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The United States of America Part I by Ediwn Erle Sparks

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Sedition laws, according to the Republicans. They claimed to have
appealed to the people in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, and
the people had cast the offending party from power. But the Judiciary
was entrenched in life tenure and not susceptible to this remedy. It
was a constant regret to Jefferson to the end of his life that the
corrective measures taken by him and his party against the national
courts had not included an amendment changing the life tenure of the
judges to a definite period of years. The idea of a permanent Judiciary
had been one of the results of the political struggle with Great Britain
preceding the Revolution. Jefferson also regretted that no one in the
Convention of 1787 had thought of changing the vote necessary for
removing a judge by impeachment from two-thirds to a majority.

Year after year, during the Republican administrations, the national
Judiciary had been quietly shoring up by its decisions the fabric of
the Union, as fate compelled the Jeffersonians to erect it. The
"formative decisions" of John Marshall, during his thirty-four years
on the Supreme bench, maintained constantly the rights of the Federal
courts and added to the prerogatives of the Central Government against
the States. Scarcely a decision favoured the reserved rights theory.
By the opinion in Marbury _vs_. Madison, already quoted, the Executive
branch, presumably entirely divorced from the Judiciary, was found to
be under a certain control. The case of Cohens _vs_. Virginia sustained
the power of the Federal court over an appeal from a State court. It
often happened that in a decision, as in the case of Insurance Company
_vs_. Canter, Marshall took occasion to bring out deductions remotely
germane to the pending case, but tending to broaden the scope of the
Federal power. In this instance, he declared that the constitutional
power to make a treaty carried the implied power to acquire territory.
This really gave authority to unauthorised acts of the Republicans in
purchasing Louisiana; but their remedy was an amendment and not a
decision which made the legislative and executive powers still more
dependent upon the judiciary.

Jefferson complained of these "obiter dissertations," which suggested
consolidating actions to other parts of the Federal Government. In the
trial of Aaron Burr for treason, Justice Marshall held that, according
to the Constitution, some overt act was necessary to constitute treason.
This practical release of his former political opponent was to Jefferson
as sore a grievance as Marshall's action in sending to him for certain
papers connected with the case. He declared the latter act a
presumptuous infringement upon the dignity of the Chief Executive.

The case of McCulloch _vs_. Maryland, in 1819, denying the right of
a State to tax a branch of the United States bank, afforded the court
an opportunity of dwelling upon the implied powers in the Constitution
and of giving judicial sanction to the various legislative acts already
done under them. To charter a bank was not among the powers given to
the National Government, but was "implied," as Marshall held. The
decision gave great offence to the particularists and called general
attention to this silent Union-making factor. Various Southern writers
took up pens against this new menace to individual rights. Some State
Legislatures adopted protests. Madison alluded sarcastically to the
"projectile capacity" of the court, whereby it extended the power of
Congress from the exclusive jurisdiction reserve of ten miles square
constituting the District, even to the uttermost parts of the country.
The "twistifications" of Marshall, said Jefferson, showed how
dexterously he could reconcile law to his personal biasses. Indeed,
Jefferson confessed that he did not look for unbiassed opinions between
the National Government, of which the court was so eminent a part, and
individual States, from which they had nothing to fear. "They are then
in fact the corps of sappers and miners," said he, "steadily working
to undermine the independent rights of the States, and to consolidate
all powers in the hands of that Government in which they have so
important a freehold estate." He could see no hope for the future.
Even more would he have despaired if he could have known that this
silent factor in making the Union was to continue until the eighty
years of John Marshall's life were ended, before a strict
constructionist could be appointed to the head of the court and bring
its decisions back to the confines of individualism.

[Illustration: JOHN MARSHALL Chief Justice of the United States, 1801-



It is simply a deduction from facts given in the preceding pages to
say that by 1825 the trans-Alleghenian region had come into its own.
It was sufficient to itself in population, resources, and leadership.
The premiership of the Atlantic plain had passed. Foreign relations
were secondary to domestic concerns. The Monroe doctrine was called
out by foreign menace. It was voiced by Eastern statesmen; but it was
based upon the support of the inland people, who had nerved the
Administration to the War of 1812.

The fidelity of the Western people was no longer questioned. The Union
cherished their interests and they supported the Union. Their dealings
were almost exclusively with the Federal Government and not with the
States. The public land, from which their homes had been secured and
their States largely formed, was administered by the central power and
entirely for their accommodation. The land policy of the Government
was unselfish to a marked degree.

The original two million acres of public lands sold to the Ohio Company
was reduced to less than a million. Soon after, another million was
sold to John Cleves Symmes, of New Jersey, on a speculation, of which
about one-fourth was eventually taken. The State of Pennsylvania
purchased the "Erie triangle," in order to get a north-west frontage
on Lake Erie. These three sales were accomplished under the
Confederation. The price averaged about seventy-five cents an acre.

The care of the public lands had been given to the Treasury Department.
Hamilton, in 1790, presented to Congress an elaborate plan for their
disposal. Under this plan, individuals were to be dealt with as well
as companies. Lots of one square mile, containing 640 acres, were to
be placed upon sale at two dollars per acre. Public offerings were to
be made at Cincinnati, Pittsburg, and Philadelphia. But the hostility
of the Indians reduced the number of purchasers. Prior to 1800, only
a million acres had been disposed of in this manner. A law of that
year provided a system of registers and receivers, to be stationed at
land offices scattered through the North-west Territory. A credit
system was also established, whereby so small a portion as a
half-section could be purchased on instalment payments, with interest
at six per cent. This law made the lands very attractive, as credit
propositions always are. Prospective landholders rushed across the
mountains and stood in line before the register's doors. The saying,
"Doing a land-office business," brings the scene to the imagination.
As the embargo and the War of 1812 cut off men from employment on the
sea and along the coast, their attention was directed to the
possibilities of the public lands. Between 1800 and 1820, nearly twenty
million acres were sold, bringing in cash receipts of over forty-five
million dollars. After 1806, the old certificates and other forms of
government paper were no longer received in payment for lands. The
credit system had been adopted to allow poor men to purchase farms and
pay for them from the products of the land. But it tempted many to
purchase more land than they could pay for. In order to relieve these
creditors, Congress passed no less than fourteen acts. One of these
reduced the price for future purchasers to $1.25 an acre and made it
possible to purchase so small a quantity as eighty acres. This clemency
brought further demands and paved the way for the later pre-emption

The Ordinance of 1787 had declared that schools and the means of
education should be for ever encouraged, while the Land Ordinance of
1785 provided funds by setting aside a section of land in every township
of the public domain. Endowments had also been made for religious
purposes from the Ohio Company lands and from the Symmes purchase; but
the practice was discontinued thereafter, probably owing to the
difficulty of administering the land without recognising some sect.
After much discussion, Congress decided not to retain the management
of the school lands, but to hand them over to the inhabitants of the
township, the State acting as trustee. This provision was incorporated
in the formative act of every State and Territory until the organisation
of the Oregon Territory. It was a tribute to home rule. Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Missouri, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana were the States
benefited in this way before 1825. The States which contained no public
lands were obviously deprived of this resource. The income from the
school lands has been small in each State compared with the sum raised
by local taxation for educational purposes; but the gratitude inuring
to the Central Government for its charity toward what has become almost
a fetich, free education, must be noticed in describing the unification
of the American people.

Mention has been made of the share of land sale receipts under which
the Cumberland Road was begun. The original purpose was to cross the
watershed from the Potomac to the Ohio. In 1820, the great work was
completed to Wheeling, on the Ohio. Three waggons could be drawn abreast
over the greater part of its length. Solid stone bridges arched the
watercourses. The well-paved surface greatly reduced the length of
time required for carrying the mails across the mountains. Rapid stage
lines and freight waggons of large capacity passed to and fro. Droves
of cattle and hogs were frequently met, passing over it to an Eastern
market. More than $1,800,000 had already been spent by the National
Government on its construction, being "advanced" in anticipation of
the land sales.

Here the hand of compulsion showed itself. The States of Indiana,
Illinois, and Missouri, with whom bargains had been made for spending
part of the proceeds of the land sales in building roads to their
borders, complained that a road to the Ohio did not fulfill the
contract. Hence the road was extended through the capitals of these
States, committing the Federal Government for many years to come to
one form at least of internal improvement. The farce of "advancing"
the money was continued a while longer.

Of the four great highways over the Allegheny watershed, contemplated
by Gallatin in his report in 1808, the Cumberland Road was the only
one realised. No excuse similar to the one under which it was begun
ever presented itself, and the party vision was not sufficiently
national to undertake public improvements unless in disguise. The
strict-construction theory that these works should be built by the
individual States threw upon the newer States a burden which they could
ill afford to bear. The West was almost ready to revolt against the
hidebound policy of the Administrations.

Individualism was characteristic of the Southern States as a whole,
but this improvement question broke the ranks of individualism by
allying the newer Southern States with the newer Northern States for
the benefits of national paternalism. To illustrate: a proposition in
1824 to employ the army engineers in making surveys for roads and
canals passed the House without a negative vote from Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Louisiana, or Alabama. Of the
older States, Maryland and Pennsylvania, interested in opening up the
western parts of their respective domains in this manner, joined
themselves to the Western States and made possible the passage of the
bill. Different speakers deplored this tendency to arouse sectional
animosities; to array the older States, which had made such improvements
from their own resources, against the new States, which would presumably
be the sole gainers by government aid.

Clay was the leader of the Western section. He saw in the situation
possibilities of building up a great following for this American idea.
He declared that the power of Congress to control commerce meant inland
as well as ocean commerce; that the construction of harbours upon the
Great Lakes was as much a duty as the building of harbours along the
seacoast; that dredging a Western river was as constitutional as
clearing an ocean channel. He once said that to make a distinction
between these two kinds of commerce would require an analysis of the
water for each appropriation; if salt, the measure was constitutional;
if fresh water, unconstitutional.

"Two years ago," said he, in pleading for a system of canals for the
western people, "a sea wall, in other words, a marine canal, was
authorized by an act of Congress in New Hampshire, and I doubt not that
many voted for it who have now constitutional scruples on this bill.
Yes, everything may be done for foreign commerce; anything, everything,
on the margin of the ocean. But nothing for domestic trade; nothing for
the great interior of the country."

With his growing Western following, Clay was becoming a thorn in the
side of strict construction. He refused to be bound by theories which
had held at the beginning of the national history. "A new world," said
he, "has come into being since the Constitution was adopted. Are the
narrow, limited necessities of the old thirteen States, indeed, of
parts only of the old thirteen States as they existed at foundation
of the Constitution, for ever to remain a rule of its interpretation?"
He had little patience with the Republican theory of adding amendments
to the Constitution to bestow the implied powers. "Man and his
language," said he, "are both defective. We cannot foresee and provide
specifically for all contingencies. If you amend the constitution a
thousand times, the same imperfection of our nature and our language
will attend our new words."

Jefferson complained that Clay had banded the Western and Northern
States together under his banner of national benefits. "The Western
States," said he, "have especially been bribed by local considerations
to abandon their ancient brethren and enlist under banners alien to
them in principle and interest." So rapidly did the demand for
paternalistic measures take possession of the people, that Monroe felt
called upon to re-state the early principles of the party, as Madison
had done a few years before. The former dependencies of the National
Government bade fair to overthrow parental policies. The Cumberland
Road was a bright and shining mark. Appropriations for it could not
be stopped without a confession of inconsistency if not a revolt of
the people. But in 1822 a bill passed both Houses of Congress to collect
tolls on the road for its repair. Monroe vetoed the bill and presented
a long exposition of the Republican policy toward public improvements.
It was the most exhaustive document written on this persistent
Union-making factor. Monroe found a beginning of the reserved power
of the States in the Colonial governments which reserved all powers
not expressly given to the king. The colonies kept those rights when
transforming themselves into States. When creating the Articles of
Confederation, the States gave to them certain of these rights,
carefully specified, and reserved all the rest. The same plan was
followed in framing the Constitution.

"Had the people of the several States," said Monroe, "thought proper to
incorporate themselves into one community, under one government, they
might have done it. They wisely stopped, however, at a certain point,
extending the incorporation to that point, making the national
government thus far a consolidated government, and preserving the state
governments without that limit perfectly sovereign and independent of
the national government."

From an unprejudiced standpoint, this presentation of the historic
facts in the case is difficult to answer. "There were two separate and
independent governments," continued the President, "established over
our union, one for local purposes over each state by the people of the
state, the other for national purposes over all the states by the
people of the United States."

He next proceeded to examine the six powers given to the National
Government, which had been so distorted and incorrectly interpreted
in justifying national expenditures for public improvements that, in
his opinion, they threatened the very existence of the States. These
six enumerated powers and their distortions may be summed up: 1. To
establish post-roads; consequently to construct highways for commerce.
2. To declare war; consequently to provide means for moving troops and
supplies. 3. To regulate commerce; consequently to improve rivers and
build harbours for inland commerce. 4. To pay the debts and provide
for the common defence and general welfare; consequently, to make
appropriations for anything which would benefit the people and
contribute to their defence or welfare. 5. To make all laws necessary
and proper for carrying into effective execution the foregoing powers;
consequently to extend the expressed powers to an unlimited degree by
adding corollaries to them. 6. To dispose of and make all needful rules
and regulations concerning the territory of the United States;
consequently, to appropriate money for public improvements in them.

At the same time that he was attempting to prove that no general system
of improvements was justified by any of these expressed powers, Monroe
was demonstrating the absurdity of the policy of hesitation. The justice
of a toll system no one questioned. Those who use an improvement should
pay for its repair. A toll was sanctioned by generations of practice
and was in use on many State and corporate turnpikes and bridges.
Monroe had travelled the National Road and had seen numerous evidences
of the manner in which the highway was abused by the users and could
fully appreciate the necessity for its protection and repair. Yet his
conscientious scruples could not allow the agency which built the road
to care for it properly by collecting money simply because it must be
done inside the sacred precincts of some State. Neither would he admit
that the States individually could give permission to collect a toll,
although they could and did allow money from the national treasury to
be spent within their limits in constructing the highway originally.
Into what a constitutional maze had strict construction, driven by the
needs of the people, brought the Administration of the United States!

[Illustration: WESTERN END OF THE GREAT ERIE CANAL. Drawn with the
Camera Lucida for Hall's "Etchings of the West." Niagara River appears
in the distance and a lock in the canal nearer at hand. The lack of
natural attractiveness in this scene is an illustration of the interest
in internal improvements.]

A sufficient number of partisans were won by Monroe's exposition to
change their votes and so prevent the passage of the measure over his
veto. But the "toll-gate question" remained for several years to perplex
statesmen and cause long debates, while Congress made appropriations
directly for the repair of the Cumberland Road. Monroe had made public
improvements the fruit of Tantalus to the hungry people by suggesting
in his veto message that he would have no objection to such enterprises
being undertaken by the National Government provided an amendment were
added to the Constitution permitting such action. It was not a new
suggestion. Jefferson, in various presidential messages, had suggested
this way of meeting the demand for these paternalistic benefits. Madison
twice at least followed his example. In the sessions of 1813 and the
following year, two amendments were considered, one giving Congress
power to make roads, and the other to make canals in any State, with
the consent of the State; but no action followed. President Monroe,
in his first message, called attention to the desirability of such an
amendment and a week later a bill to that effect was introduced. It
was unique in providing that appropriations were to be distributed
among the States according to population, a prophecy of the Confederate
States constitution decades later. No less than six attempts to secure
such an amendment followed Monroe's "exposition" and suggestion. Not
one succeeded in passing either House.

The failure to secure this constitutional remedy for the public
improvement fever was a cause of anxiety to Jefferson in the closing
days of his life. In 1824, an amendment of this kind was pending,
together with others limiting the term of the Presidency and abolishing
the electoral system. "If I can see these three great amendments
prevail," said the aged statesman, "I shall consider it as a renewed
extension of the time of the lease, shall live in more confidence, and
die in more hope." He complained of the "irresistible torrent of general
opinion"; thought national appropriations for constructing roads and
canals such a breach of the national compact as would warrant withdrawal
from it; and wrote out for the Virginia Legislature a protest, as he
had done for Kentucky during the Alien and Sedition laws a quarter of
a century before. He also drew a general law to be passed by all State
Legislatures rendering legitimate all national money previously spent
within the State. Its adoption would have been a singular confession
of unconstitutional action. Several State Legislatures in the South
resolved to protest. Their representatives in Congress were resisting
national appropriations, while the Northern and Western States were
getting the advantage of them. Thus did political theory supplement
the work of nature in directing the larger portion of these
appropriations to the northern part of the country. Years after, this
unequal distribution was to constitute a Southern grievance.

This internal improvement contention, arraying the Eastern and Western
States against each other, partly nullified the permanent sectionalism
between the North and the South, and so made for unionism. Louisiana
and Ohio, uniting for improvement appropriations, forgot their
differences of opinion upon constitutional powers, upon home rule or
nationalism, upon freedom or slavery. South Carolina and Massachusetts,
joining hands to prevent these drains upon the treasury for public
works far removed from their borders, forgot for the nonce their
differences upon the question of a tariff. But all such affiliations
and truces were only temporary. Sooner or later the combat was bound
to be renewed between North and South, between peoples alienated by
inheritance, temperament, and products.

Contemporaneous with the debate on national surveys for improvements,
a spirited debate arose on the tariff. It soon showed an unfortunate
tendency to North and South sectional lines, especially when compared
with the post-war-tariff debate of eight years before. Protection in
those intervening years had begun to assume a sectional aspect, although
as yet only in a formative state. The Southern people had begun to
realise that their slave labour was not applicable to factories, and
that they must depend for their goods upon Europe and upon the Northern
States. Under the theory that the consumer pays the duty, the burden
was thought to fall equally upon all parts of the country, unless the
duty should grow into a discrimination upon one kind of goods or those
consumed exclusively in one section. Massachusetts was singular among
Northern States, being opposed to this tariff measure of 1824 because
of the high duty on canvas and other ship-building materials. Some
Southern speakers thought that the duties on cheap dry goods used by
their slaves rather discriminated against them. They pointed to the
fact that New England manufacturers scarcely needed protective
legislation, when the stock in their cotton mills was selling at
sixty-five per cent. above par and was paying heavy dividends. This
conviction grew steadily among certain Southern States for four years,
until a change in the tariff schedule brought one of them to open

A comparison of the votes on the tariff measures of 1816 and 1824
exhibits this sectional tendency. In 1816, a protective tariff in the
House gained sixty-three Northern votes to fourteen against it. Eight
years later there were eighty-eight votes for a higher tariff and
nineteen opposed to it. If it had not been for the duty on canvas,
Massachusetts would have viewed the measure favourably and would have
made the vote one hundred to seven. The North was evidently beginning
to appreciate the value of protection. The Southern members in the
House, in 1816, stood less than two to one as opposed to protection.
In 1824, they stood nearly four to one against the policy. The South
was beginning to see that a tariff benefits the manufacturer of goods
more than the producer of raw materials. The Senate shows this sectional
bias even more clearly. The reversal of the vote of the Southern
senators is particularly noticeable.


1816 1824
Northern Senators /For........16......19

Southern Senators /For.........9.......4

The advocates of the measure in the second debate made use of the
national spirit as they had in the first. Clay's "American system,"
as the protective policy began to be called, was declared a remedy for
the commercial depression under which the country suddenly found itself
suffering. Petitions, asking such relief, poured into Congress. The
economic conditions of Europe had become adjusted to peace, a condition
which had not existed since the Constitution had been first put into
execution. The United States began to realise the force of competition.
The distress which prevailed in European countries a few years before
was suddenly transferred to the United States. A barrier to keep out
European goods and secure American interdependence seemed necessary.

Clay came down from the Speaker's chair to the floor of the House to
plead his policy of home production and home consumption, a principle
for which he had fought a duel in his early Kentucky days, when he had
been pronounced a demagogue for advocating dressing in homespun. He
was now accused by the opposition of aiming at a total prohibition of
foreign goods regardless of the resulting distress to the consumer.
"Protection in 1816 has grown to prohibition in 1824," exclaimed a
speaker. "This is the consummation of the 'American policy,'" said
Robert Y. Hayne, of South Carolina, whose brilliant oratory was making
him the rival of Calhoun as the Southern spokesman. "A policy foreign
in all its features, confessedly borrowed from Great Britain, and
Chinese in its character, the policy of kings and tyrants, of
restriction and monopoly." If Britain has at any time since complained
of American protective policy, she must remember that it was inherited
by British colonies, and was fostered by a desire to retaliate on her
with her own methods before she became a freetrader.

The debates on tariff and public improvements of 1824 indicated a
speedy termination of the era of good feeling and a return to some
kind of political parties. This was to be accomplished not by a revival
of the old Federalists and Republicans, but by a division in the ranks
of the leaders. The Republicans, as has been pointed out in preceding
pages, were so transformed as to be scarcely recognisable. Only an
occasional veto and a conservative minority stood between old party
principles and the desires of an expanding people and the demands of
growing industries. The old Republicans were bewildered by the onward
march of events under the hand of compulsion. Familiar landmarks had

"We have our bank," complained one writer, "our standing army, our
permanent navy, with all the officers, sub-officers, and their
connections, ramified throughout the whole nation, all of which appears
to me to be of a piece and in direct hostility with the liberties of the
people. The people seem contented with the government's pursuing a
policy which in 1800 caused a complete revolution."

The announcement of the Monroe doctrine and the culmination of
"Americanism" were contemporary with the cessation of party spirit.
The "era of good feeling," the millennium described by Washington in
his farewell address, was at last realised. Monroe's second election
had come within one electoral vote of being unanimous.

Such unanimity could not continue. Those who believe that parties are
absolutely necessary; that men must have some means of alignment; that
individual following will immediately take the place of dormant national
issues, will find an excellent argument in this "era of good feeling,"
as well as in the ward "boss" of municipal politics. Strict construction
was practically dead, destroyed by its impracticability. But
individualism was still alive. In due time, when the commercial power
of the Gulf States, or "lower South," should become dominant, it would
reappear in the guise of "State rights," a doctrine dimly foreshadowed
by the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, but not brought to a fruition
by those border States.

On the other hand, it was equally true that Clay and the advocates of
his system could never return to the close confines of a limited or
individualistic government. A protective tariff and internal
improvements supplemented each other. Clay's companion in measures,
John Quincy Adams, was an apostate from Federalism, and never at ease
in the strict-construction ranks. Inheritance and early training
cannot be so readily overcome. These two statesmen, representing the
old and the new, the North-east and the South-west, the college-bred
lawyer and the country-bred orator, formed as strange a partnership
under the banner of nationalism as has ever been witnessed.

In using the people to further his American system, Clay was following
the tactics of his former chief, Jefferson, in the early days. But the
Republicans maintained their way as stubbornly and ignored the people
as persistently as the Federalists had done. If Clay had been Monroe's
successor in 1824, a return toward centralisation must have inevitably
followed. Supported by the people, he would have brought unification
a long step forward. Unfortunately, when it came to political strength,
Clay's people were confined to the Western section, where his efforts
in their behalf had made him an idol. He was a legislative hero, so
to speak. But there was a war hero, whose popularity was not measured
so much by a section.

The battle of New Orleans had been the redeeming feature of the War
of 1812, as has been stated. Jackson's popularity had been increased
by his highhanded actions in the Floridas. Popular thought turned to
him as a relief from the professional officeholders, such as Crawford,
Clay, Adams, and Calhoun. Newspapers called attention to the fact that
Jackson had once refused the governorship of East Florida. What offices
had these other candidates for the Presidency ever refused? Jackson's
friends rejoiced when Tennessee made him a Senator in 1824, since his
residence in Washington would enable him to compete with his rivals,
the professional office-holders.

The candidacy of Jackson for the Presidency in 1824 may truly be
regarded as evidence of a coming revolt of the people of the West. It
would have been strange if all this spirit of Americanism had not
brought about a demand for more share in the Government. It was a part
of that general movement for an extension of the suffrage which
characterised the middle period, culminating in the Dorr Rebellion.
In both the Carolinas and Maryland, a freehold of fifty acres of land
or town lots was still required for complete suffrage. Rhode Island
still admitted only a freeholder or his eldest son to citizenship. New
York had only three years before abandoned property qualification for
white men to vote and still demanded from negroes an estate of $250
for this inestimable privilege; so slowly did we slough off the
inherited idea and ancient custom of being admitted to freemen's rights
instead of being born into them.

The revolt of the people also showed itself in a demand for the right
to nominate candidates and to choose electors for the presidential
elections. Since the beginning of the Constitutional Government, many
State Legislatures had assumed that right to themselves. "Each State
shall appoint," says the Constitution, "in such manner as the
Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors." So late as 1820,
six States still refused to allow the people to choose the electors
and, consequently, the President. In five of the States where they
were chosen by the people, voting was done by districts and in the
remainder by a general ticket. Ever since the change in the manner of
casting the electoral votes was made in 1804, attempts had been made
either by an amendment to the Constitution or by national legislation,
to secure a direct and unrestricted vote for the people. It was not
fully accomplished until after the Civil War.

In selecting the candidates to be voted for, the people had still less
power. After Washington's term, candidates had been selected by a
caucus of members of Congress of each party called together at the
seat of government. Since 1800, each President had been influential
in bequeathing the office to his Secretary of State. Virginia, it was
said, had thus been able to retain the Presidency for twenty out of
the twenty-four years during which the Government under the Constitution
had existed. Some claimed that Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe in the
beginning held a conference and agreed upon a protracted retention of
the chief executive position. New York was said to have assisted in
this monopoly of the "mother of Presidents." It had been accomplished
mainly through the caucus system and legislative election. Men like
Hezekiah Niles, editor of the _Register_, now led a revolt against the
"regency at Richmond," and the subordinate "regency at Albany." Niles
claimed that the State Legislatures were created for the purpose of
making laws and not for choosing presidential electors; that in some
cases members were elected far in advance of the presidential election
and could not possibly represent the present wish of the people. These
reformers were unable to secure a popular nomination for presidential
candidates in the election of 1824. Precedent and the office-holders
were too strong. Nominations were made as before by congressional
caucus and State Legislatures; but this agitation, dating directly
from the rebirth of Americanism, bore full fruit within a score of

The case of the people against the politicians was aided by the peculiar
circumstances attending this election of 1824. At the preceding
election, there had been but one candidate. At this election, there
were so many that no one of them had the required majority. Electors
had been pledged in advance, so that it was not a return to the original
idea of a free choice of the best man. Fortunately, the framers of the
Constitution had provided against this contingency by allowing the
House of Representatives, voting by States, to choose the President
from the three candidates having received the highest number of
electoral votes. Jackson, the war hero, headed the list in both popular
and electoral votes. John Quincy Adams, "the secretarial successor,"
had the second highest number of electoral votes, and Crawford, the
candidate of the caucus, the next. With his usual ill-fortune, Clay
had the least and must be dropped. He had carried the three States of
Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri. It was to be presumed that he would throw
his influence in these States to Jackson, his fellow of the South-west.
But the Representatives from these three States gave a total of eleven
votes to Adams, six to Jackson, and two to Crawford. This gave the
States to Adams and made him President. That Clay should have
immediately afterward accepted the first place in Adams's Cabinet is
not strange. Presidents have frequently honoured their rivals in
convention in this way in later times. But it gave the people the
impression that these two politicians had made a "corrupt bargain,"
and this story hampered the entire administration of Adams. No
Administration had met with as much opposition since the stormy four
years of his father.

The strict Republicans asserted that Adams was a "consolidationist,"
and Clay's views of the paternalistic duty of the National Government,
no less than his association with Adams, placed him in the same
category. The new President gave out his political creed in his
inaugural address.

"Whatsoever is of domestic concernment," said he, "unconnected with the
other members of the Union, or with foreign lands, belongs exclusively
to the administration of the State governments. Whatsoever directly
involves the rights and interests of the federative fraternity, or of
foreign powers, is of the resort of this General Government."

At the same time, he expressly stated the various formative actions
of the General Government which had been allowed by the States. He
expressed the hope that "by the same process of friendly, patient, and
persevering deliberation all constitutional objections will ultimately
be removed."

Every annual message of President Adams pleaded for a liberal
interpretation of the powers of Government. Now he advocated more
generous appropriations for the Cumberland Road, now the endowment of
a national university, or the erection of a national monument to
Washington. He suggested the founding of national observatories, the
increase of the navy, the extension of the pensions, the establishing
of a naval academy, the equipping of scientific exploring expeditions,
provisions for civilising the Indians, and a reform in the method of
taking the census.

Every message bore the full imprint of Henry Clay's national improvement
policy, a sentiment in which Adams could readily join. The attention
of Congress was called from time to time to the reports of surveys
made by the engineers under the act of April, 1824. These reports
contemplated roads and canals, river and harbour improvements, "needing
the assistance of means and resources more comprehensive than individual
enterprise can command," as Adams said. He called especial attention
to the fact that from three to four million dollars were being spent
annually on the public works without intrenching upon the necessities
of the Treasury, adding to the public debt, or stopping its gradual
discharge. When the State of New York, grown weary of soliciting
national aid, constructed a canal from the tide-water of the Hudson
to Lake Erie, really around the northern end of the Allegheny Mountains,
Adams seized the opportunity of asking whether the representative
authorities of the whole Union should fall behind the single members
of the confederation in exercising the trust imposed by the people.

Whatever another President might have accomplished by his personal
influence in these appeals was denied to Adams because of his lack of
mingling qualities, and because of the hostility aroused by the manner
of his election. The impression prevailed among the former supporters
of Monroe and among the people of the South-west that "the will of the
people" had been thwarted in some manner and could be vindicated only
by the election of Jackson in 1828. This faction also imagined that
Adams stood for aristocratic New England and Jackson for the democratic
South-west. They were opposed to the protective principle, to internal
improvements, and the continuance in power of the Atlantic coast regime.
Rallying under the standard of Andrew Jackson, "the man of the people,"
they began to call themselves Democratic Republicans, or simply "Jackson
men." Their opponents, embracing Adams and Clay and such minor leaders
as the Administration had been able to collect, considered themselves
as good Republicans as their opponents; but, taking into account their
nationalistic tendencies, called themselves "National Republicans,"
or "Adams men." Unconsciously and even unwillingly, political parties
had been revived.

As the election of 1828 approached, national affairs gave every
indication of the end of an epoch. Those formative events, which seem
to culminate regardless of the wish or will of man, indicated a great
change. The determination to overthrow the Adams-Clay combination
turned the election into a political revolution not unlike that of
1800. Economic conditions assumed a new aspect because of the advent
of "King Cotton," and the sudden ascendency of the "lower South." The
election for two consecutive terms of Calhoun to the Vice-Presidency
showed that Southern leadership had passed from Virginia to South
Carolina. Successful experiments with steam transportation on land
predicted a revolution in the history of internal communication and,
consequently, of internal improvements. The clear diplomatic horizon,
the universal peace except in turbulent South America, and the
successful negotiations in recent treaties foretold an era of insularity
and full fruition of individuality. Political parties had been revived,
but on such divergent lines that they might soon be expected to develop
national policies. Fortunate would the Republic have been if such
legitimate divisions had been the only lines of difference as the great
middle period came on. But sectionalism had yet to run its course,
commercially and territorially, before a true union of interests,
ideals, and affections could be secured.


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