopted resolutions
1. That "the attempt to enforce the Wilmot Proviso" would rouse the
people of Virginia to "determined resistance at all hazards and to the
2. That the abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia
would be a direct attack on the institutions of the Southern States.
The Missouri legislature protested against the principle of the Wilmot
Proviso, and instructed her senators and representatives to vote with
the slaveholding states. The Tennessee Democratic State Central
Committee, in an address, declared that the encroachments of their
Northern brethren had reached a point where forbearance ceased to be a
virtue. At a dinner to Senator Butler, in South Carolina, one of the
toasts was "A Southern Confederacy."
%376. State of Feeling in the North.%--Feeling in the free states ran
quite as high.
1. The legislatures of every one of them, except Iowa, resolved that
Congress had power and was in duty bound to prohibit slavery in the
[Footnote 1: Iowa had been admitted December 28, 1846.]
2. Many of them bade their congressmen do everything possible to abolish
slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia.
The struggle thus coming to an issue in the summer of 1849 was
precipitated by a most unlooked-for discovery in California, which led
the people of that region to take matters into their own hands.
%377. Discovery of Gold in California.%--One day in the month of
January, 1848, while a man named Marshall was constructing a mill race
in the valley of the American River in California, for a Swiss immigrant
named Sutter, he saw particles of some yellow substance shining in the
mud. Picking up a few, he examined them, and thinking they might be
gold, he gathered some more and set off for Sutter's Fort, where the
city of Sacramento now stands.
[Illustration: %Sutter's mill%]
As soon as he had reached the fort and found Mr. Sutter, the two locked
themselves in a room and examined the yellow flakes Marshall had
brought. They were gold! But to keep the secret was impossible. A Mormon
laborer, watching their excited actions at the mill race, discerned the
secret, and then the news spread fast, and the whole population went
wild. Every kind of business stopped. The stores were shut. Sailors left
the ships. Soldiers defiantly left their barracks, and by the middle of
the summer men came rushing to the gold fields from every part of the
Pacific coast. Later in the year reports reached the East, but so slowly
did news travel in those days that it was not till Polk in his annual
message confirmed it, that people really believed there were gold fields
in California. Then the rush from the East began. Some went overland,
some crossed by the Isthmus of Panama, some went around South America,
filling California with a population of strong, adventurous, and daring
men. These were the "forty-niners."
[Illustration: %San Francisco in 1847%]
%378. The Californians make a Free-State Constitution.%--When Taylor
heard that gold hunters were hurrying to California from all parts of
the world, he was very anxious to have some permanent government in
California; and encouraged by him the pioneers, the "forty-niners," made
a free-state constitution in 1849 and applied for admission into
[Footnote 1: For an account of this movement to make California a state,
see Rhodes's _History of the United States_, Vol. I., pp. 111-116.]
%379. Clay proposes a Compromise.%--When Congress met in 1849 there
were therefore a great many things connected with slavery to be settled:
1. Southern men complained that the existing fugitive-slave law was not
enforced in the free states and that runaway slaves were not returned.
2. The Northern men insisted that slavery should be abolished in the
District of Columbia.
3. Southern men demanded the right to go into any territory of the
United States, as New Mexico or Utah or even California, and take their
slaves with them.
4. The Free-soilers demanded that there should be no more slave states,
no more slave territories.
5. The North wanted California admitted as a free-soil state. The South
would not consent.
So violent and bitter was the feeling aroused by these questions, that
it seemed in 1850 as if the Union was about to be broken up, and that
there were to be two republics,--a Northern one made up of free states,
and a Southern one made up of slave states.
Happily this was not to be; for at this crisis Henry Clay, the
"Compromiser," the "Pacificator," the "Peacemaker," as he was fondly
called, came forward with a plan of settlement.
To please the North, he proposed, first, that California should be
admitted as a free state; second, that the slave trade--that is, the
buying and selling of slaves--should be abolished in the District of
Columbia. To please the South, he proposed, third, that there should be
a new and very stringent fugitive-slave law; fourth, that New Mexico and
Utah should be made territories without reference to slavery--that is,
the people should make them free or slave, as they pleased. This was
called "popular sovereignty" or "squatter sovereignty." Fifth, that as
Texas claimed so much of New Mexico as was east of the Rio Grande, she
should give up her claim and be paid money for so doing.
%380. Clay, Calhoun, Seward, and Webster on the Compromise.%--The
debate on the compromise was a great one. Clay's defense of his plan was
one of the finest speeches he ever made. Calhoun, who was too feeble
to speak, had his argument read by another senator. Webster, on the "7th
of March," made the famous speech which still bears that name. In it he
denounced the abolitionists and defended the compromise, because, he
said, slavery could not exist in such an arid country as New Mexico.
William H. Seward of New York spoke for the Free-soilers and denounced
all compromise, and declared that the territories were free not only by
the Constitution, but by a "higher law" than the Constitution, the law
of justice and humanity.
[Footnote 1: Henry Clay's _Works_, Vol. II., pp. 602-634.]
[Footnote 2: Johnston's _American Orations_, Vol. II., pp. 123-219, for
the speeches of Calhoun, Webster, and Clay.]
After these great speeches were made, Clay's plan was sent to a
committee of thirteen, from which came seven recommendations:
1. The consideration of the admission of any new state or states formed
out of Texas to be postponed till they present themselves for admission.
2. California to be admitted as a free state.
3. Territorial governments without the Wilmot Proviso to be established
in New Mexico and Utah.
4. The combination of No. 2 and No. 3 in one bill.
5. The establishment of the present northern and western boundary of
Texas. In return for ceding her claims to New Mexico, Texas to receive
$10,000,000. This last provision to be inserted in the bill provided
for in No. 4.
6. A new and stringent fugitive-slave law.
7. Abolition of the slave trade, but not of slavery, in the District of
Three bills to carry out these recommendations were presented:
1. The first bill provided for (a) the admission of California as a free
state; (b) territorial governments for New Mexico and Utah without any
_restriction_ on slavery; (c) the present northern and western boundary
for Texas, with a gift of money. President Taylor nicknamed this "the
Omnibus Bill," because of its many provisions.
2. The second bill prohibited the slave trade, but not slavery, in the
District of Columbia.
3. The third provided for the capture and delivery of fugitive-slaves.
During three months these bills were hotly debated, and threats of
disunion and violence were made openly.
%381. Death of Taylor; Fillmore becomes President.%--In the midst of
the debate, July 9, 1850, Taylor died, and Fillmore was sworn into
office. Calhoun had died in March. Webster was made Secretary of State
by Fillmore. In some respects these changes helped on the measures, all
of which were carried through. Two of them were of great importance.
[Illustration: Millard Fillmore]
%382. Popular Sovereignty.%--The first provided that the two new
territories, New Mexico and Utah, when fit to be admitted as states,
should come in with or without slavery as their constitutions might
determine; meantime, the question whether slavery could or could not
exist there, if it arose, was to be settled by the Supreme Court.
%383. The Fugitive-Slave Law.%--The other important measure of the
compromise was the fugitive-slave law. The old fugitive-slave law
enacted in 1793 had depended for its execution on state judges. This new
law of 1850
1. Gave United States commissioners power to turn over a colored man or
woman to anybody who claimed the negro as an escaped slave.
2. Provided that the negro could not give testimony.
3. "Commanded" all good citizens, when summoned, to aid in the capture
of the slave, or, if necessary, in his delivery to his owners.
4. Prescribed fine and imprisonment for anybody who harbored a fugitive
slave or prevented his recapture.
[Illustration: %Results of the COMPROMISE of 1850%]
No sooner was this law enacted than the slave owners began to use it,
and during the autumn of 1850 a host of "slave catchers" and "man
hunters," as they were called, invaded the North, and negroes who had
escaped twenty or thirty years before were hunted up and dragged back to
slavery by the marshals of the United States. This so excited the free
negroes and the people of the North, that several times during 1851 they
rose and rescued a slave from his captors. In New York a slave named
Hamet, in Boston one named Shadrach, in Syracuse one named Jerry, and at
Ottawa, Illinois, one named Jim, regained their liberty in this way. So
strong was public feeling that Vermont in 1850 passed a "Personal
Liberty Law," for the protection of negroes claimed as slaves.
[Footnote 1: On the Compromise of 1850 read Rhodes's _History of the
United States_, Vol. I., pp. 104-189; Schurz's _Life of Clay_, Vol. II.,
Chap. 26. Do not fail to read the speeches of Calhoun, Clay, Webster,
Seward; also Lodge's _Life of Webster_, pp. 264-332. For the rescue
cases read Wilson's _Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America_,
The North was now becoming strongly antislavery. It had long been
opposed to the extension of slavery, but was now becoming opposed to its
very existence. How deep this feeling was, became apparent in the summer
of 1852, when Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe published her story of _Uncle
Tom's Cabin_. It was not so much a picture of what slavery was, as of
what it might be, and was so powerfully written that it stirred and
aroused thousands of people in the North who, till then, had been quite
indifferent. In a few months everybody was laughing and crying over
"Topsy" and "Eva" and "Uncle Tom"; and of those who read it great
numbers became abolitionists.
1. The Mexican state of Texas revolts and in 1837 becomes independent.
2. President Tyler secretly negotiates a treaty for the annexation of
Texas to the United States, but this is defeated (1844).
3. The labors of Elijah White and others lead to the rapid settlement of
the Oregon country.
4. The annexation of Texas and the occupation of the whole of Oregon
become questions in the campaign of 1844. The Democrats carry the
election, Texas is annexed, and the Oregon country is divided between
Great Britain and the United States.
5. The question of the boundary of Texas brings on the Mexican War, and
in 1848 another vast stretch of country is acquired.
6. The acquisition of this new territory, which was free soil, causes a
struggle for the introduction of slavery into it.
7. The refusal of the Whigs and Democrats to take issue on slavery in
the territories leads to the formation of the Free-soil party.
8. The discovery of gold in California, the rush of people thither, and
the formation of a free state seeking admission into the Union force the
question of slavery on Congress.
9. In 1850 an attempt is made to settle it by the "Compromise of 1850."
THE DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM OF 1844 CALLED FOR
The reannexation of Texas.
Texas annexed, August, 1845.
Rio Grande asserted as boundary.
Disputed territory, Nueces to Rio Grande.
1845-46. Taylor sent to occupy the disputed territory.
1846. Attacked by Mexicans.
1846. War declared by the United States.
The reoccupation of Oregon to 54 deg. 40'.
Our claims to Oregon.
Colonization of Oregon.
"Fifty-four forty or fight."
Notice served on Great Britain.
The parallel of 49 deg. extended to the Pacific.
Oregon a territory (1848).
The Mexican War.
1846. Wins battles of Palo Alto.
Resaca de la Palma.
1847. Buena Vista.
1847. Vera Cruz.
Molino del Rey.
Conquest of New Mexico.
Conquest of California.
Territory acquired from 42 deg. to Gila River; from Rio Grande to the Pacific.
Effort to make the territory slave soil.
1848. _The Whigs._
Elect Taylor and Fillmore.
1848. _The Democrats._
Nothing in platform as to slavery in new territory.
Complaints of the South against the North:
1. Fugitive slaves.
2. Slavery in District of Columbia.
3. Territory acquired from Mexico to be open to slavery.
Discovery of gold in California, 1848.
Rush to California.
The three routes.
Free state of California, 1849.
Effort to keep the territory free.
The Wilmot Proviso, 1846, 1847.
The Free-soil party, 1848.
Demands of the party.
Defeated in 1848.
1. California a free state.
2. No slavery in District of Columbia.
3. No more slave states.
No more slave territories.
Whigs attempt a compromise.
COMPROMISE OF 1850.
1. California a free state.
2. Popular sovereignty in territory acquired from Mexico.
3. No slave trade in District of Columbia.
4. Texas takes present boundaries.
5. Two new territories, Utah and New Mexico.
6. New fugitive-slave law.
THE TERRITORIES BECOME SLAVE SOIL
%384. Franklin Pierce, Fourteenth President.%--Although the struggle
with slavery was thus growing more and more serious, the two great
parties pretended to consider the question as finally settled. In 1852
the Democrats nominated Franklin Pierce and William E. King, and
declared in their platform that they would "abide by and adhere to" the
Compromise of 1850, and would "resist all attempts at renewing, in
Congress or out of it, the agitation of the slavery question." The Whigs
nominated General Winfield Scott, and declared that they approved the
fugitive-slave law, and accepted the compromise measures of 1850 as "a
settlement in principle" of the slavery question, and would do all they
could to prevent any further discussion of it.
[Illustration: Franklin Pierce]
So far as the Whigs were concerned, the question was settled; for the
Northern people, angry at their acceptance of the Compromise of 1850 and
the fugitive-slave law, refused to vote for Scott, and Pierce was
[Footnote 1: Pierce carried every state except Massachusetts, Vermont,
Tennessee, and Kentucky.]
The Free-soilers had nominated John P. Hale and George W. Julian.
%385. The Nebraska Bill.%--Pierce was inaugurated March 4, 1853. He,
too, believed that all questions relating to slavery were settled. But
he had not been many months in office when the old quarrel was raging as
bitterly as ever. In 1853 all that part of our country which lies
between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, the south boundary
of Kansas and 49 deg., was wilderness, known as the Platte country, and was
without any kind of territorial government. In January, 1854, a bill to
organize this great piece of country and call it the territory of
Nebraska was reported to the Senate by the Committee on Territories, of
which Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois was chairman. Every foot of it was
north of 36 deg. 30', and according to the Missouri Compromise was free
soil. But the bill provided for popular sovereignty; that is, for the
right of the people of Nebraska, when they made a state, to have it free
or slave, as they pleased.
%386. The Kansas-Nebraska Law.%--An attempt was at once made to
prevent this. But Douglas recalled his bill and brought in another,
providing for two territories, one to be called Kansas and the other
Nebraska, expressly repealing the Missouri Compromise, and opening
the country north of 36 deg. 30' to slavery. The Free-soilers, led on by
Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Seward of New York, and Charles Sumner of
Massachusetts, did all they could to defeat the bill; but it passed, and
Pierce signed it and made it law.
[Footnote 1: The northern and southern boundaries of Kansas were those
of the present state, but it extended westward to the Rocky Mountains.]
[Footnote 2: It declared that the slavery restriction of the Missouri
Compromise "was suspended by the principles of the legislation of 1850,
commonly called the compromise measures, and is hereby declared
[Footnote 3: The "true intent and meaning" of this act, said the law,
is, "not to legislate slavery into any territory or state, nor to
exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to
form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject
only to the Constitution of the United States." Read Rhodes's _History
of the United States_, Vol. I., pp. 425-490.]
[Footnote 4: May 30, 1854.]
%387. The Struggle for Kansas.%--Thus was it ordained that Kansas and
Nebraska, once expressly set apart as free soil, should become free or
slave states according as they were settled while territories by
antislavery or proslavery men. And now began a seven years' struggle for
Kansas. "Come on, then," said Seward of New York in a speech against
the Kansas Bill; "Come on, then, gentlemen of the slave states. Since
there is no escaping your challenge, I accept it on behalf of freedom.
We will engage in competition for the virgin soil of Kansas, and God
give the victory to the side that is stronger in numbers as it is in
[Illustration: %THE UNITED STATES in 1851 SEVENTY FIVE YEARS AFTER
INDEPENDENCE Showing Railroads and Overland Routes]
This described the situation exactly. The free-state men of the North
and the slave-state men of the South were to rush into Kansas and
struggle for its possession. The moment the law opening Kansas for
settlement was known in Missouri, numbers of men crossed the Missouri
River, entered the territory, held squatters' meetings, drove a few
stakes into the ground to represent "squatter claims," went home, and
called on the people of the South to hurry into Kansas. Many did so, and
began to erect tents and huts on the Missouri River at a place which
they called Atchison.
[Footnote 1: At one of their meetings it was resolved: "That we will
afford protection to no abolitionist as a settler of this country."
"That we recognize the institution of slavery as already existing in
this territory, and advise stockholders to introduce their property as
early as possible."]
[Footnote 2: Called after Senator Atchison of Missouri.]
But the men of the North had not been idle, and in July a band of
free-state men, sent on by the New England Emigrant Aid Society,
entered Kansas and founded a town on the Kansas River some miles to the
south and west of Atchison. Other emigrants came in a few weeks later,
and their collection of tents received the name of Lawrence.
[Footnote 1: The New England Emigrant Aid Society was founded in 1854 by
Hon. Eli Thayer of Worcester, Mass., in order "to plant a free state in
Kansas," by aiding antislavery men to go out there and settle.]
[Footnote 2: After Amos A. Lawrence, secretary of the Aid Society. It
was a city of tents. Not a building existed. Later came the log cabin,
which was a poor affair, as timber was scarce. The sod hut now so common
in the Northwest was not thought of. In the early days the "hay tent"
was the usual house, and was made by setting up two rows of poles, then
bringing their tops together, thatching the roof and sides with hay. The
two gable ends (in which were the windows and doors) were of sod.]
What was thus taking place at Lawrence happened elsewhere, so that by
October, 1854, that part of Kansas along the Missouri River was held by
the slave-state men, and the part south of the Kansas River by the
[Footnote 1: The proslavery towns were Atchison, Leavenworth, Lecompton,
Kickapoo. The antislavery towns were Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan,
Waubunsee, Hampden, Ossawatomie.]
In November of the same year the struggle began. There was to be an
election of a territorial delegate to represent Kansas in Congress,
and a day or two before the time set for it the Missourians came over
the border in armed bands, took possession of the polls, voted
illegally, and elected a proslavery delegate.
[Footnote 1: Each territory is allowed to send a delegate to the House
of Representatives, where he can speak, but not vote.]
%388. Kansas a Slave Territory.%--The election of members of the
territorial legislature took place in March, 1855, and for this the
Missourians made great preparations. On the principle of popular
sovereignty the people of Kansas were to decide whether the territory
should be slave or free. Should the majority of the legislature consist
of free-state men, then Kansas would be a free territory. Should a
majority of proslavery men be chosen, then Kansas was doomed to have
slavery fastened on her, and this the Missourians determined should be
done. For weeks before the election, therefore, the border counties of
Missouri were all astir. Meetings were held, and secret societies,
called Blue Lodges, were formed, the members of which were pledged to
enter Kansas on the day of election, take possession of the polls, and
elect a proslavery legislature. The plan was strictly carried out, and
as election day drew near, the Missourians, fully armed, entered Kansas
in companies, squads, and parties, like an invading army, voted, and
then went home to Missouri. Every member of the legislature save one was
a proslavery man, and when that body met, all the slave laws of Missouri
were adopted and slavery was formally established in Kansas.
%389. The Topeka Free-State Constitution.%--The free-state men
repudiated the bogus legislature, held a convention at Topeka, made a
free-state constitution, and submitted it to the popular vote. The
people having ratified it (of course no proslavery men voted), a
governor and legislature were chosen. When the legislature met, senators
were elected and Congress was asked to admit Kansas into the Union as
%390. Personal Liberty Laws; the Underground Railroad.%--The feeling
of the people of the free states toward slavery can be seen from many
signs. The example set by Vermont in 1850 was followed in 1854 by Rhode
Island, Connecticut, and Michigan, and in 1855 by Maine and
Massachusetts, in each of which were passed "Personal Liberty laws,"
designed to prevent free negroes from being carried into slavery on the
claim that they were fugitive slaves. Certain state officers were
required to act as counsel for any one arrested as a fugitive, and to
see that he had a fair trial by jury. To seize a free negro with intent
to reduce him to slavery was made a crime.
Another sign of the times was the sympathy manifested for the operations
of what was called the Underground Railroad. It was, of course, not a
railroad at all, but an organization by which slaves escaping from their
masters were aided in getting across the free states to Canada.
%391. Breaking up of Old Parties.%--Thus matters stood when, in 1856,
the time came to elect a President, and found the old parties badly
disorganized. The political events of four years had produced great
changes. The death of Clay and Webster deprived the Whigs of their
oldest and greatest leaders. The earnest support that party gave to the
Compromise of 1850 and the execution of the fugitive-slave law estranged
thousands of voters in the free states. The Kansas-Nebraska Bill,
opposed as it was by every Northern Whig, completed the ruin and left
the party a wreck.
[Footnote 1: June 29, 1852.]
[Footnote 2: October 24, 1852.]
But the Democrats had also suffered because of the Kansas-Nebraska law
and the repeal of the Compromise of 1820. No anti-extension-of-slavery
Democrat could longer support the old party. Thousands had therefore
broken away, and, acting with the dissatisfied Whigs, formed an
unorganized opposition known as "Anti-Nebraska men."
%392. The Movement against Immigrants.%--Many old Whigs, however,
could not bring themselves to vote with Democrats. These joined the
American or Know-nothing party. From the close of the Revolution there
had never been a year when a greater or less number of foreigners did
not come to our shores. After 1820 the numbers who came each twelvemonth
grew larger and larger, till they reached 30,000 in 1830, and 60,000 in
1836, while in the decade 1830-1840 more than 500,000 immigrants landed
at New York city alone.
As the newcomers hurried westward into the cities of the Mississippi
valley, the native population was startled by the appearance of men who
often could not speak our language. In Cincinnati in 1840 one half the
voters were of foreign birth. The cry was now raised that our
institutions, our liberties, our system of government, were at the mercy
of men from the monarchical countries of Europe. A demand was made for a
change in the naturalization law, so that no foreigner could become a
citizen till he had lived here twenty-one years.
%393. The American Republicans or Native Americans.%--Neither the
Whigs nor the Democrats would endorse this demand, so the people of
Louisiana in 1841 called a state convention and founded the American
Republican, or, as it was soon called, the Native American party. Its
1. Put none but native Americans in office.
2. Require a residence of twenty-one years in this country before
3. Keep the Bible in the schools.
4. Protect from abuse the proceedings necessary to get naturalization
As the members would not tell what the secrets of this party were, and
very often would not say whom they were going to vote for, and when
questioned would answer "I don't know," it got the name of
[Footnote 1: Rhodes's _History of the United States_, Vol. II., pp.
51-58; McMaster's _With the Fathers_, pp. 87-106.]
For a time the party flourished greatly and secured six members of the
House of Representatives, then it declined in power; but the immense
increase in immigration between 1846 and 1850 again revived it, and.
somewhere in New York city in 1852 a secret, oath-bound organization,
with signs, grips, and passwords, was founded, and spread with such
rapidity that in 1854 it carried the elections in Massachusetts, New
York, and Delaware. Next year (1855) it elected the governors and
legislatures of eight states, and nearly carried six more. Encouraged by
these successes, the leaders determined to enter the campaign of 1856,
and called a party convention which nominated Millard Fillmore and
Andrew Jackson Donelson. Delegates from seven states left the convention
because it would not stand by the Missouri Compromise, and taking the
name North Americans nominated N. P. Banks. He would not accept, and the
bolters then joined the Republicans.
%394. Beginning of the Republican Party.%--As early as 1854, when the
Kansas-Nebraska Bill was before Congress, the question was widely
discussed all over the North and West, whether the time had not come to
form a new party out of the wreck of the old. With this in view a
meeting of citizens of all parties was held at Ripon, Wisconsin, at
which the formation of a new party on the slavery issue was recommended,
and the name Republican suggested. This was before the passage of the
After its passage a thousand citizens of Michigan signed a call for a
state mass meeting at Jackson, where a state party was formed, named
Republican, and a state ticket nominated, on which were Free-soilers,
Whigs, and Anti-Nebraska Democrats. Similar "fusion tickets" were
adopted in Wisconsin and Vermont, where the name Republican was used,
and in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.
The success of the new party in Wisconsin and Michigan in 1854, and its
yet greater success in 1855, led the chairmen of the Republican state
committees of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Wisconsin
to issue a call for an informal convention at Pittsburg on February 22,
1856. At this meeting the National Republican party was formed, and from
it went a call for a national nominating convention to meet (June 17,
1856) at Philadelphia, where John C. Fremont and William L. Dayton were
The Free-soilers had joined the Republicans and so disappeared from
politics as a party.
The Whigs, or "Silver Grays," met and endorsed Fillmore.
The Democrats nominated James Buchanan and John C. Breckinridge and
carried the election. The Whigs and the Know-nothings then disappeared
from national politics.
[Illustration: James Buchanan]
%395. James Buchanan, Fifteenth President; the "Bred Scott
Decision."%--When Buchanan and Breckinridge were inaugurated, March
4, 1857, certain matters regarding slavery were considered as legally
settled forever, as follows:
1. Foreign slave trade forbidden.
2. Slave trade between the states allowed.
3. Fugitive slaves to be returned.
4. Whether a state should permit or abolish slavery to be determined by
5. Squatter sovereignty to be allowed in Kansas and Nebraska, Utah and
New Mexico territories.
6. The people in a territory to determine whether they would have a
slave or a free state when they made a state constitution.
Now there were certain questions regarding slavery which were not
settled, and one of them was this: If a slave is taken by his master to
a free state and lives there for a while, does he become free?
To this the Supreme Court gave the answer two days after Buchanan was
inaugurated. A slave by the name of Dred Scott had been taken by his
master from the slave state of Missouri to the free state of Illinois,
and then to the free soil of Minnesota, and then back to the state of
Missouri, where Scott sued for his freedom, on the ground that his
residence on free soil had made him a free man. Two questions of vast
importance were thus raised:
1. Could a negro whose ancestors had been sold as slaves become a
citizen of one of the states in the Union? For unless Dred Scott was a
citizen of Missouri, where he then lived, he could not sue in the United
2. Did Congress have power to enact the Missouri Compromise? For if it
did not then the restriction of slavery north of 36 deg.30' was illegal, and
Dred Scott's residence in Minnesota did not make him free.
From the lower courts the case came on appeal to the Supreme Court,
1. That Dred Scott was not a citizen, and therefore could not sue in the
United States courts. His residence in Minnesota had not made him free.
2. That Congress could not shut slave property out of the territories
any more than it could shut out a horse or a cow.
3. That the piece of legislation known as the Missouri Compromise of
1820 was null and void. This confirmed all that had been gained for
slavery by the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, and opened to slavery Oregon
and Washington, which were free territories.
%396. Effect of the Dred Scott Decision.%--Hundreds of thousands of
copies of this famous decision were printed at once and scattered
broadcast over the country as campaign documents. The effect was to fill
the Southern people with delight and make them more reckless than ever,
to split the Democratic party in the North; to increase the number of
Republicans in the North, and make them more determined than ever to
stop the spread of slavery into the territories.
[Illustration: %EXPANSION OF SLAVE SOIL IN THE UNITED STATES
%397. Struggle for Freedom in Kansas.%--We left Kansas in 1856 with a
proslavery governor and legislature in actual possession, and a
free-state governor, legislature, and senators seeking recognition at
Washington. In 1857 there were so many free-state men in Kansas that
they elected an antislavery legislature. But just before the proslavery
men went out of power they made a proslavery constitution, and
instead of submitting to the people the question, Will you, or will you
not, have this constitution? they submitted the question, Will you have
this constitution with or without slavery? On this the free settlers
would not vote, and so it was adopted with slavery. But when the
antislavery legislature met soon after, they ordered the question, Will
you, or will you not, have this constitution? to be submitted to the
people. Then the free settlers voted, and it was rejected by a great
majority. Buchanan, however, paid no attention to the action of the free
settlers, but sent the Lecompton constitution to Congress and urged it
to admit Kansas as a slave state. But Senator Douglas of Illinois came
forward and opposed this, because to force a slave constitution on the
people of Kansas, after they had voted against it, was contrary to the
doctrine of "popular sovereignty." He, with the aid of other Northern
Democrats, defeated the attempt, and Kansas remained a territory
[Footnote 1: The convention met at the town of Lecompton; in consequence
of which the constitution is known as the "Lecompton constitution."]
%398. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates.%--The term of Douglas as senator
from Illinois was to expire on March 4, 1859. The legislature whose duty
it would be to elect his successor was itself to be elected in 1858. The
Democrats, therefore, announced that if they secured a majority of the
legislators, they would reelect Douglas. The Republicans declared that
if they secured a majority, they would elect Abraham Lincoln United
States senator. The real question of the campaign thus became, Will the
people of Illinois have Stephen A. Douglas or Abraham Lincoln for
[Footnote 1: The Republican state convention at Springfield, June 16,
1858, "resolved, that Abraham Lincoln is the first and only choice of
the Republicans of Illinois for the United States Senate as the
successor of Stephen A. Douglas."]
The speech making opened in June, 1858, when Lincoln addressed the
convention that nominated him at Springfield. A month later Douglas
replied in a speech at Chicago. Lincoln, who was present, answered
Douglas the next evening. A few days later, Douglas, who had taken the
stump, replied to Lincoln at Bloomington, and the next day was again
answered by Lincoln at Springfield. The deep interest aroused by this
running debate led the Republican managers to insist that Lincoln should
challenge Douglas to a series of joint debates in public. The challenge
was sent and accepted, and debates were arranged for at seven towns
named by Douglas. The questions discussed were popular sovereignty, the
Dred Scott decision, the extension of slavery to the territories; and
the discussion of them attracted the attention of the whole country.
Lincoln was defeated in the senatorial election; but his great speeches
won for him a national reputation.
[Footnote 1: One in each Congressional district except those containing
Chicago and Springfield, where both Lincoln and Douglas had already
spoken. For a short account of their debates see the _Century Magazine_
for July, 1887, p. 386.]
[Footnote 2: Rhodes's _History of the United States_, Vol. II., pp.
308-339. Nicolay and Hay's _Life of Lincoln_, Vol. II., Chaps. 10-16.
John T. Morse's _Life of Lincoln_, Vol. I., Chap. 6.]
%399. John Brown's Raid into Virginia%.--As slavery had become the
great political issue of the day, it is not surprising that it excited a
lifelong and bitter enemy of slavery to do a foolish act. John Brown was
a man of intense convictions and a deep-seated hatred of slavery. When
the border ruffianism broke out in Kansas in 1855, he went there with
arms and money, and soon became so prominent that he was outlawed and a
price set on his head. In 1858 he left Kansas, and in July, 1859,
settled near Harpers Ferry, Va. (p. 360). His purpose was to stir up a
slave insurrection in Virginia, and so secure the liberation of the
negroes. With this in view, one Sunday night in October, 1859, he with
less than twenty followers seized the United States armory at Harpers
Perry and freed as many slaves and arrested as many whites as possible.
But no insurrection or uprising of slaves followed, and before he could
escape to the mountains he was surrounded and captured by Robert E. Lee,
then a colonel in the army of the United States. Brown was tried on the
charges of murder and of treason against the state of Virginia, was
found guilty, and in December, 1859, was hanged.
[Illustration: Harpers Ferry]
%400. Split in the Democratic Party.%--Thus it was that one event
after another prolonged the struggle with slavery till 1860, when the
people were once more to elect a President.
The Democratic nominating convention assembled at Charleston, S.C., in
April, and at once went to pieces. A strong majority made up of Northern
delegates insisted that the party should declare--"That all questions in
regard to the rights of property in states or territories arising under
the Constitution of the United States are judicial in their character,
and the Democratic party is pledged to abide by and faithfully carry out
such determination of these questions as has been or may be made by the
Supreme Court of the United States."
This meant to carry out the doctrine laid down in the Dred Scott
decision, and was in conflict with the "popular sovereignty" doctrine of
Douglas, which was that right of the people to make a slave territory or
a free territory is perfect and complete. The minority, composed of the
extreme Southern men, rejected the former plan and insisted
1. "That the Democracy of the United States hold these cardinal
principles on the subject of slavery in the territories: First, that
Congress has no power to abolish slavery in the territories. Second,
that the territorial legislature has no power to abolish slavery in any
territory, nor to prohibit the introduction of slaves therein, nor any
power to exclude slavery therefrom, nor any right to destroy or impair
the right of property in slaves by any legislation whatever."
2. That the Federal government must protect slavery "on the high seas,
in the territories, and wherever else its constitutional
Both majority and minority agreed in asserting
1. That the Personal Liberty laws of the free states "are hostile in
their character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in
2. That Cuba ought to be acquired by the United States.
3. That a railroad ought to be built to the Pacific.
Their agreement was a minor matter. Their disagreement was so serious
that when the minority could not have its way, it left the convention,
met in another hall, and adopted its resolutions.
The majority of the convention then adjourned to meet at Baltimore, June
18. 1860. As it was then apparent that Douglas would be nominated,
another split occurred, and the few Southern men attending, together
with some Northern delegates, withdrew. Those who remained nominated
Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson.
The second group of seceders met in Baltimore, adopted the platform of
the first group of seceders from the Charleston convention, and
nominated John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky, and Joseph Lane, of Oregon.
[Illustration: A Lincoln]
%401. The Constitutional Union Party.%--Meanwhile (May 9) another
party, calling itself the National Constitutional Union party, met at
Baltimore. These men were the remnants of the old Whig and American or
Know-nothing parties. They nominated John Bell, of Tennessee, and Edward
Everett, of Massachusetts, and declared for "the Constitution of the
country, the union of the states, and the enforcement of the laws."
%402. Election of Lincoln.%--The Republican party met in convention
at Chicago on May 16, and nominated Abraham Lincoln, and Hannibal Hamlin
of Maine. It
1. Repudiated the principles of the Dred Scott decision.
2. Demanded the admission of Kansas as a free state.
3. Denied all sympathy with any kind of interference with slavery in the
4. Insisted that the territories must be kept free.
5. Called for a railroad to the Pacific, and a homestead law.
The election took place in November, 1860. Of 303 electoral votes cast,
Lincoln received 180; Breckinridge, 72; Bell, 39; and Douglas, 12.
1. The Compromise of 1850 did not settle the question of slavery in the
territories, and an attempt to organize Kansas and Nebraska brought
it up again.
2. In the organization of these territories a new political doctrine,
"popular sovereignty," was announced.
3. This was applied in Kansas, and the struggle for Kansas began. The
first territorial government was proslavery. The antislavery men then
made a constitution (Topeka) and formed a free state government.
Thereupon the proslavery men formed a constitution (Lecompton) for a
slave state. This was submitted to Congress and rejected, and Kansas
remained a territory till 1861.
4. In the course of the struggle for free soil in Kansas the Whig party
went to pieces, the Democratic was split into two wings, and the
Know-nothing or Native American party and the Republican party arose.
5. The Republican party was defeated in 1856, but the Dred Scott
decision in 1857 and the continued struggle in Kansas forced the
question of slavery to the front, and in 1860 Lincoln was elected.
PROGRESS IN THE UNITED STATES BETWEEN 1840 AND 1860
[Illustration: Chicago in 1832]
%403. The Movement of Population.%--The twenty years which elapsed
between the election of Harrison, in 1840, and the election of Lincoln,
in 1860, had seen a most astonishing change in our country. In 1840
neither Texas, nor the immense region afterwards acquired from Mexico,
belonged to us. There were then but twenty-six states and five
territories, inhabited by 17,000,000 people, of whom but 876,000 lived
west of the Mississippi River, mostly close to the river bank in
Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The great Northwest was still a
wilderness, and many a city now familiar to us had no existence. Toledo
and Milwaukee and Indianapolis had each less than 3000 inhabitants;
Chicago had less than 5000; and Cleveland, Columbus, and Detroit, each
less than 10,000. Yet the rapid growth of cities had been one of the
characteristics of the period 1830 to 1840.
The effect of new mechanical appliances on the movement of population
was amazing. The day when emigrants settled along the banks of streams,
pushed their boats up the rivers by means of poles, carried their goods
on the backs of pack horses, and floated their produce in Kentucky
broadhorns down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans, was fast
disappearing. The steamboat, the canal, the railroad, had opened new
possibilities. Land once valueless as too far from market suddenly
became valuable. Men grew loath to live in a wilderness; the rush of
emigrants across the Mississippi was checked. The region between the
Alleghanies and the great river began to fill up rapidly. During the
twenty years, 1821 to 1841, but two states, Arkansas (1836) and Michigan
(1837), were admitted to the Union, and but three new territories,
Florida (1822-23), Wisconsin (1836), and Iowa (1838), were established.
So few people went west from the Atlantic seaboard states that in each
one of them except Maine and Georgia population increased more rapidly
than it had ever done for forty years. From the Mississippi valley
states, however, numbers of people went to Wisconsin and Iowa.
In consequence of this, Iowa was admitted to the Union in 1846, and
Wisconsin in 1848. Minnesota and Oregon were made territories. Florida
and Texas had been admitted in 1845, and the number of states was thus
raised to thirty before 1850. The population of the country in 1850 was
23,000,000. Two states in the Mississippi valley now had each of them
more than a million of inhabitants.
%404. The First States on the Pacific.%--Until 1840 the people had
moved westward steadily. Each state as it was settled had touched some
other east, or north, or south of it. After 1840 people, attracted by
the rich farming land and pleasant climate of Oregon, and after 1848 by
the gold mines of California, rushed across the plains to the Pacific,
and between 1850 and 1860 built up the states of California and Oregon
(1859), and the territory of Washington (1853). Minnesota was admitted
in 1858. The population of the United States in 1860 was 31,000,000.
[Illustration: %DISTRIBUTION OF THE POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES
SEVENTH CENSUS, 1850%]
%405. Immigration to the United States since 1820.%--The people whose
movements across our continent we have been following were chiefly
natives of the United States. But we have reached the time when
foreigners began to arrive by hundreds of thousands every year. From the
close of the Revolution to 1820, it is thought not more than 250,000 of
the Old World people came to us. But the hard times in Europe, which
followed the disbanding of the great armies which had been fighting
France and Napoleon from 1789 to 1815, started a general movement.
Beginning at 10,000, in 1820, more and more came every year till, in
1842, 100,000 people--men, women, and children--landed on our shore.
This was the greatest number that had ever come in one year. But it was
surpassed in 1846, when the potato famine in Ireland, and again in 1853,
when hard times in Germany, and another famine in Ireland, sent over two
immense streams of emigrants. In 1854 no less than 428,000 persons came
from the Old World; more than ever came again in one year till 1872.
%406. Modern Conveniences.%--When we compare the daily life of the
people in 1850 with that of the men of 1825, the contrast is most
striking. The cities had increased in number, grown in size, and greatly
changed in appearance. The older ones seemed less like villages. Their
streets were better paved and lighted. Omnibuses and street cars were
becoming common. The constable and the night watch had given way to the
police department. Gas and plumbing were in general use. The free school
had become an American institution, and many of the numberless
inventions and discoveries which have done so much to increase our
happiness, prosperity, and comfort, existed at least in a rude form.
Between 1840 and 1850 nearly 7000 miles of railroad were built, making a
total mileage of 9000. This rapid spread of the railroad, when joined
with the steamboats, then to be found on every river and lake within the
settled area, made possible an institution which to-day renders
%407. Express Companies.%--In 1839 a young man named W.F. Harnden
began to carry packages, bundles, money, and small boxes between New
York and Boston, and thus started the express business. At first he
carried in a couple of carpet bags all the packages intrusted to him,
and went by boat from New York to Stonington, Conn., and thence by rail
to Boston. But his business grew so rapidly that in 1840 a rival express
was started by P. B. Burke and Alvin Adams. Their route was from Boston
to Springfield, Mass., and thence to New York. This was the foundation
of the present Adams Express Company. Both companies were so well
patronized that in 1841 service was extended to Philadelphia and Albany,
and in 1844 to Baltimore and Washington. Their example was quickly
followed by a host of imitators, and soon a dozen express companies were
doing business between the great cities.
%408. Postage Stamps introduced.%--At that time (1840) three cents
was the postage for a local letter which was not delivered by a carrier.
Indeed, there were no letter carriers, and this in large cities was such
an inconvenience that private dispatch companies undertook to deliver
letters about the city for two cents each; and to accommodate their
customers they issued adhesive stamps, which, placed on the letters,
insured their delivery. The loss of business to the government caused by
these companies, and the general demand for quicker and cheaper mail
service, forced Congress to revise the postal laws in 1845, when an
attempt was made to introduce the use of postage stamps by the
government. As the mails (in consequence of the growth of the country
and the easy means of transportation) were becoming very heavy, the
postmasters in the cities and important towns had already begun to have
stamps printed at their own cost. Their purpose was to save time, for
letter postage was frequently (but not always) prepaid. But instead of
fixing a stamp on the envelope (there was no such thing in 1840), the
writer sent the letter to the post office and paid the postage in money,
whereupon the postmaster stamped the letter "Paid." This consumed the
time of the postmaster and the letter writer. But when he could go once
to the post office and prepay a hundred letters by buying a hundred
stamps, any one of which affixed to a letter was evidence that its
postage had been paid, any man who wanted to could save his time. These
stamps the postmasters sold at a little more than the expense of
printing. Thus the postmasters of New York and St. Louis charged one
dollar for nine ten-cent or eighteen five-cent stamps. This increased
the price of postage a trifle: but as the use of the stamps was
optional, the burden fell on those willing to bear it, while the
convenience was so great that the effort made to have the Post-office
Department furnish the stamps and require the people to use them
succeeded in 1847.
[Illustration: St. Louis postage stamp]
%409. Mechanical Improvements.%--No American need be told that his
fellow-countrymen are the most ingenious people the world has ever
known. But we do not always remember that it was during this period
(1840-1860) that the marvelous inventive genius of the people of the
United States began to show itself. Between the day when the patent
office was established, in 1790, and 1840, the number of patents issued
was 11,908; but after 1840 the stream poured forth increased in volume
nearly every year. In 1855 there were 2012 issued and reissued; in 1856,
2506; in 1857, 2896; in 1858, 3695; and in 1860, 4778, raising the total
number to 43,431. An examination of these inventions shows that they
related to cotton gins and cotton presses; to reapers and mowers; to
steam engines; to railroads; to looms; to cooking stoves; to sewing
machines, printing presses, boot and shoe machines, rubber goods, floor
cloths, and a hundred other things. Very many of them helped to increase
the comfort of man and raise the standard of living. Three of them,
however, have revolutionized the industrial and business world and been
of inestimable good to mankind. They are the sewing machine, the reaper
and the electric telegraph.
[Illustration: The first Howe sewing machine]
%410. The Sewing Machine.%--As far back as the year 1834, Walter Hunt
made and sold a few sewing machines in New York. But the man to whose
genius, perseverance, and unflinching zeal the world owes the sewing
machine, is Elias Howe. His patent was obtained in 1846, and he then
spent four years in poverty and distress trying to convince the world of
the utility of his machine. By 1850 he succeeded not only in interesting
the public, but in so arousing the mechanical world that seven rivals
(Wheeler and Wilson, Grover and Baker, Wilcox and Gibbs, and Singer)
entered the field. To the combined efforts of them all, we owe one of
the most useful inventions of the century. It has lessened the cost of
every kind of clothing; of shoes and boots; of harness; of everything,
in short, that can be sewed. It has given employment to millions of
people, and has greatly added to the comfort of every household in the
[Illustration: The Wilson sewing machine of 1850]
%411. The Harvester.%--Much the same can be said of the McCormick
reaper. It was invented and patented as early as 1831; but it was hard
work to persuade the farmer to use it. Not a machine was sold till
1841. During 1841, 1842, 1843, such as were made in the little
blacksmith shop near Steel's Tavern, Virginia, were disposed of with
difficulty. Every effort to induce manufacturers to make the machine was
a failure. Not till McCormick had gone on horseback among the farmers of
Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and secured written orders for
his reapers, did he persuade a firm in Cincinnati to make them. In 1845,
five hundred were manufactured; in 1850, three thousand. In 1851
McCormick placed one on exhibition at the World's Fair in London, and
astonished the world with its performance. To-day two hundred thousand
are turned out annually, and without them the great grain fields of the
middle West and the far West would be impossible. The harvester has
cheapened the cost of bread, and benefited the whole human race.
%412. The Telegraph.%--Think, again, what would be our condition if
every telegraph line in the world were suddenly pulled down. Yet the
telegraph, like the reaper and the sewing machine, was introduced
slowly. Samuel F. B. Morse got his patent in 1837; and for seven years,
helped by Alfred Vail, he struggled on against poverty. In 1842 he had
but thirty-seven cents in the world. But perseverance conquers all
things; and with thirty thousand dollars, granted by Congress, the first
telegraph line in the world was built in 1844 from Baltimore to
Washington. In 1845 New York and Philadelphia were connected; but as
wires could not be made to work under water, the messages were received
on the New Jersey side of the Hudson and carried to New York by boat. By
1856 the telegraph was in use in the most populous states. Some forty
companies, but one of which paid dividends, competed for the business.
This was ruinous; and in 1856 a union of Western companies was formed
and called the Western Union Telegraph Company. To-day it has 21,000
offices, sends each year some 58,000,000 messages, receives about
$23,000,000, and does seven eighths of all the telegraph business in the
%413. India Rubber.%--The same year (1844) which witnessed the
introduction of the telegraph saw the perfection of Goodyear's secret
for the vulcanization of India rubber. In 1820 the first pair of rubber
shoes ever seen in the United States were exhibited in Boston. Two years
later a ship from South America brought 500 pairs of rubber shoes. They
were thick, heavy, and ill-shaped; but they sold so rapidly that more
were imported, and in 1830 a cargo of raw gum was brought from South
America for the purpose of making rubber goods. With this C. M. Chaffee
went to work and succeeded in producing some pieces of cloth spread with
rubber. Supposing the invention to be of great value, a number of
factories began to make rubber coats, caps, wagon curtains, of pure
rubber without cloth. But to the horror of the companies the goods
melted when hot weather came, and were sent back, emitting so dreadful
an odor that they had to be buried. It was to overcome this and find
some means of hardening the gum that Goodyear began his experiments and
labored year after year against every sort of discouragement. Even when
the secret of vulcanizing, as it is called, was discovered, five years
passed before he was able to conduct the process with absolute
certainty. In 1844, after ten years of labor, he succeeded and gave to
the world one of the most useful inventions of the nineteenth century.
[Footnote 1: At Roxbury, Boston, Framingham, Salem, Lynn, Chelsea, Troy,
and Staten Island.]
%414. The Photograph; the Discovery of Anaesthesia.%--But there were
other inventions and discoveries of almost as great or even greater
value to mankind. In 1840 Dr. John W. Draper so perfected the
daguerreotype that it could be used to take pictures of persons and
landscapes. Till then it could be used only to make pictures of
buildings and statuary.
The year 1846 is made yet more memorable by the discovery that whoever
inhaled sulphuric ether would become insensible to pain. The glory of
this discovery has been claimed for two men: Dr. Morton and Dr. Jackson.
Which one is entitled to it cannot be positively decided, though Dr.
Morton seems to have the better right to be considered the discoverer.
Before this, however, anaesthesia by nitrous oxide (laughing gas) had
been discovered by Dr. Wells of Hartford, Conn., and by Dr. Long
%415. Communication with Europe; Steamships%.--Progress was not
confined to affairs within our boundary. Communications with Europe were
greatly advanced. The passage of the steamship _Savannah_ across the
Atlantic, partly by steam and partly by sail, in 1819, resulted in
nothing practical. The wood used for fuel left little space for freight.
But when better machinery reduced the time, and coal afforded a less
bulky fuel, the passage across the Atlantic by steam became possible,
and in 1838 two vessels, the _Sirius_ and the _Great Western_, made the
trip from Liverpool to New York by steam alone. No sails were used. This
showed what could be done, and in 1839 Samuel Cunard began the great
fleet of Atlantic greyhounds by founding the Cunard Line. Aided by the
British government, he drove all competitors from the field, till
Congress came to the aid of the Collins Line, whose steamers made the
first trip from New York to Liverpool in 1850. The rivalry between these
lines was intense, and each did its best to make short voyages. In 1851
the average time from Liverpool to New York was eleven days, eight
hours, for the Collins Line, and eleven days, twenty-three hours, for
the Cunard. This was considered astonishing; for Liverpool and New York
were thus brought as near each other in point of time in 1851 as Boston
and Philadelphia were in 1790.
%416. The Atlantic Cable%.--But something more astonishing yet was at
hand. In 1854 Mr. Cyrus W. Field of New York was asked to aid in the
construction of a submarine cable to join St. Johns with Cape Ray,
Newfoundland. While considering the matter, he became convinced that if
a cable could be laid across the Gulf of St. Lawrence, another could be
laid across the Atlantic Ocean, and he formed the "New York,
Newfoundland, and London Telegraph Company" for the purpose of doing
so. The first attempt, made in 1857, and a second in 1858, ended in
failure; but a third, in 1858, was successful, and a cable was laid from
Valentia Bay in Ireland to Trinity Bay in Newfoundland, a distance of
1700 geographical miles. For three weeks all went well, and during this
time 400 messages were sent; but on September 1, 1858, the cable ceased
to work, and eight years passed before another attempt was made to join
the Old World and the New.
%417. Condition of the Workingman%.--Every class of society was
benefited by these improvements, but no man more so than those who
depended on their daily wages for their daily bread. Though wages
increased but little, they were more easily earned and brought richer
returns. Improved means of transportation, cheaper methods of
manufacture, enabled every laborer in 1860 to wear better clothes and
eat better food than had been worn or consumed by his father in 1830.
New industries, new trades and occupations, new needs in the business
world, afforded to his son and daughter opportunities for a livelihood
unknown in his youth, while the free school system enabled them to fit
themselves to use such opportunities without cost to him. When our
country became independent, and for fifty years afterwards, a working
day was from sunrise to sunset, with an hour for breakfast and another
for dinner. After manufactures arose, and mills and factories gave
employment to thousands of wage earners, fourteen, fifteen, and even
sixteen hours of labor were counted a day. Protests were early made
against this, and demands raised that a working day should be ten hours.
At last, late in the thirties, the ten hours system was adopted in
Baltimore, and in 1840, by order of President Van Buren, was put in
force at the navy yard in Washington and in "all public establishments"
under the Federal government. Thus established, the system spread
slowly, till to-day it exists almost everywhere. Indeed, in many states,
and in all departments of the Federal government, eight hours of work
constitute a day. Thus, by the aid of machinery, not only are articles,
formerly expensive, made so cheaply that poor men can afford to use
them, but the wage earners who operate the machinery can make these
articles so quickly that they to-day earn higher wages for fewer hours
of work than ever before in the history of the world. Not only did wages
increase and the hours of labor grow shorter between 1840 and 1860, but
the field of labor was enormously expanded. In 1810, when the first
census of manufactures in the United States was taken, the value of
goods manufactured was $173,000,000. In 1860 it was ten times as great,
and gave employment to more than 1,000,000 men and women.
%418. Few Manufactures in the Slave States%.--From much of the
benefit produced by this splendid series of inventions and discoveries,
the people of the slave-owning states were shut out. They raised corn,
tobacco, and cotton, and made some sugar; but in them there were very
few mills or manufacturing establishments of any sort. While a great
social and industrial revolution was going on in the free states, the
people in the slave states remained in 1860 what they were in 1800. The
stream of immigrants from Europe passed the slave states by, carrying
their skill, their thrift, their energy, into the Northwest. The
resources of the slave states were boundless, but no free man would go
in to develop them. The soil was fertile, but no free laborer could live
on it and compete with slave labor, on which all agriculture, all
industry, all prosperity, in the South depended. The two sections of the
country at the end of the period 1840-1860 were thus more unlike
1. Between 1830 and 1850 the rush of population into the West continued,
but, instead of moving across the continent, most of the people settled
in the states already in existence.
2. This was due to the effect of such improved means of communication as
steamboats, railroads, canals, etc.
3. As a consequence, but six new states were admitted to the Union in
twenty-nine years, and one of them was annexed (Texas).
4. The period is also noticeable for the number of foreigners who came
to our shores.
5. After 1849 the existence of gold in California brought so many people
to the Pacific coast that California became a state in 1850.
6. As population grew denser, and transportation was facilitated by the
expansion of railroads and steamboats and canals, business opportunities
were increased, and new markets were created.
7. Labor-saving and time-saving machines and appliances became more in
demand than ever, and a long list of remarkable inventions and business
8. The South, owing to its own peculiar industrial and labor condition,
was little benefited by all these improvements, and remained much the
same as in 1800.
CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY, 1840-1860.
Number of immigrants.
No. of people in 1840. 17,000,000
U. S. 1850. 23,000,000
Movement New States Arkansas, 1836. Slave.
Westward .. Michigan, 1837. Free.
Florida, 1845. Slave.
Texas, 1845. Slave.
Iowa, 1846. Free.
Wisconsin, 1848. Free.
California, 1850. Free.
Minnesota, 1858. Free.
Oregon, 1859. Free.
Territories New Mexico, 1850.
_New Social and Business Conveniences._
General use of anthracite.
Number of patents.
The sewing machine.
Little affected by new industrial conditions.
Increase of the cotton area.
WAR FOR THE UNION, 1861-1865
%419. South Carolina secedes%.--The only state where in 1860
presidential electors were chosen by the legislature was South Carolina.
When the legislature met for this purpose, November 6, 1860, the
governor asked it not to adjourn, but to remain in session till the
result of the election was known. If Lincoln is elected, said he, the
"secession of South Carolina from the Union" will be necessary. Lincoln
was elected, and on December 20, 1860, a convention of delegates, called
by the legislature to consider the question of secession, formally
declared that South Carolina was no longer one of the United States.
[Footnote 1: "We the people of the state of South Carolina, in
convention assembled, do declare and ordain ... that the union now
subsisting between South Carolina and other states, under the name of
the United States of America, is hereby dissolved."]
%420. The "Confederate States of America."%--The meaning of this act
of secession was that South Carolina now claimed to be a "sovereign,
free, and independent" nation. But she was not the only state to take
this step. By February 1, 1861, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia,
Louisiana, and Texas had also left the Union. Three days later, February
4, 1861, delegates from six of these seven states met at Montgomery,
Ala., formed a constitution, established a provisional government, which
they called the "Confederate States of America," and elected Jefferson
Davis and Alexander H. Stephens provisional President and Vice
Toward preventing or stopping this, Buchanan did nothing. No state, he
said, had a right to secede. But a state having seceded, he had no power
to make her come back, because he could not make war on a state; that
is, he could not preserve the Union. On one matter, however, he was
forced to act. When South Carolina seceded, the three forts in
Charleston harbor--Castle Pinckney, Fort Sumter, and Fort Moultrie--were
in charge of a major of artillery named Robert Anderson. He had under
him some eighty officers and men, and knowing that he could not hold all
three forts, and fearing that the South would seize Fort Sumter, he
dismantled Fort Moultrie, spiked the cannon, cut down the flagstaff, and
removed to Fort Sumter, on the evening of December 26, 1860.
[Illustration: CHARLESTON HARBOR]
This act was heartily approved by the people of the North and by
Congress, and Buchanan with great reluctance yielded to their demand,
and sent the _Star of the West,_ with food and men, to relieve Anderson.
But as the vessel, with our flag at its fore, was steaming up the
channel toward Charleston harbor, the Southern batteries fired upon her,
and she went back to New York. Anderson was thus left to his fate, and
as Buchanan's term was nearly out, both sides waited to see what
Lincoln would do.
%421. Why did the States secede?%--Why did the Southern slave states
secede? To be fair to them we must seek the answer in the speeches of
their leaders. "Your votes," said Jefferson Davis, "refuse to recognize
our domestic institutions [slavery], which preexisted the formation of
the Union, our property [slaves], which was guaranteed by the
Constitution. You refuse us that equality without which we should be
degraded if we remained in the Union. You elect a candidate upon the
basis of sectional hostility; one who in his speeches, now thrown
broadcast over the country, made a distinct declaration of war upon our
"There is," said Howell Cobb, of Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury of
the United States, "no other remedy for the existing state of things
except immediate secession."
"Our position," said the Mississippi secession convention, "is
thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery. A blow at slavery
is a blow at commerce and civilization. There was no choice left us but
submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union."
Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice President of the Confederacy, asserted
that the Personal Liberty laws of some of the free states "constitute
the only cause, in my opinion, which can justify secession."
The South seceded, then, according to its own statements, because the
people believed that the election of Lincoln meant the abolition
%422. Compromise attempted%.--The Republican party in 1861 had no
intention of abolishing slavery. Its purpose was to stop the spread of
slavery into the territories, to stop the admission of more slave
states, but not to abolish slavery in states where it already existed. A
strong wish therefore existed in the North to compromise the sectional
differences. Many plans for a compromise were offered, but only one,
that of Crittenden, of Kentucky, need be mentioned. He proposed that the
Constitution should be so amended as to provide
1. That all territory of the United States north of 36 deg. 30' should be
free, and all south of it slave soil.
2. That slaves should be protected as property by all the departments of
the territorial government.
3. That states should be admitted with or without slavery as their
constitutions provided, whether the states were north or south of
36 deg. 30'.
4. That Congress should have no power to shut slavery out of the
5. That the United States should pay owners for rescued fugitive slaves.
As these propositions recognized the right of property in slaves, that
is, put the black man on a level with horses and cattle, the Republicans
rejected them, and the attempt to compromise ended in failure.
%423. A Proposed Thirteenth Amendment%.--One act of great
significance was done. A proposition to add a thirteenth amendment to
the Constitution was submitted to the states. It read,
"No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or
give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere within any state with
the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to
labor or service by the laws of said states."
Even Lincoln approved of this, and two states, Maryland and Ohio,
accepted it. But the issue was at hand. It was too late to compromise.
%424. Abraham Lincoln, Sixteenth President%.--Lincoln and Hamlin were
inaugurated on March 4, 1861, and in his speech from the Capitol steps
Lincoln was very careful to state just what he wanted to do.
1. "I have no purpose," said he, "directly or indirectly, to interfere
with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists."
2. "I consider the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I
shall take care ... that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in
all the states."
3. "In doing this there need be no bloodshed or violence; and there
shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority."
4. "The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess
the property and places belonging to the government and to collect the
duties and imposts."
[Illustration: Fort Sumter]
%425. Civil War begins.%--One of the places Lincoln thus pledged
himself to "hold" was Fort Sumter, to which he decided to send men and
supplies. As soon as notice of this intention was sent to Governor
Pickens of South Carolina, the Confederate commander at Charleston,
General Beauregard (bo-ruh-gar'), demanded the surrender of the fort.
Major Anderson stoutly refused to comply with the demand, and at dawn on
the morning of April 12, 1861, the Confederates fired the first gun at
Sumter. During the next thirty-four hours, nineteen batteries poured
shot and shell into the fort, which steadily returned the fire. Then
both food and powder were nearly exhausted, and part of the fort being
on fire, Anderson surrendered; and on Sunday, April 14, 1861, he marched
out, taking with him the tattered flag under which he made so gallant a
fight. The fleet sent to his aid arrived in time to see the battle,
but did not give him any help. After the surrender, one of the ships
carried Anderson and the garrison to New York.
[Footnote 1: "Having defended Fort Sumter for thirty-four hours, until
the quarters were entirely burned, the main gates destroyed by fire, the
gorge walls seriously injured, the magazine surrounded by flames, and
its door closed from the effect of heat, four barrels and three
cartridges of powder being available, and no provisions remaining but
pork, I accepted terms of evacuation offered by General Beauregard . . .
and marched out of the fort on Sunday afternoon, the 14th instant, with
colors flying and drums beating . . . and saluting my flag with fifty
guns."--_Major Anderson to the Secretary of War._]
[Footnote 2: _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War,_ Vol. I., pp.
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