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  • 1907
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Lewis and Clark were so exciting that the St. Louis Fur Company was organized to hunt and trap on the upper Missouri.


REFORMS IN THE STATES.–During the years which had passed since the adoption of the Federal Constitution, great political reforms had been made. The doctrine that all men are born politically equal was being put into practice, and the states had begun to reform their old constitutions or to adopt new ones, abolishing religious qualifications for officeholders or voters, [12] and doing away with the property qualifications formerly required of voters. [13] Some states had reformed their laws for punishing crime, had reduced the number of crimes punishable with death from fifteen or twenty to one or two, and had abolished whipping, branding, cutting off the ears, and other cruel punishments of colonial times. The right of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was more fully recognized than ever before.

REFORMS IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.–When the Republican party came into power in 1801, it was pledged to make reforms “to put the ship of state,” as Jefferson said, “on the Republican tack.” About a third of the important Federalist office-holders were accordingly removed from office, the annual speech at the opening of Congress was abolished, and the written message introduced–a custom followed ever since by our Presidents. Internal taxes were repealed, the army was reduced, [14] the cost of government lessened, and millions of dollars set aside annually for the payment of the national debt.

That there might never again be such a contested election as that of 1800, Congress submitted to the states an amendment to the Constitution providing that the electors should vote for President and Vice President on separate ballots, and not as theretofore on the same ballot. The states promptly ratified, and as the Twelfth Amendment it went into force in 1804 in time for the election of that year.

JEFFERSON REËLECTED.–The Federalist candidates for President and Vice President in 1804 were Charles C. Pinckney and Rufus King; but the Republican candidates, Thomas Jefferson and George Clinton, [15] were elected by a very large majority.

BURR KILLS HAMILTON.–Vice-President Burr, who had consented to be a candidate for the presidency in 1801 (p. 235) against Jefferson, had never been forgiven by his party, and had ever since been a political outcast. His friends in New York, however, nominated him for governor and tried to get the support of the Federalists, but Hamilton sought to prevent this. After Burr was defeated he challenged Hamilton to a duel (July, 1804) and killed him.

BURR’S CONSPIRACY.–Fearing arrest for murder, Burr fled to Philadelphia and applied to the British minister for British help in effecting “a separation of the western part of the United States from that which lies between the Atlantic and the mountains”; for he believed the people in Orleans territory were eager to throw off American rule. After the end of his term as Vice President (March 4, 1805) Burr went west and came back with a scheme for conquering a region in the southwest, enlisted a few men in his enterprise, assembled them at Blennerhassets Island in the Ohio River (a few miles below Marietta), and (in December, 1806) started for New Orleans. The boats with men and arms floated down the Ohio, entered the Mississippi, and were going down that river when General James Wilkinson, a fellow-conspirator, betrayed the scheme to Jefferson. Burr was arrested and sent to Virginia, charged with levying war against the United States, which was treason, and with setting on foot a military expedition against the dominions of the king of Spain, which was a “high misdemeanor.” Of the charge of treason Burr was acquitted; that of high misdemeanor was sent to a court in Ohio for trial, and came to naught. [16]

[Illustration: BURR’S GRAVE AT PRINCETON, N. J.]


1. With the establishment of government under the Constitution, confidence was restored and prosperity began.

2. Banks were chartered by the states, some roads and canals were constructed, and money was gathered by lotteries for all sorts of public improvements.

3. New industries were started, and the cotton gin and other machines were invented.

4. The defeat of the Indians, the removal of the British and Spanish from our Western country, and the sale of public land on credit encouraged a stream of emigrants into the West.

5. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio entered the Union, and the territories of Mississippi, Indiana, and Michigan were organized.

6. The cession of Louisiana to France in 1800, and the closing of the Mississippi River to Americans, led to the purchase of Louisiana in 1803.

7. This great region was organized into the territories of Orleans and Louisiana; and the width of the continent from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia was explored by Lewis and Clark.

8. Many reforms were made in the state and national governments tending to make them more democratic.

9. In 1804 Jefferson was reelected President, but Burr was not again chosen Vice President. Having engaged in a plan for conquering a region in the southwest (1806), Burr was arrested for treason, but was not condemned.

[Illustration: PIONEER HUNTER.]


[1] Read “Town and Country Life in 1800,” Chap. xii in McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. II.

[2] The Middlesex from Boston to Lowell; the Dismal Swamp in Virginia; the Santee in South Carolina.

[3] In those days lotteries for public purposes were not thought wrong. The Continental Congress and many state legislatures used them to raise revenue. Congress authorized one to secure money with which to improve Washington city. Faneuil Hall in Boston and Independence Hall in Philadelphia were aided by lotteries. Private lotteries had been forbidden by many of the colonies. But the states continued to authorize lotteries for public purposes till after 1830, when one by one they forbade all lotteries.

[4] Parliament in 1774 forbade any one to take away from England any drawing or model of any machine used in the manufacture of cotton goods. No such machines were allowed in our country in colonial times. In 1787, however, the Massachusetts legislature voted six tickets in the State Land Lottery to two Scotchmen named Burr to help them build a spinning jenny. About the same time £200 was given to a man named Somers to help him construct a machine. The models thus built were put in the Statehouse at Boston for anybody to copy who wished, and mills were soon started at Worcester, Beverly, and Providence. But it was not till 1790, when Samuel Slater came to America, that the great English machines were introduced. Slater was familiar with them and made his from memory.

[5] Eli Whitney was born in 1765, and while still a lad showed great skill in making and handling tools. After graduating from Yale College, he went to reside in the family of General Greene, who had been given a plantation by Georgia. While he was making the first cotton gin, planters came long distances to see it, and before it was finished and patented some one broke into the building where it was and stole it. In 1794 he received a patent, but he was unable to enforce his rights. After a few years, South Carolina bought his right for that state, and North Carolina levied a tax on cotton gins for his benefit. But the sum he received was very small.

[6] James Rumsey, as early as 1785, had experimented with a steamboat on the Potomac, and about the same time John Fitch built one in Pennsylvania, and succeeded so well that in 1786 and in 1787 one of his boats made trial trips on the Delaware. Later in 1787 Rumsey ran a steamboat on the Potomac at the rate of four miles an hour.

[7] Not the Indiana of to-day, but the great region including what is now Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and half of Michigan and Minnesota. The settlements were Mackinaw, Green Bay, Prairie du Chien, Cahokia, Belle Fontaine, L’Aigle, Kaskaskia, Prairie du Rocher, Fort Massac, and Vincennes. Notice that most of these names are of French origin. The governor was William H. Harrison, afterward a President.

[8] In 1809 Illinois territory was created from the western part of Indiana territory. When the census was taken in 1810, nearly 1,000,000 people were living west of the Appalachians.

[9] Read the scene between Napoleon and his brothers over the sale of Louisiana, as told in Adams’s _History of the U. S._, Vol. II, pp. 33-39.

[10] The transfer of Louisiana to France took place on November 30, 1803, and the delivery to us on December 20. Our commissioners William C. C. Claiborne and James Wilkinson met the French commissioner Laussat (lo- sah’) in the hall of the Cabildo (a building still in existence, p. 243), presented their credentials, received the keys of the city, and listened to Laussat as he proclaimed Louisiana the property of the United States. This ceremony over, the commissioners stepped out on a balcony to witness the transfer of flags. The tricolor which floated from the top of a staff in the Place d’Armes (now Jackson Square) was drawn slowly down and the stars and stripes as slowly raised till the two met midway, when both were saluted by cannon. Our flag was then raised to the top of the pole, and that of France lowered and placed in the hands of Laussat. One hundred years later the anniversary was celebrated by repeating the same ceremony. The Federalists bitterly opposed the purchase of Louisiana. Read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. II, pp. 629-631. For descriptions of life in Louisiana, read Cable’s _Creoles of Louisiana_, _The Grandissimes_, and _Strange True Stories of Louisiana_.

[11] Both Lewis and Clark were Virginians and experienced Indian fighters. On their return Lewis was made governor of the upper Louisiana territory, later called Missouri territory; and died near Nashville in 1809. Clark was likewise a governor of Missouri territory and later a Superintendent of Indian Affairs; he died at St. Louis in 1838. He was a younger brother of George Rogers Clark.

[12] Pennsylvania, Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia.

[13] In Pennsylvania all free male taxpayers could vote. Georgia and Delaware gave the suffrage to all free white male taxpayers. In Vermont and Kentucky there had never been a property qualification.

[14] In 1802, however, there was founded the United States Military Academy at West Point.

[15] Clinton was born in 1739, took an active part in Revolutionary affairs, was chosen governor of New York in 1777, and was reflected every election for eighteen years. He was the leader of the popular party in that state, was twice chosen Vice President of the United States, and died in that office in 1812.

[16] Burr’s trial was conducted (in a circuit court) with rigid impartiality by Chief-Justice John Marshall, one of the greatest judges our country has known. As head of the Supreme Court for thirty-four years (1801-35), he rendered many decisions of lasting influence.



WAR WITH TRIPOLI.–In his first inaugural Jefferson announced a policy of peace, commerce, and friendship with all nations; but unhappily he was not able to carry it out. Under treaties with Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis, we had paid tribute or made presents to these powers, to prevent them from attacking our ships. In 1800, however, when Adams sent the yearly tribute to Algiers, the ruler of Tripoli demanded a large present, and when it did not come, declared war. Expecting trouble with this nest of pirates, Jefferson in 1801 sent over a fleet which was to blockade the coast of Tripoli and that of any other Barbary power that might be at war with us. But four years passed, and Tripoli was five times bombarded before terms of peace were dictated by Captain Rodgers under the muzzles of his guns (1805). [1]

GREAT BRITAIN AND FRANCE.–While our contest with Tripoli was dragging along, France and Great Britain again went to war (1803), and our neutral rights were again attacked. British cruisers captured many American ships on the ground that they were carrying on trade between the ports of France and her colonies.

Napoleon attacked British commerce by decrees which closed the ports of Europe to British goods, declared a blockade of the British Isles, and made subject to capture any neutral vessels that touched at a British port. Great Britain replied with orders in council, blockading the ports of France and her allies, and requiring all neutral vessels going to a closed port to stop at some British port and pay tribute. [2]

As Great Britain ruled the sea, and Napoleon most of western Europe, these decrees and orders meant the ruin of our commerce. Against such rules of war our government protested, claiming the right of “free trade,” or the “freedom of the seas,”–the right of a neutral to trade with either belligerent, provided the goods were not for use in actual war (as guns, powder, and shot).

OUR SAILORS IMPRESSED.–But we had yet another cause of quarrel with Great Britain. She claimed that in time of war she had a right to the services of her sailors; that if they were on foreign ships, they must come home and serve on her war vessels. She denied that a British subject could become a naturalized American; once a British subject, always a British subject, was her doctrine. She stopped our vessels at sea, examined the crews, and seized or “impressed” any British subjects found among them– and many American sailors as well. Against such “impressment” our government set up the claim of “sailors’ rights”–denying the right of Great Britain to search our ships at sea or to seize sailors of any nationality while on board an American vessel.

THE ATTACK ON THE CHESAPEAKE.–Before 1805 Great Britain confined impressment to the high seas and to her own ports. After 1805 she carried it on also off our coasts and in our ports. Finally, in 1807, a British officer, hearing that some British sailors were among the crew of our frigate _Chesapeake_ which was about to sail, only partly equipped, from the Washington navy yard, ordered the _Leopard_ to follow the _Chesapeake_ to sea and search her. This was done, and when Commodore Barron refused to have his vessel searched, she was fired on by the _Leopard_, boarded, searched, and one British and three American sailors were taken from her deck. [3]


CONGRESS RETALIATES.–It was now high time for us to strike back at France and Great Britain. We had either to fight for “free trade and sailors’ rights,” or to abandon the sea and stop all attempts to trade with Europe and Great Britain. Jefferson chose the latter course. Our retaliation therefore consisted of

1. The Long Embargo (1807-9).
2. The Non-intercourse Act (1809). 3. Macon’s Bill No. 2 (1810).
4. The Declaration of War (1812).

THE LONG EMBARGO.–Late in December, 1807, at the request of Jefferson, Congress laid an embargo and cut off all trade with foreign ports. [4] The restriction was so sweeping and the damage to farmers, planters, merchants, shipowners, and sailors so great, that the law was at once evaded. More stringent laws were therefore enacted, till at last trade along the coast from port to port was made all but impossible. Defiance to the embargo laws became so general [5] that a Force Act (1809) was passed, giving the President authority to use the army and navy in enforcing obedience. This was too much, and such a storm of indignation arose in the Eastern states that Congress repealed the embargo laws (1809) and substituted

THE NON-INTERCOURSE ACT.–This forbade commerce with Great Britain and France, but allowed it with such countries as were not under French or British control. If either power would repeal its orders or decrees, the President was to announce this fact and renew commerce with that power.

Just at this time the second term of Jefferson ended, [6] and Madison became President (March 4, 1809). [8]

THE ERSKINE AGREEMENT(1809).–And now the British minister, Mr. Erskine, offered, in the name of the king, to lift the orders in council if the United States would renew trade with Great Britain. The offer was accepted, and the renewal of trade proclaimed. But when the king heard of it, he recalled Erskine and disavowed the agreement, and Madison was forced to declare trade with Great Britain again suspended.

MACON’S BILL NO. 2.–Non-intercourse having failed, Congress in 1810 tried a new experiment, and by Macon’s Bill No. 2 (so-called because it was the second of two bills introduced by Mr. Macon) restored trade with France and Great Britain. At the same time it provided that if either power would withdraw its decrees or orders, trade should be cut off with the other unless that power also would withdraw them.

Napoleon now (1810) pretended to recall his decrees, but Great Britain refused to withdraw her orders in council, whereupon in 1811 trade was again stopped with Great Britain.

THE DECLARATION OF WAR.–And now the end had come. We had either to submit tamely or to fight. The people decided to fight, and in the elections of 1810 completely changed the character of the House of Representatives. A large number of new members were elected, and the control of public affairs passed from men of the Revolutionary period to a younger set with very different views. Among them were two men who rose at once to leadership and remained so for nearly forty years to come. One was Henry Clay of Kentucky; [9] the other was John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Clay was made speaker of the House of Representatives, and under his lead the House at once began preparations for war with Great Britain, which was formally declared in June, 1812. The causes stated by Madison in the proclamation were (1) impressing our sailors, (2) sending ships to cruise off our ports and search our vessels, (3) interfering with our trade by orders in council, and (4) urging the Indians to make war on the Western settlers.

THE BATTLE OF TIPPECANOE.–That the British had been tampering with the Indians was believed to be proved by the preparation of many of the Indian tribes for war. From time to time some Indian of great ability had arisen and attempted to unite the tribes in a general war upon the whites. King Philip was such a leader, and so was Pontiac, and so at this time were the twin brothers Tecumthe and the Prophet. The purpose of Tecumthe was to unite all the tribes from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico in a general war, to drive the whites from the Mississippi valley. After uniting many of the Northern tribes he went south, leaving his brother, the Prophet, in command. But the action of the Prophet so alarmed General Harrison, [10] governor of Indiana territory, that he marched against the Indians and beat them at the Tippecanoe (1811). [11]


MADISON REËLECTED.–As Madison was willing to be a war President the Republicans nominated him for a second term of the presidency, with Elbridge Gerry [12] for the vice presidency. The Federalists and those opposed to war, the peace party, nominated DeWitt Clinton for President. Madison and Gerry were elected. [13]

THE WAR OPENS.–The war which now followed, “Mr. Madison’s War” as the Federalists called it, was fought along the edges of our country and on the sea. It may therefore be considered under four heads:–

1. War on land along the Canadian frontier. 2. War on land along the Atlantic seaboard. 3. War on land along the Gulf coast.
4. War on the sea.

Scarcely had the fighting begun when news arrived that Great Britain had recalled the hated orders in council, but she would not give up the right of search and of impressment, so the war went on, as Madison believed that cause enough still remained.

[Illustration: WAR OF 1812.]

FIGHTING ON THE FRONTIER, 1812.–The hope of the leaders of the war party, “War Hawks” as the Federalists called them, was to capture the British provinces north of us and make peace at Halifax. Three armies were therefore gathered along the Canadian frontier. One under General Hull was to cross at Detroit and march eastward. A second under General Van Rensselaer was to cross the Niagara River, join the forces under Hull, capture York (now Toronto), and then go on to Montreal. The third under General Dearborn was to enter Canada from northeastern New York, arid meet the other troops near Montreal. The three armies were then to capture Montreal and Quebec and conquer Canada.

But the plan failed; Hull was driven out of Canada, and surrendered at Detroit. Van Rensselaer did not get a footing in Canada, and Dearborn went no farther than the northern boundary line of New York.

FIGHTING ON THE FRONTIER, 1813.–The surrender of Hull filled the people with indignation, and a new army under William Henry Harrison was sent across the wilds of Ohio in the dead of winter to recapture Detroit. But the British and Indians attacked and captured part of the army at Frenchtown on the Raisin River, where the Indians massacred the prisoners. They then attacked Fort Meigs and Fort Stephenson, but were driven off.

BATTLE OF LAKE ERIE.–Meantime a young naval officer, Oliver Hazard Perry, was hastily building at Erie (Presque Isle) a little fleet to attack the British, whose fleet on Lake Erie had been built just as hurriedly. The fight took place near the west end of the lake and ended in the capture of all the British ships. [14] It was then that Perry sent off to Harrison those familiar words “We have met the enemy and they are ours.” [15]

BATTLE OF THE THAMES.–This signal victory gave Perry command of Lake Erie and enabled him to carry Harrison’s army over to Canada, where, on the Thames River, he beat the British and Indians and put them to flight. [16] By these two victories of Perry and Harrison we regained all that we had lost by the surrender of Hull. On the New York frontier neither side accomplished anything decisive in 1813, though the public buildings at York (now Toronto) were destroyed, and some villages on both sides of the Niagara River were burned.

FIGHTING ON THE FRONTIER, 1814.–Better officers were now put in command on the New York frontier, and during 1814 our troops under Jacob Brown and Winfield Scott captured Fort Erie and won the battles of Chippewa and Lundys Lane. But in the end the British drove our army out of Canada.

Further eastward the British gathered a fleet on Lake Champlain and sent an army to attack Plattsburg, but Thomas Macdonough utterly destroyed the fleet in Plattsburg Bay, and the army was repulsed.

FIGHTING ALONG THE SEABOARD.–During 1812 and 1813 the British did little more than blockade our coast from Rhode Island to New Orleans, leaving all the east coast of New England unmolested. [17] But in 1814 the entire coast was blockaded, the eastern part of Maine was seized and occupied, and Stonington in Connecticut was bombarded.

WASHINGTON AND BALTIMORE ATTACKED.–A fleet entered Chesapeake Bay and landed an army which marched to Washington, burned the Capitol, the President’s house, the Treasury Building, and other public buildings, [18] and with the aid of the fleet made a vain attack on Baltimore.

It was during the bombardment of a fort near Baltimore that Francis Scott Key, temporarily a prisoner with the British, wrote _The Star-spangled Banner_.


FIGHTING ALONG THE GULF COAST.–After the repulse at Baltimore the British army was carried to the island of Jamaica to join a great expedition fitting out for an attack on New Orleans. It was November before the fleet bearing the army set sail, and December when the troops landed on the southeast coast of Louisiana and started for the Mississippi. On the banks of that river, a few miles below New Orleans, they met our forces under General Andrew Jackson drawn up behind a line of rude intrenchments, attacked them on the 8th of January, 1815, and were badly beaten.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS. From an old print.]

THE SEA FIGHTS.–The victories won by the army were indeed important, but those by the navy were more glorious still. In years before the war British captains laughed at our little navy and called our ships “fir- built things with a bit of striped bunting at their mastheads.” These fir- built things now inflicted on the British navy a series of defeats such as it had never before suffered from any nation.

[Illustration: NAVAL CANNON OF 1812.]

Before the end of 1812 the frigate _Constitution,_ “Old Ironsides” as she is still popularly called, [19] beat the _Guerrière_ (gar-e-ar’) so badly that she could not be brought to port; the little sloop _Wasp_ almost shot to pieces the British sloop _Frolic_; [20] the frigate _United States_ brought the _Macedonian_ in triumph to Newport (R.I.); [21] and the _Constitution_ made a wreck of the _Java_.

[Illustration: CUTLASS.]

In 1813 the _Hornet_, Commander James Lawrence, so riddled the British sloop _Peacock_ that after surrendering she went down carrying with her nine of her own crew and three of the _Hornet’s_. The brig _Enterprise_, William Burrows in command, fought the British brig _Boxer_, Captain Blythe, off Portland harbor, Maine. Both commanders were killed, but the Boxer was taken and carried into Portland, where Burrows and Blythe, wrapped in the flags they had so well defended, were buried in the Eastern Cemetery which overlooks the bay.

THE CHESAPEAKE CAPTURED.–But we too met with defeats. When Lawrence returned home with the _Hornet_, he was given command of the _Chesapeake_, then fitting out in Boston harbor, and while so engaged was challenged by the commander of the British frigate _Shannon_ to come out and fight. He went, was mortally wounded, and a second time the _Chesapeake_ struck to the British. As Lawrence was carried below he cried out, “Don’t give up the ship–keep her guns going–fight her till she sinks”; but the British carried her by boarding.

The brig _Argus_, while destroying merchantmen off the English coast, was taken by the British brig _Pelican_. [22]

PEACE.–Quite early in the war Russia tendered her services as mediator and they were accepted by us. Great Britain declined, but offered to treat directly if commissioners were sent to some neutral port. John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Albert Gallatin, James A. Bayard, and Jonathan Russell were duly appointed, and late in December, 1814, signed a treaty of peace at Ghent. Nothing was said in it about impressment, search, or orders in council, nor indeed about any of the causes of the war.

Nevertheless the gain was great. Our naval victories made us respected abroad and showed us to be the equal of any maritime power. At home, the war aroused a national feeling, did much to consolidate the Union, and put an end to our old colonial dependence on Europe. Thenceforth Americans looked westward, not eastward.

THE HARTFORD CONVENTION.–News of the treaty signed in December, 1814, did not reach our country till February, 1815. [23] Had there been ocean steamships or cables in those days, two famous events in our history would not have happened. The battle of New Orleans would not have been fought, and the report of the Hartford Convention would not have been published. The Hartford Convention was composed of Federalist delegates from the New England states, [24] met in December, 1814, and held its sessions in secret. But its report proposed some amendments to the United States Constitution, state armies to defend New England, and the retention of a part of the federal taxes to pay the cost. Congress was to be asked to agree to this, arid if it declined, the state legislatures were to send delegates to another convention to meet in June, 1815. [25] When the commissioners to present these demands reached Washington, peace had been declared, and they went home, followed by the jeers of the nation.


1. The war with Tripoli (1801-5) ended in victory for our navy.

2. The renewal of war between France and Great Britain involved us in more serious trouble.

3. When France attacked British commerce by decrees, Great Britain replied with orders in council (1806-7). In these paper blockades we were the chief sufferers.

4. Great Britain claimed a right to take her subjects off American ships, and while impressing many British sailors into her navy, she impressed many Americans also.

5. She sent vessels of war to our coast to search our ships, and in 1807 even seized sailors on board an American ship of war, the _Chesapeake_.

6. Congress retaliated with several measures cutting off trade with France and Great Britain; these failing, war on Great Britain was declared in 1812.

7. War on land was begun by attempts to invade Canada from Detroit, Niagara, and northeastern New York. These attempts failed, and Detroit was captured by the British.

8. In 1813 Perry won a great naval victory on Lake Erie; and the American soldiers, after a reverse at Frenchtown, invaded Canada and won the battle of the Thames.

9. In 1814 the Americans won the battles of Chippewa and Lundys Lane, but were later driven from Canada. A British invasion of New York met disaster at Plattsburg Bay.

10. Along the seaboard the British blockaded the entire coast, seized the eastern part of Maine, took Washington and burned the public buildings, and attacked Baltimore.

11. Later New Orleans was attacked, but in 1815 Jackson won a signal victory and drove the British from Louisiana.

12. On the sea our vessels won many ship duels.

13. Peace was made in 1814, just as the New England Federalists were holding their Hartford Convention. The war resulted in strengthening the Union and making it more respected.




[1] During the war, in 1803, the frigate _Philadelphia_ ran on the rocks in the harbor of Tripoli, and was captured by the Tripolitans. The Americans then determined to destroy her. Stephen Decatur sailed into the harbor with a volunteer crew in a little vessel disguised as a fishing boat. The Tripolitans allowed the Americans to come close, whereupon they boarded the _Philadelphia_, drove off the pirate crew, set the vessel on fire, and escaped unharmed.

[2] The French decrees and British orders in council were as follows: (1) Napoleon began (1806) by issuing a decree closing the ports of Hamburg and Bremen (which he had lately captured) and so cutting off British trade with Germany. (2) Great Britain retaliated with an order in council (May, 1806), blockading the coast of Europe from Brest to the mouth of the river Elbe. (3) Napoleon retaliated (November, 1806) with the Berlin Decree, declaring the British Isles in a state of blockade, and forbidding English trade with any country under French control. (4) Great Britain issued another order in council (November, 1807), commanding her naval officers to seize any neutral vessel going to any closed port in Europe unless it first touched at a British port, paid duty, and bought a license to trade. (5) Napoleon thereupon (December, 1807) issued his Milan Decree, authorizing the seizure of any neutral vessel that had touched at any British port and taken out a license. Read Adams’s _History of the U. S._, Vol. III, Chap. 16; Vol. IV, Chaps. 4, 5, 6; McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. III, pp. 219-223, 249-250, 272-274.

[3] The British sailor was hanged at Halifax. The three Americans were not returned till 1812. Read Maclay’s _History of the Navy_, Vol. I, pp. 305- 308.

[4] The Federalists ridiculed the embargo as the “terrapin-policy”; that is, the United States, like a terrapin when struck, had pulled its head and feet within its shell instead of fighting. They reversed the letters so that they read “o-grab-me,” and wrote the syllables backward so as to spell “go-bar-’em.”

[5] Read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. III, pp. 279-338.

[7] The people would gladly have given him a third term. Indeed, the legislatures of eight states invited him to be a candidate for reflection. In declining he said, “If some termination to the services of the Chief Magistrate be not fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice, his office, nominally four years, will in fact become for life; and history shows how easily that degenerates into an inheritance.” The examples of Washington and Jefferson established an unwritten law against a third term for any President.

[8] James Madison was born in Virginia in 1751, and educated partly at Princeton. In 1776 he was a delegate to the Virginia convention to frame a state constitution, was a member of the first legislature under it, went to Congress in 1780-83, and then returned to the state legislature, 1784- 87. He was one of the most important members of the convention that framed the United States Constitution. After the adoption of the Constitution, he led the Republican party in Congress (1789-97). He wrote the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, and in 1801-9 was Secretary of State under Jefferson. As the Republican candidate for President in 1808, he received 122 electoral votes against 47 for the Federalist candidate Charles C. Pinckney. He died in 1836.

[9] Henry Clay, the son of a Baptist minister, was born in Virginia in 1777 in a neighborhood called “the Slashes.” One of his boyhood duties was to ride to the mill with a bag of wheat or corn. Thus he earned the name of “the Mill Boy of the Slashes,” which in his campaigns for the presidency was used to get votes. His education was received in a log- cabin schoolhouse. At fourteen he was behind the counter in a store at Richmond; but finally began to read law, and in 1797 moved to Kentucky to “grow up with the country.” There he prospered greatly, and in 1803 was elected to the state legislature, in 1806 and again in 1809-10 served as a United States senator to fill an unexpired term, and in 1811 entered the House of Representatives. From then till his death, June 29, 1852, he was one of the most important men in public life; he was ten years speaker of the House, four years Secretary of State, twenty years a senator, and three times a candidate for President. He was a great leader and an eloquent speaker. He was called “the Great Pacificator” and “the Great Compromiser,” and one of his sayings, “I had rather be right than be President,” has become famous.

[10] William Henry Harrison was a son of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was born in Virginia in 1773, served in the Indian campaigns under St. Clair and Wayne, commanded Fort Washington on the site of Cincinnati, was secretary of the Northwest Territory, and then delegate to Congress, and did much to secure the law for the sale of public land on credit. He was made governor of Indiana Territory in 1801, and won great fame as a general in the War of 1812.

[11] Tecumthe’s efforts in the South led to a war with the Creeks in 1813- 14. These Indians began by capturing Fort Mims in what is now southern Alabama, and killing many people there; but they were soon subdued by General Andrew Jackson. Read Edward Eggleston’s _Roxy_; and Eggleston and Seelye’s _Tecumseh and the Shawnee Prophet_.

[12] Gerry was a native of Massachusetts and one of the delegates who refused to sign the Constitution when it was framed in 1787. As a leading Republican he was chosen by Adams to represent his party on the X. Y. Z. Mission. As governor of Massachusetts he signed a bill rearranging the senatorial districts in such wise that some towns having Federalist majorities were joined to others having greater Republican majorities, thus making more than a fair proportion of the districts Republican. This political fraud is called Gerrymandering. Gerry died November 23, 1814, the second Vice President to die in office.

[13] Eighteen states cast electoral votes at this election (1812). The electors were chosen by popular vote in eight states, and by vote of the legislature in ten states, including Louisiana (the former territory of Orleans), which was admitted into the Union April 8, 1812. The admission of Louisiana was bitterly opposed by the Federalists. For their reasons, read a speech by Josiah Quincy in Johnston’s _American Orations_, Vol. I, pp. 180-204.

[14] Perry’s flagship was named the _Lawrence_, after the gallant commander of the _Chesapeake_, captured a short while before off Boston. As Lawrence, mortally wounded, was carried below, he said to his men, “Don’t give up the ship.” Perry put at the masthead of the _Lawrence_ a blue pennant bearing the words “Don’t give up the ship,” and fought two of the largest vessels of the enemy till every gun on his engaged side was disabled, and but twenty men out of a hundred and three were unhurt. Then entering a boat with his brother and four seamen, he was rowed to the _Niagara_, which he brought into the battle, and with it broke the enemy’s line and won.

[15] The story of the naval war is told in Maclay’s _History of the Navy_, Part Third; and in Roosevelt’s _Naval War of 1812_.

[16] In this battle the great Indian leader Tecumthe was killed.

[17] In New England the ruin of commerce made the war most unpopular, and it was because of this that the British did not at first blockade the New England coast. British goods came to Boston, Salem, and other ports in neutral ships, or in British ships disguised as neutral, and great quantities of them were carried in four-horse wagons to the South, whence raw cotton was brought back to New England to be shipped abroad. The Republicans made great fun of this “ox-and-horse-marine.”

[18] For a description of the scenes in Washington, read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp. 138-147; or Adams’s _History of the U. S._, Vol. VIII, pp. 144-152; or _Memoirs of Dolly Madison_, Chap. 8.

[19] Read Holmes’s poem _Old Ironsides_.

[20] This battle was fought on a clear moonlight night and was full of dramatic incidents. A storm had lashed the sea into fury and the waves were running mountain high. Wave after wave swept the deck of the _Wasp_ and drenched the sailors. The two sloops rolled till the muzzles of their guns dipped in the sea; but both crews cheered heartily and fought on till, as the _Wasp_ rubbed across the bow of the _Frolic_, her jib boom came in between the masts of the _Wasp_. A boarding party then leaped upon her bowsprit, and as they ran down the deck were amazed to see nobody save the man at the wheel and three wounded officers. As the British were not able to lower their flag, Lieutenant Biddle of the _Wasp_ hauled it down. Scarcely had this been done when the British frigate _Poictiers_ came in sight, and chased and overhauled the _Wasp_ and captured her.

[21] Of all the British frigates captured during the war, the _Macedonian_ was the only one brought to port. The others were shot to pieces and sank or were destroyed soon after the battle. The _Macedonian_ arrived at Newport in December, 1812. When the lieutenant bearing her flag and dispatches reached Washington, he was informed that a naval ball was being held in honor of the capture of the _Guerrière_ and another ship, and that their flags were hanging on the wall. Hastening to the hotel, he announced himself and was quickly escorted to the ballroom, where, with cheers and singing, the flag of the _Macedonian_ was hung beside those of the other two captured vessels.

[22] In October, 1812, the frigate _Essex_, Captain Porter in command, sailed from Delaware Bay, cruised down the east and up the west coast of South America, and captured seven British vessels. But she was captured near Valparaiso by the British frigates _Cherub_ and _Phoebe_ in March, 1814. In January, 1815, the _President_, Commodore Decatur, was captured off Long Island by a British squadron of four vessels. In February the _Constitution_, Captain Stewart, when near Madeira, captured the _Cyane_ and the _Levant_.

[23] Some idea of the difficulty of travel and the transmission of news in those days may be gained from the fact that when the agent bearing the treaty of peace arrived at New, York February 11, 1815, an express rider was sent post haste to Boston, at a cost of $225.

[24] The states of Vermont and New Hampshire sent no delegates to this convention; but three delegates were appointed by certain counties in those states. When Connecticut and Rhode Island chose delegates, a Federalist newspaper published in Boston welcomed them in an article headed “Second and Third Pillars of a New Federal Edifice Reared.” Despite the action of the Hartford Convention, the fact remains that Massachusetts contributed more than her proportionate share of money and troops for the war.

[25] The report is printed in MacDonald’s _Select Documents_.



TRADE, COMMERCE, AND THE FISHERIES.–The treaty of 1814 did not end our troubles with Great Britain. Our ships were still shut out of her West Indian ports. The fort at Astoria, near the mouth of the Columbia River, had been seized during the war and for a time was not returned as the treaty required. The authorities in Nova Scotia claimed that we no longer had a right to fish in British waters, and seized our fishing vessels or drove them from the fishing grounds. We had no trade treaty with Great Britain. In 1815, therefore, a convention was made regulating trade with Great Britain and her East Indian colonies, but not with her West Indies; [1] in 1817, a very important agreement limited the navies on the Great Lakes; [2] and in 1818 a convention was made defending our fishing rights in British waters. [3]

BANKS AND THE CURRENCY.–But there were also domestic affairs which required attention. When the charter of the Bank of the United States (p. 224) expired in 1811, it was not renewed, for the party in power denied that Congress had authority to charter a bank. A host of banks chartered by the states thereupon sprang up, in hope of getting some of the business formerly done by the national bank and its branches.


In three years’ time one hundred and twenty new state banks were created. Each issued bank notes with a promise to exchange them for specie (gold or silver coin) on demand. In 1814, however, nearly all the banks outside of New England “suspended specie payment”; that is, refused to redeem their notes in specie. Persons having gold and silver money then kept it, and the only money left in circulation was the bank notes–which, a few miles away from the place of issue, would not pass at their face value. [4]

Business and travel were seriously interfered with, and in order to provide the people with some kind of money which would pass at the same value everywhere, Congress in 1816 chartered a second Bank of the United States, [5] very much like the first one, for a period of twenty years.

MANUFACTURES AND THE TARIFF.–Before the embargo days, trade and commerce were so profitable, because of the war in Europe, that manufactures were neglected. Almost all manufactored articles–cotton and woolen goods, china, glass, edge tools, and what not–were imported, from Great Britain chiefly.

But the moment our foreign trade was cat off by the embargo, manufactures sprang up, and money hitherto put into ships and commerce was invested in mills and factories. Societies for the encouragement of domestic manufactures were started everywhere. To wear American-made clothes, walk in American-made shoes, write on American-made paper, and use American- made furniture were acts of patriotism which the people publicly pledged themselves to perform. Thus encouraged, manufactories so throve and flourished that by 1810 the value of goods made in our country each year was $173,000,000.

When trade was resumed with Great Britain after the war, her goods were sent over in immense quantities. This hurt our manufacturers, and therefore Congress in 1816 laid a tariff or tax on imported manufactures, for the purpose of keeping the price of foreign goods high and thus protecting home manufactures.

PROSPERITY OF THE COUNTRY.–Despite the injury done by British orders, French decrees, the embargo, non-intercourse, and the war, the country grew more prosperous year by year. Cities were growing, new towns were being planted, rivers were being bridged, colleges, [6] academies, schools, were springing up, several thousand miles of turnpike had been built, and over these good roads better stagecoaches drawn by better horses carried the mail and travelers in quicker time than ever before.

ROUTES TO THE WEST.–Goods for Pittsburg and the West could now leave Philadelphia every day in huge canvas-covered wagons drawn by four or six horses, and were only twenty days on the road. The carrying trade in this way was very great. More than twelve thousand wagons came to Pittsburg each year, bringing goods worth several millions of dollars. From New York wares and merchandise for the West went in sloops up the Hudson to Albany, were wagoned to the falls of the Mohawk, where they were put into “Schenectady boats,” which were pushed by poles up the Mohawk to Utica. Thence they went by canal and river to Oswego on Lake Ontario, in sloops to Lewiston on the Niagara River, by wagon to Buffalo, by sloop to Westfield on Lake Erie, by wagon to Chautauqua Lake, and thence by boat down the lake and the Allegheny River to Pittsburg.


THE STEAMBOAT.–The growth of the country and the increase in travel now made the steamboat possible. Before 1807 all attempts to use such boats had failed. [7] But when Fulton in that year ran the _Clermont_ from New York to Albany and back, practical steam navigation began. In 1808 a line of steamboats ran up and down the Hudson. In 1809 there was one on the Delaware, another on the Raritan, and a third on Lake Champlain. In 1811 a steamboat went from Pittsburg to New Orleans, and in 1812 there were steam ferryboats between what is now Jersey City and New York, and between Philadelphia and Camden. [8]

[Illustration: AN EARLY FERRYBOAT.]

By the use of the steamboat and better roads it was possible in 1820 to go from New York to Philadelphia between sunrise and sunset in summer, and from New York to Boston in forty-eight hours, and from Boston to Washington in less than five days.

THE RUSH TO THE WEST.–After the peace in 1815 came a period of hard times. Great Britain kept our ships out of her ports in the West Indies. France, Spain, and Holland did their own trading with their colonies. Demands for our products fell off, trade and commerce declined, thousands of people were thrown out of employment, and another wave of emigration started westward. Nothing like it had ever before been known. People went by tens of thousands, building new towns and villages, clearing the forests, and turning the prairies into farms and gardens. Some went in wagons, some on horseback; great numbers even went on foot, pushing their children and household goods in handcarts, in wheelbarrows, in little box carts on four small wheels made of plank. [9]

Once on the frontier, the pioneer, the “mover,” the “newcomer,” would secure his plot of land, cut down a few trees, and build a half-faced camp,–a shed with a roof of sapling and bark, and one side open,–and in this he would live till the log cabin was finished.

THE LOG CABIN.–To build a log cabin the settler would fell trees of the proper size, cut them into logs, and with his ax notch them half through at the ends. Laid one on another these logs formed the four sides of the cabin. Openings were left for a door, one window, and a huge fireplace; the cracks between the logs were filled with mud; the roof was of hewn boards, and the chimney of logs smeared on the inside with clay and lined at the bottom with stones. Greased paper did duty for glass in the window. The door swung on wooden hinges and was fastened with a wooden latch on the inside, which was raised from the outside by a leather string passed through a hole in the door. Some cabins had no floor but the earth; in others the floor was of puncheons, or planks split and hewn from trunks of trees and laid with the round side down. [10]

[Illustration: CORN-HUSK MOP.]

PIONEER LIFE.–If the farm were wooded, the first labor of the settler was to grub up the bushes, cut down the smaller trees, and kill the larger ones by cutting a girdle around each near the roots. When the trees were felled, the neighbors would come and help roll the logs into great piles for burning. From the ashes the settler made potash; for many years potash was one of the important exports of the country.

In the land thus cleared and laid open to the sun the pioneer planted his corn, flax, wheat, and vegetables. The corn he shelled on a gritter, and ground in a handmill, or pounded in a wooden mortar with a wooden pestle, or carried on horseback to some mill perhaps fifteen miles away.

Cooking stoves were not used. Game was roasted by hanging it by a leather string before an open fire. All baking was done in a Dutch oven on the hearth, or in an out oven built, as its name implies, out of doors. [11]

Deerskin in the early days, and later tow linen, woolens, jeans, and linseys, were the chief materials for clothing till store goods became common. [12] The amusements of the pioneers were like those of colonial days–shooting matches, bear hunts, races, militia musters, raisings, log rollings, weddings, corn huskings, and quilting parties.

[Illustration: BREAKING FLAX.]

FIVE NEW STATES.–The first effect of the emigration to the West was such an increase of population there that five new states were admitted in five years. They were Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), Illinois (1818), Alabama (1819), Missouri (1821). As Louisiana (1812) and Maine (1820) had also been admitted by 1821, the Union then included twenty-four states (map, p. 279).

POWER OF THE WEST.–A second result of this building of the West was an increase in its political importance. The West in 1815 sent to Congress 8 senators and 28 members of the House; after 1822 it sent 18 senators out of 48, and 47 members of the House out of 213.


TRADE OF THE WEST.–A third result was a straggle for the trade of the West. Favored by the river system, the farmers of the West were able to float their produce, on raft and flatboat, to New Orleans. Before the introduction of the steamboat, navigation up the Mississippi was all but impossible. Flatboats, rafts, barges, broadhorns, with their contents, were therefore sold at New Orleans, and the money brought back to Pittsburg or Wheeling and there used to buy the manufactures sent from the Eastern states. But now a score of steamboats went down and up the Mississippi and the Ohio, stopping at Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Natchez, and a host of smaller towns, loaded with goods obtained at Pittsburg and New Orleans. [13] Commercially the West was independent of the East. The Western trade of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore was seriously threatened.

THE ERIE CANAL.–So valuable was this trade, and so important to the East, that New York in 1817 began the construction of the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo, and finished it in 1825. [14] The result, as we shall see in a later chapter, was far-reaching.

SLAVERY.–A fourth result of the rush to the West was the rise of the question of slavery beyond the Mississippi.

Before the adoption of the Constitution, as we have seen, slavery was forbidden or was in course of abolition in the five New England states, in Pennsylvania, and in the Northwest Territory. Since the adoption of the Constitution gradual abolition laws had been adopted in New York (1799) and in New Jersey (1804). [15] Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama came into the Union as slave-holding states; and Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (besides Vermont) as free states. So in 1819 the dividing line between the eleven free and the eleven slave states was the south boundary line of Pennsylvania (p. 81) and the Ohio River.

SLAVERY BEYOND THE MISSISSIPPI.–By 1819 so many people had crossed the Mississippi and settled on the west bank and up the Missouri that Congress was asked to make a new territory to be called Arkansas and a new state to be named Missouri.

Whether the new state was to be slave or free was not stated, but the Missourians owned slaves and a settlement of this matter was important for two reasons: (1) there were then eleven slave and eleven free states, and the admission of Missouri would upset this balance in the Senate; (2) her entrance into the Union would probably settle the policy as to slavery in the remainder of the great Louisiana Purchase. The South therefore insisted that Missouri should be a slave-holding state, and the Senate voted to admit her as such. The North insisted that slavery should be abolished in Missouri, and the House of Representatives voted to admit her as a free state. As neither would yield, the question went over to the next session of Congress.

MAINE.–By that time Maine, which belonged to Massachusetts, had obtained leave to frame a constitution, and applied for admission as a free state. This afforded a chance to preserve the balance of states in the Senate, and Congress accordingly passed at the same time two bills, one to admit Maine as a free state, and one to authorize Missouri to make a proslavery constitution.

THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE, 1820.–The second of these bills embodied the Missouri Compromise, or Compromise of 1820, which provided that in all the territory purchased from France in 1803 and lying north of the parallel 36° 30′ there never should be slavery, except in Missouri (map p. 279). [16]

This Compromise left a great region from which free states might be made in future, and very little for slave states. We shall see the consequences of this by and by.

EXPLORATION OF THE WEST.–West of Missouri the country was still a wilderness overrun by Indians, and by buffalo and other wild animals. Many believed it to be almost uninhabitable. Pike, who (1806-7) marched across the plains from St. Louis to the neighborhood of Pikes Peak and on to the upper waters of the Rio Grande, and Long, who (1820) followed Pike, brought back dismal accounts of the country. Pike reported that the banks of the Kansas, the Platte, and the Arkansas rivers might “admit of a limited population,” but not the plains. Long said the country west of Council Bluffs “is almost wholly unfit for cultivation, and of course uninhabitable by people depending on agriculture,” and that beyond the Rockies it was “destined to be the abode of perfect desolation.”


THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT.–This started the belief that in the West was a great desert, and for many years geographers indicated such a desert on their maps. It covered most of what is now Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and parts of Texas, Colorado, and South Dakota. One geographer (1835) declared, “a large part maybe likened to the Great Sahara or African Desert.”

THE NORTHWESTERN BOUNDARY.–When Louisiana was purchased in 1803 no boundary was given it on the north or west.

By treaty with Great Britain in 1818, the 49th parallel was made our northern boundary from the Lake of the Woods to the summit of the Rocky Mountains. [17]

THE OREGON COUNTRY.–The country west of the sources of the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, the region drained by the Columbia, or as it was sometimes called, the Oregon River, was claimed by both Great Britain and the United States. As neither would yield, it was agreed that the Oregon country should be held jointly for a time. [18]

THE SPANISH BOUNDARY.–South of Oregon and west of the mountains lay the possessions of Spain, with which country in 1819 we made a treaty, fixing the western limits of the Louisiana Purchase. We began by claiming as far as the Rio Grande, and asking for Florida. We ended by accepting the line shown on the map, p. 278, and buying Florida. [19]


1. The treaty of peace in 1814 left several issues unsettled; it was therefore followed by a trade treaty with Great Britain, an agreement to limit naval power on the northern lakes, and (1818) a treaty about fisheries in British waters.

2. The suspension of specie payments by the state banks during the war caused such disorder in the currency that a national bank was chartered to regulate it.

3. The embargo, by cutting off importation of British goods, encouraged home manufactures. Heavy importations after the war injured home manufactures, and to help them Congress enacted a protective tariff law.

4. Despite commercial troubles and the war, the people were prosperous. New towns were founded, travel was improved, the steamboat was introduced, and the West grew rapidly.

5. After 1815 a great wave of population poured over the West.

6. Seven new states were admitted between 1812 and 1821.

7. A struggle for the trade of the growing West led to the building of the Erie Canal.

8. A struggle over slavery led to the Missouri Compromise (1820).

9. By treaties with Great Britain and Spain, boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase were established, Florida was purchased, and the Oregon country was held jointly with Great Britain.

[Illustration: AN OLD STAGECOACH.]


[1] A serious quarrel over the West Indian trade now arose and was not settled till 1830. Read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. V, pp. 483-487.

[2] The agreement of 1817 provided that each power might have one armed vessel on Lake Ontario, two on the upper lakes, and one on Lake Champlain. Each vessel was to have but one eighteen-pound cannon. All other armed vessels were to be dismantled and no others were to be built or armed. In Europe such a water boundary between two powers would have been guarded by strong fleets and forts and many armed men.

[3] The fishery treaty provides (1) that our citizens may _forever_ catch and dry fish on certain parts of the coasts of Newfoundland and of Labrador; (2) that they may not catch fish within three miles of any other of the coasts of the British dominions in America; (3) that our fishermen may enter the harbors on these other coasts for shelter, or to obtain water, or wood, or to repair damages, “and for no other purpose whatever.”

[4] As to the straits to which people were put for small change, read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp. 297-298.

[5] This bank had branches in the various states, and specie could be had for its notes at any branch. Hence its notes passed at their face value over all the country, and became, like specie, of the same value everywhere. Authority to charter the bank was found in the provision of the Constitution giving Congress power to “regulate the currency.”

[6] Thirty-nine of our colleges, theological seminaries, and universities were founded between 1783 and 1820.

[7] For Rumsey and Fitch, see p. 239. William Longstreet in 1790 tried a small model steamboat on the Savannah River; and in 1794 Elijah Ormsbee at Providence and Samuel Morey on Long Island Sound, in 1796 John Fitch on a pond in New York city, in 1797 Morey on the Delaware, in 1802 Oliver Evans at Philadelphia, and in 1804 and 1806 John Stevens at Hoboken, demonstrated that boats could be moved by steam. But none had made the steamboat a practical success.

[8] The state of New York gave Fulton and his partner, Livingston, the sole right to use steamboats on the waters of the state. This monopoly was evaded by using teamboats, on which the machinery that turned the paddle wheel was moved by six or eight horses hitched to a crank and walking round and round in a circle on the deck. Teamboats were used chiefly as ferryboats. Read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp. 397-407.

[9] Read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp. 381-394. All the great highways to the West were crowded with bands of emigrants. In nine days 260 wagons bound for the West passed through one New York town. At Easton, in Pennsylvania, on a favorite route from New England (map, p. 194), 511 wagons accompanied by 3066 persons passed in a month. A tollgate keeper on another route reported 2000 families as having passed during nine months. From Alabama, whither people were hurrying to settle on the cotton lands, came reports of a migration quite as large. When the census of 1820 was taken, the returns showed that there were but 75 more people in Delaware in 1820 than there were in 1810. In the city of Charleston there were 24,711 people in 1810 and 24,780 in 1820. In many states along the seaboard the rate of increase of population was less during the census period 1810-20 than it had been before, because of the great numbers who had left for the West.

[10] If the newcomer chose some settlement for his home, the neighbors would gather when the logs were cut, hold a “raising,” and build his cabin in the course of one day. Tables, chairs, and other furniture were generally made by the settler with his own hands. Brooms and brushes were of corn husks, and many of his utensils were cut from the trunks of trees. “I know of no scene more primitive,” said a Kentucky pioneer, “than such a cabin hearth as that of my mother’s. In the morning a buckeye backlog, a hickory forestick, resting on stones, with a johnny cake on a clean ash board, set before the fire to bake; a frying pan with its long handle resting on a splint-bottom chair, and a teakettle swung from a log pole, with myself setting the table, or turning the meat. Then came the blowing of the conch-shell for father in the field, the howling of old Lion, the gathering around the table, the blessing, the dull clatter of pewter spoons on pewter dishes, and the talk about the crops and stock.”

[11] For an account of the social conditions in 1820, read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, Chap, xxxvii; also Eggleston’s _Circuit Rider_, Cooper’s _Prairie_, and _Recollections of Life in Ohio_, by W. C. Howells.

[12] A story is told of an early settler who was elected to the territorial legislature of Illinois. Till then he had always worn buckskin clothes, but thinking them unbecoming a lawmaker, he and his sons gathered hazel nuts and bartered them at the crossroads store for a few yards of blue strouding, out of which the women of the settlement made him a coat and pantaloons.

[13] On the Ohio River floated odd craft of many sorts. There were timber rafts from the mountain streams; pirogues built of trunks of trees; broadhorns; huge pointed and covered hulks carrying 50 tons of freight and floating downstream with the current and upstream by means of poles, sails, oars, or ropes; keel boats for upstream work, with long, narrow, pointed bow and stern, roofed, manned with a crew of ten men, and propelled with setting poles; flatboats which went downstream with the pioneer never to come back–flat-bottomed, box-shaped craft manned by a crew of six, kept in the current by oars 30 feet long called “sweeps” and a steering oar 50 feet long at the stern. Those intended to go down the Mississippi were strongly built, roofed over, and known as “Orleans boats.” “Kentucky flatboats” for use on the Ohio were half roofed and slighter. Mingled with these were arks, galleys, rafts, and shanty boats of every sort, and floating shops carrying goods, wares, and merchandise to every farmhouse and settlement along the river bank. Now it would be a floating lottery office, where tickets were sold for pork, grain, or produce; now a tinner’s establishment, where tinware was sold or mended; now a smithy, where horses and oxen were shod and wagons mended; now a factory for the manufacture of axes, scythes, and edge tools; now a dry- goods shop fitted up just as were such shops in the villages, and filled with all sorts of goods and wares needed by the settlers.

[14] This canal was originally a ditch 4 feet deep, 40 feet wide, and 363 miles long. The chief promoter was De Witt Clinton. The opponents of the canal therefore called it in derision “Clinton’s big ditch,” and declared that it could never be made a success. But Clinton and his friends carried the canal to completion, and in 1825 a fleet of canal boats left Buffalo, went through the canal, down the Hudson, and out into New York Bay. There fresh water brought from Lake Erie in a keg was poured into the salt water of the Atlantic.

[15] It was once hoped that Southern states also would in time abolish slavery; but as more and more land was devoted to cotton raising in the South, the demand for slave labor there increased. The South came to regard slavery as necessary for her prosperity, and to desire its extension to more territory.

[16] Meantime Arkansas (1819) had been organized as a slave-holding territory. As Missouri had to make a state constitution and submit it to Congress she did not enter the Union till 1821. The Compromise line 36° 30′ was part of the south boundary of Missouri and extended to the 100th meridian. Missouri did not have the present northwestern boundary till 1836; compare maps on pp. 279 and 331. On the Compromise read the speech of Senator Rufus King, in Johnston’s _American Orations_, Vol. II, pp. 33- 62; and that of Senator Pinckney, pp. 63-101.

[17] By the treaty with Great Britain in 1783 a line was to be drawn from the Lake of the Woods _due west_ to the Mississippi. This was impossible, but the difficulty was ended by the treaty of 1818. From the northwesternmost point of the Lake of the Woods a line (as the treaty provides) is drawn due south to the 49th parallel. This makes a little knob on our boundary.

[18] We claimed it because in 1792 Captain Gray, in the ship _Columbia_, discovered the river, entered, and named it after his ship; because in 1805-6 Lewis and Clark explored both its main branches and spent the winter near its mouth; and because in 1811 an American fur-trading post, Astoria, was built on the banks of the Columbia near its mouth. Great Britain claimed a part of it because of explorations under Vancouver (1792), and occupation of various posts by the Hudson’s Bay Company. At first Oregon was the country drained by the Columbia River. Through our treaty with Spain, in 1819, part of the 42d parallel was made the southern boundary. In 1824, by treaty with Russia, the country which then owned Alaska, 54° 40′ became the northern boundary. The Rocky Mountains were understood to be the eastern limit.

[19] What is called the purchase of Florida consisted in releasing Spain from all liability for damages of many sorts inflicted on our citizens from 1793 to the date of the treaty, and paying them ourselves; the sum was not to exceed $5,000,000.

[Illustration: THE UNITED STATES IN 1824.]



THE PARTY ISSUES.–The issues which divided the Federalists and the Republicans from 1793 to 1815 arose chiefly from our foreign relations. Neutrality, French decrees, British orders in council, search, impressment, the embargo, non-intercourse, the war, were the matters that concerned the people. Soon after 1815 all this changed; Napoleon was a prisoner at St. Helena, Europe was at peace, and domestic issues began to be more important.

THE ERA OF GOOD FEELING.–The election of 1816, however, was decided chiefly on the issues of the war. James Monroe, [1] the Republican candidate for President, was elected by a very large majority over Rufus King. During Monroe’s term domestic issues were growing up, but had not become national. They were rather sectional. Party feeling subsided, and this was so noticeable that his term was called “the Era of Good Feeling.” In this condition of affairs the Federalist party died out, and when Monroe was renominated in 1820, no competitor appeared. [1] The Federalists presented no candidate.

POLITICAL EVENTS.–The chief political events of Monroe’s first term (1817-21), as we have seen, were the admission of several new states, the Compromise of 1820, and the treaties of 1818 and 1819, with Great Britain and Spain. The chief political events of his second term (1821-25) were: a dispute over the disposition of public lands in the new states; [3] a dispute over the power of Congress to aid the building of roads and canals, called “internal improvements”; the recognition of the independence of South American colonies of Spain; the announcement of the Monroe Doctrine; the passage of a new tariff act; and the breaking up of the Republican party.

THE SOUTH AMERICAN REPUBLICS.–In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain, drove out the king, and placed his brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne. Thereupon many of the Spanish colonies in America rebelled and organized themselves as republics. When Napoleon was sent to St. Helena, the Spanish king (who was restored in 1814) brought back most of the colonies to their allegiance. La Plata, however, rebelled, and was quickly followed by the others. In 1822 President Monroe recognized the independence of La Plata (Argentina), Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, and Central America.

THE HOLY ALLIANCE.–The king of Spain, unable to conquer the revolted colonies, applied for aid to the Holy Alliance which was formed by Russia, Prussia, Austria, and France for the purpose of maintaining monarchical government in Europe. For a while these powers did nothing, but in 1823 they called a conference to consider the question of restoring to Spain her South American colonies. But the South American republics had won their independence from Spain, and had been recognized by us as sovereign powers; what right had other nations to combine and force them back again to the condition of colonies? In his annual message (December, 1823), the President therefore took occasion to make certain announcements which have ever since been called the Monroe Doctrine. [4]

[Illustration: AN OLD-TIME SOFA.]

THE MONROE DOCTRINE.–Referring to the conduct of the Holy Alliance, he said–

1. That the United States would not meddle in the political affairs of Europe.

2. That European governments must not extend their system to any part of North and South America, nor in any way seek to control the destiny of any of the nations of this hemisphere.

As Russia had been attempting to plant a colony on the coast of California, which was then a part of Mexico, the President announced (as another part of the doctrine)–

3. That the American continents were no longer open for colonization by European powers.

[Illustration: AN OLD-TIME PIANO.]

THE TARIFF OF 1824.–Failure of the tariff of 1816 to shut out British manufactures, the hard times of 1819, and the general ruin of business led to a demand for another tariff in 1820. To this the cotton states were bitterly opposed. In the South there were no manufacturing centers, no great manufacturing industries of any sort. The planters sold their cotton to the North and (chiefly) to Great Britain, from which they bought almost all kinds of manufactured goods they used. Naturally, they wanted low duties on their imported articles; just enough tax to support the government and no more.

In the North, especially in towns now almost wholly given up to manufactures, as Lynn and Lowell and Fall River and Providence and Cohoes and Paterson and others; in regions where the farmers were raising sheep for wool; in Pennsylvania, where iron was mined; and in Kentucky, where the hemp fields were, people wanted domestic manufactures protected by a high tariff.

The struggle was a long one. At each session of Congress from 1820 to 1824 the question came up. Finally in 1824 a new tariff for protection was enacted despite the efforts of the South and part of New England.

BREAKING UP OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.–Though the three questions of internal improvements, the tariff, and the use of the public lands led to bitter disputes, they did less to break up the party harmony than the action of the leaders. After the second election of Monroe the question of his successor at once arose. The people of Tennessee nominated Andrew Jackson; South Carolina named the Secretary of War, Calhoun; Kentucky wanted Henry Clay, who had long been speaker of the House of Representatives; the New England states were for John Quincy Adams, the Secretary of State. Finally the usual party caucus of Republican members of Congress nominated Crawford of Georgia, the Secretary of the Treasury.

THE ELECTION OF 1824-25.–The withdrawal of Calhoun from the race for the presidency left in it Adams, Clay, Crawford, and Jackson, representing the four sections of the country–Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest. As no one had a majority of the electoral votes, it became the duty of the House of Representatives to elect one from the three who had received the highest votes. [5] They were Jackson, Adams, and Crawford. The House chose Adams, [6] who was duly inaugurated in 1825. [7] The electoral college had elected Calhoun Vice President. [8]

THE CHARGE OF CORRUPTION.–The friends of Jackson were bitterly disappointed by his defeat. He was “the Man of the People,” had received the highest number of electoral votes (though not a majority), and ought, they said, to have been elected by the House. That he had not been elected was due, they claimed, to a bargain: Clay was to urge his friends to vote for Adams; if elected, Adams was to make Clay Secretary of State. No such bargain was ever made. But after Adams became President he appointed Clay Secretary of State, and then the supporters of Jackson were convinced that the charge was true.

RISE OF THE NEW PARTIES.–The legislature of Tennessee, therefore, at once renominated Jackson, and about him gathered all who, for any reason, disliked Adams and Clay, all who were opposed to the tariff and internal improvements, or wanted “a man of the people” for President. They were called Jackson men, or Democratic Republicans.

Adams, it was well known, would also be renominated, as the candidate of the supporters of the tariff and internal improvements. They were the Adams men, or National Republicans. Thus was the once harmonious Republican party broken into fragments, out of which grew two distinctly new parties.


THE TARIFF OF 1828.–The act of 1824 not proving satisfactory to the growers and manufacturers of wool, a new tariff law was enacted in 1828. So many and so high were the duties laid that the opponents of protection named the law the Tariff of Abominations. To the cotton states it was particularly hateful, and in memorials, resolutions, and protests they declared that a tariff for protection was unconstitutional, unjust, and oppressive. They made threats of ceasing to trade with the tariff states, and talked of nullifying, or refusing to obey the law, and even of leaving the Union.

THE ELECTION OF 1828.–Great as was the excitement in the South over this new tariff law, it produced little effect in the struggle for the presidency. The campaign had really been going on for three years past and would have ended in the election of Jackson had the tariff never existed. “Old Hickory,” the “Hero of New Orleans,” the “Man of the People,” was more than ever the favorite of the hour, and though his party was anti- tariff he carried states where the voters were deeply interested in the protection of manufactures. Indeed, he received more than twice the number of electoral votes cast for Adams. [9]


1. After the election of Monroe (1816) the Federalist party died out, the old party issues disappeared, and Monroe’s term is known as the Era of Good Feeling.

2. The South American colonies of Spain, having rebelled, formed republics, and were recognized by the United States. To prevent interference with them by European powers, especially by the Holy Alliance, Monroe announced the doctrine now known by his name (1823).

3. The growth of the West and the rise of new states brought up the question of internal improvements at national expense.

4. The growth of manufactures brought up the question of more protection and a new tariff. In 1824 a new tariff law was enacted, in spite of the opposition of the South, which had no manufactures and imported largely from Great Britain.

5. These issues, which were largely sectional, and the action of certain leaders, split the Republican party, and led to the nomination of four presidential candidates in 1824.

6. The electors failed to choose a President, but did elect a Vice President. Adams was then elected President by the House of Representatives.

7. A new tariff was enacted in 1828, though the South opposed it even more strongly than the tariff of 1824.

8. In 1828 Jackson, one of the candidates defeated in 1824, was elected President.



[1] James Monroe was a Virginian, born in 1758; he entered William and Mary College, served in the Continental army, was a member of the Virginia Assembly, of the Continental Congress for three years, and of the Virginia convention that adopted the Federal Constitution in 1788. He strongly opposed the adoption of the Constitution. As United States senator (1790- 94), he opposed Washington’s administration; but was sent as minister to France (1794-96). In 1799-1802 Monroe was governor of Virginia, and then was sent to France to aid Livingston in the purchase of Louisiana; was minister to Great Britain 1804-6, and in 1811-17 was Secretary of State, and in 1814-15 acted also as Secretary of War. In 1817-25 he was President. He died in 1831.

[2] Monroe carried every state in the Union and was entitled to every electoral vote. But one elector did not vote for him, in order that Washington might still have the honor of being the only President unanimously elected.

[3] In the new Western states were great tracts which belonged to the United States, and which the Western states now asked should be given to them, or at least be sold to them for a few cents an acre. The East opposed this, and asked for gifts of Western land which they might sell so as to use the money to build roads and canals and establish free schools.

[4] Read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. V, pp. 28-54.

[5] Jackson had 99 votes, Adams 84, Crawford 41, and Clay 37. The Constitution (Article XII of the amendments) provides that if no person have a majority of the electoral votes, “then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three, on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.”

[6] By a vote of 13 states, against 7 for Jackson, and 4 for Crawford.

[7] John Quincy Adams was born at Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1767, went with his father John Adams to France, and spent several years abroad; then graduated from Harvard, studied law, and was appointed by Washington minister to the Netherlands and then to Portugal, and in 1797 to Prussia. He was a senator from Massachusetts in 1803-8. In 1809 Madison sent him as minister to Russia, where he was when the war opened in 1812. Of the five commissioners at Ghent he was the ablest and the most conspicuous. In 1815 Madison appointed him minister to Great Britain, and in 1817 he came home to be Secretary of State under Monroe. In 1831 he became a member of the House of Representatives and continued as such till stricken in the House with paralysis in February, 1848.

[8] John Caldwell Calhoun was born in South Carolina in 1782, entered Yale College in 1802, studied law, and became a lawyer at Abbeville, South Carolina, in 1807. In 1808 he went to the legislature, and in 1811 entered Congress, and was appointed chairman of the committee on foreign relations. As such he wrote the report and resolutions in favor of war with Great Britain. At this period of his career he favored a liberal construction of the Constitution, and supported the tariff of 1816, the charter of the Second Bank of the United States, and internal improvements. He was Secretary of War in Monroe’s Cabinet, and was Vice President from 1825 until 1832, when he resigned and entered the Senate, where he remained most of the time till his death in 1850.

[9] This election is noteworthy also as the first in which nearly all the states chose electors by popular vote. Only two of the twenty-four states made the choice by vote of the legislature; in the others the popular vote for Jackson electors numbered 647,276 and that for Adams electors 508,064. A good book on presidential elections is _A History of the Presidency_, by Edward Stanwood.



In many respects the election of Jackson [1] was an event of as much political importance as was the election of Jefferson. Men hailed it as another great uprising of the people, as another triumph of democracy. They acted as if the country had been delivered from impending evil, and hurried by thousands to Washington to see the hero inaugurated and the era of promised reform opened. [2]

THE NEW PARTY.–Jackson treated the public offices as the “spoils of victory,” and within a few weeks hundreds of postmasters, collectors of revenue, and other officeholders were turned out, and their places given to active workers for Jackson. This “spoils system” was new in national politics and created immense excitement. But it was nothing more than an attempt to build up a new national party in the same way that parties had already been built up in some of the states. [3]

JACKSON AS PRESIDENT.–In many respects Jackson’s administration was the most exciting the country had yet experienced. Never since the days of President John Adams had party feeling run so high. The vigorous personality of the President, his intense sincerity, his determination to do, at all hazards, just what he believed to be right, made him devoted friends and bitter enemies and led to his administration being often called the Reign of Andrew Jackson. The questions with which he had to deal were of serious importance, and on the solution of some of them hung the safety of the republic.


THE SOUTH CAROLINA DOCTRINE.–Such a one was the old issue of the tariff. The view of the South as set forth by the leaders, especially by Calhoun of South Carolina, was that the state ought to nullify the Tariff Act of 1828 because it was unconstitutional. [4] Daniel Webster attacked this South Carolina doctrine and (1830) argued the issue with Senator Hayne of South Carolina. The speeches of the two men in the Senate, the debate which followed, and the importance of the issue, make the occasion a famous one in our history. That South Carolina would go so far as actually to carry out the doctrine and nullify the tariff did not seem likely. But the seriousness of South Carolina alarmed the friends of the tariff, and in 1832 Congress amended the act of 1828 and reduced the duties.

SOUTH CAROLINA NULLIFIES THE TARIFF.–This did not satisfy South Carolina. The new tariff still protected manufactures, and it was protection that she opposed; and in November, 1832, she adopted the Ordinance of Nullification, which forbade any of her citizens to pay the tariff duties after February 1, 1833.

When Congress met in December, 1832, the great question was what to do with South Carolina. Jackson was determined the law should be obeyed, [5] sent vessels to Charleston harbor, and asked for a Force Act to enable him to collect the revenue by force if necessary. [6]

THE GREAT DEBATE.–In the course of the debate on the Force Act, Calhoun (who had resigned the vice presidency and had been elected a senator from South Carolina) explained and defended nullification and contended that it was a peaceable and lawful remedy and a proper exercise of state rights. Webster [7] denied that the Constitution was a mere compact, declared that nullification and secession were rebellion, and upheld the authority and sovereignty of the Union. [8]


THE COMPROMISE OF 1833.–Clay meantime came forward with a compromise. He proposed that the tariff of 1832 should be reduced gradually till 1842, when all duties should be twenty per cent on the value of the articles imported. As such duties would not be protective, Calhoun and the other Southern members accepted the plan, and the Compromise Tariff was passed in March, 1833. [10] To satisfy the North arid uphold the authority of the government, the Force Act also was passed. But as South Carolina repealed the Ordinance of Nullification there was never any need to use force.

FIRST NATIONAL NOMINATING CONVENTIONS.–In the midst of the excitement over the tariff, came the election of 1832. Since 1824, when the Republican party was breaking up, presidential candidates had been nominated by state legislatures and caucuses of members of state legislatures. But in 1831 the Antimasons [11] held a convention at Baltimore, nominated William Wirt and Amos Ellmaker for President and Vice President, and so introduced the national nominating convention.

The example thus set was quickly followed: in December, 1831, a national convention of National Republicans nominated Clay (then a senator) for President, and John Sergeant for Vice President. In May, 1832, a national convention of Jackson men, or Democrats as some called them, nominated Martin Van Buren for Vice President. There was no need to renominate Jackson, for in a letter to some friends he had already declared himself a candidate, and many state legislatures had made the nomination. He was still the idol of the people and was re-elected by a greater majority than in 1828.

THE BANK ATTACKED.–One of the issues in the campaign was the recharter of the Bank of the United States, whose charter was to expire in 1836. Jackson always hated that institution, had attacked it in his annual messages, and had vetoed (1832) a recharter bill passed (for political effect) by Clay and his friends in Congress.

REMOVAL OF THE DEPOSITS.–Jackson therefore looked upon his reflection as a popular approval of his treatment of the bank. He continued to attack it, and in 1833 requested the Secretary of the Treasury, William Duane, to remove the deposits of government money from the bank and its branches. When Duane refused, Jackson turned him out of office and put in Roger B. Taney, who made the removal. [12]

The Senate passed resolutions, moved by Clay, censuring the President for this action; but Senator Benton of Missouri said that he would not rest till the censure was expunged. Expunging now became a party question; state after state instructed its senators to vote for it, and finally in 1837 the Senate ordered a black line to be drawn around the resolutions and the words “Expunged by order of the Senate” to be written across them.

RISE OF THE WHIG PARTY.–The hatred which the National Republicans felt for Jackson was intense. They accused him of trying to set up a despotic government, and, asserting that they were contending against the same kind of tyranny our forefathers fought against in the War of Independence, they called themselves Whigs. In the state elections of 1834 the new name came into general use, and thenceforth for many years there was a national Whig party.

THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT.–The Missouri Compromise was supposed to have settled the issue of slavery. But its effect was just the reverse. Antislavery agitators were aroused. The antislavery newspapers grew more numerous and aggressive. New antislavery societies were formed and old ones were revived and became aggressive, and in 1833 delegates from many of them met at Philadelphia and formed the American Antislavery Society. [13]

ANTISLAVERY DOCUMENTS.–The field of work for the anti-slavery people was naturally the South. That section was flooded with newspapers, pamphlets, pictures, and handbills intended to stir up sentiment for instant abolition of slavery and liberation of the slaves.


Against this the South protested, declared such documents were likely to cause slaves to run away or rise in insurrection, and called on the North to suppress them.

PROSLAVERY MOBS.–To stop their circulation by legal means was not possible; so attempts were made to do it by illegal means. In many Northern cities, as Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Utica, and elsewhere, mobs broke up the antislavery meetings. In Charleston, South Carolina, the postmaster seized some antislavery documents and the people burned them. At Cincinnati the newspaper office of James G. Birney was twice sacked and his presses destroyed (1836). Another at Alton, Illinois, was four times attacked, and the owner, Elijah Lovejoy, was at last killed by the mob while protecting his press.

THE RIGHT OF PETITION.–Not content with this, the pro-slavery people attempted to pass a bill through Congress (1836) to exclude antislavery documents from the mails, and even attacked the right of petition. The bill to close the mails to antislavery documents failed. But the attempt to exclude antislavery petitions from the House of Representatives succeeded: a “Gag Rule” was adopted which forbade any petition, resolution, or paper relating in any way to slavery or the abolition of slavery to be received, and this was in force down to 1844. [14]

OUR COUNTRY OUT OF DEBT.–Despite all this political commotion our country for years past had prospered greatly. In this prosperity the government had shared. Its income had far exceeded its expenses, and by using the surplus year by year to reduce the national debt it succeeded in paying the last dollar by 1835.

THE SURPLUS.–After the debt was extinguished a surplus still remained, and was greatly increased by a sudden speculation in public lands, so that by the middle of 1836 the government had more than $40,000,000 of surplus money in the banks.

What to do with the money was a serious question, and all sorts of uses were suggested. But Congress decided that from the surplus as it existed on January 1, 1837, $5,000,000 should be subtracted and the remainder distributed among the states in four installments. [15]

THE ELECTION OF VAN BUREN.–When the time came to choose a successor to Jackson, a Democratic national convention nominated Martin Van Buren, with Richard M. Johnson for Vice President. The Whigs were too disorganized to hold a national convention; but most of them favored William Henry Harrison for President. Van Buren was elected (1836); but no candidate for Vice President received a majority of the electoral vote. The duty of choosing that officer therefore passed to the United States Senate, which elected Richard M. Johnson.

THE ERA OF SPECULATION.–On March 4, 1837, Van Buren [16] entered on a term made memorable by one of the worst panics our country has experienced. From 1834 to 1836 was a period of wild speculation. Money was plentiful and easy to borrow, and was invested in all sorts of schemes by which people expected to make fortunes. Millions of acres of the public land were bought and held for a rise in price. Real estate in the cities sold for fabulous prices. Cotton, timber lands in Maine, railroad, canal, bank, and state stocks, and lots in Western towns which had no existence save on paper, all were objects of speculation.

[Illustration: NEW YORK MERCHANT, 1837.]

PANIC OF 1837.–Money used for these purposes was borrowed largely from the state banks, and much of it was the surplus which the government had deposited in the banks. When, therefore, in January, 1837, the government drew out one quarter of its surplus to distribute among the states, the banks were forced to stop making loans and call in some of the money they had lent. This hurt business of every sort. Quite unexpectedly the price of cotton fell; this ruined many. Business men failed by scores, and the merchants of New York appealed to Van Buren to assemble Congress and stop the further distribution of the surplus. Van Buren refused, and the banks of New York city suspended specie payment, that is, no longer redeemed their notes in gold and silver. Those in every other state followed, and a panic swept over the country. [17]

THE NEW NATIONAL DEBT.–With business at a standstill, the national revenues fell off; and the desperate financial state of the country forced Van Buren to call Congress together in September. By that time the third installment of the surplus had been paid to the states, and times were harder than ever. To mend matters Congress suspended payment of the fourth installment, and authorized the debts of the government to be paid in treasury notes. This put our country again in debt, and it has ever since remained so.

POLITICAL DISCONTENT.–As always happens in periods of financial distress, hard times bred political discontent. The Whigs laid all the blame on the Democrats, who, they said, had destroyed the United States Bank, and by their reckless financial policy had caused the panic and the hard times. Whether this was true or not, the people believed it, and various state elections showed signs of a Whig victory in 1840. [18]

THE LOG-CABIN CAMPAIGN.–The Whigs in their national convention nominated William Henry Harrison and John Tyler. The Democrats renominated Van Buren, but named no one for the vice presidency. The antislavery people, in hopes of drawing off from the Whig and Democratic parties those who were opposed to slavery, and so making a new party, nominated James G. Birney.

The Whig convention did not adopt a platform, but an ill-timed sneer at Harrison furnished just what they needed. He would, a Democratic newspaper said, be more at home in a log cabin drinking cider than living in the White House as President. The Whigs hailed this sneer as an insult to the millions of Americans who then lived, or had once lived, or whose parents had dwelt in log cabins, and made the cabin the emblem of their party. Log cabins were erected in every city, town, and village as Whig headquarters; were mounted on wheels, were drawn from place to place, and lived in by Whig stump speakers. Great mass meetings were held, and the whole campaign became one of frolic, song, and torchlight processions. [19] The people wanted a change. Harrison was an ideal popular candidate, and “Tippecanoe [20] and Tyler too” and a Whig Congress were elected.

DEATH OF HARRISON; TYLER PRESIDENT (1841).–As soon as Harrison was inaugurated, a special session of Congress was called to undo the work of the Democrats. But one month after inauguration day Harrison died, and when Congress assembled, Tyler [21] was President.


1. The inauguration of Jackson was followed by the introduction of the “spoils system” into national politics.

2. The question of nullification was debated in the Senate by Webster and Hayne. Under Calhoun’s leadership, South Carolina nullified the tariff of 1832. Jackson asked for a Force Act; but the dispute was settled by the Compromise of 1833.

3. Jackson vigorously opposed the Bank of the United States, and after his reëlection he ordered the removal of the government deposits.

4. This period is notable in the history of political parties for (1) the introduction of the national nominating convention, (2) the rise of the Whig party, (3) the formation of the antislavery party.

5. Slavery was now a national issue. An attempt was made to shut antislavery documents out of the mails, and antislavery petitions were shut out of the House of Representatives.

6. Financially, Jackson’s second term is notable for (1) the payment of the national debt, (2) the growth of a great surplus in the treasury, (3) the distribution of the surplus among the states.

7. The manner of distributing the surplus revenue among the states interrupted a period of wild speculation and brought on the panic of 1837.

8. Van Buren, who succeeded Jackson as President, called a special session of Congress; and the fourth installment of the surplus was withheld.

9. Financial distress, hard times, and general discontent led to a demand for a change; and the log-cabin, hard-cider campaign that followed ended with the election of Harrison (1840).


[1] Andrew Jackson was born in Waxhaw, North Carolina, 1767, but always considered himself a native of South Carolina, for the place of his birth was on the border of the two states. During the Revolution a party of British came to the settlement where Jackson lived. An officer ordered the boy to clean his boots, and when Jackson refused, struck him with a sword, inflicting wounds on his head and arm. Andrew and his brothers were taken prisoners to Camden. His mother obtained his release and shortly after died while on her way to nurse the sick prisoners in Charleston. Left an orphan, Jackson worked at saddlery, taught school, studied law, and went to Tennessee in 1788; was appointed a district attorney, in 1796 was the first representative to Congress from the state of Tennessee, and in 1797 became one of its senators. In 1798-1804 he was one of the judges of the Tennessee supreme court. His military career began in 1813-14, when he beat the Indians in the Creek War. In 1814 he was made a major general, in 1815 won the battle of New Orleans, and in 1818 beat the Seminoles in Florida. He was the first governor of the territory of Florida. He died in June, 1845. Read the account of Jackson’s action in the Seminole War and the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, in McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. IV, pp. 439-456.

[2] The inauguration was of the simplest kind. Uncovered, on foot, escorted by the committee in charge, and surrounded on both sides by gigs, wood wagons, hacks full of women and children, and followed by thousands of men from all parts of the country, Jackson walked from his hotel to the Capitol and on the east portico took the oath of office. A wild rush was then made by the people to shake his hand. With difficulty the President reached a horse and started for the White House, “pursued by a motley concourse of people, riding, running helter-skelter, striving who should first gain admittance.” So great was the crowd at the White House that Jackson was pushed through the drawing room and would have been crushed against the wall had not his friends linked arms and made a barrier about him. The windows had to be opened to enable the crowd to leave the room.

[3] Editors of newspapers that supported Jackson were given office or were rewarded with public printing, and a party press devoted to the President was thus established. To keep both workers and newspapers posted as to the policy of the administration, there was set up at Washington a partisan journal for which all officeholders were expected to subscribe. The President, ignoring his secretaries, turned for advice to a few party leaders whom the Adams men nicknamed the “Kitchen Cabinet.”

[4] Calhoun maintained (1) that the Constitution is a compact or contract between the states; (2) that Congress can only exercise such power as this compact gives it; (3) that when Congress assumes power not given it, and enacts a law it has no authority to enact, any state may veto, or nullify, that law, that is, declare it not a law within her boundary; (4) that Congress has no authority to lay a tariff for any other purpose than to pay the debts of the United States; (5) that the tariff to protect manufactures was therefore an exercise of power not granted by the Constitution. This view of the Constitution was held by the Southern states generally. But as the two most ardent expounders of it were Hayne and Calhoun, both of South Carolina, it was called the South Carolina doctrine.

[5] On the anniversary of Jefferson’s birthday, April 13, 1830, a great dinner was given in Washington at which nullification speeches were made in response to toasts. Jackson was present, and when called on for a toast offered this: “Our Federal Union, it must be preserved.”

[6] Read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp. 153-163.

[7] Daniel Webster was born in New Hampshire in 1782, graduated from Dartmouth, studied law, wrote some pamphlets, and made several Fourth of July orations, praising the Federal Constitution and denouncing the embargo. In 1813 he entered Congress as a representative from New Hampshire, but lost his seat by removing to Boston in 1816. In 1823 Webster returned to Congress as a representative from one of the Massachusetts districts, rose at once to a place of leadership, and in 1827 entered the United States Senate. By this time he was famous as an orator. Passages from his speeches were recited by schoolboys, and such phrases as “Our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country,” “Thank God, I, I also, am an American,” “Independence _now_, and Independence forever!” passed into everyday speech. In his second reply to Hayne of South Carolina, defending and explaining the Constitution (p. 290), he closed with the words “Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.” In 1836 he received the electoral vote of Massachusetts for the presidency. He was a senator for many years, was twice Secretary of State, and died in October, 1852.

[9] Read the speeches of Calhoun in Johnston’s _American Orations_, Vol. I, pp. 303-319.

[10] Shortly before February 1, 1833, the day on which nullification was to go into effect, the South Carolina leaders met and suspended the Ordinance of Nullification till March 3, the last day of the session of Congress. This, of course, they had no power to do. The state authorities did not think it wise to put the ordinance in force till they saw what Congress would do with the tariff.

[11] In 1826 a Mason named William Morgan, living at Batavia, in western New York, threatened to reveal the secrets of masonry. But about the time his book was to appear, he suddenly disappeared. The Masons were accused of having killed him, and the people of western New York denounced them at public meetings as members of a society dangerous to the state. A party pledged to exclude Masons from public office was quickly formed and soon spread into Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New England, where it became very strong.

[12] This so-called removal consisted in depositing the revenue, as it was collected, in a few state banks, the “pet banks,”–instead of in the United States Bank as before,–and gradually drawing out the money on deposit with the United States Bank. Read an account of the interviews of Jackson with committees from public meetings in McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp. 200-204.

[13] The principles of this new society, formulated by William Lloyd Garrison, were: (1) that each state had a right to regulate slavery within its boundaries; (2) that Congress should stop the interstate slave trade; (3) that Congress should abolish slavery in the territories and in the District of Columbia; (4) that Congress should admit no more slave states into the Union.

[14] Read Whittier’s poem _A Summons_–“Lines written on the adoption of Pinckney’s Resolutions.”

[15] The surplus on January 1, 1837, was $42,468,000. The amount to be distributed therefore was $37,468,000. Only three installments (a little over $28,000,000) were paid. For the use the states made of the money, read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp. 351- 358.

[16] Martin Van Buren was born in New York state in 1782, studied law, began his political career at eighteen, and held several offices before he was sent to the state senate in 1812. From 1815 to 1819 he was attorney general of New York, became United States senator in 1821, and was reflected in 1827; but resigned in 1828 to become governor of New York. Jackson appointed him Secretary of State in 1829; but he resigned in 1831 and was sent as minister to Great Britain. The appointment was made during a recess of the Senate, which later refused to confirm the appointment, and Van Buren was forced to come home. Because of this “party persecution” the Democrats nominated him for Vice President in 1832, and from 1833 to 1837 he had the pleasure of presiding over the body that had rejected him. He died in 1862.

[17] Specie payment was resumed in the autumn of 1838; but most of the banks again suspended in 1839, and again in 1841. Read the account of the panic in McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp. 398-405.

[18] Financial distress was not the only thing that troubled Van Buren’s administration. During 1837 many Canadians rebelled against misrule, and began the “Patriot War” in their country. One of their leaders enlisted aid in Buffalo, and seized a Canadian island in the Niagara River. The steamer _Caroline_ was then run between this island and the New York shore, carrying over visitors, and, it was claimed, guns and supplies. This was unlawful, and one night in December, 1837, a force of Canadian government troops rowed over to the New York shore, boarded the _Caroline_, and destroyed her; it was a disputed question whether she was burned and sunk, or whether she was set afire and sent over the Falls. The whole border from Vermont to Michigan became greatly excited over this invasion of our territory. Men volunteered in the “Patriot” cause, supplies and money were contributed, guns were taken from government arsenals, and raids were made into Canada. Van Buren sent General Scott to the frontier, did what he could to preserve peace and neutrality, and thus made himself unpopular in the border states. There was also danger of war over the disputed northern boundary of Maine. State troops were sent to the territory in dispute, along the Aroostook River (1839; map, p. 316); but Van Buren made an unpopular agreement with the British minister, whereby the troops were withdrawn and both sides agreed not to use force.

[19] In the West, men came to these meetings in huge canoes and wagons of all sorts, and camped on the ground. At one meeting the ground covered by the people was measured, and allowing four to the square yard it was estimated about 80,000 attended. Dayton, in Ohio, claimed 100,000 at her meeting. At Bunker Hill there were 60,000. In the processions, huge balls were rolled along to the cry, “Keep the ball a-rolling.” Every log cabin had a barrel of hard cider and a gourd drinking cup near it. On the walls were coon skins, and the latch-string was always hanging out. More than a hundred campaign songs were written and sung to popular airs. Every Whig wore a log-cabin medal, or breastpin, or badge, or carried a log-cabin cane. Read McMaster’s _History of the People of the U. S._, Vol. VI, pp. 550-588.

[20] The battle fought in 1811, meaning Harrison, the victor in that battle. See note on p. 254.

[21] John Tyler was born in Virginia in 1790 and died in 1862. At twenty- one he was elected to the legislature of Virginia, was elected to the House of Representatives in 1821, and favored the admission of Missouri as a slave state. In 1825 he became governor of Virginia, and in 1827 was elected to the United States Senate. There he opposed the tariff and internal improvements, supported Jackson, but condemned his proclamation to the milliners, voted for the censure of Jackson, and when instructed by Virginia to vote for expunging, refused and resigned from the Senate in 1836.