Title: Rise of the New West, 1819-1829
Author: Frederick Jackson Turner
Release date: March 1, 2003 [eBook #3826]
Most recently updated: January 9, 2021
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Vol. 1 European Background of American History, by Edward Potts
Cheyney, A.M., Prof. European Hist., Univ. of Pa.
Vol. 2 Basis of American History, by Livingston Farrand, LL.D.,
President Univ. of Colo.
Vol. 3 Spain in America, by the late Edward Gaylord Bourne, Ph.D., formerly Prof. Hist., Yale Univ.
Vol. 4 England in America, by Lyon Gardiner Tyler, LL.D., President
William and Mary College.
Vol. 5 Colonial Self-Government, by Charles McLean Andrews, Ph.D.,
Prof. Am. History, Yale University.
Vol. 6 Provincial America, by Evarts Boutell Greene, Ph.D., Prof.
Hist, and Dean of College, Univ. of Ill.
Vol. 7 France in America, by the late Reuben Gold Thwaites, LL.D., formerly Sec. Wisconsin State Hist. Soc.
Vol. 8 Preliminaries of the Revolution, by George Elliott Howard,
Ph.D., Prof. Polit. Science Univ. of Neb.
Vol. 9 The American Revolution, by Claude Halstead Van Tyne, Ph.D.,
Head Prof. Hist. Univ. of Michigan.
Vol. 10 The Confederation and the Constitution, by Andrew Cunningham
McLaughlin, A.M., Head Prof. Hist., Univ. of Chicago.
Vol. II The Federalist System, by John Spencer Bassett, Ph.D., Prof.
Am. Hist., Smith College.
Vol. 12 The Jeffersonian System, by Edward Channing, Ph.D., Prof.
Ancient and Modern Hist., Harvard Univ.
Vol. 13 Rise of American Nationality, by Kendric Charles Babcock,
Ph.D., Dean Col. Arts and Sciences, Univ. of Illinois.
Vol. 14 Rise of the New West, by Frederick Jackson Turner, Ph.D.,
Prof. Hist., Harvard University.
Vol. 15 Jacksonian Democracy, by William MacDonald, LL.D., Prof.
Government, Univ. of California.
Vol. 16 Slavery and Abolition, by Albert Bushnell Hart, LL.D., Prof.
Government, Harvard Univ.
Vol. 17 Westward Extension, by the late George Pierce Garrison,
Ph.D., formerly Prof. Hist., Univ. of Texas.
Vol. 18 Parties and Slavery, by Theodore Clarke Smith, Ph.D., Prof.
Am. Hist., Williams College.
Vol. l9 Causes of the Civil War, by Rear-Admiral French Ensor
Chadwick, U.S.N., retired former Pres. of Naval War College.
Vol. 20 The Appeal to Arms, by James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D., formerly
Librarian Minneapolis Pub. Lib.
Vol. 21 Outcome of the Civil War, by James Kendall Hosmer, LL.D.
Vol. 22 Reconstruction, Political and Economic, by William Archibald
Dunning, Ph.D., Prof. Hist, and Political Philosophy, Columbia Univ.
Vol. 23 National Development, by Edwin Erie Sparks, Ph.D., Pres. Pa.
Vol. 24 National Problems, by Davis R. Dewey, Ph.D., Professor of
Economics, Mass. Inst. of Technology.
Vol. 25 America as a World Power, by John H. Latane, Ph.D., Prof.
Am. Hist., John Hopkins University.
Vol. 26 National Ideals Historically Traced, by Albert Bushnell
Hart, LL.D., Prof. Government, Harvard University.
Vol. 27 National Progress—1907-1917, by Frederic Austin Ogg, Ph.D.,
Prof. Political Science, Univ. of Wisconsin.
Vol. 28 Index to the Series, by David Maydole Matteson, A.M.,
Harvard College Library.
Charles Francis Adams, LL.D., President
Samuel A. Green, M.D., Vice-President
James Ford Rhodes, LL.D., ad Vice-President
Edward Channing, Ph.D., Prof. History Harvard University
Worthington C. Ford, Chief of Division of MSS., Library of Congress,
Reuben G. Thwaites, LL.D., Secretary and Superintendent
Frederick J. Turner, Ph.D., Prof. of American History, Wisconsin
James D. Butler, LL.D., formerly Prof. Wisconsin University
William W. Wight, President
Henry E. Legler, Curator
William Gordon McCabe, Litt. D., President Lyon G. Tyler, LL.D.,
Pres. of William and Mary College
Judge David C. Richardson
J. A. C. Chandler, Professor Richmond College Edward Wilson James
Judge John Henninger Reagan, President
George P. Garrison, Ph.D., Prof. of History, University of Texas
Judge C. W. Raines Judge Zachary T. Fullmore
NEW YORK AND LONDON HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
Copyright, 1906, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
Printed in the United States of America
EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xiii
AUTHOR'S PREFACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xviii
[Proofreaders note: Index and Maps omitted]
In many previous volumes of the series, the region beyond the Alleghenies has been recognized as an influence and a potentiality in American history. Thwaites, in his "France in America," shows how the French opened up the country and prepared the way; the Tennessee and Kentucky settlements are described in Howard's "Preliminaries of the Revolution"; Van Tyne's "American Revolution" goes into the earliest western governments; McLaughlin's "Confederation and Constitution" deals with the organization of the new communities by Congress; Bassett's "Federalist System" and Channing's "Jeffersonian System" show how the diplomacy and politics of the country were affected by the appearance of a new group of equal states; while Babcock's "Rise of American Nationality" carries the influence of those states into a broader national life. Professor Turner takes up the west as an integral part of the Union, with a self-consciousness as lively as that of the east or south, with its own aims and prejudices, but a partner in the councils and the benefits of the national government which, as a whole, it is the aim of this volume to describe.
In a way the west is simply a broader east, for up to the end of the period covered by this volume most of the grown men and women in the west came across the mountains to found new homes—the New-Englander in western New York; the Pennsylvanian diverging westward and southwestward; the Virginian in Kentucky; the North-Carolinian in Tennessee and Missouri and, along with the South-Carolinian and Georgian, in the new southwestern states; while north of the Ohio River the principal element up to 1830 was southern.
To describe such a movement and its effects, Professor Turner has the advantage to be a descendant of New-Yorkers, of New England stock, but native to the west, and living alongside the most complete collection of materials upon the west which has ever been brought together—the Library of the Wisconsin State Historical Society. His point of view is that the west and east were always interdependent, and that the rising power of the western states in national affairs was a wholesome and natural outcome of forces at work for half a century. The transformation of the west from a rude and boisterous frontier to a group of states, soon rivaling their parent communities in population and wealth, was not unlike the process through which Massachusetts and Pennsylvania and Virginia passed as colonies, except that the inland people accepted ideals and standards originally English, but worked out and put into shape by their colonist fathers.
As the volume treats of the nation, and not simply of any section, it contains three chapters (i., ii., iii.) on the social and political life in New England, the middle region, and the south. The next four chapters are a systematic account of the west as the settler and the traveler saw it. between 1820 and 1830. In chapter v., on Colonization, the settlers are traced from their old homes to their new ones by road and river. Chapter vi., off Social and Economic Development, is a picture of frontier life in the forest and on the farm; chapter vii. brings into relief the need of a market and the difficulty of reaching tide-water with western products—a subject taken up again in the two later chapters on internal improvements; chapter viii., on The Far West, goes with the trapper into the mountains and then across the continent to California and to Oregon, which were included in the ambitions of the buoyant westerner.
Chapters ix. to xi. are a narrative of a succession of national questions involving all sections—the commercial crisis of 1819; the Missouri Compromise, which was in good part a western question; and the slow recrystallization of political parties after 1820. Chapter xii. is on the Monroe Doctrine, which included eastern questions of commerce, southern questions of nearness to Cuba, and western questions of Latin-American neighbors. Chapters xiii. and xvii. describe the efforts by internal improvements to help all the states, and especially to bind the eastern and western groups together by the Cumberland Road and by canals. Chapters xiv. to xvi. take up the tariff of 1824, the presidential election of that year, and its political results. Chapter xviii. brings into clear light the causes for the reaction from the ardent nationalism described in Babcock's American Nationality. With chapter xix., on the tariff of 1828 and the South Carolina protest, the narrative part of the volume closes. The Critical Essay on Authorities and a wealth of foot-notes carry the reader back to materials little studied hitherto, and prepare the way for many detailed investigations.
The aim of the volume is not to show the Rise of the New West as though it were a separate story, but to show how the nation found itself in the midst of questions involving the west, and how all parts of the Union were enriched and stimulated by the appearance of a new section. It opens up new vistas of historical study.
In the present volume I have kept before myself the importance of regarding American development as the outcome of economic and social as well as political forces. To make plain the attitude and influence of New England, the middle region, the south, and the west, and of the public men who reflected the changing conditions of those sections in the period under consideration, has been my principal purpose.
The limits of the volume have prevented the elaboration of some points well worthy of fuller treatment; and, by the plan of the series, certain aspects of the period have been reserved for other writers.
I desire to express my cordial appreciation of the friendly criticism and assistance I have received from the editor, Professor Hart. To Professor Carl R. Fish, Professor A. A. Young, and Dr. U. B. Phillips, my colleagues, I am indebted for a critical reading of several chapters. I have drawn on the manuscript sources possessed by Dr. Phillips for information on many points of southern history.
Several of the topics dealt with in the volume have been investigated by graduate students in my seminary; particularly I have profited by the papers of Professor Homer C. Hockett on the Missouri Compromise and the rise of Jacksonian democracy; of Mr. Royal B. Way, now instructor in history in Northwestern University, on internal improvements; and of Dr. W. V. Pooley and Mr. A. C. Boggess on the settlement of Illinois. Mr. S. J. Buck, my assistant in American history, prepared under my direction some of the maps, particularly those of congressional votes.
The map of western fur-trading posts in Captain Chittenden's excellent History of the American Fur Trade furnished the basis for the map of western posts and trails. In the construction of the map of highways and waterways, I have used the map of H. S. Tanner, 1825, and Hewett's American Traveller (Washington, 1825). From the maps in the Eighteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology have been drawn the data for the map of Indian cessions. The editor kindly supplied the map of Russian settlements and claims.
For the portrait of Henry Clay, which forms the frontispiece, thanks are due to Mr. Charles Henry Hart, of Philadelphia, the owner of the life-mask made by J. H. Browere.
The history of the United States is the history of a growing nation. Every period of its life is a transitional period, but that from the close of the War of 1812 to the election of Andrew Jackson was peculiarly one of readjustment. It was during this time that the new republic gave clear evidence that it was throwing off the last remnants of colonial dependence. The Revolution had not fully severed the United States from the European state system; but now the United States attained complete independence and asserted its predominance in the western continent. It was in this period that the nation strengthened its hold on the Gulf of Mexico by the acquisition of Florida, recognized the independence of the revolting Spanish-American colonies, and took the leadership of the free sisterhood of the New World under the terms of the Monroe Doctrine.
The joyous outburst of nationalism which at first succeeded the dissensions of the period of war revealed itself in measures passed in Congress, under the leadership of Calhoun and Clay; it spoke clearly in the decisions of Judge Marshall; and in the lofty tone of condemnation with which the country as a whole reproached New England for the sectionalism exhibited in the Hartford Convention. [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chaps, ix., xviii.; Gallatin, Writings, I., 700.]
It was not only in the field of foreign relations, in an aroused national sentiment, and in a realization that the future of the country lay in the development of its own resources that America gave evidence of fundamental change. In the industrial field transportation was revolutionized by the introduction of the steamboat and by the development of canals and turnpikes. The factory system, nourished by the restrictions of the embargo and the war, rapidly developed until American manufactures became an interest which, in political importance, outweighed the old industries of shipping and foreign commerce. The expansion of cotton-planting transformed the energies of the south, extended her activity into the newer regions of the Gulf, and gave a new life to the decaying institution of slavery.
From all the older sections, but especially from the south and its colonies in Kentucky and Tennessee, a flood of colonists was spreading along the waters of the west. In the Mississippi Valley the forests were falling before the blows of the pioneers, cities were developing where clearings had just let in the light of day, and new commonwealths were seeking outlets for their surplus and rising to industrial and political power. It is this vast development of the internal resources of the United States, the "Rise of the New West," that gives the tone to the period. "The peace," wrote Webster in later years, "brought about an entirely new and a most interesting state of things; it opened to us other prospects and suggested other duties. We ourselves were changed, and the whole world was changed. . . . Other nations would produce for themselves, and carry for themselves, and manufacture for themselves, to the full extent of their abilities. The crops of our plains would no longer sustain European armies, nor our ships longer supply those whom war had rendered unable to supply themselves. It was obvious, that, under these circumstances, the country would begin to survey itself, and to estimate its own capacity of improvement." [Footnote: Webster, Writings (National ed.), VI., 28.]
These very forces of economic transformation were soon followed by a distinct reaction against the spirit of nationalism and consolidation which had flamed out at the close of the War of 1812. This was shown, not only in protests against the loose-construction tendencies of Congress, and in denunciations of the decisions of the great chief-justice, but more significantly in the tendency of the separate geographical divisions of the country to follow their own interests and to make combinations with one another on this basis.
From one point of view the United States, even in this day of its youth, was more like an empire than a nation. Sectionalism had been fundamental in American history before the period which we have reached. The vast physiographic provinces of the country formed the basis for the development of natural economic and social areas, comparable in their size, industrial resources, and spirit, to nations of the Old World. In our period these sections underwent striking transformations, and engaged, under new conditions, in the old struggle for power. Their leaders, changing their attitude towards public questions as the economic conditions of their sections changed, were obliged not only to adjust themselves to the interests of the sections which they represented, but also, if they would achieve a national career, to make effective combinations with other sections. [Footnote: Turner. "Problems of American History," in Congress of Arts and Sciences, St. Louis, II.]
This gives the clew to the decade. Underneath the superficial calm of the "Era of Good Feeling," and in contradiction to the apparent absorption of all parties into one, there were arising new issues, new party formations, and some of the most profound changes in the history of American evolution.
The men of the time were not unaware of these tendencies. Writing in 1823, Henry Clay declared that it was a just principle to inquire what great interests belong to each section of our country, and to promote those interests, as far as practicable, consistently with the Constitution, having always an eye to the welfare of the whole. "Assuming this principle," said he, "does any one doubt that if New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and the Western States constituted an independent nation, it would immediately protect the important interests in question? And is it not to be feared that, if protection is not to be found for vital interests, from the existing systems, in great parts of the confederacy, those parts will ultimately seek to establish a system that will afford the requisite protection?" [Footnote: Clay, Works, IV., 81, 82; Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., 1 Sess., II., 1997, 2423.]
While the most prominent western statesman thus expressed his conviction that national affairs were to be conducted through combinations between sections on the basis of peculiar interests, Calhoun, at first a nationalist, later the leader of the south, changed his policy to a similar system of adjustments between the rival sections. John Quincy Adams, in 1819, said of Calhoun: "he is above all sectional and factious prejudices more than any other statesman of this union with whom I have ever acted." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 361, VI., 75.] But Calhoun, by the close of the decade, was not only complaining that the protective policy of certain sections set a dangerous example "of separate representation, and association of great Geographical interests to promote their prosperity at the expense of other interests," but he was also convinced that a great defect in our system was that the separate geographical interests were not sufficiently guarded. [Footnote: Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1899, II., 250.] Speaking, in 1831, of the three great interests of the nation—the north, the south, and the west—he declared that they had been struggling in a fierce war with one another, and that the period was approaching which was to determine whether they could be reconciled or not so as to perpetuate the Union. [Footnote: Am. Hist. Rev., VI., 742; cf. J.Q. Adams, in Richardson, Messages and Papers. II., 297; J. Taylor, New Views, 261; [Turnbull]. The Crisis, No. 2.]
We see, therefore, that, in the minds of some of the most enlightened statesmen of this decade, American politics were essentially a struggle for power between rival sections. Even those of most enlarged national sympathies and purposes accepted the fact of sectional rivalries and combinations as fundamental in their policies. To understand the period, we must begin with a survey of the separate sections in the decade from 1820 to 1830, and determine what were the main interests shown in each and impressed upon the leaders who represented them. For the purposes of such a survey, the conventional division into New England, middle region, south, and west may be adopted. It is true that within each of these sections there were areas which were so different as to constitute almost independent divisions, and which had close affiliations with other sections. Nevertheless, the conventional grouping will reveal fundamental and contrasted interests and types of life between the various sections. In the rivalries of their leaders these sectional differences found political expression. By first presenting a narrative of forces in the separate sections, the narrative of events in the nation will be better understood.
A sectional survey, however, cannot fully exhibit one profound change, not easy to depict except by its results. This was the formation of the self-conscious American democracy, strongest in the west and middle region, but running across all sections and tending to divide the people on the lines of social classes. This democracy came to its own when Andrew Jackson triumphed over the old order of things and rudely threw open the sanctuary of federal government to the populace.
By geographical position, the land of the Puritans was devoted to provincialism. While other sections merged into one another and even had a west in their own midst, New England was obliged to cross populous states in order to reach the regions into which national life was expanding; and her sons who migrated found themselves under conditions that weakened their old affiliations and linked their fortunes with the section which they entered. The ocean had dominated New England's interests and connected her with the Old World; the fisheries and carrying—trade had engrossed her attention until the embargo and the War of 1812 gave importance to her manufactures. In spirit, also, New England was a section apart, The impress of Puritanism was still strong upon her, and the unity of her moral life was exceptional. Moreover, up to the beginning of the decade with which we have to deal, New England had a population of almost unmixed English origin, contrasting sharply, in this respect, with the other sections. [Footnote: For the characteristics of New England in colonial times, see Tyler, England in America, chaps, xviii., xix.; Andrews, Colonial Self-Government, chaps, xviii., xix.; Greene, Provincial America, chaps, xii., xiii., xvi.-xviii.; Bassett, Federalist System, chaps, xi., xiii. (Am. Nation, IV., V., VI., XI.)].
With these peculiarities, New England often played an important sectional role, not the least effective instance of which had been her independent attitude in the War of 1812. [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. ix.] By 1820, not only were profound economic and social changes affecting the section, but its relative importance as a factor in our political life was declining. [Footnote: Adams, United States, IX., chaps, iv., vii.] The trans- Allegheny states, which in 1790 reported only a little over one hundred thousand souls, at a time when New England's population was over one million, had in 1820 reached a population of nearly two millions and a quarter, while New England had not much over a million and a half. Ten years later, the latter section had less than two millions, while the western states beyond the Alleghenies had over three millions and a half, and the people northwest of the Ohio River alone numbered nearly a million and a half. In 1820 the total population of New England was about equal to the combined population of New York and New Jersey; but its increase between 1820 and 1830 was hardly three hundred thousand, not much over half that of New York, and less than the gain of Ohio. If Maine, the growing state of the group, be excluded, the increase of the whole section was less than that of the frontier state of Indiana. "Our New England prosperity and importance are passing away," wrote Webster at the beginning of the period. [Footnote: McMaster, Webster, 90.]
Were it not that New England was passing through a series of revolutionary economic changes, not fully appreciated at that time, doubtless the percentage of her growth would have been even more unfavorable. As it was, the rise of new manufactures helped to save her from becoming an entirely stationary section. In the course of the preceding two decades, New England's shipping industry had reached an extraordinary height, by reason of her control of the neutral trade during the European wars. The close of that period saw an apparent decline in her relative maritime power in the Union, but the shipping and commercial interests were still strong. New England possessed half the vessels owned in the United States and over half the seamen. Massachusetts alone had a quarter of the ships of the nation and over a third of the sailors. [Footnote: Pitkin, Statistical View (ed. of 1835), 350.] Of the exports of the United States in 1820, the statistics gave to New England about twenty per cent., nine-tenths of which were from Massachusetts. [Footnote: Shaler, United States, I., chap, x.; MacGregor, Commercial Statistics of America, 41, 58, 63, 72, 126, 133.] This is rather an under-estimate of the share of New England, because a portion of the commerce fitted out by her capital and her ships sought the harbor of New York.
Great as was New England's interest in the commercial policy of the United States, the manufactures of the section rose to such importance in the course of this decade that the policy of the section was divided. The statistics of the manufactures of the United States at the beginning and at the end of the period were so defective that little dependence can be placed upon them for details. But the figures for New England were more complete than for the other regions; the product of her cotton mills increased in value from two and one-half million dollars in 1820 to over fifteen and one-half millions in 1831; and her woolen products rose from less than a million dollars to over eleven million dollars. In Massachusetts alone, in the same years, the increase in cottons was from about seven hundred thousand dollars to over seven million seven hundred thousand dollars; and in woolens, from less than three hundred thousand dollars to over seven million three hundred thousand dollars. [Footnote: See Secretary of Treasury, Report, 1854-1855, PP-, 87-92; "Treasury Report," in House Exec. Docs., 22 Cong., i Sess., I., No. 308.]
In brief, the period witnessed the transfer of the industrial center of gravity from the harbors to the water-falls, from commerce and navigation to manufactures. Besides the textile mills of Rhode Island and Connecticut, the Merrimac mills grew rapidly around Lowell, Massachusetts; the water-powers of New Hampshire became the sites of factory towns, and the industrial revolution which, in the time of the embargo, began to transfer industries from the household to the factory, was rapidly carried on. A labor class began to develop, farmers moved into towns, the daughters worked in the mills. It was not long before Irish immigrants found their way to the section and replaced the natives in the mills. The old social and racial unity began to break down. [Footnote: Woollen, "Labor Troubles between 1834 and 1837," in Yale Review, I., 87; Martineau, Society in America, II., 227, 243, 246; Chevalier, Society, Manners, and Politics, 137; Addison, Lucy Larcom, 6; Clay, Works, V., 467.]
Agriculture still occupied the larger number of New England people, but it was relatively a declining interest. As early as 1794, Tench Coxe had characterized New England as a completely settled region, with the exception of Maine and Vermont. The generation that followed saw an expansion of agricultural population until the best valley lands were taken and the hill-sides were occupied by struggling farmers. By 1830 New England was importing corn and flour in large quantities from the other sections. The raising of cattle and sheep increased as grain cultivation declined. The back-country of Maine particularly was being occupied for cattle farms, and in Vermont and the Berkshires there was, towards the close of the decade, a marked tendency to combine the small farms into sheep pastures. Thus, in the tariff agitation of the latter part of the decade, these two areas of western New England showed a decided sympathy with the interests of the wool-growers of the country at large. This tendency also fostered emigration from New England, since it diminished the number of small farms. By the sale of their lands to their wealthier neighbors, the New England farmers were able to go west with money to invest. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XLIX., 68; Smith and Rann, Rutland County [Vt.], 166; Goodhue, Hist. of Shoreham [Vt.], 59; Nat. Assoc. of Wool Manufacturers, Bulletin, XXX., 47, 242, 261.]
In the outlying parts, like the back-country of Vermont, farmers still lived under primitive industrial conditions, supporting the family largely from the products of the farm, weaving and spinning under the conditions of household industry that had characterized the colonial period, slaughtering their cattle and hogs, and packing their cheese. When the cold weather set in, caravans of Vermont farmers passed, by sledges, to the commercial centers of New England. [Footnote: Heaton, Story of Vermont, chap. vi.] But the conditions of life were hard for the back-country farmer, and the time was rapidly approaching when the attractions of the western prairies would cause a great exodus from these regions.
While New England underwent the economic changes that have been mentioned, a political revolution was also in progress. The old Federalist party and Federalist ideas gradually gave way. Federalism found its most complete expression in Connecticut, "the land of steady habits," where "Innovation" had always been frowned upon by a governing class in which the Congregational clergy were powerful. Permanence in office and the influence of the clergy were prominent characteristics of the Connecticut government. [Footnote: Dwight, Travels, I., 262, 263, 291; Welling, "Conn. Federalism," in N. Y. Hist. Soc., Address, 1890, pp. 39-41.] The ceremonies of the counting of votes for governor indicated the position of the dominant classes in this society. This solemnity was performed in the church. "After the Representatives," wrote Dwight, the president of Yale College, "walk the Preacher of the Day, and the Preacher of the succeeding year: and a numerous body of the Clergy, usually more than one hundred, close the procession." He notes that there were several thousand spectators from all over the state, who were perfectly decorous, not even engaging in noisy conversation, and that a public dinner was regularly given by the state to the clergy who were present at the election. [Footnote: Dwight, Travels, I., 267.]
After the War of 1812, this dominance of the Congregational clergy throughout the section was attacked by a combination of religious and political forces. [Footnote: Schouler, United States, II., 282, 511, III., 52; Adams, United States, IX., 133.] There had been a steady growth of denominations like the Baptists and Methodists in New England. As a rule, these were located in the remoter and newer communities, and, where they were strongest, there was certain to be a considerable democratic influence. Not only did these denominations tend to unite against the Federalists and the Congregationalists, but they found useful allies in the members of the old and influential Episcopal church, who had with them a common grievance because of the relations between the state and Congregationalism. Although the original support of the Congregational clergy by public taxation had been modified by successive acts of legislation in most of these states, so that persons not of that church might make their legal contributions for the support of their own clergy, [Footnote: Fearon, Sketches of America, 114.] yet this had been achieved only recently and but incompletely.
We find, therefore, that the alliance of Episcopalians and Dissenters against the dominant clergy and the Federalists was the key to internal politics at the opening of our period. "The old political distinctions," wrote the editor of the Vermont Journal, "seem to have given place to religious ones." But the religious contentions were so closely interwoven with the struggle of New England's democracy to throw off the control of the established classes, that the contest was in reality rather more political and social than religious. By her constitutional convention of 1818, Connecticut practically disestablished the Congregational church and did away with the old manner of choosing assistants. [Footnote: Baldwin, "The Three Constitutions of Conn.," in New Haven Colony Hist. Soc., Papers, V., 210-214.] In the election of 1820 the Republican candidate for governor was elected by a decisive vote, and all of Connecticut's representation in the lower house of Congress was Republican, [Footnote: Niles' Register, XVIII., 128.] although, in 1816, the Federalist candidate had been chosen by a small majority. [Footnote: Adams, United States, IX., 133.] New Hampshire's toleration act was passed in 1819, but she had achieved her revolution as early as 1816, when a union of the anti- Congregational denominations with the Republicans destroyed the ascendancy of the Federalists and tried to break that party's control of the educational center at Dartmouth College. [Footnote: P. B. Sanborn, New Hampshire, 251 et seq.; Barstow, New Hampshire, chaps, xi., xii.; Plumer, William Plumer, 437-460.]
The contest was not so clearly marked in Massachusetts as in the other states, for the old centers of Congregational power, notably Harvard College, had already begun to feel the liberalizing influence of the Unitarian movement. Congregationalism in Massachusetts divided into warring camps [Footnote: Walker, Cong. Churches in the U.S., 303-308.] and was not in a position to exercise the political power it had shown in other states of New England. The discussion in that state between the Unitarian and orthodox wings of the Congregational churches tended, on the whole, to moderate the extreme views of each, as well as to prevent their united domination. In her constitutional convention of 1820, Massachusetts refused to do away with the advantage which the Congregational church had in the matter of public support, and it was not until 1833 that the other denominations secured the complete separation of church and state. The moderate attitude of the Federalists of the state lengthened their tenure of power. Governor Brooks, elected by the Federalists in 1817, was a friend of Monroe, and a moderate who often took Republicans for his counselors, a genuine representative of what has been aptly termed the "Indian summer of Federalism in Massachusetts."
The Republican party controlled the other states of the section, but there was in New England, as a whole, a gradual decline and absorption, rather than a destruction, of the Federalist party, while, at the same time, marked internal political differences constituted a basis for subsequent political conflicts. Just before he took his seat in Congress in 1823, Webster lamented to Judge Story that New England did not get out of the "dirty squabble of local politics, and assert her proper character and consequence." "We are disgraced," he said, "beyond help or hope by these things. There is a Federal interest, a Democratic interest, a bankrupt interest, an orthodox interest, and a middling interest; but I see no national interest, nor any national feeling in the whole matter."[Footnote: McMaster, Webster, 99.]
In general, northern New England—Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont- -showed a distinct tendency towards Democracy; in southern New England the fortifications of Federalism and Congregational power lay in a wide belt along the Connecticut River, while along the sea- coast and in the Berkshire region the Democratic forces showed strength.
From the outlying rural forces, where Democracy was strong, the settlement of New-Englanders in the middle west was to come. To Timothy Dwight, the president of Yale, who voiced the extreme conservatism of Federal New England, the pioneers seemed unable to live in regular society. "They are impatient of the restraints of law, religion, and morality; grumble about the taxes, by which Rulers, Ministers, and School-masters, are supported; and complain incessantly, as well as bitterly, of the extortions of mechanics, farmers, merchants, and physicians; to whom they are always indebted. At the same time, they are usually possessed, in their own view, of uncommon wisdom; understand medical science, politics, and religion, better than those, who have studied them through life." These restless men, with nothing to lose, who were delighted with innovation, were, in his judgment, of the type that had ruined Greece and Rome. "In mercy, therefore," exclaimed Dwight, "to the sober, industrious, and well-disposed inhabitants, Providence has opened in the vast western wilderness a retreat, sufficiently alluring to draw them away from the land of their nativity. We have many troubles even now; but we should have many more, if this body of foresters had remained at home." [Footnote: Dwight, Travels, II., 458-463.]
Perhaps the most striking feature of New England life was its organization into communities. What impressed the traveler from other sections or from the Old World was partly the small farms, divided into petty fields by stone fences, but, above all, "the clustering of habitations in villages instead of dispersing them at intervals of a mile over the country." The spires of the white churches of separate hamlets dotted the landscape. Simple comfort and thrift were characteristic of the region. "Here," wrote a Virginia planter, traveling in New England in the early thirties, "is not apparent a hundredth part of the abject squalid poverty that our State presents." [Footnote: "Minor's Journal," in Atlantic Monthly, XXVI., 333.]
The morale of New England was distinctive. Puritanism had founded the section, and two centuries of Calvinistic discipline had molded the New England conscience. That serious self-consciousness, that self-scrutiny, almost morbid at times, by which the Puritan tried to solve the problem of his personal salvation, to determine whether he was of the elect, [Footnote: Wendell, Cotton Mather, 6.] was accompanied by an almost equal anxiety concerning the conduct of his neighbors. The community life of New England emphasized this trait.
Tudor, who was not friendly to the ideals of the "land of steady habits," criticized "the narrowing influence of local policy," and lamented the "sort of habitual, pervading police, made up of Calvinistic inquisition and village scrutiny" in Connecticut. [Footnote: Tudor, Letters on the Eastern States (ed. of 1821), 60.] Not to be one's brother's keeper and not to assent to the dictates of community sentiment were indications of moral laxity. This long training in theological inquiry, this continued emphasis upon conduct, and this use of community sentiment as a means of enforcing certain moral and political ideals, led the New-Englander to war with opposing conceptions wherever he went.
A test of the ideals of New England is found in the attitude of those who spread into new regions. The migrating Yankee was a reformer. A considerable proportion of the New-Englanders who left the section were "come-outers" in religion as in politics; many of the Vermonters and the pioneers who went west were radicals. But the majority of these dissenters from the established order carried with them a body of ideas regarding conduct and a way of looking at the world that were deeply influenced by their old Puritan training. If, indeed, they revolted from the older type of Calvinism in the freer air of a new country, they were, by this sudden release from restraint, likely to develop "isms" of their own, which revealed the strong underlying forces of religious thinking. Lacking the restraining influence of the old Congregational system, some of them contented themselves with placing greater emphasis upon emotional religion and eagerly embraced membership in churches like the Baptist or Methodist, or accepted fellowship with Presbyterians and welcomed the revival spirit of the western churches.
Others used their freedom to proclaim a new order of things in the religious world. Most noteworthy was Mormonism, which was founded by a migrating New England family and was announced and reached its first success among the New-Englanders of New York and Ohio. Antimasonry and spiritualism flourished in the Greater New England in which these emancipated Puritans settled. Wherever the New- Englander went he was a leader in reform, in temperance crusades, in abolition of slavery, in Bible societies, in home missions, in the evangelization of the west, in the promotion of schools, and in the establishment of sectarian colleges.
Perhaps the most significant elements in the disintegration of the old Congregationalism in New England itself, however, were furnished by the Unitarians and the Universalists. For nearly a generation the liberal movement in religion had been progressing. The Unitarian revolt, of which Channing was the most important leader, laid its emphasis upon conduct rather than upon a plan of salvation by atonement. In place of original sin and total depravity, it came more and more to put stress upon the fatherhood of God and the dignity of man. The new optimism of this faith was carried in still another direction by the Universalist movement, with its gospel of universal salvation.
The strength of the Unitarian movement was confined to a limited area about Boston, but within its own sphere of influence it contested successfully with the old Congregational power, captured Harvard College, and caught the imaginations of large numbers of the best educated and prosperous classes of the community. Attempting to adjust themselves between the old order of things on the one side, and the new forces of evangelism and liberalism on the other, another great body of Congregationalists found a middle ground in a movement of modified Calvinism, which sustained the life of Congregationalism in large areas of New England. By these movements of conflict and readjustment, whatever of unity the older Congregational faith had possessed was gradually broken down and a renaissance of religious and moral ideas was ushered in.
This change was soon to find expression in a new literary movement in New England, a movement in which poetry and prose were to take on a cheerful optimism, a joy in life, and an idealism. This new literature reflected the influence of the Unitarian movement, the influence of European romantic literature, and the influence of German philosophy. Before long the Transcendentalists proclaimed the new idealism that was showing itself about Boston. [Footnote: Wendell, Literary Hist. of America, book V., chaps. iv., v.] Bryant, Longfellow, Whittier, Hawthorne, and Emerson were all prophesied in the forces of intellectual change that now spread over the section.
Even New England's statesmen were deeply influenced by the literary spirit. Daniel Webster, although the son of a New Hampshire pioneer whose log cabin was on the edge of the vast forest that stretched north to Canada, had won an education at the "little college" at Dartmouth; and, after his removal to Boston, he captivated New England by his noble commemorative orations and enriched his arguments before the courts by the splendor of his style. He united the strong, passionate nature of his backwoods father with a mind brought under the influences of the cultured society of Boston. John Quincy Adams, also, had been professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard, and he found in the classics a solace when the political world grew dark around him. Edward Everett represented even more clearly the union of the man of letters with the political leader. If we except the brilliant but erratic John Randolph, of Roanoke, no statesman from other sections showed this impress of literature.
While these forces were developing, a liberalizing of the colleges, and particularly of Harvard, by the introduction of new courses in literature and science, was in progress. Reform movements, designed to give fuller expression to common-school public education, began, and already in 1821 Boston had established the first English high- school, precursor of a movement of profound importance in the uplifting of the masses. Lyceums and special schools for the laborers flourished in the new centers of manufacturing. The smaller educational centers, like Dartmouth, Bowdoin, Amherst, and Williams, where the farmer boys of New England worked their way through college, sent out each year men to other sections to become leaders at the bar, in the pulpit, in the press, and in the newer colleges. The careers of Amos Kendall, Prentiss, and others illustrate these tendencies. In short, New England was training herself to be the school-mistress of the nation. Her abiding power was to lie in the influence which she exerted in letters, in education, and in reform. She was to find a new life and a larger sphere of activity in the wide-spread western communities which were already invaded by her sons. In furnishing men of talent in these fields she was to have an influence out of all relation to her population.[Footnote: Century Mag., XLVII., 43.]
The middle states formed a zone of transition between the east and the west, the north and the south [Footnote: For earlier discussions of the middle colonies and states, see Tyler, ENGLAND IN AMERICA, chap, xvii.; Andrews, COLONIAL SELF-GOVERNMENT, chaps, v., vii., xviii., xix.; Greene, PROVINCIAL AMERICA, chaps. xvi.-xviii. (AM. NATION, IV., V., VI.)]. Geographically, they lay on the line of the natural routes between the Atlantic on the one side, and the Ohio and the Great Lakes on the other. [Footnote: Gallatin, WRITINGS, III., 49; Clinton, in LAWS OF THE STATE OF N.Y. IN RELATION TO ERIE AND CHAMPLAIN CANALS, I., 140.] The waters of the Susquehanna, rising near the lake region of central New York, flowed to Chesapeake Bay, which opened into the Atlantic far down Virginia's coast-line. The Great Valley ran through eastern Pennsylvania, across Maryland, and, in the form of the Shenandoah Valley, made a natural highway to the interior of North Carolina. New York City and Philadelphia saw in an intimate connection with the rising west the pledge of their prosperity; and Baltimore, which was both a metropolis of the south and of the middle region, extended her trade north to central New York, west to the Ohio, and south into Virginia, and, like her rivals, sent her fleets to garner the commercial harvest of the sea. In the composition of its population, also, the middle region was a land of transitions between sections, and a prototype of the modern United States, composite in its nationality. In New York an influential Dutch element still remained; the New England settlers had colonized the western half of the state and about equaled the native population. In Pennsylvania, Germans and Scotch-Irishmen had settled in such numbers in the course of the eighteenth century that, by the time of the Revolution, her population was almost evenly divided between these stocks and the English. [Footnote: See Lincoln, Revolutionary Movement in Pa., in University of Pa., Publications, I., 24, 35.] There was also a larger proportion of recent immigrants than in any other state, for by 1830 Pennsylvania had one unnaturalized alien to every fifty inhabitants.
Following the Great Valley in the middle of the same century, the Scotch-Irish and German settlers had poured into the up-country of the south, so that these interior counties of Virginia and the Carolinas were like a peninsula thrust down from Pennsylvania into the south, with economic, racial, social, and religious connections which made an intimate bond between the two sections. A multitude of religious sects flourished in tolerant Pennsylvania, and even the system of local government was a combination of the New England town and the southern county.
This region, therefore, was essentially a mediating, transitional zone, including in its midst an outlying New England and a west, and lacking the essential traits of a separate section. It was fundamentally national in its physiography, its composition, and its ideals—a fighting-ground for political issues which found their leaders in the other sections.
Compared with New England, the middle region was a rapidly growing section. The population of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware combined was about two and three-quarter millions in 1820, and three and two-third millions in 1830. By that date New York alone balanced all New England in the number of its people. But it was its western half that permitted this growth of the middle section. During the decade 1820-1830, New York west of Oneida Lake increased in population by a percentage more than twice as great, and by an amount almost as great, as that of the populous eastern half of the state. By the end of the decade, about one-third of Pennsylvania's population was found west of her central counties. At that time New York and Pennsylvania became the most populous states in the Union. Virginia and Massachusetts, which in 1790 held the lead, had now fallen to third and eighth place respectively. New Jersey, meanwhile, lagged far behind, and Delaware's rate of increase was only five and one-half per cent. In 1829 a member of the Virginia constitutional convention asked: "Do gentlemen really believe, that it is owing to any diversity in the principles of the State Governments of the two states, that New York has advanced to be the first state in the Union, and that Virginia, from being the first, is now the third, in wealth and population? Virginia ceded away her Kentucky, to form a new state; and New York has retained her Genessee—there lies the whole secret." [Footnote: Va. Constitutional Convention, Debates (1829-1830), 405.]
In the closing years of the eighteenth century and the first decade of the nineteenth the New York lands beyond the sources of the Mohawk had been taken up by a colonization characteristically western. New England farmers swarmed into the region, hard on the heels of the retreating Indians. Scarcely more than a decade before 1820 western New York presented typically frontier conditions. The settlers felled and burned the forest, built little towns, and erected mills, and now, with a surplus of agricultural products, they were suffering from the lack of a market and were demanding transportation facilities. Some of their lumber and flour found its way by the lakes and the St. Lawrence to Montreal, a portion went by rafts down the Allegheny to the waters of the Ohio, and some descended the upper tributaries of the Susquehanna and found an outlet in Baltimore or Philadelphia; but these routes were unreliable and expensive, and by one of them trade was diverted from the United States to Canada. There was a growing demand for canals that should give economic unity to New York and turn the tide of her interior commerce along the Mohawk and Lake Champlain into the waters of the Hudson and so to the harbor of New York City. The Erie and the Champlain canals were the outcome of this demand.
It is the glory of De Witt Clinton that he saw the economic revolution which the Erie Canal would work, and that he was able to present clearly and effectively the reasons which made the undertaking practicable and the financial plan which made it possible. He persuaded the legislature by the vision of a greater Hudson River, not only reaching to the western confines of the state, but even, by its connection with Lake Erie, stretching through two thousand miles of navigable lakes and rivers to the very heart of the interior of the United States. To him the Erie Canal was a political as well as an economic undertaking. "As a bond of union between the Atlantic and western states," he declared, "it may prevent the dismemberment of the American empire. As an organ of communication between the Hudson, the Mississippi, the St. Lawrence, the great lakes of the north and west, and their tributary rivers, it will create the greatest inland trade ever witnessed. The most fertile and extensive regions of America will avail themselves of its facilities for a market. All their surplus productions, whether of the soil, the forest, the mines, or the water, their fabrics of art and their supplies of foreign commodities, will concentrate in the city of New-York, for transportation abroad or consumption at home. Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, trade, navigation, and the arts, will receive a correspondent encouragement. That city will, in the course of time become the granary of the world, the emporium of commerce, the seat of manufactures, the focus of great moneyed operations, and the concentrating point of vast, disposable, and accumulating capitals, which will stimulate, enliven, extend, and reward the exertions of human labor and ingenuity, in all their processes and exhibitions. And before the revolution of a century, the whole island of Manhattan, covered with habitations and replenished with a dense population, will constitute one vast city." [Footnote: View of the Grand Canal (N. Y., 1825), 20.]
Sanguine as were Clinton's expectations, the event more than justified his confidence. By 1825 the great canal system, reaching by way of Lake Champlain to the St. Lawrence, and by way of the Mohawk and the lakes of central New York to Lake Erie, was opened for traffic throughout its whole length. The decrease in transportation charges brought prosperity and a tide of population into western New York; villages sprang up along the whole line of the canal; the water-power was utilized for manufactures; land values in the western part of the state doubled and in many cases quadrupled; farm produce more than doubled in value. Buffalo and Rochester became cities. [Footnote: J. Winden, Influence of the Erie Canal (MS. Thesis, University of Wisconsin); U. S. Census of 1900, Population, I., 430, 432; Callender, in Quarterly Journal of Economics, XVII., 22; Hulbert, Historic Highways, XIV., chap. v.] The raw products of the disappearing forests of western New York— lumber, staves, pot and pearl ashes, etc., and the growing surplus of agricultural products, began to flow in increasing volume down this greater Hudson River to New York City. The farther west was also turning its streams of commerce into this channel. The tolls of the canal system were over half a million dollars immediately upon its completion; for 1830 they were over a million dollars. [Footnote: McMaster, United States, V., 135; Canal Commissioners of N. Y., Report (January 17, 1833), App. A.] By 1833 the annual value of the products sent by way of the Erie and Champlain canals was estimated at thirteen million dollars. [Footnote: Pitkin, Statistical View (ed. of 1835), 577.] At the close of this decade the Ohio system of canals, inspired by the success of the Erie Canal, had rendered a large area of that state tributary to New York. The Great Lake navigation grew steadily, the Western Reserve increased its population, and the harbor of Cleveland became a center of trade.
The effect of all this upon New York City was revolutionary. Its population increased from 123,000 in 1820 to 202,000 in 1830. Its real and personal estate rose in value from about seventy million dollars in 1820 to about one hundred and twenty-five million dollars in 1830. [Footnote: U. S. Census of 1900, Population, I., 432; MacGregor, Commercial Statistics of America, 145.] The most significant result of the canal was the development of the commerce of New York City, which rose from a market town for the Hudson River to be the metropolis of the north. The value of the imports of New York state in 1821 was twenty-four million dollars; in 1825, the year of the completion of the canal, it was fifty million dollars. This was an exceptional year, however, and in 1830 the value of the imports was thirty-six million dollars. In 1821 New York had thirty- eight per cent. of the total value of imports into the United States; in 1825, over fifty per cent.; and this proportion she maintained during our period. In the exports of domestic origin, New York was surpassed in 1819 by Louisiana, and in 1820 by South Carolina, but thereafter the state took and held the lead. [Footnote: Compiled from Pitkin, Statistical View.] In 1823 the amount of flour sent from the western portion of New York by the Erie Canal equaled the whole amount which reached New Orleans from the Mississippi Valley in that year. [Footnote: Based on statistics in Report on Internal Commerce, 1887, p. 196; Canal Commissioners of N. Y., Annual Report (February 20, 1824), 33.] The state of New York had by a stroke achieved economic unity, and its metropolis at once became the leading city of the country.
Philadelphia lost power as New York City gained it. Though the counties tributary to Philadelphia constituted the old center of population and political power, the significant fact of growth in Pennsylvania was the increasing importance of Pittsburgh at the gateway to the Ohio Valley. In the Great Valley beyond the Blue Ridge lived the descendants of those early Germans and Scotch- Irishmen who early occupied the broad and level fields of this fertile zone, the granary of Pennsylvania. Beyond this rock-walled valley lay the mountains in the west and north of the state, their little valleys occupied by farmers, but already giving promise of the rich yield of iron and coal on which the future greatness of the state was to rest. The anthracite mines of the northeastern corner of the state, which have given to their later possessors such influence over the industries of the country, were just coming into use. The iron ores of the middle mountain counties found their way to the forges at Pittsburgh. Already the bituminous coals of the western counties were serving to generate steam-power for the mills upon the upper waters of the Ohio, but, as yet, the iron manufacturers of the state depended on the abundant forests for the production of coke for smelting.
The problem of transportation pressed hard upon Pennsylvania from the beginning. While Philadelphia was obliged to contest with Baltimore the possession of the eastern half of the state, she saw the productions of the western counties descending the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans. Even the trade in manufactured goods which she had formerly sent to the western rivers was now menaced from two quarters: the development of steam navigation on the Mississippi enabled New Orleans to compete for this trade; and the construction of the Erie Canal, with the projected system of tributary canals in Ohio, made it plain to Pennsylvania that New York was about to wrest from her the markets of the west. It had taken thirty days and cost five dollars a hundred pounds to transport goods from Philadelphia to Columbus, Ohio; the same articles could be brought in twenty days from New York, by the Erie Canal, at a cost of two dollars and a half a hundred. [Footnote: McMaster, United States, V., 136.] To Pennsylvania the control of the western market, always an important interest, had led in 1800 to the construction of a system of turnpikes to connect Philadelphia with Pittsburgh over the mountains, which developed a great wagon trade. But the days of this wagon trade were now numbered, for the National Road, joining the Ohio and the Potomac and passing south of Pittsburgh, diverted a large share of this overland trade to Baltimore. The superior safety, rapidity, and cheapness of canal communication showed Pennsylvania that she must adjust her transportation to the new conditions.
The way was prepared by the experience of corporations attempting to reach the coal-fields of northeastern Pennsylvania. In 1820 practically the whole output from the anthracite fields came from the Lehigh Valley and amounted to three hundred and sixty-five tons- -an equivalent of one for each day of the year. By the end of the decade the output of the anthracite fields was about one hundred and seventy-five thousand tons, and the retail price was reduced to six dollars and a half a ton. Navigation had been secured by the coal companies between the mines and Philadelphia by the Schuylkill; the Union Canal connected the Schuylkill and Susquehanna, and New York City was supplied by the Delaware Canal. [Footnote: McCulloch, Commercial Dictionary (ed. of 1852), I., 366; U.S. Census of 1880, IV.; Worthington, Finances of Pa.]
This activity in Pennsylvania in the improvement of navigation so far had been the work of corporations; but now, with the growth of population in the west and the completion of the Erie Canal, a popular demand arose for state construction of inland waterways. In 1825 the legislature passed an act under which an extensive system of canals was begun, to connect Philadelphia with Pittsburgh, the Allegheny River with Lake Erie, and Philadelphia with the central counties of New York at the head of the Susquehanna. [Footnote: See chap. xvii., below.] Obstacles speedily developed in the jealousies of the various sections of the state. The farmers of the Great Valley, whose interests lay in the development of a communication with Baltimore, were not enthusiastic; the southern counties of the state, along the line of the turnpikes, found their interests threatened; and the citizens of the northwestern counties were unwilling to postpone their demands for an outlet while the trunk- line was building. These jealousies furnish issues for the politics of the state during the rest of the decade. [Footnote: McCarthy, 'Antimasonic Party,' in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1902, I., 427.]
Nevertheless, Pennsylvania was growing rich through the development of her agriculture and her manufactures. The iron industry of the state was the largest in the Union. Although the industry was only in its infancy, Pittsburgh was already producing or receiving a large part of the pig-iron that was produced in Pennsylvania. The figures of the census of 1820 give to the middle states over forty per cent, of the product of pig-iron and castings and wrought iron in the United States, the value of the latter article for Pennsylvania being one million one hundred and fifty-six thousand dollars as against four hundred and seventy-two thousand dollars for New York. [Footnote: Secretary of Treasury, 'Report,' 1854-1855, p. 90.] The influence of this industry upon Pennsylvania politics became apparent in the discussions over the protective tariff during the decade.
Together, New York and Pennsylvania constituted a region dominated by interest in the production of grain and the manufacture of iron. Vast as was the commerce that entered the port of New York, the capital and shipping for the port were furnished in part by New England, and the real interest of the section was bound up with the developing resources of the interior of the nation.
It must not be forgotten that, in these years of entrance upon its industrial career, the middle region was also the scene of intellectual movements of importance. These were the days when the Knickerbocker school in New York brought independence and reputation to American literature, when Irving, although abroad, worked the rich mine of Hudson River traditions, and Cooper utilized his early experience in the frontier around Lake Otsego to write his "Leatherstocking Tales." Movements for social amelioration abounded. The lighting of New York City and Philadelphia by gas diminished crime. Reform movements with regard to imprisonment for debt and the improvement of the condition of prisons, temperance movements, improvements in the administration of the public schools, and the increase in the number of high-schools were all indicative of the fact that this new democracy was not unresponsive to ideals. Among the New England element of western New York, as has already been pointed out, there arose some of the most interesting religious and political movements of the period, such as Mormonism, Spiritualism, and Antimasonry. The Presbyterians and Baptists found a sympathetic constituency in the new regions. It is easy to see that the traits of these western counties of the middle states were such that idealistic political movements, as antislavery, would find in them effective support.
Obviously, the political traits of this section would have a significance proportionate to the power of its population and resources. On the whole, the middle region was the most democratic section of the seaboard, but it was managed by the politicians under a system of political bargaining for the spoils of office. The old ascendancy which the great families exercised over New York politics [Footnote: Becker, "Nominations in Colonial New York" (Am. Hist. Rev., VI., 261).] was on the wane. The rise of the western half of the state diminished the influence of the successors to the patroons; but, nevertheless, family power continued to make itself felt, and a group of new men arose, around whom factions formed and dissolved in a kaleidoscope of political change.
During the colonial period, executive patronage and land grants had been used to promote the interests of the men in power, and the reaction against executive corruption resulted in a provision in New York's constitution of 1777 whereby the executive was limited by the Council of Appointment. The state was divided into four districts, and one senator from each was selected by the House of Representatives to serve in this council. [Footnote: Fish, Civil Service, 87.] By 1821 the council appointed 8287 military officers and 6663 civil officers. Nearly all the state officers, all the mayors, militia officers, and justices of the peace fell under its control.[Footnote: Hammond, Political Parties in N.Y., II., 65.] This concentration of the appointive power in the hands of the dominant faction brought the system of rotation in office, and the doctrine that to the victors belong the spoils of war, to a climax. It led to the building up of political machines by the use of offices, from the lowest to the highest, as the currency for political trading. The governor was checked, but the leaders of the party in power held despotic control over the offices of the state.
This bargaining was facilitated by the extension of the system of nominating conventions. From the local units of town and county upwards, the custom of sending delegates to conventions had early developed in the state. It had become a settled practice for the representatives of one local unit to agree with those of another regarding the order in which their favorite sons should receive office. Town bargained with town, county with county, district with district. In place of the system of control by the established classes, New York's democracy was learning to elaborate the machinery of nomination by the people; but in the process there was developed a race of managing politicians, and the campaigns tended to become struggles between personal elements for power rather than contests on political issues.
The finished product of New York politics is shown in Van Buren, the devotee of "regularity" in party and the adroit manager of its machinery. Shrewdness, tact, and self-reliant judgment, urbane good- humor, mingled with a suspicious and half-cynical expression, were written on his face. "Little Van" was an affable, firm, and crafty politician. Although he was not a creative statesman, neither was he a mere schemer. He had definite ideas, if not convictions, of the proper lines of policy, and was able to state them with incisive and forcible argument when occasion demanded. To him, perhaps, more than to any other of the politicians, fell the task of organizing the campaign of Crawford, and afterwards of making the political combinations that brought in the reign of Andrew Jackson. He was the leader of that element of New York politics known as the Bucktails, from the emblem worn by the Tammany Society. Clinton, his opponent, exercised an influence somewhat akin to the Livingstons, the Schuylers, the Van Rensselaers, and the other great family leaders in the baronial days of New York politics. Brusque, arrogant, and ambitious, he combined the petty enmities of a domineering politician with flashes of statesman-like insight, and he crushed his way to success by an exterminating warfare against his enemies. Around him gathered a personal following embracing one wing of the Republicans, aided by a large fraction of the old Federal party. For the most part, his strength lay along the line of the Erie Canal and in the regions where the New England element was strong.
About these New York rivals were grouped many lesser lights, for the political organization tended to create a multitude of able political leaders, many of them capable of holding high position, but few of them swayed by compelling ideas or policies.
In Pennsylvania, where the spoils system and the nominating convention developed contemporaneously with the movement in New York, there were even fewer men of the highest political rank. Gallatin's effective career belongs to an earlier period, and he had no successor, as a national figure, among the Pennsylvania party chieftains.
In the decade which forms the subject of this volume, no section underwent more far-reaching changes than did the group of South Atlantic states made up of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, with which this chapter will deal under the name of the south. Then it was that the south came to appreciate the effect of the westward spread of the cotton-plant upon slavery and politics. The invention of the cotton-gin by Eli Whitney, [Footnote: Am. Hist. Review, III., 99.] in 1793, made possible the profitable cultivation of the short-staple variety of cotton. Before this, the labor of taking the seeds by hand from this variety, the only one suited to production in the uplands, had prevented its use; thereafter, it was only a question of time when the cotton area, no longer limited to the tidewater region, would extend to the interior, carrying slavery with it. This invention came at an opportune time. Already the inventions of Arkwright, Hargreaves, and Cartwright had worked a revolution in the textile industries of England, by means of the spinning-jenny, the power-loom, and the factory system, furnishing machinery for the manufacture of cotton beyond the world's supply.[Footnote: M. B. Hammond, Cotton Industry, chaps, i., ii.; Von Halle, "Baumwollproduktion," in Schmoller, Staats und Social- wissenschaftliche Forschungen, XV.] Under the stimulus of this demand for cotton, year by year the area of slavery extended towards the west. In the twenties, some of the southern counties of Virginia were attempting its cultivation; [Footnote: Va. Const. Conv., Debates (1829-1830), 333, 336; Martin, Gazetteer of Va. and D. C. (1836), 99.] interior counties of North Carolina were combining cotton-raising with their old industries; in South Carolina the area of cotton and slavery had extended up the rivers well beyond the middle of the state; [Footnote: Schaper, "Sectionalism and Representation in S. C.," in Am. Hist. Assoc. Report, 1900, I., 387- 393.] while in Georgia the cotton planters, so long restrained by the Indian line, broke through the barriers and spread over the newly ceded lands. [Footnote: Phillips, "Georgia and State Rights," in Ibid., 1901, II. 140 (map).] The accompanying table shows the progress of this crop: It is evident from the figures that tidewater South Carolina and Georgia produced practically all of the cotton crop in 1791, when the total was but two million pounds. By 1821 the old south produced one hundred and seventeen million pounds, and, five years later, one hundred and eighty millions. But how rapidly in these five years the recently settled southwest was overtaking the older section cotton crop (in million pounds)[Footnote: Based on MacGregor, Commercial Statistics, 462; cf. De Bow's Review, XVII., 428; Von Halle, Baumwollproduktion, 169; Secretary of Treasury, Report, 1855-1856, p. 116. There are discrepancies; the figures are to be taken as illustrative rather than exact; e.g., De Bow gives seventy million pounds for Mississippi in 1826.] [Table omitted] is shown by its total of over one hundred and fifty millions. By 1834 the southwest had distanced the older section. What had occurred was a repeated westward movement: the cotton-plant first spread from the sea-coast to the uplands, and then, by the beginning of our period, advanced to the Gulf plains, until that region achieved supremacy in its production.
How deeply the section was interested in this crop, and how influential it was in the commerce of the United States, appears from the fact that, in 1820, the domestic exports of South Carolina and Georgia amounted to $15,215,000, while the value of the whole domestic exports for all the rest of the United States was $36,468,000. [Footnote: Pitkin, Statistical View (ed. of 1835), p. 57.] This, however, inadequately represents the value of the exports from these two cotton states, because a large fraction of the cotton was carried by the coastwise trade to northern ports and appeared in their shipments. Senator William Smith, of South Carolina, estimated that in 1818 the real exports of South Carolina and Georgia amounted to "more than half as much as that of the other states of the Union, including the vast and fertile valley of the Mississippi." The average annual amount of the exports of cotton, tobacco, and rice from the United States between 1821 and 1830 was about thirty-three million dollars, while all other domestic exports made a sum of but twenty million dollars. [Footnote: Ibid., 518.] Even greater than New England's interest in the carrying-trade was the interest of the south in the exchange of her great staples in the markets of Europe.
Never in history, perhaps, was an economic force more influential upon the life of a people. As the production of cotton increased, the price fell, and the seaboard south, feeling the competition of the virgin soils of the southwest, saw in the protective tariff for the development of northern manufactures the real source of her distress. The price of cotton was in these years a barometer of southern prosperity and of southern discontent. [Footnote: See chap, xix., below; M. B. Hammond, Cotton Industry, part i., App. i.; Donnell, Hist. of Cotton; Watkins, Production and Prices of Cotton.]
Even more important than the effect of cotton production upon the prosperity of the south was its effect upon her social system. This economic transformation resuscitated slavery from a moribund condition to a vigorous and aggressive life. Slowly Virginia and North Carolina came to realize that the burden and expense of slavery as the labor system for their outworn tobacco and corn fields was partly counteracted by the demand for their surplus Negroes in the cotton-fields of their more southern neighbors. When the lower south accepted the system as the basis of its prosperity and its society, the tendency in the states of the upper south, except in the pine barrens and the hill country, to look upon the institution as a heritage to be reluctantly and apologetically accepted grew fainter. The efforts to find some mode of removing the Negro from their midst gradually came to an end, and they adjusted themselves to slavery as a permanent system. Meanwhile, South Carolina and Georgia found in the institution the source of their economic well-being and hotly challenged the right of other sections to speak ill of it or meddle with it in any way, lest their domestic security be endangered. [Footnote: See Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.)] When the south became fully conscious that slavery set the section apart from the rest of the nation, when it saw in nationalizing legislation, such as protection to manufactures and the construction of a system of internal improvements, the efforts of other sections to deprive the cotton states of their profits for the benefit of an industrial development in which they did not share, deep discontent prevailed. With but slight intermission from the days of Washington to those of Monroe, the tobacco planters under the Virginia dynasty had ruled the nation. But now, when the center of power within the section passed from the weakening hands of Virginia to those of South Carolina, the aggressive leader of the Cotton Kingdom, the south found itself a minority section in the Union. When it realized this, it denied the right of the majority to rule, and proceeded to elaborate a system of minority rights as a protection against the forces of national development, believing that these forces threatened the foundations of the prosperity and even the social safety of the south.
From the middle of the eighteenth century the seaboard planters had been learning the lesson of control by a fraction of the population. The south was by no means a unified region in its physiography. The Blue Ridge cut off the low country of Virginia from the Shenandoah Valley, and beyond this valley the Alleghenies separated the rest of the state from those counties which we now know as West Virginia. By the time of the Revolution, in the Carolinas and Georgia, a belt of pine barrens, skirting the "fall line" from fifty to one hundred miles from the coast, divided the region of tidewater planters of these states from the small farmers of the up-country. This population of the interior had entered the region in the course of the second half of the eighteenth century. Scotch-Irishmen and Germans passed down the Great Valley from Pennsylvania into Virginia, and through the gaps in the Blue Ridge out to the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, while contemporaneously other streams from Charleston advanced to meet them. [Footnote: Bassett, in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1894, p. 141; Schaper, ibid., 1900, I., 317; Phillips, ibid., 1901, II., 88.] Thus, at the close of the eighteenth century, the south was divided into two areas presenting contrasted types of civilization. On the one side were the planters, raising their staple crops of tobacco, rice, and indigo, together with some cultivation of the cereals. To this region belonged the slaves. On the other side was this area of small farmers, raising livestock, wheat, and corn under the same conditions of pioneer farming as characterized the interior of Pennsylvania.
From the second half of the eighteenth century down to the time with which this volume deals, there was a persistent struggle between the planters of the coast, who controlled the wealth of the region, and the free farmers of the interior of Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. The tidewater counties retained the political power which they already possessed before this tide of settlement flowed into the back-country. Refusing in most of these states to reapportion on the basis of numbers, they protected their slaves and their wealth against the dangers of a democracy interested in internal improvements and capable of imposing a tax upon slave property in order to promote their ends. In Virginia, in 1825, for example, the western men complained that twenty counties in the upper country, with over two hundred and twenty thousand free white inhabitants, had no more weight in the government than twenty counties on tidewater, containing only about fifty thousand; that the six smallest counties in the state, compared with the six largest, enjoyed nearly ten times as much political power. [Footnote: Alexandria Herald, June 13, 1825.] To the gentlemen planters of the seaboard, the idea of falling under the control of the farmers of the interior of the south seemed intolerable.
It was only as slavery spread into the uplands, with the cultivation of cotton, that the lowlands began to concede and to permit an increased power in the legislatures to the sections most nearly assimilated to the seaboard type. South Carolina achieved this end in 1808 by the plan of giving to the seaboard the control of one house, while the interior held the other; but it is to be noted that this concession was not made until slavery had pushed so far up the river-courses that the reapportionment preserved the control in the hands of slave-holding counties. [Footnote: Calhoun, Works, I., 401; Schaper, Sectionalism and Representation in S. C., in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1900, I., 434-437.] A similar course was followed by Virginia in the convention of 1829-1830, when, after a long struggle, a compromise was adopted, by which the balance of power in the state legislature was transferred to the counties of the Piedmont and the Valley. [Footnote: Va. Const. Conv., Debates (1829- 1830); Chandler, Representation in Va., in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, XIV., 286-298.] Here slave-holding had progressed so far that the interest of those counties was affiliated rather with the coast than with the trans-Allegheny country. West Virginia remained a discontented area until her independent statehood in the days of the Civil War. These transmontane counties of Virginia were, in their political activity during our period, rather to be reckoned with the west than with the south. Thus the southern seaboard experienced the need of protecting the interests of its slave- holding planters against the free democracy of the interior of the south itself, and learned how to safeguard the minority. This experience was now to serve the south, when, having attained unity by the spread of slavery into the interior, it found itself as a section in the same relation to the Union which the slave-holding tidewater area had held towards the more populous up-country of the south.
The unification of the section is one of the most important features of the period. Not only had the south been divided into opposing areas, as we have seen, but even its population was far from homogeneous. By the period of this volume, however, English, French- Huguenots, Scotch-Irish, and Germans had become assimilated into one people, and the Negroes, who in 1830 in the South Atlantic states numbered over a million and a half in a white population of not much over two millions, were diffusing themselves throughout the area of the section except in West Virginia and the mountains. Contemporaneously the pioneer farming type of the interior of the section was replaced by the planter type. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXI., 132; cf. p. 55 below.] As cotton-planting and slave- holding advanced into the interior counties of the old southern states, the free farmers were obliged either to change to the plantation economy and buy slaves, or to sell their lands and migrate. Large numbers of them, particularly in the Carolinas, were Quakers or Baptists, whose religious scruples combined with their agricultural habits to make this change obnoxious. This upland country, too distant from the sea-shore to permit a satisfactory market, was a hive from which pioneers earlier passed into Kentucky and Tennessee, until those states had become populous commonwealths. Now the exodus was increased by this later colonization.[Footnote: See chap. v. below.] The Ohio was crossed, the Mississippi-Missouri ascended, and the streams that flowed to the Gulf were followed by movers away from the regions that were undergoing this social and economic reconstruction. This industrial revolution was effective in different degrees in the different states. Comparatively few of Virginia's slaves, which by 1830 numbered nearly half a million, were found in her trans-Allegheny counties, but the Shenandoah Valley was receiving slaves and changing to the plantation type. In North Carolina the slave population of nearly two hundred and fifty thousand, at the same date, had spread well into the interior, but cotton did not achieve the position there which it held farther south. The interior farmers worked small farms of wheat and corn, laboring side by side with their Negro slaves in the fields. [Footnote: Bassett, Slavery in N. C., in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, XVII., 324, 399.] South Carolina had over three hundred thousand slaves-more than a majority of her population—and the black belt extended to the interior. Georgia's slaves, amounting to over two hundred thousand, somewhat less than half her population, steadily advanced from the coast and the Savannah River towards the cotton-lands of the interior, pushing before them the less prosperous farmers, who found new homes to the north or south of the cotton-belt or migrated to the southwestern frontier.[Footnote: Phillips, Georgia and State Rights, in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1901, II., 106.] Here, as in North Carolina, the planters in the interior of the state frequently followed the plough or encouraged their slaves by wielding the hoe. [Footnote: Phillips, Georgia and State Rights, in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1901, II., 107.] Thus this process of economic transformation passed from the coast towards the mountain barrier, gradually eliminating the inharmonious elements and steadily tending to produce a solidarity of interests. The south as a whole was becoming, for the first time since colonial days, a staple-producing region; and, as diversified farming declined, the region tended to become dependent for its supplies of meat products, horses, and mules, and even hay and cereals, upon the north and west.
The westward migration of its people checked the growth of the south. It had colonized the new west at the same time that the middle region had been rapidly growing in population, and the result was that the proud states of the southern seaboard were reduced to numerical inferiority. Like New England, it was an almost stationary section. Prom 1820 to 1830 the states of this group gained little more than half a million souls, hardly more than the increase of the single state of New York. Virginia, with a population of over a million, increased but 13.7 per cent., and the Carolinas only 15.5 per cent. In the next decade these tendencies were even more clearly shown, for Virginia and the Carolinas then gained but little more than 2 per cent.
Georgia alone showed rapid increase. At the beginning of the decade the Indians still held all of the territory west of Macon, at the center of the state, with the exception of two tiers of counties along the southern border; and, when these lands were opened towards the close of the decade, they were occupied by a rush of settlement similar to the occupation of Oklahoma and Indian Territory in our own day. What Maine was to New England, that Georgia was to the southern seaboard, with the difference that it was deeply touched by influences characteristically western. Because of the traits of her leaders, and the rude, aggressive policy of her people, Georgia belonged at least as much to the west as to the south. From colonial times the Georgia settlers had been engaged in an almost incessant struggle against the savages on her border, and had the instincts of a frontier society. [Footnote: Ibid., II., 88; Longstreet, Georgia Scenes; Gilmer, Sketches; Miss. Hist. Soc., Publications, VIII., 443.]
From 1800 to 1830, throughout the tidewater region, there were clear evidences of decline. As the movement of capital and population towards the interior went on, wealth was drained from the coast; and, as time passed, the competition of the fertile and low-priced lands of the Gulf basin proved too strong for the outworn lands even of the interior of the south. Under the wasteful system of tobacco and cotton culture, without replenishment of the soil, the staple areas would, in any case, have declined in value. Even the corn and wheat lands were exhausted by unscientific farming. [Footnote: Gooch, Prize Essay on Agriculture in Va., in Lynchburg Virginian, July 4, 1833; Martin, Gazetteer of Va., 99, 100.] Writing in 1814 to Josiah Quincy, [Footnote: E Quincy, Josiah Quincy, 353.] John Randolph of Roanoke lamented the decline of the seaboard planters. He declared that the region was now sunk in obscurity: what enterprise or capital there was in the country had retired westward; deer and wild turkeys were not so plentiful anywhere in Kentucky as near the site of the ancient Virginia capital, Williamsburg. In the Virginia convention of 1829, Mr. Mercer estimated that in 1817 land values in Virginia aggregated two hundred and six million dollars, and Negroes averaged three hundred dollars, while in 1829 the land values did not surpass ninety millions, and slaves had fallen in value to one hundred and fifty dollars. [Footnote: Va. Const. Conv., Debates (1829-1830), 178; Collins, Domestic Slave Trade, 26.]
In a speech in the Virginia House of Delegates, in 1832, Thomas Marshall [Footnote: Collins, Domestic Slave Trade, 24, cited from Richmond Enquirer, February, 2, 1832.] asserted that the whole agricultural product of Virginia did not exceed in value the exports of eighty or ninety years before, when it contained not one-sixth of the population. In his judgment, the greater proportion of the larger plantations, with from fifty to one hundred slaves, brought the proprietors into debt, and rarely did a plantation yield one and a half per cent. profit on the capital. So great had become the depression that Randolph prophesied that the time was coming when the masters would run away from the slaves and be advertised by them in the public papers. [Footnote: Collins, Domestic Slave Trade, 26.]
It was in this period that Thomas Jefferson fell into such financial embarrassments that he was obliged to request of the legislature of Virginia permission to dispose of property by lottery to pay his debts, and that a subscription was taken up to relieve his distress. [Footnote: Randall, Jefferson, III., 527, 561.] At the same time, Madison, having vainly tried to get a loan from the United States Bank, was forced to dispose of some of his lands and stocks; [Footnote: Hunt, Madison, 380.] and Monroe, at the close of his term of office, found himself financially ruined. He gave up Oak Hill and spent his declining years with his son-in-law in New York City. The old-time tide-water mansions, where, in an earlier day, everybody kept open house, gradually fell into decay.
Sad indeed was the spectacle of Virginia's ancient aristocracy. It had never been a luxurious society. The very wealthy planters, with vast cultivated estates and pretentious homes, were in the minority. For the most part, the houses were moderate frame structures, set at intervals of a mile or so apart, often in park like grounds, with long avenues of trees. The plantation was a little world in itself.
Here was made much of the clothing for the slaves, and the mistress of the plantation supervised the spinning and weaving. Leather was tanned on the place, and blacksmithing, wood-working, and other industries were carried on, often under the direction of white mechanics. The planter and his wife commonly had the care of the black families whom they possessed, looked after them when they were sick, saw to their daily rations, arranged marriages, and determined the daily tasks of the plantation. The abundant hospitality between neighbors gave opportunity for social cultivation, and politics was a favorite subject of conversation.
The leading planters served as justices of the peace, but they were not dependent for their selection upon the popular vote. Appointed by the governor on nomination of the court itself, they constituted a kind of close corporation, exercising local judicial, legislative, and executive functions. The sheriff was appointed by the governor from three justices of the peace recommended by the court, and the court itself appointed the county clerk. Thus the county government of Virginia was distinctly aristocratic. County-court day served as an opportunity for bringing together the freeholders, who included not only the larger planters, but the small farmers and the poor whites—hangers-on of the greater plantations. Almost no large cities were found in Virginia. The court-house was hardly more than a meeting-place for the rural population. Here farmers exchanged their goods, traded horses, often fought, and listened to the stump speeches of the orators. [Footnote: Johnson, Robert Lewis Dabney, 14-24; Smedes, A Southern Planter, 34-37.]
Such were, in the main, the characteristics of that homespun plantation aristocracy which, through the Virginia dynasty, had ruled the nation in the days of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. As their lands declined in value, they naturally sought for an explanation and a remedy. [Footnote: Randall, Jefferson, III., 532.] The explanation was found most commonly in the charge that the protective tariff was destroying the prosperity of the south; and in reaction they turned to demand the old days of Jeffersonian rural simplicity, under the guardianship of state rights and a strict construction of the Constitution. Madison in vain laid the fall in land values in Virginia to the uncertainty and low prices of the crops, to the quantity of land thrown on the market, and the attractions of the cheaper and better lands beyond the mountains. [Footnote: Madison, Writings (ed. of 1865), III., 614.]
Others called attention to the fact that the semi-annual migration towards the west and southwest, which swept off enterprising portions of the people and much of the capital and movable property of the state, also kept down the price of land by the great quantities thereby thrown into the market. Instead of applying a system of scientific farming and replenishment of the soil, there was a tendency for the planters who remained to get into debt in order to add to their possessions the farms which were offered for sale by the movers. Thus there was a flow of wealth towards the west to pay for these new purchases. The overgrown plantations soon began to look tattered and almost desolate. "Galled and gullied hill-sides and sedgy, briary fields" [Footnote: Lynchburg Virginian, July 4, 1833.] showed themselves in every direction. Finally the planter found himself obliged to part with some of his slaves, in response to the demand from the new cotton-fields; or to migrate himself, with his caravan of Negroes, to open a new home in the Gulf region. During the period of this survey the price for prime field-hands in Georgia averaged a little over seven hundred dollars. [Footnote: Phillips, in Pol. Sci. Quart., XX., 267.] If the estimate of one hundred and fifty dollars for Negroes sold in family lots in Virginia is correct, it is clear that economic laws would bring about a condition where Virginia's resources would in part depend upon her supply of slaves to the cotton-belt. [Footnote: Collins, Domestic Slave Trade, 42-46.] It is clear, also, that the Old Dominion had passed the apogee of her political power.
It was not only the planters of Virginia that suffered in this period of change. As the more extensive and fertile cotton-fields of the new states of the southwest opened, North Carolina and even South Carolina found themselves embarrassed. With the fall in cotton prices, already mentioned, it became increasingly necessary to possess the advantages of large estates and unexhausted soils, in order to extract a profit from this cultivation. From South Carolina there came a protest more vehement and aggressive than that of the discontented classes of Virginia. Already the indigo plantation had ceased to be profitable and the rice planters no longer held their old prosperity.
Charleston was peculiarly suited to lead in a movement of revolt. It was the one important center of real city life of the seaboard south of Baltimore. Here every February the planters gathered from their plantations, thirty to one hundred and fifty miles away, for a month in their town houses. At this season, races, social gayeties, and political conferences vied with one another in engaging the attention of the planters. Returning to their plantations in the early spring, they remained until June, when considerations of health compelled them either again to return to the city, to visit the mountains, or to go to such watering-places as Saratoga in New York. Here again they talked politics and mingled with political leaders of the north. It was not until the fall that they were able to return again to their estates. [Footnote: Hodgson, Letters from North America, I.,50.] Thus South Carolina, affording a combination of plantation life with the social intercourse of the city, gave peculiar opportunities for exchanging ideas and consolidating the sentiment of her leaders.
The condition of South Carolina was doubtless exaggerated by Hayne, in his speech in the Senate in 1832, when he characterized it as "not merely one of unexampled depression, but of great and all- pervading distress," with "the mournful evidence of premature decay," "merchants bankrupt or driven away—their capital sunk or transferred to other pursuits—our shipyards broken up—our ships all sold!" "If," said he, "we fly from the city to the country, what do we there behold? Fields abandoned; the hospitable mansions of our fathers deserted; agriculture drooping; our slaves, like their masters, working harder, and faring worse; the planter striving with unavailing efforts to avert the ruin which is before him." He drew a sad picture of the once thriving planter, reduced to despair, gathering up the small remnants of his broken fortune, and, with his wife and little ones, tearing himself from the scenes of his childhood and the bones of his ancestors to seek in the wilderness the reward for his industry of which the policy of Congress had deprived him. [Footnote: Register of Debates, VIII., pt. i., 80; cf. Houston, Nullification in S.C., 46; McDuffie, in Register of Debates, 18th Cong., 2 Sess., 253.]
The genius of the south expressed itself most clearly in the field of politics. If the democratic middle region could show a multitude of clever politicians, the aristocratic south possessed an abundance of leaders bold in political initiative and masterful in their ability to use the talents of their northern allies. When the Missouri question was debated, John Quincy Adams remarked "that if institutions are to be judged by their results in the composition of the councils of this Union, the slave-holders are much more ably represented than the simple freemen." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 506.]
The southern statesmen fall into two classes. On the one side was the Virginia group, now for the most part old men, rich in the honors of the nation, still influential, but, except for Monroe, no longer directing party policy. Jefferson and Madison were in retirement in their old age; Marshall, as chief-justice, was continuing his career as the expounder of the Constitution in accordance with Federalist ideals; John Randolph, his old eccentricities increased by disease and intemperance, remained to proclaim the extreme doctrines of southern dissent and to impale his adversaries with javelins of flashing wit. A maker of phrases which stung and festered, he was still capable of influencing public opinion somewhat in the same way as are the cartoonists of modern times. But "his course through life had been like that of the arrow which Alcestes shot to heaven, which effected nothing useful, though it left a long stream of light behind it." [Footnote: Lynchburg Virginian, May 9, 1833.] In North Carolina, the venerable Macon remained to protest like a later Cato against the tendencies of the times and to raise a warning voice to his fellow slave-holders against national consolidation.
In the course of this decade, the effective leadership of the south fell to Calhoun and Crawford. [Footnote: See chap. xi. below.] About these statesmen were grouped energetic and able men like Hayne, McDuffie, and Hamilton of South Carolina, and Cobb and Forsyth of Georgia—men who sometimes pushed their leaders on in a sectional path which the latter's caution or personal ambitions made them reluctant to tread. Nor must it be forgotten that early in the decade the south lost two of her greatest statesmen, the wise and moderate Lowndes, of South Carolina, and Pinkney, the brilliant Maryland orator. In the course of the ten years which we are to sketch, the influence of economic change within this section transformed the South Carolinians from warm supporters of a liberal national policy into the straightest of the sect of state- sovereignty advocates, intent upon raising barriers against the flood of nationalism that threatened to overwhelm the south. In relating the changing policy of the southern political leaders, we shall again observe the progress and the effects of the economic transformations which it has been the purpose of this chapter to portray.
The rise of the new west was the most significant fact in American history in the years immediately following the War of 1812. Ever since the beginnings of colonization on the Atlantic coast a frontier of settlement had advanced, cutting into the forest, pushing back the Indian, and steadily widening the area of civilization in its rear. [Footnote: Three articles by F.J. Turner, viz.: "Significance of the Frontier in American History," in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1893, 199-227; "Problem of the West," in "Atlantic Monthly, LXXVIII, 289; "Contributions of the West to American Democracy, ibid, XCI., 83.] There had been a west even in early colonial days; but then it lay close to the coast. By the middle of the eighteenth century the west was to be found beyond tide-water, advancing towards the Allegheny Mountains. When this barrier was crossed and the lands on the other side of the mountains were won, in the days of the Revolution, a new and greater west, more influential on the nation's destiny, was created. [Footnote: Howard, Preliminaries of Revolution, chap. xiii.; Van Tyne, Am. Revolution, chap. xv.; McLaughlin, Confederation and Constitution, chap. viii. (Am. Nation, VIII., IX., X.).]
The men of the "Western Waters" or the "Western World," as they loved to call themselves, developed under conditions of separation from the older settlements and from Europe. The lands, practically free, in this vast area not only attracted the settler, but furnished opportunity for all men to hew out their own careers. The wilderness ever opened a gate of escape to the poor, the discontented, and the oppressed. If social conditions tended to crystallize in the east, beyond the Alleghenies there was freedom. Grappling with new problems, under these conditions, the society that spread into this region developed inventiveness and resourcefulness; the restraints of custom were broken, and new activities, new lines of growth, new institutions were produced. Mr. Bryce has well declared that "the West is the most American part of America…. What Europe is to Asia, what England is to the rest of Europe, what America is to England, that the Western States and Territories are to the Atlantic States." [Footnote: Bryce, American Commonwealth (ed. of 1895), II., 830.] The American spirit—the traits that have come to be recognized as the most characteristic— was developed in the new commonwealths that sprang into life beyond the seaboard. In these new western lands Americans achieved a boldness of conception of the country's destiny and democracy. The ideal of the west was its emphasis upon the worth and possibilities of the common man, its belief in the right of every man to rise to the full measure of his own nature, under conditions of social mobility. Western democracy was no theorist's dream. It came, stark and strong and full of life, from the American forest. [Footnote: P. J. Turner, "Contributions of the West to American Democracy," in Atlantic Monthly, XCL, 83, and "The Middle West," in International Monthly, IV., 794.]
The time had now come when this section was to make itself felt as a dominant force in American life. Already it had shown its influence upon the older sections. By its competition, by its attractions for settlers, it reacted on the east and gave added impulse to the democratic movement in New England and New York. The struggle of Baltimore, New York City, and Philadelphia for the rising commerce of the interior was a potent factor in the development of the middle region. In the south the spread of the cotton-plant and the new form which slavery took were phases of the westward movement of the plantation. The discontent of the old south is partly explained by the migration of her citizens to the west and by the competition of her colonists in the lands beyond the Alleghenies. The future of the south lay in its affiliation to the Cotton Kingdom of the lower states which were rising on the plains of the Gulf of Mexico.
Rightly to understand the power which the new west was to exert upon the economic and political life of the nation in the years between 1820 and 1830, it is necessary to consider somewhat fully the statistics of growth in western population and industry.
The western states ranked with the middle region and the south in respect to population. Between 1812 and 1821 six new western commonwealths were added to the Union: Louisiana (1812), Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), Illinois (1818), Alabama (1819), and Missouri (1821). In the decade from 1820 to 1830, these states, with their older sisters, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, increased their population from 2,217,000 to nearly 3,700,000, a gain of about a million and a half in the decade. The percentages of increase in these new communities tell a striking story. Even the older states of the group grew steadily. Kentucky, with 22 per cent., Louisiana, with 41, and Tennessee and Ohio, each with 61, were increasing much faster than New England and the south, outside of Maine and Georgia. But for the newer communities the percentages of gain are still more significant: Mississippi, 81 per cent.; Alabama, 142; Indiana, 133; and Illinois, 185. The population of Ohio, which hardly more than a generation before was "fresh, untouched, unbounded, magnificent wilderness," [Footnote: Webster, Writings (National ed.), V., 252.] was now nearly a million, surpassing the combined population of Massachusetts and Connecticut.
A new section had arisen and was growing at such a rate that a description of it in any single year would be falsified before it could be published. Nor is the whole strength of the western element revealed by these figures. In order to estimate the weight of the western population in 1830, we must add six hundred thousand souls in the western half of New York, three hundred thousand in the interior counties of Pennsylvania, and over two hundred thousand in the trans-Allegheny counties of Virginia, making an aggregate of four million six hundred thousand. Fully to reckon the forces of backwoods democracy, moreover, we should include a large fraction of the interior population of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, North Carolina, and Georgia, and northern New York. All of these regions were to be influenced by the ideals of democratic rule which were springing up in the Mississippi Valley.
In voting-power the western states alone—to say nothing of the interior districts of the older states—were even more important than the figures for population indicate. The west itself had, under the apportionment of 1822, forty-seven out of the two hundred and thirteen members of the House of Representatives, while in the Senate its representation was eighteen out of forty-eight—more than that of any other section. Clearly, here was a region to be reckoned with; its economic interests, its ideals, and its political leaders were certain to have a powerful, if not a controlling, voice in the councils of the nation.
At the close of the War of 1812 the west had much homogeneity. Parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio had been settled so many years that they no longer presented typical western conditions; but in most of its area the west then was occupied by pioneer farmers and stock- raisers, eking out their larder and getting peltries by hunting, and raising only a small surplus for market. By 1830, however, industrial differentiation between the northern and southern portions of the Mississippi Valley was clearly marked. The northwest was changing to a land of farmers and town-builders, anxious for a market for their grain and cattle; while the southwest was becoming increasingly a cotton-raising section, swayed by the same impulses in respect to staple exports as those which governed the southern seaboard. Economically, the northern portion of the valley tended to connect itself with the middle states, while the southern portion came into increasingly intimate connection with the south. Nevertheless, it would be a radical mistake not to deal with the west as a separate region, for, with all these differences within itself, it possessed a fundamental unity in its social structure and its democratic ideals, and at times, in no uncertain way, it showed a consciousness of its separate existence.
In occupying the Mississippi Valley the American people colonized a region far surpassing in area the territory of the old thirteen states. The movement was, indeed, but the continuation of the advance of the frontier which had begun in the earliest days of American colonization. The existence of a great body of land, offered at so low a price as to be practically free, inevitably drew population towards the west. When wild lands sold for two dollars an acre, and, indeed, could be occupied by squatters almost without molestation, it was certain that settlers would seek them instead of paying twenty to fifty dollars an acre for farms that lay not much farther to the east—particularly when the western lands were more fertile. The introduction of the steamboat on the western waters in 1811, moreover, soon revolutionized transportation conditions in the West. [Footnote: Flint, Letters, 260; Monette, in Miss. Hist. Soc., Publications, VII., 503; Hall, Statistics of the West, 236, 247; Lloyd, Steamboat Disasters (1853), 32, 40-45; Preble, Steam Navigation, 64; McMaster, United States, IV., 402; Chittenden, Early Steamboat Navigation on the Missouri, chap. ix.] At the beginning of the period of which we are treating, steamers were ascending the Mississippi and the Missouri, as well as the Ohio and its tributaries. Between the close of the War of 1812 and 1830, moreover, the Indian title was extinguished to vast regions in the west. Half of Michigan was opened to settlement; the northwestern quarter of Ohio was freed; in Indiana and Illinois (more than half of which had been Indian country prior to 1816) all but a comparatively small region of undesired prairie lands south of Lake Michigan was ceded; almost the whole state of Missouri was freed from its Indian title; and, in the Gulf region, at the close of the decade, the Indians held but two isolated islands of territory, one in western Georgia and eastern Alabama, and the other in northern and central Mississippi. These ceded regions were the fruit of the victories of William Henry Harrison in the northwest, and of Andrew Jackson in the Gulf region. They were, in effect, conquered provinces, just opened to colonization.
The maps of the United States census, giving the distribution of population in 1810, 1820, and 1830, [Footnote: See maps of population; compare U. S. Census of 1900, Statistical Atlas, plates 4, 5, 6.] exhibit clearly the effects of the defeat of the Indians, and show the areas that were occupied in these years. In 1810 settlement beyond the mountains was almost limited to a zone along the Ohio River and its tributaries, the Cumberland and the Tennessee. In the southwest, the vicinity of Mobile showed sparse settlement, chiefly survivals of the Spanish and English occupation; and, along the fluvial lands of the eastern bank of the lower Mississippi, in the Natchez region, as well as in the old province of Louisiana, there was a considerable area occupied by planters.
By 1820 the effects of the War of 1812 and the rising tide of westward migration became manifest. Pioneers spread along the river- courses of the northwest well up to the Indian boundary. The zone of settlement along the Ohio ascended the Missouri, in the rush to the Boone's Lick country, towards the center of the present state. From the settlements of middle Tennessee a pioneer farming area reached southward to connect with the settlements of Mobile, and the latter became conterminous with those of the lower Mississippi.
By 1830 large portions of these Indian lands, which were ceded between 1817 and 1829, received the same type of colonization. The unoccupied lands in Indiana and Illinois were prairie country, then deemed unsuited for settlement because of the lack of wood and drinking-water. It was the hardwoods that had been taken up in the northwest, and, for the most part, the tracts a little back from the unhealthful bottom-lands, but in close proximity to the rivers, which were the only means of transportation before the building of good roads. A new island of settlement appeared in the northwestern portion of Illinois and the adjacent regions of Wisconsin and Iowa, due to the opening of the lead-mines. Along the Missouri Valley and in the Gulf region the areas possessed in 1820 increased in density of population. Georgia spread her settlers into the Indian lands, which she had so recently secured by threatening a rupture with the United States. [Footnote: MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy (Am. Nation, XV.), chap. x. ]
Translated into terms of human activity, these shaded areas, encroaching on the blank spaces of the map, meant much for the history of the United States. Even in the northwest, which we shall first describe, they represent, in the main, the migration of southern people. New England, after the distress following the War of 1812 and the hard winter of 1816-1817, had sent many settlers into western New York and Ohio; the Western Reserve had increased in population by the immigration, of Connecticut people; Pennsylvania and New Jersey had sent colonists to southern and central Ohio, with Cincinnati as the commercial center. In Ohio the settlers of middle- state origin were decidedly more numerous than those from the south, and New England's share was distinctly smaller than that of the south. In the Ohio legislature in 1822 there were thirty-eight members of middle-state birth, thirty-three of southern (including Kentucky), and twenty-five of New England. But Kentucky and Tennessee (now sufficiently settled to need larger and cheaper farms for the rising generation), together with the up-country of the south, contributed the mass of the pioneer colonists to most of the Mississippi Valley prior to 1830. [Footnote: See, for Ohio, Niles' Register, XXI., 368 (leg. session of 1822), and Nat. Republican, January 2, 1824; for Illinois in 1833, Western Monthly Magazine, I., 199; for Missouri convention of 1820, Niles' Register, XVIII., 400; for Alabama in 1820, ibid., XX., 64. Local histories, travels, newspapers, and the census of 1850 support the text.] Of course, a large fraction of these came from the Scotch-Irish and German stock that in the first half of the eighteenth century passed from Pennsylvania along the Great Valley to the up-country of the south. Indiana, so late as 1850, showed but ten thousand natives of New England, and twice as many persons of southern as of middle states origin. In the history of Indiana, North Carolina contributed a large fraction of the population, giving to it its "Hoosier" as well as much of its Quaker stock. Illinois in this period had but a sprinkling of New-Englanders, engaged in business in the little towns. The southern stock, including settlers from Kentucky and Tennessee, was the preponderant class. The Illinois legislature for 1833 contained fifty-eight from the south (including Kentucky and Tennessee), nineteen from the middle states, and only four from New England. Missouri's population was chiefly Kentuckians and Tennesseeans.
The leaders of this southern element came, in considerable measure, from well-to-do classes, who migrated to improve their conditions in the freer opportunities of a new country. Land speculation, the opportunity of political preferment, and the advantages which these growing communities brought to practitioners of the law combined to attract men of this class. Many of them, as we shall see, brought their slaves with them, under the systems of indenture which made this possible. Missouri, especially, was sought by planters with their slaves. But it was the poorer whites, the more democratic, non-slaveholding element of the south, which furnished the great bulk of the settlers north of the Ohio. Prior to the close of the decade the same farmer type was in possession of large parts of the Gulf region, whither, through the whole of our period, the slave- holding planters came in increasing numbers.
Two of the families which left Kentucky for the newer country in these years will illustrate the movement. The Lincoln family [Footnote: Tarbell, Lincoln, I., chaps, i.-iv.; Herndon, Lincoln, I., chaps, i.-iv.; Nicolay and Hay, Lincoln, I., chaps, i.-iii.] had reached that state by migration from the north with the stream of backwoodsmen which bore along with it the Calhouns and the Boones. Abraham Lincoln was born in a hilly, barren portion of Kentucky in 1809. In 1816, when Lincoln was a boy of seven, his father, a poor carpenter, took his family across the Ohio on a raft, with a capital consisting of his kit of tools and several hundred gallons of whiskey. In Indiana he hewed a path into the forest to a new home in the southern part of the state, where for a year the family lived in a "half-faced camp," or open shed of poles, clearing their land. In the hardships of the pioneer life Lincoln's mother died, as did many another frontier woman. In 1830 Lincoln was a tall, strapping youth, six feet four inches in height, able to sink his axe deeper than other men into the opposing forest. At that time his father moved to the Sangamon country of Illinois with the rush of land-seekers into that new and popular region. Near the home of Lincoln in Kentucky was born, in 1808, Jefferson Davis [Footnote: Mrs. Davis, Jefferson Davis, I., 5.], whose father, shortly before the War of 1812, went with the stream of southward movers to Louisiana and then to Mississippi. Davis's brothers fought under Jackson in the War of 1812, and the family became typical planters of the Gulf region.
Meanwhile, the roads that led to the Ohio Valley were followed by an increasing tide of settlers from the east. "Old America seems to be breaking up, and moving westward," wrote Morris Birkbeck in 1817, as he passed on the National Road through Pennsylvania. "We are seldom out of sight, as we travel on this grand track, towards the Ohio, of family groups, behind and before us. … A small waggon (so light that you might almost carry it, yet strong enough to bear a good load of bedding, utensils and provisions, and a swarm of young citizens,—and to sustain marvellous shocks in its passage over these rocky heights) with two small horses; sometimes a cow or two, comprises their all; excepting a little store of hard-earned cash for the land office of the district; where they may obtain a title for as many acres as they possess half-dollars, being one fourth of the purchase-money. The waggon has a tilt, or cover, made of a sheet, or perhaps a blanket. The family are seen before, behind, or within the vehicle, according to the road or the weather, or perhaps the spirits of the party. … A cart and single horse frequently affords the means of transfer, sometimes a horse and packsaddle. Often the back of the poor pilgrim bears all his effects, and his wife follows, naked-footed, bending under the hopes of the family." [Footnote: Birkbeck, Notes on a Journey from Va. to Ill., 25, 26.]
The southerners who came by land along the many bad roads through Tennessee and Kentucky usually traveled with heavy, long-bodied wagons, drawn by four or six horses. [Footnote: Hist. of Grundy County, Ill., 149.] These family groups, crowding roads and fords, marching towards the sunset, with the canvas-covered wagon, ancestor of the prairie-schooner of the later times, were typical of the overland migration. The poorer classes traveled on foot, sometimes carrying their entire effects in a cart drawn by themselves. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXI., 320.] Those of more means took horses, cattle, and sheep, and sometimes sent their household goods by wagon or by steamboat up the Mississippi. [Footnote: Howells, Life in Ohio, 1813-1840, 86; Jones, Ill. and the West, 31; Hist, of Grundy County, Ill., 149.] The routes of travel to the western country were numerous. [Footnote: See map, page 226.] Prior to the opening of the Erie Canal the New England element either passed along the Mohawk and the Genesee turnpike to Lake Erie, or crossed the Hudson and followed the line of the Catskill turnpike to the headwaters of the Allegheny, or, by way of Boston, took ship to New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore, in order to follow a more southerly route. In Pennsylvania the principal route was the old road which, in a general way, followed the line that Forbes had cut in the French and Indian War from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh by way of Lancaster and Bedford. By this time the road had been made a turnpike through a large portion of its course. From Baltimore the traveler followed a turnpike to Cumberland, on the Potomac, where began the old National Road across the mountains to Wheeling, on the Ohio, with branches leading to Pittsburgh. This became one of the great arteries of western migration and commerce, connecting, as it did at its eastern end, with the Shenandoah Valley, and thus affording access to the Ohio for large areas of Virginia. Other routes lay through the passes of the Alleghenies, easily reached from the divide between the waters of North Carolina and of West Virginia. Saluda Gap, in northwestern South Carolina, led the way to the great valley of eastern Tennessee. In Tennessee and Kentucky many routes passed to the Ohio in the region of Cincinnati or Louisville.
When the settler arrived at the waters of the Ohio, he either took a steamboat or placed his possessions on a flatboat, or ark, and floated down the river to his destination. From the upper waters of the Allegheny many emigrants took advantage of the lumber-rafts, which were constructed from the pine forests of southwestern New York, to float to the Ohio with themselves and their belongings. With the advent of the steamboat these older modes of navigation were, to a considerable extent, superseded. But navigation on the Great Lakes had not sufficiently advanced to afford opportunity for any considerable movement of settlement, by this route, beyond Lake Erie.
In the course of the decade the cost of reaching the west varied greatly with the decrease in the transportation rates brought about by the competition of the Erie Canal, the improvement of the turnpikes, and the development of steamboat navigation. The expense of the long overland journey from New England, prior to the opening of the Erie Canal, made it extremely difficult for those without any capital to reach the west. The stage rates on the Pennsylvania turnpike and the old National Road, prior to the opening of the Erie Canal, were about five or six dollars a hundred-weight from Philadelphia or Baltimore to the Ohio River; the individual was regarded as so much freight. [Footnote: Evans, Pedestrians Tour, 145.] To most of the movers, who drove their own teams and camped by the wayside, however, the actual expense was simply that of providing food for themselves and their horses on the road. The cost of moving by land a few years later is illustrated by the case of a Maryland family, consisting of fifteen persons, of whom five were slaves. They traveled about twenty miles a day, with a four-horse wagon, three hundred miles, to Wheeling, at an expense of seventy- five dollars. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XLVIII., 242.] The expense of traveling by stage and steamboat from Philadelphia to St. Louis at the close of the decade was about fifty-five dollars for one person; or by steamboat from New Orleans to St. Louis, thirty dollars, including food and lodging. For deck-passage, without food or lodging, the charge was only eight dollars. [Footnote: Ill. Monthly Magazine, II., 53.] In 1823 the cost of passage from Cincinnati to New Orleans by steamboat was twenty-five dollars; from New Orleans to Cincinnati, fifty dollars. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXV., 95.] In the early thirties one could go from New Orleans to Pittsburgh, as cabin passenger, for from thirty-five to forty-five dollars. [Footnote: Emigrants' and Travelers' Guide through the Valley of the Mississippi, 341.]
Arrived at the nearest point to his destination on the Ohio, the emigrant either cut out a road to his new home or pushed up some tributary of that river in a keel-boat. If he was one of the poorer classes, he became a squatter on the public lands, trusting to find in the profits of his farming the means of paying for his land. Not uncommonly, after clearing the land, he sold his improvements to the actual purchaser, under the customary usage or by pre-emption laws. [Footnote: Hall, Statistics of the West, 180; Kingdom, America, 56; Peck, New Guide for Emigrants to the West (1837), 119-132.] With the money thus secured he would purchase new land in a remoter area, and thus establish himself as an independent land-owner. Under the credit system [Footnote: Emerick, Credit and the Public Domain.] which existed at the opening of the period, the settler purchased his land in quantities of not less than one hundred and sixty acres at two dollars per acre, by a cash payment of fifty cents per acre and the rest in installments running over a period of four years; but by the new law of 1820 the settler was permitted to buy as small a tract as eighty acres from the government at a minimum price of a dollar and a quarter per acre, without credit. The price of labor in the towns along the Ohio, coupled with the low cost of provisions, made it possible for even a poor day-laborer from the East to accumulate the necessary amount to make his land-purchase. [Footnote: See, for example, Peck, New Guide for Emigrants to the West (1837), 107-134; Bradbury, Travels, 286.]
Having in this way settled down either as a squatter or as a land- owner, the pioneer proceeded to hew out a clearing in the midst of the forest. [Footnote: Kingdom, America, 10, 54, 63; Flint, Letters, 206; McMaster, United States, V., 152-155; Howells, Life in Ohio, 115.] Commonly he had selected his lands with reference to the value of the soil, as indicated by the character of the hardwoods, but this meant that the labor of clearing was the more severe in good soil. Under the sturdy strokes of his axe the light of day was let into the little circle of cleared ground. [Footnote: Hall, Statistics of the West, 98, 101, 145.] With the aid of his neighbors, called together under the social attractions of a "raising," with its inevitable accompaniment of whiskey and a "frolic," he erected his log-cabin. "America," wrote Birkbeck, "was bred in a cabin." [Footnote: Birkbeck, Notes on Journey, 94.]
Having secured a foothold, the settler next proceeded to "girdle" or "deaden" an additional forest area, preparatory to his farming operations. This consisted in cutting a ring through the bark around the lower portion of the trunk, to prevent the sap from rising. In a short time the withered branches were ready for burning, and in the midst of the stumps the first crop of corn and vegetables was planted. Often the settler did not even burn the girdled trees, but planted his crop under the dead foliage.
In regions nearer to the east, as in western New York, it was sometimes possible to repay a large portion of the cost of clearing by the sale of pot and pearl ashes extracted from the logs, which were brought together into huge piles for burning. [Footnote: Life of Thurlow Weed (Autobiography), I., ii.] This was accomplished by a "log-rolling," under the united efforts of the neighbors, as in the case of the "raising." More commonly in the west the logs were wasted by burning, except such as were split into rails, which, laid one above another, made the zig-zag "worm-fences" for the protection of the fields of the pioneer.
When a clearing was sold to a later comer, fifty or sixty dollars, in addition to the government price of land, was commonly charged for forty acres, enclosed and partly cleared. [Footnote: Kingdom, America, 10, 54.] It was estimated that the cost of a farm of three hundred and twenty acres at the edge of the prairie in Illinois, at this time, would be divided as follows: for one hundred and sixty acres of prairie, two hundred dollars; for fencing it into four forty-acre fields with rail-fences, one hundred and sixty dollars; for breaking it up with a plough, two dollars per acre, or three hundred and twenty dollars; eighty acres of timber land and eighty acres of pasture prairie, two hundred dollars. Thus, with cabins, stables, etc., it cost a little over a thousand dollars to secure an improved farm of three hundred and twenty acres. [Footnote: J.M. Peck, Guide for Emigrants (1831), 183-188; cf. Birkbeck (London, 1818), Letters, 45, 46, 69-73; S.H. Collins, Emigrant's Guide; Tanner (publisher), View of the Valley of the Miss. (1834), 232; J. Woods, Two Years' Residence, 146, 172.] But the mass of the early settlers were too poor to afford such an outlay, and were either squatters within a little clearing, or owners of eighty acres, which they hoped to increase by subsequent purchase. Since they worked with the labor of their own hands and that of their sons, the cash outlay was practically limited to the original cost of the lands and articles of husbandry. The cost of an Indiana farm of eighty acres of land, with two horses, two or three cows, a few hogs and sheep, and farming utensils, was estimated at about four hundred dollars.
The peculiar skill required of the axeman who entered the hardwood forests, together with readiness to undergo the privations of the life, made the backwoodsman in a sense an expert engaged in a special calling. [Footnote: J. Hall, Statistics of the West, 101; cf. Chastellux, Travels in North America (London, 1787), I., 44.] Frequently he was the descendant of generations of pioneers, who, on successive frontiers, from the neighborhood of the Atlantic coast towards the interior, had cut and burned the forest, fought the Indians, and pushed forward the line of civilization. He bore the marks of the struggle in his face, made sallow by living in the shade of the forest, "shut from the common air," [Footnote: Birkbeck, Notes on Journey, 105-114.] and in a constitution often racked by malarial fever. Dirt and squalor were too frequently found in the squatter's cabin, and education and the refinements of life were denied to him. Often shiftless and indolent, in the intervals between his tasks of forest-felling he was fonder of hunting than of a settled agricultural life. With his rifle he eked out his sustenance, and the peltries furnished him a little ready cash. His few cattle grazed in the surrounding forest, and his hogs fed on its mast.
The backwoodsman of this type represented the outer edge of the advance of civilization. Where settlement was closer, co-operative activity possible, and little villages, with the mill and retail stores, existed, conditions of life were ameliorated, and a better type of pioneer was found. Into such regions circuit-riders and wandering preachers carried the beginnings of church organization, and schools were started. But the frontiersmen proper constituted a moving class, ever ready to sell out their clearings in [Footnote: Babcock, Forty Years of Pioneer Life ("Journals and Correspondence of J.M. Peck"), 101.] order to press on to a new frontier, where game more abounded, soil was reported to be better, and where the forest furnished a welcome retreat from the uncongenial encroachments of civilization. If, however, he was thrifty and forehanded, the backwoodsman remained on his clearing, improving his farm and sharing in the change from wilderness life.
Behind the type of the backwoodsman came the type of the pioneer farmer. Equipped with a little capital, he often, as we have seen, purchased the clearing, and thus avoided some of the initial hardships of pioneer life. In the course of a few years, as saw- mills were erected, frame-houses took the place of the log-cabins; the rough clearing, with its stumps, gave way to well-tilled fields; orchards were planted; live-stock roamed over the enlarged clearing; and an agricultural surplus was ready for export. Soon the adventurous speculator offered corner lots in a new town-site, and the rude beginnings of a city were seen.
Thus western occupation advanced in a series of waves: [Footnote: J.M. Peck, New Guide to the West (Cincinnati, 1848), chap. iv.; T. Flint, Geography and Hist. of the Western States, 350 et seq.; J. Flint, Letters from America, 206; cf. Turner, Significance of the Frontier in American History, in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1893, p. 214; McMaster, United States, V., 152-160.] the Indian was sought by the fur-trader; the fur-trader was followed by the frontiersman, whose live-stock exploited the natural grasses and the acorns of the forest; next came the wave of primitive agriculture, followed by more intensive farming and city life. All the stages of social development went on under the eye of the traveler as he passed from the frontier towards the east. Such were the forces which were steadily pushing their way into the American wilderness, as they had pushed for generations.
While thus the frontier folk spread north of the Ohio and up the Missouri, a different movement was in progress in the Gulf region of the west. In the beginning precisely the same type of occupation was to be seen: the poorer classes of southern emigrants cut out their clearings along rivers that flowed to the Gulf and to the lower Mississippi, and, with the opening of this decade, went in increasing numbers into Texas, where enterprising Americans secured concessions from the Mexican government. [Footnote: Garrison, Texas, chaps, xiii., xiv.; Wooten (editor), Comprehensive Hist. of Texas, I., chaps. viii., ix.; Texas State Hist. Assoc., Quarterly, VII., 29, 289; Bugbee, "Texas Frontier," in Southern Hist. Assoc., Publications, IV., 106.]
Almost all of the most recently occupied area was but thinly settled. It represented the movement of the backwoodsman, with axe and rifle, advancing to the conquest of the forest. But closer to the old settlements a more highly developed agriculture was to be seen. Hodgson, in 1821, describes plantations in northern Alabama in lands ceded by the Indians in 1818. Though settled less than two years, there were within a few miles five schools and four places of worship. One plantation had one hundred acres in cotton and one hundred and ten in corn, although a year and a half before it was wilderness. [Footnote: Hodgson, Letters from North Am., I., 269; see Riley (editor), "Autobiography of Lincecum," in Miss. Hist. Soc., Publications, VIII., 443, for the wanderings of a southern pioneer in the recently opened Indian lands of Georgia and the southwest in these years.]
But while this population of log-cabin pioneers was entering the Gulf plains, caravans of slave-holding planters were advancing from the seaboard to the occupation of the cotton-lands of the same region. As the free farmers of the interior had been replaced in the upland country of the south by the slaveholding planters, so now the frontiersmen of the southwest were pushed back from the more fertile lands into the pine hills and barrens. Not only was the pioneer unable to refuse the higher price which was offered him for his clearing, but, in the competitive bidding of the public land sales, [Footnote: Northern Ala. (published by Smith & De Land), 249; Brown, Hist. of Ala., 129-131; Brown, Lower South, 24-26.] the wealthier planter secured the desirable soils. Social forces worked to the same end. When the pioneer invited his slave-holding neighbor to a "raising," it grated on his sense of the fitness of things to have the guest appear with gloves, directing the gang of slaves which he contributed to the function. [Footnote: Smedes, A Southern Planter, 67.] Little by little, therefore, the old pioneer life tended to retreat to the less desirable lands, leaving the slave-holder in possession of the rich "buck-shot" soils that spread over central Alabama and Mississippi and the fat alluvium that lined the eastern bank of the Mississippi. Even to-day the counties of dense Negro population reveal the results of this movement of segregation.
By the side of the picture of the advance of the pioneer farmer, bearing his household goods in his canvas-covered wagon to his new home across the Ohio, must therefore be placed the picture of the southern planter crossing through the forests of western Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, or passing over the free state of Illinois to the Missouri Valley, in his family carriage, with servants, packs of hunting-dogs, and a train of slaves, their nightly camp-fires lighting up the wilderness where so recently the Indian hunter had held possession. [Footnote: Hodgson, Letters from North Am., I., 138; Niles' Register, XLIV., 222; Smedes, A Southern Planter, 52-54; Flint, Geography and History of the Western States, II., 350, 379; Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Travels, II., chaps. xvi., xvii.]
But this new society had a characteristic western flavor. The old patriarchal type of slavery along the seaboard was modified by the western conditions in the midst of which the slave-holding interest was now lodged. Planters, as well as pioneer farmers, were exploiting the wilderness and building a new society under characteristic western influences. Rude strength, a certain coarseness of life, and aggressiveness characterized this society, as it did the whole of the Mississippi Valley. [Footnote: Baldwin, Flush Times in Ala.; cf. Gilmer, Sketches of Georgia, etc.] Slavery furnished a new ingredient for western forces to act upon. The system took on a more commercial tinge: the plantation had to be cleared and made profitable as a purely business enterprise.
The slaves were purchased in considerable numbers from the older states instead of being inherited in the family. Slave-dealers passed to the southwest, with their coffles of Negroes brought from the outworn lands of the old south. It was estimated in 1832 that Virginia annually exported six thousand slaves for sale to other states. [Footnote: Collins, Domestic Slave Trade, 50.] An English traveler reported in 1823 that every year from ten to fifteen thousand slaves were sold from the states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, and sent to the south. [Footnote: Blane, Excursion through U.S., 226; Hodgson, Letters from North Am., I., 194.] At the same time, illicit importation of slaves through New Orleans reached an amount estimated at from ten to fifteen thousand a year. [Footnote: Collins, Domestic Slave Trade, 44.] It was not until the next decade that this incoming tide of slaves reached its height, but by 1830 it was clearly marked and was already transforming the southwest. Mississippi doubled the number of her slaves in the decade, and Alabama nearly trebled hers. In the same period the number of slaves of Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina increased but slightly.
As the discussion of the south has already made clear, the explanation of this transformation of the southwest into a region of slave-holding planters lies in the spread of cotton into the Gulf plains. In 1811 this region raised but five million pounds of cotton; ten years later its product was sixty million pounds; and in 1826 its fields were white with a crop of over one hundred and fifty million pounds. It soon outstripped the seaboard south. Alabama, which had practically no cotton crop in 1811, and only ten million pounds in 1821, had in 1834 eighty-five million pounds, [Footnote: See table of cotton crop, ante, p. 47.] a larger crop than either South Carolina or Georgia.
Soon after 1830 the differences between the northern and southern portions of the Mississippi Valley were still further accentuated. (1) From New York and New England came a tide of settlement, in the thirties, which followed the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes, and began to occupy the prairie lands which had been avoided by the southern axemen. This region then became an extension of the greater New England already to be seen in New York. (2) The southern pioneers in the northwest formed a transitional zone between this northern area and the slave states south of the Ohio. (3) In the Gulf plains a greater south was in process of formation, but by no means completely established. As yet it was a mixture of pioneer and planter, slave and free, profoundly affected by its western traits. [Footnote: Curry, "A Settlement in East Ala.," in Am. Hist. Magazine, II., 203.]
The different states of the south were steadily sending in bands of colonists. In Alabama, for example, the Georgians settled, as a rule, in the east; the Tennesseeans, moving from the great bend of the Tennessee River, were attracted to the northern and middle section; and the Virginians and Carolinians went to the west and southwest, following the bottom-lands near the rivers. [Footnote: Brown, Hist. of Ala., 129, 130; Northern Ala. (published bv Smith & De Land), pt. iv., 243 et seq.]
By 1820 the west had developed the beginnings of many of the cities which have since ruled over the region. Buffalo and Detroit were hardly more than villages until the close of this period. They waited for the rise of steam navigation on the Great Lakes and for the opening of the prairies. Cleveland, also, was but a hamlet during most of the decade; but by 1830 the construction of the canal connecting the Cuyahoga with the Scioto increased its prosperity, and its harbor began to profit by its natural advantages. [Footnote: Whittlesey, Early Hist. of Cleveland, 456; Kennedy, Hist. of Cleveland, chap. viii.] Chicago and Milwaukee were mere fur-trading stations in the Indian country. Pittsburgh, at the head of the Ohio, was losing its old pre-eminence as the gateway to the west, but was finding recompense in the development of its manufactures. By 1830 its population was about twelve thousand. [Footnote: Thurston, Pittsburg and Allegheny in the Centennial Year, 61.] Foundries, rolling-mills, nail-factories, steam-engine shops, and distilleries were busily at work, and the city, dingy with the smoke of soft coal, was already dubbed the "young Manchester" or the "Birmingham" of America. By 1830 Wheeling had intercepted much of the overland trade and travel to the Ohio, profiting by the old National Road and the wagon trade from Baltimore. [Footnote: Martin, Gazetteer of Va., 407.]
Cincinnati was rapidly rising to the position of the "Queen City of the West." Situated where the river reached with a great bend towards the interior of the northwest, in the rich farming country between the two Miamis, and opposite the Licking River, it was the commercial center of a vast and fertile region of Ohio and Kentucky; [Footnote: Melish, Information to Emigrants, 108.] and by 1830, with a population of nearly twenty-five thousand souls, it was the largest city of the west, with the exception of New Orleans. The center of steamboat-building, it also received extensive imports of goods from the east and exported the surplus crops of Ohio and adjacent parts of Kentucky. Its principal industry, however, was pork-packing, from which it won the name of "Porkopolis" [Footnote: Drake and Mansfield, Cincinnati in 1826, p. 70; Winter in the West, I., 115.] Louisville, at the falls of the Ohio, was an important place of trans-shipment, and the export center for large quantities of tobacco. There were considerable manufactures of rope and bagging, products of the Kentucky hemp-fields; and new cotton and woolen factories were struggling for existence. [Footnote: Durrett, Centenary of Louisville (Filson Club, Publications, No. 8), 50-101; Louisville Directory, 1832, p. 131.] St. Louis occupied a unique position, as the entrepot of the important fur-trade of the upper Mississippi and the vast water system of the Missouri, as well as the outfitting-point for the Missouri settlements. It was the capital of the far west, and the commercial center for Illinois. Its population at the close of the decade was about six thousand.
Only a few villages lay along the Mississippi below St. Louis until the traveler reached New Orleans, the emporium of the whole Mississippi Valley. As yet the direct effect of the Erie Canal was chiefly limited to the state of New York. The great bulk of western exports passed down the tributaries of the Mississippi to this city, which was, therefore, the center of foreign exports for the valley, as well as the port from which the coastwise trade in the products of the whole interior departed. In 1830 its population was nearly fifty thousand.
The rise of an agricultural surplus was transforming the west and preparing a new influence in the nation. It was this surplus and the demand for markets that developed the cities just mentioned. As they grew, the price of land in their neighborhood increased; roads radiated into the surrounding country; and farmers, whose crops had been almost worthless from the lack of transportation facilities, now found it possible to market their surplus at a small profit. While the west was thus learning the advantages of a home market, the extension of cotton and sugar cultivation in the south and southwest gave it a new and valuable market. More and more, the planters came to rely upon the northwest for their food supplies and for the mules and horses for their fields. Cotton became the engrossing interest of the plantation belt, and, while the full effects of this differentiation of industry did not appear in the decade of this volume, the beginnings were already visible. [Footnote: Callender, "Early Transportation and Banking Enterprises of the States," in Quarterly Journal of Econ., XVII., 3-54.] In 1835, Pitkin [Footnote: Pitkin, Statistical View (1835), 534.] reckoned the value of the domestic and foreign exports of the interior as far in excess of the whole exports of the United States in 1790. Within forty years the development of the interior had brought about the economic independence of the United States.
During most of the decade the merchandise to supply the interior was brought laboriously across the mountains by the Pennsylvania turnpikes and the old National Road; or, in the case of especially heavy freight, was carried along the Atlantic coast into the gulf and up the Mississippi and Ohio by steamboats. The cost of transportation in the wagon trade from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and Baltimore to Wheeling placed a heavy tax upon the consumer. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XX., 180.] In 1817 the freight charge from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh was sometimes as high as seven to ten dollars a hundredweight; a few years later it became from four to six dollars; and in 1823 it had fallen to three dollars. It took a month to wagon merchandise from Baltimore to central Ohio. Transportation companies, running four-horse freight wagons, conducted a regular business on these turn-pikes between the eastern and western states. In 1820 over three thousand wagons ran between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, transporting merchandise valued at about eighteen million dollars annually. [Footnote: Birkbeck, Journey from Va., 128; Ogden, Letters from the West, 8; Cobbett, Year's Residence, 337; Evans, Pedestrious Tour, 145; Philadelphia in 1824, 45; Searight, Old Pike, 107, 112; Mills, Treatise on Inland Navigation (1820), 89, 90, 93, 95-97; Journal of Polit. Econ., VIII., 36.]
The construction of the National Road reduced freight rates to nearly one-half what they were at the close of the War of 1812; and the introduction of steam navigation from New Orleans up the Mississippi cut water-rates by that route to one-third of the former charge. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., I Sess., I., 991; cf. Fearon, Sketches, 260; Niles' Register, XXV., 95; Cincinnati Christian Journal, July 27, 1830.] Nevertheless, there was a crying need for internal improvements, and particularly for canals, to provide an outlet for the increasing products of the west. "Even in the country where I reside, not eighty miles from tidewater," said Tucker, [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 15 Cong., I Sess., I., 1126.] of Virginia, in 1818, "it takes the farmer one bushel of wheat to pay the expense of carrying two to a seaport town."
The bulk of the crop, as compared with its value, practically prevented transportation by land farther than a hundred miles. [Footnote: McMaster, United States, III., 464.] It is this that helps to explain the attention which the interior first gave to making whiskey and raising live-stock; the former carried the crop in a small bulk with high value, while the live-stock could walk to a market. Until after the War of 1812, the cattle of the Ohio Valley were driven to the seaboard, chiefly to Philadelphia or Baltimore. Travelers were astonished to see on the highway droves of four or five thousand hogs, going to an eastern market. It was estimated that over a hundred thousand hogs were driven east annually from Kentucky alone. Kentucky hog-drivers also passed into Tennessee, Virginia, and the Carolinas with their droves. [Footnote: Life of Ephraim Cutler, 89; Birkbeck, Journey, 24.; Blane, Excursion through U. S. (London, 1824), 90; Atlantic Monthly, XXVI., 170.] The swine lived on the nuts and acorns of the forest; thus they were peculiarly suited to pioneer conditions. At first the cattle were taken to the plantations of the Potomac to fatten for Baltimore and Philadelphia, much in the same way that, in recent times, the cattle of the Great Plains are brought to the feeding-grounds in the corn belt of Kansas, Nebraska, and Iowa. [Footnote: Michaux, Travels, 191: Palmer, Journal of Travels, 36] Towards the close of the decade, however, the feeding-grounds shifted into Ohio, and the pork-packing industry, as we have seen, found its center at Cincinnati, [Footnote: Hall, Statistics of the West (1836), 145- 147.] the most important source of supply for the hams and bacon and salt pork which passed down the Mississippi to furnish a large share of the plantation food. From Kentucky and the rest of the Ohio Valley droves of mules and horses passed through the Tennessee Valley to the south to supply the plantations. Statistics at Cumberland Gap for 1828 gave the value of live-stock passing the turnpike gate there at $1,167,000. [Footnote: Emigrants' and Travellers' Guide to the West (1834), 194.] Senator Hayne, of South Carolina, declared that in 1824 the south was supplied from the west, through Saluda Gap, with live-stock, horses, cattle, and hogs to the amount of over a million dollars a year. [Footnote: Speech in Senate in 1832, Register of Debates in Cong., VIII., pt. i., 80; cf. Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., i Sess., I., 1411.]
But the outlet from the west over the roads to the east and south was but a subordinate element in the internal commerce. Down the Mississippi floated a multitude of heavily freighted craft: lumber rafts from the Allegheny, the old-time arks, with cattle, flour, and bacon, hay-boats, keel-boats, and skiffs, all mingled with the steamboats which plied the western waters. [Footnote: Flint, Recollections of the Last Ten Years, 101-110; E. S. Thomas, Reminiscences, I., 290-293; Hall, Statistics of the West (1836), 236; Howells, Life in Ohio, 85; Schultz, Travels, 129; Hulbert, Historic Highways, IX., chaps, iii., iv., v.] Flatboatmen, raftsmen, and deck-hands constituted a turbulent and reckless population, living on the country through which they passed, fighting and drinking in true "half-horse, half-alligator" style. Prior to the steamboat, all of the commerce from New Orleans to the upper country was carried on in about twenty barges, averaging a hundred tons each, and making one trip a year. Although the steamboat did not drive out the other craft, it revolutionized the commerce of the river. Whereas it had taken the keel-boats thirty to forty days to descend from Louisville to New Orleans, and about ninety days to ascend the fifteen hundred miles of navigation by poling and warping up-stream, the steamboat had shortened the time, by 1822, to seven days down and sixteen days up. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 17 Gong., 2 Sess., 407; McMaster, United States, V., 166; National Gazette, September 26, 1823 (list of steamboats, rates of passage, estimate of products); Blane, Excursion through the U. S., 119; Niles' Register, XXV., 95.] As the steamboats ascended the various tributaries of the Mississippi to gather the products of the growing west, the pioneers came more and more to realize the importance of the invention. They resented the idea of the monopoly which Pulton and Livingston wished to enforce prior to the decision of Chief- Justice Marshall, in the case of Gibbons vs. Ogden—a decision of vital interest to the whole interior. [Footnote: Thomas, Travels through the Western Country, 62; Alexandria Herald, June 23, 1817.]
They saw in the steamboat a symbol of their own development. A writer in the Western Monthly Review, [Footnote: Timothy Flint's Western Monthly Review (May, 1827), I., 25; William Bullock, Sketch of a Journey, 132.] unconsciously expressed the very spirit of the self-contented, hustling, materialistic west in these words: "An Atlantic cit, who talks of us under the name of backwoodsmen, would not believe, that such fairy structures of oriental gorgeousness and splendor, as the Washington, the Florida, the Walk in the Water, the Lady of the Lake, etc. etc., had ever existed in the imaginative brain of a romancer, much less, that they were actually in existence, rushing down the Mississippi, as on the wings of the wind, or plowing up between the forests, and walking against the mighty current 'as things of life,' bearing speculators, merchants, dandies, fine ladies, every thing real, and every thing affected, in the form of humanity, with pianos, and stocks of novels, and cards, and dice, and flirting, and love-making, and drinking, and champagne, and on the deck, perhaps, three hundred fellows, who have seen alligators, and neither fear whiskey, nor gun-powder. A steamboat, coming from New Orleans, brings to the remotest villages of our streams, and the very doors of the cabins, a little Paris, a section of Broadway, or a slice of Philadelphia, to ferment in the minds of our young people, the innate propensity for fashions and finery. Within a day's journey of us, three distinct canals are in respectable progress towards completion. . . . Cincinnati will soon be the center of the 'celestial empire,' as the Chinese say; and instead of encountering the storms, the sea sickness, and dangers of a passage from the gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic, whenever the Erie canal shall be completed, the opulent southern planters will take their families, their dogs and parrots, through a world of forests, from New Orleans to New York, giving us a call by the way. When they are more acquainted with us, their voyage will often terminate here."
By 1830 the produce which reached New Orleans from the Mississippi Valley amounted to about twenty-six million dollars. [Footnote: Quarterly Journal of Economics, XVII., 20; Pitkin, Statistical View (ed. of 1835), 534-536.] In 1822 three million dollars' worth of goods was estimated to have passed the Falls of the Ohio on the way to market, representing much of the surplus of the Ohio Valley. Of this, pork amounted to $1,000,000 in value; flour to $900,000; tobacco to $600,000; and whiskey to $500,000. [Footnote: National Republican, March 7, 1823; cf. National Gazette, September 26, 1823; Blane, Excursion through the U. S., 119.] The inventory of products reveals the Mississippi Valley as a vast colonial society, producing the raw materials of a simple and primitive agriculture. The beginnings of manufacture in the cities, however, promised to bring about a movement for industrial independence in the west. In spite of evidences of growing wealth, there was such a decline in agricultural prices that, for the farmer who did not live on the highways of commerce, it was almost unprofitable to raise wheat for the market.
An Ohio pioneer of this time relates that at the beginning of the decade fifty cents a bushel was a great price for wheat at the river; and as two horses and a man were required for four days to make the journey of thirty-five miles to the Ohio, in good weather, with thirty-five or forty bushels of wheat, and a great deal longer if the roads were bad, it was not to be expected that the farmer could realize more than twenty-five cents in cash for it. But there was no sale for it in cash. The nominal price for it in trade was usually thirty cents. [Footnote: Howells, Life in Ohio, 138; see M'Culloch, Commercial Dictionary, I., 683,684; Hazard, U.S. Commercial and Statistical Register, I., 251; O'Reilly, Sketches of Rochester, 362.] When wheat brought twenty-five cents a bushel in Illinois in 1825, it sold at over eighty cents in Petersburg, Virginia, and flour was six dollars a barrel at Charleston, South Carolina. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXIX, 165.]
These are the economic conditions that assist in understanding the political attitude of western leaders like Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson. The cry of the east for protection to infant industries was swelled by the little cities of the west, and the demand for a home market found its strongest support beyond the Alleghenies. Internal improvements and lower rates of transportation were essential to the prosperity of the westerners. Largely a debtor class, in need of capital, credit, and an expansion of the currency, they resented attempts to restrain the reckless state banking which their optimism fostered.
But the political ideals and actions of the west are explained by social quite as much as by economic forces. It was certain that this society, where equality and individualism flourished, where assertive democracy was supreme, where impatience with the old order of things was a ruling passion, would demand control of the government, would resent the rule of the trained statesmen and official classes, and would fight nominations by congressional caucus and the continuance of presidential dynasties. Besides its susceptibility to change, the west had generated, from its Indian fighting, forest-felling, and expansion, a belligerency and a largeness of outlook with regard to the nation's territorial destiny. As the pioneer, widening the ring-wall of his clearing in the midst of the stumps and marshes of the wilderness, had a vision of the lofty buildings and crowded streets of a future city, so the west as a whole developed ideals of the future of the common man, and of the grandeur and expansion of the nation.
The west was too new a section to have developed educational facilities to any large extent. The pioneers' poverty, as well as the traditions of the southern interior from which they so largely came, discouraged extensive expenditures for public schools. [Footnote: McMaster, United States, V., 370-372.] In Kentucky and Tennessee the more prosperous planters had private tutors, often New England collegians, for their children. For example, Amos Kendall, later postmaster-general, was tutor in Henry Clay's family. So- called colleges were numerous, some of them fairly good. In 1830 a writer made a survey of higher education in the whole western country and reported twenty-eight institutions, with seven hundred and sixty-six graduates and fourteen hundred and thirty undergraduates. Less than forty thousand volumes were recorded in the college and "social" libraries of the entire Mississippi Valley. [Footnote: Am. Quarterly Register (November, 1830), III., 127-131.] Very few students went from the west to eastern colleges; but the foundations of public education had been laid in the land grants for common schools and universities. For the present this fund was generally misappropriated and wasted, or worse. Nevertheless, the ideal of a democratic education was held up in the first constitution of Indiana, making it the duty of the legislature to provide for "a general system of education, ascending in a regular graduation from township schools to a State university, wherein tuition shall be gratis, and equally open to all." [Footnote: Poore, Charters and Constitutions, pt. i., 508 (art. ix., sec. 2 of Constitution of Ind., 1816).]
Literature did not flourish in the west, although the newspaper press [Footnote: W. H. Perrin, Pioneer Press of Ky. (Filson Club Publications).] followed closely after the retreating savage; many short-lived periodicals were founded, [Footnote: Venable, Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley, chap, iii.; W. B. Cairns, Development of American Literature from 1815 to 1833, in University of Wis., Bulletin (Phil, and Lit. Series), I., 60-63.] and writers like Timothy Flint and James Hall were not devoid of literary ability. Lexington, in Kentucky, and Cincinnati made rival claims to be the "Athens of the West." In religion, the west was partial to those denominations which prevailed in the democratic portions of the older sections. Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians took the lead. [Footnote: Am. Quarterly Register, III., 135 (November, 1830); Schermerhorn and Mills, View of U. S. West of the Alleghany Mountains (Hartford, 1814); Home Missionary, 1829, pp. 78, 79; 1830, p. 172; McMaster, United States, IV., 550-555.]
The religious life of the west frequently expressed itself in the form of emotional gatherings, in the camp-meetings and the revivals, where the rude, unlettered, but deeply religious backwoods preachers moved their large audiences with warnings of the wrath of God. Muscular Christianity was personified in the circuit-rider, who, with his saddle-bags and Bible, threaded the dreary trails through the forest from settlement to settlement. From the responsiveness of the west to religious excitement, it was easy to perceive that here was a region capable of being swayed in large masses by enthusiasm. These traits of the camp-meeting were manifested later in political campaigns.
Thus this society beyond the mountains, recruited from all the older states and bound together by the Mississippi, constituted a region swayed for the most part by common impulses. By the march of the westerners away from their native states to the public domain of the nation, and by their organization as territories of the United States, they lost that state particularism which distinguished many of the old commonwealths of the coast. The section was nationalistic and democratic to the core. The west admired the self-made man and was ready to follow its hero with the enthusiasm of a section more responsive to personality than to the programmes of trained statesmen. It was a self-confident section, believing in its right to share in government, and troubled by no doubts of its capacity to rule.
In the decade of which we write, more than two-thirds of the present area of the United States was Indian country—a vast wilderness stretching from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean. East of the Mississippi, the pioneers had taken possession of the hardwoods of the Ohio, but over the prairies between them and the Great Lakes the wild flowers and grasses grew rank and undisturbed. To the north, across Michigan and Wisconsin, spread the somber, white-pine wilderness, interlaced with hardwoods, which swept in ample zone along the Great Lakes, and, in turn, faded into the treeless expanse of the prairies beyond the Mississippi. To the south, in the Gulf plains, Florida was, for the most part, a wilderness; and, as we have seen, great areas of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia were still unoccupied by civilization.
West of the Mississippi lay a huge new world—an ocean of grassy prairie that rolled far to the west, till it reached the zone where insufficient rainfall transformed it into the arid plains, which stretched away to the foot-hills of the Rocky Mountains. Over this vast waste, equal in area to France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Denmark, and Belgium combined, a land where now wheat and corn fields and grazing herds produce much of the food supply for the larger part of America and for great areas of Europe, roamed the bison and the Indian hunter. Beyond this, the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevadas, enclosing high plateaus, heaved up their vast bulk through nearly a thousand miles from east to west, concealing untouched treasures of silver and gold. The great valleys of the Pacific coast in Oregon and California held but a sparse population of Indian traders, a few Spanish missions, and scattered herdsmen.
At the beginning of Monroe's presidency, the Pacific coast was still in dispute between England, Spain, Russia, and the United States. Holding to all of Texas, Spain also raised her flag over her colonists who spread from Mexico along the valley of the Rio Grande to Santa Fe, and she claimed the great unoccupied wilderness of mountain and desert comprising the larger portion of Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada, as well as California. In the decade of 1820-1830, fur-traders threaded the dark and forbidding defiles of the mountains, unfolded the secrets of the Great Basin, and found their way across the Rockies to California and Oregon; the government undertook diplomatic negotiations to safeguard American rights on the Pacific, and extended a line of forts well into the Indian country; while far-seeing statesmen on the floor of Congress challenged the nation to fulfill its destiny by planting its settlements boldly beyond the Rocky Mountains on the shores of the Pacific. It was a call to the lodgment of American power on that ocean, the mastery of which is to determine the future relations of Asiatic and European civilizations. [Footnote: Cf. Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xv.]
A survey of the characteristics of the life of the far west shows that, over Wisconsin and the larger part of Michigan, the Indian trade was still carried on by methods introduced by the French. [Footnote: Masson, Le Bourgeois de Nordwest; Parkman. Old Regime.] Aster's American Fur Company practically controlled the trade of Wisconsin and Michigan. It shipped its guns and ammunition, blankets, gewgaws, and whiskey from Mackinac to some one of the principal posts, where they were placed in the light birch canoes, manned by French boatmen, and sent throughout the forests to the minor trading-posts. Practically all of the Indian villages of the tributaries of the Great Lakes and of the upper Mississippi were regularly visited by the trader. The trading-posts became the nuclei of later settlements; the traders' trails grew into the early roads, and their portages marked out the location for canals. Little by little the fur-trade was undermining the Indian society and paving the way for the entrance of civilization. [Footnote: Turner, Character and Influence of the Fur Trade in Wis., in Wis. Hist. Soc., Transactions, 1889.]
In the War of 1812, all along the frontier of Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, as well as in the southwest, the settlers had drawn back into forts, much as in the early days of the occupation of Kentucky and Tennessee, and the traders and the Indians had been entirely under the influence of Great Britain. In the negotiations at Ghent, that power, having captured the American forts at Mackinac, Prairie du Chien, and Chicago, tried to incorporate in the treaty a provision for a neutral belt, or buffer state, of Indian territory in the northwest, to separate Canada from the United States. [Footnote: Cf. Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. x.] Taught by this experience, the United States, at the close of the war, passed laws excluding aliens from conducting the Indian trade, and erected forts at Green Bay, Prairie du Chien, Chicago, and Fort Snelling. By order of Secretary of War Calhoun, Governor Cass, of Michigan, made an expedition in 1820 along the south shore of Lake Superior into Minnesota, to compel the removal of English flags and to replace British by American influence. [Footnote: Schoolcraft, Hist, of Indian Tribes, VI., 422; ibid., Narrative Journal; "Doty's Journal," in Wis. Hist. Soc., Collections, XIII., 163.] At the same time, an expedition under Major Long visited the upper waters of the Minnesota River on a similar errand. [Footnote: Keating, Long's Expedition.] An agent who was sent by the government to investigate the Indian conditions of this region in 1820, recommended that the country now included in Wisconsin, northern Michigan, and part of Minnesota should be an Indian reservation, from which white settlements should be excluded, with the idea that ultimately the Indian population should be organized as a state of the Union. [Footnote: Morse, Report on Indian Affairs in 1820.]
The Creeks and Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws of the Gulf region were more advanced towards civilization than the Indians of the northwest. While the latter lived chiefly by hunting and trapping, the southwestern Indians had developed a considerable agriculture and a sedentary life. For that very reason, however, they were the more obnoxious to the pioneers who pressed upon their territory from all sides; and, as we shall see, strenuous efforts were made to remove them beyond the Mississippi.
Throughout the decade the problem of the future of the Indians east of this river was a pressing one, and the secretaries of war, to whose department the management of the tribes belonged, made many plans and recommendations for their civilization, improvement, and assimilation. But the advance of the frontier broke down the efforts to preserve and incorporate these primitive people in the dominant American society. [Footnote: Am. State Paps., Indian, II., 275, 542, et passim; J. Q. Adams, Memoirs, VII., 89, 90, 92; Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 234, et seq.]
Across the Mississippi, settlement of the whites had, in the course of this decade, pushed up the Missouri well towards the western boundary of the state, and, as the map of the settlement shows, had made advances towards the interior in parts of Arkansas as well. But these were only narrow wedges of civilization thrust into the Indian country, the field of operations of the fur-traders. Successors to the French traders who had followed the rivers and lakes of Canada far towards the interior, the Hudson's Bay Company, and the Northwest Company under British charters had carried their operations from the Great Lakes to the Pacific long before Americans entered the west. As early as 1793, Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific from the Great Lakes by way of Canada. [Footnote: Mackenzie, Travels.] The year before, an English ship under Vancouver explored the northwestern coast in the hope of finding a passage by sea to the north and east. He missed the mouth of the Columbia, which in the following month was entered by an American, Captain Gray, who ascended the river twenty miles. The expedition of Lewis and Clark, 1804-1806, made the first crossing of the continent from territory of the United States, and strengthened the claims of that country to the region of the Columbia. [Footnote: Cf. Charming, Jeffersonian System (Am. Nation, XII.), chap vii.]
John Jacob Astor's attempt to plant a trading-post at Astoria [Footnote: Irving, Astoria.] had been defeated by the treachery of his men, who, at the opening of the War of 1812, turned the post over to the British Northwest fur-traders. The two great branches of the Columbia, the one reaching up into Canada, and the other pushing far into the Rocky Mountains, on the American side, constituted lines of advance for the rival forces of England and the United States in the struggle for the Oregon country. The British traders rapidly made themselves masters of the region. [Footnote: Coues (editor), Greater Northwest.] By 1825 the Hudson's Bay Company monopolized the English fur-trade and was established at Fort George (as Astoria was rechristened), Fort Walla-Walla, and Fort Vancouver, near the mouth of the Willamette. Here, for twenty-two years, its agent, Dr. John McLoughlin, one of the many Scotchmen who have built up England's dominion in the new countries of the globe, ruled like a benevolent monarch over the realms of the British traders. [Footnote: Schafer, Pacific Northwest, chap. viii.] From these Oregon posts as centers they passed as far south as the region of Great Salt Lake, in what was then Mexican territory.
While the British traders occupied the northwest coast the Spaniards held California. Although they established the settlement of San Francisco in the year of the declaration of American independence, settlement grew but slowly. The presidios, the missions, with their Indian neophytes, and the cattle ranches feebly occupied this imperial domain. Yankee trading-ships gathered hides and tallow at San Diego, Monterey, and San Francisco; Yankee whalers, seal- hunters, and fur-traders sought the northwest coast and passed on to China to bring back to Boston and Salem the products of the far east. [Footnote: R. H. Dana, Two Years before the Mast.] But Spain's possession was not secure. The genius for expansion which had already brought the Russians to Alaska drew them down the coast even to California, and in 1812 they established Fort Ross at Bodega Bay, a few miles below the mouth of Russian River, north of San Francisco. This settlement, as well as the lesser one in the Farallone Islands, endured for nearly a generation, a menace to Spain's ascendancy in California in the chaotic period when her colonies were in revolt. [Footnote: H. H. Bancroft, Hist. of California, II., 628; Hittel, Hist. of California.]
In the mean time, from St. Louis as a center, American fur-traders, the advance-guard of settlement, were penetrating into the heart of the vast wilderness between the Mississippi and the Pacific coast. [Footnote: Chittenden, Am. Fur Trade of the Far West] This was a more absolute Indian domain than was the region between the Alleghenies and the Mississippi at the end of the seventeenth century—an empire of mountains and prairies, where the men of the Stone Age watched with alarm the first crawling waves of that tide of civilization that was to sweep them away. The savage population of the far west has already been described in an earlier volume of this series.[Footnote: Farrand, Basis of Am. Hist. (Am. Nation, II.), chaps, viii., ix., xii.; see also chap. iv. On the location of the Indians, see map, p. 309; Chittenden, Am. Fur Trade, II., pt. v., chaps, viii., ix., x.; Bureau of Ethnology, Seventh Annual Report.]
With the development of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, the most flourishing period of the St. Louis trade in the far west began. The founder of this company was William H. Ashley, a Virginian. Between the autumn of 1823 and the spring of the next year, one of his agents erected a post at the mouth of the Bighorn, and sent out his trappers through the Green River valley, possibly even to Great Salt Lake. A detachment of this party found the gateway of the Rocky Mountains, through the famous South Pass by way of the Sweetwater branch of the north fork of the Platte. This pass commanded the routes to the great interior basin and to the Pacific Ocean. What Cumberland Gap was in the advance of settlement across the Alleghenies, South Pass was in the movement across the Rocky Mountains; through it passed the later Oregon and California trails to the Pacific coast.
On the lower Missouri and at various places in the interior,[Footnote: See map, p. 114; Chittenden, Am. Fur Trade, I., 44-51 (describes posts, etc.).] stockaded trading-posts were erected by the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and its rival, the American Fur Company. In these posts the old fur-trade life of the past went on, with French half-breed packmen and boatmen, commanded by the bourgeois. But in some of the best trading-grounds, the savages declined to permit the erection of posts, and so, under Ashley's leadership, bands of mounted American trappers, chiefly Kentuckians, Tennesseeans, and Missourians, were sent out to hunt and trade in the rich beaver valleys of the mountains. The Rocky Mountain trappers were the successors to the Allegheny frontiersmen, carrying on in this new region, where nature wrought on a vaster plan, the old trapping life which their ancestors had carried on through Cumberland Gap in the "dark and bloody ground" of Kentucky.
Yearly, in June and July, a rendezvous was held in the mountains, to which the brigades of trappers returned with the products of their hunt, to receive the supplies for the coming year. Here, also, came Indian tribes to trade, and bands of free trappers, lone wanderers in the mountains, to sell their furs and secure supplies. [Footnote: Irving, Bonneville, chap. i.] The rendezvous was usually some verdure-clad valley or park set in the midst of snow-capped mountains, a paradise of game. Such places were Jackson's Hole, at the foot of the lofty Tetons, Pierre's Hole, not far away, and Ogden's Hole, near the present site of Ogden, in Utah. Great Salt Lake was probably first visited by Bridger in 1824, and the next year a party of Hudson Bay trappers were expelled by Americans who took possession of their furs. In 1826, Ashley carried a six-pounder cannon on wheels to Utah Lake for the defense of his post.
A new advance of the American fur-trader was made when Jedediah Smith succeeded Ashley as the leader in Rocky Mountain trade and exploration. In 1826 he left the Salt Lake rendezvous with a party of trappers to learn the secrets of the lands between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Proceeding to the southwest along the Virgin River, Smith descended it to the Colorado, and crossed the desert to San Diego, California. Here, by the intercession of a Yankee captain then in that port, he obtained supplies from the Spaniards, and turned to the northwest, traveling parallel to the coast for some three hundred miles to wintering grounds on the headwaters of the San Joaquin and the Merced. Leaving most of his party behind, he crossed the mountains, by a route south of the Humboldt, and returned to Great Salt Lake.
Almost immediately he set out again for California by the previous route, and in 1827 reached the San Jose mission. Here he was arrested by the Spanish authorities and sent under guard to Monterey, where another Yankee skipper secured his release. Wintering once more in California, this time on the American Fork, he reached the coast in the spring of 1828, and followed the Umpquah River towards the Oregon country. While he was absent, his camp was attacked by the Indians and fifteen of his men killed. Absolutely alone, Smith worked his way through the forest to Fort Vancouver, where he enjoyed the hospitality of Dr. McLoughlin through the winter. In the following spring he ascended the Columbia to the Hudson Bay posts among the Flatheads, and made his way in the summer of 1829 to the rendezvous of his company at the Tetons. In three years this daring trader, braving the horrors of the desert and passing unscathed from Indian attacks which carried off most of his companions, opened to knowledge much of the vast country between Great Salt Lake and the Pacific. [Footnote: H. H. Bancroft, California, III., 152-160, citing the sources.] In 1831, while on the Santa Fe trail, Smith and his companions lost their way. Perishing with thirst, he finally reached the Cimaron, where, as he was digging for water in its sandy bed, he was shot by an Indian.
Thus the active men of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, in the decade between 1820 and 1830, revealed the sources of the Platte, the Green, the Yellowstone, and the Snake rivers, and the characteristics of the Great Salt Lake region; they pioneered the way to South Pass, descended Green River by boat, carried cannon into the interior basin; showed the practicability of a wagon route through the Rockies, reached California from Salt Lake, crossed the Sierras and the deserts of Utah and Nevada, and became intimately acquainted with the activity of the British traders of the northwest coast. [Footnote: Chittenden, Am. Fur Trade, I., 306.]
Already an interest in Oregon and the Rocky Mountain region was arising on the eastern seaboard. In 1832, Captain Bonneville, an officer in the United States army, on leave of absence, passed with a wagon-train into the Rocky Mountains, where for nearly three years he trapped and traded and explored. [Footnote: Irving, Bonneville.] Walker, one of his men, in 1833, reached California by the Humboldt River (a route afterwards followed by the emigrants to California), and made known much new country. A New England enthusiast, Hall Kelley, had for some years been lecturing on the riches of the Oregon country and the need of planting an agricultural colony there. It was natural that Boston should be interested in the Oregon country, which was visited by so many vessels from that port. In 1820, New England missionaries settled in the Hawaiian Islands, closely connected by trade with the coast. In 1832, Nathaniel Wyeth, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, led a party of New-Englanders west, with the plan of establishing a trading and fishing post on the waters of the Columbia. [Footnote: Chittenden, Am. Fur Trade, I., 435; Wyeth's "Journals" are published by the Oregon Hist. Soc.; cf. Irving, Bonneville, chap. vi.]
With Wyeth, on a second expedition in 1834, went the Reverend Jason Lee and four Methodist missionaries. Two years later came Dr. Marcus Whitman and another company of missionaries with their wives; they brought a wagon through South Pass and over the mountains to the Snake River, and began an agricultural colony. Thus the old story of the sequence of fur-trader, missionary, and settler was repeated. The possession of Oregon by the British fur-trader was challenged by the American farmer.
Contemporaneously with the development of the fur-trade in the Rocky Mountains, a trade was opened between St. Louis and the old Spanish settlements at Santa Fe. Although even in the days of Washington adventurous frontiersmen like George Rogers Clark had set their eyes on Santa Fe and the silver-mines of the southwest, it was not until the Mexican revolution (1821), when Spain's control was weakened throughout her whole domain, that systematic trade was possible. In 1822, Becknell, of Missouri, took a wagon-train to Santa Fe, to trade for horses and mules and to trap en route. Year after year thereafter, caravans of Missouri traders found their way across the desert, by the Santa Fe trail, with cottons and other dry-goods furnished from St. Louis, and brought back horses, mules, furs, and silver. The trade averaged about one hundred and thirty thousand dollars a year, and was an important source of supply of specie for the west; and it stimulated the interest of St. Louis in the Mexican provinces. The mode of handling the wagon—trains that passed between Missouri and Santa Fe furnished the model for the caravans that later were to cross the plains in the rush to the gold-fields of California.[Footnote: Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies; Chittenden, Am. Fur Trade, II., chap. xxix.] By 1833 the important western routes were clearly made known.[Footnote: Semple, Am. Hist. and its Geographic Conditions, chap, x.] The Oregon trail, the Santa Fe trail, the Spanish trail, and the Gila route [Footnote: Personal Narrative of James O. Pattie; H. H. Bancroft, Hist. of California, III., 162.] had been followed by frontiersmen into the promised land of the Pacific coast and the southwest. In the course of ten years, not only had the principal secrets of the topography of the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, the passes across the Sierra Nevadas been revealed, but also the characteristics of the Spanish-American settlements of California and the Rio Grande region. Already pioneers sought Texas, and American colonization was preparing for another and greater conquest of the wilderness.
The interest of the United States government in the far west in this period was shown in exploration and diplomacy. Calhoun projected an extension of the forts of the United States well up the Missouri into the Indian country, partly as protection to the traders and partly as a defense against English aggressions. Two Yellowstone expeditions [Footnote: Chittenden, Am. Fur Trade, II., 562; Long's Expedition (Early Western Travels, XIV.-XVII.).] were designed to promote these ends. The first of these, 1819-1820, was a joint military and scientific undertaking; but the military expedition, attempting to ascend the Missouri in steamboats, got no farther than Council Bluffs. Mismanagement, extravagance, and scandal attended the undertaking, and the enterprise was made an occasion for a political onslaught on Calhoun's management of the war department.
The scientific expedition, under Major Long, of the United States Engineering Corps, ascended the Missouri in the Western Engineer, the first steamboat which navigated those waters above St. Louis—a stern-wheeler, with serpent-mouthed figure-head, through which the steam escaped, bringing terror to the savages along the banks. The expedition advanced far up the South Platte, discovered Long's Peak, and camped near the site of Denver. Thence the party passed to La Junta, Colorado, whence it broke into two divisions, one of which descended the Arkansas; the other reached the Canadian River (which it mistook for the Red) and descended to its junction with the Arkansas. The effort to push the military power of the government to the mouth of the Yellowstone failed, and the net result, on the military side, was a temporary post near the present site of Omaha.
The most important effect of the expedition was to give currency to Long's description of the country through which he passed as the "Great American Desert," unfit for cultivation and uninhabitable by agricultural settlers. The whole of the region between the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains seemed to him adapted as a range for buffalo, "calculated to serve as a barrier to prevent too great an extension of our population westward," and to secure us against the incursions of enemies in that quarter. [Footnote: Long's Expedition (Early Western Travels, XVII.), 147, 148.] A second expedition, in 1825, under General Atkinson and Major O'Fallon, reached the mouth of the Yellowstone, having made treaties with various Indian tribes on the way.
In the mean time, Congress and the president were busy with the question of Oregon. By the convention of 1818, with Great Britain, the northern boundary of the United States was carried from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains, along the forty-ninth parallel. Beyond the mountains, the Oregon country was left open, for a period of ten years, to joint occupation of both powers, without prejudice to the claims of either. Having thus postponed the Oregon question, the secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, turned to his Spanish relations. Obliged by Monroe to relinquish our claim to Texas in the treaty of 1819, by which we obtained Florida, he insisted on so drawing our boundary-line in the southwest as to acquire Spain's title to the Pacific north of the forty-second parallel, and to the lands that lay north and east of the irregular line from the intersection of this parallel with the Rocky Mountains to the Sabine. Adams was proud of securing this line to the Pacific Ocean, for it was the first recognition by an outside power of our rights in the Oregon country.[Footnote: Treaties and Conventions (ed. of 1889), 416, 1017; Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap, xvi.; J. Q. Adams, Memoirs, IV., 275.]
Although Russia put forward large and exclusive claims north of the fifty-first parallel, which we challenged, the contest for Oregon lay between England and the United States. At the close of 1820, Floyd, of Virginia, moved in the House of Representatives to inquire into the feasibility of the occupation of the Columbia River; and early the next year [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 16 Cong., 2 Sess., 945; J. Q. Adams, Memoirs, V., 238, 243-260.] a committee report was brought in, discussing the American rights. Floyd's bill provided for the military occupation of the Columbia River, donation of lands to actual settlers, and control of the Indians. No vote was reached, however, and it was not until the close of 1822 that the matter secured the attention of Congress.
Whatever may have been his motives, Floyd stated with vividness the significance of western advance in relation to the Pacific coast. He showed that, while in 1755, nearly a hundred and fifty years after the foundation of Jamestown, the population of Virginia had spread but three hundred miles into the interior of the country, during the last forty-three years population had spread westward more than a thousand miles. He recalled the days when more than a month was required to furnish Kentucky with eastern goods, by way of Pittsburgh, and when it required a voyage of over a month to pass from Louisville to New Orleans and nearly three months for the upward voyage. This had now been shortened by steamboat to seven days down and sixteen days up. From these considerations and the time from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia by steamboat and wagon, he argued that Oregon was no more distant from St. Louis in 1822 than St. Louis was twenty years before from Philadelphia. The fur-trade, the whale and seal fisheries, the trade with China, and the opportunity for agricultural occupation afforded by Oregon were all set forth.[Footnote: Annals of Cong., 17 Cong., 2 Sess., 397.]
Against the proposal, his opponents argued inexpediency rather than our treaties with Great Britain. Tracy, of New York, doubted the value of the Oregon country, and, influenced perhaps by Long's report, declared that "nature has fixed limits for our nation; she has kindly introduced as our Western barrier, mountains almost inaccessible, whose base she has skirted with irreclaimable deserts of sand."[Footnote: Ibid., 590.] In a later debate, Smyth, of Virginia, amplified this idea by a proposal to limit the boundaries of the United States, so that it should include but one or two tiers of states beyond the Mississippi. He would remove the Indians beyond this limit, and, if American settlements should cross it, they might be in alliance with, or under the protection of, the United States, but outside of its bounds. [Footnote: Register of Debates, 18 Cong., 2 Sess., I., 37.]
Baylies, of Massachusetts, declared that there were living witnesses "who have seen a population of scarcely six hundred thousand swelled into ten millions; a population which, in their youth, extended scarcely an hundred miles from the ocean, spreading beyond the mountains of the West, and sweeping down those mighty waters which open into regions of such matchless fertility and beauty." "Some now within these walls may, before they die, witness scenes more wonderful than these; and in aftertimes may cherish delightful recollections of this day, when America, almost shrinking from the 'shadows of coming events,' first placed her feet upon untrodden ground, scarcely daring to anticipate the grandeur which awaited her." Tucker, of Virginia, agreed that settlement "marches on, with the increasing rapidity of a fire, and nothing will stop it until it reaches the shores of the Pacific," which he estimated would be by 1872. But he was loath to see it accelerated, believing that the people on the east and the west side of the Rocky Mountains would have a permanent separation of interests. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 17 Cong., 2 Sess., 422.] Nor were even western men sanguine that the nation could retain the Pacific coast as an integral part of its vast empire. Senator Benton, of Missouri, was the congressional champion of the far west. Born in interior North Carolina, he had followed the frontier to Tennessee, and then, after killing his man in a duel and exchanging pistol-shots in a free fight with Jackson, he removed to the new frontier at St. Louis. Pedantic and ponderous, deeply read in curious historical lore, in many ways he was not characteristic of the far west, but in the coarse vigor with which he bore down opposition by abuse, and in the far horizon line of the policies he advocated, he thoroughly represented its traits.
Familiar as he was with frontier needs and aspirations, he urged the United States to block England's control of the northwest, and to assert title to the Oregon territory, with the idea of ultimately founding a new and independent American nation there. It is true that he admitted that along the ridge of the Rocky Mountains "the western limit of this republic should be drawn, and the statue of the fabled god Terminus should be raised upon its highest peak, never to be thrown down." [Footnote: Register of Debates, I., 712.]
Nevertheless, in his utterances the ideal of expansion was not to be mistaken. He spoke bravely in favor of the protection and extension of the fur-trade, [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 17 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 416; cf. ibid., 18 Cong., I Sess., I., 456.] pointing out that inasmuch as England occupied Oregon, she would, under the law of nations, have the right of possession until the question of sovereignty were decided. He warned his countrymen, in 1823, that Great Britain would monopolize the Pacific Ocean, and by obtaining control of the Rocky Mountain fur-trade would be able to launch the Indians of the north and west against the frontiers of Missouri and Arkansas, Illinois and Michigan, upon the first renewal of hostilities between the United States of America and the king of Great Britain. [Footnote: Ibid., 17 Cong., 2 Sess., 246-251.]
Benton believed that, within a century, a population greater than that of the United States of 1820 would exist on the west side of the Rocky Mountains; and he saw in the occupation of the northwest coast the means of promoting a trade between the valley of the Mississippi, the Pacific Ocean, and Asia. Upon the people of eastern Asia, he thought, the establishment of a civilized power on the opposite coast of America would produce great benefits. "Science, liberal principles in government, and the true religion, might cast their lights across the intervening sea. The valley of the Columbia might become the granary of China and Japan, and an outlet to their imprisoned and exuberant population…. Russia and the legitimates menace Turkey, Persia, China, and Japan; they menace them for their riches and dominions; the same Powers menace the two Americas for the popular forms of their Governments. To my mind the proposition is clear, that Eastern Asia and the two Americas, as they have become neighbors, should become friends." [Footnote: Register of Debates, I., 712.]
With true western passion he denounced the relinquishment of Texas by the treaty of 1819. "The magnificent valley of the Mississippi is ours," he proclaimed, "with all its fountains, springs, and floods and woe to the statesman who shall undertake to surrender one drop of its water, one inch of its soil, to any foreign power." He was ready for a war with Spain, believing that it would give the United States the Floridas and Cuba, "the geographical appurtenance of the valley of the Mississippi"; that it would free the New from the Old World; and that it would create a cordon of republics across the two continents of North and South America. He pointed to the west as the route to the east—the long-sought way to India; and, in imagination, he outlined the states to be laid off "from the center of the valley of the Mississippi to the foot of the shining mountains." "It is time," he wrote, "that Western men had some share in the destinies of this republic." [Footnote: Meigs, Benton, 98, 99, cf. 91.]
In 1820 the United States had a population of about nine and one- half millions; in 1830, nearly thirteen millions. It was spread out from east to west like a page in the history of society. On the Atlantic seaboard were the centers of American civilization that had grown up in colonial days in close touch with Europe. From this region of commerce and manufacture, the nation, on its march towards the west, changed through successive types of industrial life until in the Rocky Mountains the frontier fur-trader mingled with the Indians. The successive stages of social evolution which at first were exhibited in narrow belts on the Atlantic coast had now spread nearly across the continent. [Footnote: Turner, "Significance of the Frontier," in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1893, pp. 200, 206, 208.]
Not only was the country vast in extent, it was rapidly growing. In the decade the nation increased its population by over three million and a quarter inhabitants, an addition which nearly equaled the whole population of any one of the three great sections, the middle states, the south, and the west. As traveler after traveler passed over the routes of his predecessor in this period, reporting the life by the wayside and in the towns, we can almost see American society unfolding with startling rapidity under our gaze; farms become hamlets, hamlets grow into prosperous cities; the Indian and the forests recede; new stretches of wilderness come into view in the farther west, and we see the irresistible tide of settlement flowing towards the solitudes.
Nevertheless, at the opening of our survey the nation was in the gloom of the panic of 1819. This was brought on by the speculative reaction that immediately followed the war, when the long-pent-up crops of cotton found a market at the extraordinary price of nearly thirty cents a pound, and as high as seventy-eight dollars per acre was bid for government land in the offices of the southwest. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 16 Cong., I Sess., 446.] The policy of the government fostered reckless purchases of public land. In the critical times of the closing years of the war, the treasury agreed to accept the notes of state banks in payment for lands, on condition that these banks should resume specie payment; and then the banks, while taking only nominal steps towards resumption, loaned their paper freely to the settlers and speculators who wished to invest in the public domain.
Under the credit system already mentioned, the pioneer was tempted to exhaust his funds in making his first partial payment, and to rely upon loans from some "wild cat" bank wherewith to complete the purchase of the hundred and sixty acres, the smallest tract offered under the terms of the law; planters, relying equally on the state banks, bought great tracts of land at absurd prices; speculators, tempted by the rapid rise in land values and by the ease of securing loans, purchased large quantities in the hope of selling before it became necessary to complete their payment. On the seaboard, extravagance abounded as a reaction from the economies of war times, imported manufactures found a ready market, and the domestic factories were in distress.
While state banks greatly multiplied and expanded their circulation freely to meet the demands of borrowers, [Footnote: Stunner, Hist, of Banking, I., chaps, iv.-vi.] the United States Bank not only failed to check the movement, but even contributed to it. After a dance of speculation, the bank, in the summer of 1818, was facing ruin, and it took drastic means to save itself. Its measures compelled the state banks to redeem their notes in specie or close their doors. [Footnote: Catterall, Second Bank, chap. iii.; Dewey, Financial Hist, of the U. S., chap, vii.; Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation. XIII.), chap. xiii.]
By the spring of 1819 the country was in the throes of a panic. State-bank issues were reduced from one hundred million dollars in 1817 to forty-five millions in 1819. Few banks in the south and west were able to redeem their notes in specie before 1822; but they pressed their debtors harshly. Staple productions fell to less than half of their former price; land values declined fifty to seventy per cent.; manufacturers were in distress; laborers were out of work; merchants were ruined. [Footnote: J. Q. Adams, Memoirs, IV., 375; Jefferson, Writings, X., 257; Benton, View, I., 5; Niles' Register, XVI., 114; Hodgson, Travels, II., 128; Sumner, Hist, of Banking, I., chaps, vii., viii.] The conditions are illustrated in the case of Cincinnati. By the foreclosure of mortgages, the national bank came to own a large part of the city-hotels, coffee- houses, warehouses, stables, iron foundries, residences, and vacant lots. "All the flourishing cities of the West," cried Benton, "are mortgaged to this money power. They may be devoured by it at any moment. They are in the jaws of the monster!" Throughout the south and west the bank became familiarly known as The Monster. [Footnote: Catterall, Second Bank, 67.]
Even in the days of its laxity the national bank was obnoxious in many quarters of the country. By the state constitution of 1816 Indiana attempted to prevent the establishment within its limits of any bank not chartered by the state; and Illinois incorporated a similar provision in her constitution of 1818. Between 1817 and 1819 Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Ohio all passed acts taxing the United States Bank. [Footnote: Ibid., 64, 65.] Ohio, defying the decision of the supreme court in The case of McCulloch vs. Maryland, which asserted the constitutionality of the bank and denied to the states the right to tax it, forcibly collected the tax and practically outlawed the bank. [Footnote: See chap. xv., below.]
From the beginning of our history the frontier had been a debtor region, always favorable to an expansion of the currency and to laws to relieve the debtor class. It was but the continuation of an old practice when the western legislature in this time of stringency attempted measures of relief for their citizens. Kentucky's "litter" of forty banks chartered in the session of 1818-1819 had been forced to the wall by the measures of the national bank. After the panic, Kentucky repealed the charters of these banks and incorporated the Bank of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, an institution without stockholders and under officers elected by the legislature and paid by the state. Its notes were assigned to the counties in proportion to the taxable property, to be loaned on mortgage securities to those who needed them "for the purpose of paying his, her, or their just debts," or to purchase products for exportation. The only real capital of the bank was a legislative appropriation of seven thousand dollars to buy the material and plates for printing notes. In short, the treasury of the state was used as a kind of land bank of the sort favored in the colonial days for the relief of the debtors.[Footnote: Cf. Greene, Provincial America Am. Nation, VI., chap. xvii.] The legislature then passed a replevin law giving the debtor a delay of two years to satisfy an execution, in case the creditor refused to accept notes of the Bank of the Commonwealth of Kentucky as payment; otherwise the debtor received an extension of but one year. By another law, land could not be sold under execution to pay a debt unless it brought three-fourths of its value as appraised by a board of neighbors, usually themselves debtors and interested in supporting values.
In 1823 the court of appeals of Kentucky declared the replevin and stay laws unconstitutional. In retaliation the legislature, in December, 1824, repealed the law establishing the court of appeals, and a new court was created favorable to the "relief system." This act the old court also declared unconstitutional, and a contest followed between the "old court" and the "new court" parties, which lasted until 1826, when the "old court," "anti-relief" party was victorious. In the mean time, similar relief measures had been passed in Tennessee, Illinois, Missouri, and other western states.[Footnote: Summer, Hist. of Banking, I., chap. x.; ibid., 122, 146, 157, 161; Durrett, Centenary of Louisville; McMaster, United states, V., 160.]
The distress brought about by the panic of 1819, the popular antagonism to the banks in general, and especially to the Bank of the United States, as "engines of aristocracy," oppressive to the common people, and the general discontent with the established order, had, as we have seen, produced a movement comparable to the populist agitation of our own time.
Upon the general government the first effect of this period of distress was a general reduction of the revenue. Imports fell from about $121,000,000 in 1818 to $87,000,000 in 1819. Customs receipts, Which in 1816 were over $36,000,000, were but $13,000,000 in 1821. Receipts for public lands, which amounted to $3,274,000 in 1819, were but $1,635,000 in 1820. In December, 1819, Crawford, the secretary of the treasury, was obliged to announce a deficit which required either a reduction in expenditures or an increase in revenue. Congress provided for two loans, one of $3,000,000 in 1820, and another of $5,000,000 in 1821. A policy of retrenchment was vigorously instituted, leveled chiefly at the department of war. Internal improvement schemes which had been urged in Congress in 1818 were now temporarily put to rest. With the year 1822, however, conditions brightened, and the treasury began a long term of prosperity. [Footnote: Dewey, Financial Hist. of the U. S., 168.]
One of the most important results of the crisis was the complete reorganization of the system of disposal of the public lands. The public domain was more than a source of revenue to the general government; it was one of the most profoundly influential factors in shaping American social conditions. The settler who entered the wilderness with but a small capital, or who became a squatter on the public lands without legal title, was impatient with the policy which made revenue the primary consideration of the government. Benton expressed this view in 1826, [Footnote: Register of Debates, 19 Cong., I Sess., I., 727.] when he said: "I speak to statesmen, and not to compting clerks; to Senators, and not to Quaestors of provinces; to an assembly of legislators, and not to a keeper of the King's forests. I speak to Senators who know this to be a Republic, not a Monarchy; who know that the public lands belong to the People and not to the Federal Government." The effect of the credit system had been, as we have seen, to stimulate speculation and to plunge the settlers deeply in debt to the general government.
By 1820 these payments for the public lands were over twenty-two million dollars in arrears. Relief measures passed by Congress from time to time had extended the period of payment and made other concessions. Now the government had to face the problem of reconstructing its land laws or of continuing the old credit system and relentlessly expelling the delinquent purchasers from their hard-won homes on the public domain. Although the legal title remained in the government, the latter alternative was so obviously dangerous and inexpedient that Congress passed two new acts. The first [Footnote: U. S. Statutes at Large, III., 566.] (April 24, 1820) reduced the price of land from two dollars to one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, abolished the system of credit, and provided that lands might be purchased in multiples of eighty acres. Thus the settler with one hundred dollars could secure full title to a farm. This was followed by a relief act (March 2, 1821), recommended by Secretary Crawford, [Footnote: Am. State Papers., Finance, III., 551, 718; U. S. Statutes at Large, III., 566.] allowing previous purchasers to relinquish their claims to land for which they had not paid, and apply payments already made to full purchase of a portion of the land to be retained by the buyer, all overdue interest to be remitted. [Footnote: Ibid., III., 612.] It is significant that this system was not unlike the relief system which had been so popular in the west.
This adjustment of the land question by no means closed the agitation. A few years later Benton repeatedly urged Congress to graduate the price of public lands according to their real value, and to donate to actual settlers lands which remained unsold after they had been offered at fifty cents an acre. [Footnote: Speech in the Senate, May 16, 1826, Meigs, Benton, 163-170.] The argument rested chiefly on the large number of men unable to secure a farm even under the cheaper price of 1820; the great quantity of public land which remained unsold after it had been offered; the advantage to the revenues from filling the vacant lands with a productive population; and the injustice to the western states, which found themselves unable to obtain revenue by taxing unsold public lands and which were limited in their power of eminent domain and jurisdiction as compared with the eastern states, which owned their public lands. In this agitation lay the germs of the later homestead system, as well as of the propositions to relinquish the federal public lands to the states within which they lay.
With manufacturers in distress, thousands of operatives out of employment, and the crops of parts of the middle states and the west falling in price to a point where it hardly paid to produce them, an appeal to Congress to raise the duties established by the tariff of 1816 [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.). chap. xiv.] was inevitable. Hence, in the spring of 1820 a new tariff bill was presented by Baldwin, of Pennsylvania, the member from Pittsburgh. He came from a city which felt the full effects of the distress of the manufacturers, especially those of iron and glass, and which was one of the important centers of the great grain- raising area of the middle states and the Ohio Valley.
Baldwin believed that the time had arrived when, "all the great interests of the country being equally prostrate, and one general scene of distress pervading all its parts," there should be a common effort to improve conditions by a new tariff, intended not for the sake of restoring the depleted treasury, but distinctly for protection. Its advocates proposed to meet the failure of the system of revenue, not by encouraging importations, but by internal taxes and excises on the manufactured goods protected by the impost. Additional revenue would be secured by higher duties on sugar, molasses, coffee, and salt. The bill increased ad valorem duties by an amount varying from twenty-five to sixty-six per cent, additional. For woolen and cotton manufactures the rate of additional duty was about one-third; on hemp, an important product in Kentucky, about two-thirds. Duty on forged iron bars was increased from seventy-five cents to one dollar and twenty-five cents per hundred-weight. On many other articles the increase of duty amounted to from twenty to one hundred per cent.
Naturally the home-market argument played an important part in the debates. It was relied upon especially by Henry Clay in his closing speech, [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 16 Cong., I Sess., II., 3034.] in which he argued that the rapidity of growth of the United States as compared with Europe made the ratio of the increase of her capacity of consumption to that of our capacity of production as one to four. Already he thought Europe was showing a want of capacity to consume our surplus; in his opinion, cotton, tobacco, and bread- stuffs had already reached the maximum of foreign demand. From this he argued that home manufactures should be encouraged to consume the surplus, and that some portion of American industry should be diverted from agriculture to manufacturing.
Industrial independence also required this action. England had recently imposed new duties on wool and cotton, and her corn laws contributed to limit her demand for our flour. "I am, too," he said, "a friend of free trade, but it must be a free trade of perfect reciprocity. If the governing considerations were cheapness; if national independence were to weigh nothing; if honor nothing; why not subsidize foreign powers to defend us?" He met the argument of the deficiency of labor and of the danger of developing overcrowded and pauperized manufacturing centers by reasoning that machinery would enable the Americans to atone for their lack of laborers; and that while distance and attachment to the native soil would check undue migration of laborers to the west, at the same time the danger of congestion in the east would be avoided by the attraction of the cheap western lands.
Lowndes, of South Carolina, who with Calhoun had been one of the prominent supporters of the tariff in 1816, now made the principal speech in opposition: he denied the validity of the argument in favor of a home market and contended that the supply of domestic grain would in any case exceed the demand; and that, however small the export, the price of the portion sent abroad would determine that of the whole. It is important to observe that the question of constitutionality was hardly raised. The final vote in the House (April 29, 1820) stood 91 to 78. New England gave 18 votes in favor and 17 opposed; the middle region, including Delaware, gave 56 votes for and 1 vote against; the south, including Maryland and her sister states on the southern seaboard, gave 5 votes in favor and 50 opposed. The northwest gave its 8 votes in favor, and the southwest, including Kentucky, gave 4 votes in favor and 10 opposed. The vote of New England was the most divided of that of any section. From the manufacturing states of Connecticut and Rhode Island but one member, a Connecticut man, voted in opposition to the bill. The only 3 negative votes from Massachusetts proper came from the commercial region of Boston and Salem. That portion of Massachusetts soon to become the state of Maine gave 4 votes in opposition and only 2 in favor, the latter coming from the areas least interested in the carrying-trade. New Hampshire and Vermont gave their whole vote in opposition, except for one affirmative from Vermont. Kentucky's vote was 4 in favor to 3 opposed, Speaker Clay not voting.
In general, the distribution of the vote shows that the maritime interests united with the slave-holding planters, engaged in producing tobacco, cotton, and sugar, in opposition. On the other side, the manufacturing areas joined with the grain and wool raising regions of the middle and western states to support the measure. From the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, casting altogether 65 votes, but one man voted against the bill, and he was burned in effigy by his constituents and resigned the same year. Of the 53 votes cast by the south and southwest, outside of the border states of Maryland and Kentucky, there were but 5 affirmative votes. It is seen, therefore, that in the House of Representatives, on the tariff issue, the middle states and the Ohio Valley were combined against the south and southwest, while New England's influence was nullified by her division of interests. By a single vote, on a motion to postpone, the measure failed in the Senate; but the struggle was only deferred.
The most important aspect of the panic of 1819 was its relation to the forces of unrest and democratic change that were developing in the United States. Calhoun and John Quincy Adams, conversing in the spring of 1820 upon politics, had the gloomiest apprehensions. There had been, within two years, Calhoun said, "an immense revolution of fortunes in every part of the Union; enormous numbers of persons utterly ruined; multitudes in deep distress; and a general mass of disaffection to the Government not concentrated in any particular direction, but ready to seize upon any event and looking out anywhere for a leader." They agreed that the Missouri question and the debates on the tariff were merely incidental to this state of things, and that this vague but wide-spread discontent, caused by the disordered circumstances of individuals, had resulted in a general impression that there was something radically wrong in the administration of the government. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 128; cf. IV., 498.] Although this impression was the result of deeper influences than those to which it was attributed by these statesmen, yet the crisis of 1819, which bore with peculiar heaviness upon the west and south, undoubtedly aggravated all the discontent of those regions. To the historian the movement is profoundly significant, for ultimately it found its leader in Andrew Jackson. More immediately it led to the demand for legislation to prevent imprisonment for debt, [Footnote: See, for example, Annals of Cong., 16 Cong., 2 Sess., 1224; McMaster, United States, IV., 532-535.] to debates over a national bankruptcy law, [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 16 Cong., 2 Sess., I., 757, 759, 792, 1203 et passim.] to the proposal of constitutional amendments leading to the diminution of the powers of the supreme court, to a reassertion of the sovereignty of the states, [Footnote: See chap. viii., below.] and to new legislation regarding the public lands and the tariff. The next few years bore clear evidence of the deep influence which this period of distress had on the politics and legislation of the country.
In the dark period of the commercial crisis of 1819, while Congress was considering the admission of Missouri, the slavery issue flamed out, and revealed with startling distinctness the political significance of the institution, fateful and ominous for the nation, transcending in importance the temporary financial and industrial ills.
The advance of settlement in the United States made the slavery contest a struggle for power between sections, marching in parallel columns into the west, each carrying its own system of labor. [Footnote: For previous questions of slavery, see Channing, Jeffersonian System (Am. Nation, XII.), chap. viii.] By 1819 the various states of the north, under favorable conditions of climate and industrial life, had either completely extinguished slavery or were in the process of emancipation [Footnote: See map, p. 6.] and by the Ordinance of 1787 the old Congress had excluded the institution in the territory north of the Ohio River. Thus Mason and Dixon's line and the Ohio made a boundary between the slave-holding and the free streams of population that flowed into the Mississippi Valley. Not that this line was a complete barrier: the Ordinance of 1787 was not construed to free the slaves already in the old French towns of the territory; and many southern masters brought their slaves into Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois by virtue of laws which provided for them under the fiction of indented servants. [Footnote: Harris, Negro Servitude in Ill., 10; Durm, Indiana, chaps. ix., x.] Indeed, several efforts were made in the territory of Indiana at the beginning of the nineteenth century to rescind the prohibition of 1787; but to this petition Congress, under the strange leadership of John Randolph, gave a negative; [Footnote: Ibid., chap, xii.; Hinsdale, Old Northwest, chap, xviii.] and, after a struggle between the southern slavery and antislavery elements by which the state had been settled, Indiana entered the Union in 1816 as a free state, under an agreement not to violate the Ordinance of 1787.
Illinois, on her admission in 1818, also guaranteed the provisions of the Ordinance of 1787, and, not without a contest, included in her constitution an article preventing the introduction of slavery, but so worded that the system of indenture of Negro servants was continued in a modified form. The issue of slavery still continued to influence Illinois elections, and, as the inhabitants saw well- to-do planters pass with their slaves across the state to recruit the property and population of Missouri, a movement (1823-1824) in favor of revising their constitution so as to admit slavery required the most vigorous opposition to hold the state to freedom. The leader of the antislavery forces in Illinois was a Virginian, Governor Coles (once private secretary to President Madison), who had migrated to free his slaves after he became convinced that it was hopeless to make the fight which Jefferson advised him to carry on in favor of gradual emancipation in his native state. [Footnote: Harris, Negro Servitude in III., chap. iv.; Washburne, Coles, chaps, iii., v.] In both Indiana and Illinois, the strength of the opposition to slavery and indented servitude came from the poorer whites, particularly from the Quaker and Baptist elements of the southern stock, and from the northern settlers.
In Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina, ever since the decline of the tobacco culture, a strong opposition to slavery had existed, shown in the votes of those states on the Ordinance of 1787, and in the fact that as late as 1827 the great majority of the abolition societies of the United States were to be found in this region. [Footnote: Dunn, Indiana, 190; Bassettin Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, XVI., No. vi.; cf. Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.), chap. xi.] But the problem of dealing with the free Negro weighed upon the south. Even in the north these people were unwelcome. They frequently became a charge upon the community, and they were placed under numerous disabilities. [Footnote: McMaster, United States, IV., 558; Gordy, Political Hist, of U. S., II., 405.]
The idea of deporting freedmen from the United States found support both among the humanitarians, who saw in it a step towards general emancipation, and among the slave-holders who viewed the increase of the free Negroes with apprehension. To promote this solution of the problem, the Colonization Society [Footnote: McPherson, Liberia; McMaster, United States, IV., 556 et seq.] was incorporated in 1816, and it found support, not only from antislavery agitators like Lundy, who edited the "Genius of Universal Emancipation" at Baltimore, but also from slave-holders like Jefferson, Clay, and Randolph. It was the design of this society to found on the coast of Africa a colony of free blacks, brought from the United States. Although, after unsuccessful efforts, Liberia was finally established in the twenties, with the assistance of the general government (but not under its jurisdiction), it never promoted state emancipation. Nevertheless, at first it met with much sympathy in Virginia, where in 1820 the governor proposed to the legislature the use of one-third of the state revenue as a fund to promote the emancipation and deportation of the Negroes. [Footnote: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 173, 178; Niles' Register, XVII., 363; King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 342; Adams, Memoirs, IV., 293.]
The unprofitableness of slavery in the border states, where outworn fields, the decline of tobacco culture, and the competition of western lands bore hard on the planter, [Footnote: See chap. iv. above; Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.), chap. iv.] now became an argument in favor of, permitting slavery to pass freely into the new country of the west. Any limitation of the area of slavery would diminish the value of the slaves and would leave the old south to support, under increasingly hard conditions, the redundant and unwelcome slave population in its midst. The hard times from 1817 to 1820 rendered slave property a still greater burden to Virginia. Moreover, the increase of the proportion of slaves to whites, if slavery were confined to the region east of the Mississippi, might eventually make possible a servile insurrection, particularly if foreign war should break out. All of these difficulties would be met, in the opinion of the south, by scattering the existing slaves and thus mitigating the evil without increasing the number of those in bondage.
It was seen that the struggle was not simply one of morals and of rival social and industrial institutions, but was a question of political power between the two great and opposing sections, interested, on the one side, in manufacturing and in the raising of food products under a system of free labor; and, on the other, in the production of the great staples, cotton, tobacco, and sugar, by the use of slave labor. Already the southern section had shown its opposition to tariff and internal improvements, which the majority of, the northern states vehemently favored. In other words, the slavery issue was seen to be a struggle for sectional domination.
At the beginning of the nation in 1790, the population of the north and the south was almost exactly balanced. Steadily, however, the free states drew ahead, until in 1820 they possessed a population of 5,152,000 against 4,485,000 for the slave-holding states and territories; and in the House of Representatives, by the operation of the three-fifths ratio, the free states could muster 105 votes to but 81 for the slave states. Thus power had passed definitely to the north in the House of Representatives. The instinct for self- preservation that led the planters to stand out against an apportionment in their legislatures which would throw power into the hands of non-slaveholders now led them to seek for some means to protect the interests of their minority section in the nation as a whole. The Senate offered such an opportunity: by the alternate admission of free and slave states from 1802 to 1818, out of the twenty-two states of the nation eleven were slave-holding and eleven free. If the south retained this balance, the Senate could block the action of the majority which controlled the lower House.
Such was the situation when the application of Missouri for admission as a state in 1819 presented to Congress the whole question of slavery beyond the Mississippi, where freedom and slavery had found a new fighting-ground. East of the Mississippi the Ohio was a natural dividing-line; farther west there appeared no obvious boundary between slavery and freedom. By a natural process of selection, the valleys of the western tributaries of the Mississippi, as far north as the Arkansas and Missouri, in which slaves had been allowed while it was a part of French and Spanish Louisiana (no restraints having been imposed by Congress), received an increasing proportion of the slave-holding planters. It would, in the ordinary course of events, become the area of slave states.
The struggle began in the House of Representatives, when the application of Missouri for statehood was met by an amendment, introduced by Tallmadge of New York, February 13, 1819, [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 15 Cong., 2 Sess., I., 1170.] providing that further introduction of slavery be prohibited and that all children born within the state after admission should be free at the age of twenty-five years. [Footnote: See amended form in House Journal, 15 Cong., 2 Sess., 272.] Tallmadge had already showed his attitude on this question when in 1818 he opposed the admission of Illinois under its constitution, which seemed to him to make insufficient barriers to slavery. Brief as was the first Missouri debate, the whole subject was opened up by arguments to which later discussion added but little. The speaker, Henry Clay, in spite of the fact that early in his political career he had favored gradual emancipation in Kentucky, led the opposition to restriction. His principal reliance was upon the arguments that the evils of slavery would be mitigated by diffusion, and that the proposed restriction was unconstitutional. Tallmadge and Taylor, of New York, combated these arguments so vigorously and with such bold challenge of the whole system of slavery in new territories, that Cobb, of Georgia, declared, "You have kindled a fire which all the waters of the ocean cannot put out, which seas of blood can only extinguish." [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 15 Coneg., 2 Sess., I., 1204.]
The first clause of Tallmadge's motion was carried (February 16, 1819) by a vote of 87 to 76, and the second by 82 to 78. [Footnote: Ibid., 1214.] Taylor was emboldened to offer (February 18) to the bill for the organization of Arkansas territory an amendment by which slavery should be excluded, whereupon McLane, of Delaware, tentatively proposed that a line should be drawn west of the Mississippi, dividing the territories between freedom and slavery. Thus early was the whole question presented to Congress. In the Senate, Tallmadge's amendment was lost (February 27) by a vote of 22 to 16, several northern senators adhering to the south; and Congress adjourned without action. [Footnote: But Arkansas was organized as a territory without restriction.]
The issue was then transferred to the people, and in all quarters of the Union vehement discussions took place upon the question of imposing an anti-slavery restriction upon Missouri. Mass-meetings in the northern states took up the agitation, and various state legislatures, including Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and even the slave state of Delaware, passed resolutions with substantial unanimity against the further introduction of slaves into the territories of the United States, and against the admission of new slave states. Pennsylvania, so long the trusted ally of the south, invoked her sister states "to refuse to covenant with crime" by spreading the "cruelties of slavery, from the banks of the Mississippi to the shores of the Pacific." From the south came equally insistent protests against restriction. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XVII., 296, 307, 334, 342-344, 395. 399. 400, 416; Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 5, p. 4.]
No argument in the debate in 1819 was more effective than the speech of Rufus King in the Senate, which was widely circulated as a campaign document expressing the northern view. King's antislavery attitude, shown as early as 1785, when he made an earnest fight to secure the exclusion of slavery from the territories, [Footnote: McLaughlin, Confederation and Constitution (Am. Nation, X.), chap. vii.] was clearly stated in his constitutional argument in favor of restriction on Missouri, and his speech may be accepted as typical. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XVII., 215; King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 690.] But it was also the speech of an old-time Federalist, apprehensive of the growth of western power under southern leadership. He held that, under the power of making all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory and other property of the United States, Congress had the right to prohibit slavery in the Louisiana purchase, which belonged to the United States in full dominion. Congress was further empowered, but not required, to admit new states into the Union. Since the Constitution contained no express provision respecting slavery in a new state, Congress could make the perpetual prohibition of slavery a condition of admission. In support of this argument, King appealed to the precedent of the Ordinance of 1787, and of the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, all admitted on the conditions expressed in that ordinance. In admitting the state of Louisiana in 1812, a different group of conditions had been attached, such as the requirement of the use of the English language in judicial and legislative proceedings.
The next question was the effect of the Louisiana treaty, by which the United States had made this promise: "The inhabitants of the ceded territory shall be incorporated in the Union of the United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the principles of the Federal constitution, to the enjoyment of all the rights, advantages and immunities of citizens of the United States; and in the mean time they shall be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of their liberty, property and the religion which they profess." [Footnote: U. S. Treaties and Conventions, 332.] King contended that, by the admission of Missouri to the Union, its inhabitants would obtain all of the "federal" rights which citizens of the United States derived from its Constitution, though not the rights derived from the constitutions and laws of the various states. In his opinion, the term PROPERTY did not describe slaves, inasmuch as the terms of the treaty should be construed according to diplomatic usage, and not all nations permitted slavery. In any case, property acquired since the territory was occupied by the United States was not included in the treaty, and, therefore, the prohibition of the future introduction of slaves into Missouri would not affect its guarantees.
Could Missouri, after admission, revoke the consent to the exclusion of slavery under its powers as a sovereign state? Such action, King declared, would be contrary to the obligations of good faith, for even sovereigns were bound by their engagements. Moreover, the judicial power of the United States would deliver from bondage any person detained as a slave in a state which had agreed, as a condition of admission, that slavery should be excluded.
Having thus set forth the constitutional principles, King next took up the expediency of the exclusion of slavery from new states. He struck with firm hand the chord of sectional rivalry in his argument against the injustice to the north of creating new slave-holding states, which would have a political representation, under the "federal ratio," not possessed by the north. Under this provision for counting three-fifths of the slaves, five free persons in Virginia (so he argued) had as much power in the choice of representatives to Congress and in the appointment of presidential electors as seven free persons in any of the states in which slavery did not exist. The disproportionate power and influence allowed to the original slave-holding states was a necessary sacrifice to the establishment of the Constitution; but the arrangement was limited to the old thirteen states, and was not applicable to the states made out of territory since acquired. This argument had been familiar to New England ever since the purchase of Louisiana. Finally, he argued that the safety of the Union demanded the exclusion of slavery west of the Mississippi, where the exposed and important frontier needed a barrier of free citizens against the attacks of future assailants.
To the southern mind, King's sectional appeal unblushingly raised the prospect of the rule of a free majority over a slave-holding minority, the downfall of the ascendancy so long held by the south, and the creation of a new Union, in which the western states should be admitted on terms of subordination to the will of the majority, whose power would thus become perpetual. [Footnote: King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 205, 267, 279, 288, 329, 339-344, 501; Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 162, 172, 280; Tyler, Tylers, I., 316.]
When the next Congress met, in December, 1819, the admission of Alabama was quickly completed; and the House also passed a bill admitting Maine to the Union, Massachusetts having agreed to this division of the ancient commonwealth, on condition that consent Congress should be obtained prior to March 4, 1820. The Senate, quick to see the opportunity afforded by the situation, combined the bill for the admission of Maine with that for the unrestricted admission of Missouri, a proposition carried (February 16, 1820) by a vote of 23 to 21. Senator Thomas, who represented Illinois, which, as we have seen, was divided in its interests on the question of slavery, and who, as the vote showed, could produce a tie in the Senate, moved a compromise amendment, providing for the admission of Missouri as a slave state and for the prohibition of slavery north of 36 degrees 30' in the rest of the Louisiana purchase; and on the next day his amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 34 to 10.
The debate in the Senate was marked by another speech of Rufus King, just re-elected a senator from New York by an almost unanimous vote. With this prestige, and the knowledge that the states of Pennsylvania and New York stood behind him, he reiterated his arguments with such power that John Quincy Adams, who listened to the debate, wrote in his diary that "the great slave-holders in the House gnawed their lips and clenched their fists as they heard him." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 522; see Cong. Globe, 30 Cong., 2 Sess., App. 63-67.]
The case for the south was best presented by William Pinkney, of Maryland, the leader of the American bar, a man of fashion, but an orator of the first rank. His argument, on lines that the debates had made familiar, was stated with such eloquence, force, and graphic power that it produced the effect of a new presentation. Waiving the question whether Congress might refuse admission to a state, he held that, if it were admitted, it was admitted into a union of equals, and hence could not be subjected to any special restriction. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 16 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 389 et seq.] Without denying the danger of the extension of slavery, he argued that it was not for Congress to stay the course of this dark torrent. "If you have power," said he, "to restrict the new states on admission, you may squeeze a new-born sovereign state to the size of a pigmy." There would be nothing to hinder Congress "from plundering power after power at the expense of the new states," until they should be left empty shadows of domestic sovereignty, in a union between giants and dwarfs, between power and feebleness. In vivid oratory he conjured up this vision of an unequal union, into which the new state would enter, "shorn of its beams," a mere servant of the majority. From the point of view of the political theory of a confederation, his contention had force, and the hot- tempered west was not likely to submit to an inferior status in the Union. Nevertheless, the debates and votes in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 seem to show that the fathers of the Constitution intended to leave Congress free to impose limitations on the states at admission. [Footnote: Elliot, Debates, V., 492.]
In the mean time, the House of Representatives was continuing the discussion on the old lines. Although the arguments brought out little that had not been stated in the first Missouri debate, they were restated day after day with an amplitude and a bitterness of feeling that aggravated the hostility between the rival forces. Even under this provocation, most southern members expressed their opinions on the morality and expediency of slavery in language that affords a strange contrast to their later utterances: in almost every case they lamented its existence and demanded its dispersion throughout the west as a means of alleviating their misfortune. Although most of the men who spoke on the point were from the regions where cotton was least cultivated, yet even Reid, of Georgia, likened the south to an unfortunate man who "wears a cancer in his bosom." [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 16 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 1025.] Tyler of Virginia, afterwards president of the United States, characterized slavery as a dark cloud, and asked, "Will you permit the lightnings of its wrath to break upon the South when by the interposition of a wise system of legislation you may reduce it to a summer's cloud?" [Footnote: Ibid., II., 1391.] John Randolph, the ultra-southerner, was quoted as saying that all the misfortunes of his life were light in the balance when compared with the single misfortune of having been born a master of slaves.
In addition to the argument of "mitigation by diffusion," the south urged the injustice of excluding its citizens from the territories by making it impossible for the southern planter to migrate thither with his property. On the side of the north, it was argued with equal energy that the spread of slaves into the west would inevitably increase their numbers and strengthen the institution. Since free labor was unable to work in the midst of slave labor, northern men would be effectively excluded from the territories which might be given over to slavery. Economic law, it was urged, would make it almost certain that, in order to supply the vast area which it was proposed to devote to slavery, the African slave-trade would be reopened. As the struggle waxed hot, as the arguments brought out with increasing clearness the fundamental differences between the sections, threats of disunion were freely exchanged. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 13, 53; Benton, Abridgment of Debates, XIII., 607.] Even Clay predicted the existence of several new confederacies. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 526.] Nor were the extremists of the north unwilling to accept this alternative. [Footnote: King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 274, 286, 287, 387.] But the danger of southern secession was diminished because Monroe was ready to veto any bill which excluded slavery from Missouri. [Footnote: Cong. Globe, 30 Cong., 2 Sess., App. 67.] While still engaged in its own debates, the House received the compromise proposal from the Senate. At first the majority remained firm and refused to accept it. [Footnote: Woodburn, in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1893, p. 251-297.] March 1, 1820, the House passed its own bill imposing the restriction on Missouri, by a vote of 91 to 82. By the efforts of the compromisers, however, a committee of conference was arranged, which on the very next day resulted in the surrender of the House. The vote on striking out the restriction on Missouri was 90 to 87. New England gave 7 ayes to 33 nays; the middle states, 8 to 46; the south cast 58 votes for striking out, and none against it; the northwest gave all its 8 votes against striking out the restriction; while the 17 southwestern votes were solidly in favor of admitting Missouri as a slave state.
Thus, while the southern phalanx in opposition remained firm, enough members were won over from the northern ranks to defeat the restrictionists. Some of these deserters [Footnote: See King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 291, 329; Benton, View, I., 10; Adams, Memoirs, V., 15, 307. Randolph applied to them the term "doughfaces."] from the northern cause were influenced by the knowledge that the admission of Maine would fail without this concession; others, by the constitutional argument; others, by the fear of disunion; and still others, by the apprehension that the unity of the Democratic party was menaced by the new sectional alignment, which included among its leaders men who had been prominent in the councils of the Federalists. By the final solution, it was agreed (134 to 42) to admit Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state; while all of the rest of the territory, possessed by the United States west of the Mississippi and north of 36 degrees 30' was pledged to freedom. Yet the fate of the measure was uncertain, for some of Monroe's southern friends strongly urged him still to veto the compromise. [Footnote: Cong. Globe, 30 Cong., 2 Sess., App. 64.] The president submitted to the cabinet the question whether Congress had the right to prohibit slavery in a territory, and whether the section of the Missouri bill which interdicted slavery forever in the territory north of 36 degrees 30' was applicable only to the territorial condition, or also to states made from the territory. John Quincy Adams notes in his diary that "it was unanimously agreed that Congress have the power to prohibit slavery in the Territories"; though he adds that neither Crawford, Calhoun, nor Wirt could find any express power to that effect given in the Constitution. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 5.] In order to avoid the difficulty arising from the fact that Adams alone believed the word "forever" to apply to states as well as territories, the president modified the question so that all would be able to answer that the act was constitutional, leaving each member to construe the section to suit himself.
Although apparently the Missouri struggle was thus brought to a conclusion, it is necessary to take note of two succeeding episodes in the contest, which immediately revived the whole question, embittered the antagonism, threatened the Union, and were settled by new compromises. In her constitution, Missouri not only incorporated guarantees of a slavery system, but also a provision against the admission of free Negroes to the state. Application for admission to the Union under this constitution in the fall of 1820 brought on a contest perhaps more heated and more dangerous to the Union than the previous struggle. Holding that Missouri's clause against free Negroes infringed the provision of the federal Constitution guaranteeing the rights of citizens of the respective states, northern leaders reopened the whole question by refusing to vote for the admission of Missouri with the obnoxious clause. Again the north revealed its mastery of the House, and the south its control of the Senate, and a deadlock followed. Under the skilful management of Clay, a new compromise was framed, by which Missouri was required, through her legislature, to promise that the objectionable clause should never be construed to authorize the passage of any laws by which any citizen of either of the states of the Union should be excluded from the enjoyment of any of the privileges and immunities to which such citizen was entitled under the Constitution of the United States. This Missouri accepted, but the legislature somewhat contemptuously added that it was without power to bind the state. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XX., 388, cf. 300.]
While this debate was in progress, and the problem of the status of Missouri, which had already established a constitution and claimed to be a state, was under consideration, the question of counting the Missouri vote in the presidential election of 1820 was raised. For this a third compromise was framed by Clay, by which the result of the election was stated as it would be with and without Missouri's vote. Since Monroe had been elected by a vote all but unanimous, the result was in either case the same; this theoretical question, nevertheless, was fraught with dangerous possibilities. Missouri was finally admitted by the proclamation of President Monroe, dated August 10, 1821, more than three years from the first application for statehood.
In a large view of American history, the significance of this great struggle cannot be too highly emphasized. Although the danger passed by and the ocean became placid, yet the storm in many ways changed the coast-line of American politics and broke new channels for the progress of the nation. The future had been revealed to far-sighted statesmen, who realized that this was but the beginning, not the end, of the struggle. "This momentous question," wrote Jefferson, "like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed, indeed, for the moment. But this is a reprieve only, not a final sentence. A geographical line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passions of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper." [Footnote: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 157.]
John Quincy Adams relates a contemporaneous conversation with Calhoun, in which the latter took the ground that, if a dissolution of the Union should follow, the south would be compelled to form an alliance, offensive and defensive, with Great Britain, though he admitted that it would be returning pretty much to the colonial state. When Adams, with unconscious prophecy of Sherman's march through Georgia, pressed Calhoun with the question whether the north, cut off from its natural outlet upon the ocean, "would fall back upon its rocks bound hand and foot, to starve, or whether it would not retain its powers of locomotion to move southward by land," Calhoun answered that the southern states would find it necessary to make their communities military. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 530, 531.]
To Adams himself the present question was but a "title page to a great tragic volume." He believed that, if dissolution of the Union should result from the slavery question, it would be followed by universal emancipation of the slaves, and he was ready to contemplate such a dissolution of the Union, upon a point involving slavery and no other, believing that "the Union might then be reorganized on the fundamental principle of emancipation." "This object," wrote he, "is vast in its compass, awful in its prospects, sublime and beautiful in its issue. A life devoted to it would be nobly spent or sacrificed." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 531.] Looking forward to civil war, he declared: "So glorious would be its final issue, that as God shall judge me I do not say that it is not to be desired." [Footnote: Ibid., V., 210.] But as yet he confided these thoughts to his diary. The south was far from contented with the compromise, and her leading statesmen, Calhoun especially, came bitterly to regret both the concession in the matter of admitting federal control over slavery in the territories, and the division of the Louisiana purchase into spheres of influence which left to the slave-holding section that small apex of the triangle practically embraced in Arkansas. While the north received an area capable of being organized into many free states, the south could expect from the remaining territory awarded her only one state.
Among the immediate effects of the contest was its influence upon Monroe, who was the more ready to relinquish the American claim to Texas in the negotiations over Florida, because he feared that the acquisition of this southern province would revive the antagonism of the northern antislavery forces. [Footnote: Monroe, Writings, VI., 127; cf. Adams, Memoirs, V., 25, 54, 68.]
The south learned also the lesson that slavery needed defense against the power of the majority, and that it must shape its political doctrine and its policy to this end. But it would be a mistake to emphasize too strongly the immediate effect in this respect. Slavery was not yet accepted as the foundation of southern social and economic life. The institution was still mentioned with regret by southern leaders, and there were still efforts in the border states to put it in the process of extinction. South Carolina leaders were still friendly to national power, and for several years the ruling party in that state deprecated appeals to state sovereignty. [Footnote: See chap, xviii. below.] In the next few years other questions, of an economic and judicial nature, were even more influential, as a direct issue, than the slavery question. But the economic life of the south was based on slavery, and the section became increasingly conscious that the current of national legislation was shaped by the majority against their interests. Their political alliances in the north had failed them in the time of test, and the Missouri question disclosed the possibility of a new organization of parties threatening that southern domination which had swayed the Union for the past twenty years. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 529; King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 501; Jefferson, Writings, X., 175, 193 n.; cf. chap. xi. below; Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.), chap, xviii.]
The slavery struggle derived its national significance from the west, into which expanding sections carried warring institutions.
To the superficial observer, politics might have seemed never more tranquil than when, in 1820, James Monroe received all but one of the electoral votes for his second term as president of the United States. One New Hampshire elector preferred John Quincy Adams, although he was not a candidate, and this deprived Monroe of ranking with Washington in the unanimity of official approval. But in truth the calm was deceptive. The election of 1820 was an armistice rather than a real test of political forces. The forming party factions were not yet ready for the final test of strength, most of the candidates were members of the cabinet, and the reelection of Monroe, safe, conciliatory, and judicious, afforded an opportunity for postponing the issue.
As we have seen, the Missouri contest had in it the possibility of a revolutionary division of the Republican party into two parties on sectional lines. The aged Jefferson, keen of scent for anything that threatened the ascendancy of the triumphant democracy, saw in the dissolution of the old alliance between Virginia and the "fanaticized" Pennsylvania, [Footnote: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 161, 171, 172, 177, 179, 192, 193 n., 279; King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 279, 282, 290: Cong. Globe, 30 Cong., 2 Sess., App. 63-67.] in the heat of the Missouri conflict, the menace of a revived Federalist party, and the loss of Virginia's northern following. So hotly did Virginia resent the Missouri Compromise, that while the question was still pending, in February, 1820, her legislative caucus, which had assembled to nominate presidential electors, indignantly adjourned on learning that Monroe favored the measure. "I trust in God," said H. St. George Tucker, "if the president does sign a bill to that effect, the Southern people will be able to find some man who has not committed himself to our foes; for such are, depend on it, the Northern Politicians." [Footnote: William and Mary College Quarterly, X., 11, 15.] But the sober second thought of Virginia sustained Monroe. On the other side, Rufus King believed that the issue of the Missouri question would settle "forever the dominion of the Union." "Old Mr. Adams," said he, "as he is the first, will on this hypothesis be the last President from a free state." [Footnote: King, Life and Corresp. of King, 267; cf. Adams, Memoirs, IV., 528.]
The truth is that the individual interests of the south were stronger in opposing than those of the north in supporting a limitation of slavery; [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 533.] the northern phalanx had hardly formed before it began to dissolve. [Footnote: Benton, Thirty Years' View, I., 10.] Nevertheless, the Missouri question played some part in the elections in most of the states. In Pennsylvania, under the leadership of Duane, the editor of the Aurora, electors favorable to Clinton were nominated on an antislavery ticket, [Footnote: Niles' Register, XIX., 129; National Advocate, October 27, 1820; Franklin Gazette, October 25, November 8, 1820 (election returns); Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 5, p. 5.] but, outside of Philadelphia and the adjacent district, this ticket received but slight support. With few exceptions, the northern congressmen who had voted with the south failed of re-election.
The elections in the various states in this year showed more political division than was revealed by the vote for president, and they showed that in state politics the Federalist party was by no means completely extinct. In the congressional elections the flood of Republicanism left only isolated islands of Federalism unsubmerged. In Massachusetts eight of the thirteen members professed this political faith; New York returned some half-dozen men whose affiliations were with the same party; from Pennsylvania came a somewhat larger number; and they numbered nearly half of the delegation of Maryland. The cities of New York and Philadelphia were represented by Federalists, and there were three or four other districts, chiefly in New England, which adhered to the old party. There were also a few congressmen from the south who had been members of this organization. On the whole, however, the Federalists awaited the new development of parties, determined to secure the best terms from those to whom they should transfer their allegiance. In New England, as has already been pointed out, [Footnote: See chap. ii. above.] the toleration movement was completing its work of transferring power to democracy.
More important than local issues or the death throes of federalism, was the democratic tendency revealed in the constitutional conventions of this period. Between 1816 and 1830, ten states either established new constitutions or revised their old ones. In this the influence of the new west was peculiarly important. All of the new states which were formed in that region, after the War of 1812, gave evidence in their constitutions of the democratic spirit of the frontier. With the exception of Mississippi, where the voter was obliged either to be a tax-payer or a member of the militia, all the western states entered the Union with manhood suffrage, and all of them, in contrast with the south, from which their settlers had chiefly been drawn, provided that apportionment of the legislature should be based upon the white population, thus accepting the doctrine of the rule of the majority rather than that of property. As the flood of population moved towards the west and offered these attractive examples of democratic growth, the influence reacted on the older states. In her constitution of 1818, Connecticut gave the franchise to tax-payers or members of the militia, as did Massachusetts and New York in their constitutions of 1821. Maine provided in her constitution of 1820 for manhood suffrage, but by this time there was but slight difference between manhood suffrage and one based upon tax-paying.
Webster in Massachusetts and Chancellor Kent in New York viewed with alarm the prospect that freehold property should cease to be the foundation of government. Kent particularly warned the landed class that "one master capitalist with his one hundred apprentices, and journeymen, and agents, and dependents, will bear down at the polls an equal number of farmers of small estates in his vicinity, who cannot safely unite for their common defense." [Footnote: Carter and Stone, Reports of the Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of 1821, 222.] It was the new counties of New York, particularly those of the western and northeastern frontier, which were the stronghold of the reform movement in that state. The abolition of the council of appointments and the council of revision by the New York convention contributed to the transfer of power to the people. But under the leadership of Van Buren a group of politicians, dubbed "The Albany Regency," controlled the political machinery as effectively as before. [Footnote: McMaster, United States, V., 373- 432; ibid., Rights of Man, 61; MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy (Am. Nation, XV.), chap. iv.]
The campaign for the presidency of 1824 may be said to have begun as early as 1816. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 89.] Adams observed in 1818 that the government was assuming daily the character of cabal, "and preparation, not for the next Presidential election, but for the one after"; [Footnote: Ibid., IV., 193.] and by 1820, when the political sea appeared so placid, and parties had apparently dissolved, bitter factional fights between the friends of the rival candidates constituted the really significant indications of American politics. From the details of the personal struggles (usually less important to the student of party history) one must learn the tendency towards the reappearance of parties in this period, when idealists believed that all factions had been fused into one triumphant organization. In all of the great sections, candidates appeared, anxious to consolidate the support of their own section and to win a following in the nation. It is time that we should survey these men, for the personal traits of the aspirants for the presidency had a larger influence than ever before or since in the history of the country. Moreover, we are able to see in these candidates the significant features of the sections from which they came.
New England was reluctantly and slowly coming to the conclusion that John Quincy Adams was the only available northern candidate. Adams did not fully represent the characteristics of his section, for he neither sprang from the democracy of the interior of New England nor did he remain loyal to the Federalist ideas that controlled the commercial interests of the coast. Moreover, of all the statesmen whom the nation produced, he had had the largest opportunity to make a comparative study of government. As an eleven-year-old boy, he went with his father to Paris in 1778, and from then until 1817, when he became Monroe's secretary of state, nearly half his time was spent at European courts. He served in France, Holland, Sweden, Russia, Prussia, and England, and had been senator of the United States from Massachusetts.
Thus Adams entered on the middle period of his career, a man of learning and broad culture, rich in experience of national affairs, familiar with the centers of Old-World civilization and with methods of European administration. He had touched life too broadly, in too many countries, to be provincial in his policy. In the minds of a large and influential body of his fellow-citizens, the Federalists, he was an apostate, for in the days of the embargo he had warned Jefferson of the temper of his section, had resigned, and had been read out of the party. The unpopularity, as well as the fame, of his father, was the heritage of the son. Perhaps the most decisive indication of the weakening of sectional bias by his foreign training is afforded by his diplomatic policy. An expansionist by nature, he had been confirmed in the faith by his training in foreign courts. "If we are not taken for Romans we shall be taken for Jews," he exclaimed to one who questioned the wisdom of the bold utterances of his diplomatic correspondence.
In one important respect Adams was the personification of his section. He was a Puritan, and his whole career was deeply affected by the fact. A man of method and regularity, tireless in his work (for he rose before the dawn and worked till midnight), he never had a childhood and never tried to achieve self-forgetfulness. His diary, printed in twelve volumes, is a unique document for the study of the Puritan in politics. Not that it was an entirely unreserved expression of his soul, for he wrote with a consciousness that posterity would read the record, and its pages are a compound of apparently spontaneous revelation of his inmost thought and of silence upon subjects of which we would gladly know more. He had the Puritan's restraint, self-scrutiny, and self-condemnation. "I am," he writes, "a man of reserved, cold, austere, and forbidding manners." Nor can this estimate be pronounced unjust. He was a lonely man, communing with his soul in his diary more than with a circle of admiring friends. It was not easy for men to love John Quincy Adams. The world may respect the man who regulates his course by a daily dead-reckoning, but it finds it easier to make friends with him who stumbles towards rectitude by the momentum of his own nature. Popularity, in any deep sense, was denied him. This deprivation he repaid by harsh, vindictive, and censorious judgments upon his contemporaries, and by indifference to popular prejudices. With the less lovely qualities of the Puritan aggravated by his own critical nature, Adams found himself in a struggle for the presidency against some of the most engaging personalities in American history. He must win over his enemies in New England and attach that section to his fortunes; he must find friends in the middle states, conciliate the south, and procure a following in the west, where Clay, the Hotspur of debate, with all the power of the speakership behind him, and Jackson, "Old Hickory," the hero of New Orleans, contested the field. And all the time he must satisfy his conscience, and reach his goal by the craft and strength of his intellect rather than by the arts of popular management. No statesman ever handled the problems of his public career with a keener understanding of the conditions of success.
The middle region was too much divided by the game of politics played by her multitude of minor leaders to unite upon a favorite son in this campaign; but De Witt Clinton, finding elements of strength in the prestige which his successful advocacy of the Erie Canal had brought to him throughout the region where internal improvements were popular, and relying upon his old connections with the Federalists, watched events with eager eye, waiting for an opportunity which never came. Although the south saw in Rufus King's advocacy of the exclusion of slavery from Missouri a deep design to win the presidency by an antislavery combination of the northern states, there was little ground for this belief. In truth, the middle region was merely the fighting-ground for leaders in the other sections.
In the south, Calhoun and Crawford were already contending for the mastery. Each of them represented fundamental tendencies in the section. Born in Virginia in 1772, Crawford had migrated with his father in early childhood to South Carolina, and soon after to Georgia. [Footnote: Phillips, "Georgia and State Rights," in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1901, II., 95; Cobb, Leisure Labors; Miller, Bench and Bar of Georgia; West, "Life and Times of William H. Crawford," in National Portrait Gallery, IV.; Adams, Life of Gallatin. 598.] Here he became the leader of the Virginia element against the interior democracy. But in his coarse strength and adaptability the burly Georgian showed the impress which frontier influences had given to his state. His career in national politics brought him strange alliances. This Georgia candidate had been no mere subject of the Virginia dynasty, for he supported John Adams in his resistance to France in 1798; challenged the administration of Jefferson by voting with the Federalists in the United States Senate against the embargo; and ridiculed the ambiguous message of Madison when the issue of peace or war with Great Britain was under consideration. A fearless supporter of the recharter of the national bank, he had championed the doctrine of implied powers and denied the right of a state to resist the laws of Congress except by changing its representation or appealing to the sword under the right of revolution.
Nevertheless, in the period of this volume, Crawford joined the ranks of the southerners who demanded a return to strict construction and insistence on state rights. In the congressional caucus of 1816, he obtained 54 votes for the presidency against 65 for Monroe. Had not the influence of Madison been thrown for the latter, it seems probable that Crawford would have obtained the nomination; but his strength in building up a following in Congress was much greater than his popularity with the people at large. Controlling the patronage of the treasury department, he enlarged his political influence. As the author of the four-years'-tenure-of- office act, in 1820, he has been vehemently criticized as a founder of the spoils system. But there are reasons for thinking that Crawford's advocacy of this measure was based upon considerations of efficiency at least as much as those of politics, [Footnote: Fish, Civil Service and Patronage, 66 et seq.] and the conduct of his department was marked by sagacity. The administration of such a man would probably have been characterized by an accommodating spirit which would have carried on the traditions of Monroe.
In the career of Calhoun are strikingly exhibited the changing characteristics of the south in this era. His grandfather was a Scotch-Irishman who came to Pennsylvania with the emigration of that people in the first half of the eighteenth century, and thence followed the stream of settlement that passed up the Great Valley and into South Carolina to the frontier, from which men like Daniel Boone crossed the mountains to the conquest of Kentucky and Tennessee. [Footnote: Cf. Howard, Preliminaries of the Revolution (Am. Nation, VIII.), chap. xiii.] The Calhoun family were frontier Indian fighters, but, instead of crossing the mountains as did Andrew Jackson, Calhoun remained to grow up with his section and to share its changes from a community essentially western to a cotton- planting and slave-holding region. This is the clew to his career.
In his speech in the House of Representatives in 1817, on internal improvements, Calhoun warned his colleagues against "a low, sordid, selfish, and sectional spirit," and declared that "in a country so extensive, and so various in its interests, what is necessary for the common good, may apparently be opposed to the interests of particular sections. It must be submitted to as the condition of our greatness." [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 14 Cong., 2 Sess., 854, 855.] This was the voice of the nationalistic west, as well as that of South Carolina in Calhoun's young manhood.
In view of his later career, it is significant that many of those who described him in these youthful years of his nationalistic policy found in him a noticeable tendency to rash speculation and novelty. "As a politician," said Senator Mills, of Massachusetts, about 1823, he is "too theorizing, speculative, and metaphysical,— magnificent in his views of the powers and capacities of the government, and of the virtue, intelligence, and wisdom of the PEOPLE. He is in favor of elevating, cherishing, and increasing all the institutions of the government, and of a vigorous and energetic administration of it. From his rapidity of thought, he is often wrong in his conclusions, and his theories are sometimes wild, extravagant, and impractical. He has always claimed to be, and is, of the Democratic party, but of a very different class from that of Crawford; more like Adams, and his schemes are sometimes denounced by his party as ultra-fanatical." [Footnote: Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, XIX., 37 (1881-1882).]
Another contemporary, writing prior to 1824, declared: "He wants, I think, consistency and perseverance of mind, and seems incapable of long-continued and patient investigation. What he does not see at the first examination, he seldom takes pains to search for; but still the lightning glance of his mind, and the rapidity with which he analyzes, never fail to furnish him with all that may be necessary for his immediate purposes. In his legislative career, which, though short, was uncommonly luminous, his love of novelty, and his apparent solicitude to astonish were so great, that he has occasionally been known to go beyond even the dreams of political visionaries, and to propose schemes which were in their nature impracticable or injurious, and which he seemed to offer merely for the purpose of displaying the affluence of his mind, and the fertility of his ingenuity." [Footnote: Quoted by Hodgson, Letters from North Am., I., 81.] "Calhoun," said William Wirt, in 1824, "advised me the other day to study less and trust more to genius; and I believe the advice is sound. He has certainly practiced on his own precepts, and has become, justly, a distinguished man. It may do very well in politics, where a proposition has only to be compared with general principles with which the politician is familiar." [Footnote: Kennedy, William Wirt, II., 143; other views of Calhoun in MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy, chaps, v., ix.; Hart, Slavery and Abolition, chap. xix.; Garrison, Westward Extension (Am. Nation, XV., XVI., XVII.).]
At the beginning of the campaign, Calhoun was the confidant and friend of Adams, apparently considering the alternative of throwing his influence in the latter's favor, if it proved impossible to realize his own aspirations.
From beyond the Alleghenies came two candidates who personified the forces of their section. We can see the very essence of the west in Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson. Clay was a Kentuckian, with the characteristics of his state; but, in a larger sense, he represented the stream of migration which had occupied the Ohio Valley during the preceding half-century. This society was one which, in its composition, embraced elements of the middle region as well as of the south. It tended towards freedom, but had slaves in its midst, and had been accustomed, through experience, to adjust relations between slavery and free labor by a system of compromise. Economically, it was in need of internal improvements and the development of manufactures to afford a home market. It had the ideal of American expansion, and in earlier days vehemently demanded the control of the Mississippi and the expulsion of the Spaniard from the coasts of the Gulf. In the War of 1812 it sent its sons to destroy English influence about the Great Lakes and had been ambitious to conquer Canada.
It is an evidence of the rapidity with which the west stamped itself upon its colonists, that although Clay was born, and bred to the law, in Virginia, he soon became the mouth-piece of these western forces. In his personality, also, he reflected many of the traits of this region. Kentucky, ardent in its spirit, not ashamed of a strain of sporting blood, fond of the horse-race, partial to its whiskey, ready to "bluff" in politics as in poker, but sensitive to honor, was the true home of Henry Clay. To a Puritan like John Quincy Adams, Clay was, "in politics, as in private life, essentially a gamester."[Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 59.] But if the Puritan mind did not approve of Henry Clay, multitudes of his fellow- countrymen in other sections did. There was a charm about him that fastened men to him. He was "Harry of the West," an impetuous, willful, high-spirited, daring, jealous, but, withal, a lovable man. He had the qualities of leadership; was ambitious, impulsive, often guided by his intuitions and his sensibilities, but, at the same time, an adroit and bold champion of constructive legislation. He knew, too, the time for compromise and for concession. Perhaps he knew it too well; for, although no statesman of this era possessed more courageous initiative and constructive power, his tact and his powers of management were such that his place in history is quite as much that of the "great compromiser" as it is that of the author of the "American system."
It is not too much to say that Clay made the speakership one of the important American institutions. He was the master of the House of Representatives, shaping its measures by the appointment of his committees and his parliamentary management.[Footnote: Follett, Speaker of the House, pp. 41-46.] By the period of our survey, with the power of this office behind him, Clay had fashioned a set of American political issues reflective of western and middle-state ideas, and had made himself a formidable rival in the presidential struggle. He had caught the self-confidence, the continental aspirations, the dash and impetuosity of the west. But he was also, as a writer of the time declared, "able to captivate high and low, l'homme du salon and the 'squatter' in the Western wilderness." He was a mediator between east and west, between north and south—the "great conciliator." [Footnote: Grund, Aristocracy in America, II., 213. For other views of Clay, cf. Babcock, Am. Nationality, chap. xii.; MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy, chap. xi.; Garrison, Westward Extension, chap. iii. (Am. Nation, XIII., XV., XVII.).]
If Henry Clay was one of the favorites of the west, Andrew Jackson was the west itself. While Clay was able to voice, with statesman- like ability, the demand for economic legislation to promote her interests, and while he exercised an extraordinary fascination by his personal magnetism and his eloquence, he never became the hero of the great masses of the west; he appealed rather to the more intelligent—to the men of business and of property. Andrew Jackson was the very personification of the contentious, nationalistic democracy of the interior. He was born, in 1767, of Scotch-Irish parents, who had settled near the boundary-line between North and South Carolina, not far from the similar settlements from which, within a few years of Jackson's birth, Daniel Boone and Robertson went forth to be the founders of Kentucky and Tennessee. In 1788, with a caravan of emigrants, Jackson crossed the Alleghenies to Nashville, Tennessee, then an outpost of settlement still exposed to the incursions of Indians. During the first seven or eight years of his residence he was public prosecutor—an office that called for nerve and decision, rather than legal acumen, in that turbulent country.
The appearance of this frontiersman on the floor of Congress was an omen full of significance. He reached Philadelphia at the close of Washington's administration, having ridden on horseback nearly eight hundred miles to his destination. Gallatin (himself a western Pennsylvanian) afterwards graphically described Jackson, as he entered the halls of Congress, as "a tall, lank, uncouth-looking personage, with long locks of hair hanging over his face, and a cue down his back tied in an eel-skin; his dress singular, his manners and deportment those of a rough backwoodsman."[Footnote: Hildreth, United States, iv., 692.] Jefferson afterwards testified to Webster: "His passions are terrible. When I was President of the Senate, he was a Senator, and he could never speak, on account of the rashness of his feelings. I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage."[Footnote: Webster, Writings (National ed.), XVII., 371.] At length the frontier, in the person of its leader, had found a place in the government. This six-foot backwoodsman, angular, lantern-jawed, and thin, with blue eyes that blazed on occasion; this choleric, impetuous, Scotch-Irish leader of men; this expert duelist and ready fighter; this embodiment of the contentious, vehement, personal west, was in politics to stay.[Footnote: For other appreciations, see Babcock, Am. Nationality, chap, xvii.; MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy, chaps, ii., xviii.(Am. Nation, XIII., XV.).] In the War of 1812, by the defeat of the Indians of the Gulf plains, he made himself the conqueror of a new province for western settlement, and when he led his frontier riflemen to the victory of New Orleans he became the national hero, the self-made man, the incarnation of the popular ideal of democracy. The very rashness and arbitrariness which his Seminole campaign displayed appealed to the west, for he went to his object with the relentless directness of a frontiersman. This episode gave to Adams the opportunity to write his masterly state paper defending the actions of the general. But Henry Clay, seeing, perhaps, in the rising star of the frontier military hero a baneful omen to his own career, and hoping to break the administration forces by holding the government responsible for Jackson's actions, led an assault upon him in the Seminole debates on the floor of the House of Representatives.[Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xvii.] Leaving Tennessee when he heard of the attack which was meditated against him, the general rushed (1819) to this new field of battle, and had the satisfaction of winning what he regarded as "the greatest victory he ever obtained"—a triumph on every count of Clay's indictment. This contest Jackson considered "the Touchstone of the election of the next president."[Footnote: N. Y. Publ. Library, Bulletin, IV., 160, 161; Parton, Jackson, II., chap. xl.] From this time the personality of the "Old Hero" was as weighty a factor in
American politics as the tariff or internal improvements. He had now outgrown the uncouthness of his earlier days and had become stately and dignified in his manner. Around this unique personality there began to gather all those democratic forces which we have noted as characteristic of the interior of the country, reinforced by the democracy of the cities, growing into self-consciousness and power. A new force was coming into American life. This fiery Tennesseean was becoming the political idol of a popular movement which swept across all sections, with but slight regard to their separate economic interests. The rude, strong, turbulent democracy of the west and of the country found in him its natural leader.
All these candidates and the dominant element in every section professed the doctrines of republicanism; but what were the orthodox tenets of republicanism at the end of the rule of the Virginia dynasty? To this question different candidates and different sections gave conflicting answers. Out of their differences there was already the beginning of a new division of parties.
The progress of events gave ample opportunity for collision between the various factions. The crisis of 1819 and the depression of the succeeding years worked, on the whole, in the interests of Jackson, inclining the common people to demand a leader and a new dispensation. Not, perhaps, without a malicious joy did John Quincy Adams write in his diary at that time that "Crawford has labors and perils enough before him in the management of the finances for the three succeeding years."[Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 391.] From the negotiation of the Florida treaty in 1819, and especially from the relinquishment by Spain of her claims to the Pacific coast north of the forty-second parallel, the secretary of state expected to reap a harvest of political advantage.[Footnote: Ibid., IV., 238, 273, 451, V., 53, 109, 290; Monroe, Writings, VI., 127.] But Clay, as well as Benton and the west in general, balked his hopes by denouncing the treaty as an abandonment of American rights; and, although Adams won friends in the south by the acquisition of Florida, Spain's delay of two years in the ratification of the treaty so far neutralized the credit that the treaty was, after all, but a feast of Tantalus. In these intervening years, when the United States was several times on the verge of forcibly occupying Florida, the possibility of a war with Spain, into which European powers might be drawn, increased the importance of General Jackson as a figure in the eyes of the public.
Next the Missouri controversy, like "a flaming sword," [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 91.]cut in every direction and affected the future of all the presidential candidates. The hope of Crawford to reap the reward of his renunciation in 1816 was based, not only upon his moderation in his earlier career, which had brought him friends among the Federalists, but also upon the prospect of attracting a following in Pennsylvania, with the aid of the influence of Gallatin, and in New York as the regular candidate of the party. These hopes of northern support demanded that Crawford should trim his sails with care, attacking the policies of his rivals rather than framing issues of his own. But for a time the Missouri controversy alienated both Pennsylvania and New York from the south, and it brought about a bitterness of feeling fatal to his success in those two states. To Clay, too, the slavery struggle brought embarrassments, for his attitude as a compromiser failed to strengthen him in the south, while it diminished his following in the north. Calhoun suffered from the same difficulty, although his position in the cabinet enabled him to keep in the background in this heated contest. Jackson stood in a different situation. At the time he was remote from the controversy, having his own troubles as governor of Florida, and, as a slave-holding planter he was not suspected by the south, while at the same time his popularity as the representative of the new democracy was steadily winning him friends in the antislavery state of Pennsylvania.
To Adams all the agitation was a distinct gain, since it broke the concert between Virginia and New York and increased his chances as the only important northern candidate. He saw—none more clearly— the possibility of this issue as a basis for a new party organization,[Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 529.] but he saw also that it menaced a dissolution of the Union.[Footnote: Ibid., V., 12, 13, 53.] He was not disposed to alienate the south, and he contented himself with confiding his denunciation of slavery to the secret pages of his diary, while publicly he took his stand on the doctrine that the proposed restriction upon Missouri was against the Constitution.[Footnote: Ibid., IV., 529.] As early as 1821 he recognized that the number of candidates in the field made it almost certain that the election would be decided by the vote of states in the House of Representatives, where the vote of the single member from Illinois would count as much as that of the whole delegation of New York or Pennsylvania. What Adams needed, therefore, was to combine New England in his support, obtain, if possible, a majority in New York, and add the votes of a sufficient number of smaller states to win the election.
The seventeenth Congress, which met in December, 1821, and lasted until the spring of 1823, was one of the most ineffective legislative bodies in the country's history. Henry Clay had returned to Kentucky to resume the practice of the law as a means of restoring his financial fortunes, and the importance of his leadership was emphasized by his absence. Without mastery, and in the absence of party discipline, Congress degenerated into a. mere arena for the conflicts of rival personal factions, each anxious to destroy the reputation of the candidate favored by the other.
In December, 1821, Barbour, of Virginia, was chosen speaker, by a close vote, over Taylor, the favorite of Adams, thus transferring the control of the congressional committees again to the south, aided by its New York allies. The advantage to Crawford arising from this election was partly neutralized by the fact that in this year his partisans in Georgia were defeated by the choice of his bitterest enemy for the governorship. It may have been this circumstance which aroused the hope of Crawford's southern rivals and led to the calling of a legislative caucus in South Carolina, which, on December 18, 1821, by a close vote, nominated William Lowndes instead of Calhoun for the presidency. Many of Calhoun's partisans refused to attend this caucus, and the vote was a close one (57 to 53). [Footnote: Ravenel, William Lowndes, chap, x.; Adams, Memoirs, V., 468, 470; National Intelligencer, January 19, 1822.] Lowndes was a wealthy South Carolina planter, judicious and dispassionate, with a reputation for fair-mindedness and wisdom that gained him the respect of his foes as well as his friends. According to tradition, Clay once declared that among the many men he had known he found it difficult to decide who was the greatest, but added, "I think the wisest man I ever knew was William Lowndes."[Footnote: Ravenel, William Lowndes, 238.] His death, in less than a year, removed from the presidential contest an important figure, and from the south one of the most gifted of her sons.
As soon as the news of the nomination of Lowndes reached Washington, a delegation of members of Congress, from various sections, secured Calhoun's consent to avow his candidacy. His career as a tariff man and as a friend of internal improvements had won him northern supporters, especially in Pennsylvania, although, as South Carolina's action showed, he was not able to control his state. The announcement of Calhoun's candidacy turned against him all the batteries of his rivals. Pleading the depleted condition of the treasury, Crawford's partisans in Congress attacked the measures of Calhoun as secretary of war. Retrenchment in the expenditures for the army was demanded, and finally, under the leadership of Crawford's friends, the Senate refused to ratify certain nominations of military officers made by the president on the recommendation of the secretary of war, giving as a reason that they were not in accordance with the law for the reduction of the army. In the cabinet discussion, Crawford openly supported this opposition, and his relations with the president became so strained that, in the spring of 1822, reports were rife that his resignation would be demanded. [Footnote: Cf. Adams, Memoirs, V., 525.] Crawford himself wrote to Gallatin that it would not be to his disadvantage to be removed from office. [Footnote: Gallatin, Writings, 31., 241.]
In the summer the matter was brought to a head by a correspondence in which Monroe indignantly intimated that Crawford had given countenance to the allegation that the president's principles and policy were not in sympathy with the early Jeffersonian system of economy and state rights. Believing that Crawford was aiming at the creation of a new party (a thing which distressed Monroe, who regarded parties as an evil),[Footnote: Monroe, Writings, VI., 286- 291.] he made it clear that it was the duty of a cabinet officer, when once the policy of the executive had been determined, to give that policy co-operation and support.[Footnote: Monroe to Crawford, August 22, 1822, MS. in N.Y. Pub. Library.] In his reply Crawford denied that he had personally antagonized the measures of the administration; [Footnote: Crawford to Monroe, September 3, 1822, MS. in N.Y. Pub. Library; cf. Adams, Memoirs, VI., 390.] but he took the ground that a cabinet officer should not attempt to influence his friends in Congress either for or against the policy of the government.
His assurances of loyalty satisfied Monroe and averted the breach. It is easy to see, however, that Crawford's attitude strengthened the feeling on the part of his rivals that he was intriguing against the administration. They believed, whether he instigated his partisans to oppose measures favored by the president or was unable to restrain them, in either case he should be forced into open opposition. [Footnote: Cf. Poinsett to Monroe, May 10, 1822, Monroe MSS., in Library of Cong.; Adams, Memoirs, V., 315, VI., 57.] The truth is that the government was so divided within itself that it was difficult to determine with certainty what its policy was. Monroe's greatest weakness was revealed at this time in his inability to create and insist upon a definite policy. The situation was aggravated by the president's determination to remain neutral between the rival members of his official family, and by the loss of influence which he suffered through the knowledge that he was soon to lay down the presidential power.
Meanwhile, John Quincy Adams watched these intrigues with bitterness of soul. Debarred by his Puritan principles from the open solicitation of votes which his rivals practiced, he yet knew every move in the game and gauged the political tendencies with the astuteness of the politician, albeit a Puritan politician. Nor did he disdain to make such use of his position as would win friends or remove enemies. He proposed to Calhoun a foreign mission, suggested the same to Clay, favored an ambassadorship for Clinton, and urged the appointment of Jackson to Mexico. These overtures were politely declined by the candidates, and Adams was forced to fight for the presidency against the men whom he would so gladly have sent to honor their country abroad.
The place of slavery in the westward expansion of the nation was not the only burning question which the American people had to face in the presidency of Monroe. Within a few years after that contest, the problem of the independence of the New World and of the destiny of the United States in the sisterhood of new American republics confronted the administration. Should the political rivalries and wars of Europe to acquire territory be excluded from the western hemisphere? Should the acquisition of new colonies by European states in the vast unsettled spaces of the two Americas be terminated? These weighty questions were put to the mild Virginian statesman; history has named his answer the Monroe Doctrine.
From the beginning of our national existence, the United States had been pushing back Europe from her borders, and asserting neutrality and the right to remain outside of the political System of the Old World. Washington's farewell address of 1796, with its appeal to his fellow-citizens against "interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe," sank deep into the popular consciousness. It did not interfere with the process by which, piece by piece, the United States added to its domains fragments from the disintegrating Spanish empire; for so long as European states held the strategic positions on our flanks, as they did in Washington's day, the policy of separation from the nations of the Old World was one difficult to maintain; and France and England watched the enlargement of the United States with jealous eye. Each nation, in turn, considered the plans of Miranda, a Venezuelan revolutionist, for the freeing of Spanish America. In 1790 the Nootka Sound affair threatened to place England in possession of the whole Mississippi valley and to give her the leadership in Spanish America. [Footnote: Turner, in Am. Hist. Rev., VII., 704, VIII., 78; Manning, Nootka Sound Controversy, in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report, 1904, p. 281; cf. Bassett, Federalist System (Am. Nation, XI), chap. vi.] Two years later, France urged England to join her in freeing the colonies of Spain in the New World;[Footnote: Sorel, L'Europe et la Revolution Francaise, II., 384, 418, III., 17.] and when Pitt rejected these overtures, France sent Genet to spread the fires of her revolution in Louisiana and Florida.[Footnote: Turner, in Am. Hist. Rev., III., 650, X. 259.] When this design failed, France turned to diplomacy, and between 1795 and 1800 tried to persuade Spain to relinquish Florida and Louisiana to herself, as a means of checking the expansion of the United States and of rendering her subservient to France. The growing preponderance of France over Spain, and the fear that she would secure control of Spanish America, led England again in 1798 to listen to Miranda's dream of freeing his countrymen, and to sound the United States on a plan for joint action against Spain in the New World. [Footnote: Turner, in Am. Hist. Rev., X., 249 et seq., 276.] The elder Adams turned a deaf ear to these suggestions, and when at last Napoleon achieved the possession of Louisiana, it was only to turn it over to the United States. [Footnote: Sloane, in Am. Hist. Rev., IV., 439.] Jefferson's threat that the possession of Louisiana by France would seal the union between England and the United States and "make the first cannon which shall be fired in Europe the signal for the tearing up of any settlement she may have made, and for holding the two continents of America in sequestration for the common purposes of the united British and American nations," [Footnote: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), VIII., 145.] showed how unstable must be the American policy of isolation so long as Europe had a lodgment on our borders. [Footnote: Cf. Channing, Jeffersonian System (Am. Nation, XII.), chap. v.]
The acquisition of Louisiana by the United States was followed by the annexation of West Florida; and the Seminole campaign frightened Spain into the abandonment of East Florida. [Footnote: Babcock, American Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xvii.] While the United States was thus crowding Europe back from its borders and strengthening its leadership in the New World, Spanish America was revolting from the mother-country. When Napoleon made himself master of Spain in 1807, English merchants, alarmed at the prospect of losing the lucrative trade which they had built up in the lands which Spain had so long monopolized, supported the revolutionists with money, while various expeditions led by English officers aided the revolt. [Footnote: Paxson, Independence of the So. Am. Republics, chap, iii.; Am. Hist. Rev., IV., 449, VI., 508.] At first, failure met the efforts of the loosely compacted provinces, made up of sharply marked social classes, separated by race antagonisms, and untrained in self-government. Only in Buenos Ayres (later the Argentine Confederation), where representatives of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata declared their independence in 1816, were the colonists able to hold their ground.
A new era in the revolt began, however, in 1817, when General San Martin surprised the Spaniards by his march, from a frontier province of La Plata, over a pass thirteen thousand feet above the sea across the Andes to Chili. In the course of four years, with the co-operation of Lord Cochrane (who relinquished the British service in order to command the fleet of the insurgents on the Pacific), he effected the liberation of Chili and of Peru. Meanwhile, in the northern provinces the other great South American revolutionist, Bolivar, aided by a legion of Irish and English veterans, won the independence of Venezuela and Colombia. In July, 1822, these two successful generals met in Ecuador; and San Martin, yielding the leadership to the more ambitious Bolivar, withdrew from the New World. By this date, America was clearly lost to the Latin states of Europe, for Mexico became an independent empire in 1821, and the next year Brazil, while it chose for its ruler a prince of the younger line of the royal house of Portugal, proclaimed its independence.[Footnote: Paxson, Independence of the So. Am. Republics, chap. i.]
Although the relations between these revolutionary states and England, both on the military and on the commercial side, were much closer than with the United States, this nation followed the course of events with keen interest. Agents were sent, in 1817 and 1820, to various South American states, to report upon the conditions there; and the vessels of the revolutionary governments were accorded belligerent rights, and admitted to the ports of the United States.[Footnote: Ibid., 121; Am. State Papers, Foreign, IV., 217, 818.] The occupation of Amelia Island and Galveston, in 1817, by revolutionists, claiming the protection of the flags of Colombia and Mexico respectively, gave opportunity for piratical forays upon commerce, which the United States was unable to tolerate, and these establishments were broken up by the government.[Footnote: McMaster, United States, IV., chap. xxxiv.; Reeves, in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, XXIII., Nos. 9, 10.]
President Monroe seems to have been inclined to recognize the independence of these states on the earliest evidence of their ability to sustain it; but the secretary of state, John Quincy Adams, favored a policy of delay. He had slight confidence in the turbulent, untrained republics of Latin-America, and little patience with the idea that their revolution had anything in common with that of the United States. At the close of 1817 he believed it inexpedient and unjust for the United States to favor their cause, and he urged a friend to publish inquiries into the political morality and the right of the United States to take sides with a people who trampled upon civil rights, disgraced their revolution by buccaneering and piracy, and who lacked both unity of cause and of effort. [Footnote: Letter to A. H. Everett, in Am. Hist. Rev., XI., 112.] His own system was based on the theory that the United States. should move in harmony with England, and, if possible, with the other European powers in the matter of recognition; [Footnote: Paxson, Independence of the So. Am. Republics, 149 (citing MSS. in State Dept.)] and he perceived that Spain would be more likely to yield Florida to the United States if the president did not acknowledge the independence of her other provinces.
Henry Clay now came forward as the advocate of immediate recognition of the revolutionary republics. In this he was undoubtedly swayed by a real sympathy with the cause of freedom and by the natural instincts of a man of the west, where antagonism to Spain was bred in the bone. But his insistence upon immediate action was also stimulated by his opposition to Monroe and the secretary of state. Clay's great speech on recognition was made May 24 and 25, 1818. His imagination kindled at the vastness of South America: "The loftiest mountains; the most majestic rivers in the world; the richest mines of the precious metals; and the choicest productions of the earth." "We behold there," said he, "a spectacle still more interesting and sublime—the glorious spectacle of eighteen millions of people struggling to burst their chains and be free." He appealed to Congress to support an American system by recognizing these sister republics, and argued that, both in diplomacy and in commerce they would be guided by an American policy and aid the United States to free itself from dependence on Europe. His motion was lost by an overwhelming majority, but the speech made a deep impression. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 15 Cong., 1 Sess., II., 1474.]
In the two years which elapsed between the negotiation and the ratification of the Florida treaty, the president was several times on the point of recommending the forcible occupation of Florida, but he withheld the blow, hoping that the liberal Spanish government established under the constitution of 1820 might be brought to give its consent to the cession. The impetuous Clay chafed under this delay, and on May 10, 1820, he broke forth in another speech, in support of a resolution declaring the expediency of sending ministers to the South American states. Charging the administration, and especially John Quincy Adams, with subserviency to Great Britain, he demanded that the United States should become the center of a system against the despotism of the Old World and should act on its own responsibility. "We look too much abroad," said he. "Let us break these commercial and political fetters; let us no longer watch the nod of any European politician; let us become real and true Americans, and place ourselves at the head of the American system." [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 16 Cong., 1 Sess., II., 2727.]
Clay was steadily gaining support in his efforts to force the hands of the administration: his resolutions won by a fair majority, and again, in February, 1821, he secured the almost unanimous assent of the House to a resolution of sympathy with South America. Another resolution, expressing the readiness of that body to support the president whenever he should think it expedient to recognize the republics, passed by a vote of 86 to 68, and the triumphant Clay was placed at the head of a committee to wait on the president with this resolution.[Footnote: Ibid., 2229, and 2 Sess., 1081, 1091; Adams, Memoirs, V., 268]
Although the victory was without immediate effect on the administration, which refused to act while the Florida treaty was still unratified, Adams perceived that the popular current was growing too strong to be much longer stemmed; the charge of dependence upon England was one not easy to be borne, and Clay's vision of an independent American system guided by the United States had its influence on his mind. Five months after Clay's speech, in 1820, extolling such a system, Adams set forth similar general ideas in a discussion between himself and the British minister over the regulation, of the slave-trade. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 182] By 1822, Florida was in our possession. The success of the arms of the revolutionists was unmistakable; several governments, of sufficient stability to warrant recognition had been erected; and it was patent to the world that Spain had lost her colonies. Acting on these considerations, Monroe sent a message to Congress, March 8, 1822, announcing that the time for recognition had come, and asking for appropriations for ministers to South America. [Footnote: Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 116]
In the mean time, the secretary of state was confronted with important diplomatic questions which, complicated the South American problem. As Spanish America broke away from the mother-country, its possessions in North America on the Pacific were exposed to seizure by the rival powers. In 1821, when Stratford Canning, the British minister to the United States, protested against a motion, in the House of Representatives, that the United States should form an establishment on the Columbia, Adams challenged any claim of England to the shores of the Pacific. "I do not know," said he, "what you claim nor what you do not claim. You claim India; you claim Africa; you claim—" "Perhaps," said Canning, "a piece of the moon." "No," said Adams, "I have not heard that you claim exclusively any part of the moon; but there is not a spot on THIS habitable globe that I could affirm you do not claim; and there is none which you may not claim with as much color of right as you can have to Columbia River or its mouth." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 252.]
The time had arrived when Adams's familiarity with foreign diplomacy, his belief that a new nation must assert its rights with vigor if it expected to maintain them, his very testiness and irascibility, his "bull-dog fighting qualities"—in short, the characteristics that were sources of weakness to him in domestic politics—proved to be elements of strength in his conduct of foreign relations. The individualism, the uncompromising nature, the aggressiveness, and the natural love of expansion, which were traits of John Quincy Adams, became of highest service to his country in the diplomatic relations of the next few years.
Hardly a year elapsed after this defiance to England when Adams met the claims of Russia likewise with a similar challenge. On September 4, 1821, the Russian czar issued a ukase announcing the claim of Russia on the Pacific coast north of the fifty-first degree, and interdicting to the commercial vessels of other powers the approach on the high seas within one hundred Italian miles of this claim. [Footnote: U. S. Foreign Relations (1890), 439.] This assertion of Russian monopoly, which would, in effect, have closed Bering Sea, met with peremptory refusal by Adams, and on July 17, 1823, having in mind Russia's posts in California, he informed the minister, Baron Tuyl, "that we should contest the right of Russia to any territorial establishment on this continent, and that we should assume distinctly the principle that the American continents are no longer subjects for any new European colonial establishments." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 163.] After negotiations, Russia concluded the treaty of April 17, 1824, by which she agreed to form no establishments on the northwest coast south of latitude 54 degrees 40', and the United States reciprocally agreed to make no establishments north of that line. At the same time Russia abandoned her extreme claim of maritime jurisdiction.
While the Russian claims were under consideration, the question of the future of Cuba was also giving great concern. The Pearl of the Antilles remained in the possession of Spain when she lost her main- land colonies. By its position, commanding both the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, it was of the highest importance to the United States as well as to the West Indian powers, England and France. From a party in Cuba itself, in September, 1822, advances were made to the United States for annexation, and Monroe sent an agent to investigate, meanwhile refraining from encouraging the movement. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 69, 72.]
George Canning, who became premier of England in September, 1822, was convinced that no questions relating to continental Europe could be more immediately and vitally important to Great Britain than those which related to America. [Footnote: Stapleton, Official Corresp. of George Canning, I., 48.] Alarmed lest the United States should occupy Cuba, Canning, in a memorandum to the cabinet in November, questioned whether any blow that could be struck by any foreign power in any part of the world would more affect the interests of England. [Footnote: Ibid., 52; Royal Hist. Soc., Transactions (new series), XVIII., 89] He contented himself, however, with sending a naval force to the waters of Cuba and Puerto Rico, with the double purpose of checking American aggressions and protecting English commerce. This action created suspicion on the part of the United States, and Adams issued instructions (April 28, 1823) to the American minister at Madrid, declaring that, within a half-century, the annexation of Cuba to the United States would be indispensable to the continuance and integrity of the Union itself. The laws of political gravitation would, in his opinion, ultimately bring Cuba to this country, if, in the mean time, it were not acquired by some other power. Adams's immediate policy, therefore, favored the retention of Cuba and Puerto Rico by Spain, but he refused to commit the United States to a guarantee of the independence of Cuba against all the world except that power. [Footnote: Wharton, Digest of Am. Int. Law, I., 361-366; Latane, Diplomatic Relations with Lat. Am., chap. iii.]
The mutual jealousies of the nations with respect to the destiny of Cuba became, at this time, entangled with the greater question of the intervention of the Holy Alliance in the New World. At the Congress of Verona, in November, 1822, Austria, France, Russia, and Prussia signed a revision of the treaty of the Holy Alliance, [Footnote: Snow, Treaties and Topics; Seignobos, Pol. Hist. of Europe since 1814, 762.] which had for its objects the promotion of the doctrine of legitimacy in support of the divine right of rulers, and the doctrine of intervention, for the purpose of restoring to their thrones those monarchs who had been deposed by popular uprisings, and of rehabilitating those who had been limited by written constitutions. At Verona, the allies agreed to use their efforts to put an end to the system of representative government in Europe, and to prevent its further introduction. Having already suppressed uprisings in Naples and Piedmont, the Alliance empowered France to send troops into the Spanish peninsula to restore the authority of the king of Spain and to put down the revolutionary constitution of 1820. Chateaubriand, the French representative, desired the congress to go further and intervene in Spanish America, but this question was postponed.
Alarmed by the prospect of French power in Spain and by the proposed extension of the system of the allies to the New World, Canning protested against the doctrine of intervention, and determined that, if France was to become the mistress of Spain, she should at least not control the old Spanish empire. In the spring of 1823 he made an unsuccessful effort to secure a pledge from France not to acquire any Spanish-American possessions, either by conquest or by cession from Spain. But the French government maintained its reserve, even after England disclaimed for herself the intention of acquiring Spanish-American territory. [Footnote: Stapleton, Political Life of Canning, I., 19.]
Having broken with the concert of the European powers, it was natural that England should turn to the United States, and it is very likely that the next step of Canning was influenced by the dispatches of the British minister to the United States, who reported a conversation with Adams, in June, 1823, in which the secretary strongly set forth his belief that, in view of the virtual dissolution of the European alliance, England and the United States had much in common in their policy. "With respect to the vast continent of the West," said he, "the United States must necessarily take a warm and decided interest in whatever determined the fate or affected the welfare of its component members." But he disclaimed any wish on the part of this country to obtain exclusive advantages there. He urged that England ought to recognize the independence of the revolted provinces, and he deprecated the conquest or cession of any part of them. [Footnote: Stratford Canning to George Canning, June 6, 1823, MSS. Foreign Office, America, CLXXVI; Adams, Memoirs, VI., 151; cf. Reddaway, Monroe Doctrine, 83.]
The first impression of the British minister, on hearing Adams's emphasis on the community of interests between the two nations, was that the secretary was suggesting an alliance; and it may well have been that Canning was encouraged by the American attitude to make overtures to Rush, the American minister, shortly after these dispatches must have reached him. On August 16, 1823, and three times thereafter, Canning proposed a joint declaration by England and the United States against any project by a European power of "a forcible enterprise for reducing the colonies to subjugation, on the behalf or in the name of Spain; or which meditates the acquisition of any part of them to itself, by cession or by conquest." [Footnote: Stapleton, Political Life of Canning, II., 24; W. C. Ford, in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings (2d series), XV., 415.] Canning was willing to make public announcement that the recovery of the colonies by Spain was hopeless; that the matter of recognition was only a question of time; and that Great Britain did not aim at the possession of any portion of them, but that it "could not see any part of them transferred to any other power with indifference." These professions Canning desired that the United States and England should mutually confide to each other and declare "in the face of the world."
Confronted with Canning's important proposition, Rush, who doubted the disinterestedness of England, prudently attempted to exact a preliminary recognition of the Spanish-American republics; if Canning would agree to take this action, he would accept the responsibility of engaging in such a declaration. [Footnote: Ford, in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings (2d series), XV., 420, 423.] Having failed in four successive efforts to persuade Rush to join in an immediate declaration, irrespective of prior recognition by England, Canning proceeded alone, and, in an interview with Polignac, the French minister in London, on October 9, 1823, he announced substantially the principles which he had expressed to the American minister. [Footnote: Stapleton, Political Life of Canning, II., 26.] Polignac thereupon disclaimed for France any intention to appropriate Spanish possessions in America, and abjured any design, on the part of his country, of acting against the colonies by force; but he significantly added that the future relations between Spain and her colonies ought to form a subject of discussion between the European powers. Acting on this idea, and in opposition to England's wishes, an invitation was sent to Russia, Prussia, and Austria to confer at Paris on the relations of Spain and her revolted provinces.
Rush's despatches relating the overtures of Canning reached President Monroe [Footnote: Ford, in Am. Hist. Rev., VII., 684.] October 9, 1823, on the same day that Canning was interviewing Polignac. Adams was absent from Washington at the time, and Monroe, returning to Virginia, consulted ex-Presidents Jefferson and Madison. He clearly intimated his own belief that the present case might be an exception to the general maxim against entanglement in European politics, and was evidently willing to accept the proposal of the British government. [Footnote: Monroe, Writings, VI., 323.]
To Jefferson [Footnote: Ibid., VI., 394.] the question seemed the most momentous since the Declaration of Independence. One nation, most of all, he thought, could disturb America in its efforts to have an independent system, and that nation, England, now offered "to lead, aid, and accompany us in it." He believed that by acceding to her proposition her mighty weight would be brought into the scale of free government, and "emancipate a continent at one stroke." Construing the English proposition to be a maintenance of our own principle of "keeping out of our land all foreign-powers," he was ready to accept Canning's invitation. He was even ready to yield his desire for the annexation or independence of Cuba, in order to obtain England's co-operation. Madison, [Footnote: Madison, Writings (ed. of 1865), III., 339-341.] also, was prepared to accept the English proposal, and to invite that government to join in disapproval of the campaign of France in Spain and in a declaration in behalf of the Greeks.
Thus, by a strange operation of fate, members of the "Virginia dynasty," the traditional antagonists of England, were now willing to accept her leadership in American affairs, and were inclined to mingle in European concerns in opposition to the Holy Alliance. By an equally strange chance, it was a statesman from New England, the section traditionally friendly to British leadership, who prevented the United States from casting itself into the arms of England at this crisis, and who summoned his country to stand forth independently as the protector of an American system.
When John Quincy Adams learned of Canning's proposals, he had just been engaged in a discussion with the representative of the czar, who informed him of the refusal of Russia to recognize the Spanish- American republics, and expressed the hope that America would continue her policy of neutrality.
While the cabinet had Rush's dispatches under consideration, Adams received a second communication from the Russian minister, expounding the reactionary ideas of the Holy Alliance. [Footnote: Ford, in Mass. Hist. Soc. Proceedings (2d series), XV., 378, 395, 402-408.] To the secretary of state this was a challenge to defend the American ideas of liberty. Convinces that his Country ought to decline the overture of Great Britain and avow its principles explicitly to Russia and France, "rather than to come in as a cock- boat in the wake of the British man-of-war," Adams informed the president that the reply to Russia and the instructions to Rush in England must be part of a combined system of policy. "The ground that I wish to take," he said, "is that of earnest remonstrance against the interference of European powers by force with South America, but to disclaim all interference on our part with Europe; to make an American cause and adhere inflexibly to that." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 178, 194, 197, 199-212.]
In the cabinet he stood firmly against giving guarantees to England with respect to Cuba. He heartened up his colleagues, who were alarmed at the possibility of the spread of war to the United States; but at the same time that he dismissed this danger as remote he pictured to the cabinet the alarming alternatives in case the allies subjugated Spanish America: California, Peru, and Chili might fall to Russia; Cuba, to England; and Mexico, to France. The danger was even at our doors, he declared, for within a few days the minister of France had openly threatened to recover Louisiana. [Footnote: Ibid., VI., 207; cf. Reeves, in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, XXIII, Nos. 9, 10.] Such suggestions exhibit the real significance of the problem, which in truth involved the question of whether America should lie open to seizure by rival European nations, each fearful lest the other gain an undue advantage. It was time for the United States to take its stand against intervention in this hemisphere.
Monroe was persuaded by Adams to change the first draught of his message, in which the president criticized the invasion of Spain by France and recommended the acknowledgment of the independence of the Greeks, in terms which seemed to threaten war with Europe on European questions. Even Webster and Clay, in fervent orations, showed themselves ready to go far towards committing the United States to an unwise support of the cause of the Greeks, which at this time was deeply stirring the sympathy of the United States. On the other hand, Adams stood firmly on the well-established doctrine of isolation from Europe, and of an independent utterance, by the United States, as the leader in the New World, of the principles of a purely American system. In the final draught, these ideas were all accepted, as well as the principles affirmed by Adams in his conferences with the Russian minister.
When sent to Congress, on December 2, 1823, Monroe's message asserted "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 maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." This was in effect the proclamation of the end of a process that began with Columbus, Cabot, and Cartier—the rivalry of the nations of the Old World in the discovery, occupation, and political control of the wild lands of the western hemisphere. The interpretation by the next administration left the enforcement of this general principle to the various American states according to their interests. [Footnote: See chap. xvi. below]
The message further dealt with the determination of the United States not to meddle with European affairs. "It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously menaced," said Monroe, "that we resent injuries or make preparation for our defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers. The political system of the allied powers is essentially different in this respect from that of America." This declaration expressed the consciousness that there was a real American system contrasted with that of Europe and capable of separate existence.
Finally, the message met the immediate crisis by a bold assertion of the policy of the United States: "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 on 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 toward the United States." [Footnote: Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 207-218; cf. Hart, Foundations of Am. Foreign Policy, chap. vii.] Herein was the assertion of the well- established opposition of the United States to the doctrine of intervention as violating the equality of nations. It was the affirmation also of the equality of the Old and the New World in diplomatic relations, and the announcement of the paramount interest of the United States in American affairs. [Footnote: Moore, "Non- Intervention and the Monroe Doctrine," in Harper's Mag., CIX., 857.]
This classic statement of the position of the United States in the New World, therefore, applied an old tendency on the part of this country to a particular exigency. Its authorship can hardly be attributed to any single individual, but its peculiar significance at this juncture lay in the fact that the United States came forward, unconnected with Europe, as the champion of the autonomy and freedom of America, and declared that the era of European colonization in the New World had passed away. The idea of an American system, under the leadership of the United States, unhampered by dependence upon European diplomacy, had been eloquently and clearly voiced by Henry Clay in 1820. But John Quincy Adams also reached the conception of an independent American system, and to him belongs the credit for the doctrine that the two Americas were closed to future political colonization. His office of secretary of state placed him where he was able to insist upon a consistent, clear-cut, and independent expression of the doctrine of an American system. Monroe's was the honor of taking the responsibility for these utterances. [Footnote: Cf. Reddaway, Monroe Doctrine, chap, v.; and Ford, in Am. Hist. Rev., VII., 676, VIII., 28.]
Canning afterwards boasted, "I called the New World into existence to redress the balance of the Old." [Footnote: Stapleton, Political Life of Canning, III., 227.] Unquestionably his determination that "if France had Spain it should not be Spain with the Indies," materially contributed to make effective the protest of the United States, and he recognized the value of the president's message in putting an end to the proposal of a European congress. "It was broken," said he, "in all its limbs before, but the president's message gives it the coup de grace." [Footnote: Stapleton, George Canning and His Times, 395.]
Nevertheless, the assertion by the United States of an American system independent of Europe, and the proposed exclusion of Europe from further colonization were, in truth, as obnoxious to England as they were to France. [Footnote: Reddaway, Monroe Doctrine, 98.] "The great danger of the time," declared Canning in 1825, shortly after the British recognition of Mexico, "—a danger which the policy of the European system would have fostered—was a division of the world into European and American, republican and monarchical; a league of worn-out governments on the one hand and of youthful and stirring nations, with the United States at their head, on the other. WE slip in between, and plant ourselves in Mexico. The United States have gotten the start of us in vain, and we link once more America to Europe." On December 17, 1824, Canning wrote: "Spanish America is free; and if we do not mismanage our matters sadly, she is English, and novus saeclorum nascitur ordo." [Footnote: Festing, J.H. Frere and His Friends, 267, quoted by E.M. Lloyd, in Royal Hist. Soc. Transactions (new series), XVIII., 77, 93.]
Later events were to reveal how unsubstantial were the hopes of the British minister. For the present, his hands were tied by the fact that England and the United States had a common interest in safeguarding Spanish America; and the form of Monroe's declaration seemed less important than its effectiveness in promoting this result. In the United States the message was received with approbation. Although Clay, from considerations of policy, withdrew a resolution which he presented to Congress (January 20,1824), giving legislative endorsement to the doctrine, [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 1104, II., 2763.] there was no doubt of the sympathy of the American people with its fundamental principles. Together with the attitude of England, it put an end to the menace of the Holy Alliance on this side of the ocean, and it began a new chapter, yet unfinished, in the history of the predominance of the United States in the New World.
The transformation by which the slender line of the Indian trail became the trader's trace, and then a road, superseded by the turnpike and canal, and again replaced by the railroad, is typical of the economic development of the United States. As the population of the west increased, its surplus products sought outlets. Improved means of communication became essential, and when these were furnished the new lines of internal trade knitted the nation into organic unity and replaced the former colonial dependence upon Europe, in the matter of commerce, by an extensive domestic trade between the various sections. From these changes flowed important political results. [Footnote: For the earlier phase of internal improvements, cf. Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xv.]
Many natural obstacles checked this process. The Appalachian mountain system cut off the seaboard of the United States from the interior. From the beginning, the Alleghenies profoundly influenced the course of American history, and at one time even endangered the permanency of the Union. In our own day the railroad has so reduced the importance of these mountains that it is difficult for us to realize the part which they once played in our development. Although Webster boasted that there were no Alleghenies in his politics, we have already seen [Footnote: See chaps, iii., vi., above.] that in the twenties they exercised a dominant influence on the lines of internal commerce, and compelled the pioneer farmers to ship their surplus down the Mississippi to New Orleans and around the coast, and thence abroad and to the cities of the north. The difficult and expensive process of wagoning goods from Philadelphia and Baltimore across the mountains to the Ohio Valley raised the price of manufactured goods to the western farmer; while, on the other hand, the cost of transportation for his crops left him little profit and reduced the value of his lands. [Footnote: Journ. of Polit. Econ., VIII., 36-41.]
Under these circumstances, it was inevitable that the natural opportunities furnished by the water system of the Great Lakes and the widely ramifying tributaries of the Mississippi should appeal to statesmen who considered the short distances that intervened between these navigable waters and the rivers that sought the Atlantic. Turnpikes and canals had already shown themselves practicable and profitable in England, so a natural effort arose to use them in aid of that movement for connecting east and west by ties of interest which Washington had so much at heart. New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, all subdivided by the mountains into eastern and western sections, fostered roads and chartered turnpike and canal companies. Pennsylvania was pre-eminent in this movement even before the close of the eighteenth century, subscribing large amounts to the stock of turnpike companies in order to promote the trade between Philadelphia and the growing population in the region of Pittsburgh. So numerous were the projects and beginnings of roads and canals in the nation, that as early as 1808 the far-sighted Gallatin made his famous report for a complete national system of roads and canals. [Footnote: Cf. Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.), chap. iii.]
When New York undertook the Erie Canal in 1817 as a state enterprise, and pushed it to such a triumphant conclusion that before a decade after its completion its tolls repaid the cost of construction, a revolution was effected in transportation. The cheapness of water carriage not only compelled the freighters on the turnpike roads to lower their charges, but also soon made it probable that canals would supersede land transportation for heavy freights, and even for passengers. For a time the power of Pittsburgh and the activity of Philadelphia merchants sustained the importance of the Pennsylvania turnpike. Until Great Lake steam navigation developed and population spread along the shore of Lake Erie and canals joined the Ohio and the lakes, the Erie Canal did not reap its harvest of trade in the west. But already Pennsylvania was alarmed at the prospect of losing her commercial ascendancy. While New York and Philadelphia were developing canals and turnpikes to reach the west, Baltimore was placed in an awkward position. The attempts to improve the waters of the upper Potomac engaged the interests of Maryland and Virginia from the days of Washington. But the success of the Potomac Company, chartered jointly by these two states in an effort to reach the Ohio trade, would have turned traffic towards the city of Washington and its outlying suburbs instead of towards Baltimore, which was already connected by a turnpike with the Cumberland Road, so as to share with Philadelphia in the wagon trade to the Ohio. On the other hand, Baltimore was interested in the development of the Susquehanna's navigation, for this river had its outlet in Chesapeake Bay, near enough to Baltimore to make that city its entrepot; and it tapped the great valley of Pennsylvania as well as the growing agricultural area of south-central New York, which was not tributary to the Erie Canal. But it was not possible to expect New York, Pennsylvania, or even that part of Maryland interested in the Potomac to aid these ambitions of Baltimore; and that city found itself at a disadvantage and Maryland's interests were divided. [Footnote: Hulbert, Historic Highways, XIII., 69 et seq.; Mills, Treatise on Inland Navig.; see chap, xvii., below.]
Meantime, Virginia, anxious to check the western exodus from the interior of her state, established a state fund and a board of public works for the improvement of her rivers, including the project of connecting the James and Kanawha. [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xv.; Adams, United States, IX., 164.] North Carolina was agitating similar plans; [Footnote: Murphy, Memorial on Internal Improvements; Weaver, Internal Improvements in N. C., in Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, XXI, 113.] and South Carolina made appropriations for extensive improvements.
New England devoted her attention to canals along the seaboard and up the Connecticut Valley, to give the products of the interior of that section an outlet on the coast. Boston was feeling the isolation from the western trade that was enriching New York, and some voices were raised in favor of a canal to reach the Hudson; but the undertaking was too difficult, and the metropolis of New England devoted its energies to the ocean commerce.
Meantime, the west was urging the federal government to construct those interstate roads and canals which were essential to the prosperity of that section and which could not be undertaken by jealous and conflicting states. The veto by Madison of Calhoun's bonus bill, in 1817, [Footnote: Cf. Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xvii.] was followed nine months later by Monroe's first annual message, [Footnote: Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 18.] in which he stated his belief that the Constitution did not empower Congress to establish a system of internal improvements, and recommended an amendment to convey the power. To Clay and the friends of internal improvements, these constitutional scruples of the Virginia dynasty, although accompanied by approval of the plan of a system of internal improvements at federal expense, came as a challenge. In an important debate on the constitutionality of national internal improvements, in 1818, the House of Representatives, voting on four resolutions submitted by Lowndes, of South Carolina, [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 15 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 1249] declared that Congress had power to appropriate money for the construction of military roads, and of other roads, and of canals, and for the improvement of watercourses (89 ayes to 75 nays). [Footnote: By count of names; the Journal gives ayes 90.] But after a debate which turned on the significance of the word "establish" in the Constitution, the House decided against the power to construct post-roads and military roads (81 to 84); against the power to construct roads and canals necessary to commerce between the states (71 to 95); and against the power to construct canals for military purposes (81 to 83).
It was clear after this debate that there was not a sufficient majority to override the veto which might be expected from the president. On the other hand, the majority were unwilling to hazard the rights which they claimed to possess, by appealing to the states for a constitutional amendment. The next year Calhoun, the secretary of war, responding to an invitation of Congress, submitted a report outlining a comprehensive system of internal improvements requisite for the defense of the United States. While avoiding an opinion on the question of constitutionality, he declared that a judicious system of roads and canals, constructed for commerce and the mail, would be "itself among the most efficient means for the more complete defense of the United States"; [Footnote: Am. State Papers, Miscellaneous, 534.] and he favored the use of the engineering corps for surveying the routes and of federal troops for the actual work of construction.
By 1818 the National Road [Footnote: Cf. Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xv.; Young, Cumberland Road, 15; Hulbert, Historic Highways, X., chap. i.] had been constructed from Cumberland, on the Potomac, across the mountains to Wheeling, on the Ohio, and two years later Congress made appropriations for a survey of the road westward to the Mississippi River. The panic of 1819, however, left the treasury in such a condition that it was not until 1822 that the preservation and construction of this highway was again taken up with vigor. In that year a bill was introduced authorizing the president to cause toll-houses, gates, and turnpikes to be erected on the Cumberland Road, and to appoint toll-gatherers, with power to enforce the collection of tolls to be used for the preservation of the road. The bill further provided for a system of fines for violation of the laws of the road. It therefore involved the question of the right of jurisdiction as well as of construction.
The measure passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 87 to 68. The districts along the line of the Potomac and the Ohio, and the regions tributary to the road in Pennsylvania and western Virginia, were almost a unit in favor of the bill. Indeed, the whole vote of the western states, with the exception of two members from Tennessee, was given in the affirmative. But Pittsburgh, which feared the diversion of her western trade to Baltimore, opposed the bill. The area along the Susquehanna which looked to Baltimore also voted in the negative, as did the majority of the delegation from New York, who were apprehensive of the effect of the National Road as a rival to the Erie Canal. The Senate passed the bill by the decisive vote of 29 to 7.
Monroe vetoed this measure, on the ground that it implied a power to execute a complete system of internal improvements, with the right of jurisdiction and sovereignty. Accompanying his veto (May 4, 1822), he submitted "Views on the Subject of Internal Improvements." [Footnote: Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 142-183; Monroe, Writings, VI., 216; Mason, Veto Power, 85; Nelson presidential Influence on Int. Imp. (Iowa Journal of Hist, and Politics), IV., 29, 30.] In this elaborate disquisition, he rehearsed the constitutional history of internal improvements, and expounded his conception of the construction of the Constitution, and of the relation of the states and the nation under the theory of divided sovereignty. Although he denied to the federal government the right of jurisdiction and construction, he asserted that Congress had unlimited power to raise money, and that "in its appropriation, they have a discretionary power, restricted only by their duty to appropriate it to purposes of common defense and of general, not local, national, not state, benefit." Nevertheless, he strongly recommended a system of internal improvements, if it could be established by means of a constitutional amendment. Both houses sustained the president's veto.
Acting upon Monroe's intimation of the power to appropriate money, and following the line of least resistance, the next year an act was passed making appropriations for repairs of the Cumberland Road. On March 3, 1823, also, was signed the first of the national acts for the improvement of harbors. [Footnote: U. S. Statutes at Large, III., 780.] The irresistible demand for better internal communications and the development of a multitude of local projects, chief among them a new plan for uniting Chesapeake Bay with the Ohio by a canal along the Potomac, resulted, in 1824, in the introduction of the general survey bill, authorizing the president to cause surveys to be made for such roads and canals as he deemed of national importance for commercial, military, or postal purposes. The evident intention of the bill was to prepare a programme for appropriations for internal improvements on a national scale, and for subscription to the stock of companies engaged in these enterprises. The discussion of the general survey bill brought out the significance of the problem of transportation, and revealed the sectional divisions of the nation in clear light.
Henry Clay made an earnest effort to commit Congress to the exercise of the power of construction of interstate highways and canals which could not be undertaken by individual states or by combinations of states, and which, if built at all, must be by the nation. He recounted the attention given by Congress to the construction of public buildings and light-houses, coast surveys, erection of sea- walls in the Atlantic states—"everything on the margin of the ocean, but nothing for domestic trade; nothing for the great interior of the country." [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 1035.] "Not one stone," he said, "had yet been broken, not one spade of earth removed, in any Western State." He boldly claimed that the right to regulate commerce granted as fully the power to construct roads and canals for the benefit of circulation and trade in the interior as it did the power to promote coastwise traffic. His speech was a strong assertion of the right of the west to equality of treatment with the old sections of the country. "A new world," said he, "has come into being since the Constitution was adopted. Are the narrow, limited necessities of the old thirteen states, of, indeed, parts only of the old thirteen states, as they existed at the formation of the present Constitution, forever to remain the rule of its interpretation?" [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 1315; Colton, Private Corresp. of Clay, 81.]
In contrast with the united attitude of the west upon internal improvements, which Henry Clay voiced with such lofty accent, the south showed divisions which reflected opposing economic interests in the section. Not only were the representatives of Maryland almost a unit in support of the bill, but also the western districts of Virginia and North Carolina, as well as a considerable fraction of the representatives from South Carolina and Georgia, supported the cause of the west on this occasion.
The opposition in the south found, perhaps, its most inflexible expression in the speech of John Randolph, [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 1296-1311.] who, with characteristic recklessness and irresponsibility, dragged from its closet the family skeleton of the south, and warned his fellow slaveholders that, if Congress possessed power to do what was proposed by the bill, they might emancipate every slave in the United States, "and with stronger color of reason than they can exercise the power now contended for." He closed by threatening the formation of associations and "every other means short of actual insurrection." "We shall keep on the windward side of treason," said he. [Footnote: Cf. Macon's identical views in 1818 and 1824, Univ. of North Carolina, James Sprunt Hist. Monographs, No. 2, pp. 47, 72.]
On the other hand, McDuffie, of South Carolina, the friend and protege of Calhoun and a later leader of the nullification forces, supported the measure and spoke as earnestly in favor of a liberal construction of the Constitution as any of the most enthusiastic supporters of the bill. He declared that the constitutional convention "did not regard the state governments as sentinels upon the watch-towers of freedom, or in any respect more worthy of confidence than the general government."
When the bill came to the final vote in the House of Representatives, New England gave 12 votes in favor and 26 against; the middle states, 37 to 26 (New York, 7 to 24); the south, 23 to 34; the west, 43 to 0. Thus the bill carried by 115 to 86. As the map shows, the opposition was chiefly located in New England and New York and in a fragment of the old south. The entire west, including the southwestern slave states, with Pennsylvania and the Potomac Valley, acted together. In the Senate, the vote stood 24 to 18. Here New England gave an almost solid vote against the bill.
Thus by the close of Monroe's administration the forces of nationalism seemed to have triumphed in the important field of internal improvements. It was the line of least resistance then, as it had been in the days of the Annapolis Convention. [Footnote: McLaughlin, Confederation and Constitution (Am. Nation, X.), chap, xi.]
As has been shown in the last chapter, the attitude of portions of the south towards strict construction was not inveterate upon measures which promised advantages to that section. But the tariff struggle revealed the spirit which arose when powers were asserted unfavorable to any section. The failure of the tariff bill of 1820 [Footnote: See above, chap. ix.] was followed by other unsuccessful attempts to induce a majority of Congress to revive the subject. The messages of Monroe favored a moderate increase of duties; but it was not until 1824, after the return of Henry Clay and his triumphant election to the speakership, that Congress showed a protectionist majority ably disciplined and led. [Footnote: For previous tariff history, cf. Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xiv.]
The tariff bill of 1824 was supported, not as a revenue, but as a protective measure. It proposed an increase of the duty upon iron, hemp, cotton bagging, woolens, and cottons. Upon woolen goods, the friends of protection desired to apply the minimum principle which the tariff of 1816 had provided for cotton goods. But the cheap woolens were mostly used for the clothing of southern slaves, and the proposition for an increase of duty met with so strenuous a resistance that in the outcome the cheap foreign goods bore a lower rate of duty than did the high-priced products. Although the act somewhat increased the protection upon woolen fabrics as a whole, this was more than offset by the increased duty which was levied upon raw wool in response to the demand of the wool-raising interests of the country. [Footnote: Taussig, Tariff Hist., 75.]
Another struggle occurred over the protection of hemp. This product was used both for the manufacture of the ropes essential to New England shipping and for the cotton bagging used in the south. Thus the shipping and the slave-holding sections were brought into union in opposition to the provision. Nevertheless, this important Kentucky interest received a substantial protection. The attempt to secure a marked increase of the duty on iron bars resulted in a compromise proposition which satisfied neither party and had little effect upon domestic manufacture, while it increased the cost to the consumer. The Senate amendments reduced the proposed rates on the most important articles, so that, on the whole, the extreme protectionists failed to carry their programme, although the bill increased the duties upon the articles most essential to the shipping and planting sections sufficiently to leave great discontent. [Footnote: Stanwood, Amer. Tariff Controversies, I., chap. vii.]
In the debates upon this tariff, Henry Clay led the protectionist forces, basing his arguments upon the general distress of the country, which he explained by the loss of the foreign market for agricultural products, and which he would remedy by building up a home market by means of the support of manufactures—the creation of an "American system." "We must naturalize the arts in our country," said he. Not the least significant portion of his plea for protection was that in which he called attention to the great diversity of interests—"agricultural, planting, farming, commercial, navigating, fishing, manufacturing"—within the United States. Some of these interests were, as he said, peculiar to particular sections. "The inquiry should be in reference to the great interests of every section of the Union (I speak not of minute subdivisions); what would be done for those interests if that section stood alone and separated from the residue of the Republic? If they come into absolute collision with the interests of another section, a reconciliation, if possible, should be attempted, by mutual concession, so as to avoid a sacrifice of the prosperity of either to that of the other." [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., 1 Sess., II., 1997; cf. Clay's letter to Brooke, August 28, 1823, Clay, Private Corresp., 81.]
Perhaps the ablest speech on the other side was that of Webster, [Footnote: Webster, Writings (National ed.), V., 94-149.] who ridiculed Clay's discovery. "This favorite American policy," said he, "is what America has never tried, and this odious foreign policy is what, as we are told, foreign states have never pursued." He denied the existence of general depression, although he admitted that profits were lower and prices considerably depressed. Webster's argument included an analysis of the theory of protection as against free-trade, in which he made a classical statement of the opposition to protection. In short, he represented the attitude of the commercial classes, particularly those of New England, whose interests were injured by any restraint of the freedom of exchange. As yet these classes exercised a dominant influence in Massachusetts.
Senator Hayne, of South Carolina, also argued the case against the tariff with a grasp and power of presentation that was hardly second to that of Webster. In particular he protested against compelling the planting regions to pay the cost of a protective system. Two- thirds of the whole amount of the domestic exports of the United States, he argued, were composed of cotton, rice, and tobacco, and from this trade arose the imports of manufactured goods which paid the revenues of the United States, and which the protective system rendered expensive and burdensome to his section. He warned the manufacturers that the south would repeal the system at the first opportunity, regardless of interests that might accrue under the proposed measure. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., 1 Sess., I., 618.]
In the speeches of some of the representatives of the south was a note of revolt not to be found in Webster's argument. For the first time in the discussion of the tariff, the constitutional objection was made prominent. It was argued that the power to impose taxes and duties was given for the purpose of raising revenue, not for the purpose of protection. If not the letter, at least the spirit, of the Constitution was violated, so it was charged, by this distortion of the power of taxation. The proceedings of the constitutional convention were recited to show that a proposition conferring the alleged power was voted down. To this, Clay gave the reply that the clause on which the protectionists relied was the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations.
Even the south, however, laid less stress upon the constitutional argument than upon the injustice to the section. McDuffie, for example, replying to Clay, [Footnote: Ibid., II., 2400 et seq.] argued that no one of the great sections of the country, if it were a separate nation, could advantageously apply the system of protection. He warned the western states that the system would make them tributary to the Atlantic states, [Footnote: Ibid., II., 2423.] and that they had more to lose by alienating the friendship of the south for a system of internal improvements which should facilitate the sale of their meat products to the south than by a union with the manufacturing interests. With respect to the south itself, he declared that cotton, which alone constituted one-third of the whole export of the Union, was in danger of losing the market of England if we ceased to take the manufactures of that country. Protesting that the protective system would strike at the root of their prosperity, by enhancing the cost of the clothing of their slaves and the bagging used to cover their cotton-bales, while at the same time it put to hazard the sale of their great staple in the English market, he yet declared that, if the bill should pass, "even with a majority of a single vote, I shall, as bound by my allegiance, submit to it as one of the laws of my country."
But if this South Carolina leader represented the attitude of his state in showing moderation at this time, [Footnote: See Ames, State Docs, on Federal Relations, No. 4, p. 6.] not so did the free-lance John Randolph, of Virginia. "I do not stop here, sir," said he, "to argue about the constitutionality of this bill; I consider the Constitution a dead letter; I consider it to consist, at this time, of the power of the General Government and the power of the States— that is the Constitution." "I have no faith in parchment, sir; … I have faith in the power of the commonwealth of which I am an unworthy son." "If, under a power to regulate trade, you prevent exportation; if, with the most approved spring lancets, you draw the last drop of blood from our veins; if, secundum artem, you draw the last shilling from our pockets, what are the checks of the Constitution to us? A fig for the Constitution! When the scorpion's sting is probing to the quick, shall we stop to chop logic? … There is no magic in this word union." While he threatened forcible resistance, he rejoiced in the combination of the shipping and commercial classes of New England with the south in opposition to the measure. "The merchants and manufacturers of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, the province of Maine and Sagadahock," said he, "repel this bill, whilst men in hunting-shirts, with deer-skin leggings and moccasins on their feet, want protection for manufactures."
The bill passed the House of Representatives on April 16, 1824, by the close vote of 107 to 102, and subsequently passed the Senate by a small majority:
New England Middle Region South
M N V M R C T N N P D T M V N S G T
e H t a I o o Y J a e o d a C C a o
s n t l t t
s n a a a
l l l
Ayes . . .1 1 5 1 2 5 15 26 6 24 1 57 3 1 0 0 0 4
Nays . . .6 5 0 11 0 1 23 8 0 1 0 9 6 21 13 9 7 56
Northwest and Kentucky Southwest O I I M K T T A M L T h n l o y o e l i a o i d t n a s t Total o a n s a l l
Ayes . . .14 2 1 1 11 29 2 0 0 0 2 107
Nays . . . 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 3 1 3 14 102
By this analysis and the map, it is clear that the navigating states were in opposition, while the manufacturing states were generally in favor of the bill. The most important textile manufacturers of Massachusetts, however, were not advocates of protection at this time. The grain and wool producing states gave an overwhelming vote (91 to 9) in favor of the attempt to provide a home market. The planting states gave but 3 votes in favor to 64 against. [Footnote: See the analysis in Niles' Register, XXVI., 113.] By comparison with the map of the general survey bill, it is seen that the southern half of the west was in a state of unstable equilibrium on these sectional issues. It joined the Ohio Valley and the middle states in supporting a system of internal improvements, while it transferred its support to the old south on the question of the tariff. New England, on the other hand, although divided, tended to unite its strength with that of the south on both these measures. In general, the map reveals the process of forming a northern section in opposition to the south—the union of the Ohio Valley with the middle states against the alliance of the south Atlantic seaboard with the Gulf states. The division of forces exhibited in the Missouri struggle was strikingly like the division now revealed on the tariff question.
On the whole, the tariff of 1824 was distinctly a compromise measure. Although the ad valorem duties on cotton and woolen goods were raised, this was balanced by the doubled duty on raw wool. Nevertheless, it aroused the opposition of the entire planting section, at the same time that the manufacturers of woolen goods felt that their interests had been sacrificed. The tariff question was, in fact, only postponed. In the history of party development, however, Clay's system of internal improvements and tariff, as shown in this session of Congress, had a significance not easily missed; and state sovereignty sentiment in the south grew steadily after these measures. [Footnote: See chapter xviii, below; cf. Antes, State Docs, on Federal Relations, No. 4, pp. 4-13.]
As we have seen, [Footnote: See above, chap. x.] the dissensions in Monroe's cabinet approached the point of rupture by the spring and summer of 1822, when the spectacle was presented of the friends of the secretary of the treasury making war upon the measures of the secretary of war, and even antagonizing the president himself. Crawford's followers gained the name of the "radicals," and declared as their principles, democracy, economy, and reform. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 56; Mass. Hist. Soc., Proceedings, XIX., 40.] Professing to represent the pure Jeffersonian republicanism of the "Revolution of 1800," they appealed to the adherents of the Virginia school of politics for support. [Footnote: Edwards, Illinois, 489.] Jefferson, although refusing to come out openly, was clearly in sympathy with Crawford's candidacy: he believed that the old parties still continued, although under different names, and that the issue would finally be reduced to a contest between a northern and a southern candidate.
"You see," said he, in a letter to Gallatin, "many calling themselves Republicans and preaching the rankest doctrine of the old Federalists. One of the prominent candidates [Adams] is presumed to be of this party; the other [Crawford] a Republican of the old school, and a friend to the barrier of state rights, as provided by the Constitution against the danger of consolidation." [Footnote: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 235; cf. 225-227, 237, 261, 264, 280.] Pennsylvania and New York, he thought, would decide the question, and the issue would depend upon whether or not the "Missouri principle" became involved.
At this time parties and principles were still plastic. This is illustrated by a letter written in the spring of 1823 to Monroe, by John Taylor, of Caroline, the leading exponent of the orthodox Virginia tenets of state sovereignty. The writer was evidently stirred by the recent publication, in Calhoun's Washington organ, of a series of letters signed A. B., [Footnote: Edwards, Illinois, 525; National Intelligencer, April 21-23, 1823; Am. State Papers Finance, V., 1-145.] in which Crawford was denounced for corrupt dealings with the banks, collusion with slave-traders, and intrigues in general. Calhoun himself had just ended a visit with Taylor when the latter wrote, bitterly condemning the "example of obtaining the presidency by crafty intrigues and pecuniary influence," as tending to transfer power to a moneyed aristocracy. Neither Calhoun nor Adams, in his opinion, was open to this objection, and neither of them, he thought, would prefer a protective tariff to a navy as a means of national defense. While he admitted his ignorance of Adams's views on the subject of division of power between the federal and state governments, he declared that Calhoun had no advantage on this point, for although the latter professed to consider the distribution of powers between the states and the central authority as "a distinguishing pre-eminence in our form of government," yet, in the opinion of Taylor, he destroyed "this pre- eminence by endowing the federal government with a supremacy over the state governments whenever they come in conflict." This was important testimony, following immediately on Calhoun's visit, and coming from the pen of a man who was primarily interested in the question.
In spite of these objections, which would seem to be insuperable from the point of view of this distinguished expositor of state sovereignty, Taylor was ready to take the initiative in a movement against Crawford, if Monroe, Jefferson, and Madison agreed. Although as between Calhoun and Adams, he intimated that "the Missouri question" made a distinction of considerable weight, [Footnote: Taylor to Monroe, April 29, 1823, Monroe Papers, MSS. in Cong. Libr.; cf. "Farmer's" attacks on Crawford as a protectionist, in Richmond Enquirer, noted in Niles' Register, XXIV., 306. See Calhoun to Gouverneur, April 28, 1823, N. Y. Publ. Libr., Bulletin, 1899, p. 324; Adams, Memoirs, VI., 356.] he did not press the point. James Barbour, the other senator from Virginia, also seriously thought of supporting Adams, [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 242, 450-452; see also Taylor's interview with Adams, May 26, 1824, ibid., 356, 357.] and it is clear that the secretary of state at this time was not regarded as unsafe in the Old Dominion. In the spring and summer of 1823, however, Crawford seemed to be clearly in the lead. He was supported by a well-organized press, which took its tone from the Washington newspapers; and until Calhoun, in retaliation, established a paper of his own to denounce Crawford's management of his department, he had effective control of the most influential organs of public opinion. [Footnote: Ibid., 47, 56, 57, 60, 62-64, 66.] He was a master of political manipulation; but among his rivals were men of almost equal skill in this respect.
Clay was again chosen speaker, on his return to the House of Representatives in December, 1823, by a triumphant majority, and, as the session advanced, he and Calhoun, with all the arts of fascinating conversation, plied the old and new members. At this critical period in his campaign, Crawford was overwhelmed by a stroke of paralysis (September, 1823), which wrecked his huge frame and shattered his career. Shut in a darkened room, threatened with blindness and the loss of speech, bled by the doctors twenty-three times in three weeks, unable to sign his official papers with his own hand, he was prevented from conducting his own political battle. But he kept his courage and his purpose, concealing his real condition from all but his most trusted intimates. Not until April, 1824, was he able to attend cabinet meetings, and within a month after that he suffered a relapse, which prevented his active participation in his duties until the fall. [Footnote: National Intelligencer, September 15, 1824; Life of W. W. Seaton, 160; King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 539; Adams, Memoirs, VI., 130, 270, 275, 356, 357, 387, 428, 435, 439; Univ. of North Carolina, James Sprunt Hist. Monographs, No. 2, pp. 69, 71; Edwards, Illinois, 492.]
Adams had the New England scruples against urging his cause personally, and took the attitude that the office of president should come from merit, not from manipulation. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, IV., 64, 242, 298, V., 89, 129, 298, 525; Dwight, Travels, I., 266.] Moreover, he saw that the practice of soliciting votes from members of Congress would render the executive subservient to that body. Although his uncompromising temper unfitted him for the tactics of political management, he was an adept in the grand strategy of the contest, and he noted every move of his adversaries. His replies to attacks were crushing, for he had the gift of clear and forcible exposition. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 361, 496- 535, VI., 116-118; King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 475; Gallatin, Writings, II., 246.] But his greatest strength in the presidential contest lay in the fact that he was the only promising northern candidate.
Early in the campaign, Calhoun commented on the fact that five candidates were from the slave-holding states—a circumstance which, in his opinion, would give Adams great advantages if he knew how to improve them. [Footnote: Edwards, Illinois, 492.] Naturally, therefore, Adams gained the influential support of Rufus King, the chief antagonist of the slave section. At first decidedly hostile, King's final adhesion was given to him, not out of personal regard, but because he believed that the public should be aroused against "longer submission to a Southern Master…. He is the only northern Candidate, and as between him and the black Candidates I prefer him." [Footnote: King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 508, 510.] Steadily Adams increased his following in reluctant New England. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXIII., 322, 342; Clay, Private Corresp., 98; Adams, Memoirs, VI., 235.] In New York he had an element of strength in the fact that the population was nearly evenly divided between the natives of that state and the settlers from New England. Of the delegation from the state of New York in the seventeenth Congress, for example, those who were born in New England were about equal to those born in the state itself. Nearly forty per cent, of the members of the New York constitutional convention of 1821 were born in New England. [Footnote: King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 413; Carter and Stone, Reports of New York Convention, 637; Force, Calendar (1823).] The adhesion of ex- Speaker Taylor, another of the champions of restriction in the Missouri struggle, furnished an able manager in New York.
Even the attitude of Van Buren was for a time in doubt, for he would gladly have retired from politics to accept a place on the bench of the supreme court of the United States; but Adams and King pressed his candidacy for this position in vain upon the president, and Van Buren finally gave his full support to Crawford. [Footnote: King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 512-517, 518-527; Adams, Memoirs, VI., 168, 173; Crawford to Van Buren, August 1, 1823, Van Buren Papers (MSS.); Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1904, p. 178.] So little did Adams appreciate the popular movement that was gathering about Jackson's name, that he advised his followers to support the "Old Hero" for the vice-presidency, "a station in which the General could hang no one, and in which he would need to quarrel with no one. His name and character would serve to restore the forgotten dignity of the place, and it would afford an easy and dignified retirement to his old age." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 333.] In January, 1824, on the anniversary of the victory of New Orleans, Adams gave a great ball, attended by over a thousand people, in honor of his rival. [Footnote: Ibid., 220; Sargent, Public Men and Events, I., 48-51.]
After Jackson's return from the governorship of Florida, in 1821, his star steadily rose in the political horizon. His canvass was conducted by his neighbor, Major Lewis, who was one of the most astute politicians in American history, able subtly to influence the attitude of his volcanic candidate and to touch the springs of political management. On July 20, 1822, the legislature of Tennessee formally nominated the general for the presidency. [Footnote: Parton, Jackson, III., 20; Niles' Register, XXII., 402.]
This gave the signal of revolt by the states against the congressional caucus. Clay rallied his own forces, and in 1822 and 1823 was nominated [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXIII., 245, 342; Ohio Monitor, January 4, 1823; National Republican (Cincinnati), January 14,1823; King, Life and Corresp., VI., 487; Clay, Private Corresp., 70. ] by members of the legislatures of Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, and Louisiana. [Footnote: National Intelligencer, April 12, 1823; Ky. Reporter, April 21. 1823.] Alabama nominated Jackson; and Mississippi, by a tie vote, proposed both Adams and Jackson. [Footnote: McMaster, United States, V., 68.] These nominations by states showed that, however the west might be divided, it was a unit in resistance to the selection of a president by a combination of congressmen. It was believed that the spirit of the Constitution was violated by this method, which made the executive depend on the legislative body for nomination; and that a minority candidate might win by the caucus. This became the rallying cry of Jackson, whose canvass was conducted on the issue of the right of the people to select their president; [Footnote: Sargent, Public Men and Events, I., 57; Parton, Jackson, III., 17, 40, 41.] and the prevalent discontent and industrial depression made the voters responsive to this idea. The movement was one of permanent significance in American history, for it represented the growth of democracy, and led the way to the institution of the national nominating convention.
In the fall of 1823, Tennessee returned Jackson to the Senate, having chosen him over one of the prominent leaders of the Crawford party, and, shortly afterwards, the legislature sent to the other states a vigorous resolution, asking them to unite in putting down the congressional caucus. [Footnote: Parton, Jackson, III., 21; Niles' Register, XXV., 114, 137, 197, 292; McMaster, United States, V., 60; Tyler, Tylers, I., 341; Richmond Enquirer, January 1, 6, 13, 1824.] In Virginia and many other states the Tennessee resolutions gave rise to agitation which strengthened the popular feeling against congressional dictation. [Footnote: McMaster, United States, V., 60-62, 64; Dallinger, Nominations, 19 n., 54.] Although Adams at first considered the congressional caucus as one of the "least obnoxious modes of intrigue," he also finally threw his influence against the system and announced that he would not accept a nomination by that body. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 191, 236.]
Realizing that, in spite of his illness, Crawford could command the largest following in Congress, the friends of all the other candidates united their forces in an effort to prevent the meeting of the caucus. Already it was evident to the Georgian's supporters that the only thing that could bring him the victory was insistence upon party unity and discipline, and on February 14, 1824, sixty-six of the two hundred and sixteen Democrats in Congress gathered for the last congressional caucus which nominated a president. That these were practically all Crawford men was shown by his nomination with only four opposing votes. [Footnote: Dallinger, Nominations, 19; Niles' Register, XXV., 388-392, 403; Hammond, Pol. Hist, of N.Y., II., 149; McMaster, United States, V., 64; Life of W.W. Seaton, 173; Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., I Sess., I., 358.] Gallatin had been persuaded to return from Paris, and he received the nomination for vice-president, in order to hold the state of Pennsylvania in Crawford's column; but it proved a forlorn hope, for this old companion-in-arms of Jefferson found Pennsylvania "Jackson mad."
Calhoun, seeing that he had lost the northern state on which he had founded his hopes of success, and despairing of making inroads upon Crawford's southern forces after the congressional caucus, sought his political fortunes in an alliance with his rival. [Footnote: Clay, Private Corresp., 87.] The result was that, in a state nominating convention held at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (March 4, 1824), Jackson was almost unanimously nominated by that state for president, and Calhoun was named for the vice-presidency. In vain the managers of Crawford sought to throw discredit upon Jackson by the publication of his correspondence with Monroe, in which he had pleaded for recognition of the Federalists; [Footnote: Parton, Jackson, II., 357, III., 20; Monroe, Writings.] the letters added to his strength, and finally Gallatin was induced to withdraw from the unequal contest, in order that an attempt might be made to persuade Henry Clay to accept the vice-presidency under Crawford. [Footnote: Gallatin, Works, II., 297-300; Adams, Life of Gallatin, 604; Clay, Private Corresp., 100-103; Sargent, Public Men and Events, I., 57.]
The conflict was not entirely a matter of personal politics. Jackson had raised the popular movement against the congressional caucus into a distinct issue—the right of the people to choose their own president. Clay's "American system" of internal improvements and the protective tariff furnished others. We have seen that these subjects were hotly debated in Congress during the spring months of 1824. As the pre-eminent champion of these interests, Clay had a large following in the states of the Ohio Valley, as well as in New York The early popularity of Calhoun in Pennsylvania was also due, in part, to his record as a friend of tariff and internal improvements. Upon that subject, on July 3, 1824, he gave an exposition of his constitutional principles to Garnett, of Virginia, in which he showed some tendency to moderate his position. [Footnote: Houston, Nullification in S. C., 143.] When interrogated upon his views in respect to the tariff, Jackson replied, in a letter to Coleman, avowing himself a moderate protectionist and a supporter of the doctrine of the promotion of manufactures in order to create a home market; and in the Senate he voted for the tariff of 1824, and in favor of internal improvements. [Footnote: Parton, Jackson, III., 34, 35; Niles' Register, XXVI., 245; Wheeler, Hist, of Cong., II., 231.] Crawford was embarrassed by the need of reconciling his southern support with his following in the middle states upon these subjects. While his treasury reports indicated a preference for a revenue tariff, they were sufficiently ambiguous to create opposition in the south and a loss of support in the north. The issue of internal improvements he evaded by professing himself in favor of a constitutional amendment, for which he tried in vain to secure the support of his friends in the Georgia legislature. [Footnote: King, Life and Corresp. of King, VI., 496, 500; Niles' Register, XXIV, 306; Gilmer, Sketches, 294.]
Adams announced that his policy with reference to the opposing interests of the country was "conciliation, not collision"; but he declared that there was no constitutional question involved, either in the tariff or in internal improvements, [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 353, 451; cf. 343.] and he was frankly in favor of the latter, while he professed himself satisfied with the tariff of 1824, as a reasonable compromise between the conflicting interests. If changed at all, he believed that the tariff should be reduced. An attempt was made to bring him into disrepute in the south for his negotiation of a convention in 1824 with England for the international regulation of the slave-trade. This subject had been forced upon his reluctant attention early in his career as secretary of state. While he was willing to join in declaring that traffic piracy, he was very proud of his record as a steadfast opponent of the right of search in any form. It was too valuable political capital to be given up, even if he had not espoused the cause with all his energy. To all propositions, therefore, for conceding the right of search of suspected slavers, Adams had turned a deaf ear, as he did to proposals of mixed courts to try cases of capture. But in the convention of 1824, declaring the slave-trade piracy under the law of nations, he had offered to concede the right of British vessels to cruise along our coasts to intercept slavers, and this clause the Senate struck out, whereupon England refused to ratify it.[Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 321, 338, 345; Monroe, Writings, VII., 22; King, Life and Corresp. of King, 571, 572; DuBois, Slave Trade, 139, 140.]
On the whole, however, while candidates were forced to declare themselves on important questions, and while there were distinct sectional groupings in Congress, which revealed conflicting interests in economic policy, issues were not clearly drawn in this campaign. Indeed, it was difficult for any one of the candidates to stand on a clear-cut platform without losing some of the support essential to his success. "Could we hit upon a few great principles, and unite their support with that of Crawford," wrote his friend Cobb, shortly before the election, "we could succeed beyond doubt." [Footnote: Cobb, Leisure Labors, 216; Shepard, Van Buren, 92.]
As the year 1824 drew towards its close, the heat of the struggle was transferred to New York. Nowhere was the revulsion of popular feeling against caucus control more clearly manifested than in that state. The feeling was aggravated by the fact that the Albany Regency, under Van Buren, stubbornly refused to concede the popular demand for the repeal of the state law for choice of presidential electors by the legislature. The political machine's control of the legislature insured New York's vote to Crawford; but if the choice were confided to the people, no one could predict the result. Out of these conditions a new combination sprang up in New York, which took the name of the "People's party," and sought not only to transfer the choice of electors to the people, but to overturn the Albany Regency. So rapidly did the discordant elements of New York Clintonians and anti-Clintonians combine in this party, that Crawford's managers, in an effort to break the combination, introduced a resolution in the legislature removing DeWitt Clinton from his office of canal commissioner. The purpose was to split the People's party by compelling its members to revive their old antagonisms by taking sides for or against Clinton. Although the resolution was carried by a decisive majority, the indignity placed upon the champion of the Erie Canal aroused popular resentment and increased the revolt against the Regency. In September, 1824, the People's party met in a state convention at Utica and nominated Clinton for governor. [Footnote: On the New York campaign, see Rammelkamp, Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1904, p. 177; Hammond, Pol, Hist, of N. Y., II., chaps, xxix.-xxxii.; Weed, Autobiography, chap. xv.; McMaster, United States, V., 71-73.]
While this campaign (which resulted in an overwhelming victory for the People's party) was in progress, the legislature met to choose electors. So clearly marked was the trend of public opinion that many members broke away from their allegiance to Crawford. The Senate nominated electors favorable to him, but in the Assembly the Adams men predominated, although they were not in a majority. After several days of deadlock, a combination ticket, made up of Adams electors and certain Clay men who had been named on the Senate's ticket, was suddenly presented to the Assembly and passed, with the aid of Crawford men, who thought that if the matter could be brought to a joint ballot they could then win and exclude Clay from the contest. But the Adams men had conciliated the supporters of Clay by guaranteeing to them five electoral votes, which were expected, if the ultimate choice of the president should come to the House of Representatives, to make Clay one of the three candidates before that body. [Footnote: Clay, Private Corresp., 99, 104, 106; National Intelligencer, September 15, 1824; Van Buren to Crawford, November 17, 1824; Van Buren Papers (Cong. Libr.).] The Clay following, therefore, supported the Adams ticket on the joint ballot, with the result that Adams secured 25 electors, Clay 7, and Crawford 4. When the electoral college met in December, Clay lost three of his votes, so that New York finally gave 26 to Adams, 5 to Crawford, 4 to Clay, and 1 to Jackson. Thus the Adams men had failed to carry out their agreement with the followers of Clay; had not these three Clay votes been withdrawn he would have tied Crawford for third place. Louisiana, although New York's electoral college voted in ignorance of the fact, had already deserted Clay. [Footnote: N. Y. American, December 3, 1824; N. Y. Com. Adv., December 14, 1824; Weed, Autobiography, 128, is in error; L. E. Aylsworth, Clay in Elec. of 1824 (MS. thesis).] The choice of electors in Louisiana was made by the legislature, in the absence of several Clay men, and the combined Jackson and Adams ticket received a majority of only two votes over Clay. [Footnote: Sargent, Public Men and Events, I., 67; Niles' Register, XXVII., 257; Adams, Memoirs, VI., 446.] Thus vanished the latter's hopes of becoming one of the three candidates to be voted on by the House of Representatives.
In the country as a whole, Jackson received 99 electoral votes, Adams 84, Crawford 41, and Clay 37. For the vice-presidency, Calhoun was chosen by a vote of 182, while Sanford, of New York, received the vote of Ohio, together with a portion of that of Kentucky and New York; Virginia voted for Macon, of North Carolina; Georgia for Van Buren; and scattering votes were given for Jackson and Clay. No presidential candidate had a majority, and, in accordance with the Constitution, the House of Representatives was to decide between the three highest candidates.
To Clay, powerful in Congress, fell the bitter honor of deciding between his rivals. Jackson had a decisive plurality of the electoral vote, and even the Kentucky legislature, under the dominance of the "relief party, "urged the representatives from that state to cast their vote in his favor.[Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 446.] But although Jackson was popular in the west, Clay had long been hostile to the candidacy of this military chieftain, and could not well alter his opinion. Moreover, Clay's presidential ambitions stood in the way of this choice. It would not have been easy for him to become Jackson's successor, both because of the difficulty of electing two successive candidates from the west and because Calhoun had already anticipated him in the alliance. With Crawford, he was on better terms; but that candidate was clearly in the minority, his health was gravely impaired, and his following was made up largely of the opponents of the policies which Clay represented.[Footnote: Ibid., VII., 4; Niles' Register, XXVII., 386.] He determined, therefore, to use his influence in behalf of Adams—the rival who had borne away from him the secretaryship of state and whose foreign policy had been the target of his most persistent attacks. On the other hand, the recognition of the Spanish-American republics and the announcement of the Monroe Doctrine had made Adams in a sense the heir of Clay's own foreign policy, and, in the matter of tariff and internal improvements, Adams was far more in accord with him than was Crawford.
As the day approached on which the House was to make its choice, friends of Clay, including his "messmate," Letcher, of Kentucky, sought Adams to convey to him the friendly attitude of Clay and their hope that their chieftain might serve himself by supporting Adams.[Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 447, 457, 473-475.] They made it perfectly clear that by this they intended to suggest for Clay a membership in his cabinet. Without giving explicit promises, Adams made it equally clear to these visitors that, if he were chosen by the votes of western delegations, he should naturally look to the west for much of the support that he should need. In short, Adams's diary, like a book of judgment, shows that he walked perilously, if safely, along the edge of his conscience at this time. "Incedo super ignes,"[Footnote: Ibid., 453.] he wrote—"I walk over fires." But his diary records no vulgar bargaining with Clay, although he talked over with him the general principles which he would follow in his administration.
The adhesion of Clay by no means assured Adams's election: the result was not fully certain until the actual vote was given. Missouri and Illinois were long in doubt,[Footnote: Ibid., 469.] and in the case of both of these states the vote was cast by a single person. Cook, of Illinois, was a personal friend of Adams, and, although the plurality of the electoral vote of that state had been in favor of Jackson, Cook, giving a strained interpretation of his pre-election promises to follow the will of his constituency, cast his vote in favor of Adams. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 443, 473, 476, 495; Edwards, Illinois, 261-265.] With Scott, of Missouri, Adams made his peace in an interview wherein he gave him assurances with respect to newspaper patronage and the retention of his brother, a judge in Arkansas territory, who was threatened with the loss of his office because he had killed his colleague in a duel. He also secured the vote of Louisiana, by the one delegate who held the balance of power; and he won the Maryland member who had its decisive vote, by the statement given through Webster, that his administration would not proscribe the Federalists. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 492, 499; Webster, Writings (National ed.), XVII., 378.] Friends of all the other candidates were busy in proposing combinations and making promises which cannot be traced to their principals. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 476, 495, 513; Clay, Private Corresp., 109, 111; Parton, Jackson, III., 56.]
When the vote was taken, Adams was found to have thirteen states, Jackson seven, and Crawford four. [Footnote: See map.] Adams controlled New England, New York, and the Ohio Valley, with the exception of Indiana, together with Maryland, Missouri, and Louisiana. The grouping of the Jackson vote showed a union of the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey with South Carolina, Tennessee, and the cotton states of the southwest. The Crawford territory included Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. Van Buren had received the electoral vote of Georgia for the vice- presidency, and he still exercised a powerful influence in New York. Adams had to face, therefore, the possibility of a union between two of the ablest politicians in the nation, Calhoun and Van Buren, both of whom saw that their political fortunes were involved in the triumph of Andrew Jackson; and Jackson's popularity was extraordinary even in the western states which voted for Adams. Even as he saw victory approaching, the New England leader was filled with gloomy forebodings over the prospects. "They are nattering for the immediate issue," he recorded in his diary, "but the fearful condition of them is that success would open to a far severer trial than defeat."
For eight years President Monroe had administered the executive department of the federal government-years that have been called the "Era of Good Feeling." The reader who has followed the evidences of factional controversy among the rival presidential candidates in the cabinet, and noted the wide-spread distress following the panic of 1819, the growing sectional jealousies, the first skirmishes in the slavery struggle, and the clamor of a democracy eager to assert its control and profoundly distrustful of the reigning political powers, will question the reality of this good feeling. On the other hand, in spite of temporary reverses, the nation as a whole was bounding with vigor in these years of peace after war; and if in truth party was not dead, and a golden age had not yet been given to the American people, at least the heat of formal party contest had been for a time allayed. The bitterness of political warfare in the four years which we are next to consider might well make the administration of the last of the Virginia dynasty seem peaceful and happy by contrast.
Monroe's presidential career descended to a close in a mellow sunset of personal approval, despite the angry clouds that gathered on the horizon. He had grown in wisdom by his experiences, and, although not a genius, he had shown himself able, by patient and dispassionate investigation, to reach judgments of greater value than those of more brilliant but less safe statesmen. Candor, fair- mindedness, and magnanimity were attributed to him even by those who were engaged in bitter rivalry for the office which he now laid down. He was not rapid or inflexible in his decisions between the conflicting views of his official family; but in the last resort he chose between policies, accepted responsibility, and steered the ship of state between the shoals and reefs that underlay the apparently placid sea of the "Era of Good Feeling." How useful were his services in these transitional years appeared as soon as John Quincy Adams grasped, with incautious hands, the helm which Monroe relinquished.[Footnote: On Monroe's personal traits, see Adams, Memoirs, IV., 240 et passim; J. Q. Adams, Eulogy on the Life and Character of James Monroe; Schouler, United States, IV., 201-207.] "Less possessed of your confidence in advance than any of my predecessors," wrote President Adams, in his first annual message, "I am deeply conscious of the prospect that I shall stand more and oftener in need of your indulgence." In his reply to the notification of his election by the House, after adverting to the fact that one of his competitors had received a larger minority of the electoral vote than his own, he declared that, if his refusal of the office would enable the people authoritatively to express their choice, he should not hesitate to decline; [Footnote: Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 293.] he believed that perhaps two-thirds of the people were adverse to the result of the election.[Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VII., 98; cf. ibid., VI., 481.] In truth, the position of the new president was a delicate one, and he was destined neither to obtain the indulgence asked nor the popular ratification which he craved. By receiving his office from the hands of the House of Representatives in competition with a candidate who had a larger electoral vote, he fell heir to the popular opposition which had been aroused against congressional intrigue, and especially against the selection of the president by the congressional caucus. More than this, it was charged that Clay's support was the result of a corrupt bargain, by which the Kentucky leader was promised the office of secretary of state. This accusation was first publicly made by an obscure Pennsylvania member, George Kremer, who, in an unsigned communication to a newspaper, when Clay's decision to vote for Adams was first given out, reported that overtures were said to have been made by the friends of Adams to the friends of Clay, offering him the appointment of secretary of state for his aid to elect Adams; and that the friends of Clay gave this information to the friends of Jackson, hinting that for the same price they would close with the Tennesseean. When these overtures, said the writer, were rejected, Clay transferred his interest to Adams. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXVII., 353.]
Stung to the quick, Clay rushed into print with a denunciation of the writer as a dastard and a liar, and held him responsible to the laws which govern men of honor. [Footnote: Ibid., 355.] In reply to this evident invitation to a duel, Kremer avowed his authorship and his readiness to prove his charges. If Clay had known the identity of his traducer, he would hardly have summoned him to the field of honor, for Kremer was a well-meaning but credulous and thick-headed rustic noted solely for his leopard-skin overcoat. The speaker, therefore, abandoned his first idea, and asked of the House an investigation of the charges, which Kremer reiterated his readiness to prove. But when the investigating committee was ready to take testimony, the Pennsylvania congressman refused to appear. He was, in fact, the tool of Jackson's managers, who greatly preferred to let the scandal go unprobed by Congress. If Clay transferred his following to Adams, the charge would gain credence with the masses; if he were not made secretary of state, it would be alleged that honest George Kremer had exposed the bargain and prevented its consummation. In vain, in two successive and elaborate addresses, [Footnote: Address of 1825 and of 1827, in Clay, Works (Colton's ed.), V., 299, 341.] did Clay marshal evidence that, before he left Kentucky, he had determined to vote for Adams in preference to Crawford or Jackson, and that there was no proof of Kremer's charge. [Footnote: Clay, Address to the Public (1827), 52; ibid., Works (Colton's ed.), IV., 109; Adams, Memoirs, VII., 4.] In vain was evidence produced to show that friends of Jackson [Footnote: Clay, Works (Colton's ed.), I., chaps. xvi., xvii.; Parton, Jackson, III., 56, 110-116.] and Crawford [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 464, 513, VII., 91.] solicited Clay's support by even more unblushing offers of political reward than those alleged against Adams. To the end of his career, the charge remained a stumbling-block to Clay's ambitions, and the more he denounced and summoned witnesses [Footnote: See, for example, testimony of congressmen, Niles' Register, XXVIII., 69, 133, 134, 203; Address of David Trimble (1828).] the more the scandal did its poisonous work.
After all, it was Adams who gave the charge immortality. Even if he had appreciated the power of public feeling he would not have hesitated. If the accusation was a challenge to the spirited Kentuckian, it was a call to duty to the Puritan. Two days after his election, Adams, asking Monroe's advice about the composition of the cabinet, announced that he had already determined to appoint Clay secretary of state, "considering it due," said he, "to his talents and services to the western section of the Union, whence he comes, and to the confidence in me manifested by their delegations." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 508.] Clay spoke lightly of the threatened opposition as a mere temporary ebullition of disappointment at the issue of the election, [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 509.] and after a short interval accepted the appointment. [Footnote: For his reasons, see Clay, Works (Colton's ed.), IV., 114, 192.]
Up to this time Jackson had kept his temper remarkably; but now that Adams had called to the department of state the man who made him president, the man who justified his choice by the statement that Jackson was a "military chieftain," the great deep of his wrath was stirred. Clay seemed to him the "Judas of the West," and he wrote a letter, probably for publication, passionately defending the disinterestedness of his military services, calling attention to the fact that Clay had never yet risked himself for his country, and soothing himself in defeat by this consolation: "No midnight taper burnt by me; no secret conclaves were held; no cabals entered into to persuade any one to a violation of pledges given or of instructions received. By me no plans were concerted to impair the pure principles of our republican institutions, nor to prostrate that fundamental maxim, which maintains the supremacy of the people's will." [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXVIII., 20; Parton, Jackson, III., 77.]
On his way back to Tennessee, he spread broadcast in conversation his conviction that "honest George Kremer" had exposed a corrupt bargain between Clay and Adams, [Footnote: Parton, Jackson, III., 107.] and to this belief he stuck through the rest of his life, appealing, when his witnesses failed him, to the stubborn fact of Clay's appointment. [Footnote: Parton, Jackson, III., 110-116.] In October, 1825, Tennessee renominated Jackson, who accepted, and resigned his seat in the Senate, accompanying his action with a plea for a constitutional amendment rendering congressmen ineligible to office during their term of service and for two years thereafter, except in cases of judicial appointment. The purpose was evidently to wage a new campaign to give effect to "the will of the people." [Footnote: Ibid., III., 95; Niles' Register, XXIX., 155.]
Although he realized that an organized opposition would be formed, Adams sought to give a non-partisan character to his administration. [Footnote: Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 295-297.] In spite of the low opinion expressed in his diary for the honesty and political rectitude of the secretary of the treasury, he asked him to retain his office, but Crawford refused. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 506, 508.] Ascertaining that Gallatin would also decline the place, [Footnote: Ibid., Life of Gallatin, 607; Gallatin, Writings, II., 301.] he appointed Richard Rush, of Pennsylvania, then serving as minister to England. Jackson's friends made it clear that he would take unkindly the offer of the department of war, and Adams gave that office to James Barbour, of Virginia. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 510; cf. ibid., 450.] He retained Southard, of New Jersey, as secretary of the navy, William Wirt, of Virginia, as attorney-general, and McLean, of Ohio, as postmaster-general. The latter selection proved peculiarly unfortunate, since it gave the influence and the patronage of the post-office to the friends of Jackson. For the mission to England, he first selected Clinton, and after his refusal he persuaded Rufus King to take the post. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 523.] Since King's acceptance of the senatorship at the hands of the Van Buren element in New York, he had been less a representative of the Federalists than in his earlier days; but the appointment met in some measure the obligations which Adams owed to supporters in that party.
Far from organizing party machinery and using the federal office- holders as a political engine, he rigidly refused to introduce rotation in office at the expiration of the term of the incumbent—a principle which "would make the Government a perpetual and unintermitting scramble for office." [Footnote: Ibid., 521.] He determined to renominate every person against whom there was no complaint which would have warranted his removal. By this choice he not only retained many outworn and superfluous officers and thus fostered a bureaucratic feeling, [Footnote: Fish, Civil Service, 76- 78.] but he also furnished to his enemies local managers of the opposition, for these office-holders were, in general, appointees of Crawford, in his own interest, or of McLean, in the interest of Calhoun and Jackson.
So rigidly did Adams interpret his duty in the matter that only twelve removals altogether were made during his term. [Footnote: Fish, Civil Service, 72.] He even retained the surveyor of the port of Philadelphia, whose negligence had occasioned the loss of large sums of money to the government and whose subordinates were hostile to Adams. Under such conditions, the friends of the administration had to contend not only against their enemies, but against the Adams administration itself, which left its power in the hands of its enemies to be wielded against its friends. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VII., 163.] Binns, the editor of one of the leading administration papers, in an interview was informed that the president did not intend to make any removals. "I bowed respectfully," said the editor, "assuring the president that I had no doubt the consequence would be that he himself would be removed so soon as the term for which he had been elected had expired. This intimation gave the president no concern." [Footnote: Parton, Jackson, III., 92; Adams, Memoirs, VII., 154.]
Another illustration of his tenacity in this matter, even in opposition to the wishes of Henry Clay, was his refusal to remove a naval officer at New Orleans who had made preparations for a public demonstration to insult a member of Congress who had assisted in electing Adams. Clay believed that the administration "should avoid, on the one hand, political persecution, and, on the other, an appearance of pusillanimity." But the president refused to remove a man for an intention not carried into effect, and particularly because he could frame no general policy applicable to this case which would not result in a clean sweep. Four-fifths of the custom officers throughout the Union, he thought, were opposed to his election. To depart in one case from the rule which he had laid down against removals would be to expose himself to demands from all parts of the country. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 546.]
The president who rejected these favorite instruments of political success was unable to find compensation in personal popularity or the graces of manner. Cold and repellent, he leaned backward in his desire to do the right, and alienated men by his testy and uncompromising reception of advances. And yet there never was a president more in need of conciliating, for already the forces of the opposition were forming. Even before his election he had been warned that the price of his victory would be an organized opposition to the measures of the administration, [Footnote: Ibid., 476, 481, 495, 506, 510.] and that Calhoun and his friends in South Carolina and Pennsylvania would be the leaders. [Footnote: Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1899, II., 230, 231; Calhoun, Works, III., 51; Sargent, Public Men and Events, I., 106, 109.]
The union of the opposition forces into a party was perfected slowly, for between Crawford, Jackson, and Calhoun there had been sharp rivalry. Virginia by no means relished the idea of the promotion of the military hero; and in New York Jackson had been sustained by Clinton in 1824 against Crawford, the candidate of Van Buren. The Senate ratification of the nomination of Clay (March 7, 1825) foreshadowed the alliance of southern interests with those of Pennsylvania; [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 525, VII., 69.] but only fourteen votes, including that of Jackson, were mustered against him, while among the twenty-seven who ratified the nomination was Van Buren. By the opening of the nineteenth Congress, in December, 1825, however, the situation might well have convinced Adams of the need of caution. Taylor, the administration candidate for speaker, was elected by a majority of only five against his opponents' combined vote, and, in the Senate, Calhoun appointed committees unfriendly to the president.
Nevertheless, in his first annual message [Footnote: Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 299.] Adams challenged his critics by avowing the boldest doctrines of loose construction. The tide of sentiment in favor of internal improvements was so strong [Footnote: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 348.] that, to insure its complete success, it would have been necessary only for the executive to cease to interpose the checks which Monroe had placed upon this movement. Prudence would have dictated to a president anxious to enlarge his following the avoidance of irritating utterances upon this point. But Adams characteristically threw away his opportunity, choosing rather to make extreme proposals which he realized had slight chance of success, and to state broad principles of national power.
In this respect he went even further than Clay approved. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VII., 59, 61-63.] Defining the object of civil government as the improvement of the condition of those over whom it is established, not only did he urge the construction of roads and canals, but, in his enlarged view of internal improvements, he included the establishment of a national university, the support of observatories, "light-houses of the skies," and the exploration of the interior of the United States and of the northwest coast. Appealing to the example of European nations, as well as of various states of the Union, he urged Congress to pass laws for the promotion of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, the "encouragement of the mechanic and of the elegant arts, the advancement of literature, and the progress of the sciences, ornamental and profound." "Were we," he asked, "to slumber in indolence or fold up our arms and proclaim to the world that we are palsied by the will of our constituents, would it not be to cast away the bounties of Providence and doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority?" Such a profession of faith as this sounded strangely in the ears of Americans, respectful of their constituents and accustomed to regard government as a necessary evil. At a stroke, Adams had destroyed his fair prospects of winning the support of Virginia, and, what is more, he had aroused the fears of the whole slave-holding section.
At the beginning of 1824 the legislature of Ohio passed a resolution in favor of the emancipation and colonization of the adult children of slaves, and was supported by the legislatures of at least six northern states, including Pennsylvania, while the proposal was attacked by all the states of the lower south. [Footnote: Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 5, p. II (with citations); McMaster, United States, V., 204.] This followed soon after the excitement aroused by an attempted Negro insurrection in Charleston, [Footnote: McMaster, United States, V., 199; Atlantic Monthly, VII., 728.] in 1822, and from the fears aroused by this plot the south had not yet recovered. Already Governor Wilson, of South Carolina, was sounding the alarm in a message [Footnote: December 1, 1824. Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 5, p. 13; Niles' Register, XXVII., 263, 292.] denouncing the Ohio proposition, and declaring that there would be more "glory in forming a rampart with our bodies on the confines of our territory than to be the victims of a successful rebellion or the slaves of a great consolidated government." Governor Troup, of Georgia, stirred by the same proposition, and especially by a resolution which Senator King, of New York, submitted (February 18, 1825) for the use of the funds arising from the public lands to aid in emancipating and removing the slaves, warned his constituents that very soon "the United States government, discarding the mask, will openly lend itself to a combination of fanatics for the destruction of everything valuable in the southern country"; and he entreated the legislature, "having exhausted the argument, to stand by its arms." [Footnote: Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 5, p. 17; House Exec. Docs., 19 Cong., 2 Sess., IV., No. 59, pp. 69, 70.] While Georgia was in this frame of mind, the administration, as we shall see, [Footnote: Chap, xviii., below.] completed the breach by refusing to permit the survey of the Indian lands by the state, and thus forced the followers of Crawford in Georgia to unite with their former opponents in South Carolina.
Even in North Carolina, where there had been a considerable sentiment in favor of Adams, [Footnote: Univ. of North Carolina, James Sprunt Hist. Monographs, No. 2, pp. 79, 88, 106.] the conviction grew strong that, under such a loose construction of the Constitution as that which his message advocated, the abolition of slavery might be effected. The venerable Senator Macon, to whom Adams had at one time looked as a possible candidate for the vice- presidency, believed that the spirit of emancipation was stronger than that for internal improvements; and that the president's loose- construction doctrine would render it possible for Congress to free every slave. [Footnote: Ibid., 76, 106, 107.] One of the senators of South Carolina, desirous of supporting the administration in opposition to the Calhoun faction, begged Adams to include in his message some passage reassuring the south in the matter of slavery, but he received a chilling reply. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VII., 57.] The speaker, Taylor, already obnoxious because of his previous championship of the proposed exclusion of slavery from Missouri, aroused the wrath of the south by presenting to the House a memorial from a "crazy Frenchman," who invited Congress to destroy all the states which should refuse to free their slaves. [Footnote: Ibid., 103.] In short, there was a wide-spread though absolutely unfounded fear that the administration favored emancipation, and that the doctrines avowed in the message of the president gave full constitutional pretext for such action.
On the other hand, the opposition was in no agreement on principles. [Footnote: Univ. of North Carolina, James Sprunt Hist. Monographs, No. 2, p. 79.] It was dangerous for the south to marshal its forces on an issue which might alienate the support of Pennsylvania. Much more safely could the enemies of the president press the charge that the favorite of the people had been deprived of his rights by a corrupt political intrigue. Consequently, a flood of proposed amendments to the Constitution poured upon both branches of Congress day after day, demanding the abolition of the choice of president by the House of Representatives and the exclusion of members of Congress from appointment to executive office during their term of service. [Footnote: Ames, Amendments to the Const., in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1896, II., 21, 106, 339, 343.]
These measures were championed by McDuffie, Benton, and other friends of Calhoun and Jackson. Although they were undoubtedly called out in part by a sincere desire to effect a change in a system which was regarded as dangerous, they also served admirably the purpose of popular agitation. In pursuance of the same policy, a report proposing restrictions upon the executive patronage was made in the Senate (1826) by a committee which included Benton and Van Buren. This was accompanied by six bills, transferring a large share of the patronage from the president to the congressmen, and proposing the repeal of the four-year tenure of office act. [Footnote: Fish, Civil Service, 73; McMaster, United States, V., 432.] Six thousand copies of this report were printed for distribution, and the Puritan president, so scrupulous in the matter of the civil service that he disgusted his own followers, found himself bitterly attacked throughout the country as a corrupt manipulator of patronage.
The first fully organized opposition, however, was effected in the debates over Adams's proposal to send delegates to the Panama Congress, for here was a topic that permitted combined attack under many flags. In the spring of 1825 the ministers of Mexico and Colombia sounded Clay to ascertain whether the United States would welcome an invitation to a congress [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 531, 536, 542; International Am. Conference, Reports, etc., IV., "The Congress of 1826 at Panama," 23.] initiated by Bolivar, with the design of consolidating the Spanish-American policy, though at first the United States had not been included among the states invited. [Footnote: International Am. Conference, Reports, etc., IV., "The Congress of 1826 at Panama," 155.] Clay was predisposed to accept the overture, for he saw in the congress an opportunity to complete the American system, which he had long advocated and which appealed strongly to his idealistic view of the destiny of the new republics. [Footnote: See chap, xi., above.] But Adams was skeptical of the future of these new nations, and, as for an American system, he had once (1820) declared that we had one already, "we constituted the whole of it; there is no community of interests or of principles between North and South America." [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, V., 176; cf. Am. Hist. Rev., XII., 113.]
Adams had learned something from Clay in the mean time, however, and his own share in announcing the Monroe Doctrine inclined him to favor the idea of such a congress, under careful restrictions, to safeguard our neutrality and independence. So the inquiries were met in a friendly spirit, and formal invitations were received from Mexico, Colombia, and Central America in the fall of 1825, defining more clearly the purposes of the congress and the mode of procedure. [Footnote: International Am. Conference, Report, IV., 24-34.] The explanations still left much to be desired, and it may be doubted whether the president would have accepted the invitation had not Clay's zeal influenced his decision.
As its proceedings finally showed, the real purpose of the congress was to form a close union of the new republics against Spain or other nations which might attack them or make colonial settlements in violation of their territory, and to determine the troops and funds to be contributed by each state for this end. Its general assembly was to meet every two years, and, during the war, its members were to be bound by the action of the majority. [Footnote: International Am. Conference, Report, IV., 169 (Bolivar's instructions); 184 (Treaty of Confederation framed by the Panama Congress).] Such an organization was manifestly dangerous to the predominance of the United States, and participation in it was incompatible with our neutrality and independence. Having reason to apprehend that the congress might go to this extent, the president, in determining to accept the invitation, also determined so to limit our representatives that they should have no power to commit either our neutrality or our independent action, unless their action were ratified by the government.
Nevertheless, the prospect of an American system from which the United States was excluded was not a pleasing one, and certain topics which were suggested for consideration made the situation really critical. The presence of a large French fleet off the coast of Cuba, in the summer of 1825, revived the apprehension of an invasion of that island, and both Colombia and Mexico contemplated an attack upon this remaining stronghold of Spain. The annexation of Cuba and Puerto Rico by any of the South American republics would unquestionably have meant the emancipation of the slaves, and already the spectacle of the black republic of Haiti had brought uneasiness to the south. In this juncture the administration endeavored to persuade the South American republics to suspend their expedition, and made overtures for Russian influence to induce Spain to recognize the revolted republics and thus avoid the danger of loss of her remaining possessions.
Adams sent a special message to the Senate (December 26, 1825), nominating two delegates to the Panama Congress. He attempted to disarm the gathering opposition by declaring that, although the commissioning of these delegates was regarded as within the rights of the executive, he desired the advice and consent of the Senate and the House of Representatives to the proposed mission. Among the topics named by Adams as suitable for discussion at the congress were the principles of maritime neutrality, and "an agreement between all of the parties represented at the meeting that each will guard by its own means against the establishment of any future European colony within its borders." This was a striking qualification of a portion of the Monroe Doctrine, and it indicates the anxiety of the executive not to commit the United States to any permanent defensive alliance of the American republics. Seeing their opportunity, however, the opposition brought in a report strongly antagonizing the recommendation of this congress, on the ground that it involved a departure from our time-honored policy of avoiding entangling alliances, that the congress would really constitute a government, and that the topics of discussion might better be handled by negotiation with the respective states. The opposition considered rather the purposes of the congress as contemplated by the South American promoters than the propositions which the United States was willing to discuss in the purely consultative body which Adams and Clay had in mind.
The knowledge, ignored in the executive message, that the congress proposed to deal with the problem of the slave-trade and of the destiny of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Haiti, kindled southern indignation at the idea of submitting the subject of slavery to the discussion of an international tribunal. In a notable speech, Hayne declared this an entirely "domestic question." "With respect to foreign Nations," said he, "the language of the United States ought to be, that it concerns the peace of our own political family, and therefore we cannot permit it to be touched; and in respect to the slave-holding States, the only safe and constitutional ground on which they can stand, is, that they will not permit it to be brought into question either by their sister States, or by the Federal Government." [Footnote: Register of Debates, 19 Cong., 1 Sess., II., pt. i., 165.] "The peace of eleven States in this Union," said Benton, "will not permit the fruits of a successful Negro insurrection to be exhibited among them." [Footnote: Register of Debates, 19 Cong., 1 Sess., II., pt. i., 330.]
This southern resentment against the submission of the question of our connection with slavery and with the insurrectionary Negro republics to the discussion of a foreign tribunal, was combined with the opposition of northern men like Van Buren to engaging the United States in a system for the control of American affairs by a congress. Thus the enemies of the administration were brought into unison. Nevertheless, the Senate assented to the mission (March 14, 1826) by a vote of 24 to 19; and, after an animated debate, the House, by a vote of 134 to 60, made the necessary appropriations. It was a barren victory, however, for one of the delegates died while on his way, and the other reached Panama after the Congress had adjourned. Although a subsequent session was to have been held at Tacubaya, near the city of Mexico, dissensions among the Spanish- American states prevented its meeting. [Footnote: Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 329; International Am. Conference, Report, IV., 81, 113, 173-201.]
What Adams had nearest at heart in his administration was the construction of a great system of roads and canals, irrespective of local interests, for the nation as a whole. [Footnote: Wheeler, Hist. of Cong., II., 154; Adams, Memoirs, VII., 59, VIII., 444; cf. chap, xiii., above.] To "exalt the valleys and lay low the mountains and the hills" appealed to his imagination. He hoped that the increased price of the public lands, arising from the improved means of communication, would in turn furnish a large and steadily increasing fund for national turnpikes and canals. But the American people were not anxious for a system of scientific administration, either of the public domain or of internal improvements. Although Benton could not secure sufficient support to carry his measure for graduating the price of the public lands and donating those which found no purchasers at fifty cents an acre, [Footnote: Meigs, Benton, 165-172.] he voiced, nevertheless, a very general antagonism to the management of the domain by the methods of the counting- house. Nor was the president able to control legislation on internal improvements. The report of the engineers appointed under the general survey act of 1824 provided for the development of the routes of national importance. [Footnote: State Papers, 18 Cong., 2 Sess., V., Doc. 83 (February 14, 1825); cf. ibid., 19 Cong., 2 Sess., II., Ex. Doc. No. 10 (December 7, 1826).] But local interests and the pressure of corporations eager to receive federal subscriptions to their stock quickly broke down the unity of the system.
The Senate declined to take action on a resolution introduced December 20, 1825, by Senator Van Buren, of New York, which denied Congress the power to make roads and canals within the respective states, and proposed a constitutional amendment for the grant of the power under limitations. [Footnote: Register of Debates, 19 Cong., 1 Sess., II., pt. i., 20; Ames, Amendments of the Fed. Const. (Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1896), 71, 261.] Provision had been made in 1825 for extending the Cumberland Road from Wheeling to Zanesville, Ohio, and for surveys through the other states of the northwest to Missouri, and appropriations were annually made for the road, until by 1833 it was completed as far as Columbus, Ohio. Nevertheless, that highway was rapidly going to destruction, and a counter project, ultimately successful, was already initiated for relinquishing the road to the states through which it passed. [Footnote: Young, Cumberland Road, chap. vii.; Hulbert, Historic Highways, X.]
Over two and a third million dollars was appropriated for roads and harbors during the administration of John Quincy Adams, as against about one million during the administrations of all of his predecessors combined. Acting on the line of least constitutional resistance opened by Monroe, when he admitted the right of appropriation for internal improvements, though not the right of construction or jurisdiction, extensive appropriations were made for roads and canals and for harbors on the Great Lakes and the Atlantic. Far from accepting Adams's ideal of a scientific general system irrespective of local or party interests, districts combined with one another for local favors, corporations eagerly sought subscriptions for their canal stock, and the rival political parties bid against each other for the support of states which asked federal aid for their roads and canals.
By the middle of this administration the popularity of internal improvement appropriations seemed irresistible, although southern states raised their voices against it and complained bitterly that they were neglected. The example of the Erie Canal, which was open by 1825, seemed to furnish proof of the success that awaited state canal construction. States were learning that English capital was ready for investment in such undertakings and that Congress could donate lands and subscribe for stock.
By acts of 1825 and 1826, Pennsylvania initiated its extensive state system of roads and canals to reach the Ohio, the central part of New York, and the Great Lakes. [Footnote: Hulbert, Historic Highways, XIII., chap, iv.; Worthington, Finances of Pennsylvania, 22.] The trunk line of this system united Philadelphia with Pittsburgh by a horse railway to Columbia on the Susquehanna, thence by a canal along that river and its tributary, the Juniata, to Hollidaysburg, where stationary engines carried the freight over a series of inclined planes across the thirty-six miles of mountains, to reach the western section of the canal at Johnstown on the Conemaugh, and so by the Allegheny to Pittsburgh. Sectional jealousies delayed the work, and piled up a debt incurred partly for branch canals in various parts of the state; but by 1830 over four hundred miles of canal had been built in Pennsylvania and five hundred more projected. Not until 1835 was the trunk line between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh fully in operation, however, and in the decade after 1822 the total expenditure for internal improvements in the state amounted to nearly twenty-six million dollars, of which over ten millions was contributed by individual subscription. But the steam railroad proved too strong a competitor, the state was plunged too deeply in debt, and it was not many years before the public works were sold, and the era of the corporation opened.
Meanwhile the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal project [Footnote: Hulbert, Historic Highways, XIII., chap, iii.; Ward, Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (Johns Hopkins Univ. Studies, XVII.)] had gained great impetus under the efforts of those who wished to turn the tide of western commerce to the Potomac River. The innate difficulties of the task, even more than the opposition of Baltimore, rendered abortive the efforts of the Potomac Company to make the river navigable above tide-water. But in 1823 public interest in Virginia and Maryland was aroused by the plan of a great canal to run alongside of the Potomac to its upper streams, and thence to connect with the Monongahela or Youghiogheny in order to reach the Ohio. At a convention which met in Washington in the fall of 1823, Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia were largely represented by delegates enthusiastic over this new highway to the west. Even Baltimore acquiesced in the undertaking after a provision giving the right to tap the canal by a branch to that city, so that her western trade should not be diverted to the Potomac cities.
By 1826 the company was duly chartered by Virginia and Maryland; Pennsylvania's consent was also obtained; and the financiering of the enterprise seemed feasible by joint subscription to the stock by Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the federal government. Under the general survey act of 1824, the route was surveyed, including an extension to Lake Erie by way of a canal from the Ohio. But when, in 1826, the board of engineers published its estimate of the cost of the canal, it was seen that the larger plans were doomed, for the total cost was placed at over twenty-two million dollars. This was practically prohibitive, for the whole capital stock of the Chesapeake and Ohio Company was only six millions. Congress made a million-dollar subscription to the stock of the company, but only the eastern section of the canal could be begun; the completion of navigation between the coal-fields on the upper Ohio and Cumberland on the Potomac must be postponed.
Baltimore's interest in the grand design of canal communication between that city and Pittsburgh quickly disappeared. Nearer to the Ohio Valley than any other seaport, she had built turnpikes to connect with the national road, and thus shared with Philadelphia the western trade. But now New York and Pennsylvania were undertaking canal systems which were certain in the long run to destroy the advantages of Baltimore. In desperation, her far-sighted and courageous merchants inaugurated the plan of a railroad across the mountains to the Ohio, grasping the idea that as the canal had shown its superiority over the turnpike, so this new device would win the day over the canal. In 1827 and 1828 charters for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad were granted by Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
At Washington, on July 4, 1828, President Adams stripped off his coat, amid the cheers of the crowd, and thrust the spade into the ground in signal of the beginning of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal; but on the same day a rival celebration was in progress at Baltimore, where the venerable signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, placed the foundation- stone to commemorate the commencement of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, first of the iron bonds between the east and the west. When Adams thus won the plaudits of the people for his evidence of ability to break the conventions of polite society and use a laborer's tool, it was perhaps the only time that he and democracy came into sympathetic touch. But he was aiding in a losing cause, for, though Carroll was a man of the past, destiny was working on the side of the movement which he represented. In the field of transportation, the initiative of individuals and of corporations during the next two generations proved superior to that of state or nation.
In the mean time, Ohio, eager to take advantage of the competition of these rival routes from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, and wishing to develop the central region of the state, undertook in 1825 a state system of canals connecting the Ohio with Lake Erie. [Footnote: Morris, Internal Improvement in Ohio (Am. Hist. Assoc., Papers, III.), 107; see also McClelland and Huntington, Ohio Canals.] The Ohio Canal began at Portsmouth and followed the valleys of the Scioto and the Cuyahoga to Cleveland, while another canal extended from Cincinnati along the Miami to Dayton. By branches connecting with the Pennsylvania system, this net-work of water-ways was intended to give alternative outlets for the rapidly growing surplus of the state. Wheat which sold for from twenty-five to thirty-seven cents per bushel in central Ohio in 1825 brought double the amount in 1832 when the canal began to be effective; and it sold for a higher price a hundred miles west of Pittsburgh than it did sixty miles to the east of that city, where water transportation was lacking. [Footnote: Quar. Jour. of Econ., XVII., 15; Dial, in Ohio Archaeological and Hist. Soc., Publications, XIII., 479.] An example of the rivalry of the followers of Adams and of Jackson in conciliating western interests is furnished in the case of Ohio, just prior to the campaign of 1828, when each party in Congress persisted in supporting its own bill donating lands for the canals of that state. Owing to the fear of each that the other party would gain the credit of the measure, both bills were passed, and Ohio received double the amount originally asked. [Footnote: Benton, Abridgment, X., 197 n.] It was small wonder that Indiana, Illinois, and other western states memorialized Congress for aid in their own plans for canals.
The activity of the states, no longer waiting for the federal government to construct a national system; the rapidly growing demand for the relinquishment of the national road to the states within which it lay; and the activity of corporations, all pointed to a new era in internal improvements. The states were ready to receive appropriations, but they preferred to build their own roads and dig their own canals. The state and the corporation were replacing the national government as the controlling power in internal improvements, and Adams's conception of a national system of turnpikes and canals had failed.
Nor was President Adams successful in carrying out a system of complete maritime reciprocity. After the War of 1812, Great Britain and the United States agreed upon the abolition of discriminating duties on ships or products engaged in the trade between the two countries; [Footnote: Cf. Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xvi.] but England reserved her right to exempt her American possessions from this reciprocity. By excluding the ships of the United States from the trade with the English West Indies, England denied a profitable avocation to American ship-owners; while, at the same time, the liberal arrangements of the United States permitted her vessels freely to enter the ports of this country with their cargoes of English manufactures, and to carry thence to the West Indies lumber, flour, and provisions to exchange for the molasses and sugar of the islands.
This ability to make a triangular voyage, with profits on each transaction, gave such advantage to British ships that they were able to carry on the trade between the United States and England at a rate below that which American vessels could afford. Driven to seek some remedy, the Yankee merchants and skippers turned to the Orient. The trade with China and the East Indies developed rapidly, and our tonnage registered for foreign trade increased from 583,000 tons in 1820 to 758,000 in 1828. [Footnote: Marvin, American Merchant Marine, chap. ix.] Ninety per cent. of our foreign commerce was carried in our own vessels, and, from this point of view, American shipping enjoyed one of the most prosperous periods in its history. [Footnote: Pitkin, Statistical View (ed. of 1835), 363; Soley, "Maritime Industries," in Shaler (ed. of 1894), United States, I., 538.] Smuggling was extensively carried on in the West Indies, and a war of retaliatory legislation in regard to shipping characterized the whole decade.
In 1825 Parliament passed a somewhat obscure act which opened the ports on a more liberal system of reciprocity. To nations without colonies she offered the same shipping rights in her colonies which such nations gave to England and her possessions. The act provided that it must be accepted within a year by nations who desired to avail themselves of its provisions. President Adams preferred to deal with the question by diplomacy, and Congress neglected to pass the legislation necessary to accept the offer. When Gallatin, who had been sent to England to treat of this matter, opened his negotiations in 1826, he was informed that it was too late. The stipulated time having elapsed, American vessels were definitely excluded from the West Indies in 1826 by orders in council. [Footnote: Adams, Gallatin, 615-620; cf. MacDonald, Jacksonian Democracy (Am. Nation, XV.), 201.] In the campaign of 1828 Adams was blamed for the failure to seize this opportunity, but the generally prosperous condition of our shipping not only moderated the discontent, but even led to a law (May 24, 1828) intended to place American vessels in complete control of our foreign commerce by providing for the abolition, by proclamation of the president, of all discriminating duties against such nations as should free ships of the United States from corresponding discriminations. In the long run, this reciprocity act proved a mistake; the end of Adams's administration marked the beginning of a decline in the prosperity of the merchant marine. [Footnote: Soley, in Shaler, United States, I., 540.]
American commerce during this period by no means kept pace with the growing wealth and population of the country. [Footnote 2: Sterns, Foreign Trade of the United States, 1820-1840, in Jour. Pol. Econ., VIII., 34, 452.] As we have seen, the staple states produced the lion's share of the domestic exports, and the internal exchange favored by the protective tariffs restrained the foreign importations. Aside from the depression in 1821, following the panic of 1819, and the extraordinary rise in 1825, the exports in general exhibited no marked increase or decline between 1820 and 1829. Imports showed a value of nearly seventy-four and one-half million dollars in 1820, ninety millions in 1825, and sixty-seven millions in 1829. [Footnote 3: Soley, in Shaler, United States, I., 538; cf. Pitkin, Statistical View (ed. of 1835), 177; W. C. Ford, in Depew, One Hundred Years of Am. Commerce, I., 23.] During the whole of Adams's administration, New York preserved its easy lead in domestic exports, although, as the west leaped up to power, New Orleans rose rapidly to a close second in exports of domestic origin. The southern cities retained merely the same proportion of the exports of domestic origin which they had in 1820, in spite of the great increase of cotton production. New York and New Orleans gained a large fraction of this trade, and Massachusetts changed its proportion of domestic exports only slightly during the whole decade. Over three-fourths of the cotton went to the British Isles, while almost all the pork and beef, and two-thirds of the flour, went to the West Indies, South America, and Great Britain's American colonies. [Footnote: Pitkin, Statistical View, 121-137.]
The statistics of commerce repeat the same story of increasing national self-dependence which was told by the development of manufactures, internal trade, and transportation, and even by the diplomatic policy of the United States. The nation was building an empire of its own, with sections which took the place of kingdoms. The west was already becoming the granary of the whole country. But in the development of this "American system," the navigating portions of New England and the staple states of the south and southwest found themselves at a disadvantage. Their interest lay in a free exchange across the ocean.
Although many minor treaties of commerce and navigation were negotiated by Clay during this administration, all his other diplomatic efforts met with failure, among them attempts to purchase Texas and to procure a treaty with England for the rendition of fugitive slaves who had escaped to Canada—strange evidences of the political concessions of the northern president.
From the close of the War of 1812, an increasing reaction was in progress in various states against the ardent nationalism which characterized the country at that time. The assertion of the doctrine of state sovereignty by the Hartford Convention in 1814 [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xv.] so aroused the other sections of the country that particularism was for the time discredited. Leaders of Virginia politics even approved a rumor that Madison would march troops against New England; Judge Roane, later a champion of Virginia's sovereignty, denounced the "anarchical principles" of the section. [Footnote: Randolph-Macon College, John P. Branch Hist. Papers, II., 18.] In that period, when Calhoun and the other leading statesmen of South Carolina supported the protective tariff and the bonus bill, when Madison, the author of the Virginia resolutions of 1798, signed the bill for the recharter of the national bank, when Chief-Justice Marshall, a son of Virginia, was welding firm the bonds of nationalism in his great series of decisions limiting the powers of the states and developing the doctrine of loose construction of the Constitution, [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chap. xviii.] and when New England itself was explaining away the particularistic purposes of the Hartford Convention, it might well seem that the days of state sovereignty had come to an end.
Even then, however, the pendulum was starting to swing in the opposite direction. The crisis of 1819 and the decisions of the supreme court asserting the constitutionality of the national bank under the broad national conception of the Constitution, produced protests and even resistance from various states whose interests were most affected. Ohio in 1819 forcibly collected a tax on the branch bank of the United States, in defiance of Marshall's decision rendered earlier in the year in the case of McCulloch vs. Maryland; and in 1821 her legislature reaffirmed the doctrines of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, and passed an act withdrawing the protection of the laws of the state from the national bank, [Footnote 2: Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 3, p. 5.] and even persisted in her resistance after the decision (Osborn vs. Bank of U. S., 1824) against the state. But the proceeds of the tax were ultimately restored. Nor was Ohio alone in her opposition to this decision. Kentucky was almost equally excited, and Senator R. M. Johnson made a vain attempt in 1821 to procure an amendment to the Constitution providing that in controversies in which a state was a party the Senate of the United States should have appellate jurisdiction. [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 17 Cong., I Sess., I., 23, 68, 96; Ames, State Docs., No. 3, p. 17; Ames, Amendments to the Const., in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1896, II., 161; Niles' Register, XVII., 289, 311, 447.] Judge Roane, chief-justice of Virginia, in a series of papers in the Richmond Enquirer, challenging the nationalistic reasoning of the court, asserted that the Constitution resulted from a compact between the states, [Footnote 2: Randolph- Macon College, John P. Branch Hist. Papers, II., 106-121.] and in this attack he was heartily supported by Jefferson. [Footnote 3: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 140, 189, 229.] Justice Marshall, in Cohens vs. Virginia [Footnote 4: 6 Wheaton, 264.] (1821), decided that the supreme court had appellate jurisdiction in a case decided by the state court where the Constitution and the laws of the United States were involved, even though a state was a party.
Virginia's attorneys maintained, on the contrary, that the final construction of the Constitution might be given by the courts of every state in the Union; and Judge Roane, whose own decision had been overturned, again appealed to his fellow-citizens in a strong series of articles. Again Jefferson denounced the consolidating tendencies of the judiciary, "which, working like gravity without any intermission, is to press us at last into one consolidated mass." Virginia entered her solemn protest against the decision, and her House of Delegates reaffirmed the argument of Virginia's counsel, and asserted that neither the government of the state nor of the United States could press the other from its sphere. In effect, Virginia's position would have given the state a veto on the will of the federal government, by the protection which her courts could have extended to the individual subject to her jurisdiction under the interpretation placed by the state upon the Constitution. [Footnote: Randolph-Macon College, John P. Branch Hist. Papers, II., 28; Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), IX., 184; cf. ibid., X. passim; Madison, Writings, III., 217-224; Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 3. p. 15; Niles' Register, XX., 118; 6 Wheaton 385.] The leading expositor of Virginia reaction in this period was John Taylor of Caroline, the mover of the resolutions of 1798. His "Construction Construed", published in 1820, was introduced by a preface in which the editor said: "The period is indeed by no means an agreeable one. It borrows new gloom from the apathy which seems to run over so many of our sister states. The very sound of State Rights is scarcely ever heard among them; and by many of their eminent politicians is only heard to be mocked at." Taylor himself was led to write the book by the agitation over the Missouri question and the case of McCulloch vs. Maryland. One of its purposes was to insist that sovereignty was not divided between the separate spheres of the state and federal government, but rested rather in the people of the several states. Two years later, in his "Tyranny Unmasked", Taylor developed the idea that the division of the power of the people between the federal and state governments would be nugatory if either Congress or the supreme court could exclusively determine the boundaries of power between the states and the general government. His remedy for usurpation was the "state veto," which was to be "no mere didactic lecture," but involved the right of resisting unconstitutional laws. He met the difficulty that the people of one state would construe the Constitution for the people of all the states, by the answer that it was the lesser evil. [Footnote: Taylor, Tyranny Unmasked, 258, 262.] Again in 1823, in his "New Views of the Constitution", he expounded the same ideas, and dwelt upon the position of the states as the defenders of separate geographical interests against oppression by the majority of the nation. He saw a grave danger in the relinquishment to Congress of the power to deal with local and dissimilar geographical interests by loose-construction legislation upon such subjects as banks, roads, canals, and manufactures. It would tend to produce geographical combinations; sections by combining would exploit and oppress the minority; "Congress would become an assembly of geographical envoys from the North, the South, and the West." Against these evils, the Constitution, according to his view, had provided by confining geographical interests within state lines instead of "collecting them into one intriguing arena." The states, reposing on their sovereignty, would interpose a check to oppressive action and to the combination of sectional interests against the minority. [Footnote 1: Taylor, New Views (ed. of 1823), 261 et seq.]
Not a theory of government, however, but a political exigency called out a working principle of state rights. When the industrial policy of the government fell under the complete control of the north, and the social system of the south seemed to be menaced, state sovereignty controlled the southern policy. The increase in popularity of Clay's American system of internal improvements and a protective tariff aroused the apprehensions of the whole planting section; the struggle over the admission of Missouri taught the south the power of an unfriendly national majority; and, in 1822, a threatened insurrection of the Negroes at Charleston brought home to the whole section, and particularly to South Carolina, the dangers arising from an agitation of the question of slavery. [Footnote 2: Cf. Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.), chap. viii.] In the irritated condition and depression of this section, the triumph of loose construction principles and the possible election of a northern president seemed to presage not only the sacrifice of their economic interests, but even the freeing of their slaves. [Footnote 3: See the resolutions of Virginia, December 23, 1816, in Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 5, p. 3.] The colonization society, which in its origin had been supported by southern men, became an object of denunciation by the lower south after the Missouri controversy and the insurrection of 1822. The opposition was intensified by the disposition of the society, towards the close of the period, to advocate emancipation, as well as the removal of the existing free Negroes. [Footnote: Cf. Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.), chap. xiv.]
In Virginia the doctrine of state rights was supported by the friends of Crawford, and, in general, by the older portion of the state. In her western counties, however, where a movement was in progress for a constitutional convention to redistribute political power so that the populous interior should not be subordinated to the slave-holding minority of the coast, there was a strong sentiment in favor of the constitutionality and expediency both of federal internal improvements and the tariff. Nevertheless, Virginia's voice was determined by the ascendancy of the old-time plantation interests. In 1825, Jefferson suggested that the legislature of Virginia should pass a set of resolutions, declaring the internal-improvement laws null and void. He advised, however, that, at the same time, the issue should be avoided by an act of the Virginia legislature validating these congressional laws [Footnote 2: Jefferson, Writings (Ford's ed.), X., 348-352; Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 4, p. 8.] until action could be taken on a carefully guarded proposal to amend the Constitution so as to grant the right. This was the last effort of Jefferson to stay the tide of internal improvements which was sweeping opposition before it, and even he withdrew his project before it was acted on. His death (July 4, 1826) removed from Virginia the most influential advocate of state sovereignty and the greatest of the Virginia dynasty since Washington. On the same day John Adams died. The men who made the declaration of independence were passing away, but the spirit of that epoch was reviving in the south.
South Carolina was the theatre of a conflict between the old-time forces of nationalism, of which Calhoun had been the most prominent exponent, and the newer tendencies which would safeguard the interests of the commonwealth by appealing to the doctrine of state sovereignty. [Footnote: Houston, Nullification in S. C., chap. iv. ] At first, the conservative party was in the ascendancy. In 1820 the House of Representatives of South Carolina passed a resolution which deprecated the system of protection as premature and pernicious, but admitted that Congress possessed the power of enacting all laws relating to commerce, and lamented the practice "of arraying upon the questions of national policy the states as distinct and independent sovereignties in opposition to, or (what is much the same thing), with a view to exercise a control over the general government"; [Footnote 2: Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 4, p. 3.] and, as late as 1824, the same body passed resolutions declaring that the man "who disseminates doctrines whose tendency is to give an unconstitutional preponderance to State, or United States' rights, must be regarded as inimical to the forms of government under which we have hitherto so happily lived"; and that "the People have conferred no power upon their state legislature to impugn the Acts of the Federal Government or the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States." [Footnote: Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 4, p. 6.] The state Senate was already controlled by the opponents of national power, led by Judge Smith; and the next year the Lower House also fell under their dominance.
The attitude of McDuffie illustrates the transitional conditions in South Carolina. In 1821 he published a pamphlet supporting a liberal construction of the powers of Congress, and refuting the "ultra doctrines respecting consolidation and state sovereignty." [Footnote 2: Defense of a Liberal Construction, etc., by "One of the People." Reprinted in Philadelphia, 1831. To this pamphlet, Governor Hamilton had prefixed "an encomiastic advertisement."] In 1824, also, he supported the constitutionality and expediency of the general survey act, and repudiated the idea that the state governments were "in any respect more worthy of confidence than the General Government." [Footnote 3: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., I Sess., 1372.] But he opposed the tariff of 1824, and in 1825 he voted against specific measures for internal improvement. Soon after this he joined the ranks of the advocates of state sovereignty, and, together with Hamilton and Hayne, so far outstripped the leaders of that faction that Judge Smith and his friends found themselves in a conservative minority against the ultra doctrines of their former opponents. Doubtless the reversal of South Carolina's attitude was accelerated by the slavery agitation which followed the emancipation proposition of Ohio, already mentioned, and by the contest over the Negro seamen act, [Footnote: Passed December 21, 1822. See Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 5, p. 12; cf. Hart, Slavery and Abolition (Am. Nation, XVI.), chap. xix.] a measure by which South Carolina, in consequence of the plot at Charleston, required that free Negroes on vessels entering a port of South Carolina should be imprisoned during the sojourn of the ship. The act brought out protests, both from other states and from Great Britain, whose subjects were imprisoned; and it was declared unconstitutional by Adams's attorney-general and by the federal courts nevertheless, it remained unrepealed and continued to be enforced. [Footnote 2: McMaster, United States, V., 200-204, 417.] The Senate of South Carolina met the situation, at the close of 1824, by resolutions affirming that the duty of preventing insurrections was "paramount to all laws, all treaties, all constitutions," and protesting against any claims of right of the United States to interfere with her domestic regulations in respect to the colored population. [Footnote 3: Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 5, p. 14.]
Georgia, a few years later (December, 1827), in opposition to the Colonization Society, [Footnote 4: Ibid., 17, 19.] vehemently asserted her rights, and found the remedy no longer in remonstrance, but in "a firm and determined union of the people and the states of the south" against submission to interference. Already Georgia had placed herself in the attitude of resistance to the general government over the question of the Indians within the state. From the beginning of the nation, the Indians on the borders of the settled area of Georgia were a menace and an obstacle to her development. Indeed, they constituted a danger to the United States as well: their pretensions to independence and complete sovereignty over their territory were at various times utilized by adventurers from France, England, and Spain as a means of promoting the designs of these powers. [Footnote: Am. Hist. Rev., X., 249.] Jackson drove a wedge between the Indian confederacies of this region by his victories in the War of 1812 and the cessions which followed. [Footnote: Babcock, Am. Nationality (Am. Nation, XIII.), chaps, ii., xvii.] Although, in 1821, a large belt of territory between the Ocmulgee and Flint rivers was ceded by the Creeks to Georgia, the state saw with impatience some of the best lands still occupied by these Indians in the territory lying between the Flint and the Chattahoochee.
The spectacle of a stream of Georgia settlers crossing this rich Indian area of their own state to settle in the lands newly acquired in Alabama and Mississippi provoked Georgia's wrath, and numerous urgent calls were made upon the government to carry out the agreement made in 1802, [Footnote: Phillips, "Georgia and State Rights," in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1901, II., 34.] by completing the acquisition of these Indian lands. Responding to this demand, a treaty was made at Indian Springs in February, 1825, by which the Creeks ceded all of their lands in Georgia; but when Adams came to the presidency he was confronted with a serious situation arising from this treaty. Shortly after it had been ratified, Mclntosh, a principal chief of the Lower Creeks, who had signed the treaty, contrary to the rule of the tribe and in spite of the decision to sell no more land, was put to death; and the whole treaty was repudiated by the great body of the Creeks, as having been procured by fraud and made by a small minority of their nation. The difficulty arose from the fact that the various villages of these Indians were divided into opposing parties: the Upper Creeks, living chiefly along the forks of the Alabama, on the Tallapoosa and the Coosa in Alabama, constituting the more numerous branch, were determined to yield no more territory, while the principal chiefs of the Lower Creeks, who dwelt in western Georgia, along the Flint and Chattahoochee branches of the Appalachicola, were not unfavorable to removal.
When Governor Troup, of Georgia, determined to survey the ceded lands, he was notified that the president expected Georgia to abandon the survey until it could be done consistently with the provisions of the treaty. Although the treaty had given the Creeks until September, 1826, to vacate, Governor Troup informed General Gaines, who had been sent to preserve peace, that, as there existed "two independent parties to the question, each is permitted to decide for itself," and he announced that the line would be run and the survey effected. The defiant correspondence which now ensued between the governor and the war department doubtless reflected the personal hot-headedness of Troup himself, but Georgia supported her governor and made his defiances effective. He plainly threatened civil war in case the United States used force to prevent the survey. [Footnote: Ames, State Docs on Federal Relations, No. 3, pp. 25-31; Phillips, "Georgia and State Rights," in Am. Hist. Assoc., Report 1901, II., 58-60; 40 (map).]
On investigation, President Adams reached the conclusion that the treaty was wrongfully secured, and gave orders for a new negotiation. This resulted in the treaty of Washington, in January, 1826, supplemented by that of March, 1826, by which the Creek Indians ceded all of their lands within the state except a narrow strip along the western border. This treaty abrogated the treaty of Indian Springs and it provided that the Indians should remain in possession of their lands until January 1, 1827. Throughout the whole of these proceedings Georgia was bitterly incensed. Claiming that the treaty of Indian Springs became operative after its ratification, and that the lands acquired by it were thereby incorporated with Georgia and were under her sovereignty, the state denied the right of the general government to reopen the question. "Georgia," said Troup, "is sovereign on her own soil," and he entered actively upon the survey of the tract without waiting for the date stipulated in the new treaty. When the surveyors entered the area not ceded by the later treaty, the Indians threatened to use force against them, and at the beginning of 1827 another heated controversy arose. The president warned the governor of Georgia that he should employ, if necessary, "all the means under his control to maintain the faith of the nation by carrying the treaty into effect." Having done this, he submitted the whole matter in a special message to Congress. [Footnote: February 5, 1827. Richardson, Messages and Papers, II., 370.]
"From the first decisive act of hostility," wrote Troup to the secretary of war, "you will be considered and treated as a public enemy"; and he announced his intention to resist any military attack on the part of the United States, "the unblushing allies of the savages." [Footnote: Harden, Troup, 485.] He thereupon made preparations for liberating any surveyors who might be arrested by the United States, and for calling out the militia. In the House of Representatives, a committee recommended the purchase of the Indian title to all lands in Georgia, and, until such cession were procured, the maintenance of the treaty of Washington by all necessary and constitutional means; but the report of the Senate committee, submitted by Benton, supported the idea that the ratification of the treaty of Indian Springs vested the title to the lands in Georgia, and reached the conclusion that no preparations should be made to coerce the state by military force. In November, 1827, the Creeks consented to a treaty extinguishing the last of their claims, and the issue was avoided.
In the mean time, the Cherokees in the north-western portion of the state gave rise to a new problem by adopting a national constitution (July 26, 1827) and asserting that they constituted one of the sovereign and independent nations of the earth, with complete jurisdiction over their own territory to the exclusion of the authority of any other state. [Footnote: Text in Exec. Docs., 23 Cong., 2 Sess., III., No. 91 (Serial No. 273); Ames, State Docs. on Federal Relations, No. 3, p. 36; see also House Reports, 19 Cong., 2 Sess. No. 98.] This bold challenge was met by Georgia in the same spirit which guided her policy in regard to the Creek lands. The legislature, by an act of December 20, 1828, subjected all white persons in the Cherokee territory to the laws of Georgia, and provided that in 1830 the Indians also should be subject to the laws of the state. Thus Georgia completed her assertion of sovereignty over her soil both against the United States and the Indians. But this phase of the controversy was not settled during the presidency of Adams.
THE TARIFF OF ABOMINATIONS AND THE SOUTH CAROLINA EXPOSITION (1827- 1828)
While the slavery agitation was inflaming the minds of South Carolina and her sister states of the cotton region, and while Georgia, half a frontier state, was flinging defiance at the general government when it checked her efforts to complete the possession of her territory, the reopening of the tariff question brought the matter of state resistance to a climax.
The tariff of 1824 was unsatisfactory to the woolen interests. In the course of the decade there had been an astonishing increase of woolen factories in New England, [Footnote: See chap. ii., above.] and the strength of the protective movement grew correspondingly in that section. By a law which took effect at the end of 1824, England reduced the duty on wool to a penny a pound, and thus had the advantage of a cheap raw material as well as low wages, so that the American mills found themselves placed at an increasing disadvantage. Under the system of ad valorem duties, the English exporters got their goods through the United States custom-house by such under valuation as gravely diminished even the protection afforded by the tariff of 1824; and the unloading of large quantities of woolen goods by auction sales brought a cry of distress from New England. This led to an agitation to substitute specific duties in place of ad valorem, and to apply to woolens the minimum principle already applied to cottons. At the same time sheep-raisers were demanding increased protection.
Early in 1827, therefore, Mallory, of Vermont, a state which was especially interested in wool-growing, brought into the House of Representatives a report of the committee on manufactures, proposing a bill which provided three minimum points for woolen goods, with certain exceptions, those that cost less than 40 cents a square yard were to be rated as though they cost 40 cents in imposing the tariff; those which cost between 40 cents and $2.50 were reckoned at $2.50; and those which cost between $2.50 and $4, at $4. Upon unmanufactured wool, after 1828, a duty of forty per cent, was imposed, and all wool costing between 10 and 40 cents a pound was to be rated at 40 cents. [Footnote: Stanwood, Tariff Controversies, I., 255.]
The political situation exercised a dominant influence upon the tariff legislation at this time. As the campaign between Adams and Jackson was approaching its end, the managers of Jackson faced the problem of how to hold together the forces of the south, which were almost to a man opposed to tariff legislation, and those of Pennsylvania and New York, where protection was so popular. Jackson himself, as we have seen, announced his belief in the home-market idea, and, although with some reservations, committed himself to the support of the protective system.
While the forces of Jackson were not harmonious on the tariff, neither was there consistency of interests between the friends of protection in New England, the middle states, and the west. If New England needed an increased tariff to sustain her woolen factories, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and parts of New York were equally interested in extending the protection to wool, the raw material of the New England mills. If the New England shipping interests demanded cheap cordage, on the other hand, the Kentucky planters were ever ready to plead for an increased duty upon the hemp which made the ropes. If iron foundries were developing among the towns of the New England coast, where ships brought in the raw material from Sweden and from England, the Pennsylvania forges found an opposite interest in their desire for an increased duty on pig-iron to protect the domestic product.
The history of the tariff has always been the history of the struggle to combine local and opposing interests into a single bill. Such conditions furnished opportunity for the clever politicians who guided Jackson's canvass to introduce discordant ideas and jealousy between the middle states, the west, and New England. The silence of the New England president upon the question of the tariff, the "selfishness of New England's policy," and the inducements offered to the middle region and the west to demand protection for their special interests were all successfully used to break the unity of the tariff forces. Even protectionist Pennsylvania, and Kentucky, home of the champion of the American system, gave a large share of their votes against the bill. Although it passed the House (February 10, 1827), the Senate laid it on the table by the casting-vote of Vice-President Calhoun, who was thus compelled to take the responsibility of defeating the measure, [Footnote: See the account of Van Buren's tactics at this time, in Stanwood, Tariff Controversies, I., 258; and Calhoun, Works, III., 47.] and to range himself permanently with the anti-tariff sentiment of his section.
Hardly had the woolens bill met its fate when the rival forces began to reorganize for another struggle. From the south and from the shipping interests of New England came memorials in opposition to the tariff and in support of the theory of free-trade. [Footnote: Am. State Papers, Finance, V. passim.] At a convention which met in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, July 30, 1827, a hundred delegates from thirteen states met to promote the cause of protection. Finding it necessary to combine the various interests, the convention recommended increased duties both upon wool and woolen goods, and the establishment of the minimum system. This combination was made possible by the proposal of effectively counterbalancing the prohibitory duties on wool by such use of the minimum device as would give a practical monopoly of the American market to the domestic manufacturers in the class of goods in which they were most interested. To conciliate other sections, the convention adopted the plan of an additional duty on hammered bar-iron, hemp and flax, and various other products. [Footnote: Stanwood, Tariff Controversies, I., 264; Niles' Register, XXXII., 369, 386, XXXIII., 187; Elliott, Tariff Controversy, 239.]
When the twentieth Congress met, in December, 1827, Stevenson, of Virginia, defeated the administration candidate, Taylor, of New York, for the speakership, and both branches of Congress and the important committees were put in the hands of the opposition to Adams. Rejecting the plan of the Harrisburg Convention, the House committee brought in a bill framed to satisfy the producers of raw material, wool, hemp, flax, and iron, and to deny the protection desired by New England. [Footnote: Taussig, Tariff Hist., 89-92; Dewey, Financial Hist. of the U.S., 178-181.] Protection was afforded to raw material even where the producers did not seek it; and in some important cases high duties were imposed on raw material not produced in this country. The essential point of the provision respecting woolens favored by the Harrisburg Convention was the fixing of four minimum points, but the committee on manufactures interposed between the minimum of 50 cents and that of $2.50 a minimum of $1, which effectively withdrew protection from the woolen goods most largely manufactured in New England. Moreover, the committee refused to establish the increasing rate of duty asked for at Harrisburg.
Calhoun afterwards explained the attitude of the southern representatives as follows: [Footnote: Calhoun, Works, III., 49; cf. Houston, Nullification in S. C., 34, for similar explanations by Mitchell and McDuffie; Clay, Works (Colton's ed.), II., 13; Jenkins, Wright, 53.] Having before them the option of joining New England in securing amendments satisfactory to the section, or, by resisting all amendment, to force New England to join with the south in rejecting the bill, which would involve Adams in the responsibility for its defeat, they chose the latter alternative. Assurances were given them by Jackson men that the two tariff interests would not be united by mutual concession in the last stages of the discussion to insure the passage of the bill; and so the south consistently threw its weight against the passage of amendments modifying this designedly high tariff. "We determined," said McDuffie later, "to put such ingredients in the chalice as would poison the monster, and commend it to his own lips." At the same time the Jackson men in Pennsylvania, New York, and the west shifted their votes so as to deprive New England of her share in the protective system. When an amendment was proposed, striking out the duty on molasses—an article essential to the rum distilleries of New England, but obnoxious to the distillers of whiskey in Pennsylvania and the west- -Pennsylvania and a large share of the delegation from Ohio, New York, Indiana, and Kentucky voted with most of the south against the amendment. On the motion to substitute the proposals of the Harrisburg Convention with respect to wool and woolens, almost all of the delegation of Pennsylvania, and a large portion of that of New York and Kentucky, as well as the members from Indiana and Missouri and the south, opposed the proposition. Thus the interests of the seaboard protectionists were overcome by the alliance between the middle states and the south, while the west was divided.
Bitter as was the pill, it was swallowed by enough of the eastern protectionists to carry the act. The vote, 105 to 94, by which the measure passed in the House [Footnote: See map.] (April 22, 1828) showed all of the south in opposition, with the exception of certain districts in Maryland and the western districts of Virginia, while the great area of the states of the Ohio Valley and the middle region was almost a unit in favor. The lower counties of New York along the Hudson revealed their identity with the commercial interests by opposing the bill. New England broke in two; Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut voted almost unanimously in favor of the proposition; while Maine cast a unanimous vote in opposition. Rhode Island was divided, and in Massachusetts only two districts— that of the Berkshire wool-growing region and the Essex county area- -supported the bill.
In the Senate, an amendment was passed making the duty on woolens an ad valorem rate of forty-five per cent., but retaining the minima. Various considerations induced some New England friends of Adams to support the measure. Webster defended his action in voting for the bill by declaring that New England had accepted the protective system as the established policy of the government, and after 1824 had built up her manufacturing enterprises on that basis. Nevertheless, in the final vote in the Senate, the five northern members who opposed were all from New England.
Thus the "tariff of abominations," shaped by the south for defeat, satisfactory to but a fraction of the protectionists, was passed by a vote of 26 to 21 in the Senate, May 13, 1828, and was concurred in by the House. John Randolph did not greatly overstate the case when he declared that "the bill referred to manufactures of no sort or kind, but the manufacture of a President of the United States"; for, on the whole, the friends of Jackson had, on this issue, taken sides against the friends of Adams, and in the effort to make the latter unpopular had produced a tariff which better illustrated sectional jealousies and political intrigues than the economic policy of the nation. [Footnote: Register of Debates, 20 Cong., I Sess., IV., pt. ii., 2472; Niles' Register, XXV., 55-57, analyzes the votes to show the political groupings; cf. Taussig, Tariff History, 101, 102.]
The tariff agitation of 1827 and the passage of the act of 1828 inflamed the south to the point of conflagration. John Randolph's elevation of the standard of revolt in 1824 now brought him credit as the prophet of the gospel of resistance. "Here is a district of country," he had proclaimed, in his speech on the tariff in that year, "extending from the Patapsco to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Allegheny to the Atlantic; a district… which RAISES FIVE-SIXTHS of all the exports of this country that are OF HOME GROWTH…. I bless God that in this insulted, oppressed and outraged region, we are as to our counsels in regard to this measure, but as one man. We are proscribed and put to the ban; and if we do not feel, and feeling, do not act, we are bastards to those fathers who achieved the Revolution." [Footnote: Annals of Cong., 18 Cong., I Sess., II., 2360.]
It was South Carolina, rather than Virginia, however, that led in violent proposals. [Footnote: Houston, Nullification in S. C.] Dr. Cooper, an Englishman, president of South Carolina College, had long been engaged in propagating the Manchester doctrines of laissez- faire and free-trade, and he was greeted with applause when he declared that the time had come to calculate the value of the Union. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXXIII., 59+] Agricultural societies met to protest and to threaten. Turnbull, an aggressive and violent writer, in a stirring series of papers published in 1827, under the title of The Crisis, over the signature of Brutus, sounded the tocsin of resistance. He repudiated the moderation and nationalism of "Messrs. Monroe and Calhoun," and stood squarely on the doctrine that the only safety for the south was in the cultivation of sectionalism. "In the Northern, Eastern, Middle, and Western States," said he, "the people have no fears whatever from the exercise of the implied powers of Congress on any subject; but it is in the SOUTH alone where uneasiness begins to manifest itself, and a sensitiveness prevails on the subject of consolidation." "The more NATIONAL and the less FEDERAL the government becomes, the more certainly will the interest of the great majority of the States be promoted, but with the same certainty, will the interests of the SOUTH be depressed and destroyed."
On their return from the session of 1828, the South Carolina delegation added fuel to the fire. In a caucus of the members, held shortly after the passage of the tariff, proposals were even made for the delegation to vacate their seats in Congress as a protest, and in this temper they returned to their state. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXXV., 184, 202.] McDuffie told his constituents that there was no hope of a change of the system in Congress; that the southern states, by the law of self-preservation, were free to save themselves from utter ruin; and that the government formed for their protection and benefit was determined to push every matter to their annihilation. He recommended that the state should levy a tax on the consumption of northern manufactured goods, boycott the live-stock of Kentucky, and wear homespun; and he closed by drawing a comparison between the wrongs suffered by the colonists when they revolted from Great Britain and that by which the south was now oppressed. [Footnote: Niles' Register, XXXIII., 339; cf. ibid., XXXV., 82, 131.]
Although South Carolina and all of the staple-producing section except Louisiana and Kentucky were in substantial agreement upon the iniquity of the tariff, yet, in respect to the remedy, they were widely at variance. Protest had proven ineffective; proposals of resistance by force, plans for a southern convention, and threats of disunion were rife. [Footnote: Houston, Nullification in S.C., 49- 52, 73-75.]
Such was the situation which confronted Calhoun when he returned from Washington and found that his section had passed beyond him. The same considerations that had aroused this storm of opposition also had their effect upon him. But he was still hopeful that, by the election of Jackson, a cotton-planter, the current of northern power might be checked; and he looked forward also to the prospect that he himself might eventually reach the presidential chair. Before him lay the double task of uniting himself to his friends in South Carolina, lest he lose touch with the forces of his own section, and of framing a platform of opposition that should be consistent, logical, and defensible; and, at the same time, of providing some mode of avoiding the forcible revolution that the hotheads of his section threatened as an immediate programme.
It was by the very processes of western growth that the seaboard south now found itself a minority section and the home of discontent. As the rich virgin soil of the Gulf plains opened to cotton culture, the output leaped up by bounds. In 1811 the total product was eighty million pounds; in 1821 it was one hundred and seventy-seven millions; in 1826 it was three hundred and thirty millions. Prices fell as production increased. In 1816 the average price of middling uplands in New York was nearly thirty cents, and South Carolina's leaders favored the tariff; in 1820 it was seventeen cents, and the south saw in the protective system a grievance; in 1824 it was fourteen and three-quarters cents, and the South-Carolinians denounced the tariff as unconstitutional. When the woolens bill was agitated in 1827, cotton had fallen to but little more than nine cents, and the radicals of the section threatened civil war.
Moreover, the price of slaves was increased by the demands of the new cotton-fields of Alabama, Mississippi, and the rest of the southwest, so that the Carolina planter had to apply a larger capital to his operations, while, at the same time, the cheap and unexhausted soil of these new states tended still further to hamper the older cotton areas in their competition, and the means of transportation from the western cotton-fields were better than from those of South Carolina. By devoting almost exclusive attention to her great staple, South Carolina had made herself dependent on the grain and live-stock of the west and the manufactures of the north or of England; and, when the one crop from which she derived her means of purchasing declined in value, the state was plunged in unrelieved distress. Nevertheless, the planters of the old south saw clearly but two of the causes of their distress: the tariff, which seemed to them to steal the profits of their crops; and internal improvements, by which the proceeds of their indirect taxes were expended in the west and north. Their indignation was also fanned to a fiercer flame by apprehensions over the attitude of the north towards slavery.
In the summer of 1828, Calhoun addressed himself to the statement of these grievances and to the formulation of a remedy. After consultation with leading men in his home at Fort Hill, he was ready to shape a document which, nominally a report of a legislative committee (since it was not expedient for the vice-president to appear in the matter), put in its first systematic form the doctrine of nullification. This so-called Exposition, [Footnote: Calhoun, Works, VI., 1-59.] beginning with the unconstitutionality and injustice of protection, developed the argument that the tax on imports, amounting to about twenty-three million dollars, fell, in effect, solely on the south, because the northern sections recompensed themselves by the increased profits afforded to their productions by protection; while the south, seeking in the markets of the world customers for its staples, and obliged to purchase manufactures and supplies in return, was forced to pay tribute on this exchange for the benefit of the north. "To the growers of cotton, rice, and tobacco, it is the same whether the Government takes one-third of what they raise, for the liberty of sending the other two-thirds abroad, or one-third of the iron, salt, sugar, coffee, cloth and other articles they may need in exchange for the liberty of bringing them home."
Estimating the annual average export of domestic produce at fifty- three million dollars, the Exposition attributed to the planting section at least thirty-seven million dollars—over two-thirds of the total exports; the voting power of this section in the House of Representatives was but seventy-six, while the rest of the Union had one hundred and thirty-seven members. Thus, one-third of the political Union exported more than two-thirds of the domestic products. Assuming imports to equal exports, and the tariff of 1828 to average forty-five per cent., the south would pay sixteen million six hundred and fifty thousand dollars as its share of contributions to the national treasury. Calhoun then presented the ominous suggestion that, if the staple section had a separate custom-house, it would have for its own use a revenue of sixteen million six hundred and fifty thousand dollars from foreign trade alone, not counting the imports from the north, which would bring in millions more.
"We are mere consumers," he declared, "the serfs of the system—out of whose labor is raised, not only the money paid into the Treasury, but the funds out of which are drawn the rich rewards of the manufacturer and his associates in interest."
Taking for granted that the price at which the south could afford to cultivate cotton was determined by the price at which it received its supplies, he argued that, if the crop could be produced at ten cents a pound, the removal of the duty would enable the planter to produce it at five and one-half cents, and thus to drive out competition and to add three or four hundred thousand bales annually to the production, with a corresponding increase of profit. The complaints of the south were not yet exhausted, for the Exposition went on to point out that, in the commercial warfare with Europe which protection might be expected to engender, the south would be deprived of its market and might be forced to change its industrial life and compete with the northern states in manufactures. The advantages of the north would probably insure it an easy victory; but if not, then an attack might be expected on the labor system of the south, in behalf of the white workmen of the north.
What, then, was the remedy? Calhoun found this, although in fragmentary form, ready to his hand. The reserved rights of the sovereign states had long been the theoretical basis of southern resistance. In the argumentation of such writers as Taylor, Turnbull, and Judge Roane, not to mention Madison and Jefferson in the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, there was material for the system; but as yet no one had stated with entire clearness the two features which Calhoun made prominent in his Exposition. First, he made use of reasoning in sharp contrast to that of the statesmen of the days of the American Revolution, by rejecting the doctrine of the division of sovereignty between the states and the general government. [Footnote: McLaughlin, in Am. Hist. Rev., V., 482, 484.] Clearly differentiating government from sovereignty, he limited the application of the division to the powers of government, and attributed the sovereignty solely to the people of the several states. This conception of the unity of sovereignty was combined with the designation of the Constitution as articles of compact between sovereign states, each entitled to determine whether or not the general government had usurped powers not granted by the Constitution, and each entitled peacefully to prevent the operation of the disputed law within its own limits, pending a decision by the same power that could amend the Constitution—namely, three-fourths of the states.
These doctrines were brought out with definiteness and with the deliberate intention of creating from them a practical governmental machinery to be peacefully applied for the preservation of the rights of the states. In effect, therefore, Calhoun, the logician of nationalism in the legislation that followed the War of 1812, became the real architect of the system of nullification as a plan of action rather than a protest. As it left his hands, the system was essentially a new creation. In the Exposition, the doctrine was sketched only in its larger lines, for it was in later documents that he refined and elaborated it. It was intended as a substitute for revolution and disunion—but it proved to be the basis on which was afterwards developed the theory of peaceable secession. Calhoun did not publicly avow his authorship or his adhesion to nullification until three years later.
The rallying of the party of the Union in South Carolina against this doctrine, the refusal of Georgia, Virginia, and other southern states to accept it as the true exposition of the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, the repudiation of it by the planting states of the southwest, all belong to the next volume of this series.
Yet the Exposition marks the culmination of the process of transformation with which this volume has dealt. Beginning with nationalism, the period ends with sectionalism. Beginning with unity of party and with the almost complete ascendancy of republicanism of the type of Monroe, it ends with sharply distinguished rival parties, as yet unnamed, but fully organized, and tending to differ fundamentally on the question of national powers. From the days when South-Carolinians led in legislation for tariff and internal improvements, when Virginians promoted the Colonization Society, and Georgians advocated the policy of mitigating the evils of slavery by scattering the slaves, we have reached the period when a united south protests against "the American system," and the lower south asserts that slavery must not be touched—not even discussed.
In various southern states the minority counties of the coast, raising staples by slave labor, had protected their property interests against the free majority of farmers in the interior counties by so apportioning the legislature as to prevent action by the majority. Now the same conditions existed for the nation. The free majority embraced a great zone of states in the north and west; the south, a minority section, was now seeking protection against the majority of the Union by the device of state sovereignty; and Calhoun made himself the political philosopher of the rights of this minority section, applying to the nation the experience of South Carolina. [Footnote: Calhoun. Works, I., 400-405.]
Still the great currents of national growth ran on. New England was achieving unity and national feeling as a manufacturing region, and Webster was developing those powers which were to make him the orator of consolidation. While the leaders of the middle states played the game of personal politics, their people and those of the growing west were rallying around the man who personified their passion for democracy and nationalism—the fiery Jackson, who confused sectional opposition to the government with personal hostility to himself. This frontiersman was little likely to allow political metaphysics, or even sectional suffering, to check his will. And on the frontier of the northwest, the young Lincoln sank his axe deep in the opposing forest.
The authorities characterized in the Critical Essays of Babcock's Rise of American Nationality, MacDonald's Jacksonian Democracy, and Hart's Slavery and Abolition (American Nation, XIII., XV., XVI.), include most of the general authorities, and need not be repeated here in detail. In addition, account should be taken of several indexes to government documents: L.C. Ferrell, Tables… and Annotated Index (1902); two by J.G. Ames: Finding List (1893) and Check List (1895); J.M. Baker, Finding List (1900-1901); the Index to the Reports of… Committees of the House (1887); and Index to Reports of… Committees of the Senate (1887); Ben Perley Poore, Descriptive Catalogue of Government Publications (1885); L.P. Lane, Aids in the Use of Government Publications (American Statistical Association, Publications, VII. (1900), 40-57); L.C. Ferrell, "Public Documents of the United States" (Library Journal, XXVI., 671); Van Tyne and Leland, Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington (Carnegie Institution, Publications, No. 14, 1904). For bibliography of state official issues, see R.R. Bowker [editor], State Publications: a Provisional List of the Official Publications of the Several States of the United States from their Organization (3 vols., issued 1899-1905); see also J.N. Larned, Literature of American History (1902), 7-13; and I.S. Bradley, in American Historical Association, Report, 1896, I., 296-319, a bibliography of documentary and newspaper material for the Old Northwest.
The general histories of the period 1819-1829 almost without exception extend over earlier or later fields, and are described in earlier or later volumes of this series. To the usual list, James Schouler, J.B. McMaster, George Tucker, H.E. Von Hoist, J.P. Gordy, may be added: S. Perkins, Historical Sketches of the United States, from the Peace of 1815 to 1830 (1830), the work of a careful contemporary.
The most serviceable biographies in this period can be found through the lists in Channing and Hart, Guide to the Study of American History (1896), p. 25. The volumes of the American Statesmen series are accurate and well written, especially Morse's John Quincy Adams, Schurz's Henry Clay, Adams's John Randolph, Roosevelt's Thomas H. Benton, McLaughlin's Lewis Cass, Shepard's Van Buren. SECTIONAL HISTORY
Among the bibliographies useful for attacking the mass of local and
state histories for this period are the following: R.R. Bowker,
State Publications (New York, 1899, 1902, 1905); A.P.C. Griffin,
Bibliography of Historical Societies of the United States (American
Historical Association, Reports, 1890, 1892, 1893).
NEW ENGLAND.—The history of this section, since the Revolution, has been neglected, but indications of its importance appear in Justin Winsor, Memorial History of Boston (4 vols., 1880-1882), III., IV., and I.B. Richman, Rhode Island: a Study in Separatism (1905). M. Louise Greene, The Development of Religious Liberty in Connecticut (1905), deals with the toleration movement. The various historical societies print documentary material; but, for the most part, New England's activity in this decade must be sought in original material, biographies, travels, scattered monographs, and, in fragments, in state histories.
MIDDLE STATES.—The state and local histories of the middle region are more satisfactory on this period, but the political life must be sought chiefly in biographies; and the economic and social conditions in the scattered material elsewhere cited in this bibliography. J.G. Wilson, Memorial History of the City of New York (4 vols., 1891-1893); and Scharf and Westcott, History of Philadelphia (3 vols., 1884), are serviceable accounts of the development of the great cities of the section.
THE SOUTH.—Virginia has been neglected in this period, but the travelers afford interesting material; and a good view of plantation life is T.C. Johnson, Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney (1903). For North Carolina, the literature is cited in S.B. Weeks, Bibliography of the Historical Literature of North Carolina (1895). Two monographs by J.S. Bassett, Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina (Johns Hopkins University Studies, XVI., No. 6), and History of Slavery in North Carolina (ibid., XVII., Nos. 7, 8), are especially important for the up-country. W.E. Dodd, Life of Nathaniel Macon (1903), is useful on this period. South Carolina conditions are shown in R. Mills, Statistics of South Carolina (1826); and W.A. Schaper, Sectionalism and Representation in South Carolina (American Historical Association, Report, 1900, I.). Georgia is depicted in U.B. Phillips, Georgia and State Rights (ibid., 1901, II.); [G.R. Gilmer], Sketches of Some of the First Settlers of Upper Georgia (1855); and [A.B. Longstreet], Georgia Scenes (last edition, 1897), the latter made up of rollicking character-sketches. Among the many travelers useful (after criticism) for the South and Southwest may be mentioned, the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, Murat, Paulding, Hodgson, and Mrs. Royall. Correspondence illustrating Mississippi conditions is printed in J.F.H. Claiborne, Life and Correspondence of John A. Quitman (2 vols., 1860). Two lists by T.M. Owen, Bibliography of Alabama (American Historical Association, Report, 1897); and Bibliography of Mississippi (ibid., 1889, I.), open a wealth of southwestern material. For Louisiana, there are various popular histories of New Orleans; and A. Fortier, History of Louisiana (1904), III.; S.D. Smedes, Memorials of a Southern Planter [Thomas Dabney], (1887, also 1890), is highly valuable in the developed opening of the Gulf area. One of the best pictures of southwestern conditions is Lincecum's "Autobiography" (so called), in the Mississippi Historical Society, Publications, VIII. W.G. Brown, Lower South in American History (1902), is illuminative.
THE WEST.—The material for the West is scattered, the general histories of the Mississippi Valley failing to deal extensively with settlement. John B. McMaster, History of the People of the United States (1883-1900), IV., chap, xxxiii., and V., chap, xlv., give good accounts of the westward movement. B.A. Hinsdale, Old Northwest (2 vols., 1888, 1899), is scholarly, but brief on this period. W.H. Venable, Beginnings of Literary Culture in the Ohio Valley (1891), is important. Of especial value are the travelers, gazetteers, etc., among which the following are exceptionally useful: Timothy Flint, Recollections of the Last Ten Years (1826); Timothy Flint, History and Geography of the Mississippi Valley (2 vols., 2d edition, 1832); four books by J. Hall, viz.: Letters from the West (1828), Legends of the West (1833 and 1869), Notes on the Western States (1838), Statistics of the West (1836); Ohio Navigator (1821 and many other editions); J.M. Peck, Guide for Emigrants (1831); H.S. Tanner, View of the Valley of the Mississippi (1834). All of these, of course, must be used critically.
Among the contemporaneous state histories, T. Ford, History of Illinois (1854); J. Reynolds, My Own Times (1854-1855, also 1879), though unreliable in detail, have a value as material on pioneer conditions. The historical societies of the western states abound in old settlers' accounts. W.C. Howells, Recollections of Life in Ohio (1895), is a gem. P.G. Thomson, Bibliography of Ohio (1880), is the key to an extensive literature. There is no good history of Kentucky in this period; but J. Phelan, History of Tennessee (1888), is excellent. Lives of Clay, Jackson, and Benton all aid in understanding the region.
THE FAR WEST.—H.M. Chittenden, The American Fur Trade of the Far West (3 vols., 1902), is excellent. The larger histories of the Pacific states, viz.: H. . Bancroft, Works; Hittell, California; and Lyman, Oregon, are characterized by Garrison, Westward Expansion (American Nation, XVII.). The publications of the Oregon Historical Society and the Quarterly of the Texas Historical Society are extremely useful. D.G. Wooten [editor], Comprehensive History of Texas (2 vols., 1899), has material on settlement in this period. G.P. Garrison, Texas (1903), is an excellent little book. Brief accounts of exploration in this period are in E.C. Semple, American History and Its Geographic Conditions (1903); and R.G. Thwaites, Rocky Mountain Exploration (1904). J. Schafer, History of the Pacific Northwest (1905), and G.W. James, In and about the Old Missions of California (1905), are useful brief presentations of conditions on the coast. For all this field the H.H. Bancroft library, now the property of the University of California, is the great collection of documentary material. Illustrative books by contemporaries are: R.H. Dana, Two Years before the Mast (1849 and other editions), giving California life; W. Irving, Adventures of Captain Bonneville (1849), giving Rocky Mountain life; and J. Gregg, Commerce of the Prairies; or, the Journal of a Santa Fe Trader (2 vols., 1844, also in Thwaites, Early Western Travels, XIX., XX.).
Charles McCarthy, The Antimasonic Party (American Historical Association, Report, 1902, I.), sets a high standard as a monographic party history; C.H. Rammelkamp gives a detailed study of the Campaign of 1824 in New York (in ibid., 1904, pp. 175-202); all of the biographies of the contemporary statesmen deal with the parties of this period; and J.D. Hammond, History of Political Parties in the State of New York (2 vols., 1852), is a good history by a contemporary. U.B. Phillips, Georgia and State Rights (American Historical Association, Report, 1901, II.), gives a modern treatment of state politics.
On political institutions the following are particularly useful:
Edward Stanwood, History of the Presidency (1898); M. P. Pollett,
The Speaker of the House of Representatives (1896); L. G.
McConachie, Congressional Committees (1898); C. R. Fish, The Civil
Service and the Patronage (Harvard Historical Studies, XI., 1905);
F. W. Dallinger, Nominations for Elective Office in the United
States (ibid., IV., 1897); J. B. McMaster, Acquisition of Political,
Social, and Industrial Rights of Man in America (1903).
For a list of records of debates, legislative journals, documents,
statutes, judicial decisions, treaties, and the like, see the
"Critical Essays" in the neighboring volumes, and in Channing and
Hart, Guide, p. 30.
To the various editions of the works of James Monroe, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Rufus King, described in other volumes of this series, may be added John Quincy Adams, Memoirs: Comprising Portions of His Diary from 1795 to 1848 (edited by Charles Francis Adams, 12 vols., 1874-1877). The diary is unusually full, and abounds in valuable material for understanding the politics of the period and the character of Adams. He was biased and harsh in his judgment of contemporaries, but conscientious in his record. The Adams papers are now in the private archives of the family at Quincy.
For statesmen of lesser distinction, see W. W. Story, Life and Letters of Joseph Story (2 vols., 1851); L. G. Tyler, Letters and Times of the Tylers (3 vols., 1884, also 1896). A collection of De Witt Clinton's letters was published in Harper's Magazine, L., 409, 563, and other letters and papers are in the following: David Hosack, Memoir of De Witt Clinton (1829); W. C. Campbell, Life and Writings of De Witt Clinton (1849); James Renwick, Life of De Witt Clinton (1854). There is no collection of Crawford's works; he is said to have destroyed his papers; a few letters remain, some of them in the possession of Dr. U. B. Phillips (University of Wisconsin). In E. B. Washburne [editor], Edwards Papers (1884), and N. W. Edwards, History of Illinois and Life and Times of Ninian Edwards (1870), are important letters illustrating national as well as western politics; see also the letters of Senator Mills of Massachusetts, in Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 1st series, XIX., 12-53; and those of Marshall, Kent, Story, and Webster, in ibid., 26. series, XIV., 320 et seq., 398, 412 et seq. A collection of Macon's letters in this decade is in North Carolina University, James Sprunt Historical Monographs, No. 2. Literary men and journalists are described by Herbert B. Adams, Life and Writings of Jared Sparks (2 vols., 1893); John Binns, Recollections of His Life, Written by Himself (1854); Amos Kendall, Autobiography (edited by W. Stickney, 1872), valuable for Dartmouth College life and for Kentucky in this period; Thurlow Weed, Autobiography (1883), useful also for western New York; E. S. Thomas, Reminiscences of the Last Sixty-five Years (2 vols., 1840), editor in Charleston, South Carolina, and in Cincinnati; William Winston Seaton of the National Intelligencer: a Biographical Sketch (1871), contains useful letters by various persons from Washington; The John P. Branch Historical Papers of Randolph—Macon College, Nos. 2 and 3 (1902, 1903), contain some letters and a biography of Thomas Ritchie, editor of the Richmond Enquirer.
In the group of autobiographies, reminiscences, etc., Thomas H. Benton, Thirty Years' View; or, A History of the Working of the American Government, 1820—1850 (2 vols., 1854), is the most important: as a member of the Senate, Benton was active and influential, and, despite his positive character, he aims at fairness; Nathan Sargent, Public Men and Events [1817-1853], (2 vols., 1875), is made up of chatty sketches, with an anti-Jackson bias; Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past (1901), pen-pictures of men of the period; B. F. Perry, Reminiscences of Public Men (two series: 1st, 1883; 2d, 1889), anecdotal views of South Carolinians; S. G. Goodrich, Recollections of a Lifetime; or, Men and Things I Have Seen (2 vols., 1886).
Manuscript collections are located in the reports of the Historical Manuscripts Commission, published by the American Historical Association in its annual Reports; and in Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America, VIII. (1889). The Library of Congress contains important manuscripts of Madison (calendared in Bureau of Rolls and Library, Department of State, Bulletin, IV.); of Jefferson (ibid., VI., VIII., X.); Monroe (indexed in ibid., II.), and in W. C. Ford [editor], Papers of James Monroe (1904); indexes of the manuscripts of Jackson and Van Buren are in progress. In the New York Public Library are collections of correspondence of various statesmen of the period (New York Public Library, Bulletin, V., 306 et seq.), including Monroe (calendared in ibid., V., 316, VII., 210, 247-257); Jackson (ibid., IV., 154-162, 188-198, 292-320, V., 316); Calhoun (ibid., III., 324-333); James Barbour (ibid., V., 316, VI., 22-34). The Clinton Papers are in the State Library at Albany, N. Y. (American Historical Association, Report, 1898, p. 578). The papers of Senator Mahlon Dickerson, of New Jersey, including letters from important statesmen of the period, are in the possession of William. Nelson, corresponding secretary of the New Jersey Historical Society. The correspondence of Senator W. P. Mangum, of North Carolina, including letters from Clay, Webster, etc., is in the possession of Dr. S. B. Weeks, San Carlos, Arizona. The papers of Vice-President Tompkins in the State Library at Albany are described in Albany Institute, Transactions, XI., 223-240. The Plumer papers are in the New Hampshire Historical Society.
The newspapers and periodicals constitute indispensable sources. For the former the following catalogues are useful: Check List of American Newspapers in the Library of Congress (1901); Wisconsin Historical Society, Annotated Catalogue of Newspaper Files (1899); W. F. Poole [editor], Index to Periodical Literature (1853 and later editions), renders the magazines of the period accessible; and W. B. Cairns, Development of American Literature from 1815 to 1833, with especial Reference to Periodicals, in University of Wisconsin, Bulletin (Literature Series, I., 1898), enumerates a list of periodicals not indexed in Poole. Easily first in importance among the periodicals useful on the period from 1819 to 1829 is Niles' Weekly Register, edited by Hezekiah Niles (76 vols., 1811-1849), which abounds in material, political, social, and economic; although Niles was a strong protectionist, he was also fair-minded and conscientious in collecting information. The North American Review (Boston, begun in 1815 and still continues); The American Quarterly Review (Philadelphia, 1827-1837); The Southern Review (Charleston, 1828-1832); The American Annual Register (New York, 1825-1833). The Quarterly Register and Journal of the American Education Society (1829-1843); The Methodist Magazine (1818-1840); The Christian Examiner (Boston, 1824-1869); and Christian Monthly Spectator (1819- 1828), are examples of religious and educational publications. Among periodicals which contain articles dealing with the decade, although published later, are The Democratic Review, of which the first number appeared in 1837; Hunt's Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review (first volume, 1839); and D. B. De Bow's Commercial Review of the South and West (first volume, 1846). Among the short-lived magazines of the West are: The Western Review (Lexington, 1820- 1821); The Western Monthly Review (edited by Timothy Flint, Cincinnati, 1827-1830); The Illinois Monthly Magazine (edited by James Hall, 1830-1831); The Western Monthly Magazine (continuation of the former, Cincinnati, 1833-1837).
Among the important sources for understanding the growth of the country are various descriptions, gazetters, etc. Of the many books of this class may be mentioned the following: Emigrants' Guide; or, Pocket Geography of the Western States and Territories (Cincinnati, 1818); William Amphlett, Emigrants' Directory of the Western States of North America (London, 1819); D. Blowe, Geographical, Commercial, and Agricultural View of the United States (Liverpool, about 1820); John Bristed, Resources of the United States of America (New York, 1818); S. R. Brown, The Western Gazetteer (Auburn, N. Y., 1817); J. S. Buckingham, America, Historical, Statistical, and Descriptive (New York and London, 1841); J. S. Buckingham, Eastern and Western States (London, 1842); J. S. Buckingham, Slave States (London, 1842); William Cobbett, The Emigrant's Guide London, 1830); S. H. Collins, The Emigrant's Guide to and Description of the United States of America (Hull, 1830); Samuel Cumings, Western Pilot (Cincinnati, 1840); E. Dana, Geographical Sketches on the Western Country (Cincinnati, 1819); William Darby, Emigrants' Guide to Western and Southwestern States and Territories (New York, 1818); William Darby, Geographical Description of the State of Louisiana, the Southern Part of the State of Mississippi, and Territory of Alabama (New York, 1817); Timothy Flint, Condensed Geography and History of the Western States (2 vols., Cincinnati, 1828); Timothy Flint, History and Geography of the Mississippi Valley (2 vols., Cincinnati, 1833); F. Hayward, The New England Gazetteer (3d edition, Boston, 1839); D. Hewett, The American Traveller (Washington, 1825); Isaac Holmes, An Account of the United States of America (London, 1823); Indiana Gazetteer (ad edition, Indianapolis, 1833); John Kilbourne, Ohio Gazetteer (Columbus, 1819, 1833); Win. Kingdom, Jr., America and the British Colonies (London, 1820); W. Lindsay, View of America (Hawick, 1824); E. Mackenzie, Historical, Topographical, and Descriptive View of the United States (Newcastle- upon-Tyne, 1819); Joseph Martin, New and Comprehensive Gazetteer of Virginia (Charlottesville, 1835); John Melish, A Geographical Description of the United States (Philadelphia, 1816, 1822, 1826); John Melish, Information and Advice to Emigrants to the United States (Philadelphia, 1819); John Melish, The Travellers' Directory through the United States (Philadelphia, 1815, 1819, 1822, New York, 1825); Robert Mills, Statistics of South Carolina (Charleston, 1826); J. M. Peck, A Guide for Emigrants (Boston, 1831, 1837); J. M. Peck, New Guide to the West (Cincinnati, 1848); J. M. Peck, Gazetteer of Illinois (Jacksonville, 1834; Philadelphia, 1837); Abiel Sherwood, Gazetteer of the State of Georgia (3d edition, Washington, 1837); T. Spofford, Gazetteer of the State of New York (New York, 1824); [H. S. Tanner, publisher], View of the Valley of the Mississippi (Philadelphia, 1834); [H. S. Tanner, publisher], Geographical, Historical, and Statistical View of the Central or Middle United States (Philadelphia, 1841); D. B. Warden, Statistical, Political, and Historical Account of the United States of North America (3 vols., Edinburgh, 1819.)
The life of this period is illustrated by the reports of travelers; but the reader must remember that the traveller carries his prejudices, is prone to find in striking exceptions the characteristics of a region, and is exposed to misinformation by the natives; many of these travelers are, nevertheless, keen observers, well worth attention, and, when checked by comparison with others, they are a useful source. A full list of the travels bearing on the West and South from 1819 to 1829 would take more space than can be allotted here. Bibliographies of travels in the United States may be found in Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America (1884-1889), VIII., 493; Channing and Hart, Guide to American History (1896), p. 24; W. B. Bryan, Bibliography of the District of Columbia (1900), Article "America" (Senate Document, 56 Cong., 1 Sess., No. 61); P. G. Thomson, Bibliography of Ohio (1880); R. G. Thwaites, On the Storied Ohio (1897), App.; H. T. Tuckerman, America and Her Commentators (1864); B.C. Steiner, Descriptions of Maryland (Johns Hopkins University Studies, XXII., No. 6.), 608-647. The most important collection of travels is R. G. Thwaites [editor], Early Western Travels (1748-1846), to be completed in thirty volumes and an analytical index. For an estimate of English travellers, see J. B. McMaster, United States, V., chap, xlviii. A list of travels in the period 1820-1860 will be found in Albert Bushnell Hart, Slavery and Abolition (American Nation, XVI.), chap. xxii.
For works on slavery, see Hart, Slavery and Abolition (American Nation, XVI.), chap. xxii. The general histories, such as W. H. Smith, Political History of Slavery (1903), and G. W. Williams, History of the Negro Race in America (2 vols., 1883), leave much to be desired. Among the most important references are the Reports of the American Colonization Society; J. H. T. McPherson, History of Liberia (Johns Hopkins University Studies, IX., No. 10.); John S. Bassett, Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina (ibid., XVI., No. 6); and Slavery in the State of North Carolina (ibid., XVII., Nos. 7, 8); H. S. Cooley, Study of Slavery in New Jersey (ibid., XIV., Nos. 9, 10); S. B. Weeks, Anti-Slavery Sentiment in the South (Southern History Association, Publications, II., No. 2); S. B. Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery (1896); William Birney, James G. Birney and His Times (1890); W. H. Collins, Domestic Slave-Trade (1904); W. E. B. Du Bois, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America (Harvard Historical Studies, I., 1896); Mary S. Locke, Anti-Slavery in America… 1619-1808 (Radcliffe College Monographs, No. 11, 1901); J. P. Dunn, Indiana, a Redemption from Slavery (1888); N. D. Harris, The History of Negro Servitude in Illinois (1904); E. B. Washburne, Sketch of Edward Coles, Second Governor of Illinois, and of the Slavery Struggle of 1823-4 (1882). The economic history of slavery can be written only after much monographic work; compare U. B. Phillips, "Economic Cost of Slave-Holding in the Cotton Belt," in Political Science Quarterly, XX., 267.
On the history of cotton, see M. B. Hammond, Cotton Industry, in American Economic Association, Publications, new series, No. 1 (1897); E. Von Halle, Baumwollproduktion (in Schmoller, Staats und Social-wissenschaftliche Forschungen, XV.); E. G. Donnell, History of Cotton (1872); J. L. Watkins, Production and Price of Cotton for One Hundred Years (U. S. Department of Agriculture, Division of Statistics, Miscellaneous Series, Bulletin, No. 9, 1895).
The best sketch of the Missouri Compromise is J. A. Woodburn, The Historical Significance of the Missouri Compromise (American Historical Association, Report, 1893, pp. 249-298). Source material is in the Annals of Congress; the works of King, Jefferson, Benton, and J. Q. Adams, above-mentioned; and also Congressional Globe, 30 Cong., 2 Sess., App.; William and Mary College Quarterly, X.
On the reaction towards state sovereignty, documentary material so well selected as to have the effect of a monograph is in H. V. Ames, State Documents on Federal Relations (1900-1905), Nos. 3-5. The works of John Taylor of Caroline are essential, especially Construction Construed (1820), Tyranny Unmasked (1822), and New Views of the Constitution of the United States (1823); Brutus [R. Turnbull], The Crisis; or, Essays on the Usurpations of the Federal Government (1827), is equally important. Defense of a Liberal Construction of the Powers of Congress as regards Internal Improvements, etc., with a Complete Refutation of the Ultra Doctrines Respecting Consolidation and State Sovereignty, Written by George M'Duffle, Esq., in the Year 1821 over the Signature "One of the People" (1831), is an important pamphlet to mark the extent of the changing views of southern leaders. Judge Spencer Roane's antagonism to Marshall's nationalizing decisions is brought out in his articles in Randolph-Macon College, John P. Branch Historical Papers, No. 2; see also Jefferson, Writings (Ford's edition), X.; Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, ad series, XIV., 327 (Marshall's strictures on Roane); and the case of Cohens vs. Virginia, in 6 Wheaton, 264. Calhoun's "Exposition of 1828" is in his Works, VI., 1-59. Governor Troup's defiance of the United States is best given in E. J. Harden, Life of George M. Troup (1859), containing many of his letters. T. Cooper, Consolidation, an Account of Parties (2d edition, 1830, and in Examiner, II., 86, 100), is a South Carolina view. The best monographs in this field are David F. Houston, A Critical Study of Nullification in South Carolina (Harvard Historical Studies, III., 1893), and U. B. Phillips, Georgia and State Rights (American Historical Association, Report, 1901, II.).
Commerce and Trade.-For this period, the best commercial authorities, aside from government documents, are Timothy Pitkin, A Statistical View of the Commerce of the United States of America (1835), and W. P. Sterns, Foreign Trade of the United States, 1820- 1840, in Journal of Political Economy, VIII., 34, 452. See also Hazard's United States Commercial and Statistical Register (6 vols., 1840-1842); Register of Pennsylvania (16 vols., 1828-1835); J. R. M'Culloch, A Dictionary, Practical, Theoretical, and Historical, of Commerce and Commercial Navigation (edited by Henry Vethake; 2 vols., 1852); John MacGregor, Commercial Statistics of America: a Digest of Her Productive Resources, Commercial Legislation, Customs, Tariffs, Shipping, Imports and Exports, Monies, Weights, and Measures (London, no date). On internal trade, see W. F. Switzler. Report on Internal Commerce of the United States, Treasury Department, Bureau of Statistics, submitted January 30, 1888, pt. ii., Document No. 1039b; Timothy Flint, History and Geography of the Mississippi Valley; and H. S. Tanner [publisher], View of the Valley of the Mississippi, both cited above.
Navigation and Shipping.—See the above and the following: W. H. Bates, American Navigation: the Political History of Its Rise and Ruin, and the Proper Means for Its Encouragement (1902); W. L. Marvin, The American Merchant Marine: Its History and Romance from 1620 to 1902 (1902); D. A. Wells, Our Merchant Marine: How It Rose, Increased, Became Great, Declined, and Decayed (1882). In these works there is a tendency to controversy.
Finance.—The best manual on the financial history of the period is Davis R. Dewey, Financial History of the United States (1903), clear and judicious, with full bibliography. The best accounts of banking are: R. C. H. Catterall, The Second Bank of the United States (University of Chicago, Decennial Publications, 2d series, II., 1903); W. G. Sumner, A History of Banking in the United States (in A History of Banking in All the Leading Nations, I.), 1896.
Manufactures.—On the development of manufactures, see C. D. Wright,
Industrial Evolution of the United States (1905); William Bagnall,
Textile Industries of the United States (1893); J. L. Bishop, A
History of American Manufactures from 1608 to 1860 (3d edition, 3
vols., 1868); S. N. D. North, A Century of Wool Manufacture
(Association of Wool Manufacturers, Bulletin, 1894); J. M. Swank,
History of the Manufacture of Iron (1884, revised 1892); Eleventh
Census of the United States, Report on Manufacturing Industries
(1890). American State Papers, Finance, IV.; Secretary of the
Treasury, Report, 1854-1855 (Executive Documents, 34 Cong., 1 Sess.,
No. 10). 86-92, valuable statistics.
The Tariff.—For the history of the tariff in the decade, the
following are useful: O. L. Elliott, The Tariff Controversy in the
United States, 1789-1833 (Leland Stanford, Jr., University,
Monographs, History and Economics, No. 1, 1892); Edward Stanwood,
American Tariff Controversies in the Nineteenth Century (2 vols.,
1903); F. W. Taussig, Tariff History of the United States (1888);
American State Papers, Finance, III.-V., memorials up to 1828;
Edward Young, Special Report on the Customs-Tariff of the United
States (1872); Committee on Finance, U. S. Senate, The Existing
Tariff on Imports into the United States, etc., and the Free List,
together with Comparative Tables of Present and Past Tariffs, and
Other Statistics Relating Thereto (Senate Reports, 48 Cong., 1
Sess., No. 12).cited as Tariff Compilation of 1884.
Labor.—The labor movement in the period is as yet insufficiently studied; but see John B. McMaster, History of the People of the United States, V.; and R. T. Ely, The Labor Movement in America (1886; 3d edition, 1890); G. E. McNeill, The Labor Movement, the Problem of To-Day (1887); John B. McMaster, Acquisition of the Rights of Man in America, above mentioned; C. D. Wright, The Industrial Evolution of the United States (1895).
Land.—On the land question, the American State Papers, Public
Lands, are the main reliance. See also Thomas Donaldson, The Public
Domain: Its History, with Statistics (Washington, 1884; also in
House Miscellaneous Documents, 47 Cong., 2 Sess., XIX., 1882-1883);
Emerick, The Credit System and the Public Domain (Vanderbilt
Southern History Society, Publications, No. 3, 1899). The actual
operation of the land system may be studied in the emigrant guides
and works of travelers previously cited.
General Views.—Upon the internal improvements of the United States note the following: [G. Armroyd], Connected View of the Whole Internal Navigation of the United States (Philadelphia, 1826; 2d edition, 1830); G. T. Poussin, Travaux d'ameliorations interieurs des Etats-Unis de 1824 a 1831 (Paris, 1836); S. A. Mitchell, Compendium of the Internal Improvements of the United States (Philadelphia, 1835); Michel Chevalier, Society, Manners, and Politics in the United States (Boston, 1839); D. Hewett, The American Traveller; or, National Directory Containing an Account of all the Great Post-Roads and Most Important Cross-Roads in the United States (Washington, 1825). The best estimate of the significance of internal improvements in this period is G. S. Callender, "Early Transportation and Banking Enterprises of the States in Relation to the Growth of Corporations," in Quarterly Journal of Economics, XVII., 3-54. A useful history of federal internal improvement legislation is H. G. Wheeler, History of Congress (1848), II., 109-513. J. L. Ringwalt, Development of Transportation Systems in the United States (1888), a summary but valuable account; H. V. Poor, Sketch of the Rise and Progress of Internal Improvements, in his Manual of the Railroads of the United States for 1881.
Official Publications.—Especially significant are: Niles' Register, XXXVI., 168, a statement of the amount of money expended in each state and territory upon works of internal improvement to October 1, 1828; J. C. Calhoun's report on carrying out the general survey act of 1824, in his Works, V., 137-147; the historical survey of the canals of the United States, Census of the United States, 1880, IV. In the American State Papers, Post-Office, 120, is the Report of the Postmaster-General, January, 1825, giving post routes, frequency of mails, and cost of transportation. See, for statistical data on internal improvements, River and Harbor Legislation from 1790 to 1887 (Senate Miscellaneous Documents, 49 Cong., 2 Sess., No. 91); and Secretary of the Interior, Statement Showing Land Grants Made by Congress to Aid in the Construction of Railroads, Wagon Roads, Canals, and Internal Improvements,. . . from Records of the General Land Office (1888).
Constitutional Aspects.—For this side of the question, see Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States (2 vols., 5th edition, 1891); James Monroe. View of the Conduct of the Executive in Foreign Affairs of United States, in his Writings, VI., 216-284, and in J. D. Richardson, Messages and Public Papers of the Presidents, II., 144-183 (1899); E. C. Nelson, "Presidential Influence on the Policy of Internal Improvements," in Iowa Journal of History and Politics, IV., 3-69.
Special Monographs.—Among the more useful are R. Mills, Treatise on Inland Navigation (1820); G. W. Ward, The Early Development of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Project (Johns Hopkins University Studies, XVII., 431, 1899); C. C. Weaver, History of Internal Improvements in North Carolina Previous to 1860 (ibid., XXI., 1903); E. J. Benton, The Wabash Trade Route, in the Development of the Old Northwest (ibid., XXI., 1903); J. S. Young, Political and Constitutional Study of the Cumberland Road (University of Chicago Press, 1904), is badly arranged, but useful; T. B. Searight, Old Pike (Uniontown, Pa., 1894), entertaining; T. K. Worthington, Historical Sketch of Finances of Pennsylvania, in American Economic Association, Publications, II., 126, gives a good sketch of the internal improvements of that state; C. McCarthy, Antimasonic Party, in American Historical Association, Report, 1902, chaps, viii.-x., shows the political influence of canal schemes in Pennsylvania. For Ohio internal improvements, see C. N. Morris, Internal Improvements in Ohio, in American Historical Association, Papers, III., 107 (1889); G. W. Dial, in Ohio Archeological and Historical Society, Publications, XIII., 479; C. P. McClelland and C. C. Huntington, History of the Ohio Canals; A. B. Hulbert, Historic Highways of America (16 vols., 1902-1905), including IX., Waterways of Westward Expansion; X., The Ohio River and Its Tributaries; XI., The Cumberland Road; XII., Pioneer Roads and Experiences of Travellers; XIII., XIV., Great American Canals [Chesapeake and Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Erie], useful, but not well digested.
The best sources for the Erie Canal are Laws of the State of New York, in Relation to the Erie and Champlain Canals, together with the Annual Reports of the Canal Commissioners (Albany, 1825), and the succeeding Reports of the Canal Commissioners; View of the Grand Canal (pamphlet, Albany, 1825); and the biographies of Clinton by Hosack and Renwick above mentioned.
On foreign relations, especially the Monroe Doctrine, see C. Seignobos, Political History of Europe since 1814 (1899), 762, for bibliography of the Holy Alliance. The following serve to elucidate British policy: H. W. V. Temperley, Life of Canning (1905); A. G. Stapleton, Political Life of the Right-Honourable George Canning (3 vols., 1831); E. J. Stapleton, Some Official Correspondence of George Canning (3 vols., 1887); Festing, J. H. Frere and His Friends; Memoirs and Correspondence of Viscount Castkreagh (8 vols., 1848-1851), VII.; and Richard Rush, Memoranda of a Residence at the Court of London [1817-1819], (2d edition, 1833), and Memoranda of a Residence at the Court of London. . . from 1819 to 1825 (1845). For Spanish America, see F. L. Paxson, Independence of the South American Republics (1903), an excellent sketch, with bibliography; J. H. Latane, Diplomatic Relations of the United States and Spanish America (1900); J. M. Callahan, Cuba and International Relations (1899). On the genesis of Monroe's message announcing the Doctrine, the best survey is in the two articles by Worthington C. Ford, John Quincy Adams: His Connection with the Monroe Doctrine, in Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 2d series, XV. (1902), 373-436, and in American Historical Review, VII., 676-696, and VIII., 28-52. W. F. Reddaway, The Monroe Doctrine (1898; 2d edition, 1906), is a particularly lucid and valuable study. Albert Bushnell Hart, Foundations of American Foreign Policy (1901), chap. vii.; John B. Moore, in Harper's Magazine, CIX., 857; G. Tucker, Monroe Doctrine (Boston, 1885); and D. C. Gilman, James Monroe (Boston, 1883), are other useful brief accounts. See also Frances Wharton [editor], Digest of the International Law of the United States (3 vols., 1887), I., superseded by John B. Moore, Digest (5 vols., 1906).
On the Panama Congress, considerable material is collected in The
Congress of 1826 at Panama (International American Conference, IV.,
Historical Appendix, 1890).