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The United States of America Part I by Ediwn Erle Sparks

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from American ports. These deserters were engaged, for a large part,
in the neutral trade. Thus the enemies of Britain were being served
by British sailors. Not only was her trade injured and the enemy
strengthened, but this was being done by the loss of blood from her
own navy. Her writers called upon the Government to sacrifice even the
good-will of the Americans rather than to submit to the imposition of
neutrals on British trade and the loss of British sailors.

The Americans were forced by public sentiment to take a stand for
national citizenship. A broad patriotism was rallied which overcame
all scruples about the differences between national and State
citizenship. The matter manifestly belonged to the central rather than
the individual governments. When threatened by foreign powers, Federal
citizenship assumed a new value in the eyes of the Jeffersonians, much
akin to that which it had long borne in the opinion of the Federalists.
The party which ten years before was endeavouring to distinguish between
State and national citizenship was now compelled to take action to
protect sailors who were not residents of any State. Many of them had
no homes. They could look to no protector except the Union, under whose
flag they sailed.

It is questionable whether the Federalists, had they remained in power,
could have avoided a war with Britain when once the people had become
fully aroused by the continued attacks of Britain on American commerce
and American citizenship. Long-suffering and patient toward British
offence, that party had avoided war for at least ten years. Jefferson
and Madison, more devoted to maintaining neutrality than restrained
by love of Britain, postponed the inevitable war for twelve years more.
But Madison's was a gradually waning power. The end of his first
administration marks the termination of the one-man era. Hamilton and
Jefferson by turn had dominated national affairs. Perhaps no man could
have continued the monopoly. The day of many counsellors was at hand.
Revolutionary statesmen and warriors alike were to be cast aside by
a second generation, which knew not the horrors of war. The supremacy
of the Atlantic coast in national affairs had begun to wane. Political
power was moving westward with the people.

This war element, which practically took matters from Madison's hands,
was composed of men who were to measure their careers by decades instead
of years. Its constituents had been reared in the strenuous life of
the frontier. Separated from Old World influence by the Allegheny
barrier, they felt the first impulses of true Americanism. A
continuation of dominant foreign influence under them was impossible.
Instead of seceding to a foreign power, as their fathers had threatened,
these trans-Allegheny frontiersmen had now been absorbed by the Union
and were to secure their long-delayed rights by controlling their own
government, which had once been disposed to neglect them. They were,
for the most part, country-bred lawyers, belonging to the agricultural
and borrowing class rather than the bank-founding, lending Federalists.
In this respect, they would be in accord with Jefferson and Madison,
but totally at variance with them in their inland attitude toward ocean

Like true Democrats, they breathed the air of the individual rather
than the masses. Clay was the son of a dissenting clergyman in
aristocratic Virginia, which was still under the spell of an
establishment of religion. By removing to Kentucky, he not only
exemplified the movement of national power, but freed himself from all
disadvantages of caste. The only aristocracy on the frontier was that
of worth. Calhoun came of equally humble birth and inherited his
individualistic principles. His father had been a country member of
the Virginia Convention and had opposed the adoption of the Federal
Constitution. Much of Calhoun's bias toward democracy was derived, as
he confessed, from an early conversation with the sage of Monticello.
Bred in the upland district of South Carolina, a region more akin to
Tennessee than to the seaboard, Calhoun may have had in mind the
massacre of his grandmother by the Indians as he arose in the war
session of Congress to make his report as chairman of the important
Committee of Foreign Affairs. He arraigned the British agents from
Canada circulating among the American Indians, and charged them with
the outrages committed on the American frontier. Members from the Ohio
valley did not hesitate to attribute the recent outbreak, culminating
in the battle of Tippecanoe, to intrigues of the British in Canada,
whereby the profitable fur trade would be diverted to their posts. "If
we are to be permanently free from this danger," said one speaker in
the debate which followed the report, "we must drive the British from
Canada. I, for one, am willing to receive the Canadians themselves as
adopted brothers." Grundy, of Tennessee, who, like Clay, had been born
on the Atlantic slope and had followed the advance of population across
the Alleghenies, arose to declare that the whole Western country was
eager to avenge their fallen heroes, and awaited but the word of
Congress to march into Canada.

The frontiersmen, never free from the hostility of the savage, sought
to explain it by every cause except the true one--their constant
invasion of the lands reserved to him by the National Government in
treaties made with him. Here lies at least one explanation of the long
endurance of British commercial wrongs by the United States before war
was declared. The West, with its grievance of Indian tampering, had
not yet come into control of national affairs. The frontiersmen, by
their conquests of nature, had come to despise the strength of all
enemies. With no commerce to be endangered by a foreign war, safe in
the almost roadless interior from the peril of invasion, the Western
representatives were able to carry by storm in Congress their
temporising, commercial brethren of the coast. When discussing the
embargo bill as a preliminary war measure in 1812, Clay, made Speaker
during his first session in the House, scorned the appeal of New York
for peace, in her defenceless condition, as her representatives
described her. "I do not wish to hear," said Clay, "of the opinion of
Brockholst Livingston or any other man. I consider this a war measure,
and approve of it because it is a direct precursor of war." Fourteen
Legislatures of the South and West, he said, had put themselves on
record as wishing to avenge the insults of Britain. The Legislature
of his own State had supported Jefferson's embargo four years previously
with such zeal that they almost passed a measure abolishing the English
common law in Kentucky courts.

Perhaps it was an accident that this twelfth Congress was composed
almost one-half of new members; but more likely it was the result of
popular impatience with the compromising foreign attitude of the
National Government. It was an incipient political revolution, without
involving a change of administration, a form of rebuke not infrequent
in the history of the Republic. The fact that these new and
inexperienced members, known as "war-hawks," were able to secure the
leadership may have been due to the accidental conjunction of natural
leaders; but a larger view would see in it a shifting of political
power with the advance of the people. The grievance of these Southern
and Western people against the Indians could neither be appreciated
nor believed by the New England and Middle Atlantic States, far removed
from the frontier and the savages. To their minds, the broader
accusation of preying upon American commerce was more real. Yet so
profitable had grown the monopoly of trade secured by them as neutrals
in the Napoleonic wars that they could well afford to lose occasionally
by foreign orders and decrees for the sake of the profit as a whole.
The War of 1812 from a sectional standpoint presents, therefore, the
unusual aspect of an inland, agricultural people forcing a war upon
the country for the protection of a marine, commercial people, who
were for the most part opposed to it. When Clay, in the lofty style
common to the time, declared the Americans unconquerable, and that if
the enemy should lay in ashes New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and
should devastate the whole Atlantic coast, the people would retreat
beyond the Alleghenies to live and flourish there, a member from New
Jersey protested that this was too high a price for him; that he had
no inclination to go beyond the Alleghenies; and that even the
Mississippi valley would be a poor consolation to him after everything
that was near and dear to him and his people had been destroyed.

The desire for commercial independence, which had been growing steadily
since political independence had been gained, was responsible for some
of this defiant attitude. Speaker after speaker described the spirit
of our forefathers who used only homespun in the rising Revolutionary
days. The career of the United States, if commercially independent of
Europe, was compared with her present situation, a victim of foreign
oppression on the highways of the world. One speaker thought we should
never be true Americans so long as we had to go to Europe for our
national airs. It was not admitted generally that England's restrictive
measures were due to her desire to starve out Napoleon, but as prompted
by jealousy of "her new commercial rival," the United States. "England
sickens at your prosperity," said Clay, "and beholds in your growth
the foundations of a power which at no distant day is to make her
tremble for her naval superiority." A foolish pride, characteristic
of youth, urged on the war spirit. It was said that a few years before
we had resolved for war, retaliation, or submission. The retaliatory
measures had been withdrawn; war or submission was the only choice

Beneath the hostility arising from Britain's war measures lay, in the
American mind, the irritation caused by her patronising air. The
Americans had chafed under British social as well as commercial
intolerance ever since the birth of the Republic. In the British
thought, the Americans were still colonists in that they were not to
the manor born. The Declaration of Independence and the severance of
political ties had left them still dependent upon Britain in the higher
aspects of life.

"The Americans asserted their independence," said the _Edinburgh
Review_, "upon principles which they derived from us. They are
descended from our loins, they retain our usages and manners, they read
our books, they have copied our freedom, they rival our courage, and yet
they are less popular and esteemed among us than the base and bigoted
Portuguese and the ferocious and ignorant Russians."

When an English statesman suggested that his Government would do well
to cultivate the new Republic for the sake of trade if for no higher
motive, Lord Brougham ridiculed the proposition of paying heed to "a
people whose armies are as yet at the plough, or making awkward attempts
at the loom, whose assembled navies could not lay siege to an English
sloop of war." These sneers, although containing a large proportion
of truth, exasperated the young nation beyond control. The provincialism
of the day writhed under any suggestion that the New World was not the
rival of the Old in every intellectual particular. A broader spirit
would have confessed that time is required for the development of
genius and the surroundings which conduce to a high development of
intellectual and artistic life. Two decades later, Lowell satirised
this American tendency in the _Fable for Critics_ by saying that while
the Old World has produced barely eight poets, the New World begets
a whole crop each year.

"Why, there's scarcely a huddle of log-huts and shanties,
That has not brought forth its own Miltons and Dantes;
I myself know ten Byrons, one Coleridge, three Shelleys,
Two Raphaels, six Titians, (I think) one Apelles,
Leonardos and Rubenses plenty as lichens,
One (but that one is plenty) American Dickens,
A whole flock of Lambs, any number of Tennysons,--
In short, if a man has the luck to have any sons,
He may feel pretty certain that one out of twain
Will be some very great person over again."

These extravagant claims incited fresh attacks. One British writer
insisted that Federal America had done nothing either to extend,
diversify, or embellish the sphere of human knowledge, and could produce
nothing to bring her intellectual efforts into any sort of comparison
with those of Europe. "Noah Webster, we are afraid," said he, "still
occupies the first place in criticism, Timothy Dwight and Joel Barlow
in poetry, and Mr. Justice Marshall in history." Another pronounced
the celebrated Philosophic Hall in Philadelphia a "meeting house" for
the society, where its transactions were "scooped together" in the
"genuine dialect of tradesmen." Not only the published papers of the
Philosophic Society were held up to ridicule, but also John Quincy
Adams's _Letters from Silesia_, Marshall's _Life of Washington_,
Barlow's _Columbiad_, Dwight's poetry, and Lewis and Clark's history
of their expedition.

"But why should the Americans write books," asked the _Edinburgh
Review_, "when a six weeks' passage brings them in their own tongue
our sense, science, and genius in bales and hogsheads. Prairies,
steamboats, grist-mills are their natural objects for centuries to

The crudity of American life and manners had been sarcastically
described by Ashe, Fearon, Davis, and other European travellers.
American writers countered these attacks by comparing the treatment
of the slaves in America with the condition of British paupers and
East Indians. Charges of negro kidnapping were contrasted with
child-stealing in England; our gouging the eyes in fisticuffs with
their prize-fighting; the harshness of our slave code with their
criminal laws; and the condition of our free clergy with the
circumscribed established clergymen. A dispute arose between writers
of the two countries over the responsibility of England for American
slavery by having fostered it in the American colonies.

This war of words, which continued even after the close of hostilities
with England, went so far as to involve discussions whether Godfrey
or Hadley had invented the quadrant; whether Hulls or Fulton was the
father of the steamboat; whether steamboats were first used in England
or America; and whether Fulton should have offered his invention of
the submarine torpedo to France as well as to England. One may easily
say at the present time that the national spirit should have risen
superior to such trivialities; but the national spirit was taking a
most provincial cast. Originality was claimed for everything;
inheritance counted as nothing.

A maritime war is peculiarly a commercial war in that it affects trade
and consequently becomes a sectional war, since all portions of the
land are not equally affected. The War of 1812 was a sectional war
which arrayed the former friends of consolidated government against
the Administration, and consequently made the former enemies of
consolidation its most devoted supporters. The early attitude of the
various sections toward the war, with due allowance for party
allegiance, may be studied in the vote of the two houses of Congress
on the measure entitled "An act declaring war between Great Britain
and her dependencies and the United States and their Territories,"
which passed the House on June 4th, and the Senate on June 17, 1812.

| | |
STATES |_______________|_______________|
| For | Against | For | Against |
Vermont..............| 3 | 1 | 1 | 0 |
New Hampshire........| 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 |
Massachusetts........| 6 | 8 | 1 | 1 |
Rhode Island.........| 0 | 2 | 0 | 2 |
Connecticut..........| 0 | 7 | 0 | 2 |
New York.............| 3 | 11 | 1 | 1 |
New Jersey...........| 2 | 4 | 1 | 1 |
Pennsylvania.........| 16 | 2 | 2 | 0 |
Delaware.............| 0 | 1 | 0 | 2 |
Maryland.............| 6 | 3 | 1 | 1 |
Virginia.............| 14 | 5 | 2 | 0 |
North Carolina.......| 6 | 3 | 2 | 0 |
South Carolina.......| 8 | 0 | 2 | 0 |
Georgia..............| 3 | 0 | 2 | 0 |
Kentucky.............| 5 | 0 | 2 | 0 |
Tennessee............| 3 | 0 | 1 | 1 |
Ohio.................| 1 | 0 | 0 | 1 |

The unanimity of the inland and non-commercial States, with the
exception of the party vote of the Ohio Senators, is manifest. They
were secure from the ravages of maritime war. Massachusetts showed a
stronger war sentiment than New York, although the course of the
Administration in these States during the war reversed this condition.
The Massachusetts House of Representatives had passed resolutions
against the proposed war. The New York opposition represented the
commercial interests. Fifty-eight business men of New York City, headed
by John Jacob Astor, protested against a war. Among these were sixteen
Republicans. The opposition in Rhode Island and Connecticut, which
assumed such a serious aspect during the war, is clearly indicated in
this vote. Regarding the sections as North and South, a distinction
most unfortunately emphasised during the progress of the war, the
popularity of the war in the South may be seen by a table:

House Senate
North of Mason and Dixon line /For........34........ 7
\Against....37........ 9
South of Mason and Dixon line /For........45........l3
\Against....11........ 2

Possibly the spectacle of a war favoured by the Southern and Western
people to protect Northern commerce and seamen, a kind of protection
not desired by the people who were being imposed on, no less than the
extraneous nature of these causes, has given rise to the saying current
in the United States that she went to war after the causes were removed
and did not secure anything for which she made war. The war message
of President Madison, sent to Congress on the 1st day of June, 1812,
cited a series of aggressive acts on the part of Great Britain dating
from 1802. The most prominent were the seizure of American seamen and
goods, and the pretended blockade under the orders in council. More
recent and less manifest impositions were described in the disavowal
of agreements made by an accredited minister, Erskine; in the attempt
to dismember the American Union through a secret British agent in the
United States; and the instigation of the Northwest Indians to hostility
by British traders. The message acknowledged that France had also been
guilty of some of these offensive acts, but intimated that they would
be abandoned through negotiations now in progress with that power.

Of these five charges, that concerning the Indians and that charging
intrigue were difficult to prove. Responsibility for Erskine's actions
was easily disavowed through the explanation that he had exceeded his
instructions. The blockades were really withdrawn before war was
declared, although the news had not reached this country. The freedom
of sailors and goods was finally guaranteed by the end of the Napoleonic
wars and consequently were not mentioned in the treaty which closed
the War of 1812. Thus the calendar was cleared, and the saying about
the causes and results of the war substantiated. Sometimes it is called
the "second war for independence." Undoubtedly the treatment which the
United States received from European powers before and after the war
formed a remarkable contrast. Yet the change was due to changed
conditions in Europe rather than to any compulsion wrought by the
hostilities. The most valuable independence gained in the war was in
the national feeling of the people, as will be shown later in this

To the British mind, it must be confessed, this second war with the
United States presented a different aspect. Napoleon had absorbed
France and all her continental neighbours save Prussia, Austria, and
Russia. These with difficulty held back his land forces. To England
was left the duty of keeping him in check upon the sea. War was declared
by the United States just when Napoleon's invasion of Russia demanded
the strictest enforcement of the blockade. England would willingly
have avoided a war with the United States at this time, but felt that
she could surrender neither the blockade nor right of search so
essential to the conquest of Napoleon. It seemed to the English people
that they alone stood between this man and the freedom of the world.
They thought it extremely ungrateful that the Americans should resent
their Orders in Council and other measures considered essential to
their naval supremacy over the French. Granted that these blockades
cut off some of the trade which the Americans as neutrals had secured
during the two decades of European war; they should be willing to
suffer so much in the common cause of liberty against one-man

these commissions, hundreds of private vessels armed themselves and
preyed on the enemy, atoning for the ill success of the American arms
on the land.]

Every resistance to England's coercive measures was considered by her
as a tacit aid to Napoleon. To the English mind, the hostile attitude
of the Americans was a return to the French-American alliance of the
Revolutionary days. The Americans were repaying their debt of
obligations, but with an important difference. Where a King of France
had aided colonists struggling for freedom, the colonists, now grown
to a nation, were aiding the greatest enemy to freedom the world had
yet seen. It was said that it would be simply a just retribution on
America if England should withdraw from the breach and allow Napoleon
to turn his ambitious designs upon the Western Republic. He would not
hesitate to retake Louisiana, according to British opinion, for his
revived American Empire.

Clay had not been the only speaker to indulge in braggadocio and
boasting. In all the debates in Congress, Canada was to be invaded on
the northern boundary and rolled up at each end. In vain the
conservatives showed the neglected condition of the national defences.
Jefferson's policy of economy had reduced the regular army to less
than seven thousand men and had scaled down the navy to fifteen vessels,
carrying a total of 352 guns, and 63 little gunboats, the offspring
of Jefferson's speculative genius. Nor were all these parts of "the
Liliputian navy" ready for commission. Six of the largest frigates,
mounting 170 of the guns, had been allowed to become useless for lack
of repairs. It would require six months' work and a half million dollars
to put them in fighting order. Of the little "mosquito fleet," as
Jefferson's gunboats were contemptuously styled by the Federalists,
102 were drawn up under sheds at the various navy-yards and few of
them seaworthy. Notwithstanding these cold facts, one of the few war
advocates in New England said we needed no regular army to take Canada;
that the militia of his section needed only authority to do the
business; simply give the word of command and the thing was done.
Another brushed aside even the fear of an invasion from Canada by
boasting that even the army of Napoleon which had conquered at
Austerlitz could not march through New England.

According to one speaker in the House, when the storm of war had been
poured on Canada and Halifax, it would sweep through with the resistless
impetuosity of Niagara. "The Author of Nature," cried another, "has
marked our limits in the South by the Gulf of Mexico and on the North
by the regions of eternal frost." This braggadocio, however deplorable
from a present view, may be pardoned as characteristic of young men
and a young nation. It may be charged to the account of European
aggression and British sneers. But it is also significant as marking
the dawn of a feeling of nationality. It showed an appreciation of the
probable effects of new-world isolation, inter-dependence, and destiny.
It was not a far cry from this position to "America for the Americans,"
a few years later.

The new nation terminated the war into which their enthusiasm plunged
them more fortunately than could have been hoped. On the land, it is
true, where the "war-hawks" had placed their boasted strength, little
was accomplished. Upon the high seas, where little dependence was
placed, wonders were accomplished by privateers. No less than 1607
British merchantmen were captured, in addition to sixteen British
war-ships. The Americans in turn lost heavily, a total of probably
1400 vessels of all kinds, but their financial loss was small compared
with that of the enemy. As in many later instances, the genius of the
American for individual initiative proved his salvation.

That an outburst of national pride should follow so many disasters by
land is explicable only through the battle of New Orleans, whose
crowning victory changed the aspect of prior engagements in the public
memory, while it placed a new value on the marksmanship of the American
soldiery. Charges made by veterans of Wellington and of Nelson were
resisted by unorganised American forces, dependent upon individual
initiative and upon skill in shooting. Jackson's motley army was
symbolic of the race composition of America and suggestive of the
recent acquisition of the land in which they were fighting. There were
free negroes, San Domingans, Louisiana Creoles, regular troops, old
French soldiers, and swarthy pirates, backed by the hunters of Tennessee
in their homespun hunting-shirts, and the Kentuckians with their long
knives. The latter boasted of their endurance of hardships and that
they were not of woman born, but were half horse and half alligator.
One stanza of a popular song, much used in a later campaign where the
hero of New Orleans was the main issue, runs:

"We raised a bank to hide our breasts,
Not that we thought of dying;
But then we always liked to rest,
Unless the game was flying.
Behind it stood our little force
None wished it to be greater,
For every man was half a horse,
And half an alligator."

Here were demonstrated again the difficulties under which trained
battalions fought in the American backwoods. The experience of Braddock
was repeated during the month consumed by Pakenham in getting his
troops into position. The farmers, who waited at Bunker Hill until the
whites of the enemy's eyes were visible in order to insure a good aim
against troops firing in volleys, lived again in the hunters of the
South at New Orleans. Small wonder that dwelling in memory on these
facts aroused an intense American confidence and even undue self-esteem.

If the stimulating effects of war upon nationality are to be noted in
all these details, the disintegrating effects on political parties are
no less evident. By a reversal of position, both Republicans and
Federalists were being drawn from extreme to medium grounds. Many
conservatives among the Republicans deplored this shifting to the
former views of their opponents. In the actual preparations for war,
the passing of acts for an embargo, for a loan, for increasing the
army and adding to the navy, John Randolph, the overtalented genius
of Roanoke, raised his voice in both derision and prophecy.

"If a writ were to issue," said he, with an eloquence too erratic to be
convincing, "against the Republican party of 1798, it would be
impossible for a constable with a search-warrant to find it. Death,
resignations, and desertions, have thinned its ranks. New men and new
measures have succeeded."

He predicted that a standing army, being created by the Republicans,
would be as fatal to them as it had been to their opponents in 1798.
In one of his frequent speeches, he summed up the principles of the
party in olden days when it was opposed to an army, to burdensome
taxation, and to excessive expenditures. "Such," said he, "were our
opinions in 1798. What has produced the change I do not know, unless
we were then _out_ and now we are _in_." The whole philosophy of the
compulsory force making for nationality through political parties is
expressed in that sentence.



In predicting defeat as a result of the war measures, Randolph
overlooked the facts of history. No party has ever failed to retain
the affection of the people when making preparations for war; and the
corollary is that no party has ever opposed war successfully. Reasons
for this fact were advanced in describing the war scare of 1798. The
Federalists, losing State after State during Jefferson's administration,
had been temporarily revived in the New England opposition to his
embargo. But the accusation of being unpatriotic, of placing commerce
above love of country, and the suspicion of holding intercourse with
the commercial enemy had driven many from their ranks. John Quincy
Adams, the hope of his father's age, was not the only apostate of the
day. A member from Kentucky taunted the remnant of Federalists in the
House during the war debates with remembrance of New England patriotism.
Said he,

"During embargo days, when our domestic enemies were encouraged by a
proclamation under authority of the King of England, these minions of
royalty, concentrating in the east, talked of the violations of the laws
as virtue; they demoralized the community by raising the floodgates of
civil disorder; they gave absolution to felons and invited the
commission of crime by the omission of duty."

From time to time instances were not wanting to prove that the remnant
of the Federalists was being forced by opposing the Administration
into the former attitude of the Republicans. The most frequently cited
case is that of Josiah Quincy, a Massachusetts member of the House of
Representatives, who became so alarmed over the effect which the
admission of the State of Louisiana would have on the political balance
of the sections that he declared such action virtually dissolved the
Union and freed the States from their moral obligations. Regardless
of the past theories of his party, he declared the Union a partnership
of States into which no new member could be admitted from territory
outside the original domain. He declared the whole question was "whether
the proprietors of the good old United States should manage their own
affairs in their own way, or whether they and their constitution and
their political rights should be trampled under foot by foreigners,
introduced through a breach in the Constitution." The Federal opposition
to the proposed War of 1812 has been described. It was a result of the
"low, grovelling parsimony of the counting-room," as Clay denounced it.

The reversal of party position on both sides was due not to choice,
but to interchange of situation. The very act of conducting the
government on the one hand and of opposing it on the other brought
this exchange. Jefferson, the former advocate of peace, from his
retirement now urged a vigorous policy which involved retaliation on
England, if she burned American cities, by hiring discontented workmen
in London to burn British buildings, by conquering Canada, and, after
dictating terms of peace with Britain, by making war upon Napoleon.
The reversal of party brought consequent exchange of policy. Instead
of Federal encroachment on individual rights, the Republicans must now
become aggressors, and the Federalists protestants. Instead of the
protests coming from Virginia and Kentucky they now emanated from the
New England States. Instead of regarding the State Legislatures as the
ultimate protectors of the States, the resistants now went beyond that
agency and adopted the very expedient so frequently urged by Jefferson,
and the one which Madison testified that he had contemplated in 1799--a
convention of delegates from the States.

Some parts of the resolutions adopted by this convention of twenty-seven
delegates from the five New England States which met at Hartford,
Connecticut, in December, 1814, might easily be supposed to have been
voiced by Virginia and Kentucky fifteen years before, so completely
had parties and sections exchanged.

"It is as much a duty of the state authorities to watch over the rights
_reserved_, as of the United States to exercise the powers which
are _delegated_" was the voice of southern individualism speaking
through a New England convention. "In cases of deliberate, dangerous,
and palpable infractions of the Constitution, affecting the sovereignty
of a state and the liberties of the people, it is not only the right,
but the duty of such a state to interpose its authority for their

Thus was the doctrine of "interposition" transferred from South to
North, equalising sections, and conducing to the ultimate making of
the nation.

But the means to be employed were not the same in each case. Resistance
in the Union to unconstitutional acts had been the Republican plan of
1798; withdrawal from a Union, whose government had been grossly and
corruptly administered ever since the first twelve years of prosperity
and happiness, was the Federalist thought of 1814. "Even at this late
hour," said the Hartford Convention report, "let government leave to
New England the remnant of her resources and she is ready and able to
defend her territory." The peaceful dissolution of the Union and the
substitution of "a new form of confederacy among those states which
shall intend to maintain a federal relation to each other" was declared
to be a possibility. A severance of the Union by one or more States
withdrawing against the will of the rest was justified only in case
of absolute necessity. The immediate remedy was to perfect "an
arrangement which may at once be consistent with the honor and interest
of the national government and the security of the states." By the
readjustment which they proposed to make between the States and the
Union, the latter would practically withdraw from the Eastern States
so far as revenue and defence, the two highest attributes of
sovereignty, were concerned.

Ultimately the convention hoped for certain amendments to the
Constitution, Jefferson's remedy again, "to strengthen and if possible
to perpetuate the union of the states," and, incidentally, to curb the
national strength of their opponents. To this end, the two-fifths negro
representation which the slave States had been given in the Constitution
was to be abolished; the extension of Southern power by creating more
States from the Louisiana Purchase was to be curbed by requiring a
two-thirds vote in each House for the admission of a new State into
the Union; Northern commerce was to be protected from future
annihilation by limiting embargoes to sixty days; a two-thirds vote
of both Houses was to be required to declare war or non-intercourse
with a nation; the pro-French element in national politics was to be
curbed by forbidding naturalised persons to hold national office;
future eight-year Jeffersons and Madisons were to be prevented, and
the Virginia presidential trust broken by making a President ineligible
for a second term, and by prohibiting two consecutive Presidents to
be elected from the same State. A complete transition of the fear of
presidential usurpation had been wrought by the burden of war falling
more heavily on one section than the other.

cartoon represents Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island
contemplating jumping into the arms of John Bull, while Maine prays
below for guidance. The King says "Oh 'tis my Yankee boys, jump in,
my fine fellows, plenty molasses and codfish, plenty of goods to
smuggle, honours, titles, and nobility into the bargain." Massachusetts,
nearest the King, says "What a dangerous leap! but we must jump, Brother
Conn." Connecticut, in the middle, says "I cannot, Brother Mass. Let
me pray and fast some little longer Little Rhode Island will jump the
first." Rhode Island says "Poor little I! What will become of me? This
leap is of a frightful size. I sink into despondency."]

National finances were seriously impaired by the war. The lending
section refused to support the Administration. Of the loan authorised
in 1814, less than one-half was taken and that at a discount of twenty
per cent. During the same year, the Government defaulted on the interest
due on the national debt. Moneyed men claimed that business had been
so impaired by the embargo and war as to prevent their coming to the
relief of the nation. Unfortunately, strict-construction theory had
cut off the bank which might otherwise have been a source of supply.
A glance at a table of statistics of the commerce and financial standing
of the United States during the embargo and war period will show the
effects of a maritime war and explain the causes of the complaints of
commercial New England. The following sums are in round numbers of
millions of dollars.

Exports Imports National Debt
1807........... 108........... 138........... 69
1808........... 22........... 56........... 65
1811........... 61........... 53........... 48
1812........... 38........... 77........... 77
1813........... 27........... 22........... 55
1814........... 16........... 12........... 81
1815........... 52........... 113........... 99
1816........... 81........... 147........... 127

Almost annihilated by the embargo of 1808 and the War of 1812-15, the
exports and imports, when relieved from such incumbrances, leaped to
figures which caused anger and rebellion when contemplated. The prospect
of wiping out the national debt was indefinitely postponed. Increased
burdens of national taxation brought as loud a protest from the
Federalists in 1814 as came from the Republicans in 1798.

Yet the chief grievance voiced by the Hartford Convention was neither
the loss of commerce nor increased national debt. A question had arisen
in the course of the war which brought out the old contention between
the right of the State and the nation, although with parties and
sections exactly reversed. Fear of the abuse of the military power in
the hands of the central authority, which prompted the framers of the
Constitution to limit all appropriation for the army to two years'
duration, had also persuaded them to restrict the national use of the
State militia to three emergencies, viz., to execute the national laws,
to suppress insurrection, and to repel invasion. Test had been made
of the first two uses in suppressing the excise rebellion. The War of
1812 brought out the third. The contemplated invasion of Canada was
the result of no one of these conditions. Objection to using the militia
in carrying on a foreign war had been raised frequently in Congress
during the debates on the war measures. A kindred dispute had arisen
over the right of the national authorities to appoint officers of the
State militia when called into national use. The old Revolutionary
State jealousies over this question seemed to have come to life again.
Among the Federalists, now grown to be sticklers for State rights, was
a representative in Congress from New York, who cried out in debate:

"If it shall come to that, that militia officers are appointed by the
President, I am a militia officer--I will never surrender the state's
rights--I would not be commanded by them--and I say, so help me God, if I
do. Militia were never intended for the United States, but for individual
states, to defend their states' rights."

In the twenty years of peace administration, this question of employing
the militia in a foreign war had never arisen. If the National Government
in 1812 had been ready for war, either in force or finance; if the war had
been favoured in the commercial States where the available wealth of the
country was accumulated; or if the administration had not been embarrassed
constantly by lack of soldiers and revenue, the resistance of New England
to the Federal attempts to control her militia, to recruit her young men,
and even to contemplate drafting her able-bodied citizens might never have
arisen. But if the test had not come, the governors of Massachusetts and
Connecticut would not have put themselves on record as resisting the call
of the President for their quota of militia to serve both inside and
outside the State, and the section would have missed committing itself to
the former ground of its opponent. The creation of a "Federal army" out of
the State militia was now criticised as violently in New England as it had
been in the Southern States during the suppression of the whiskey
insurrection a score of years before.

This refusal of the thickly populated Eastern States, which had been
largely the source of supply in the Revolutionary War, to furnish their
share of soldiery, threw the brunt of the Canadian expeditions upon
the south-western sections, and thus contributed to the Union in another
and less evident manner. The volunteers from those trans-Allegheny
regions would never forget the hardships of their journeys through the
roadless North-west. Frontier militiamen, who hewed their way through
pathless woods and subsisted on roots and berries because there were
no roads on which to bring supplies; officers, who guided their commands
to streams and found them too small in midsummer, when most needed,
to transport their troops; artificers, who built boats on the Great
Lakes and could not get armaments to them,--these men were unlikely
to allow constitutional objections to lie in the way of future
improvements in the Western Territories. They placed the blame for the
failure of the campaigns in those parts to lack of means of
communication. The freshly cut military roads were strewn with the
ruins of flour-barrels, cordage, and various equipment, abandoned in
transit. Fully two-thirds of the flour put down at Fort Meigs could
not be used. The flour on the Harrison campaign cost the Government
not less than eight dollars a barrel. Government commissaries claimed
to have been ruined in their contracts by lack of roadways. Only eight
hundred pack-horses survived of four thousand employed in the Detroit
campaign. The extra expense of one of the northern campaigns would have
built a good road to the inaccessible portion if the need could have been
foreseen. The experience in the war demanded immediate action for the
future public defence, regardless of party interpretation of powers.
Provision for necessary means of communication in the older portions might
safely be left to the States; but for the more recently settled regions,
especially the Territories, only the States united could provide highways
and waterways. The fact that the Union had charge of the Indians in the
Territories made the permission easier to grant. Also, during the war,
many military roads had been constructed, whose constitutionality no one
had time to question. During the intermissions of warfare, soldiers had
been employed in constructing military roads between various posts on the
frontier. John Randolph had several times aroused the wrath of the war-
hawks in Congress by suggesting that the volunteer troops be employed,
when not on campaigns, in building highways and digging canals. He thought
the land forces would make some return in this way for the vast sum to be
expended on them. After the close of hostilities, the regular troops
continued to be employed in such work, receiving extra pay. In various
parts of the United States one may still trace the old "military roads,"
many of them having been made into modern highways. As may be imagined,
they were of great aid in extending another function of national activity
--the postal system.

Waterways were as abundant in the western region during the War of
1812 as they were at any later time. That they were not more frequently
employed as means of transportation was due to the fact that nature,
in the process of time, had placed so many obstacles in them that they
were practically useless. Sand-bars, sunken logs, accumulated driftwood,
and hidden snags made water travel impossible except for light canoes.
During the summer season, when the campaigns were waged most vigorously,
many of the streams were dried up and valueless for transportation
purposes. But small imagination was required to see how man with proper
resources could dredge channels, remove obstacles, and construct dams
which would render these waterways useful during the larger part of
the year. Boats propelled by poles might be guided up the tedious
channels, but the use of steam was impossible until improvements had
been made.

Fulton and Livingston made a success of steam navigation on the majestic
Hudson in 1807. Only five years later, hardy spirits were not wanting
at Pittsburg to equip a vessel with steam and venture down the tortuous
Ohio to New Orleans. But impediments to navigation made such attempts
simply experiments. Three years after the close of the war, the _Walk
in the Water_ was launched on Lake Erie near Buffalo and eventually
reached distant Mackinaw. The ship-building industry had been established
on Lake Erie during the war and needed only the construction of harbours
and placing of lights to open a vast inland commerce.

The strict constructionists were destined to spend many unpleasant
hours over this question of inland commerce. That the Union had control
of ocean or foreign commerce, no one denied. The ocean is common to
all. But fresh water lies inland, among the States. Strict construction
would not allow the central authority to undertake a public work in
an individual State. Clearing waterways and constructing harbours might
have been left to the respective States, if each stream and each lake
had been located entirely within the confines of some State. Interstate
commerce thus began early to play a part in making the Union. In former
days, Congress had granted requests of Rhode Island, Maryland, and
Georgia to be allowed to retain part of their imposts for completing
their public works on rivers and harbours. The privilege was extended
to other State at various times, the expenditures being withheld from
the national revenues. The system was bad and produced frequent delay
and abuse. It was really the Federal Government making the improvements
indirectly. Evidently the work could be carried on more uniformly and
systematically under central management.

Precedent had been established under the compulsion of war. The
Carondelet canal was a private enterprise connecting Lake Pontchartrain
with the city of New Orleans. Congress appropriated a sum of money,
as the war came on, for making the canal navigable for the gunboats
in order to protect New Orleans. Several similar instances might be
cited during the progress of the war. Under such conditions, it was
an easy matter to include in the Army Appropriation bill of 1819 a sum
for making a complete survey of all watercourses tributary to the
Mississippi on its western side, and on its eastern side north of the
Ohio. There was in the same bill an appropriation for making surveys
with maps and charts of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, from the Falls
of the Ohio to New Orleans, "for facilitating and ascertaining the
most practical mode of improving the navigation of those rivers." No
promise was made, but the ultimate purpose was to have the individual
States or the Union improve the navigation of all these waterways. So
insidiously was necessity making the Republicans commit themselves to
the policies of their predecessors, that no one realised they were
preparing by these actions to inaugurate the vast work of public
improvement in the interior of the continent which characterised the
middle period of American history.

Advocates of these national enterprises were encouraged by a clause
in the Bank bill of 1816. In order to compel the State banks to resume
specie payment and to rearrange the national finances after the war,
the Republicans had been compelled to resort to the infamous Hamiltonian
remedy of chartering a United States bank. Only financial desperation
could warrant the adoption of a suggestion which the party had rejected
five years before. Unconstitutionally scarcely had a mention in the
debates on the bill. Republican speakers and writers advocated a bank
as eagerly as they had opposed one in 1791 and 1811. Calhoun was in
favour of a new bank and Webster was opposed to it.

This second bank was chartered, like the first, for twenty years. It
had a similar plan of organisation, although with a larger capital.
It differed most in offering to the National Government, not only a
share of stock, but a "bonus," or gift, of a million and a half dollars
for the privilege of the charter. Visions of internal improvements
made possible by such a handsome gift immediately arose in the minds
of some, although suspicion was the strongest feeling in the minds of
others. The proposition was precisely along the Federalist idea of
invested interests purchasing a monopoly from the Government, and was
viewed in that light by old Republicans. It was denounced as a bribe
similar to that given Parliament by the East India Company. Such
scruples were overcome by comparing the "bonus" to the fee paid the
National Government for a patent, which gave to the holder a monopoly,
or to the free passage granted troops over toll bridges in payment for
a State charter. Undoubtedly the desire to use this money for public
improvements aided in securing the passage of the Bank bill.

These hopes assumed shape in the next session in "An act to set apart
and pledge certain funds for internal improvements," which pledged the
proceeds of the "bonus" for constructing roads and canals, and improving
the navigation of watercourses. It was passed by a close vote in each
branch of Congress, after a long debate in the House upon the powers
of the General Government. This debate showed Calhoun, the future
spokesman of State rights, in favour of extended expenditures in the
various States without constitutional restriction, and Timothy
Pickering, former member of John Adams's Cabinet, in the attitude of
denying the right of the National Government under the implied powers
to expend a dollar without the consent of the State in which the
improvement lay. Neither would he admit that the regulation of commerce
included more than waterways. It was an additional evidence of the
reversal of parties.

The Representatives from the Eastern States generally wished to use
the money to relieve the ordinary burdens of taxation, realising that
the larger part of these improvements would lie beyond the Alleghenies
and, presumably, of no benefit to them. Individual members may have
held great expectations of the gratitude to be gained from their
constituents by securing a share of the bank money. Madison rudely
shattered these in the closing hours of his administration by vetoing
the bill. It was a heroic duty. To such a distance had the party gone
from the confines of strict construction, so resistless had been the
hand of compulsion in the sixteen years of Republican administration,
so powerfully had this internal improvement system affected the cupidity
of the people, so careless had Congress grown of the difference between
the reserved and expressed powers, that Madison felt it necessary to
recall his party to its first principles. In his veto message, he spoke
the almost forgotten language of the old days when he said that the
power to regulate commerce did not extend to enterprises conducted
within the several States; that the efforts of the Union should be
confined to foreign commerce; that any expenditure of the bonus proceeds
under the plea of the common defence would be to give Congress a general
power of legislation. It was the first reaction after the compelling
days of the war. It was not an agreeable or popular task, but it was
done heroically. It was love's labour lost, because it was impossible
for Madison or his successor long to hold in check the demands of the
people for means of communication as they spread toward the West over
the inviting public lands.

Partisan newspapers denied that Madison's action was inconsistent with
prior recommendations of Presidents, with the report of Gallatin, and
with the appropriations for the Cumberland Road. Gallatin's report,
they said, was only a recommendation. The Cumberland National Road was
the result of a bargain between the Federal Government and the State
of Ohio and involved no violence to the Constitution. As for prior
messages, Jefferson, in 1806, had suggested an amendment to cover
internal improvements, and Madison had been careful in 1816 to locate
his proposed national university inside the District of Columbia, which
was entirely under national control. Internal improvements, he had
said in two different messages, should be authorised by an amendment.
At the same time, many of these papers lamented the fact that the hands
of the Union were thus bound, while a few suggested that the obligation
to "provide for the general welfare" would have been fulfilled better
by building roads and canals than by creating a bank and placing upon
the people the burdens of a protective tariff. Having engaged in the
war, they must abide by the compulsion which the war produced.

The few conservative Republicans who clung to the old doctrines of the
party realised with dismay that the financial adjustments following
the war were bound to drag them still farther into the former field
of the enemy. The Jeffersonian commercial war, which had begun with
the embargo of eight years before, had practically cut off the United
States from the European sources of supply. In a crude way her people
began to set up manufactories to supply needed goods. The waterfalls
distributed so abundantly over the Northern States were harnessed for
this purpose. Unconsciously the United States was coming into a
commercial independence even more valuable than the political or
navigation right for which she had contended in two wars. The world's
peace of 1815 released the carrying trade; European goods poured into
America; and the infant manufactures were undersold and threatened
with ruin. As many as twenty vessels arrived in New York during one
day in 1815, hurrying British goods to the reopened American market.

[Illustration: THE PRESIDENT'S TEMPORARY RESIDENCE, 1815. This "octagon"
house in Washington was occupied by President Madison while the White
House was being rebuilt after being burned by the British in the War
of 1812. It is now used as a club house.]

Instantly the public thought turned to a protective tariff, not only
to save the manufactures, but as a retributive measure against England.
"It is now a little more than a year," wrote a correspondent to Niles's
_Register_, "since we closed a contest in arms with Great Britain in
glory. A new struggle has already commenced with the same nation in
the arts as connected with agriculture, commerce, and manufacture."
Another contributor urged the necessity of protecting and cherishing
the manufacture of everything--from a toothpick to a ship, from a
needle to a cannon, a thread of yarn to a bale of cloth--unless we
could exchange some commodity for them. "You spread too much canvas,"
was the reason reported to have been given an American by an Englishman
for certain restrictive measures on American commerce.

"Americanism" showed itself in the press as well as in congressional
debates. Writers contrasted the probable happiness of an imaginary
"Anglo-American province," located on the Atlantic coast-plain,
dependent upon the Old World for its straw hats, boot, shoes, cotton,
linen, and cloth, with an "Economic Republic," located as far inland
as the banks of the Ohio, and depending entirely on home industries.
A rumour that the rebuilt Executive Mansion was to be furnished with
articles from Europe brought an indignant denial from the
Administration. Only porcelain, mirror plate, carpets, and a few minor
articles, such as were not produced in the United States, had been
imported. It was announced that President Monroe had given orders to
use home manufactures as far as possible in furnishing all public
buildings in Washington. The American Society for the Advancement of
Domestic Manufactures was favoured by ex-Presidents Adams, Jefferson,
and Madison, as well as by President Monroe. The Philadelphia Society
for the Promotion of Domestic Industry issued addresses to the people.

Under the influence of the embargo the census of 1810 had been made
to include a survey of American manufactures. It showed that nearly
two hundred million dollars' worth of goods were manufactured annually
in the United States. Undoubtedly this sum had been greatly increased
during the two years of war. Newspapers printed accounts of the large
output of woollen mills in New England, of the starting of glass and
iron factories, of new methods for weaving, of looms to be operated
by steam power, of the discovery of lead, copper, asbestos, and other
mines. The frontier city of Cincinnati reported the establishment of
manufactories of tools, implements, ground mustard, and castor oil.
It was said in 1816 that not less than nineteen million dollars' worth
of woollen goods alone were being produced in the United States, which
must suffer from European competition unless protected. A steam vessel,
so it was reported, built at New York, was about to attempt to cross
the Atlantic to Russia, where Fulton had been given a monopoly of steam
navigation for twenty-five years.

So completely had the New England States alienated themselves from the
Administration by their conduct during the war that an appeal from
them for protecting manufactures in which they were most largely
interested would have had small influence, unless the general condition
of the country had demanded action, as shown above. The Southern States,
which dominated Government, could afford to be magnanimous. They had
permanent protection in their cotton, tobacco, and sugar exports as
the means of their commercial salvation. "Let us be charitable toward
the Hartford conventionists; let us make them feel that they have a
country," said a member of Congress, in discussing the impost bill of
1816, which partook somewhat of the nature of a tariff bill along
Hamiltonian lines, although framed by Jeffersonians. Few speakers
showed a tendency to discuss the proposition from a party standpoint.
"The duty of a paternal government" was referred to as freely as if
the Hamilton days had come again.

As usual in a tariff debate, expediency and self-interest ruled. The
difficulty of reconciling the varied interests in a common measure
seemed at times insurmountable. The South wanted a high duty upon
sugars and a low duty upon coarse cloth. The New England delegates
insisted upon the contrary.

"The order of the day seems to be to catch and keep and huckster
sectional interests without regarding the nation as a whole," wrote a
disgusted member to one of his constituents. "We can unite, as you have
seen, from Maine to Louisiana in favor of voting money into our own
pockets; but I despair of seeing a united vote in favor of our

This tariff measure of 1816, the first after the war, was a protective
action in form rather than by intention. The Republicans looked on it
as corrective of the many acts which during the war had almost doubled
the duties to secure revenue. It was a kind of transition from the
tariff policy of the Hamiltonians, nearly twenty years before, to that
of Clay, ten years later. That tariff issues were not yet developed
and sectional interests appreciated is evidenced by the fact that
Calhoun was an earnest advocate of this measure and that Webster voted
against it. A comparison of the votes in House and Senate indicated
slightly the sectional tendency which was to characterise the tariff
question when fully developed.


House Senate
North of Mason and Dixon line /For.......63.......16
South of Mason and Dixon line /For.......25........9

The measure was passed by the vote of the Eastern or manufacturing
States, aided by the South-western States, who were expecting some
kind of paternalistic benefit to their hemp or other products. In the
Senate, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana voted solidly for the tariff,
and in the House these three States furnished nine affirmative to four
negative votes. The five New England States, already strong advocates
for increasing protection, gave in the House seventeen votes in favour
to two against the experiment. Virginia and South Carolina furnished
twenty-seven of the negative votes in the House. Strange to say, South
Carolina, the opposition leader of a later day, gave a majority for
the bill in both branches of Congress.

It is scarcely just to call this tariff of 1816 a protective measure,
since it was entitled "An act to regulate the duties on imports and
tonnage." It was a natural result of the attitude of the "war-hawks,"
isolated from European influence and developing self-reliance and
self-dependence. It was looked upon as reducing the tariff to a peace
basis. The war duties on woollen and cotton goods, rating as high as
thirty per cent., were to be gradually scaled down to half that amount.
But the discrimination in favour of certain goods made easier the
demand for a greater discrimination a few years later, and divided the
party upon the old Hamiltonian policy of protection.



Before the addition of Louisiana, the American settlements west of the
Alleghenies extended in a thin wedge to the Mississippi, having the
British Canadians on the north and the Spanish in the Floridas to the
southward. After Louisiana was added, these settlements constituted
the ligament which bound the older to the newer part. Both British and
Spanish had formerly been on the advance line; now they were on the
American flank. Invasion from each direction had to be guarded against
during the war. The strength of Britain and the fidelity of the
Canadians prevented the conquest and addition of Canada during
hostilities. But the disintegrating power of Spain in the New World
held out hope that eventually the Floridas might be acquired and the
American possessions be rounded out on the Gulf at least. It is safe
to say that from the moment of taking possession of Louisiana the
retention of the Floridas by any foreign power was felt to be an

The Floridas, or the western portion at least, would have been annexed
to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1804 if the
Jeffersonians had been expansionists at heart. Livingston, whose
antecedents were more Federalistic than the majority of Jefferson's
appointees, advised taking immediate possession of the Floridas upon
the assumption that they were part of Louisiana. In this opinion Monroe
concurred, although less ardently. Considering the uncertain boundaries
of "Louisiana," and that such action might offend Britain or Spain in
the critical situation of foreign affairs, Jefferson preferred to await
the process of time and the restless nature of his countrymen.

"It is probable," said he, "that the inhabitants of Louisiana on the
left bank of the Mississippi and inland eastwardly to a considerable
extent will very soon be received under our jurisdiction, and that this
end of West Florida will thus be peaceably gotten possession of. For
Mobile and the eastern end, we must await favorable conjunctures."

Never was prophecy more accurately fulfilled. Spanish power in the New
World disintegrated rapidly after Napoleon dispossessed King Ferdinand.
Americans settled with impunity between the Pearl and the Mississippi
south of the line of thirty-one, which had been agreed upon in 1795
as the boundary between the United States and the Spanish Floridas.
Soon the invaders were in dispute with the Spanish commandant at Baton
Rouge over smuggling and the runaway slaves. Complaints reached Congress
that the commandant at Mobile was collecting toll and harassing American
vessels carrying goods to and from the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers
north of the boundary. The old controversy over the navigation of the
Mississippi had come again on Mobile Bay. In 1810, the American settlers
west of the Pearl set up an independent government at Buhler's Plains
with John Mills and Dr. Steele as officials. The Spanish commandant
and governor were soon after driven out, a petition sent to Congress,
and by proclamation of October 27, 1810, President Madison extended
the authority of the United States over the indefinite region known
as West Florida. The action was based on the Louisiana claim, which
had not been relinquished since the purchase, and on the danger to the
adjacent parts of the United States in the present crisis.

A secret resolution of Congress at the same time authorised the President
to take possession of the remaining Floridas, if England showed a
disposition to seize the land as an aggressive act. Since Spain had come
under the control of France, this action was not an improbability. But
aside from temporarily occupying Pensacola, the British made no attempt to
take the Floridas during the War of 1812, although rumours of that kind
were frequent. Simultaneous with the end of the war came the restoration
of Spanish authority in the Old World and its threatened restoration in
the New. In this chaotic condition of Spanish affairs, President Monroe
ordered a band of freebooters to be driven out of Amelia Island, in East
Florida, at the mouth of the St. Mary's River, near the Georgia boundary.
The troops employed in this work remained on the island, notwithstanding
Spanish protest. General Jackson, being ordered to subdue the Seminole
Indians in Florida, who were harbouring fugitive slaves, invaded the
Spanish territory, cleaned it up in the true Jacksonian manner, hanged two
Englishmen, and "omitted nothing that characterises a haughty conqueror,"
as Onis, the Spanish Minister at Washington, protested. The embarrassed
Administration, through its spokesman, John Quincy Adams, explained that
Jackson intended only to restore order where Spanish authority had failed.
At the same time Adams reopened negotiations by which Spain eventually
ceded the troublesome Floridas to the United States for a money

The additions of territory to the national domain, strong Union-making
elements as they are, have had a curious connection one with another.
The navigation of the Mississippi, left unsettled with Spain from the
Peace of 1783, led directly to the attempt to purchase the "island"
of New Orleans, and consequently to the Louisiana acquisition. The
uncertain boundary of Louisiana caused the annexation of West Florida,
and that success made a final settlement of East Florida easier. The
readiness with which the Americans could invade her territory, unchecked
by other powers, made Spain, in her helplessness, consent to this
treaty of 1819, by which the entire Gulf territory from the Atlantic
Ocean to the Mexican province of Texas became American soil. The ethics
of the entire transaction may be questionable. It smacks of invasion,
stretching of claims, a show of force, and soothing balm of gold. What
territorial conquest in the history of the world has been entirely
free from criticism? However, the increase of national prestige and
the stimulation of national pride which resulted are the factors to
be considered in the story of the United States.

The Florida Purchase was a second instance of bringing national prestige
to the Union by the party originally afraid of giving it too much
power. The action brought in its train as many embarrassing questions
and as many demands for the fostering care of government as did the
Louisiana Purchase. Yet precedent made the questions easier to answer
in favour of centralisation and made the steps easier to take by the
scrupulous Jeffersonians.

It is worthy of notice that the people of the Floridas were promised,
in the annexation treaty of 1819, incorporation into the Union "as
soon as may be consistent with the principles of the Federal
Constitution," no time being specified. The Louisianians had found,
as stated heretofore, that the phrase "as soon as possible" in the
treaty of 1803 was capable of a very loose interpretation at the hands
of their new sovereign. They had to wait nine years before the first
portion was admitted to statehood. Perhaps to avoid a deluge of
petitions and protests, such as came from the inhabitants of the
Louisiana Purchase when given a territorial standing, John Quincy Adams
may have invented the new phrase "as soon as consistent." Under this
provision, portions of the Florida Purchase were added to adjacent
States and the residue compelled to wait twenty-five years before
statehood was given to it. The rights of man and citizenship in the
State had again been temporarily lost sight of by the party of which
these were basic principles.

Having been converted into territories, the additions to domain came
directly under the care of the National Government. Bound by national
honour as well as by a regard for the sacredness of statehood to bestow
upon this public land such protection and such improvements as might
encourage migration to it, and thus hasten the time of full rights for
its people, the Republicans might yet have pursued a parsimonious
policy, if increasing migration to the United States had not impelled
them to action to provide homes for the multitude. No such influx from
the Old World had been seen as followed the close of the Napoleonic
wars. It was small compared with the full tide of migration, which set
in about 1845. But it seemed marvellous at the time. Fifteen hundred
were counted in some weeks, mostly Irish and English, with a sprinkling
of French and German. No record was kept of the number of arrivals
until 1820, and statistics are simply approximate.

Viewing the Old World as again under the curse of monarchy, and the
new-comers as refugees from oppression, the Republican party found
itself ready to arrange for the easiest possible disposal of the public
lands. "Let them come," said one writer. "Good and wholesome laws with
the avenues to wealth and independence opened to honest industry will
tame even Mr. Peel's 'Untamably ferocious' Irishmen! as well as suppress
English mobs crying for employment and bread, without the use of the
bayonet." Descriptions of the economic unrest in Europe following the
close of the Napoleonic wars were fully circulated in American
newspapers. The number of bankruptcies, the idle custom-house clerks,
the labouring poor applying at the different sessions for certificates
to migrate to America, the British vessels anticipating desertions by
sailing for the New World with double crews, the steps taken by the
British Government to prevent artisans from leaving, the ruse of coming
through Canada to escape question and detention--all this was delightful
reading for the American public.

Many of the emigrants passed the Allegheny barrier, notwithstanding
the hardships of travel, to make homes in the new States and Territories
of the West and South-west. Birkbeck and his colony of Englishmen came
to southern Illinois. The Rappites planted the community of New Harmony
on the Wabash in Indiana. Congress granted land to a colony of refugees
in Alabama. Numerous towns were laid out on the upper Mississippi and
the Missouri in the Louisiana Purchase. Protecting garrisons were
established far up the Missouri River and at the Falls of St. Anthony,
near the headwaters of the Mississippi, "two thousand miles from the
sea." Buffalo and Erie, names not to be found upon the map before the
war, were now busy ports with a thriving lake commerce. Semi-weekly
posts were carried to Detroit, Green Bay, and far Michilimackinac.

These evidences of the vast extent of the national domain excited both
pride and fear. Unless the distant parts could be more closely cemented,
the days of Western unrest and foreign intrigue might come again. The
demand for government aid to public improvements sprang up anew. Colonel
Johnson, attempting to take a small fleet of steamboats up the Missouri
to the Yellowstone in 1819 to open a new route for trade with China
by way of the Columbia River, was hindered by sand-bars and snags, or
"planters." Various improvements in rivers and the construction of
canals undertaken by different States were reported in Congress.
Government aid in the shape of subscriptions to stock was contemplated
in some cases. Gallatin's report of 1809, recommending the expenditure
of twenty million dollars on public works, was reprinted. The Cumberland
Road was given over three hundred thousand dollars in a single
appropriation. Two and a half million dollars were spent annually on
the navy. Various arguments were used to harmonise these expenditures
with the economic principles of the Republicans. Twenty
ships-of-the-line could be built, it was said, for much less than the
cost of drafting the militia and the losses in a single State during
one year of the recent war. Ten thousand seamen afloat would be of
more service than fifty thousand militia in preventing "a foreign enemy
ever again polluting the shores of the United States." The only danger
to this policy would be in putting such a power into the hands of the
Chief Executive; but this could be averted, it was declared, by the
ballot. National feeling ran high, as it usually does following a war,
over both national defence and home development.

In the midst of this great impetus toward nationality came a sudden
revelation of the sectional discord which it was hoped had been laid
for ever. A vast extent of territory has its advantages in wealth and
population; but it also has its dangers in the differences of climate,
products, and labour thereby engendered. The United States could not
hope to be free from this menace, common to all governments with
extensive domains, until time had proved the necessity for union, and
use had made its burdens appear lighter. Sectional jealousies had been
quieted in the Convention of 1787 by establishing "balances" in
representation and taxation. It was unfortunate to recognise the
existence of sections and to perpetuate them in this manner; but
compromise was the only way possible at the time.

[Illustration: View of the Capitol of the United States. THE CAPITOL
BURNED BY THE BRITISH ARMY. From Torrey's "American Slave Trader."
Justice looks from the sky in retribution upon a nation which permits
the slave trade to be carried on almost within the shadow of the

Those who believed that compromises were curatives rather than means
of temporary relief as we now see them, must have found hope for the
future in the number of compromises in the convention caused by slavery.
As the years sped by under the Constitution, and the menace failed to
renew its formidable shape, these hopes must have brightened into a
belief that the spectre was laid for ever. The expiration of the twenty
years demanded by South Carolina and Georgia in which to get their
supply of slave labour from Africa drew nigh, and brought forth a
prohibitory law to take effect the first day of the year 1808. The
newer Gulf States in vain demanded an extension of the open door to
place them upon an equal footing with the older States. Yet the law
was never enforced, and it was always possible to get a fresh supply
of slaves even to the time of the Civil War. The blame must be shared
equally by the planters of the Gulf States, who purchased the new
slaves, and by the ship-owners of the free States, whose vessels brought
them from Africa for the profit of the trade. Cupidity will be found,
in the last analysis, to be at the bottom of much of the law-breaking
spirit so unfortunately characteristic of the American people.

The Friends kept up an unceasing petition to Congress to ameliorate
the condition of the slaves or to emancipate them. It was said by some
of the British advocates of emancipation, who began to let their voices
be heard in the States, that the destruction of the public buildings
at Washington during the War of 1812 was a judgment of God upon a
people who permitted a slave market almost within the shadow of the
Capitol. Slavery was always at base an economic question and was now
awaiting some national economic issue before it would manifest its
ugly self. The emancipation plans which had been adopted by the Northern
States were emphasising slavery as a sectional issue. It would make
even more difficult the task of balancing the two sections. So rapidly
had public sentiment accepted the inevitable in the matter of sections,
that by 1820 it was easy to repeat the fearful phrase, "preserving the
balance between the two sections."

It had been possible to preserve this balance in the Senate, where
State representation is equal, by admitting a Northern and a Southern
State contemporaneously. Thus two Senators from each section were
created. In the House of Representatives, where strength depends upon
the distribution of population, no such balance could be maintained.
The attractiveness of the back lands as they were opened to settlement,
the ease with which farms could be secured from the public domain, the
rapid development of water-power, and the increasing immigration from
Europe, caused a rapid growth of population in the trans-Alleghenian
region. In 1800, only one settler had crossed the mountains to fourteen
remaining on the coast-plain. Ten years later one had crossed for every
six remaining behind, and in 1820 the proportion was one to four. There
had been some alarm manifest in the older States in earlier times,
because the power and prestige which they had enjoyed must eventually
be reduced if not lost through the rapidly growing West. But whatever
danger of this nature was realised became of secondary importance by
1820 to the larger question of the unequal distribution of the migrants
in the various parts of the West. Between 1810 and 1820, for instance,
Ohio had increased in population 151.9 per cent. and Tennessee only
61.5 per cent. For every 319 people who sought homes in Illinois during
that period, only 87 had settled in Mississippi. The two States had
been admitted almost simultaneously and had equal attractions. Why
should the one gain more population and have more political strength
than the other? Although statistics for the sparsely populated
territories were not so available, there was no doubt that the Northern
section everywhere was being settled more rapidly than the Southern.

Under such conditions, the maintenance of the senatorial balance of
States between the sections would be impossible. Portions of a Northern
territory would be applying for admission before population had reached
the required number in any Southern part. An additional alarm was felt
because every Northern State admitted thus far, having been formed out
of the North-west Territory, had incorporated in its constitution the
provision of the Ordinance of 1787 that "neither slavery nor involuntary
servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes," should ever
be permitted. That kept the door of the Northern States closed against
the Southern slavery system. Although such action might be held as
mandatory on every State created out of the North-west Territory, it
could not be so held in States made out of the Louisiana Purchase.
Indeed, the treaty of 1803 promised the inhabitants "the free enjoyment
of their liberty; property, and religion." So strongly was the Southern
element entrenched in national affairs, and so slightly had the ethical
views of the Pennsylvania Friends affected the country at large, that
the word "property" was tacitly allowed to cover slaves. Louisiana,
the first trans-Mississippi State, was admitted with a constitution
not prohibiting, and hence permitting slavery. The act changing the
Territory of Louisiana, which covered the remainder of the Louisiana
Purchase, into the Missouri Territory, passed at the same time, left
the Territory open to slavery in the same manner. Slaves could be
legally held on the west of the Mississippi as far north as Canada.

This Territory of Missouri, extending from the southern boundary of
the State of Arkansas to the Canadian line, received its share of
Western migrants. It embraced the heart of the continent. It extended
indefinitely up the Missouri River and the Yellowstone, where its
traders and trappers came into competition with the outposts of the
Hudson Bay and the North-west fur-trading companies, under the
protection of a vast system of British troops and outposts. Still
farther to the north-west the Americans found the Russian Company,
under protection of its Government, taking furs presumably from the
Louisiana country to supply Euro-Asia. It is no wonder that American
traders began to demand similar protection from their Government. Other
industries arising from the rapidly increasing population also demanded

When the United States took possession of the Louisiana country, the
upper portion contained probably not more than six thousand inhabitants,
about one thousand being slaves. In 1810, it had twenty thousand. A
decade later, as the Territory of Missouri, it had grown to four times
that number and was ready for division and statehood. A petition reached
Congress in 1819, setting forth its claims. It was understood that the
new State would centre about St. Louis, a thriving city of ten thousand
inhabitants, situated just below the mouth of the Missouri, and that
both the Northern and Southern extremes of the vast territory would
be cut off. To make a proper line of demarcation, the Kentucky-Tennessee
boundary of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes was extended across
the Mississippi; and the "Arkansas country," which lay to the south
of it, was erected into a separate territory and given that name. A
northern boundary for the proposed state was projected westwardly from
near the mouth of the Des Moines River.

An attempt was made by a few radicals to apply the anti-slavery clause
from the North-west Territory Ordinance of 1787 to the Territory of
Arkansas; but it would so manifestly destroy the balance between the
sections that the project was abandoned. In time Arkansas would become
a slave State. It was presumed by many Northern statesmen that the
boundary line between Arkansas and Missouri would thus be accepted as
a continuation of the line between the two sections, which had been
extended across the continent with the movement of the people. It was
begun when Pennsylvania and all States north adopted some form of
emancipation for their slaves, and neither Maryland nor any State south
thought best to do so. Hence the boundary line between the two States,
run by the geographers, Mason and Dixon, in early days, became the
first sectional line. The Ohio River was made a prolongation of the
unfortunate line through the ordinance creating the North-west
Territory, which forbade slavery north of the river, and the ordinance,
for the South-western Territory, which forbade interference with slavery
south of the river. The westward movement of population now made it
necessary to extend the line across the Louisiana Purchase.

It had been impossible to decide the slavery question when the Territory
of Missouri was created, as was done for the land north of the Ohio,
because it extended over so many degrees of latitude, covering land
both favourable and hostile by climate to the system. It was thought
that about one-fifth of the population was composed of slaves in 1820;
but they were mostly in Arkansas Territory. From a geographical
standpoint, the southern boundary of the proposed State was within
half a degree of being a direct continuation of the Ohio River at its
mouth. It seemed to the Northern people a most reasonable line to
establish between the sections. But the Ohio pursues a south-west
instead of a due west course. By following it, the South had lost two
and a half degrees of territory. The Mason and Dixon line is about
thirty-nine degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, while the mouth
of the Ohio is at thirty-seven degrees. By extending the interstate
boundary line nearest the mouth--viz., that between Kentucky and
Tennessee at thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes--the slavery section
would lose a strip across the Louisiana Purchase as wide as the State
of Kentucky at its greatest width. Thus even the natural features of
the continent seemed to cry out against drawing sectional lines for
a united people. For this reason the Southern element demanded that
the continuation of the line between slavery and free soil should be
drawn along the northern boundary of the proposed State, which was
about one degree north of the old Mason and Dixon line.

The balance of power between the sections in the Senate, which had
been maintained without difficulty thus far, was seriously threatened
by this Missouri question. At the beginning of the Constitutional Union
seven States were clearly destined by their climate and occupation for
free labour, leaving six for slave labour. The latter thus lacked two
senatorial votes of equalling the North from the beginning. The
admission of Vermont and Kentucky, a Northern and a Southern State,
maintained the ratio. It was continued farther by the admission of
Tennessee and Ohio, Louisiana and Indiana, Mississippi and Illinois.
This balance had been thus far an accident, depending upon the time
when a portion of land had sufficient population for statehood; but
it had become such a tacit understanding, that the admission of Alabama
in 1819, it was said, made the sections exactly equal in the number
of Senators. At almost the same time Missouri and Maine were ready.
The latter because of climate must undoubtedly be admitted as a free
State. The former must be given to slavery if the balance between the
two sections was to be maintained. But the extension of the line of
thirty-six thirty would make Missouri a free State. The location of
States heretofore admitted had been so indisputably upon the one side
or the other of the slavery-freedom line that uncertainty was
impossible. Missouri, as has been shown, lay right athwart the

There had been comparatively little anti-slavery agitation thus far,
being confined to attacks upon the slave trade and an occasional
petition from the Friends; yet the sentiment that slavery was an
economic evil was firmly established in the overstocked border slave
States, and that it was both an economic and moral evil was believed
by a growing number in the Northern States. The "Lower South," or Gulf
States, were thus left as the guardians of a system which the increasing
cultivation of cotton in that region made unusually profitable and,
as they thought, indispensable. Missouri lay far to the north of them,
but the maintenance of political power in the Union was essential to
their future if they read aright the growing hostile sentiment of the
North. Immediate or gradual emancipation had been provided by every
old State in the North, and slavery had been prohibited by the
constitutions of the new Northern States. Feeling the approval of a
good conscience, it was probable that the North would eventually demand
a kindred movement in the South. There is no reformer likely to be so
intolerant as the one who has left off what he considers a bad habit.

The slavery system had been so thoroughly rooted in colonial times and
so freely recognised and protected in the Constitution, that few as
yet contemplated interfering with it in any State where it already
existed. Home rule and individual rights were too sacred for that.
Majority rule had not yet made sufficient headway against individualism.
But the Union had a kind of prenatal control which it could exercise
over States created from Territories. Here was an opportunity to
exercise it. An early attempt was made in Congress on the part of those
hostile to the extension of slavery to make Missouri a free State by
prohibiting "the further introduction of slavery or involuntary
servitude." It was met by a counter amendment from the pro-slavery
people jointly admitting Maine and Missouri with no such restrictions.
This would evidently throw Missouri open to slavery.

The ensuing debates in Congress, covering parts of two sessions, opened
all the sectional dissensions, showed how weak were the ties of unionism
thus far developed, cut sharp lines across political parties, and
shifted the old East and West sectional danger to North and South. The
phrase "Mason and Dixon line" was used to express the sectional
demarcation, transformed to that use, it is said, by John Randolph.
Recrimination and abuse were common. Northern speakers drew insulting
comparisons between the population, wealth, and prosperity of the free
and slave States. They attributed the difference to the blight of
slavery. Southern speakers explained that slavery was a thing of which
a non-resident could not judge properly; that what appeared to an
outsider as a lack of prosperity was the enjoyment of life by a people
not devoted to the sordid aspects of existence; that slavery was a
matter for home rule and did not concern the other half of the Union.
The Northern contingent replied that slavery was a menace to free
labour and that their devotion to all parts of the Union, as well as
their right of self-preservation, warranted their interference. Then
the Southern speakers taunted them with Shays's Rebellion, the whiskey
insurrection, and the Hartford Convention, as proofs of their devotion
to the Union. The people of New York were reproached with wishing to
deprive Southern people of their slave property, although they
themselves still held more than ten thousand slaves and held them under
protection of the State laws. One Southern speaker came very near the
truth when he predicted that the census for 1820 would show fully
twenty thousand slaves still held in bondage in the Northern States.
A long discussion arose over the number of troops each section had
furnished to the Revolutionary War and upon the number of distinguished
men bred in each section. The Bible was quoted freely to attack or
defend human bondage. Resolutions of State Legislatures added their
weight to either side. Some debaters in Congress deplored the "poisoning
of the national affection," seeing in it the revival of the sectional
envy and dislike dormant for the past thirty years. Other hot-blooded
speakers declared that this contest could be ended only by bloodshed.

Looking beneath the unfortunate sectionalism, which was to retard the
growth of the Union for the coming half-century, one sees that the
people faced a new question: had the United States a right to place
an anti-slavery restriction on a sovereign State at the time of
creating it from a Territory? The answer would greatly affect the
relation of the States to the Union. Few States had been admitted
without some conditions, such as the non-taxation of public lands and
the perpetual freedom of navigable waters; but those were of national
importance and different from slavery, which was claimed to be of local
concern. In admitting Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, formed from the
North-west Territory, Congress had provided that their constitutions
should not be repugnant to the Ordinance of 1787. That this did not
mean a rigid adherence to the anti-slavery provision was shown by the
admission of Illinois in 1818 with an apprentice system, which made
slavery possible in that State for twenty-two years to come. A motion
to reject the application of Illinois on this ground was overwhelmingly
defeated. The States of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama,
had been created out of the indefinite territory south of the Ohio
River in which Congress had pledged itself to make no law emancipating
slaves. No slavery conditions were placed upon their admission, which
was considered equivalent to an agreement that they were to be slave
States. Louisiana was created out of the Louisiana Purchase and Arkansas
made into a Territory with the same tacit permission, as has been said.
Precedent consequently taught everything and nothing so far as Missouri
was concerned.

The obligations of the Union toward a State were freely discussed;
whether "new states may be admitted by the Congress" meant "must" be
admitted. On a small scale the discussion rehearsed the Hayne-Webster
debate a decade later. Occasional pleas were heard for "the old
Republican doctrine which limited the general government to the
expressed powers and prevented it from encroaching on the young states
or on the free movement of personal property." Various phrases in the
Constitution were quoted both to prove and disprove the power of
Congress to prohibit slavery in a new State. "The citizens of each
state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens
in the several states," it was claimed, would permit the migration of
slaveholders to Missouri with their property. "The migration or
importation of such persons as any of the states now existing shall
think proper to admit shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior
to 1808," was said to permit, conversely, such prohibition after that
date. The other side claimed that the clause was intended to refer
solely to slaves imported into the United States and not to interstate
migration. Under the clause that the Congress shall guarantee a
republican form of government to every State, the Declaration of
Independence was quoted to prove that freedom is the natural condition
of a republic and that slaves were held only pending their emancipation.
Such sentiments drew a sharp rebuke from the opposing side. Slaves
might even then be in the gallery, it was said, to overhear such
revolutionary doctrine.

So persistent were members in hunting up and interpreting various
phrases of the Constitution, each to suit his own views, that one
disgusted Republican protested against "a species of special pleading
which hunts for powers in words and sentences taken here and there
from the instrument and patched together forming something like a
pretext for the exercise of power palpably interdicted by the plain
sense and intention of the instrument." The cry of "home rule" for the
State of Missouri on the slavery question was the forerunner of
"squatter sovereignty" two decades later. Calhoun's later plea that
any citizen had the right to migrate to any part of the co-operative
public lands and to carry with him all his property found a first
hearing in this debate on the admission of Missouri.

The equilibrium maintained so carefully in the Senate had long since
disappeared in the House because of the varying distribution of
population. Of the 180 members who considered the Missouri question
in the more popular branch, 104 came from the free States and only 76
from the slave States. The vote of 87 to 76 by which the House finally
forbade slavery in the new State was indicative to some extent of this
proportion, although party lines influenced a few votes. Virginia stood
solidly for slavery, and New York, with one exception, against it. Of
the nineteen votes from Pennsylvania, only one was cast for slavery
in Missouri. Massachusetts was almost as unanimous. North and South
Carolina, Georgia and Mississippi, the future champions of the system,
unanimously opposed placing such restriction on the new State. The
Senate, more nearly balanced, refused to agree with the restrictive
vote of the House. A counter-measure was proposed by the Southern
interests to admit Maine and Missouri jointly, allowing home rule to
each on the slavery question. The majority in the House opposed this
method of evidently opening the new State to slavery. A deadlock between
the two branches was imminent.

Meanwhile a bill had appeared in the Senate to draw the dividing-line
between slavery and freedom across the Louisiana Purchase along
thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, a continuation
of the Kentucky-Tennessee boundary. This would make Missouri a free
State. Considering the triangular shape of the purchase, with the bulk
of land lying to the north of the proposed line, the division was
manifestly unequal. Roughly estimated, the proportions would be about
one to seven. That would mean in time fourteen Northern and two Southern
Senators. It would mean seven times the chances of population for
representation in the House. At last, Henry Clay, Speaker of the House,
who had favoured slavery in Missouri, was able to effect a compromise
whereby thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes was accepted as the
dividing-line; but the State of Missouri, which lay to the north of
it, was made an exception and admitted without any restriction and,
consequently, open to slavery. In all the remainder of the vast tract
north of the line slavery was forbidden, as it had been in the Northwest

This extension of the slavery-freedom line ran up the Mississippi from
the mouth of the Ohio, passed about the State of Missouri, returned
to her southern boundary, and ran thence to the summit of the Rocky
Mountains. There were now twelve free and twelve slave States in the
Union. The South had gained her point in throwing Missouri open to
slavery and so maintaining the balance of power in the Senate. But she
had paid a heavy penalty for it. That she would remain content with
this unequal distribution; that the next generation would abide by the
compromise when new States were created; that the free migration of
the people with their property could be checked by a parallel of
latitude; that the question of territorial slavery had been settled
by a drawn battle, few could hope or expect.

This dissension over the simple matter of admitting a State to the
Union was a temporary check to the national feeling engendered by the
War of 1812. The spectre of sectionalism was disclosed at the banquet
table. Jefferson compared it to an alarm-bell in the night, when writing
from Monticello to John Adams. "The Missouri question," replied the
retired statesman of Braintree, "I hope, will follow the other waves
under the ship and do no harm." Yet he appreciated the dangers of
sectionalism under unscrupulous leaders. "I am Cassandra enough to
dream," he added, "that another Hamilton, another Burr, might rend
this mighty fabric in twain ... and a few more choice spirits of the
same stamp might produce as many nations in North America as there are
in Europe." The third ex-President, Madison, deplored the "angry and
unfortunate discussion" about Missouri. "Should a state of parties
arise," he said, "founded on geographical boundaries and other physical
and permanent distinctions which happen to coincide with them, what
is to control those great repulsive masses from awful shocks against
each other?" Time alone was needed to bring a sad answer to the inquiry.



The rebirth of nationalism, which followed the War of 1812 in the New
World, was likely sooner or later to come into conflict with the rebirth
of monarchy, which followed the Napoleonic wars in the Old World. The
restoration of the European monarchs had been witnessed by the American
people with a mingling of indignation and despair. Daily the conviction
grew that free government must find a home in America if it survived.
American self-government and a free people were arrayed in popular
thought against European monarchy and nobility. Commenting on the
accumulated wealth of the British nobility, an American editor said:
"Thanks be to Heaven! we have probably not one man in the United States
whose settled income is equal to a half of the least of these. But in
lieu of such great estates, we have a pleasing contrast to offer in
the vast majority we possess of persons who earn or receive from $1,000
to $1,500 a year, and who are the bone and sinew of our country and
the natural republicans of every clime." American newspapers lost no
opportunity of ridiculing European royalty. The cost of maintaining
the nobility was dwelt upon as a burden on the people. The attempt of
George IV. to divorce his Queen furnished a text for many republican
sermons. The coronation of the King in his "holy" and "sacred" vestments
was declared to be ridiculous. "We plain republicans," said one writer,
"cannot understand how there could be anything more like sacrilege in
stealing that mantle than in stealing a sheep."

The Church was prominent in all phases of the restoration of legitimacy
in Europe--a connection incomprehensible in America, where Church and
State had been completely severed in the course of the political
revolution. Disestablishment by statute in Virginia had been followed
by similar action in all States where the Established Church held.
Local constitutions as formed by the States guaranteed not toleration,
but absolute religious freedom. The first amendment to the Constitution
of the United States made this freedom national. The Ordinance for the
North-west Territory extended it to States yet unborn. Washington, as
President, gave assurance of non-interference in the replies which
he framed to addresses from the leading sects. Indeed, it is difficult
to imagine how a State church could have been maintained in the rapid
shifting of the Chief Executive. President Washington was an
Episcopalian, President Adams a Congregationalist, and President
Jefferson a free-thinker, or Unitarian of later times. So thoroughly
had Church and State been divorced in America that some suspicion was
aroused over a manifesto signed at St. Petersburg, on "the day of the
birth of our Saviour," 1816, by the monarchs of Austria, Russia, and
Prussia. It announced that "in conformity with the words of the Holy
Scripture, which commands all men to regard one another as brethren,"
the three agreed to lend each other assistance, aid, and support, and
to govern their subjects in "a spirit of fraternity for the protection
of religion, peace and justice." The exhortation of these monarchs to
their people to fortify themselves in the principles of the Saviour,
no less than the confession that they themselves ruled only by a
delegation of power from Christ, was regarded by the Protestant
Americans as religious cant. The power behind the throne was more
likely force of arms. The provision that other nations professing these
principles should be "received with as much readiness as affection in
this holy alliance" was regarded as a bid and possible conspiracy for
the extension of legitimacy not alone to Europe, but to the colonial
holdings as well.

The United States, although sneering at the legitimacy of European
monarchs and disappointed in seeing their high hopes in the French
Revolution brought to such a defeat, had no vital interest in any
restoration save within the Spanish colonies in America, which had
revolted under Napoleonic interference. British Canada had made no
attempt at revolution and France had no possessions on the American
Continent. The United States had watched eagerly and sympathetically
the spread of revolutionary principles from colony to colony in the
Spanish-American possessions, and the resulting institution of
self-government. Orators vied with each other in picturing the spread
of freedom in the New World. Statesmen drew up constitutions for the
new republics. Clay was given a vote of thanks by the Mexican Congress
for his sentiments expressed for their welfare. Ministers had been
sent to them as rapidly as they showed ability to govern themselves
and to maintain a stable government. Should all this good work be
undone and the hands turned backward on the dial of liberty by
conspiring European monarchs? Should legitimacy cast its blight again
on the New World as it had already done on the Old? Should the Holy
Alliance be allowed to extend its monarchical compulsion to the
Spanish-American republics under the sacred garb of religion?

Speculation was rife in both British and American newspapers concerning
the objects of this holy league, or Holy Alliance, as it began to be
called. To some it smacked of Inquisition days. To others it suggested
a crusade on all republican principles. In the House of Commons
Castlereagh explained that it contemplated no hostility to States
outside the Church and that it was couched in the mildest spirit of
Christian toleration. He confessed that it was drawn up in an unusual
manner, but that it nevertheless gave no grounds whatever for
entertaining the slightest jealousy.

England had assisted in the restoration of monarchy. Would Protestant
England join the Holy Alliance? Would the Alliance turn its attention
to the Spanish-American republics after it had carried out its evident
determination to replace Ferdinand on the Spanish throne? These were
questions asked by the people of the United States. If Europe was to
become the champion of monarchy and legitimacy, why should not America
become the guardian of freedom and republicanism? Undoubtedly the
tendency of Russia to creep quietly down the Pacific coast from her
north-west possessions contributed to the conviction that the offices
of the Holy Alliance could be called into service in that quarter also
if necessary. It is just as true that the struggle for autonomy which
the Greeks were instituting attracted sympathy in America and added
to the conviction that a world struggle was imminent between monarchy
and republicanism.

That destiny had marked the United States for an unparalleled career
had been a common saying since the days of Patrick Henry. But that
isolation from European entanglements was necessary to fulfil it was
equally appreciated. Washington had expressed this conviction in his
farewell address. Jefferson had been goaded into the wish that an ocean
of fire separated the two hemispheres. Madison in 1811, fearing that
Great Britain intended interfering in Florida affairs, questioned
whether the United States should not announce that it could not see,
"without serious inquietude," neighbouring territory pass from Spain
to any other foreign power. "The provinces belonging to this hemisphere
are our neighbors," said President Monroe in a special message to
Congress in 1822. "The foothold which the nations of Europe had in
either America is slipping from under them," wrote ex-President
Jefferson to Monroe, "so that we shall soon be rid of their
neighborhood." "The American continents are no longer subjects for any
new European colonial establishments," said Secretary of State John
Quincy Adams to the Russian Minister, in discussing the proper limits
of Russian America on the north-west coast. The United States
representative to England was authorised by Adams to announce the fact
that the American continents would be no longer subject to European
colonisation. Occupied by civilised, independent nations, they would
be accessible to Europeans and to each other on that footing alone.

The United States "should therefore have a system of her own separate
and apart from that of Europe," replied Jefferson to President Monroe,
who had consulted him in the autumn of 1823 concerning the various
topics to be treated in his annual message to Congress. "While the
last is laboring to become the domicile of despotism, our endeavor
should surely be to make our hemisphere that of freedom." He agreed
upon the advisability of some public notice. "Its object is to introduce
and establish the American system of keeping out of our land all foreign
powers, of never permitting those of Europe to intermeddle with the
affairs of our nation." Since such a stand might bring war, he advised
Monroe to present the matter to Congress at the coming session in the
shape of a declaration of principles.

These utterances of public men backed by the increasing feeling of
nationality among the people assumed final shape in the announcement
by Monroe in his seventh annual message to Congress, December, 1823,
of the famous "doctrine" which bears his name. It strongly hinted that
the United States would interpose against any European attempt to
interfere with the freedom of the South American republics or to extend
farther the monarchical system to the New World. At the same time, it
denied any intention on the part of the United States of interfering
with European affairs. It meant the future separation of the two
hemispheres so far as control was concerned. The only exceptions at
the time were England in Canada, Spain in the West Indies, and Russia
on the north-west coast. It meant self-preservation for the present
and proper precautions for the future.

The announcement created little comment at home. The people generally
are not in touch with presidential messages unless some concrete case
is involved. The Holy Alliance had taken as yet no overt action toward
the New World. In Europe the announcement attracted more attention.
Before this time, it had been said in the British Commons that the
Congress of Vienna should have seen to the balance of power in the New
as well as the Old World. Another speaker had called attention to the
fact that two German princes could not exchange meadows without
attracting European attention in a congress, but that the United States
was allowed to take any stand or acquire any territory in a vast
continent. But British sentiment had now turned against the Holy
Alliance, and the British press pronounced the Monroe doctrine "noble
and firm, yet temperate and pacific." They contrasted its "manly
plainness" with the Machiavellism and hypocrisy of the European
manifestos. "Intervention in South American affairs," said one writer,
"may now be considered as at rest. The United States would resist by
war and no power is willing to affront both the United States and Great
Britain." The French press belittled the announcement as the personal
expression of "a temporary president of a republic only forty years
old." It also called attention to the fact that this republic, which
was so boldly proclaiming the severance of the Western world, was
bounded on the north by the possessions of the king of England and on
the south by those of the king of Spain--a pretty situation for the
self-appointed protector of the two Americas!

The Monroe doctrine, or "policy" as it should be called, spoke the
sentiment of nationality engendered by the late war and augmented until
it had assumed the cry of "America for Americans!" The acquisition of
Louisiana and the Floridas, the absence of political parties, and the
appreciation of republican blessings were the prime causes. The
announcement marked the climax of unionism for the time. The sectional
fears aroused by the slavery issue in Missouri three years before had
been quieted by a compromise and were now forgotten in a national
alliance against foreign menace. The announcement inaugurated a period
of isolation for the United States, during which she could gain strength
to meet her European rivals on equal ground instead of becoming a tool
for them. Never again would she be caught in an entangling alliance
such as that with France in 1778.

If American national feeling had diminished after the announcement,
the doctrine of American individuality and of American destiny would
have waned and disappeared. That the policy has been expanded until
it covers nearly every phase of foreign relationship in the New World,
that a simple announcement which grew out of a condition has been made
into an expression of American paramount interest, that it has become
a national fetich although unrecognised as a part of international
law,--all this is a fresh indication of the steady growth of national
sentiment and activity.

Just in the full flush of the announcement, a more zealous race with
a more fiery temperament than the Americans might have gone too far.
The temptation was presented most attractively. The South Americans,
the antipodals of the North Americans, saw in the Monroe announcement
a protection from European interference. Several of the republics
planned a congress at the central city of Panama, "to settle a general
system of American policy in relation to Europe, leaving to each section
of the country a perfect liberty of independent self-government." They
hoped for a gathering of "the powers of America" to offset the powers
of Europe. An alliance against an Alliance was the thought. Among the
objects to be considered was "the manner in which all the colonization
of European powers on the American continent shall be resisted, and
their interference in the present contest between Spain and her former
colonies prevented." Since this was simply a re-statement of the Monroe
doctrine, it was presumed that the United States would take a leading
part; but because the abolition of slavery was another point to be
considered, the pro-slavery element in Congress overruled the wish of
President Adams to take part in the meeting. It was also feared that
a participation might involve the United States in the prevailing war
between Spain and the South American republics.

The interesting but profitless field of speculation might be exhausted
in imagining the result if the United States had thus linked herself
to the Spanish Americas in an American alliance. The problem of securing
the trade of those republics, which has occupied the attention of many
statesmen since that day, might have yielded to this solution; but
that any permanent alliance could have been made between peoples of
antagonistic temperament and varying ideals of self-government is far
from likely. Many times since then the growing American spirit has
demanded that Uncle Sam should become the policeman of America; but
the narrow escape in this instance from incurring such an undesirable
task leads to the hope that it will never be assumed.

Leadership in the "let us alone" policy was taken by the United States
as the result of her geographic isolation, as well as her centrality
of location. She was nearest to the new republics and had most to lose.
Eliminating Canada as a British possession and Brazil with an enervating
climate and Latin leadership, the United States was the only power
whose size and resources entitled her to speak with authority on the
question of European interference. The Monroe doctrine was primarily
intracontinental and for immediate self-preservation; secondarily it
was extracontinental and for ultimate self-preservation. England, the
only European New World power remaining of the six whose discoveries
originally entitled them to that distinction, was equally interested
in the preservation of Canada and the freedom of trade which the
independence of the Spanish-American republics made possible. She
rejected the Holy Alliance to support the Monroe doctrine. Without
British co-operation it is doubtful whether the stand could have been
maintained and the Holy Alliance held in check. This cooperation brought
about a speedy _rapprochement_ between the two recent enemies. It was
hastened by the diplomatic skill of Gallatin in arranging for a joint
occupation of the region west of the Rocky Mountains commonly known
as the Oregon country. By the treaties of 1818 and 1827, final decision
was delayed until increasing population should aid in deciding

Nationality had been breeding constantly in directions aside from
foreign policy, protective tariffs, and internal improvements. A
literary independence was manifesting itself, although in a crude form.
The sneers of Britain that the Americans were dependent upon Europe
for their literature, although indignantly denied, were largely true.
American publishers had been long accustomed to reprint English works,
upon which, in the absence of an international copyright law, they
paid no royalties. Byron, Wordsworth, Scott, Coleridge, Keats, Moore,
Hallam, Maria Edgeworth, and Miss Austen were made available to American
readers in this way. In any parlour a young woman would be found who
could sing _Bonnie Doon_ or recite from _The Lady of the Lake_. A
review of _Don Juan_ appeared in a magazine published in central
Kentucky within six weeks after it was first printed in England.
Democracy and nature were the subjects mostly adopted by these English
writers, and they appealed quite naturally to New World readers. As
Lowell, at a later time, said of the Americans of this period:

"They stole Englishmen's books and thought Englishmen's thoughts;
With English salt on her tail, our wild Eagle was caught."

[Illustration: WASHINGTON IRVING. From the etching by Jacques Reich.]

So dependent were the States, that a publisher who dared to bring out
a native work did so at a financial peril. The first edition of
Trumbull's _Poems_ lost one thousand dollars. Morse's Geography,
text-books, and the classics were the only remunerative publications.
But soon after the War of 1812, evidences of a change were manifest.
The attention of American writers heretofore had been occupied largely
with the rights of man and other political theories borrowed from the
Old World. Democracy had now adjusted itself to the conditions of the
New World and had become practical. Wild-eyed theory had given way to
plain fact. Economic questions, begotten of the new domestic conditions,
were beginning to occupy public attention. Abstract political rights
became secondary to the price and production of cotton, the
encouragement of manufactures, the invention of machinery, means of
transportation, the employment of emigrants, and the economic value
of the slavery system. In 1819, Irving refused a remunerative offer
to contribute to the _London Quarterly_, because it had been unremitting
in its abuse of his countrymen. He preferred to patronise a home

This declaration of literary independence was indicative of the times.
Between the close of the war and the end of Jackson's second
administration, probably one hundred and fifty periodicals, entirely
separate from the newspapers, were established in the United States.
About one-third of them was of a religious character, and as many more
devoted to some kind of philanthropic purpose, like temperance, African
colonisation, and missionary work. Their nature may be indicated by
such titles as _The New York Mirror_, _The Casket_, _The Evangelical
Guardian_, _The Portico_, _The Lady Book_, _The Boston Pearl_, _The
Cincinnati Mirror_, and _The Family Lyceum_. Many of these lived only
a year or two, yet they show a desire among the people for a native
literature, however crude and sentimental it might be. During this
period also came the evanescent "Annual," a species of vapid literature
borrowed from Germany through England. Upon the centre-table, near the
case of stuffed birds, you could find _The Token_ or _The Pearl_.
Perhaps the giver had preferred _The Casket_ or _The Western Souvenir_.
Symptoms of a more advanced regard were denoted by the choice of the
_Remember Me_.

The largest number of these ephemeral periodicals appeared in New York,
and the next largest in Philadelphia. Boston ranked third. Philadelphia,
the home of Franklin, of Hopkinson, and of Rittenhouse, had been the
literary head of America before the War of 1812. So long as the Ohio
River remained the natural highway to the West, her literary products
found a market which no competitor could take away. But with the
development of other ways, and especially with the opening of the Erie
Canal, New York and Boston gradually won these laurels from her.

Indeed, the West began to supply its own wants. Of these transitory
publications, no less than seventeen were established west of the
Alleghenies. As early as 1803, a literary magazine had been founded
at Lexington, Kentucky, the seat of the Transylvania University and
the centre of culture for the Ohio valley. Even villages aspired to
be "the Athens of the West." Mt. Pleasant and Oxford in the State of
Ohio vied with Rogersville, Tennessee, and Vandalia, Illinois, in
establishing literary magazines and fostering literary pursuits.

All this marks simply a stage in the development of American literature,
as it shows a step in the growth of American nationality. Permanent
literature awaited better printing facilities, larger patronage of
letters, improved postal accommodations, the growth of cities, and
more leisure and more refinement. Prophecies of a true national
awakening are to be sought not alone in the Monroe doctrine, the tariff
and bank issues, and the spread of internal improvements,--political
events which commonly eclipse the intellectual aspects of nationality;
but also in the Unitarian revolt of 1815, led by Channing, which loosed
New England from the stiffening bonds of Calvinism, the Quaker schism
in the Middle States, and the birth of the Campbellites in the West.
The goodness of man was beginning to attract more attention than the
total depravity of man. The _North American Review_ was founded in
1815. Four years later, Irving published the _Sketch-Book_. Bryant's
first volume of poems, treating generally of local themes, appeared
in 1820. During the ensuing ten years Cooper gave out eleven novels,
the scenes of which were laid almost exclusively in America. Only the
world-reform movement of 1830 was needed to develop fully an American

Although not so immediately connected with the people, this story must
not lose sight of another function of the government of the States
which was steadily making for their unification. The Federal Judiciary,
the one branch of the national frame which the Republicans in their
twenty years of national control had not been able to curb or get
possession of, was following the bias which John Marshall's first
decisions gave to it. Abuses in the Legislative and Executive branches
could be corrected by an appeal to the ballot. Substantial proof of
the efficacy of this corrective was to be found in the Alien and

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