United States of America, the., BOUNDARIES AND AREA.—On the east the boundary is formed by the St. Croix River and an arbitrary line to the St. John, and on the north by the Aroostook Highlands, the 45th parallel of N. lat., the St. Lawrence, and the Great Lakes. West of Lake Superior, the Rainy River, Rainy Lake, and the Lake of the Woods form the boundary; thence to Puget Sound the 49th parallel. Thereafter it drops down to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, leaving Vancouver Island to the Dominion of Canada. The Atlantic Ocean washes the entire eastern shore. On the south the Gulf of Mexico serves as the boundary to the mouth of the Rio Grande del Norte. That river separates the United States from the Republic of Mexico until at the city of El Paso it turns northward; from that point to the Colorado River an arbitrary line marks the boundary of the two republics. The Pacific Ocean forms the western boundary. The total area is 3,026,789 sq. miles. The United States is divided into two unequal parts by the Mississippi River, which flows almost directly south from its source in a lake below the 49th parallel. The portion east of that great river is subdivided into two parts by the Ohio and the Potomac Rivers. The section west of the Mississippi is divided into two very unequal parts by the Missouri River.
In a physiographic view, however, the area of the United States may be divided into the Appalachian belt, the Cordilleras, and the central plains. The first of these divisions includes the middle Appalachian region, or that between the Hudson and the James Rivers; the northeastern Appalachian region, which overlaps New England at many points; the southwestern Appalachian, which includes the country from Maryland to the Carolinas. In North Carolina the mountain belt reaches its greatest altitude, falling away in Georgia and Alabama. Much of the early history of the United States is concerned with the Atlantic coastal plain. In New England the mountains almost front the sea, and harbor and hill are within sight of each other. From New York, however, the interval which separates them gradually widens toward the southward, until in the State of Georgia it extends into the interior about 120 miles, after which it unites with the Gulf coastal plain. In New York is the rugged Adirondack region, which was very late in being settled. The characteristics of the region of the Great Lakes, which is a projection of the Laurentian Highlands in eastern Canada, are well known. Of almost inexhaustible fertility and of immense area is the region included by the Prairie States. Roughly speaking, it may be bounded by the Ohio and the Missouri Rivers on the south, and by the Great Lakes on the north. The Prairies are the gift of the glacial period. The Gulf coastal plain has been alluded to. Authorities on physical geography also distinguish a Texas coastal plain. Passing by the great valley of the Mississippi, the next division is the region known as the Great Plains, which extends from the 97th meridian of W. longitude to the base of the Rocky Mountains. To the elevated section between the Great Plains and the Pacific is given the name Cordilleras. This includes the Rocky Mountains, the Basin range, the plateau province, and the Pacific ranges (Cascade and Sierra Nevada). Around desirable harbors and in situations favorable for defense the first European settlements were made in what is now the United States. In this connection are suggested the names: Boston, Salem, Ply-mouth, Providence, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston. For a long time the waterways not only influenced the social and political life of the people, but determined the direction of their movements when they went to new regions. Thus were the early westward movements of population conditioned by the river systems. This, too, explains the irregular character of the frontier line until railways became numerous, when it moved regularly toward the west.
GEOLOGY.—The Laurentian uplift, seen in the Adirondacks and the region of the Great Lakes, was clearly in the earliest geological periods. The rock structure and the character of the deposits tend to support this opinion. The Cordilleras, on the contrary, are of comparatively recent formation, and exhibit evidences of late volcanic action. The volcanoes of Mexico and of Alaska, indeed, are not yet extinct. Many of the valleys in the Cordilleras are vast lava beds. The entire region, including New England, New York to the Ohio River, and westward to the prairies and the great plains, exhibits evidences that a great glacial sheet had in practically recent times spread over it. In its retreat were left fertile prairie in the United States and unnumbered lakes and watercourses as well in that country as in Canada. In 1902 the United States produced about one third of the entire coal supply of the world. In the east it is generally distributed, except the anthracite variety, which is found in only a limited field. It is also found in many sections of the west. Still more valuable than the production of coal is that of iron, which in the year mentioned amounted to $367,000,000. Approximately the value of the gold produced yearly in the United States is $80,000,000; copper comes next with an estimated value of $77,000,000. Silver amounts to $29,000,000, lead to $22,000,000, and zinc to $14,000,-000. Aluminium and quicksilver are less important. Montana and the Lake Superior region lead in the out-put of copper; gold is found in many of the western states, and silver is widely distributed. The zinc deposits in northern New Jersey are among the richest in the world. The non-metallic mineral products are also of great value, e.g. petroleum, clay, gypsum, salt, and natural gas. Of the tin, antimony, sulphur, and platinum consumed in the United States, much is imported.
COLONIZATION.—In April, 1606, King James I created a company with two branches, viz. the London and the Plymouth. The former was given permission to make settlements between 34° and 41° N. lat., and was to receive grants of land extending fifty miles north and south from its first settlement,—a coast front of 100 miles and the same distance inland. The Plymouth merchants were permitted to make their first settlement between 38° and 45° N. lat., and were also given a block 100 miles square. To prevent disputes, the branch making the second settlement should locate at least 100 miles from the colony first established. Each branch was very careful to fix its first settlement on territory to which the other had no right whatever. The two branches are always mentioned as two companies. King James’s patent of April 10, 1606, is a document of interest. It provides that English colonists and their posterity “shall have and enjoy all liberties, franchises, and immunities within any of Our other dominions, to all intents and purposes as if they had been abiding and born within this Our realm of England or any other of Our said dominions”. A similar provision was found in the earlier patent granted to Raleigh, and even in that obtained by Gilbert. On the other hand, the colonists of France, Spain, and other nations were regarded as persons outside the laws, privileges, and immunities enjoyed by those who continued to dwell in the mother land. It will thus appear that English settlers carried with them as much of the common law of their country as was applicable to their new situation. In colonization this principle marked an epoch.
The London Company was composed of merchants and gentlemen in the vicinity of London, and the Plymouth company of persons dwelling in the west of England. In some respects the British government had no more enlightened a conception of colonization than did contemporary governments. England was “to monopolize the consumption of the colonies and the carriage of their produce”. This led to the enactment of the celebrated Navigation Laws. Commercial legislation affecting colonial trade falls under two heads: acts controlling exportation and importation, and those controlling production. By a law of 1660 certain enumerated commodities, being all the chief products of the colonies, could be landed only in British ports. Two later acts further extended this restriction. Under the Navigation Act of 1660, European goods could not be imported into the colonies except in ships of Britain or of British colonies, sailing from British ports. We are not now concerned with the Act of 1733. If strictly enforced this would have oppressed the New England colonies, but, fortunately for them, the revenue officers winked at their frequent infractions of the law.
The London Company was the first to establish a settlement, viz. that at Jamestown in 1607. The vicissitudes of that colony and the general outline of English colonial development will be found in the articles on the thirteen original states, viz. Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. This summary can touch upon them but briefly. On May 6, 1607, the first Virginia settlers, 120 in number, entered Chesapeake Bay, and sailed about thirty miles up the James River, so named after the king. Toward evening they landed, and were attacked by the Indians. In a few months Captain Newport, who had brought out the first settlers, returned to England, collected supplies and recruits, and in January, 1608, was again at James Fort, as the settlement was then called. Fever, hunger, and Indian arrows had swept off more than half of those he had first brought over, among them some members of the council. Wingfield, the first president, was under arrest, and John Smith, an influential man in the colony, was awaiting execution.
At the end of three months, when Newport again sailed for England, one-half of those who were alive in January had died. Edward Maria Wingfield, the first president of the local council, was the only person among the patentees who came with the colonists. With suffering came dissension. Ratcliffe, Martin, and Smith removed Wingfield not only from the presidency but from the council. In the circumstances his overthrow was easy. It was charged that he was a Catholic, some authorities say an atheist, that he brought no Bible with him, and also that he had conspired with the Spaniards to destroy Virginia. In April, 1608, Wingfield left Jamestown, and later in England made to the authorities an interesting statement in his own defense. For considerably more than two hundred years Captain John Smith was universally regarded as the ablest and the most useful of the first Jamestown settlers. Indeed, he was believed to have been the founder and the preserver of the colony. As a matter of fact, he was a mere adventurer, responsible for much of the dissension among the first settlers. His “General History” is an absurd eulogy of himself and an unfair criticism of his fellows. Perhaps it was no misfortune to Virginia when the accidental explosion of a bag of gunpowder compelled him to return to England for medical treatment. Smith was never afterward employed by the Virginia Company. The five hundred new settlers sent to Jamestown in 1609 were “a worthless set picked up in the streets of London or taken from the jails, and utterly unfit to become the founders of a state in the New World”. This, however, while true of a particular band of immigrants, will not serve for a description of those who came later. During the seventeenth century there arrived numerous knights, and numbers of the nobility of every rank, representatives of the best families and the best intellect in England.
In the beginning the population of Virginia was almost exclusively English; indeed, Virginia was very much like an English shire. As early as 1619 the company had sent out a few Frenchmen to test the soil for its capacity to produce a superior variety of grapes. Other French immigrants continued to arrive in the colony throughout the seventeenth century. After the English took New Amsterdam, in 1664, many Dutchmen went from New Netherland to Virginia. Germans and Italians were never numerous in that province. During the era of Cromwellian ascendency many Irish were sent to Virginia. Again in 1690 and afterwards there arrived many Irishmen who were captured at the Boyne and on other battle-fields. These non-English elements in the population do not appear, however, to have exerted much social or other influence. They soon melted into the population around them. The name of Edward Maria Wingfield has been mentioned as that of the only patentee who came over with the colonists. If there is any doubt as to the Catholicism of the first president of the council there is none concerning the religious belief of the Earl of Southampton. That nobleman had a keen interest in English colonization.
While England was engaged in developing the Province of Virginia, four other European powers, Spain, France, Holland, and Sweden, were establishing themselves on parts of the Atlantic coast of North America. In 1655 the Dutch conquered New Sweden, and nine years later New Netherland was acquired by the English. The latter conquest was facilitated by the former, because New Netherland had reduced it-self to a condition of bankruptcy in order to send its warlike armament into Delaware Bay. After the failures of Ribaut and Laudonniere the French made no attempt to settle the south Atlantic coast. That nation, however, did not abandon American colonization. From the founding of Quebec, in 1608, great activity was manifested in Canada and later in Louisiana. On the Atlantic coast, therefore, Spain and England were the chief rivals. The former manifested little interest to the northward of the Mexican Gulf, and after 1664 England was free to develop her maritime colonies in her own way. In the meantime France was exploring the interior, establishing garrisons, and in other ways strengthening her hold on the most desirable part of the continent. Between the outposts of the two nations collisions were inevitable.
INTER-COLONIAL WARS.—It is not possible to discuss here either the causes or the conduct of those wars which in 1763 ended in the complete triumph of British arms. Between 1689 and 1763 four separate struggles took place between these ancient enemies. The first, which began in 1689, is known as King William’s War, ending in 1697 by the treaty of Ryswick.
The second conflict was Queen Anne’s War, known in European history as the War of the Spanish Succession. Though not so widespread as the preceding one, in America it was marked by the same characteristics. In 1710, with the assistance of ships sent from England, Port Royal was again captured. With it the whole of Acadia passed into the hands of the English. The name of the town was changed to Annapolis Royal, in honor of Queen Anne. Acadia became Nova Scotia, or New Scotland. In 1713 this war was ended by the treaty of Utrecht. The extent of the country designated as Acadia was somewhat vague, and as to the regions included under that name new disputes were destined to arise.
The War of the Austrian Succession (1744-1748), occurring in the reign of George II, is known in American history as King George’s War. The French promptly swept down on and captured the little town of Canso, in Nova Scotia. They carried off its garrison and then attacked Annapolis, but were repulsed. The most important event of this war was the expedition against Louisburg, on Cape Breton Island. Though Louisburg had been fortified at an expense estimated at $10,000,000, it was compelled to surrender. Later there came the alarming report that a French armada was on the way to retake Acadia and Louisburg, and to destroy Boston. Though the armada reached American waters, it was dispersed by a tempest off the coast of Nova Scotia, and its crest-fallen crews soon returned to France. At this stage of the war both sides were freely assisted by savages. One of the French expeditions attacked the outpost of Saratoga, killed thirty persons, and took a hundred prisoners. By the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in July, 1748, all conquests were mutually restored. The news of the surrender of Louisburg, which had been chiefly won and defended at the expense of New England, caused the greatest dissatisfaction throughout the colonies, and strained somewhat the relations with the mother country.
Having emerged from the last war without loss of territory, France went to work more vigorously than ever with her preparations for excluding the British altogether from the Mississippi valley. In 1749 the Governor of Canada despatched Celoron de Bienville with a band of men in birchbark canoes to take formal possession of the Ohio valley, the only highway still unguarded. Once on the Allegheny River, the ceremony of taking possession began. The men were drawn up by their commanders, and Louis XV was proclaimed king of all the country drained by the Ohio. Then the arms of France were nailed to a tree, at the foot of which was buried a leaden plate with an inscription claiming the Ohio and all its tributaries for the King of France. At various points along the Ohio similar plates were hidden. Forts were built along the Allegheny. This activity on the part of the French alarmed Governor Dinwiddie of Virginia. He determined to demand the withdrawal of the French, and for his messenger chose George Washington, then an officer of the Virginia militia. Washington proceeded to Fort Le Boeuf, where he delivered Dinwiddie’s letter to the commandant, Saint-Pierre, who promised to forward the letter to the authorities in Canada. In the meantime he would continue to hold the fort.
When Dinwiddie received the reply of Saint-Pierre, he knew that the time for action had come. He sent forward to the forks of the Ohio a party of forty men, who began the erection of a stockade, intended to surround a fort, on the site of the present city of Pitts-burgh. On April 17, 1754, while the English were still engaged at their work, a body of French and Indians from Fort Le Boeuf ordered them to leave the valley. The English commander was allowed to march off with his men. The French then completed the work thus begun, and in honor of the Governor of Canada called it Fort Duquesne. The surrender at the forks of the Ohio was soon known to the governors of Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Virginia acted promptly and raised a force, of which Frye was commander, with Washington as lieutenant-colonel. Near a place called Great Meadows, Washington with a few men killed or captured a small party of French. On July 4, 1754, he was himself besieged by a party of French and Indians, and after a brave resistance compelled to surrender. Thus was begun what the English colonists called the French and Indian War. The British in 1755 sent over Major-General Braddock as commander-in-chief in America. The colonial governors met him at Alexandria, Virginia. Four expeditions were agreed upon: (I) an expedition from New York to Lake Champlain, to take Forts Ticonderoga and Crown Point, and to move against Quebec; (2) an expedition to sail from New England and make such a demonstration against the French towns to the northeast as would prevent the French in that quarter from going off to defend Quebec and Crown Point; (3) an expedition, starting from Albany, up the Mohawk toward its source, to cross the divide to Oneida Lake, then by the Oswego River to Lake Ontario and the Niagara River; (4) an expedition from Fort Cumberland, in Maryland, across Pennsylvania to Fort Duquesne. Braddock himself took command of the fourth expedition. There was no opposition until his troops had crossed the Monongahela River and had arrived within eight miles of Fort Duquesne. Suddenly they came face to face with an army of the Indians and French. It was not in any sense an ambuscade, but the French and their Indian allies instantly disappeared behind bushes and trees, and poured a merciless and incessant fire into the ranks of the British. Braddock would not allow his men to fight in Indian fashion; therefore they stood huddled in groups, targets for the Indians and the French, till the extent of his loss compelled him to order a retreat. Had it not been for Washington and his Virginians the British force would probably have perished to a man. Braddock, wounded in the battle, died soon afterwards. The expedition against Niagara was a failure. That against Crown Point was partially successful.
The French Government now appeared to see vaguely the great importance of the contest in America. The demands of the European war had kept the French armies employed at home; therefore, no considerable force could be sent to America. The king, however, sent over the Marquess de Montcalm, the ablest French officer that ever commanded on this continent, and there followed for the British two years of disastrous war. Montcalm won over the Indians to the side of France, captured and burned the post at Oswego, and threatened to send a strong fleet against New England. Until the elder William Pitt became influential in the councils of Great Britain, no progress was made against the French. In the year 1758 the strong fortress of Louisburg surrendered to a joint military and naval force under Amherst and Boscawen. In the same year Washington took Fort Duquesne, which was renamed Fort Pitt. Fort Frontenac, on Lake Ontario, was destroyed by a provincial officer named Bradstreet. With the loss of Fort Duquesne this second disaster cut off the Ohio country from Quebec.
On July 8, 1758, General Abercrombie, with an army of at least 15,000 men, made a furious and persistent assault on the strong post of Ticonderoga. The fort was defended by Montcalm with about 3100 men. The battle raged all day in front of Ticonderoga, its outlying breastworks, and its formidable abattis of fallen trees. When the British, under cover of darkness, withdrew, they left behind them 1944 killed, wounded, and missing. The French reported a loss of 377.
In a fiercely contested battle on the plains of Abraham, September 13, 1759, the French were defeated, and Wolfe and Montcalm were among the dead. In the following year Montreal was taken, and the American phase of the war came to an end. In Europe the conflict continued until peace was made at Paris in February, 1763. By that treaty France gave to Spain, for her assistance in the war, all that part of the country lying west of the middle of the Mississippi River from its source to a point almost as far south as New Orleans. To Great Britain she surrendered all her territory east of this line.
From the beginning of the inter-colonial wars, in 1689, the Middle Colonies gave assistance to New England in its expeditions against the French strong-holds in Canada. When the last conflict broke out the lower states of the south sent troops into Pennsylvania. Some of these served under Washington at Fort Necessity. Whenever ‘troops from the different colonies acted together, as they frequently did, they used the name “provincials” to distinguish themselves from the British troops. There is a popular notion that all the proposals after 1643, when the United Confederation of New England was formed, were suggested by military necessity. In a measure, but not wholly, such necessity was the sole influence tending toward their union. As early as 1660 an agreement was entered into by Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina to restrict the production of tobacco. Even though nothing came of this commercial agreement, it indicates the existence among the colonies of interests other than military. As early as the eighteenth century (1720) Deputy-governor Keith, of Pennsylvania, submitted to the Lords of Trade and Plantations a plan, or a recommendation, for a union of England‘s North American colonies. In the treatises on the development of the idea of union this document is overlooked. It will be found, however, among the printed papers of Sir William Keith.
The French and Indian war was the prelude to the American Revolution. It trained officers and men for that struggle. During its campaigns the commander-in-chief in the War for Independence acquired his first knowledge of strategy. This war released the colonies from the pressure of the French in Canada, and developed in them a consciousness of strength and unity. Besides it gave to the colonies an unlimited western expansion. In this great acquisition of territory is to be found one of the earliest causes of the quarrel with the mother country. Though the provinces had fought for territorial extension, a royal proclamation was issued (1763) forbidding present land sales west of the Alleghenies, thus reserving the conquered territory as a crown domain. Though they did not clearly perceive it, the war had welded the thirteen colonies into one people. It was in this era that there grew up the feeling that this conquered territory did not belong to the Crown but to the colonies collectively. So afterwards, when independence was achieved, it was contended that these western lands did not belong to the respective states but to the union collectively, because the domain had been won by their joint exertions. By the proclamation of 1763 a line was drawn around the headwaters of all those rivers in the United States which flow into the Atlantic Ocean, and west of that line the colonists were forbidden to settle. All the valley from the Great Lakes to the Florida country and from the proclamation line westward to the Mississippi was set apart for the Indians. Out of the conquered territory England created three new provinces: in Canada, the Province of Quebec; out of the country conquered from Spain, two provinces, namely, East Florida and West Florida. The Appalachicola separated the Floridas. The land between the Altamaha and the St. Mary’s was annexed to the Province of Georgia.
In order to provide for the military defense of the colonies, it was decided to enforce the Navigation Acts. These required: (I) that colonial trade should be carried on in vessels built and owned in England or in the colonies, these ships to be manned, to the extent of two-thirds of the crew, by English subjects; (2) that important colonial products should not be sent to ports other than those of England. Products or goods not named in a certain list might be sent to any other part of the world; (3) if a product exported from one colony to another was of a kind that might have been supplied by England, it must either go to the mother country and then to the purchasing colony, or pay an export duty at the port where it was shipped, equal to the import duty it would have to pay in England; (4) goods were not allowed to be carried from any place in Europe to America unless they were first landed at a port in England. Not unconnected with this measure, perhaps, was an intention of establishing permanently in America a body of 10,000 British troops, for whose maintenance it was decided to provide at least in part by a Parliamentary tax in the colonies. These were among the measures which led ultimately to a division of the empire.
While these measures of Grenville’s administration were in contemplation, information of the design of the ministry was received in Boston from the colonial agent in England, who asked counsel in the emergency. In the spring of 1764 a Boston town-meeting gave the subject special consideration. For the guidance of newly-elected members a committee was appointed to prepare instructions. This important work was assigned to Samuel Adams. While motives of policy suggested the language of loyalty and dependence, it is not difficult to see behind these instructions of Adams the spirit of a determined patriot who had long and thoughtfully considered the whole question of the relation of the colonies to the mother country, for he furnished Americans with arguments that never ceased to be urged till the separation from Great Britain was complete.
By drawing into question the right of the Crown to put an absolute negative upon the act of a colonial legislature, the Virginian orator merely revived in another form that struggle against prerogative which with varying success had long been maintained on both sides of the Atlantic. The resolutions of the Boston town-meeting, however, had a different purpose, marking, as they do, the first organized action against taxation.
Trade with the French and the Spanish West Indies not only stimulated the prosperity of the commercial centers in every colony, but was a chief source of wealth to all New England. For the abundant supply of timber standing in her forests, for her fish, and for her cattle, these islands furnished a convenient and profitable market. By the vessels engaged in this extensive trade, cargoes of sugar and molasses were unloaded at Boston and other New England ports. A Parliamentary statute of 1733 had imposed on both commodities a prohibitive duty, which but for the connivance of revenue officers would even then have accomplished the ruin of a flourishing commerce. When this law, after several renewals, was about to expire in 1763, the colonists actively opposed its reenactment, but Grenville was resolved to improve the finances in his own way, and against the successive remonstrances of colonial agents, of merchants, and of even a royal governor, renewed the act, says Bancroft, in a form “greatly to the disadvantage of America“. Commissioners of customs, regarding their places as sinecures, had hitherto resided in England. Now they were ordered at once to their posts; the number of revenue officers was increased, and, to assist in executing the new regulations, warships patrolled the harbors and the coast. These were instructed to seize all vessels suspected of smuggling. Army officers were commanded to cooperate. The jurisdiction of admiralty courts, in which cases were tried without juries, was greatly extended. Both the promise of emolument from confiscated property and the fear of dismissal for neglect of duty sharpened the vigilance of those engaged in enforcing the acts of navigation, and it was soon perceived that their unusual activity and violence threatened to destroy not only contraband, but menaced the very existence of even legitimate, trade. At this time £164,000 sterling was the estimated annual value of the Massachusetts fisheries; and to supply the provisions, casks, and sundry articles yearly required in the business, there was needed an additional capital of £23,700. The importance of this industry may be easily estimated from the extent to which it had been carried by a single community. A rigorous execution of the Act of April, 1764, meant to Americans the annihilation of this natural and legal branch of commerce, for if the planters in the French West Indies could not sell their sugar and molasses, they would not buy fish, and any deficiency or any great irregularity in the supply of molasses would have been fatal to the distilleries of Boston and other New England towns. Ships would have been almost worthless on the hands of their owners, and the 5000 seamen employed yearly in carrying fish to Portugal and Spain would have been without an occupation. The severity of the new regulations, by which property amounting to £3000 was soon swept into prize courts, coupled with the declared intention of raising by imperial authority a revenue for the defense of the colonies, created a constitutional question of the gravest character.
Since 1763, when the war ended, the British Government had time to consider a system of revenue. The importunities of British merchants, who were creditors of American importers, as much at least as a feeling of tenderness for the colonists, influenced Grenville to suspend for almost a year his purpose of laying a stamp duty on America. An expectation of mastering the subject was undoubtedly an additional cause of delay. His purpose, however, remained unchanged, and neither petitions nor remonstrances, nor even the solemn pledges of the colonies to honor as hitherto all royal requisitions, availed to overcome his obstinacy, and on February 6, 1765, in a carefully prepared speech, he introduced his fifty-five resolutions for a stamp act. In the colonies this aroused a bitter spirit; the stamp distributors were induced to abandon their offices by persuasion or intimidation, and delegates from nine colonies met in New York to express disapproval.
Patrick Henry, of Virginia, led the opposition with the resolutions: that the first Virginia colonists brought with them “all the privileges and immunities that have at any time been held” by “the people of Great Britain”; that their descendants held these rights; that by royal charters the people of Virginia had been declared entitled to all the rights of English-men “born within the realm of England“; that one of these rights was that of being taxed “by their own assembly”; that they were not bound to obey any law taxing them without consent of their assembly. The Virginia Resolutions were passed May 29, 1765. This action by the southern colony was followed on the part of Massachusetts by a call for a congress to meet at New York City. This assembly, known as the Stamp Act Congress, began its sessions in New York on October 5, 1765, and was attended by delegates from nine of the colonies. New Hampshire, Virginia, Georgia, and North Carolina were unrepresented. The representatives from six of the nine colonies present (Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts) signed a “Declaration of Rights and Grievances”, setting forth that the Americans were subjects of the British Crown; that it was the natural right of a British subject to pay no taxes unless he had a voice in laying them; that Americans were not represented in Parliament; that Parliament, therefore, could not tax them, and that any attempt to do so was an attack on the rights of Englishmen and the liberty of self-government. The grievances were five in number: taxation without representation; trial without jury (in the admiralty courts); the Sugar Act; the Stamp Act; restrictions on trade.
The “Sons of Liberty” promptly associated for resistance to that measure. At first they demanded no more than that the stamp distributors should resign their offices. Their refusal was the occasion of violence and serious riots. November 1, 1765, was the day fixed for the Stamp Act to go into force. During the next six months every known piece of stamped paper was seized and burned; handbills were posted denouncing the law, and public meetings were called; mobs frequently paraded the streets, shouting: “Liberty, property, and no stamps!” Merchants pledged themselves not to import English goods till the Stamp Act was repealed. These agreements among the mercantile classes were widespread. The effect was to leave on the hands of British exporters goods intended for America. By its restraint on production it threw out of employment multitudes of English laborers. This led English merchants to flood Parliament with petitions calling for the repeal of the Stamp Act. The distress occasioned in England forced Parliament to yield, and in March, 1766, the law was repealed. Both in America and England rejoicings and votes of thanks greeted the repeal.
The term of rejoicing was brief. In England the king as well as his friends conceived for the authors of that conciliatory measure the most bitter dislike, which expressed itself in the driving from power of the supporters of Rockingham, and soon after, under a more compliant ministry, adopting a new form of taxation. At this unexpected course the indignation among the colonists far surpassed the outbreak which marked the first attempt upon their liberties. The new measures of taxation were known as the Townshend Acts: (I) the legislature of New York was forbidden to pass any more laws until it had provided the British troops in the city with shelter, fire, and such articles as salt, vinegar, and candles;
at Boston a Board of Commissioners of the Customs was established to enforce laws relating to trade; taxes were laid on glass, painters’ colors, lead, paper, and tea. Though these taxes were not burdensome, they involved the important principle of the right of Parliament to tax people not represented in it, and once more the colonists rose in resistance; again there were non-importation agreements, correspondence between assemblies, and a revival of the Sons of Liberty. For the Massachusetts Assembly, Samuel Adams drafted a circular letter, which was sent to the other colonies. It contained expressions of loyalty, reasserted the rights of the colonists, and appealed for united action in opposing the new taxes. Many of the legislatures were dismissed or dissolved for their connection with the circular letter, or for complaining of the unfair treatment of some sister colony.
The proroguing of colonial assemblies became frequent. The Massachusetts legislature was dissolved for refusing to recall the letter. In other words, the king had been defied. He ordered two regiments to Boston to assist the authorities in enforcing the new system of taxation. The people of Boston accused the soldiers of corrupting the morals of the town, “of desecrating the Sabbath with fife and drum; of striking citizens who insulted them; and of using language violent, threatening, and profane”. This excited state of feeling led to frequent quarrels between the townspeople and the soldiers, and culminated on March 5, 1770, in a riot known as the “Boston Massacre”. More, perhaps, than anything which had yet happened this event hastened the revolution. A few years later (1773) a considerable quantity of tea which had arrived on ships from England was thrown into Boston Harbor. In Charleston, Annapolis, and Philadelphia also there was determined opposition to receiving the consignments of tea, which, though cheap, yet concealed a tax. When tidings of these events reached England, Parliament determined to punish Massachusetts, and proceeded to pass five laws so severe that the colonists called them the “Intolerable Acts”. These were: the Boston Port Bill, which closed the port of Boston; the Transportation Bill, which gave the authorities power to send persons, accused of murder in resisting the laws, to another colony or to England for trial; the Massachusetts Bill, which changed the charter of the province, provided for it a military governor, and prohibited the people from holding public meetings for any purpose other than the election of town officers, with-out permission from the governor; the Quartering Act, which made it lawful to quarter troops on the people; and the Quebec Act, which enlarged the Province of Quebec to include all the territory between the Great Lakes, the Ohio River, the Mississippi River, and Pennsylvania. When the Puritan element in the colonies found that this law practically established the Catholic religion in the new territory, its traditional feeling of intolerance revived.
The news of these Acts of Parliament crystallized almost every element of union in the colonies. When, in May, 1774, the Virginia legislature heard of the passage of the Boston Port Bill, it passed a resolution that the day when the law went into effect in Boston should be one of “fasting, humiliation, and prayer” in Virginia. For this conduct the legislature was at once dissolved by the governor. Before separating, however, the members appointed a committee to correspond with the other colonies on the advisability of holding another general congress. There was a unanimous approval, and New York requested Massachusetts to name the time and place of meeting. To this request she agreed, selecting Philadelphia as the place, and September 1, 1774, as the date. The Congress assembled in that city on September 5 It included delegates from all the colonies except Georgia, and hence is commonly known as the First Continental Congress. It adopted addresses to the king, to the people of the colonies, of Quebec, and of Great Britain; passed a declaration of rights, summing up the various Acts of Parliament which were believed to be violative of those rights. This body had met, of course, in virtue of no existing law. In other words, it was a revolutionary assembly, though it assumed revolutionary functions slowly. In the matter of the petition it ignored Parliament; it prepared Articles of Association, to be signed by people everywhere, and to be enforced by committees of safety. The members of these committees were to be chosen by the inhabitants of the cities and towns. The articles bound the people to import nothing from Great Britain and Ireland, also to export nothing to those countries. Henceforth the Committees of Safety were to perform an important service in promoting the Revolution. On October 8 the Congress adopted the following resolution: “That this Congress approve the opposition of the inhabitants of the Massachusetts Bay to the execution of the late Acts of Parliament; and, if the same shall be attempted to be carried into execution by force, in such case all America ought to support them in their opposition.” Before the Congress adjourned it was ordered that another Congress should meet on May 10, 1775, in order to consider the result of the petition to the king. It then adjourned.
When the king and his friends heard of the proceedings of the Congress, they were more determined than ever to make them submit. On the other hand, the friends of the colonists exerted themselves to promote conciliation, but neither the influence of Pitt nor the eloquence of Burke could alter the resolution of the king’s party. The ultimatum of the First Continental Congress led to considerable military activity. When it was seen that force would be met by force, the people began to arm. As was generally foreseen, the conflict between the people and the royal forces occurred before the meeting of the Second Continental Congress. An encounter was likely to occur anywhere, but most likely to take place in Massachusetts. Up to the meeting of the First Continental Congress there were in America thirteen local governments. From that time there came into existence a new body politic, with aims and with authority superior to the local governments. These several governments had actually formed a new state. The Declaration of Independence was merely an announcement of an established fact.
NATIONAL HISTORY., War of the Revolution.—When the Stamp Act was passed, the Congress which assembled acted as an advisory rather than as a legislative body. Perhaps the chief result of its meeting was that it accustomed the colonists to the idea of union. This feeling was confirmed when the First Continental Congress convened (1774). On May 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress assembled. By that time the notion of union was much more familiar; besides, the military phase of the war had begun three weeks earlier. Tidings soon came of the taking of Ticonderoga by a force under Ethan Allen. This was the key of the route to Canada. Thus far the chief object of the Americans had been to secure a redress of grievances. Independence was advocated by nobody, and a little earlier John Adams said that it would not have been safe even to discuss it. However, events moved rapidly. Separation was discussed, and on July 4, 1776, a Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Congress, which had already become a revolutionary body. It had ceased to be an advisory assembly, and for some time had been exercising the powers of a national government. A constitution, entitled “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union”, was proposed, but it was not until March, 1781, that it was adopted by all the states. For the conduct of the war in which they found themselves engaged they were wretchedly prepared: they had no money, no system of taxation, no navy.
Early in the war Congress Bent to Canada a com-mission to win over its people to the side of the insurgent colonists. This body included Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase, and Charles Carroll. A cousin of the last-named, Rev. John Carroll, accompanied the commission to assist in promoting its patriotic purpose. By virtue of the Quebec Act the Canadians were enjoying religious liberty, and they must have wondered what they could gain from an alliance with a people who considered that measure of toleration as a ground of reproach to England. As to the enlargement of the Province of Quebec, already noticed, the people of Canada must have been somewhat indifferent. These and other considerations led them generally to adopt a policy of neutrality. The presence in the American army of one or two small battalions of Canadians did not to any considerable extent affect the sentiments of the French population. During the progress of the war their loyalty was often suspected by British officials, perhaps not without cause.
Under General Montgomery an army also was sent into Canada. A cooperating force under Benedict Arnold reached Canada by way of the Kennebec River and the Maine wilderness. Montgomery had won several small advantages, but the joint attack on Quebec, December 31, 1775, resulted in his death, in the wounding of Arnold, and the defeat of their forces. Then was begun a disastrous retreat toward the State of New York. Either this step of Congress or the plans of the British War Office led to a counter invasion. A force under St. Leger, moving by way of Oswego and Fort Stanwix (Rome), was intended to create a diversion in favor of the main army under Burgoyne, which was advancing leisurely from Canada. With these two commands Clinton was expected to cooperate along the line of the Hudson. St. Leger’s army was defeated or dispersed, and, instead of cooperating with Burgoyne, General Clinton had gone off to attack Philadelphia. A detachment from Burgoyne’s army was defeated at Bennington, Vermont. This event left nearly all New England free to act on Burgoyne’s line of communications. After two severe battles he surrendered, near Saratoga, on October 17, 1777, his entire army of nearly six thousand men. Thus ended the struggle for the possession of the Hudson. The event influenced France to form an alliance, February, 1778, with the young Republic.
After the commission had returned from Canada, several agents were sent to represent the United States in Europe, and Franklin’s ability had much to do with the establishment of friendly relations with France. When in March, 1776, Washington drove the British from Boston, he brought his army southward and occupied New York and Long Island. That portion of his force in Long Island met with disaster in the following August. To avoid capture, he turned northward crossed the Hudson, entered New Jersey, and passed over into Pennsylvania. From his camp in that state he surprised a regiment of his pursuers at Trenton, December 25, 1776, recrossed to Pennsylvania, and early in the following year again encountered the enemy at Princeton. This ended the first stage of the struggle for the Delaware. Cornwallis gradually retired towards New York.
In the West, Colonel George Rogers Clark took Kaskaskia, July 4, 1778. The influence of Father Pierre Gibault, its parish priest, enabled Clark speedily to recruit two companies at that place and in the neighboring settlement at Cahokia. A generous loan by Francois Vigo enabled him to complete his equipment for the march on Vincennes, which, after terrible hardships, was surprised and taken. These were the first steps in the winning of the West. That term included the region now covered by Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and a part of Minnesota. In this great achievement of Clark’s, Catholics acted a very praiseworthy part. When that commander arrived at Kaskaskia, he was not unexpected; the terms of enlistment of many of his men had already expired, and in the battalions with which he marched to Vincennes there was a great preponderance of Catholics. In the conquest of that place he was also assisted by the inhabitants of the town. Indeed, he felt encouraged during the entire campaign by the friendship of the Spanish governor beyond the Mississippi.
When General Clinton should have cooperated with Burgoyne he set out for the conquest of Philadelphia, the capital of the new union. Transporting his army by the Atlantic and Chesapeake Bay, he landed in Maryland, marched towards Philadelphia and, after defeating Washington’s army on the Brandywine, occupied the capital. Though the fighting around Philadelphia was not decisive, the patriot army, as shown in the engagement at Germantown (October, 1777), was improving in efficiency. To defend the Continental military stores, as well as to menace Philadelphia, Washington went into winter quarters at Valley Forge. It is unnecessary to repeat the familiar story of the sufferings of the patriot army. One thing, however, was accomplished during that terrible winter. The little army of Washington was rigorously drilled by the German volunteer, Baron Von Steuben. Thereafter the Continentals were a match for the best-drilled troops of England. In the spring of 1778 there was a rumor that a French fleet had sailed for the Delaware. This consideration, together with the improvement in the condition of Washington’s army, persuaded the British to return across New Jersey to New York City. During this march a severe engagement occurred at Monmouth Court House, N. J., June 28, 1778. It was only the treachery of General Charles Lee that prevented Washington from winning a more complete victory.
The affiance with France has been noticed. The operations of its fleet at Newport are popularly regarded in America as having been somewhat useless. As a matter of fact, the activity of the allies put the British on the defensive at the very moment that they had decided to wage aggressive war. At an early stage Beaumarchais had forwarded military supplies to the United States. After February, 1778, his government loaned large sums of money ($6,352,500), used its armies wherever the opportunity offered, and into every quarter of the globe, even into the Indian Ocean, sent its warships to fight England.
When New England and the Middle States were believed to be lost, the British endeavored to win back the South. This policy brought Cornwallis into the Carolinas. After a crushing defeat of one of his subordinates at King’s Mountain he retired into Virginia, watched by the vigilant General Greene. That officer had been sent South to reorganize and to command the army that had been ruined by the incapacity of General Gates. While he won no great victories, Greene found himself a little stronger after each engagement; the discipline and the equipment of his army also were constantly improving. He succeeded in drawing Cornwallis farther and farther from his base of supplies on the coast. The posts forming Cornwallis’s line of communication were successively surprised by partisan bands commanded by such officers as Marion, Sumter, and Pickens. With Greene’s army growing stronger, the independent forces more bold, and his own force melting away, nothing appears to have been left for Cornwallis but to fortify himself in Virginia. His army with a smaller force under Arnold (who had deserted to the British) destroyed much private property in that state. A small force under General Lafayette had been sent by Washington to watch the movements of the enemy. It was about this time that there arrived from Europe a great French fleet under the Count de Grasse, perhaps the most powerful armament that had put to sea since the days of the Spanish Armada. It defeated a great British fleet off the capes of the Chesapeake and gave Washington the opportunity for which he had yearned. It then approached the position of Cornwallis at Yorktown. Meanwhile the commander-in-chief was hurrying southward from New York with his own army and a fine French army under General Rochambeau to join the force under Lafayette. Further to embarrass Cornwallis, a French force under the Marquess Saint-Simon was landed. The allied armies under Washington promptly began the siege of Yorktown, which ended, October 19, 1781, in the surrender of the army of Cornwallis. Thus ended the military phase of the War for Independence, and thus culminated a party struggle that had long been in progress on both sides of the Atlantic. The Whigs, whether English or American, had been endeavoring to diminish the power of the king; the Tories, both English and American, would preserve that power unimpaired. The Whig opposition in England and Ireland finally forced George III to apply to Russia for troops, and, when they were refused, to hire Waldeckers, Brunswickers, and Hessians. Besides these foreign soldiers there was in America a large number of Loyalists or Tories. These fought in the armies of the king, and when the war was over, because of the hostility of the patriots, settled in England or in Canada.
When the Revolutionary War began, there were few Catholics in the United States. Perhaps their number did not exceed 26,000. However, members of that faith were to be found on all her borders, and everywhere they were either neutral, as were many in Canada, or friendly, as in the Spanish colonies around the Mexican Gulf and in the French settlements of the Illinois country. The services of the latter have been noticed, while those of the Spaniards of New Orleans would require much space to describe. The reader who desires to examine this neglected phase of the Revolution will find ample materials in the unpublished papers of Oliver Pollock, on file in the Library of Congress. It is well known that Spain declared war against England (1779) and loaned money to the United States. It is known also that the Dutch Republic was friendly to America and that among all the Netherland elements who favored its independence Catholics were conspicuous. During the progress of the war Frederick the Great had urged the United Provinces, as he had urged France, to Loin in the war against England. The withholding y George III of the subsidy that had formerly been granted to Prussia incensed its ruler against his former ally.
It has been stated that the colonies were wretchedly prepared for engaging in war with the mother country. In July, 1775, it was voted to issue due bills for 2,000,000 Spanish milled dollars, to be sunk by taxes in four successive years, beginning November 30, 1779, the taxes to be levied and collected by the states in proportion to population. These bills Congress petitioned the states to make legal tender. In different ways and at different times this was done, and before July 4, 1776, $9,000,000 in due bills were out. To distinguish it from the issues of the states this was called “Continental” currency. From this time forward fiat money got possession of the American people, and by 1779 the issues amounted to $242,000,000 in a single year. By 1781 the whole mass became worthless.
Up to this time the fatal error was the belief that the credit and currency of continental money could be maintained by acts of compulsion. From this delusion, which affected governments, state and national, few persons were exempt. By October, 1779, Boston was on the verge of starvation; money transactions had nearly ceased, and business was done by barter. In May, 1779, there was a mutiny of certain Connecticut regiments on account of bad pay. In January, 1781, there was a mutiny of the Pennsylvania Line for the same reason. In that disturbance the soldiers killed a captain who tried to bring them to submission. This is not so much to be wondered at when one learns that $7.00, the monthly pay of an enlisted man, dropped by depreciation to.33. Before Washington could move his army to Yorktown it was necessary to give the soldiers their back pay. To do this, Robert Morris had to borrow hard money from Rochambeau. In March, 1780, there was outstanding $200,000,000 of continental money. Congress declared this to be worth forty dollars for one dollar of a “new tenor”. In other words, of that entire amount Congress repudiated all but $5,000,000. The “old tenor” fell to 500 to 1 in Philadelphia, when it ceased to circulate. To complete the misfortunes of this experiment, counterfeiters successfully imitated the issues of Congress and hastened the death of paper money. Then hard money sprang to life, and was abundant for all purposes. Much had been hoarded and great quantities had been brought in by the armies and navies of both France and England. As early as 1779 Congress attempted the expedient of specific supplies. Requisitions were made upon the states for meat, flour, forage etc. Because of the defective system of transportation and for other reasons, it became necessary to abandon this resource. The impressment of horses, wagons etc. was perceived to be dangerous and was soon given up. The income of the Continental Treasury from 1775 to 1783 was $65,863,825. This was received from domestic loans, foreign loans, taxes, paper money, and from miscellaneous sources. Outstanding certificates of indebtedness amounted to $16,708,000. Besides these sums, the total cost of the war included the expenditures of the several states.
The Confederation and the Constitution.—Though prepared soon after independence was declared, the “Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union” were not adopted until 1781, when the war was nearly won. This was due chiefly to the opposition of Maryland, which refused to confederate until states having western lands should cede them to the Union; as it was claimed that all such lands had been held only by the joint exertion of the states. Under the Articles all measures of government were directed to the states as corporations; there was no national executive; the Congress was a body of only one chamber; the states paid, and had the power to recall, their delegates; in theory it was difficult to amend this constitution, and in practice it had proved impossible; finally there was no efficient system for obtaining a federal revenue. In other words, the government under the confederation had no independent income, but depended entirely upon the contributions of the various states. These defects soon produced consequences so alarming that the leading patriots brought about a constitutional convention which attempted to amend the fundamental law. When this was found to be impossible, they framed a new constitution of government (1787). This provided for a national executive, a national legislature, and a national judiciary; also for a simpler method for its own amendment. It gave to Congress the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises for federal purposes.
The Congress was further empowered to borrow money on the credit of the United States; to establish a uniform rule of naturalization and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States; to coin money and regulate the value thereof; to regulate commerce with foreign nations, with the Indian tribes, and among the several states. To the National Legislature was also given power to declare war; to maintain and equip an army and a navy; to exercise exclusive legislative power over such tract as may, by cession of particular states, become the capital of the United States; to make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory and other property of the United States. The body vested with the powers just enumerated was a bicameral one. In its upper house (Senate) each state has two senators, while in the lower house each has representatives in proportion to population. The House of Representatives is merely a legislative body. The Senate, on the other hand, performs a threefold function. Primarily it assists the house in making laws; in ratifying treaties or confirming nominations to office it performs executive functions; in trying an impeachment it acts as a judicial body. The duration of a session of Congress is two years, the term for which representatives are elected. Senators are chosen for a term of six years. In construing an act of the National Legislature one is to assume that it has no power to pass such act unless the authority is conferred by the Constitution, or may be fairly derived from some grant of powers enumerated therein. In examining the constitutionality of a state law one is to assume that the state legislature has power to pass all acts whatever, unless they are prohibited by the Constitution of the United States or by the constitution of the state.
Under the Articles of Confederation there was no national executive. The Constitution, however, vests the supreme executive authority in a President of the United States, who, with a vice-president, is chosen for a term of four years. Both officers are chosen by an electoral college. In this college each state has a number of electors equal to its whole number of senators and representatives in Congress. Originally the electors of president and vice-president looked over the country and selected some distinguished public character for each office. In a little while, however, they ceased to exercise such discretion, and nominations for both the presidency and vice-presidency were made in congressional caucuses. The contest of 1824 brought this method into disfavor. Thereafter, for a brief period, many of the states nominated some favorite son. An evident disadvantage of this system was the great number of candidates, of whom none was likely to receive, as the Constitution requires, a majority of all the votes cast. About 1831 there began to take shape the present system of a national nominating convention. In this extra-constitutional institution the states are represented according to population, each sending twice as many delegates as it has senators and representatives in Congress. The District of Columbia, the Territory of Alaska, and some of the insular possessions are also entitled to send delegates. To obtain the nomination in a Republican National Convention a majority of the delegates is sufficient, whereas in that held by the Democratic party a two-thirds vote is necessary.
Presidential electors are chosen on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every fourth year. No person except a natural-born citizen is eligible to the office of president or of vice-president. The president shall be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states when called into the actual service of the United States. He has power to grant reprieves and pardons for all offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment; by and with the advice and consent of the Senate he has the power to make treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur. In addition to these powers he can nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the United States Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States whose appointments are not otherwise provided for in the Constitution. He is empowered to convoke Congress in special session and to dissolve that body. when the two houses are unable to agree upon a time for adjournment. Like other civil officers, the president and vice-president may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.
By the Constitution the judicial power of the United States is vested in a supreme court, and such inferior courts as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish. In order to secure the independence of the judiciary the judges of both the supreme and inferior courts hold their offices during good behavior, and, for their services, receive a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. The judicial power is commensurate with the legislative, and extends to all cases, in law and equity, arising under the Constitution, the laws of the United States, and the treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority. It also extends to cases affecting foreign representatives (ambassadors, ministers, and consuls), to cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, to controversies to which the United States shall be a party, to controversies between two or more states, etc. In all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all other cases it possesses appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make.
In addition to the division of political power among the three departments mentioned, the Constitution also provides for inter-state comity. For example, it is provided that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. It also provides that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states; for the return of fugitives from justice and for the admission of new states. By the Constitution the United States is required to guarantee to every state in this Union a republican form of government, and to protect each of them against invasion, and, in certain circumstances, against domestic violence. Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by two-thirds of both houses of Congress or by the legislatures of two-thirds of the states. Amendments proposed in either manner become valid as parts of the Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three-fourths of them. Congress is empowered to propose the method of ratification. The schedule provided that the ratification by conventions of nine states should be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution between the states ratifying the same.
Owing to the opposition to its adoption, especially in Virginia and New York, it was agreed by the friends of the Constitution that a bill of rights should be added to it. Accordingly, many amendments were proposed; these were grouped under ten heads, familiar as the first ten amendments, and known to students of the Constitution as the Bill of Rights. The eleventh amendment, declared a part of the Constitution in 1798, interprets a part of Article III, and prevents the citizens of a state from suing another state, or a foreign citizen or subject from bringing suit against one of the states. The twelfth amendment, which became a part of the Constitution in 1804, makes a change in the method of choosing a president. It made the ballot of the elector more definite, and in case the election went into the House of Representatives, it restricted the choice of that body to the three candidates highest on the list. The remaining amendments, the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth, grew out of the Civil War. Contrary to a popular notion, the framers of the Federal Constitution had had considerable experience in the making of constitutions before they set about the establishment of their crowning work. Shortly after independence was declared, the states were advised to prepare constitutions of government. All complied promptly, except Rhode Island and Connecticut, both of which retained their liberal colonial charters. The establishment of any state religion is prohibited by the Constitution. The regulation of charities, education, marriages, land tenures, religious corporations, etc., about which it says nothing, is reserved, by inference, to the various states.
The period from 1783, when the definitive treaty of peace was signed, until 1789, is known as the critical era of American history. The federal government was in distress; many of the states were on the verge of civil war. Relations, external and internal, were highly unsatisfactory. Indeed, the situation was worse than at any time during the progress of military operations. When George III, for himself and his successors, acknowledged the independence of the United States, the several commonwealths, claiming to be sovereign, adopted policies more or less selfish. This disposition begot a number of domestic quarrels. In addition to dissension at home, foreign relations were not too harmonious. The young republic had nearly forfeited the confidence of its own citizens and was beginning to incur the contempt of the world outside. It was these alarming symptoms that forced upon a few leaders the idea of amending the fundamental law. When, however, the Constitution was submitted to the people, a majority of them appeared to oppose its adoption. This opposition was overcome by the influence and activity of the leading patriots. In this great work the services of Washington cannot be overestimated. His brilliant lieutenants, Hamilton and Madison, ably supported his efforts in conventions and in the Press. The names of the friends of the Constitution would make a considerable list, and no list would be complete. Of course, all those who signed the instrument worked for its adoption. The Constitution also had friends who were not members of the Convention. Among the ablest and the most useful of these was Pelatiah Webster, an able student of public finance and of constitutional systems. In 1788 the proposed Constitution was ratified by the requisite number of states (nine), and on March 4, 1789, the first Congress assembled under it. Much of its time and energy was devoted to considering means for improving the public credit and to organizing the various departments of government. In this work Congress was greatly assisted by Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury. On April 30, 1789, General Washington had been inaugurated president. John Adams had been chosen vice-president. Internal relations and external relations were speedily improved by the wisdom of Washington. The measures of his administration soon established domestic tranquility and general prosperity.
Starting the Government.—In his exercise of the appointing power Washington observed the greatest care. His nominations to office were remarkable for their accuracy. He set an example, however, which none of his successors has seen fit to imitate. He appointed to the most important position in his cabinet Thomas Jefferson, the head of an opposition which a little later assumed more definite form. Ultimately Hamilton and Jefferson quarrelled, and both resigned from the administration. Hamilton, however, had done his work. His report on manufactures, a remarkable document, and one still consulted by statesmen, among other things justifies the tariff policy then adopted. Measures involving a still broader construction of the Constitution were enacted. One was the organization of the First United States Bank. To its establishment there was social, sectional, and constitutional opposition. There was also considerable hostility toward the measure for assuming the Revolutionary debts of the states. The enactment of these laws was chiefly responsible for the rise of a new political party, the Republican party of Jefferson. The revenue system established by Congress led to an insurrection in western Pennsylvania. That outbreak was suppressed in 1794 by sending the militia of New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, and some troops of Pennsylvania, into the troubled region. This indicated the energetic policy that was adopted by the new government. Armies under Generals Harmer and St. Clair were defeated by the Miamis. In 1795, after their defeat by General Wayne, the tribe made a cession of nearly the whole of Ohio. In 1794-95 John Jay, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, negotiated a very unpopular treaty with Great Britain. After the people of France had put their king and queen to death, President Washington issued his Neutrality Proclamation, thus taking the first step in the foreign policy of the United States. Though Washington was honored by a second election, his administration continued to be attacked with considerable energy and great bitterness. After enacting the laws referred to, tracing the foreign policy of his country, and organizing its departments, Washington determined to retire from public life. Before doing so he issued his “Farewell Address”. Washington’s refusal of a third term was, perhaps, not unconnected with the attacks upon him by the coarse journalists of that time.
John Adams, who had served two terms as vice-president, was chosen to succeed Washington. His majority over Jefferson, who was elected to the vice-presidency, was very slight. An effort of this administration to negotiate a commercial treaty with France resulted in the celebrated “X Y Z” correspondence. In portions of the country there was opposition to the new taxes. A graver problem with the administration was the question of dealing with those citizens and resident aliens who attacked the president and the members of his administration. The Alien and Sedition Laws were designed to meet the emergency. By a majority of the people the Sedition Law was regarded as a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and of the Press. By the legislatures of Virginia and Kentucky these measures were criticized, and the latter came near to proclaiming nullification as the rightful remedy. Madison was the author of the Virginia resolutions, while Jefferson prepared those passed by Kentucky. These resolutions connect with the Hartford Convention, Nullification, and Secession. In the third presidential election the administration was embarrassed by the taxes necessary for building up a navy, by the Alien and Sedition Laws, and by dissension among the Federalist leaders. Hamilton attacked President Adams with great severity, and contributed to the defeat of the Federalist party, of which he had been the intellectual head.
Early Political Parties.—In the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia there were many discrepant elements. We are now concerned with only two, viz., those who favored the foedus, or union, under the proposed system and those who opposed it. The former were known as Federalists, the latter as Anti-Federalists. When the Constitution was finally adopted, the Anti-Federalists became “strict constructionists” and the Federalists “loose constructionists”. President Washington had generally acted with the Federalists. Adams also belonged to that party. It was during his presidency that Congress enacted the celebrated Alien and Sedition Laws. These measures were unpopular, and, combined with the attitude of the Federalists during the War of 1812, led to their complete overthrow, They had organized the government and given it its tendency, but after the administration of Adams they became little more than a party of protest. In 1800 the followers of Jefferson, then known as Republicans, won the presidency. They had previously obtained control of Congress. At that time the conflict in progress between England and France divided the American people on the question of foreign relations. The Federalists, who were strongest in New England, favored England, while the Republicans generally sympathized with France, the late ally of the United States. After the War of 1812 party lines had been almost effaced. President Monroe was practically the unanimous choice of the American people. The rivalry of Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay led, after 1829, to the rise of a new political party. The followers of Clay were known as Whigs, those of Jackson as Democrats. Clay and his friends favored internal improvements at federal expense, and the continuance of the United States Bank, an institution first chartered by the Federalists. They also favored a tariff for protection. These principles formed what is known as the “American” system. Of course, the Whigs were “loose constructionists” of the Constitution. To these principles the Democrats were opposed. That organization is generally regarded as being identical with the Jeffersonian party. William Henry Harrison, the first Whig president, served for one month. His successor, Vice-President Tyler, though an admirer of Henry Clay, was a “strict constructionist”. Again in 1848 the Whigs elected General Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore. This was their last victory. Their attitude toward the Fugitive Slave Law impaired their popularity, and in 1852 they met with a crushing defeat. In 1856 a new organization, composed chiefly of anti-slavery elements, nominated Fremont and Dayton, the first candidates of the Republican party. They were defeated. After 1860, however, they won all the presidential elections except those of 1884 and 1892, when Grover Cleveland, the Democratic candidate, was chosen. The third parties, generally parties of moral ideas, will be noticed presently.
Territorial Accessions.—After 1800 the successive acquisitions of territory are to be noticed. In point of time the Louisiana Purchase, in 1803, came first. This was acquired from France after she had lost the important colonial possession of Hayti, and when Napoleon had decided to renew the war with England. Florida was acquired from Spain in 1821, when the United States surrendered any claim they may have had to the Texan country. At that time and by the same purchase the United States succeeded to Spain‘s rights in the Oregon country. Having achieved her independence from Mexico, Texas was annexed in 1845 by a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress. The constitutionality of that act has been challenged. The settlement of the Oregon dispute was a contemporary event. To that country America had several distinct titles. Oregon was claimed by right of Captain Gray’s discovery of the Columbia River, which he named after his ship; when President Jefferson had bought Louisiana he sent Lewis and Clark to explore that region; in 1811 the fur-trading station Astoria was established there. The right acquired with the purchase of Florida has already been mentioned. These claims, reinforced by American occupation, ultimately gave the vast Oregon country to the United States. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848), which concluded the war with Mexico, gave to the United States an immense region in the southwest. This included the whole of California, Nevada, Utah, a small part of Wyoming, more than a third of Colorado, and considerable portions of Arizona and New Mexico. In 1853 the Gadsden Purchase from Mexico completed the boundary of the United States in that region, Alaska was purchased in 1867 for $7,200,000 from Russia. In our own time (1899) Porto Rico and the Philippine archipelago were acquired, as a result of the war with Spain. Less important insular possessions in the Pacific (Hawaiian Islands, Guam, Samoan Islands) were also acquired about this time.
Foundations of Foreign Policy.—The Neutrality Proclamation of President Washington has been mentioned. A second important step in the development of America‘s foreign policy was taken in 1823, when President Monroe sent to Congress his annual message. Between 1816 and 1822 a revolutionary government had been established in each of the Spanish colonies from the Rio Grande to Cape Horn. Upon due consideration, the United States had acknowledged their independence. After the over-throw of Napoleon the Holy Alliance had restored absolutism on the continent of Europe. The project was then considered of restoring to Spain her lost dependencies in South America. England, however, was opposed to such intervention. Her attitude was chiefly determined by the profitable commercial interests which had sprung up since the overthrow of Spanish dominion in that region. It was in these circumstances that Canning, the British Minister of Foreign Affairs, proposed to Dr. Rush, the United States Minister in England, that the two powers issue a joint declaration against the proposed intervention of the Holy Alliance. Another element in the situation was the attitude of Russia, which had been establishing trading posts in the North-West. It was feared that she would endeavor to extend her dominion farther down the coast. John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, protested against this action, and informed the Russian Minister that the United States would assume the position that the American continents were no longer open to future colonization by European nations.
President Monroe sought the advice of ex-Presidents Jefferson and Madison, and was encouraged by both in the stand which he was about to take. In his message to Congress, December, 1823, the president, in speaking of Americas foreign policy, said that hitherto the United States had not interfered in the internal affairs of the Allied Powers; that “We owe it, therefore, to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the United States and those powers, to declare that we should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety. With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered, and shall not interfere. But with the governments who have declared their independence and maintained it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition towards the United States”. And, “It was impossible that the Allied Powers should extend their political system to any portion of either continent without endangering our peace and happiness; nor could any one believe that `our Southern brethren’, if left to themselves, would adopt it of their own accord. It was equally impossible, therefore, that we should behold such interposition in any form with indifference”. The part of the message referring to Russia declared that “occasion has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the American Continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintained, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European power”. These announcements of the president have since been collectively known as the “Monroe Doctrine”. When these bold declarations were made, the United States felt confident of the support of Great Britain. Their joint navies would have made it impossible for the Allied Powers to conduct any military operations in the western hemisphere.
Sectional Conflict.—In the Constitutional Convention (1787) it was clear that the North and the South had interests which were somewhat different. Not-withstanding this fact, they agreed upon a fundamental law by adopting a number of compromises. In the endeavor to administer the government other compromises were adopted between 1789 and 1860 when the Southern States were convinced that further compromises would be useless. It has already been stated that one form of opposition to the establishment of the First United States Bank was sectional. It was regarded as a Northern measure; was supported chiefly by Northern members of Congress, and received few votes from the South. In 1820 the difference between the sections assumed a very different form. At that time it was bound up with the institution of slavery. In 1818 the Territory of Missouri applied for admission into the Union as a state. That application had not been acted upon in 1819 when Representative Tallmadge, of New York, proposed an amendment to the effect “that the further introduction of slavery or involuntary servitude be prohibited, and that all children of slaves born within the said state after the admission thereof into the Union shall be free at the age of twenty-five”. This raised an important constitutional question, namely, whether under the Constitution, Congress had the power to impose conditions upon the admission of new states which were not imposed by the Constitution on the original states. The amendment of Tallmadge passed the House, but failed in the Senate. The discussions on the anti-slavery amendment created the greatest excitement throughout the country. The matter was finally settled by the first of the great compromises between the sections. Missouri was admitted without any restrictions upon slavery, but in all other territory north of its southern boundary (36° 30′ N. lat.) slavery was prohibited forever. Bound up with this controversy was the application of the District of Maine, which since 1691 had been a part of Massachusetts. Maine was admitted as a free state, thus preserving in the United States Senate the balance between the two sections. The Missouri constitution contained a provision excluding free negroes. This was a palpable violation of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees to the citizens of each state the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several states. This part of the controversy was set at rest by the influence of Henry Clay. It was provided that this discrimination of the Missouri constitution would not be enforced. This ended the first controversy over the question of slavery. In the division of the Louisiana Territory thus effected, the North gained much more territory than the South.
Grave as was the constitutional question that arose on the application of Missouri for admission to the Union, that which grew up about 1830 was much more alarming. After the war of 1812 the successive Congresses enacted tariff laws. So great was the opposition to that which was passed in 1828 that it was called the “Tariff of Abominations”. The feeling between the sections showed itself when Senator Foote, of Connecticut, introduced a resolution proposing an inquiry as to whether or not it was desirable temporarily to suspend the sale of public lands, excepting such as were already surveyed. It also proposed to abolish the office of surveyor-general. Senator Hayne, of South Carolina, chose to regard this as a manifestation of the Eastern jealousy of the West.
He made Foote’s resolution the occasion of a general and energetic attack upon New England and a pretense for expounding the doctrine of nullification. By “nullification”, in American history, is meant the claim by a state of the right to suspend within her own territory the operation of any act of Congress which the state deems injurious to her own interests.
Hayne’s brilliant oration was replied to by Webster (1830) in, perhaps, the greatest speech ever delivered in the Senate. It has been said that Webster took ground on a position toward which the greater part of the nation was steadily advancing, that is in the direction of nationalism. Hayne’s sentiments found favor in the South alone. The theory which he had championed South Carolina soon sought to put into practice. In 1832 Congress passed a new tariff law, which omitted many of the objectionable features of the Act of 1828, though it still contained the principle of protection.
In South Carolina, where the objection to the law was strongest, the governor convoked the legislature in special session. That body issued a call for a state convention to meet at Columbia November 19, 1832, and on November 24 there was passed by that convention the famous Ordinance of Nullification. This declared the tariff law null and void so far as concerned South Carolina, forbade the payment of duties after February 1, 1833, and prohibited appeals arising under the law from being taken to the United States courts. If Congress attempted to reduce the state to obedience, South Carolina would regard her connection with the Union as dissolved. The legislature passed several laws to carry the ordinance into effect. Among them was an act that provided for placing the state on a war footing for the purpose of resisting the authority of the United States.. Another act provided a test oath for all officers of the state, by means of which Union men were to be excluded from holding positions of honor or trust under South Carolina. President Jackson, who had been reelected in 1832, does not appear to have been alarmed at the condition of affairs in South Carolina. He instructed the collector of customs at Charleston to perform the duties of his office, and, if necessary, to use force. He also issued an address to the Nullifiers. In it he urged them to yield; he likewise told them that “the laws of the United States must be executed…. Those who told you that you might peacefully prevent their execution deceived you… Their object is disunion, and disunion by armed force is treason”. When Congress met in December, 1832, the president wanted the passage of an act giving him power to collect tariff duties by force of arms. A great debate followed on this measure, which was known as the Force Act. Speaking for the South, Calhoun asserted the right of a state to nullify acts of Congress deemed injurious to her interests, and also the right to secede from the Union. Webster denied the right of nullification and secession, and upheld the Union and the Constitution. Henry Clay, fearing a civil war, now came forward with a compromise. He proposed that the tariff of 1832 should be reduced gradually till 1842, when on all imported articles there should be an ad valorem duty of twenty per cent. This Compromise Tariff became a law in March, 1833. A second convention met in South Carolina, and repealed the Ordinance of Nullification.
The acquisition of territory from Mexico led to another great controversy between North and South, or rather between the free and the slave states. In August, 1846, President Polk asked Congress for $2,000,000 “for the settlement of the boundary question with Mexico“. Mexico had abolished slavery long before (1827), and David Wilmot of Pennsylvania moved that the money should be granted, provided that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude should exist in any territory that might be acquired from Mexico. The bill passed the House of Representatives, the Southern members voting almost solidly against it; in the Senate it never came to a vote. When finally the measure did pass, the Wilmot proviso was stricken out. Later it was sought to attach this anti-slavery provision to other bills, While it did not pass, it aroused the most bitter feeling in the South. At a meeting of Southern members of Congress an address written by Calhoun was adopted and signed, and then circulated throughout the country. Among other things it complained of the constant agitation of the slavery question by the Abolitionists. In 1849 the legislature of Virginia adopted resolutions of which one declared that “the attempt to enforce the Wilmot Proviso” would rouse the people of Virginia to “determined resistance at all hazards and to the last extremity”. The Missouri legislature also protested against the principle of the Wilmot proviso. One of the toasts at a dinner to Senator Butler, in South Carolina, was “A Southern Confederacy”. Besides this general Southern opposition to the Wilmot proviso, that section complained of the difficulty of recovering slaves who had escaped to the free states. In almost every part of the South there was a demand that the territories be opened to slavery. Some of the legislatures contended that the abolition of the slave trade in the District of Columbia would be a direct attack on the institutions of the Southern States.
In the North, public sentiment was not less excited. The legislatures of the free states, except Iowa, resolved that Congress had the power and was in duty bound to prohibit slavery in the territories. Many states instructed their congressmen to do everything possible toward abolishing the slave trade in the District of Columbia. When Congress met in December, 1849, it had serious business on hand. It then seemed as if the Union were about to be broken up, and that in its place there were to be two republics—one composed of free states and one made up of slave states. As in the excitement of 1832, so now again Henry Clay came forward as a peacemaker. In his patriotic task he was assisted by both Webster and Calhoun. Several bills were at last passed by Congress. Collectively they are known as the Compromise Measures of 1850. By this treaty between the sections it was provided that California be admitted as a free state, and that the slave trade, but not the institution of slavery, be prohibited in the District of Columbia. These bills were agreeable to the North. The measures in which the South was interested were: territorial governments for Utah and New Mexico without any restriction on slavery; and the payment to Texas of $10,000,000 for abandoning her claim to considerable neighboring territory, and for having surrendered her revenue system to the United States at the time of her annexation. The measure in which the South was most interested, however, was a more stringent law for the return of fugitive slaves. During the debates on the measure, President Taylor died (July 9, 1850). He was succeeded by the vice-president, Millard Fillmore. A law relative to the return of fugitive slaves had been passed in the administration of President Washington (1793). The new law empowered United States commissioners to turn over a colored person to anybody who claimed him as an escaped slave. It also provided that the negro could not give testimony. It further provided that all citizens, when summoned to do so, were required to assist in the capture of the slave, or, if it seemed necessary, in delivering him to his owners. Any citizen who harbored a fugitive slave or prevented his recapture was liable to fine and imprisonment. The Compromise of 1850 was expected to last forever. As we shall see, it became the very seed-plot of graver troubles. Slave catchers in great numbers invaded the North and hunted up negroes who had escaped twenty years, or even a generation before, and with the assistance of the United States marshals took them back to slavery. Both the free negroes and the whites in the North interfered with the officers in the performance of their duties. In this way many negroes regained their liberty. Disturbances occurred in many Northern cities, and some negroes were restored to their owners only after enormous expense. Northern States began promptly to pass Personal Liberty bills, for the protection of negroes who were claimed as slaves. In the South these laws were regarded as a violation of the Compromise.
Slavery Controversy.—In colonial America slavery was general in the English possessions. In the South nearly all the unskilled labor was performed by negro slaves; in the North much of that work was done by a class of men known as “Redemptioners”. For the latter class there was a prospect of entire freedom and even of social importance. For the most part the negro was doomed to toil forever; he had no hope of freedom and, perhaps, scarcely dreamt of wealth. When the War of Independence began, negro slavery existed in all the rebellious colonies. For economic and other reasons negroes were not numerous in the North. In the diversified industries of that section slave labor was not regarded as efficient. In the South, on the other hand, life was largely agricultural. On the large plantations the negro could be employed to advantage. His mind was adapted to the simple operations required in the tobacco and rice fields, while his body was well suited to its semi-tropical climate. There he thrived in spite of malaria. While the South was the section peculiarly interested in the institution of negro slavery, the North was not less interested in importing them from Africa. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson in his indictment of George III charged him, among other counts, with “suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or restrain this execrable commerce”. In so doing he had “waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights in the person of a distant people who had never offended him”. Out of deference to the wishes of some Southern delegates in Congress, especially those from South Carolina and Georgia, Jefferson’s denunciation was stricken from the final draft of the Declaration.
In the North the principles of 1776 were applied early. In 1777 Vermont, whose territory was still claimed by both New Hampshire and New York, adopted a constitution which declared that no person ought to be held as a slave after attaining to the age of maturity. In 1780 Pennsylvania enacted that the children of slaves born after that date should be free. A principle of the Massachusetts constitution of 1780 was interpreted by the supreme court of that state as abolishing slavery. In 1783 New Hampshire, and in 1784 Connecticut and Rhode Island all adopted measures looking to the gradual emancipation of their slaves. New York and New Jersey came later. At the time of the adoption of the Constitution (1785), slavery had almost disappeared in the North. Even in parts of the South it was unpopular. The great patriots and statesmen of Virginia, Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Mason, and others, hoped to see the institution quietly disappear. The Constitution recognized the existence of slavery and permitted the importation of negroes until January 1, 1808. It also provides that in a census of the people three-fifths of the negroes be counted. This provision gave rise to two systems of enumeration. For state purposes every human being was counted, that is, if he were an inhabitant. For Federal purposes all whites were counted, three-fifths of the negroes, and any Indians who paid taxes. Thus the population of the state was not the same as its “Federal numbers”. At the same time that the Constitution was being framed, the Continental Congress enacted the famous Ordinance of 1787. Section 6 forever prohibits slavery in the territory northwest of the Ohio River. This measure was reenacted by the Congress under the Constitution.
When benevolent people and wise statesmen of the South expected the gradual extinction of slavery, the invention of the cotton gin created an industrial revolution in that section. Slavery became a source of extraordinary profit and was soon regarded as an economic necessity. Thereafter cotton-raising became the chief industry of the South. There was an immense demand for negroes, and all thought of emancipation was forgotten. The Constitution conferred upon Congress no authority over the subject of slavery except in the territories and in the District of Columbia. After the admission of Maine as a free state, almost to the time of the Civil War, slave states and free states were admitted to the Union alternately. This preserved a sort of balance between the two sections. The American Colonization Society was organized at Washington in 1817. The object of this association was to organize settlements on the western coast of Africa for free negroes who would volunteer to go thither. During the forty years ensuing, 8000 emancipated blacks emigrated to Africa. The promoters of this society, whose officers were largely Southern men, were disappointed in the slender success of the movement. At that time there were a number of abolition societies in the South, though very few in the North. After 1829 abolition societies began to be organized in the North. These demanded the extinction of slavery not only in the territories but in the states. Periodicals appealing to this constituency and endeavoring to win converts were now undertaken from time to time.
Among the pioneers in this movement was one Benjamin Lundy, a New Jersey Quaker. He had resided in East Tennessee, whence he removed to Baltimore. In that city he published the “Genius of Universal Emancipation”. There also he made the acquaintance of William Lloyd Garrison. The hostility of the pro-slavery element compelled them to leave the city. In 1831 Garrison began publishing the’ “Liberator” in Boston. The “Liberator” denounced the slave-holders as criminals, and demanded the immediate emancipation of slaves throughout the United States. As a defensive measure it was excluded from circulation in the South. While the effect of Garrison’s teachings was feared in the slave states, they were not very acceptable in Boston. In 1835, while addressing an anti-slavery meeting at the City Hall, he was taken from the building and dragged through the streets with a rope about his body. For personal safety it was necessary to lodge him in jail. As a result of Garrison’s teachings anti-slavery societies were formed in the North. The first of these was the “New England Anti-Slavery Society“, organized in 1831. A few years later a national organization was formed in Philadelphia. The membership of these early anti-slavery organizations included Wendell Phillips, Gerrit Smith, Emerson, Dr. Channing, Theodore Parker, Henry Ward Beecher, and other persons equally well-known. Anti-slavery meetings were often dispersed by Northern mobs. A Connecticut teacher, Miss Crandall, who opened her school to negro girls, was thrown into jail, while her school was broken up by the mob. An Illinois Abolitionist editor, Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, was killed by a pro-slavery mob.
In 1831 occurred in Southampton County, Virginia, the Nat Turner insurrection, when the slaves rose against their masters and massacred sixty persons. In the South this was ascribed, without much reason, to the influence of Abolitionist literature. Large rewards were offered, below Mason and Dixon’s Line, for the delivery of the prominent anti-slavery leaders. Northern legislatures were called upon to suppress the Abolitionist societies by law. They continued, however, to flood the South with their literature, and appear to have seriously expected to convince the slave-holders of the evils of human servitude. The South demanded the exclusion from the mails of this obnoxious literature, but the postmaster-general claimed that he had no authority to exclude objectionable matter from the mails. In the summer of 1835 the people of Charleston took the matter into their own hands, intercepted the mails, seized the Abolitionist literature and made a public bonfire of it. The House of Representatives refused to receive petitions in any way relating to slavery, or rather voted to lay them on the table. In Congress ex-President John Quincy Adams acted as the spokesman of the Abolitionists. In the brief space of four years he presented two thousand anti-slavery petitions. The more the House endeavored to discourage such petitions, the more active became the Abolitionists. That body therefore on January 28, 1840, declared that “no petition, memorial, resolution or other paper praying for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia or any State or Territory, or the slave trade between the States and the Territories of the United States in which it now exists, shall be received by this House or entertained in any way whatever”. About twenty members from the free states supported this resolution. For a long time petitions poured into the House praying for the repeal of the “gag rule”, but it was not until 1844 that this was done.
In 1840 the Abolitionists nominated James Gillespie Birney, a Southerner, as their first candidate for the presidency. He received 7000 votes. Four years later (1844) 62,000 voters supported another Abolitionist candidate. When it is remembered that many of the anti-slavery party were so radical that they refused to participate in such contests, their increase in numbers must have convinced the South that they were destined soon to be a menace to slavery. In Congress the discussion of slavery aroused much bitterness, and henceforth that issue colored almost every question in the tide of events. Slavery had been recognized by the Constitution, but that instrument gave to Congress authority over the subject only in the District of Columbia and in the territories, and it was not until vast areas had been acquired by the United States that Southern statesmen perceived any danger to their own section in such agreements as the Compromise on the admission of Missouri. After the acquisition of the South-West from Mexico, they insisted that the restriction of slavery in the territories was a discrimination against those Southern citizens who were interested in the institution. The territories were open to the citizens of the North with their property; why not allow the citizens of the South the same privilege? To this the North replied that negro slavery was a moral wrong, and ought to be restricted rather than extended. The civilized world, said that section, has condemned slavery as an evil. If, then, the institution could not be abolished, it should not be further extended. Moreover, if the citizens of a common-wealth could take into one of the territories all the kinds of property recognized by the laws of that commonwealth, the citizens of other states could insist upon the same privilege. In this case every-thing would be property in one of the territories which was so regarded in any one of the states. This is entirely inconsistent with any Congressional regulation of the subject. Perhaps not more than one-third of the Southern people were interested in the institution of slavery, but the large slave-holders formed a powerful aristocracy. Though in number they may not have exceeded 10,000, they were influential enough to name governors, congressmen, and state legislators, and for a time to determine important questions of foreign and domestic policy. In the South their opinions were not often questioned. In many of the Southern States it was forbidden to teach slaves to read and write, but oftentimes the more humane masters taught them the meaning of the Scripture and even the elements of knowledge. Naturally the influence of the more intelligent among the negroes was feared. Southern statesmen of the generation before the Civil War expressed opinions that are not now held in that section.
The Kansas–Nebraska Bill.—From the results of the presidential election of 1852 the Whig party never recovered. The great Democratic victory of that year is generally ascribed to the attitude of that party toward the Compromise measures, especially its position on the Fugitive Slave Law. Though in the beginning it met with much opposition, that act was now enforced quietly. When Franklin Pierce was inaugurated, March 4, 1853, the nation was enjoying something like a state of tranquility. The new president apparently believed that the slavery agitation had permanently sunk to rest. In the midst of this repose a measure was introduced into Congress which plunged the nation into a sectional strife more bitter than any which preceded it. Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Territories, introduced a bill to organize a government for that part of the Louisiana Territory between Missouri and the Rocky Mountains. Senator Douglas has been accused of having been influenced by his personal ambition. He could have added to his popularity by assisting in the acquisition of Cuba, a project agreeable to the South, but he was not in the president’s cabinet. In the way of increasing his popularity he could have made himself acceptable to that section by a better tariff law, but he had little talent for mathematics or economics. The position which he occupied, as Chairman of the Committee on Territories, he proceeded to turn to account. He maintained that the part of the Compromise of 1850 referring to Utah and New Mexico established “certain great principles”, which were intended to be of “general application”. In his second bill it was provided that the country mentioned would be divided into two territories, one to be called Kansas and the other Nebraska. It expressly repealed that section of the Missouri Compromise restricting slavery, and opened up to slavery territory which was already free soil.
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”. There began at once a seven years’ struggle for Kansas. From the North the free state men and from the South the slave state men rushed into Kansas and began a struggle for its possession. The slave State of Missouri promptly attempted to colonize the new territory, and settled at a place which was called Atchison, in honor of a pro-slavery Senator of Missouri. On the other hand, the North was not idle. The New England Emigrant Aid Society sent a band of free state men, who settled west of Atchison at a place named Lawrence. Strife began in November, 1854, at the election of a territorial delegate to Congress. Armed bands of Missourians crossed the border into Kansas, took possession of the polls, and, though they had no right to vote, elected a pro-slavery delegate. According to the principle of the Kansas–Nebraska Bill, the people dwelling in the territory were to decide whether it should be a free or a slave territory. Therefore each side endeavored to elect a majority of members to the territorial legislature. The election took place in March, 1855. As election day approached, armed Missourians entered Kansas “in companies, squads, and parties, like an invading army, voted, and then went home to Missouri”. In this manner was elected a legislature of which every member save one was a pro-slavery man. It promptly adopted the slave laws of Missouri and applied them to Kansas. The free state men repudiated this legislature, held a convention at Topeka, and made a free state constitution, which they submitted to popular vote. Pro-slavery men refrained from voting but the free state people ratified the proposed constitution. Later they elected a governor and a legislature. When that body assembled, senators were elected, and Congress was asked to admit Kansas into the Union.
The old leaders of the Whig party, Clay and Webster, were dead, but that organization lost not only leaders but thousands of voters in the free states. As early as 1841 a state convention in Louisiana founded the Native American or Knownothing party. The Kansas–Nebraska Act and its execution led to a breaking up of the old political parties. As early as 1854 there was formed a new organization established on anti-slavery principles. The new party, named Republican, was joined by Free-soilers, Whigs, and anti-Nebraska Democrats. The first National Nominating Convention of this party (1856), its candidates, and some of its principles have been noticed in the sketch of political parties. In that election the Democratic nominees, Buchanan and Breckinridge, were chosen. Whigs and Knownothings then disappeared from national politics. In his inaugural address President Buchanan referred to a forthcoming decision of the United States Supreme Court, which would set at rest the slavery agitation. This was in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford. The question in this celebrated case was whether a slave became free if taken by his master to, and permitted to reside in a free state. The opinion of the majority decided (I) 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 exclude from the territories slave property any more than other sort of property; (3) the Missouri Compromise of 1820 was null and void. The dissenting opinion of Justice Curtis in this case was destined to become the legal basis of the Thirteenth Amendment.
The effect of this decision was to split the Democratic party in the North and to attract great numbers of anti-slavery men to the new Republican organization. In Kansas the struggle between free-state and slave-state men continued, the administration giving its support to the latter. To this era belong the celebrated joint debates between Senator Douglas and Abraham Lincoln for the United States senatorship for the State of Illinois. The legislature which was to elect a successor to Senator Douglas was itself to be chosen in 1858. One candidate was an advocate of squatter sovereignty, the other was opposed to the extension of slavery into the territories. Before the people of seven towns in their state the rival leaders discussed their respective platforms. Though Lincoln was defeated for the United States Senate, his remarkable speeches made him a national character and won for him the Republican nomination in the great contest for the presidency in 1860. In that era John Brown, who hated slavery and who had opposed it in Kansas, settled on the Maryland side of the Potomac River not far from Harper’s Ferry with about twenty followers. In October, 1859, they seized the United States armory at that town and freed a number of slaves in its vicinity. The negroes did not rise as Brown had expected; his force was soon over-powered by United States troops; Brown himself was captured, tried for treason against the State of Virginia, and convicted of promoting a servile insurrection. In December, 1859, he was hanged. In some localities of the North there was sympathy for his fate, but other communities looked on with indifference.
To many people in America the administration of President Buchanan appeared to be perfectly tranquil. Nevertheless, there were at work unseen but powerful forces. As we have seen, as early as 1832 there was talk of disunion; after 1850 the notion of secession became familiar. In 1860 the excuse for this step was the election of Abraham Lincoln, the candidate of the Republican party, who was regarded by the South as a sectional candidate, now a sectional president-elect. The party to which Lincoln belonged was a minority one. Indeed, there were cast against him almost a million more votes than were cast for him. In the Presidential contest of 1860 Breckinridge and Lane expected the support of the Southern States; Douglas was the choice of the Northern Democrats. The Constitutional Unionists nominated Bell and Everett. It was this split in the Democratic party that made possible, in November, 1860, the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin.
The Legislature of South Carolina, which had assembled for the purpose of appointing electors of president and vice-president, called a convention, which met at Charleston on December 20, 1860, and passed an ordinance of secession. According to the Southern theory, this act severed the relations of that state with the Union. Other states followed her example, and in February, 1861, at Montgomery, Alabama, organized the Confederate States of America. A provisional constitution was adopted, and agents were sent into other Southern States to persuade them to join the slave-holding confederacy. At different dates until May, 1861, other commonwealths cast their fortunes with the new government. In all, the seceding states numbered eleven. The President of the Southern Confederacy was Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi; Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, was chosen vice-president. The constitution differed but slightly from the Constitution of the United States. Its preamble stated that the Confederate States acted in their sovereign and independent capacity.
Civil War.—While the people of the South were organizing a government, President Buchanan did nothing to preserve the Union. In his view’ the states had no right to secede, but, if they did so, there was no authority conferred by the Constitution of the United States to prevent such action. On March 4, 1861, Lincoln took the oath of office as president and delivered a very temperate address, in the course of which he stated that he had no purpose to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it existed, and he believed that he had no lawful right to do so. Nevertheless, he had formed a resolution to enforce the laws and to protect the property of the United States. It was in his endeavor to carry out this policy that the great Civil War began. In their eagerness to extend their authority over the entire South the Confederate officials decided to seize Fort Sumter, which was the property of the United States. On April 12, 1861, a considerable army under General Beauregard began its siege. The little garrison under Major Anderson was compelled to surrender. The first important battle between the sections took place at Bull Run, Virginia, July 21, 1861, when the same Confederate general defeated the Union army under General McDowell. For the conflict thus inaugurated the South, which had long been preparing, was much better equipped than was the North. After looking into the law and consulting the precedents, President Lincoln in a proclamation called forth the militia of the several states.
The policy adopted in Washington was to divide the Confederate States along the line of the Mississippi, to blockade their ports and to take their capital, which had been removed to Richmond after the secession of Virginia. The Confederates won another battle, at Ball’s Bluff, in October, 1861. Meanwhile a large army was being brought together at Washington. This was placed under the command of General George B. McClellan, who later advanced toward Richmond from Yorktown. In May, 1862, his army was close to the Confederate capital. Thereafter occurred heavy fighting until the beginning of July. Later in the season the Union forces were again defeated near the old Bull Run battle-ground. This succession of victories persuaded General Robert E. Lee, then in command of the Army of Northern Virginia, to make his first invasion of the North. On September 16-17, 1862, he was defeated at Antietam by a superior Union force under General McClellan, and compelled to retreat into Virginia. The approach of winter found him occupying a strong position in the vicinity of Fredericksburg. There he was attacked by General Burnside, who had superseded McClellan in the command of the Federal army. Lee inflicted immense loss on his opponents, and in May, 1863, at Chancellorsville won perhaps a still greater victory. These advantages effaced every recollection of his defeat at Antietam, and induced him to make another invasion of the North. During May and June, 1863, his victorious troops marched leisurely through Virginia and Maryland, and during the first three days of July following fought at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the greatest battle of the New World. The defeat of General Lee by General George G. Meade, the Commander of the Army of the Potomac, was a disaster to the South, and marked the turning-point of the war. General Lee never again commanded so splendid an army; in fact the Confederacy could not furnish one. Perhaps a greater military leader than Meade would have annihilated the remnant of the Army of Northern Virginia before it arrived at the Rappahannock a second time. As it was, Lee escaped and was able to protract the struggle for more than another year. When the war was renewed in Virginia, Lee and his famous captains were opposed to Generals Sheridan and Grant.
The mention of these officers reminds one of the progress of the Federal armies in the West. The problem of opening up the Mississippi was begun in the south by General Benjamin F. Butler in command of an army, and Commodore D. G. Farragut, who cooperated with a powerful fleet. In April, 1862, New Orleans was permanently occupied by the Federals. Farther north the river had been freed from Confederate control by the victories of General Pope, General Grant, and Commodore Foote. The capture of Forts Henry and Donelson brought Grant’s army into the heart of Tennessee and led to the flight of its legislature to Memphis, where the Confederates still had a foothold. Later that general directed his attention to the remaining obstacles to the free navigation of the Mississippi, namely Vicksburg and Port Hudson. However, his first movements were not altogether successful. Sherman and some of his other officers met with reverses. In fact, there was little in the first attempts that would lead one to foretell a glorious conclusion of the campaign. Grant decided to run past the batteries at Vicksburg; landed a large army below that place, and in the interior of Mississippi defeated both Pemberton and Johnston, the Confederate commanders. The army of the former general, over 37,000 strong, which was forced into the city of Vicksburg, surrendered on July 4, 1863. This loss occurring on the day after the great defeat at Gettysburg was too much for the resources of the South. Within about five days Port Hudson also fell into the hands of the Federals, and the Mississippi was open from its source to the Gulf.
A large Union force under General Rosecrans was stationed near Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where also was the Confederate General Bragg with a fine army. In that vicinity was fought one of the great battles of the war. Bragg was defeated December 31, 1862, and January 2, 1863, and was finally forced to enter Georgia, where he was greatly strengthened. On 19 and September 20, 1863, these armies fought at Chickamauga the most desperate battle that had yet taken place in Tennessee. The military genius of General George H. Thomas saved the Union army from destruction after Rosecrans had left the field. Though his fame was to come later, even here Sheridan displayed great ability. Though still in command, Rosecrans remained inactive, and pressed the administration for reinforcements. When it was feared that he would surrender the army, President Lincoln sent General Grant to the headquarters of Rosecrans; Sherman came later with a small force. As we have seen, Sheridan and Thomas already belonged to that army. General Hooker was sent west from the Army of the Potomac, which was following Lee. This was the only occasion during the war when nearly all the great Union commanders took part in any battle. The Federal cause had the benefits of their services at Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, November 23-25, 1863. In these great battles Bragg, after much loss, was forced into Georgia, where his command was turned over to General Joseph E. Johnston. He retreated slowly toward Atlanta, followed by Sherman and Thomas. Grant and Sheridan came east; the former commander-in-chief of all the Federal armies, took up his headquarters with Meade’s army, while the latter was given an independent command in West Virginia. This brought him later into the Shenandoah Valley, where he destroyed a fine Confederate army under General Early during the summer and autumn of 1864.
After winning a number of small battles from Johnston, who had continued to retire before him, Sherman finally reached Atlanta. There his command was energetically attacked by General J. B. Hood, who had superseded Johnston. The aggressive system of the new leader destroyed an excellent army and left the State of Georgia at the mercy of Sherman’s veterans. To draw the Federal commander away from the interior of the commonwealth, Hood entered Tennessee, intending, no doubt, to alarm the people of the Middle West by a demonstration of force in the direction of the Ohio River. This policy, however, failed to divert Sherman from his purpose of marching to the sea and destroying en route whatever would be of value to the Confederate armies. This was very thoroughly, Southern people think ruthlessly, done. By December, 1863, Sherman captured Fort McAllister, and later made President Lincoln a Christmas present of Savannah. As he marched northward through the Carolinas, General Hardee hurried away from the city of Charleston lest his little army might be captured. When Hood invaded Tennessee, Sherman left Thomas to deal with him. In an evil hour for the Confederacy, Hood threatened Thomas at Nashville. The Union commander came from behind his defenses, captured the Confederate guns and soldiers behind their intrenchments and annihilated Hood‘s army. After this, all the available troops in the lower South were entrusted once more to General Johnston. Great though that officer’s genius undoubtedly was, it was not sufficient to sustain the declining fortunes of the South. Grant had begun at the Wilderness, May 4, 1864, his advance toward Richmond and Petersburg. Sheridan, as already stated, had destroyed the army of Early in the Shenandoah Valley, and of his own account joined the great army under Grant. In the beginning of 1865 there was an attempt to end the war by a conference of Southern statesmen and President Lincoln, with his Secretary of State, at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Nothing came of this attempt. The South made an expiring effort, but its resources were exhausted. Grant forced Lee out of Richmond; he was hurrying toward the western part of Virginia, and was compelled at Appomattox Court House to surrender the remnant of his small army. Grant was in his rear and Sheridan squarely in his path. The end, which had long been foreseen, came on April 9. Less than three weeks later Johnston surrendered to Sherman near Raleigh, North Carolina. The small Confederate forces still in arms soon dispersed or surrendered.
The Confederate navy was built chiefly in England. Cruisers equipped in that country inflicted much dam-age on American commerce, and for her failure to refrain from these indirect acts of hostility Great Britain was later compelled to pay the United States the sum of $15,500,000. This was distributed among those American citizens whose property and ships had been destroyed by vessels of the class of the “Alabama“, the “Florida“, and the “Shenandoah”. For a time England refused to pay any attention to the demands of the United States, but finally entered into a treaty, and consented to leave the settlement of the matter to an arbitration court, which convened at Geneva in 1872, with the result mentioned. These vessels inflicted great damage on American commerce, and British officials in the Bahamas, the Bermudas, and the West Indies permitted ships known as blockade runners to land immense quantities of English goods in Southern ports. This had much to do with the desperate resistance of the South. The Federal navy, however, was efficient, and during the war captured or destroyed 1504 ships engaged in this perilous trade. In the beginning of the conflict the South built ironclads like the “Merrimac,” and destroyed many of the wooden ships of the United States navy. After 1862 the Federal Government began to construct a new type of warship known as “Monitors”, which were found effective in coping with the Southern ironclads, and resulted in the maintenance of the blockade of the Southern ports. The first of those so named was invented by an engineer named Ericsson, also the inventor of the screw propeller. When the war began, the vessels of the United States navy were scattered over the globe.
Reconstruction.—When the Virginia secession convention decided to support the Confederate States, the citizens in the western part of the “Old Dominion” took steps to establish a loyal state of Virginia. A governor was chosen, senators and representatives were elected, and finally admitted to seats in Congress. The new commonwealth, which was called West Virginia, was proclaimed a member of the Union, June 20, 1863. As soon as Tennessee was beginning to slip from the hands of the Confederacy, President Lincoln appointed Andrew Johnson as military governor of that state. Immediately after his arrival in Nashville he began to organize the Union elements, and took steps toward the building up of a loyal state government. He also exerted himself to persuade men to enlist, and after providing them with arms sent them to the front. His attempts to establish a government friendly to the United States were constantly interrupted by Confederate armies. It was during the severe fighting in that state that the president issued his proclamation of amnesty and reconstruction. He sought to apply the same system to the States of Arkansas and Louisiana. His plan of restoring loyal governments in those states was as follows: a duly qualified person was to take a census of those who were willing to take an oath of allegiance to the United States. If their number was equal to ten per cent of the voters of the state in the presidential election of 1860, they were empowered to take steps toward the formation of a loyal government. This nucleus would be recognized by the president as the state, and would receive the protection of the army and navy of the United States while they were organizing it. Of the states reconstructed according to this plan only Tennessee was recognized by Congress. On this important subject the National Legislature was not in harmony with the executive, and after the assassination of President Lincoln, that body soon disagreed with his successor, Andrew Johnson. When the 39th Congress met in December, 1865, it refused to admit to the seats which they claimed those senators and representatives who came from states reconstructed under the direction of President Johnson during the preceding summer. Instead the Congress appointed a joint committee, which was empowered to inquire into the condition of the states recently in rebellion, and determine whether any of them were entitled to representation in Congress.
On December 18, 1865, the thirteenth amendment was proclaimed a part of the Constitution. This abolished slavery in every part of the United States. The president’s proclamation, which became operative on January 1, 1863, had freed the slaves only in the seceding states, and of them certain parishes of Louisiana, a few counties in Virginia and the entire State of Tennessee were excepted. There was also a doubt in the minds of some lawyers as to whether the proclamation of President Lincoln, which was issued as a military measure, was perfectly valid. To free the slaves everywhere in the Union, and to set at rest the scruples of constitutional lawyers, it was deemed necessary to make this change in the fundamental law. The Joint Committee suggested the submission to the states of the fourteenth amendment. This, which was adopted in July, 1868, nationalized citizenship, disfranchised certain classes who had participated in rebellion, and prohibited the payment of the Confederate debt. To entitle a state to restoration in its former place, these amendments had to be adopted. Those states that did not do so promptly were required to adopt still another amendment, the fifteenth, which in effect gave the freedmen the franchise. Mr. Lincoln would have conferred the suffrage upon the more intelligent of the negroes and those who had fought gallantly in the Union ranks. Beyond that he was not prepared to go. The enfranchisement of the entire body of males twenty-one years and over among the freedmen was the result of the adoption by Congress of a plan of reconstruction very different from that of Mr. Lincoln. It was shaped to a great extent by Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens. In pushing their measures through Congress they were constantly opposed by President Johnson, who was a Democrat and a “strict constructionist” of the Constitution. When he violated the Tenure of Office Act, he was promptly impeached of high crimes and misdemeanors. The managers of the impeachment lacked one vote of the two-thirds necessary to convict. One by one the erring states returned. The Congressional plan of reconstruction provided for a division of the South into eleven military districts, and the establishment in each of troops commanded by a major-general. Far earlier there had been established a Bureau of Freedmen, Refugees, and Abandoned Lands. The army and the Freedmen’s Bureau assisted in preserving order during the interval up to the spring of 1877, when the last of the Federal troops were withdrawn from the South. This was the end of the era of Reconstruction. It is impossible even to estimate the destruction of wealth that had resulted from four years of war, or the confusion that succeeded.
Burdens of War.—In the administration of President Jackson the public debt of the United States was about $37,000. By 1861 it had risen to $90,000,000. The total revenue was then only $41,000,000 a year. When the war began it was necessary to adopt a method more productive. Early in the conflict Congress increased the duties on imports; imposed a tax of 3 per cent on all incomes over $800; created an internal revenue; taxed trades, professions, occupations, and even sales and purchases. From such sources there was collected between 1862 and 1865 the sum of $780,000,000. By reason of its constitutional authority Congress borrowed money “on the credit of the United States” by selling bonds. The extent to which advantage was taken of this grant of power will be apparent from the fact that between July 1, 1861, and August 31, 1865, there was sold to the people of the United States $1,109,000,000 worth of bonds, to raise money to carry on the war. United States notes, bearing interest, were issued to the amount of $577,000,000. There were also notes bearing no interest. These included the “old demand notes”, the “fractional currency”, and the “national bank notes”. Though the amount of money paid out in the course of the war was immense, there was a public debt of $2,845,000,000 on August 31, 1865. Besides the Federal debt there were state debts of almost $500,-000,000. A generation after the war had passed away the National Government was still paying out annually in pensions from $150,000,000 to $160,000,-000, at that time about one-third of its entire expenses. At the distance of half a century from the beginning of the great conflict vast sums are still paid in pensions to the disabled survivors and the dependents of deceased Union soldiers. It has been estimated that 300,000 men lost their lives in the war for the Union. In the cause of secession the loss of life must have been quite as great, and the amount of suffering very much greater, because the South, in the era preceding the war, obtained almost everything in the way of manufactures from the North or from Europe. The outbreak of the rebellion found the people within the Confederacy almost destitute of the skill or the machinery to make the goods which they consumed, and the stringent enforcement of the blockade by the United States ships soon caused embarrassment everywhere in the South. Instead of healing the wounds of war the Congressional plan of reconstruction, which contained vindictive elements, served only to aggravate them. It was, however, believed to be necessary, and was, therefore, supported by patriotic and enlightened men in the North.
New States.—The southwestern part of the United States was acquired from Mexico at the close of the Mexican War. California, which was included in that cession and admitted to the Union as a free state by a provision of the Compromise of 1850, rapidly developed. The rumor that gold had been discovered there was soon known throughout the world, and from the countries and the islands of the Pacific there arrived many settlers. From Mexico and from every part of the United States came multitudes. The rush was greatest in 1849, but it continued long after. Indeed, it has been only in comparatively recent times that it has nearly ceased. Even yet some of its rapidly growing cities receive large accessions from the older states. In 1858, ten years after the discovery in California, tidings reached Missouri that gold had been found on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. A mining camp was soon established on Cherry Creek, in what was then the Territory of Kansas. Later it was named Denver, in honor of the governor. Within a year the place had a population of 1000. In the interior of the mountains some silver-mining camps were in 1864 erected into the State of Nevada. In the space between that state and the Territory of Colorado the Mormons, after having been driven out of Illinois, settled in 1848, when they established the community of Deseret, later known as Utah. Montana and Idaho, as well as Colorado, were made territories, while Arizona was separated from New Mexico. In 1876 Colorado became a state. The camp on Cherry Creek, Denver, is now a populous city.
On November 2, 1889, the Dakotas came into the Union as states; Montana was admitted on November 6, and three days later the Territory of Washington became a state. In 1907 Oklahoma was admitted as the forty-sixth state. In 1912 Arizona and New Mexico were admitted as states. The accession of new states suggests the territorial expansion of the original Union. It does not, however, give one a definite idea of the national increase in population, in wealth, and in power since 1789.
End of Reconstruction.—The two administrations of President Grant formed a period of recuperation and industrial progress. His second term was marked by much corruption in the bureaus of the general government. This condition may have been due to his training, which was chiefly military. Perhaps it was this limitation that enabled dishonest men to win his confidence. During the war the Democratic party formed a very small minority in Congress, but it was strong enough to watch the opposition and to take note of the political scandals. Just at that moment this minority party came under the leadership of Samuel J. Tilden, of New York. With great ability as a lawyer and an unquestioned record as a reformer, he was influential enough to persuade his party to accept the Civil War amendments of the Constitution. In the summer of 1876 he was nominated for the presidency. At the same time Thomas A. Hendricks, of Indiana, was nominated for the vice-presidency. Two weeks earlier the Republican national nominating convention had named Governor R. B. Hayes, of Ohio, and William A. Wheeler, of New York, as its candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency, respectively. On November 6 the election took place, and on the following morning most of the Republican leaders conceded the election of the Democratic candidates. Zachariah Chandler, the campaign manager of the Republican party, did not, however, admit it, but promptly claimed for the nominees of his party 185 electoral votes, and their election by a majority of one vote. On the face of the returns it appeared that the Democratic candidates had carried all the Southern States; also New York, New Jersey, and Indiana. There was no question that Tilden received 184 votes, or one less than the majority required by the Constitution. The 185 claimed by the Republican manager could be made up only by including the electoral votes of Florida, South Carolina, and Louisiana. The Republican “returning boards” of those states had it in their power to determine the result of the election by throwing out the votes of any places where, in their judgment, fraud or intimidation had occurred. One of the Republican electors of Oregon was said to have been disqualified under the Constitution, because he was an officer of the United States. The governor gave the certificate in this case to the Democrat having the highest vote. If Tilden could get this disputed vote his election was assured. This disqualification was merely a technical one, for the Republicans had undoubtedly carried that state.
It seems to have been otherwise in the case of the three Southern States. The constitution says that the presiding officer of the Senate “shall open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted”, but it does not say who is to do the counting. In 1876 the Senate was Republican and the House was Democratic. Two sets of certificates had been sent to Washington. In November and the months following there was much excitement throughout the country, and some persons thought of attempting to seat Mr. Tilden by force. To suppress any disorder, President Grant strengthened the military forces around the capital. In this action the Democrats perceived an attempt at intimidation. So grave was the situation that Congress decided to submit the disputed points to an Electoral Commission. This was to consist of five United States senators, five representatives, and five justices of the United States Supreme Court. There were three Republican and two Democratic senators; the House had appointed three Democratic and two Republican representatives. Congress had elected two Republican and two Democratic justices, and they were to choose a fifth. It is perfectly clear that this member could determine the entire question. Mr. Justice Bradley, a Republican, was the person chosen. This made up a commission of eight Republicans and seven Democrats. Every important question before the Commission was decided by a strict party vote. By many independent persons it is regarded as an established fact that the Democrats had been counted out in the election of 1876 by “carpet baggers” and the negroes, who were under their guidance. On March 2 the election of Hayes and Wheeler was announced by the president of the Senate. Amongst Democrats there was extreme disappointment, but Mr. Tilden himself advised obedience to the law.
An early act of the new president, often referred to by orators and newspapers as a fraudulent Executive, was the withdrawal of the Federal troops from the South. The “carpet bag” governments soon came to an end, and also the wild political orgies that disgraced them. This also was the era of strikes, Chinese agitation, and epidemics. Before the administration of President Hayes began, an important question of foreign relations was settled. In 1861 Great Britain, Spain, and France each sent an army to Mexico to collect debts due their respective subjects. When it became apparent that Napoleon III had ulterior designs, Great Britain and Spain withdrew. The French troops remained. Seeing that the United States was engaged in war, Napoleon overturned the Mexican Republic and made Maximilian, a brother of the Emperor of Austria, Emperor of Mexico. The United States protested against this violation of the principles of the Monroe Doctrine, but nothing was done till the war was over. Then General Sheridan was sent to the Rio Grande with 50,000 veterans. The French army was promptly withdrawn in 1867, and Maximilian fell into the hands of the Mexicans, by whom he was shot. The republic was then restored.
Recent History.—In the election of 1880 the Republican candidates, General James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur, were successful. The new executive had scarcely entered upon the duties of his office when he was shot by Charles J. Guiteau, a disappointed office-seeker. This event took place on July 2, 1881, but the president lingered on till September 19, 1881, when he died at Elberon, New Jersey, where he had been taken in the hope that he might recover. The forty-sixth Congress had ceased to exist on March 4, and the forty-seventh would not meet till December. Had President Arthur died or been killed during the interval, there would have been no national executive. It was this condition which suggested the passage in 1886 of the Presidential Succession Act. Thereafter, in case of the occurrence of vacancies in both offices, the heads of departments would succeed to the presidency in the order in which those departments had been established, viz., State, Treasury, War, Justice, Post Office, Navy, Interior. No other departments existed at that time. Of course, the secretary succeeding to the presidency must have the qualifications enumerated in the Constitution. In the administration of President Arthur there was passed a law for the suppression of polygamy in Utah; also an act to regulate appointments to the Civil Service of the United States. Hitherto most of those appointments had been bestowed as a reward for partisan services. The new law was designed to make appointments to public office on the ground of fitness. Since its passage in 1883 much progress has been made in the matter of making appointments, but the system is still crude.
In the presidential contest of 1884 the Republicans nominated James G. Blaine and John A. Logan as their candidates, while the Democrats selected Grover Cleveland and Thomas A. Hendricks. The nomination of Blaine was the signal for a secession from the Republican ranks. Independents within the party, then known as “Mugwumps”, refused to support the ticket, and contributed much toward its defeat. In the first administration of Grover Cleveland there were passed several important laws: an anti-contract labor law (1885), which prohibited the importation of aliens into the United States under contract to perform labor or service; the Interstate Commerce Act (1887), which placed railways under the supervision of a commission. That body has to see that charges for the transportation of merchandise and passengers are reasonable and just; also that no rebates, special rates, or unjust discriminations are made for one shipper in preference to another. A second Chinese Exclusion Act was passed in 1888. This prevented the return to the United States of any Chinese laborer who had once left this country. A Bureau of Labor was created in the same year. Questions of public finance also received the attention of the administration. In twenty years the public debt had been reduced by $1,100,000,000. Every bond that could be cancelled was called in and paid at its face value. There were other bonds, but they had many years to run. The Government could indeed buy them at a high rate or allow them to run. It did not appear sound policy to buy them at a high rate, while if they were permitted to run, the Government did not need its present income, for a surplus was rapidly accumulating in the Treasury. This was the condition which led to the proposal to enact a new tariff law. This conclusion was reached toward the close of President Cleveland’s administration. When, therefore, the presidential election of 1888 came round, it found the Democrats supporting the policy of a tariff for revenue. On the other hand, the Republicans desired to retain the protective tariff. They proposed to reduce the revenue by lowering the taxes on tobacco and on spirits used in manufactures. They would also admit free of duty articles of foreign manufacture, if the United States did not manufacture a similar class of articles. Benjamin Harrison and Levi P. Morton were chosen as Republican candidates. When this party was again in control of the government, it began at once to take measures for the redemption of its promises. The McKinley Tariff Act was passed in 1890, and on June 27 in the same year a dependent pension bill. Hitherto the laws granted pensions only to those who had sustained an injury or contracted a disability in the service and in line of duty. The new law allowed a pension to all those who had served ninety days in the army or the navy, and were disabled, whether they contracted that disability in the service or not. The maximum allowance under this law was $12, and the minimum $6 a month. This law increased the names on the pension rolls to 970,000. It was in the administration of President Harrison that the Sherman Act became a law. It provided that the Secretary of the Treasury should buy each month 4,500,000 ounces of silver; that he should pay for the bullion thus purchased with treasury notes; that on demand of the holder the secretary must redeem these notes in gold or silver; after a fixed date, July 1, 1891, the silver need not be coined, but might be stored in the treasury, and silver certificates issued. The Farmers’ Affiance and the People’s Party belong to this era.
In 1892 Cleveland was once more elected. This time the Democratic party had control of the two political departments of the government, its first complete triumph since 1856. At the time of his inauguration, March 4, 1893, the business of the country appeared to be in a very prosperous state, but during the succeeding summer and autumn there swept over the country a financial and industrial panic which wrecked banks and commercial establishments. Manufactories shut down everywhere, and over 300 banks suspended or failed. This was the beginning of a period of great distress. Believing that the compulsory purchase of silver by the Secretary of the Treasury was responsible, to some extent, for the alarming conditions, the president convoked Congress in special session, and asked for the repeal of that clause of the Sherman Act which required a monthly purchase of silver. On November 1, after a considerable struggle, the compulsory clause was repealed. Industry, however, did not revive. In December, 1893, the Democratic Congress met and passed the Wilson Bill! a tariff measure in harmony with Democratic principles. As it was foreseen that the revenue from such a tariff would not produce a revenue sufficient to pay the expenses of the Government, one section of the act provided for a tax of two per cent on all incomes above 54000. This part of the law was afterward declared by the United States Supreme Court to be unconstitutional.
In the matter of foreign relations there occurred during the second administration of President Cleveland a grave controversy between the United States and Great Britain over the boundary between Venezuela and British Guiana. England claimed territory which had hitherto been regarded as belonging to Venezuela, and in this claim the president believed that he perceived a purpose on the part of England to ignore the principles of the Monroe Doc-trine. The excitement both in England and the United States was extreme, and some people looked for a war as the outcome. On February 2, 1897, however, a treaty of arbitration was signed at Washington between Venezuela and Great Britain. While the controversy was pending a commission appointed by the president had examined the boundary question and made a report on the subject. President Cleveland inherited from his predecessor the results of a revolution in the Hawaiian Islands, a revolution in which the United States was involved. In January, 1893, Queen Liliuokalani was deposed by her subjects, who then set up a provisional government, and sent commissioners to Washington to prepare a treaty of annexation to the United States. On February 15 this was sent to the Senate for approval. During the progress of these negotiations the president had heard that a force of men from a United States vessel had landed and given assistance to the revolutionists. This consideration led him to recall the treaty from the Senate and also to send to the islands an agent to investigate the entire affair. The report of this commissioner set forth that the queen had been practically deposed by United States officials. The president then sent another representative to the islands. He was instructed to seek for the restoration of the deposed queen on certain conditions, namely that she would grant full amnesty to all persons concerned in the events by which she had been deposed. To this she demurred, and expressed a purpose to behead the leaders and to confiscate their property. Upon receipt of this reply the president instructed his representative to cease all communication with her until she would agree to grant an amnesty. To this she consented in December, 1893. President Dole was then requested to surrender the government to the queen, but he refused to do so, denying the right of the President of the United States to interfere in the domestic affairs of the islands. Mr. Cleveland, doubting his authority to employ force, referred the entire matter to Congress, where it was investigated by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Construing this action as a purpose to leave the islands to take care of themselves, the revolutionists framed a constitution and organized a republic, July 4, 1894. The new government was promptly recognized by President Cleveland, and the deposed queen, to whom he had promised a restoration, abandoned the contest for her throne. Though the United States was chiefly responsible for her deposition, succeeding Congresses have ignored her repeated applications for indemnity.
In the presidential election of 1896 the Republican party nominated William McKinley and Garret A. Hobart, and in its platform declared its opposition to “the free coinage of silver except by international agreement”. Upon this announcement there took place a secession of twenty-one delegates from the convention. These represented the states which were then the chief producers of silver, namely Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, and Utah. The Democratic convention was held in July, and after a very exciting session chose William J. Bryan and Arthur Sewall, and declared for “the free and unlimited coinage of both silver and gold at the present legal ratio of 16 to 1, without waiting for the aid or consent of any other nation”. Following this declaration of the convention, many leaders of the party refused to give it their support, scores of newspapers withheld their assistance, and finally in the month of September a convention of “gold Democrats” nominated John M. Palmer and Simon B. Buckner on a platform which declared for a gold standard. In the meantime the silver party had endorsed the Democratic candidates (Bryan and Sewall), and the Populists had nominated Bryan and Thomas E. Watson. There were also other tickets in the field, namely: the Prohibitionists, the National Party, the Socialist Labor Party. After a very serious discussion of the issues McKinley was elected. Immediately following his inauguration, March 4, 1897, he convoked Congress in special session to revise the tariff. During the course of the same summer the Dingley Tariff became a law.
Cuban Question—War with Spain.—More serious than the tariff question was the situation in the neighboring Island of Cuba. In February, 1895, for the sixth time in half a century, the natives of Cuba, weary of the misrule of Spain, rose in revolt and founded a republic. In 1868 there was an insurrection in the island which lasted for ten years. By 1878 it had collapsed, but broke out in 1895 on a larger scale. General Campos attempted to suppress the rebellion, but was soon superseded by General Weyler, whose methods were drastic. The chief feature of his policy was to bring the non-combatants into the towns, so that they could not give any further aid to the insurgents. Penned in camps which soon became filthy, and poorly fed, they died in great numbers. Of course, this policy interrupted production and, if continued, would soon depopulate the island. In his annual message, December 7, 1896, President Cleveland noticed the progress of the insurrection, and declared that the United States could not be expected to maintain that attitude indefinitely. In Cuba upwards of $50,000,000 of American capital were invested in plantations, mines, railways and other lines of business. A trade amounting to about $100,000,000 was being destroyed. The wretched condition of the reconcentrados excited the sympathy of the American people, and they began to send food and medical aid to the stricken island. President Cleveland declared that when it became evident that Spain was unable to subdue the rebellion, American obligations to Spain would be superseded by obligations still higher.
When McKinley became president, he demanded the release of American prisoners in Cuba, and requested the Spanish Government to put an end to the conditions existing in the island. At that time it was costing the United States much money to enforce the neutrality laws. A new administration in Spain led to the recall of General Weyler, and to the promise of local autonomy for Cuba; also to the release of the American prisoners and to an amelioration of the state of the reconcentrados. These concessions, however, did not pacify the insurgents, and they rejected the offers almost unanimously. In his message to Congress, December 6, 1897, President McKinley expressed the opinion that the time for intervention on the part of the United States had not yet come. He believed that Spain should be given a reasonable time in which to prove the efficiency of the new system. The Spanish Government had agreed to admit free of duty articles contributed by Americans for the relief of the reconcentrados. In February, 1898, there was published by the Cuban junta in New York a private letter of the Spanish Ambassador to Washington, Senor Dupuy de Lome, in which the diplomat referred to President McKinley as” a pot-house politician and caterer to the rabble”, who was endeavoring to stand well with the Spanish Minister and the Jingoes of his party.
An incident more grave than this, which was settled by the resignation of Senor de Lome, was the destruction of the battleship “Maine” and about 260 of her officers and crew, by a mine in Havana harbor. It was generally believed to have been the work of Spain, and, of course, the Cubans did not attempt to remove that idea. A war between the United States and Spain was what the natives of Cuba were eager to bring about. A court of inquiry was unable, however, to fix the responsibility for the explosion, which has since been shown to have been an external one. Congress voted $50,000,000 for strengthening the national defenses and buying ships and material of war. On April 19, 1898, Congress adopted a resolution declaring for the freedom of Cuba, demanding the withdrawal of Spain from the island, and authorizing the president to compel such withdrawal by force. Diplomatic relations were broken off by Spain on April 21. A few days later Congress declared war, and 200.000 volunteers were enlisted. On May 1, 1898 Commodore Dewey destroyed the Spanish fleet and captured the forts in Manila Bay, and took possession of Cavite. A joint land and naval force then invested the city of Manila. Another Spanish fleet, under Admiral Cervera, took refuge in the harbor of Santiago de Cuba, where it encountered the American fleet, under Rear-Admirals Sampson and Schley. Cervera lost all his crews and vessels. Besides the loss in killed and wounded, the Spanish admiral and about 1800 of his men were taken prisoners. On July 14, 1898, General Toral surrendered Santiago and his army of 25,000 men. General Miles landed a force on the Island of Porto Rico just as hostilities came to an end. Before the tidings had reached the Philippines, Dewey’s fleet and an army, under General Merritt, had taken Manila and 7000 Spanish prisoners.
By the treaty of peace, signed December 10, 1898, at Paris, it was provided that Spain should relinquish her title to Cuba, cede Porto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the United States, and that the United States should pay $20,000,000 to Spain. On February 6, 1899, the treaty was ratified by the United States Senate. It was also accepted by Spain, and the $20,000,000 was promptly paid. Diplomatic relations were soon resumed. During the progress of the war with Spain the people of the United States began to take a different view of territorial expansion. Though the inhabitants of Hawaii had made repeated applications for annexation to the United States, it was only on July 7, 1898, that the president signed the joint resolution of Congress which provided for annexation. The formal transfer took place on August 12.
The natives of the Philippines, who had been rest-less under Spanish rule, expected their political independence after the success of the Americans. Their failure to receive it led them on February 4, 1899, to attack the United States troops at Manila. A war, disastrous for the natives and their leader Aguinaldo, ensued and continued for more than a year. Peace was finally imposed on all the discontented elements in the islands, and in 1900 a commission was sent thither by the president to organize civil government in such localities as appeared to be ready to receive it. On May 1, 1900, a system of civil government went into operation in Porto Rico also. Cuba continued under the military control of the United States for many months. In June, 1900, however, the city governments in the island were turned over to the people, and on December 5 a constitutional convention assembled.
In the presidential election of 1900, McKinley and Roosevelt, the Republican nominees, defeated Bryan and Stevenson, the Democratic candidates. While holding a reception during the summer of 1901, A the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo, President McKinley was shot by an anarchist, and died on September 14. In succeeding to the presidency, Mr. Roosevelt announced his intention of continuing the policy and retaining the cabinet of his predecessor. The new executive recommended several new laws, but Congress did not pass many at that session. He used his influence during a great strike to bring about a compromise between the coal operators and the mine-workers in the anthracite region of Pennsylvania. Upon the president’s recommendation, a Department of Commerce and Labor was established in December, 1902. Soon afterwards (October 18, 1903), a dangerous controversy with Great Britain over the Alaska boundary was settled at London. Another dispute was arbitrated with Mexico. Relations with the United States of Colombia were not so cordial.
During President Roosevelt’s administration was passed an act authorizing the construction of a ship canal across the narrow isthmus connecting North and South America. After expending $250,000,000 in digging a canal between Panama and Colon, a French company was declared bankrupt. In 1889 a new company was organized and was said to have completed two-fifths of the work. At that stage this corporation offered to sell to the United States for $40,000,000 all its rights and property. In June, 1902, Congress empowered the president to accept this offer and to complete the canal at a cost not to exceed $120,000,000. For the necessary concessions generous terms were offered to Colombia, but, under a belief that a much larger sum could be obtained, that Government failed to ratify the proposed treaty. This action was the signal for a revolt in Panama, and for the establishment there of a separate state. In November, 1903, the people of that province proclaimed their independence, and set up a republican government. The United States prevented Colombia from suppressing this rebellion, and promptly acknowledged the independence of the new state. With it a treaty was soon concluded containing the concessions demanded by the United States for the completion of the canal. At this stage Colombia was willing to concede, free of cost, all that the Americans had asked, provided she were allowed to reassert her sovereignty over her lost province. The Colombian envoy was informed, however, that it was now too late. The $10,000,000 which had been offered to Colombia was promptly accepted by the new republic; also a perpetual annuity of $250,000, beginning nine years after ratifying the treaty. In return, the United States secured jurisdiction over a zone of territory five miles wide on each side of the canal, and any other land necessary for its construction and maintenance. The Panama policy of President Roosevelt was denounced by many Democratic senators in Congress, but was nevertheless approved by a vote of 66 to 14. Colombia’s efforts to stir up complications in Europe came to naught.
In 1904 Mr. Roosevelt was elected president, with Charles W. Fairbanks as vice-president. The Democratic candidates were Judge Alton B. Parker and Henry G. Davis. During his second term President Roosevelt was thwarted by the Senate in his endeavors to regulate railway rates and to advance the cause of arbitration. A prosperity almost unparalleled marked the beginning of the year 1907; at its close business was greatly depressed. In October a panic swept banks and trust companies into the hands of receivers. Relief did not come till the beginning of 1908. The subject of the Federal control of corporations was very fully discussed in the president’s message of December 3, 1907. He recommended the enactment of more stringent laws on this subject. On June 16, 1908, at Chicago, the Republican National Nominating Convention selected as its candidates for the presidency and vice-presidency William H. Taft and James S. Sherman. Bryan and Kern were the Democratic nominees. In the November elections the Republicans were successful. (See articles on the various states of the Union and the Catholic dioceses. See also America; Pre-Columbian Discovery of America; Cajetan Bedini; Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions; American Indians; Knownothingism; Legate; Statistics of Religions.)
CHARLES H. MCCARTHY