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Formation of the Union by Albert Bushnell Hart

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would begin the construction of a canal from Albany to the Lakes; it had
also large support in the South, especially in South Carolina. In the last
hours of his administration Madison vetoed it. His message shows that he
had selected this occasion to leave to the people a political testament;
he was at last alarmed by the progress of his own party, and, like
Jefferson, he insisted that internal improvements were desirable, but
needed a constitutional amendment. The immediate effect of the veto was
that New York, seeing no prospect of federal aid, at once herself began
the construction of the Erie Canal, which was opened eight years later.
[Sidenote: State improvements.] Other States attempted like enterprises;
but the passes behind the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers were too high,
and no permanent water way was ever finished over them.


[Sidenote: Increase of duties.]
[Sidenote: Jefferson's attitude.]

The protection controversy had hardly appeared in Congress since the
memorable debate of 1789 (Section 76). From time to time the duties had
been slightly increased, and in 1799 a general administrative tariff act
had been passed. The wars with the Barbary powers had necessitated a
slight increase of the duties, known as the Mediterranean Fund, and this
had been allowed to stand. Up to the doubling of the duties in 1812 the
average rate on staple imports was only from ten to fifteen per cent, and
the maximum was about thirty per cent. The whole theory of the Republican
administration had been that finance consisted in deciding upon the
necessary expenses of government, and then in providing the taxes
necessary to meet them. This theory had been disturbed by the existence of
a debt which Jefferson was eager to extinguish; and he therefore permitted
the duties to remain at a point where they produced much more than the
ordinary expenditure of the government.

[Sidenote: The manufacturers.]
[Sidenote: The West.]

A change had now come over the country. The incidental protection afforded
by the increase of duties, and then by the war, had built up manufactures,
not only in New England, but in New York and Pennsylvania. In these
strongholds of capital and trade there was a cry for higher duties, and it
was much enforced by the attitude of the Western members. There were a few
staple crops, particularly hemp and flax, which could not be produced in
the face of foreign competition, and for which Western States were
supposed to be adapted. Hence a double influence was at work in behalf of
a protective tariff: the established industries pleaded for a continuance
of the high duties which had given them an opportunity to rise; and the
friends of young industries asked for new duties, in order that their
enterprises might be established.

[Sidenote: Dallas's tariff bill.]
[Sidenote: Opponents.]
[Sidenote: Advocates.]

Accordingly, in February, 1816, Secretary Dallas made an elaborate report
in favor of protective duties. John Randolph, who still posed as the
defender of the original Republican doctrine, protested. "The
agriculturist," said he, "has his property, his lands, his all, his
household gods to defend;" and he pointed out what was afterward to become
the most effective argument against the tariff: "Upon whom bears the duty
on coarse woollens and linens and blankets, upon salt and all the
necessaries of life? Upon poor men and upon slaveholders." Webster,
representing the commercial interest of New England, decidedly opposed the
tariff, especially the minimum principle, and succeeded in obtaining a
slight reduction. One of the strongest defenders of the tariff was
Calhoun. Manufactures, he declared, produced an interest strictly
American, and calculated to bind the widespread republic more closely
together. The chief supporter of the system was Henry Clay of Kentucky,
the Speaker of the House. His argument was that the country ought to be
able to defend itself in time of war, It was not expected at this time
that a protective tariff would become permanent. In a few years, said a
committee of the House, the country would be in a condition to bid
defiance to foreign competition.

[Sidenote: Protective policy.]
[Sidenote: The minimum.]

The act as passed April 27, 1816, had favorable votes in every State in
the Union except Delaware and North Carolina. The opposition was strong in
the South and in New England. Madison signed the bill and accepted the
policy, and even Jefferson declared that "We must now place the
manufacturer by the side of the agriculturist." The act imposed duties of
twenty-five per cent upon cotton and woollen goods, and the highest ad
valorem duty was about thirty per cent. In addition, no duty was to be
less than six and a quarter cents a yard on cottons and woollens: hence as
improvements in machinery caused a rapid lowering of the cost of
production abroad, the duty grew heavier on coarse goods, in proportion to
their value, till it was almost prohibitory. The act was accepted without
any popular demonstrations against it, and remained in force, with some
unimportant modifications, until 1824. One purpose undoubtedly was to show
to foreign governments that the United States could discriminate against
their trade if they discriminated against ours.


[Sidenote: Monroe's election.]
[Sidenote: The cabinet.]

The election of 1816 proved that the Federalists could no longer keep up a
national organization. They were successful only in Massachusetts,
Connecticut, and Delaware. On March 4, 1817, therefore, James Monroe took
his seat as the President of a well-united people. Although he had been
the friend and candidate of Randolph, he represented substantially the
same principles as Jefferson and Madison. His cabinet was the ablest since
Washington's; he gathered about him four of the most distinguished public
men in the country. His Secretary of State was John Quincy Adams, one of
the negotiators of the treaty of Ghent. His Secretary of the Treasury was
William H. Crawford of Georgia, who had shown financial ability in
Congress and in Madison's cabinet. For Secretary of War he chose John C.
Calhoun, who had in the six years of his national public service become
renowned as an active and almost a passionate advocate of the use of large
national powers. His Attorney-General was William Wirt of Virginia.

[Sidenote: Party strength.]

These young men represented an eager policy, and in their national
principles had advanced far beyond the old Federalists; but the people had
been somewhat startled by the boldness of the preceding Congress, and many
of the members who would have agreed with the President had lost their
seats. Throughout the whole administration Jefferson at Monticello, and
Madison at Montpelier, remained in dignified retirement; from time to time
Monroe asked their advice on great public questions.

[Sidenote: Commercial treaties.]

One of the first tasks of the administration was to restore the commercial
relations which had been so disturbed by the Napoleonic wars. Algiers had
taken advantage of the War of 1812 to capture American vessels. In 1815
the Dey was compelled on the quarter-deck of Decatur's ship to sign a
treaty of peace and amity. All our commercial treaties had disappeared in
the war, and had to be painfully renewed. In 1815 a commercial convention
was made with Great Britain, and in 1818 the fishery privileges of the
United States were reaffirmed. The West India trade was still denied, but
a retaliatory act brought Great Britain to terms, and it was opened in


[Sidenote: Northern boundary.]
[Sidenote: Oregon.]
[Sidenote: Boundary treaty.]

The administration inherited two serious boundary controversies, one with
England, and another with Spain. Some progress had been made toward
running the northeast boundary, till in 1818 the commissioners disagreed.
The northwest boundary had now come to be more important. A few months
before the annexation of Louisiana, Jefferson had sent an expedition to
explore the country drained by the Columbia River, which had been
discovered by a Boston ship in 1791. This expedition, under Lewis and
Clark, in 1805 reached tributaries of the Columbia and descended it to its
mouth, anticipating a similar English expedition. Nevertheless, the
Hudson's Bay Company established trading-posts in the region. Monroe
settled the difficulty for the time being by a treaty with Great Britain
in 1818, providing that the disputed region lying between the Rocky
Mountains and the Pacific Ocean and extending indefinitely northward
should be jointly occupied by both countries. At the same time the
northern boundary was defined from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky

[Sidenote: West Florida.]
[Sidenote: Spanish treaty.]

A year later another treaty with Spain gave to the United States a region
which Jefferson had longed for in vain. Ever since 1803 the United States
had asserted that West Florida had come to it as a part of Louisiana (
99). Spain steadfastly refused to admit this construction or to sell the
province. In 1810 Madison by proclamation took possession of the disputed
region, and a part of it was soon after added to Louisiana. East Florida
could not possibly be included within Louisiana, but as a detached
peninsula it was of little value to Spain. John Quincy Adams now undertook
a negotiation for the settlement of all outstanding difficulties with
Spain, and on Feb. 22, 1819, a treaty was signed: East Florida was ceded
for a payment of about $6,500,000, and at the same time the western
boundary of Louisiana was settled. An irregular line was described from
the Gulf to the forty-second parallel; it was not far distant from the
watershed south and west of the tributaries of the Mississippi. Then came
the triumph of the whole negotiation: Adams obtained from Spain a
renunciation of all claims north of the forty-second parallel, as far west
as the Pacific. Our hold upon Oregon was thus much strengthened.

125. JUDICIAL DECISIONS (1812-1824).

[Sidenote: New judges.]
[Sidenote: Authority asserted.]

Two departments of the federal government had now shown their belief that
the United States was a nation which ought to exercise national powers How
did it stand with the judiciary department? Of the judges of the Supreme
Court appointed by Washington and Adams but two remained in office in
1817; but the new justices, as they were appointed, quietly accepted the
constitutional principles laid down by Marshall, their Chief Justice and
leader. Among them was Joseph Story of Massachusetts, whose mastery of
legal reasoning and power of statement gave him unusual influence. After
the Marbury case in 1803 ( 96) the Court refrained for some years from
delivering decisions which involved important political questions. In
1809, however, it sustained Judge Peters of the Pennsylvania District
Court in a struggle for authority against the governor and legislature of
that State ( 110). The courts were victorious, and the commander of the
militia, who had opposed them with armed force, was punished.

[Sidenote: Appeals taken.]
[Implied powers affirmed.]

The legislation of 1815 and 1816 showed to the Court that its view of the
Constitution was accepted by the people; and it now began a series of
great constitutional decisions, which put on record as legal precedents
the doctrines of implied powers and of national sovereignty. In the great
cases of Martin _vs._ Hunter's Lessee, and Cohens _vs._ Virginia, in 1816
and 1821, it asserted the right of the Supreme Court to take cases on
appeal from the State courts, and thus to make itself the final tribunal
in constitutional questions. At about the same time, in two famous cases,
McCullough _vs._ Maryland in 1819, and Osborn et al. _vs._ Bank of the
United States in 1824, the doctrine of implied powers was stated in the
most definite manner. Both cases arose out of the attempt of States to tax
the United States Bank, and the final issue was the power of Congress to
charter such a bank. The doctrine laid down by Hamilton in 1791 ( 78) was
reaffirmed in most positive terms. "A national bank," said Marshall, "is
an appropriate means to carry out some of the implied powers, a usual and
convenient agent.... Let the end be within the scope of the Constitution,
and all means which are ... plainly adapted to that end, which are not
prohibited,... but consistent with the letter and spirit of the
Constitution, are constitutional." Although the tariff act was not tested
by a specific case, the spirit of the decision reached it also.

[Sidenote: State powers limited.]
[Sidenote: Impairment of contracts.]

Having thus asserted the authority of the nation on one side, the Court
proceeded to draw the boundary of the powers of the States on the other
side. In a question arising out of grants of land by the Georgia
legislature in the Yazoo district, it had been claimed that any such grant
could be withdrawn by a subsequent legislature. The Court held in Fletcher
_vs._ Peck, in 1810, that such a withdrawal was in contravention of
the constitutional clause which forbade the States to impair the
obligation of contracts. In 1819, in the celebrated case of Dartmouth
College _vs._ Woodward, this principle was pushed to an unexpected
conclusion. The legislature of New Hampshire had passed an act modifying a
charter granted in colonial times to Dartmouth College. Webster, as
counsel for the Board of Trustees which had thus been dispossessed,
pleaded that a charter granted to a corporation was a contract which could
not be altered without its consent. Much indirect argument was brought to
bear upon Marshall, and eventually the Court held that private charters
were contracts. The effect of this decision was to diminish the power and
prestige of the State governments; but the general sentiment of the
country sustained it. So united did all factions now seem in one theory of
national existence that in the election of 1820 Monroe received every vote
but one.


[Sidenote: Silent growth of slavery.]

Out of this peace and concord suddenly sprang up, as Jefferson said, "like
a fire-bell in the night," a question which had silently divided the Union,
and threatened to dissolve it. It was the question of slavery. During the
whole course of the Napoleonic wars the country had been occupied in the
defence of its neutral trade; since 1815 it had been busy in reorganizing
its commercial and political system. During this time, however, four new
States had been admitted into the Union: of these, two--Ohio and Indiana--
came in with constitutions prohibiting slavery; two--Louisiana and
Mississippi--had slaves. This balance was not accidental; it was arranged
so as to preserve a like balance in the Senate.

[Sidenote: Slavery profitable.]
[Sidenote: Slave-trade forbidden.]

The movement against slavery had by no means spent itself: there were
still emancipation societies both North and South. In 1794 Jay appeared to
suppose that cotton was not an American export ( 85); but since the
invention of the cotton-gin in 1793 the cultivation of cotton by slave
labor had grown more and more profitable, and in 1820 that export was
valued at nearly twenty millions. The planters of the northern belt of
slaveholding States did not share in this culture, but they found an
increasing sale for their surplus blacks to their Southern neighbors; they
had, therefore, joined with members from the Northern States in the act of
March 2, 1807, to prohibit the importation of slaves. The act was
insufficient, inasmuch as the punishment provided was slight, and slaves
captured while in course of illegal importation were sold for the benefit
of the States into which they were brought, In 1820 the slave-trade was
made piracy, so that the nominal penalty was death.

[Sidenote: Schemes of colonization.]

One evidence of the uneasiness of the country on the slavery question was
the formation of the American Colonization Society in 1816. Its purpose
was to encourage emancipation, and thus to reduce the evils of slavery, by
drawing off the free blacks and colonizing them in Africa. It had a large
membership throughout the country; James Madison and Henry Clay were among
its presidents. Some States made grants of money in its aid, and after
1819 the United States assisted it by sending to the African colony slaves
captured while in course of illegal importation. The whole scheme was but
a palliative, and in fact rather tended to strengthen slavery, by taking
away the disquieting presence of free blacks among the slaves. The
Society, however, never had the means to draw away enough negroes sensibly
to affect the problem; the number which they exported was replaced many
times over by illegal importations from Africa.

[Sidenote: Fugitive slaves.]
[Sidenote: District of Columbia.]

In two other directions the nation had power over slavery, but declined to
exercise it The Fugitive Slave Act (Section 79) was found to be
ineffective. From 1818 to 1822 three bills to strengthen it were
introduced and strongly pressed, but nothing could be accomplished. In the
District of Columbia, where the United States had complete legislative
power, slavery existed under a very harsh code. Washington was a centre
for the interstate slave-trade, and John Randolph, himself a slaveholder,
could not restrain his indignation that "we should have here in the very
streets of our metropolis a depot for this nefarious traffic;" but
Congress took no action.

[Sidenote: Status of Louisiana.]

A question had now arisen which must be decided. The whole of the
Louisiana cession was slaveholding territory, and settlers had gone up the
Mississippi River and its western tributaries with their slaves. In 1819
it was found necessary to provide a territorial government for Arkansas;
and the people living about the Missouri River applied to be admitted as a
State with a slaveholding constitution.


[Sidenote: Arkansas debate.]

The first step in the great slavery contest was a bill introduced into the
House in December, 1818, providing a territorial government for Arkansas.
Taylor of New York proposed that slavery be prohibited in the Territory;
McLane of Delaware suggested the "fixing of a line on the west of the
Mississippi, north of which slavery should not be tolerated." The test
vote on the exclusion of slavery was a tie, and Clay, as Speaker, cast his
vote against it. The new Territory lay west of the Mississippi, and
adjacent to Louisiana. The Northern members were, therefore, not disposed
to make the issue at that point, and on March 2, 1819, an Act was passed
organizing Arkansas, with no mention of slavery. Meanwhile, Illinois had
been admitted, making eleven free States.

[Sidenote: Proposed restriction on Missouri.]

Side by side with this debate had proceeded a discussion on the admission
of Missouri as a State. On Feb. 13, 1819, Talmadge of New York proposed as
an amendment "that the further introduction of slavery or involuntary
servitude be prohibited, ... and that all children of slaves born within
the said State after the admission thereof into the Union shall be free."
Missouri lay west of Illinois, which had just been admitted into the Union
as a Free State; the Northern members, therefore, rallied, and passed the
Talmadge amendment by a vote of eighty-seven to seventy-six. The Senate,
by a vote of twenty-two to sixteen, refused to accept the amendment; there
was no time for an adjustment, and Congress adjourned without action.

[Sidenote: Missouri bill.]
[Sidenote: Maine bill.]
[Sidenote: Compromise line.]

During 1819 the question was discussed throughout the Union. Several
legislatures, by unanimous votes, protested against admitting a new Slave
State, and when the new Congress assembled in 1819 it became the principal
issue of the session. Alabama was at once admitted, restoring the balance
of Slave and Free States. The people of Maine were now about to separate
from Massachusetts, and also petitioned for entrance into the Union. A
bill for this purpose passed the House on December 30, and a month later a
bill for the admission of Missouri, with the Talmadge amendment, was also
introduced into the House. The Senate, on Feb. 16, 1820, voted to admit
Maine, provided Missouri was at the same time admitted as a Slave State.
The House still refused to comply. Thomas of Illinois now proposed as a
compromise the principle suggested by McLane a year earlier,--that an east
and west line be drawn across the Louisiana cession, north of which
slavery should be prohibited. Fourteen Northern members united with the
seventy-six Southern members to form a bare majority against prohibiting
slavery in Missouri; the principle was thus abandoned, and the only
question was where the line should be drawn: the parallel of 36 30' was
selected, but it was expressly provided that Missouri should be
slaveholding. On March 3 the compromise became a law.

[Sidenote: Missouri constitution.]

A year later a third difficulty arose. The people of Missouri had formed a
constitution which provided that free colored men should not be allowed to
enter the State under any pretext. Nearly the whole Northern vote in the
House was cast against admitting the State with this provision. Clay
brought about a compromise by which the Missourians were to agree not to
deprive of his rights any citizen of another State. Upon this
understanding Missouri was finally admitted.

[Sidenote: Friends of disunion.]
[Sidenote: Advantage to the South.]
[Sidenote: Advantage to the North.]

In form the compromises were a settlement of difficulties between the two
Houses; in fact they were an agreement between the two sections, by which
the future of slavery in every part of the Louisiana purchase was to be
settled once for all. Threats were freely made that if slavery were
prohibited in Missouri, the South would withdraw. Calhoun told Adams that
if the trouble produced a dissolution of the Union, "the South would be
from necessity compelled to form an alliance, offensive and defensive,
with Great Britain." Adams retorted by asking whether, in such a case, if
"the population of the North should be cut off from its natural outlet
upon the ocean, it 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?" The compromise was, as Benton says, "conceived and
passed as a Southern measure," although Randolph called it a "dirty
bargain;" nevertheless, on the final test vote thirty-five Southern
members refused to admit the principle that Congress could prohibit
slavery in the Territories. The South gained Missouri, and a few years
later Arkansas came in as a slave State; but in the long run the advantage
was to the North. The South got the small end of the triangle; the North
the whole region now occupied by the States of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, the
Dakotas, and Montana, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and Minnesota; and
the final struggle over slavery was postponed for thirty years.


[Sidenote: The Spanish colonies.]
[Sidenote: Revolutions.]

While the attention of the country was absorbed by the Missouri struggle,
a new question of diplomacy had arisen. In 1789 almost every part of the
two American continents south of the United States, except Brazil, was
subject to Spain. The American Revolution had given a shock to the
principle of colonial government by European powers; the Spanish colonies
refused to acknowledge the authority of the French usurpers in Spain, and
in 1808 a series of revolts occurred. At the restoration of the Spanish
Bourbons in 1814, the colonies returned to nominal allegiance. The new
king attempted to introduce the old regime: the colonies had too long
enjoyed the sweets of direct trade with other countries, and they resented
the ungentle attempts to restore them to complete dependence; between 1816
and 1820 the provinces on the Rio de la Plata, Chile, and Venezuela again
revolted; and by 1822 there was a revolutionary government in every
continental Spanish province, including Mexico.

[Sidenote: The Holy Alliance.]
[Sidenote: Intervention proposed.]

When Europe was reorganized, after the fall of Napoleon, almost all the
powers entered into a kind of a treaty, known as the Holy Alliance, framed
Sept. 26, 1815. They announced the future principle of international
relations to be that of "doing each other reciprocal service, and of
testifying by unalterable good will the mutual affection with which they
ought to be animated," and that they considered themselves "all as members
of one and the same Christian nation." Within this pious verbiage was
concealed a plan of mutual assistance in case of the outbreak of
revolutions. When Spain revolted against her sovereign in 1820, a European
Congress was held, and by its direction the French in 1823 a second time
restored the Spanish Bourbons. The grateful king insisted that the
revolution of the Spanish colonies ought to be put down by a common effort
of the European powers, as a danger to the principle of hereditary

[Sidenote: American interests.]
[Sidenote: Russian colonization.]
[Sidenote: English proposals.]

Here the interests of the United States became involved: they were trading
freely with the Spanish Americans; they sympathized with the new
governments, which were nominally founded on the model of the North
American republic; they felt what now seems an unreasonable fear that
European powers would invade the United States. At the same time the
Russians, who had obtained a foothold on the northwest coast fifty years
earlier, were attempting to establish a permanent colony, and on Sept. 24,
1821, issued a ukase forbidding all foreigners to trade on the Pacific
coast north of the fifty-first parallel, or to approach within one hundred
Italian miles of the shore. John Quincy Adams, who had a quick eye for
national rights, protested vigorously. Now came most gratifying evidence
that the United States was the leading power in America: in September,
1823, the British government proposed to our minister in England that the
two countries should unite in a declaration against European intervention
in the colonies. The invitation was declined, but the good will of Great
Britain was assured.


[Sidenote: Monroe's message.]
[Sidenote: Colonization clause.]
[Sidenote: Intervention Clause.]

John Quincy Adams had succeeded in bringing the President to the point
where he was willing, in behalf of the nation, to make a protest against
both these forms of interference in American affairs. When Congress met,
in December, 1823, Monroe sent in a message embodying what is popularly
called the Monroe Doctrine. He had taken the advice of Jefferson, who
declared that one of the maxims of American policy was "never to suffer
Europe to meddle with cis-Atlantic affairs." Madison, with characteristic
caution, suggested an agreement with Great Britain to unite in "armed
disapprobation." In the cabinet meeting, Adams pointed out that
intervention would result, not in restoring the colonies to Spain, but in
dividing them among European nations, in which case Russia might take
California. His views prevailed, and the message contained, in the first
place, a clause directed against Russia: "The American continents, by the
free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintained, are
henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any
European powers." Against intervention there was even a stronger protest:
"With the governments who have declared their independence and maintained
it,... 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 a manifestation of an unfriendly
disposition toward the United States."

[Sidenote: Effect.]

In every way this dignified protest was effectual: the news caused an
immediate rise in the funds of the revolted States in European markets;
projects of European intervention were at once abandoned; and Great
Britain followed the United States in recognizing the independence of the
new countries. In 1824 Russia made a treaty agreeing to claim no territory
south of 54 40', and not to disturb or restrain citizens of the United
States in any part of the Pacific Ocean.

When Monroe retired from the Presidency on March 4, 1825, the internal
authority of the national government had for ten years steadily increased,
and the dignity and influence of the nation abroad showed that it had
become one of the world's great powers.




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 20-22; Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_,
VII. 346-348; Channing and Hart, _Guide_, 179-180.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--No. 5, this volume (_Epoch Maps_, No 10); _Scribner's
Statistical Atlas_, Plates 14, 15; school histories of Channing and

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--H. Von Hoist, _Constitutional History_, I. 409-458;
James Schouler, _United States_, III. 336-450; Geo. Tucker, _United
States_, III. 409-515.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Josiah Quincy, _Life of John Quincy Adams_, chap.
vii.; J. T. Morse, _John Quincy Adams_, 164-225; W. H. Seward, _Life of
John Quincy Adams_, 137-201; C. Schurz, _Henry Clay_, I. 203-310; W. G.
Sumner, _Andrew Jackson_, 73-135; E. M. Shepard, _Martin Van Buren_, 84-
150; H. C. Lodge, _Daniel Webster_, 129-171; J. L. Bishop, _History of
American Manufactures_, II. 298-332.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--J. Q. Adams, _Memoirs_, VII., VIII. (chapter
xiv.); H. Niles, _Weekly Register_; T. H. Benton, _Thirty Years's
View_, I. 44-118; Josiah Quincy, _Figures of the Past_; N. Sargent,
_Public Men and Events_, I. 56-160; Ben Perley Poore, _Perley's
Reminiscences_, 1-87; John Trumbull, _Autobiography_; J. French,
_Travels_, Mrs. Trollope, _Domestic Manners of the Americans_.--Reprints
in _American History told by Contemporaries_, III.


[Sidenote: Old statesmen gone.]

The United States was in 1825 half a century old, and the primitive
political methods of the early republic were disappearing. Most of the
group of Revolutionary statesmen were dead; Jefferson and John Adams still
survived, and honored each other by renewing their ancient friendship; on
July 4, 1826, they too passed away. The stately traditions of the colonial
period were gone: since the accession of Jefferson, the Presidents no
longer rode in pomp to address Congress at the beginning of each session;
and inferior and little-known men crept into Congress.

[Sidenote: New constitutions.]

The constitutions framed during or immediately after the Revolution had
been found too narrow, and one after another, most of the States in the
Union had adopted a second, or even a third. Each change was marked by a
popularization of the government, especially with regard to the suffrage.
Immigrants had begun to have a sensible effect upon the community. In 1825
there were ten thousand, and the number more than doubled in five years.
These changes were reflected in the management of State politics; the
greater the number of voters, the greater the power of organization. Hence
there had sprung up in the States a system of political chiefs, of whom
Aaron Burr is a type.

[Sidenote: Political proscription.]
[Sidenote: Four Years' Tenure Act.]

Three new political devices had now become general among the States. The
first was the removal of administrative officers because they did not
agree in politics with the party which had elected a governor. This system
was in use in Pennsylvania as early as 1790; it was introduced into New
York by 1800, and gradually spread into other States. At first it was
rather a factional weapon: when the adherents of the Livingstons got into
power, they removed the friends of the Clintons; when the Clintonians came
in, they turned out the Livingstons. Later, it was a recognized party
system. In 1820 Secretary Crawford secured the passage by Congress of an
apparently innocent act, by which most of the officers of the national
government who collected and disbursed public money were to have terms of
four years. The ostensible object was to secure more regular statements of
accounts; it was intended and used to drop from the public service
subordinates of the Treasury department who were not favorable to
Crawford's Presidential aspirations.

[Sidenote: The Gerrymander.]

The second device appears to have been the invention of Elbridge Gerry,
when governor of Massachusetts in 1812, and from him it takes the name of
Germander, The Federalists were gaining in the State; the Republican
legislature, before it went out, therefore redistricted the State in such
fashion that the Republicans with a minority of votes were able to choose
twenty-nine senators, against eleven Federalists. No wonder that the "New
England Palladium" declared this to be "contrary to republicanism and to

[Sidenote: Political organization.]

A third and very effective political device was the caucus. The term was
applied particularly to a conference of the members of each party in
Congress, which had taken upon itself the nomination of the Presidents.
The influence of the extending suffrage, and of political tricks and
devices, had as yet little effect in national politics. It was evident,
however, that the principles of political manipulation could be applied in
national elections. The Republican party of New York was in 1825 managed
by a knot of politicians called the Albany Regency. Of these, the ablest
was Martin Van Buren, and four years later he succeeded in building up a
national political machine.

132. THE TARIFF OF 1824 (1816-1824).

[Sidenote: Effect of the tariff.]

An evidence of political uneasiness was the Tariff Act of May 22, 1824.
The tariff of 1816 had not brought about the good that was expected of it:
importations of foreign goods were indeed cut down from $129,000,000 in
1816 to $50,000,000 in 1823; but the balance of trade was still rather
against the United States, and in 1819 there was a financial crisis. In
1820 an act to raise the duties passed the House, but was lost in the
Senate by a single vote. Manufactures had been growing, although profits
were not large, and public sentiment was beginning to change in New
England. The Western vote was now larger than eight years earlier, and was
in favor of protection. Exports of agricultural products had fallen off,
and the agricultural States hoped to find a better market among the

[Sidenote: Act of 1824.]

It was a favorable time for a tariff act, inasmuch as the friends of none
of the Presidential candidates were willing to commit themselves against
it. Clay came forward as the champion of the protective system: "The
object of this bill," said he, "is to create thus a home market, and to
lay the foundation of a genuine American policy." The South now strongly
and almost unanimously opposed the tariff; even Webster spoke against it,
declaring "freedom of trade to be the general principle, and restriction
the exception." A combination of the Middle and Western States with a part
of New England furnished the necessary majority. The tariff increased the
duties on metals like iron and lead, and on agricultural products like
wool and hemp, but gave little additional protection to woollen and cotton
goods. As the bill approached its passage, John Randolph violently
protested: "There never was a constitution under the sun in which by an
unwise exercise of the powers of the government the people may not be
driven to the extremity of resistance by force."

133. THE ELECTION OF 1824.

[Sidenote: Era of good feeling.]
[Sidenote: Presidential candidates.]

The ground was now cleared for the choice of a successor to Monroe. The
Federalist organization had entirely disappeared, even in the New England
States; all the candidates called themselves Republicans or Democrats,--
the terms were considered synonymous,--and there was little difference in
their political principles. The second administration of Monroe has been
called the "Era of Good Feeling," because there was but one party; in fact
it was an era of ill feeling, because that party was broken up into
personal factions. Three of the cabinet ministers and the Speaker of the
House of Representatives were candidates for the succession to Monroe.
Calhoun, Secretary of War, who still believed that it was to the interest
of the nation and of the South to have a strong national government, came
forward early, but quietly accepted an undisputed nomination for the Vice-
Presidency. John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State, was nominated by New
England legislatures early in the year 1824. William H. Crawford of
Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury, succeeded in obtaining the formal
nomination of the party caucus on Feb. 14, 1824; less than a third of the
Republican members were present, and the character of the nomination
rather injured than aided Crawford. Henry Clay was nominated by the
legislatures of Kentucky and four other States; he was very popular in
Congress and throughout the West. All three of the candidates just
mentioned were in ability and experience well qualified to be President.

[Sidenote: Andrew Jackson.]

A fourth candidate, at that time a Senator from Tennessee, was Gen. Andrew
Jackson. He was a rough frontiersman, skilled in Indian wars, but so
insubordinate in temper that in 1818 he had invaded Florida without
instructions; and Calhoun as Secretary of War had suggested in the cabinet
that he be court-martialed. Jackson himself at first held back, but in
1822 he received the nomination of the Tennessee legislature, and in 1824
that of the legislature of Pennsylvania. Benton has called him "the
candidate of the people, brought forward by the masses;" he was really
brought forward by one of his neighbors, Major Lewis, who was convinced
that he had the elements of popularity, and who managed his campaign with
great skill. But no combination could be made for him with the Albany
Regency; Van Buren's organ, the "Argus," said of him: "He is respected as
a gallant soldier, but he stands, in the minds of the people of this
State, at an immeasurable distance from the Executive Chair."

[Sidenote: Electoral vote.]

The election showed that Jackson had ninety-nine electoral votes, Adams
eighty-four, Crawford forty-one, and Henry Clay thirty-seven, The popular
vote, so far as it could be ascertained, was 150,000 for Jackson, and
about 110,000 for Adams. There was no clear indication of the people's
will, and under the Constitution the House of Representatives was to
choose the President from the three candidates who had received most
electoral votes. Several Clay electors had changed their votes to
Crawford; the result was that Crawford, and not Clay, was third on the
list, and that Clay was made ineligible.

134. THE ELECTION OF 1825.

[Sidenote: Clay favors Adams.]

Crawford's influence had now much declined, so that Clay and his friends
held the balance of power between Jackson and Adams. On Jan. 8, 1825, Clay
advised his friends to vote for Adams, who was in every way the more
suitable candidate; he represented principles acceptable to the large
majority of voters; he favored a tariff; he was an enthusiastic advocate
of internal improvements; he desired to make the influence of the United
States felt in South and Central America.

[Sidenote: Election in the House.]

The vote in the House showed thirteen States for Adams, seven for Jackson,
and four for Crawford. Jackson accepted the result calmly,--indeed Adams
had always shown a friendly spirit toward him, and had defended him in
1818. Within a few days a rumor went abroad that Clay had sold his support
of Adams for the appointment as Secretary of State.

[Sidenote: "Corrupt bargain."]

He denied it, Adams denied it, and there has never been any
proof to show that there had been an understanding between them or their
friends. Jackson's supporters, however, were quick to see the damaging
effect of such a charge, and began to publish abroad the assertion that
there had been a corrupt bargain, or, as John Randolph put it, "a
coalition of Blifil and Black George,--a combination, unheard of until
now, of the Puritan and the blackleg." Once persuaded that the charge was
true, it was impossible to disabuse Jackson's mind, and during the next
four years his friends continued to assert that he had been deprived of
the Presidency by a trick.

[Sidenote: "Demos Krateo".]

Another equally baseless and equally injurious charge was that the House
had violated the spirit of the Constitution by selecting a candidate who
had a less number of electoral votes than Jackson. "The election of Mr.
Adams," said Benton, "was also a violation of the principle, Demos
Krateo." In consequence, many members of Congress who had voted for Adams
lost their seats.

135. THE PANAMA CONGRESS (1825-1826).

[Sidenote: Adam's cabinet.]

The new President was handicapped from the beginning of his administration
by his inability to make up a strong cabinet. Clay was eager and
venturesome; the other members, except Wirt, were not men of great force.
Adams manfully withstood the pressure put upon him to remove the adherents
of Crawford and of Jackson in the public service; a high-minded and
magnanimous man, he was determined that his administration should not
depend upon the political services of office-holders.

[Sidenote: Proposed Spanish-American Congress.]

In December, 1824, Gen. Simon Bolivar had issued invitations to the
Spanish American governments to send delegates to a Congress at Panama,
and the invitation was later extended to the United States. One of the
questions to be discussed was "resistance or opposition to the
interference of any neutral nation" ( 129). Another was "the manner in
which the colonization of European Powers on the American continent shall
be resisted." The evident purpose of the proposed meeting was to secure
some kind of joint agreement that the Monroe Doctrine should be enforced.
In such a meeting the United States might naturally expect to have a
preponderating influence; and Clay accepted the invitation a few days
before the first Congress under Adams's administration assembled.

[Sidenote: Objections to the Congress.]

The proposition was taking, and it was undoubtedly in line with the policy
of the preceding administration. Nevertheless it was resolved by the
opponents of Adams to make a stand against it, and it was not until March
14, 1826, that the nominations of the envoys were confirmed by the Senate.
The first objection to the scheme was that it would commit the United
States to a military defence of its neighbors. To this, Adams replied that
he intended only an "agreement between all 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." Among the powers
invited to send delegates was Hayti, a republic of revolted slaves as yet
unrecognized by the United States government. To Southern statesmen,
association with Hayti meant an encouragement to slave-insurrection in the
United States.

[Sidenote: Connection with Monroe Doctrine.]

The controversy was now transferred to the House, where an informal
resolution was passed that the United States "ought not to become parties
... to any joint declaration for the purpose of preventing the
interference of any of the European powers." The necessary appropriations
were with difficulty secured, and the envoys despatched Before they
reached Panama the Congress had adjourned, and it never reassembled. The
instability of the Spanish-American governments was such that any joint
agreement must have obliged the United States to assume great
responsibilities, without any corresponding advantage.


[Sidenote: Monroe's veto.]

The failure of the bonus bill in 1817 (Section 121) had only checked the
progress of internal improvements. The Cumberland road had been slowly
extended westward, and up to 1821 $1,800,000 had been appropriated for it;
but on May 4, 1822, Monroe vetoed a bill for its preservation and repair.
The technical objection was that tolls were to be charged; in fact, the
veto was, like Madison's, a warning to Congress not to go too far.

[Sidenote: First harbor bill.]
[Sidenote: Preliminary surveys.]
[Sidenote: Stock subscriptions.]

Nevertheless, on March 3, 1823, a clause in a lighthouse bill appropriated
$6,150 for the improvement of harbors. Up to this time the States had made
such improvements, reimbursing themselves in part out of dues laid by
consent of Congress on the shipping using the harbor. The next year
another step in advance was taken by appropriating $30,000 for preliminary
surveys: the expectation was that the whole ground would be gone over, and
that the most promising improvements would be undertaken and finished
first. A third step was the act of March 3, 1825, by which the United
States subscribed $300,000 to the stock of the Chesapeake and Delaware

[Sidenote: Opposition.]

At the beginning of Adams's administration, therefore, the country seemed
fully committed to the doctrine that, under the Constitution as it stood,
Congress might build works, or subscribe money to aid in their
construction, and ought to look forward to completing a general system.
Clay had declared, Jan. 17, 1825, that he considered the question of
carrying into effect "a system of internal improvements as amounting to
the question whether the union of these States should be preserved or
not;" and in his inaugural address, March 4, 1825, Adams urged the
continuance of the system. Here again appeared opposition, partly
sectional, and partly intended to embarrass Adams. The Virginia
legislature declared internal improvements unconstitutional; and on Dec.
20, 1826, Van Buren introduced a resolution denying the right of Congress
to construct roads and canals within the States.

[Sidenote: Land grants.]
[Sidenote: Distribution.]

An effort was now made to avoid the question of appropriating money by
setting apart public lands. Grants of eight hundred thousand acres of land
were made for the construction of canals in Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois,
and such gifts continued at irregular intervals down to 1850. Since the
debt was rapidly disappearing, another suggestion was that the surplus
revenue should be periodically divided among the States. It satisfied no
one. As Hayne of South Carolina said: "We are to have doled out to us as a
favor the money which has first been drawn from our own pockets,...
keeping the States forever in a state of subserviency."

[Sidenote: The system losing ground.]

Although $2,310,000 were appropriated for internal improvements during
Adams's administration, on the whole the system was growing unpopular.
Calhoun, who as Secretary of War in 1819 had recommended a judicious
system of roads and canals, in 1822 said that on mature consideration he
did not see that the requisite power was given to Congress in the
Constitution. On the whole, Adams's enemies opposed the appropriations.


[Sidenote: Tribal governments.]
[Sidenote: Difficulty with Georgia.]

Another difficulty inherited by Adams's administration arose out of the
promise of the United States in 1802 to remove the Indians from within the
limits of Georgia as soon as possible. The two principal tribes were the
Creeks and the Cherokees, both partially civilized and settled on
permanent farms, and both enjoying by treaty with the United States a
tribal government owing no allegiance to Georgia. On Feb. 12, 1825, a
treaty had been signed by a few Creek chiefs without the authority or
consent of the nation, by which they purported to give up lands of the
tribe in Georgia. In defiance of the government at Washington, the Georgia
authorities proceeded to survey the lands, without waiting to have the
treaty examined; and Governor Troup called upon the legislature to "stand
to your arms," and wrote to the Secretary of War that "President Adams
makes the Union tremble on a bauble." In a sober report to the legislature
it was urged that the time was rapidly approaching when the Slave States
must "confederate."

[Sidenote: Conflict of authority.]

The survey was suspended; but on Nov. 8, 1825, Governor Troup advised the
legislature that "between States equally independent it is not required of
the weaker to yield to the stronger. Between sovereigns the weaker is
equally qualified to pass upon its rights." On Jan. 24, 1826, a new treaty
was negotiated, by which a considerable part of the disputed territory was
given to Georgia. Again the State attempted to survey the lands before the
transfer was completed, and again Adams interposed. On Feb. 17, 1827,
Governor Troup called out the State militia to resist the United States
troops. Congress was rather pleased at the humiliation to the President,
and declined to support him; he was obliged to yield.

[Sidenote: The Cherokees subdued.]

The Cherokees, more highly civilized and better organized than the Creeks,
could not be entrapped into any treaty for surrendering their lands.
Georgia, therefore, proceeded to assert her jurisdiction over them,
without reference to the solemn treaties of the United States. Each
successive legislature from 1826 passed an Act narrowing the circle of
Indian authority. In December, 1826, Indian testimony was declared invalid
in Georgia courts. The Cherokees, foreseeing the coming storm, and warned
by the troubles of their Creek neighbors, proceeded to adopt a new tribal
constitution, under which all land was to be tribal property. The Georgia
legislature replied, in 1827, by annexing part of the Cherokee territory
to two counties; the purpose was to drive out the Cherokees by making them
subject to discriminating State laws, and by taking away the land not
actually occupied as farms. The issue raised was whether the United States
or Georgia had governmental powers in Indian reservations. By a close vote
the House intimated its sympathy with Georgia, and in December, 1828,
Georgia proposed to annex the whole Cherokee country. Adams was powerless
to defend the Indians; in order to humiliate the President, the national
authority had successfully been defied.


[Sidenote: Commercial treaties.]
[Sidenote: Woollen bill.]

In one respect Adams was successful; he negotiated almost as many
commercial treaties as had been secured during the previous fifty years.
Trade had sprung up with the Spanish American States. England had
meanwhile begun to relax her system of protection, and encouraged
manufactures by importing raw materials on very low duties; woollens were
therefore so cheapened that they could again be sold in the United States
in competition with American manufacturers. In October, 1826, the Boston
woollen manufacturers asked "the aid of the government." A bill was
accordingly introduced, which Adams would doubtless have signed,
increasing the duties on coarse woollens. It passed the House in 1827, but
was lost in the Senate by the casting vote of the Vice-President, Calhoun.
His change of attitude is significant; it showed that the most advanced
Southern statesman had abandoned the policy of protection, as he had
abandoned the policy of internal improvements. The Boston petition marked
another change. New England had at last settled down to manufacturing as
her chief industry, and insisted on greater protection.

[Sidenote: Tariff agitation.]

The narrow failure of the Woollens Bill in 1827 encouraged a protectionist
convention at Harrisburg, which suggested very high duties; but the main
force behind the movement was a combination of the growers and
manufacturers of wool, including many Western men. It is probable that
Clay was glad to make the tariff a political issue, hoping thus to
confound the anti-Adams combination.

[Sidenote: Tariff on raw materials.]
[Sidenote: The act passed.]

A new bill was reported, introducing the novel principle that the raw
materials of manufactures should be highly protected; the purpose was
evidently to frame a tariff unacceptable to New England, where Adams had
his chief support, and to draw the votes of the South and West. The
Western Jackson men favored it because it raised the tariff; and the
Southern anti-tariff men expected to kill Adams with the bill, and then to
kill the bill. They therefore voted for enormous duties: the duty on hemp
was raised from $35 to $60 a ton; on wool from about thirty per cent to
about seventy per cent. In vain did the Adams men attempt to reframe the
bill: when it came to a vote, sixteen of the thirty-nine New England
members felt compelled to accept it, with all its enormities, and it thus
passed the House. Even Webster voted for it in the Senate, and his
influence secured its passage. On May 24, 1828, Adams signed it.
Throughout the debate the influence of the approaching campaign was seen.
John Randolph said of it: "The bill referred to manufactures of no sort or
kind except the manufacture of a President of the United States."

[Sidenote: Southern protests.]

Notwithstanding these political complications the South saw clearly that
the act meant a continuance of the protective system. Five States at once
protested in set terms against the law and against the passage by Congress
of protective acts. Calhoun came forward as the champion of this movement,
and he put forth an argument, known as the South Carolina Exposition, in
which he suggested a convention of the State of South Carolina. "The
convention will then decide in what manner they [the revenue acts] ought
to be declared null and void within the limits of the State, which solemn
declaration would be obligatory on our own citizens." The period of the
Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions seemed to have returned.


It has been seen that on most of the great questions which arose in
Adams's administration there was a division, not so much on principle, as
between the friends and opponents of the President. The four years of his
administration were really a long drawn Presidential campaign. The friends
of Jackson sought in every possible way to make Adams odious in the public

[Sidenote: Executive patronage.]
[Sidenote: Retrenchment.]

One of the early evidences of this personal opposition was a report
brought in, May 4, 1826, by a Select Committee on Executive Patronage; it
included Benton and Van Buren, who had heartily given in his adhesion to
Jackson. They reported that the exercise of great patronage by one man was
dangerous, and they proposed that a constitutional amendment be secured,
forbidding the appointment of senators or representatives to office. In
the next Congress, from 1827 to 1829, the Jackson men had a majority in
both Houses, and an attempt was made to prejudice Adams by showing that
the government was extravagant. Resolutions were adopted calling for a
retrenchment; but no misuse of the public money could be brought home to
the President.

The so-called investigations were only political manoeuvres: a President
who permitted his political enemies to remain in office was upbraided for
abusing the appointing power, a President who had never removed one person
for political reason was accused of a misuse of the removing power.
Nevertheless, the steady waning of Adams's popularity shows that he was
not in accord with the spirit of the people of his time.

[Sidenote: Jackson's campaign.]
[Sidenote: The Democrats.]

Meanwhile, a formidable combination had been formed against him. In
October, 1825, Jackson had been re-nominated by the Tennessee legislature.
Crawford's health had failed, and his followers, chiefly Southern men,
threw in their lot with Jackson. Van Buren prepared to renew the
combination of Southern and Middle State votes which had been so
successful in 1800. His organizing skill was necessary, for the Jackson
men lacked both coherence and principles. Strong bank men, anti-bank men,
protectionists, and free-traders united in the support of Jackson, whose
views on all these points were unknown. Towards the end of Adams's
administration the opposition began to take upon itself the name of the
Democratic party; but what the principles of that party were to be was as
yet uncertain.


[Sidenote: Adams's policy.]
[Sidenote: New political forces.]

John Quincy Adams's principles of government were not unlike those of his
father: both believed in a brisk, energetic national administration, and
in extending the influence and upholding the prestige of the United States
among foreign powers. John Adams built ships; John Quincy Adams built
roads and canals. Both Presidents were trained statesmen of the same
school as their English and French contemporaries. The outer framework of
government had little altered since its establishment in 1789; within the
nation, however, a great change had taken place. The disappearance of the
Federalists had been followed by a loss of the political and social pre-
eminence so long enjoyed by the New England clergy; and in 1835 the
Congregational Church was disestablished in Massachusetts. The rise of
manufactures had hastened these changes, both by creating a new moneyed
class, and by favoring the increase of independent mill-hands having the
suffrage and little or no property. Cities were growing rapidly,
especially in the Middle States: in 1822 Boston gave up the town-meeting;
in 1830 New York had two hundred thousand inhabitants, and Philadelphia
one hundred and seventy thousand; and the voters in the cities were more
easily controlled by a few master minds. In the South alone was the old
principle of government by family and influence preserved; but even here
the suffrage was widely extended, and the small planters had to be
tenderly handled.

[Sidenote: Power of the West.]

The West was the most important new element in the government. The votes
of the States west of the mountains elected Jefferson in 1800, and Madison
in 1812, and gave Jackson his preponderance of electoral votes over Adams
in 1824. The West was at this time what the colonies had been half a
century earlier,--a thriving, bustling, eager community, with a keen sense
of trade, and little education. But, unlike the colonies, the West was
almost without the tradition of an aristocracy; in most of the States
there was practically manhood suffrage. Men were popular, not because they
had rendered the country great services, but because they were good
farmers, bold pioneers, or shrewd lawyers. Smooth intriguers, mere
demagogues, were not likely to gain the confidence of the West, but a
positive and forcible character won their admiration. It was a people
stirred by men like Henry Clay, great public speakers, leaders in public
assemblies, impassioned advocates of the oppressed in other lands. It was
a people equally affected by the rough and ruthless character of men like
Jackson. An account which purports to come from Davy Crockett illustrates
the political horse-play of the time. In 1830 he was an anti-Jackson
candidate for re-election to Congress. He was beaten, by his opponents
making unauthorized appointments for him to speak, without giving him
notice. The people assembled, Crockett was not there to defend himself,
his enemies said that he was afraid to come, and no later explanations
could satisfy his constituents.

[Sidenote: General ticket system.]

The political situation was still further complicated by the adoption in
nearly all the States of the general ticket system of choosing electors; a
small majority in New York and Pennsylvania might outweigh large
majorities in other States. In a word, democracy was in the saddle; the
majority of voters preferred a President like themselves to a President of
superior training and education. Sooner or later they must combine; and
once combined they would elect him.

[Sidenote: Democracy vs. tradition.]

There was practically but one issue in 1828,--a personal choice between
John Quincy Adams and Jackson. Not one of the voters knew Jackson's
opinions on the tariff or internal improvements,--the only questions on
which a political issue could have been made. It was a strife between
democracy and tradition. A change of twenty-six thousand votes would have
given to John Quincy Adams the vote of Pennsylvania and the election; but
it could only have delayed the triumph of the masses. Jackson swept every
Southern and Western State, and received six hundred and fifty thousand
popular votes, against five hundred thousand for Adams. It was evident
that there had risen up "a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph."

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