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Confederates in West Virginia, and his victories there were the cause of his promotion to command the Army of the Potomac. After the battle of Antietam (p. 363) he took no further part in the war, and finally resigned in 1864. From 1878 to 1881 he was governor of New Jersey. He died in 1885.

[9] Hiram Ulysses Grant was born in Ohio in 1822, and at seventeen entered West Point, where his name was registered Ulysses S. Grant, and as such he was ever after known. He served in the Mexican War, and afterward engaged in business of various sorts till the opening of the Civil War, when he was made colonel of the Twenty-first Illinois Regiment, and then commander of the district of southeast Missouri. When General Buckner, who commanded at Fort Donelson, wrote to Grant to know what terms he would offer, Grant replied: “No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works.” This won for Grant the popular name “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.

Andrew H. Foote was born in Connecticut in 1806, entered the navy at sixteen, and when the war opened, was made flag officer of the Western navy. His gunboats were like huge rafts carrying a house with flat roof and sloping sides that came down to the water’s edge. The sloping sides and ends were covered with iron plates and pierced for guns; three in the bow, two in the stern, and four on each side. The huge wheel in the stern which drove the boat was under cover; but the smoke stacks were unprotected. Foote died in 1863, a rear admiral.

[10] The islands in the Mississippi are numbered from the mouth of the Ohio River to New Orleans.

[11] Read _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, Vol. I, pp. 465-486.

[12] Farther west the Confederates attacked the Union army at Corinth (October 4), but were defeated by General Rosecrans.

[13] In January, 1862, the Confederate line west of the Mississippi stretched from Belmont across southern Missouri to Indian Territory; but Grant drove the Confederates out of Belmont; General Curtis, as we have seen, beat them at Pea Ridge (in March), and when the year ended, the Union army was in possession of northern Arkansas.

[14] David G. Farragut was born in 1801, and when eleven years old served on the _Essex_ in the War of 1812. When his fleet started up the Mississippi River, in 1862, he found his way to New Orleans blocked by two forts, St. Philip and Jackson, by chains across the river on hulks below Fort Jackson, and by a fleet of ironclad boats above. After bombarding the forts for six days, he cut the chains, ran by the forts, defeated the fleet, and went up to New Orleans, and later took Baton Rouge and Natchez. For the capture of New Orleans he received the thanks of Congress, and was made a rear admiral; for his victory in Mobile Bay (p. 379) the rank of vice admiral was created for him, and in 1866 a still higher rank, that of admiral, was made for him. He died in 1870.

[15] When it was known in New Orleans that Farragut’s fleet was coming, the cotton in the yards and in the cotton presses was hauled on drays to the levee and burned to prevent its falling into Union hands. The capture of the city had a great effect on Great Britain and France, both of whom the Confederates hoped would intervene to stop the war. Slidell, who was in France seeking recognition for the Confederacy as an independent nation, wrote that he had been led to believe “that if New Orleans had not been taken and we suffered no very serious reverses in Virginia and Tennessee, our recognition would very soon have been declared.” Read _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, Vol. II, pp. 14-21,91-94.

[16] The story of the march is interestingly told in “Recollections of a Private,” in _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, Vol. II, pp. 189-199.

[17] Thomas J. Jackson was born in West Virginia in 1824, graduated from West Point, served in the Mexican War, resigned from the army, and till 1861 taught in the Virginia State Military Institute at Lexington. He then joined the Confederate army, and for the firm stand of his brigade at Bull Run gained the name of “Stonewall.”

[18] Robert E. Lee was born in Virginia in 1807, a son of “Light Horse” Harry Lee of the Revolutionary army. He was a graduate of West Point, and served in the Mexican War. After Virginia seceded he left the Union army and was appointed a major general of Virginia troops, and in 1862 became commander in chief. At the end of the war he accepted the presidency of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University), and died in Lexington, Virginia, in 1870.

[19] Part of McClellan’s army had joined Pope before the second battle of Bull Run.

[20] Read “A Woman’s Recollections of Antietam,” in _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, Vol. II, pp. 686-695; also O. W. Holmes’s _My Hunt after “The Captain_.”

[21] West Virginia and Missouri later (1863) provided for gradual emancipation, and Maryland (1864) adopted a constitution that abolished slavery.


THE CIVIL WAR, 1863-1865

THE GETTYSBURG CAMPAIGN, 1863.–After the defeat at Fredericksburg, Burnside was removed, and General Hooker put in command of the Army of the Potomac. “Fighting Joe,” as Hooker was called, led his army of 130,000 men against Lee and Jackson, and after a stubborn fight at Chancellorsville (May 1-4, 1863) was beaten and fell back. [1] In June Lee once more took the offensive, rushed down the Shenandoah valley to the Potomac River, crossed Maryland, and entered Pennsylvania with the Army of the Potomac in hot pursuit. On reaching Maryland General Hooker was removed and General Meade put in command.

[Illustration: WAR IN THE EAST, 1863-65.]

On the hills at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, the two armies met, and there (July 1-3) Lee attacked Meade. The struggle was desperate. About one fourth of the men engaged were killed or wounded. But the splendid valor of the Union army prevailed, and Lee was beaten and forced to return to Virginia, where he remained unmolested till the spring of 1864. [2] The battle of Gettysburg ended Lee’s plan for carrying the war into the North, and from the losses on that field his army never fully recovered. [3]

[Illustration: BATTLE OF GETTYSBURG. Contemporary drawing.]


[Illustration: GRANT’S HEADQUARTERS NEAR VICKSBURG. From a recent photograph.]

VICKSBURG, 1863.–In January, 1863, the Confederates held the Mississippi River only from Vicksburg to Port Hudson. The capture of these two towns would complete the opening of the river. Grant, therefore, determined to capture Vicksburg. The town stands on the top of a bluff which rises straight and steep from the river, and had been so strongly fortified on the land side that to take it seemed impossible. Grant, having failed in a direct advance through Mississippi, cut a canal across a bend in the river, on the west bank, hoping to divert the waters and get a passage by the town. This, too, failed; and he then decided to cross below Vicksburg and attack by land. To aid him, Admiral Porter ran his gunboats past the town on a night in April and carried the army across the river. Landing on the east bank, Grant won a victory at Port Gibson, and hearing that J. E. Johnston was coming to help Pemberton, pushed in between them, beat Johnston, and turning against Pemberton drove him into Vicksburg. After a siege of seven weeks, in which Vicksburg suffered severely from bombardment and famine, Pemberton surrendered the town and army July 4, 1863.

In less than a week (July 9) Port Hudson surrendered, the Mississippi was opened from source to mouth, and the Confederacy was cut in two.

[Illustration: WAR IN THE WEST, 1863-65, AND ON THE COAST.]

CHICKAMAUGA, 1863.–While Grant was besieging Vicksburg, Rosecrans forced a Confederate army under Bragg to quit its position south of Murfreesboro, and then to leave Chattanooga and retire into northern Georgia. There Bragg was reënforced, and he then attacked Rosecrans in the Chickamauga valley (September 19 and 20, 1863), where was fought one of the most desperate battles of the war. The Union right wing was driven from the field, but the left wing under General Thomas held the enemy in check and saved the army from rout. By his firmness Thomas won the name of “the Rock of Chickamauga.”

CHATTANOOGA.–Rosecrans now went back to Chattanooga. Bragg followed, and, taking position on the hills and mountains which surround the town on the east and south, shut in the Union army and besieged it. Hooker was sent from Virginia with more troops, Sherman [4] brought an army from Vicksburg, Rosecrans was replaced by Thomas, and Grant was put in command of all. Then matters changed. The troops under Thomas (November 23) seized some low hills at the foot of Missionary Ridge, east of Chattanooga. Hooker (November 24) carried the Confederate works on Lookout Mountain, southwest of the town, in a fight often called “the Battle above the Clouds.” Sherman (November 24 and 25) attacked the northern end of Missionary Ridge. Thomas (November 25) thereupon carried the heights of Missionary Ridge, and drove off the enemy. Bragg retreated to Dalton in northwestern Georgia, where the command of his army was given to General J. E. Johnston.

[Illustration: WILLIAM T. SHERMAN.]


THE PLAN OF CAMPAIGN, 1864.–The Confederates had now but two great armies left. One under Lee was lying quietly behind the Rappahannock and Rapidan rivers, protecting Richmond; the other under J. E. Johnston [5] was at Dalton, Georgia. The two generals chosen to lead the Union armies against these forces were Grant and Sherman. Grant (now lieutenant general arid in command of all the armies) with the Army of the Potomac was to drive Lee back and take Richmond. Sherman with the forces under Thomas, McPherson, and Schofield was to attack Johnston and enter Georgia. The Union soldiers outnumbered the Confederates.

[Illustration: JOSEPH E. JOHNSTON.]

MARCHING THROUGH GEORGIA.–On May 4, 1864, accordingly, Sherman moved forward against Johnston, flanked him out of Dalton, and drove him, step by step, through the mountains to Atlanta. Johnston’s retreat forced Sherman to weaken his army by leaving guards in the rear to protect the railroads on which he depended for supplies; Johnston intended to attack when he could fight on equal terms. But his retreat displeased Davis, and at Atlanta he was replaced by General Hood, who was expected to fight at once.

In July Hood made three furious attacks, was repulsed, and in September left Atlanta and started northward. His purpose was to draw Sherman out of Georgia, but Sherman sent Thomas with part of the army into Tennessee, and after following Hood for a while, [6] turned back to Atlanta.

After partly burning the town, Sherman started for the seacoast in November, tearing up the railroads, burning bridges, and living on the country as he went. [7] In December Fort McAllister was taken and Savannah occupied.

[Illustration: RAIL TWISTED AROUND POLE BY SHERMAN’S MEN. In the possession of the Long Island Historical Society.]

GRANT AND LEE IN VIRGINIA, 1864.–On the same day in May, 1864, on which Sherman set out to attack Johnston in Georgia, the Army of the Potomac began the campaign in Virginia. General Meade was in command; but Grant, as commander in chief of all the Union armies, directed the campaign in person. Crossing the Rapidan, the army entered the Wilderness, a stretch of country covered with dense woods of oak and pine and thick undergrowth. Lee attacked, and for several days the fighting was almost incessant. But Grant pushed on to Spottsylvania Court House and to Cold Harbor, where bloody battles were fought; and then went south of Richmond and besieged Petersburg. [8]

EARLY’S RAID, 1864.–Lee now sought to divert Grant by an attack on Washington, and sent General Early down the Shenandoah valley. Early crossed the Potomac, entered Maryland, won a battle at the Monocacy River, and actually threatened the defenses of Washington, but was forced to retreat. [9]

[Illustration: PHILLIP H. SHERIDAN.]

To stop these attacks Grant sent Sheridan [10] into the valley, where he defeated Early at Winchester and at Fishers Hill and again at Cedar Creek. It was during this last battle that Sheridan made his famous ride from Winchester. [11]

THE SITUATION EARLY IN 1865.–By 1865, Union fleets and armies had seized many Confederate strongholds on the coast. In the West, Thomas had destroyed Hood’s army in the great battle of Nashville (December, 1864). In the East, Grant was steadily pressing the siege of Petersburg and Richmond, and Sherman was making ready to advance northward from Savannah. The cause of the Confederacy was so desperate that in February, 1865, Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States, was sent to meet Lincoln and Secretary Seward and discuss terms of peace. Lincoln demanded three things: the disbanding of the Confederate armies, the submission of the seceded states to the rule of Congress, and the abolition of slavery. The terms were not accepted, and the war went on.

SHERMAN MARCHES NORTHWARD, 1865.–After resting for a month at Savannah, Sherman started northward through South Carolina, (February 17) entered Columbia, the capital of the state, and forced the Confederates to evacuate Charleston. To oppose him, a new army was organized and put under the command of Johnston. But Sherman pressed on, entered North Carolina, and reached Goldsboro in safety.

THE SURRENDER OF LEE, 1865.–Early in April, Lee found himself unable to hold Richmond and Petersburg any longer. He retreated westward. Grant followed, and on April 9, 1865, Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, seventy-five miles west of Richmond. [12]

FALL OF THE CONFEDERACY.–The Confederacy then went rapidly to pieces. Johnston surrendered to Sherman near Raleigh on April 26; Jefferson Davis was captured at Irwinville, Georgia, on May 10, and the war on land was over. [13]

REFLECTION OF LINCOLN.–While the war was raging, the time again came to elect a President and Vice President. The Republicans nominated Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. The Democrats selected General McClellan and George H. Pendleton. Lincoln and Johnson were elected and on March 4, 1865, were inaugurated.

DEATH OF LINCOLN.–On the night of April 14, the fourth anniversary of the day on which Anderson marched out of Fort Sumter, while Lincoln was seated with his wife and some friends in a box at Ford’s Theater in Washington, he was shot by an actor who had stolen up behind him. [14] The next morning he died, and Andrew Johnson became President.


1. In 1863, Lee repulsed an advance by Hooker’s army, and invaded Pennsylvania, but was defeated by Meade at Gettysburg.

2. In the West, Grant took Vicksburg, and the Mississippi was opened to the sea. The Confederates defeated Rosecrans at Chickamauga, but were defeated by Grant and other generals at Chattanooga.

3. In 1864, Grant moved across Virginia, after much hard fighting, and besieged Petersburg and Richmond, and Sherman marched across Georgia to Savannah.

4. In 1865, Sherman marched northward into North Carolina, and Grant forced Lee to leave Richmond and surrender.

5. In 1864, Lincoln was reëlected.

6. In April, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated and Johnson became President.

[Illustration: SHARPSHOOTER’S RIFLE USED IN THE CIVIL WAR. With telescope sight. Weight, 32 lb.]


[1] Jackson was mortally wounded by a volley from his own men, who mistook him and his escort for Union cavalry, in the dusk of evening of the second day at Chancellorsville. His last words were: “Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees.”

[2] Read “The Third Day at Gettysburg” in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Vol. III, pp. 369-385. The field of Gettysburg is now a national park dotted with monuments erected in memory of the dead, and marking the positions of the regiments and spots where desperate fighting occurred. Near by is a national cemetery in which are interred several thousand Union soldiers. Read President Lincoln’s beautiful Gettysburg Address.

[3] With the exception of a small body of regulars, the Union armies were composed of volunteers. When it became apparent that the war would not end in a few months, Congress passed a Draft Act: whenever a congressional district failed to furnish the required number of volunteers, the names of able-bodied men not already in the army were to be put into a box, and enough names to complete the number were to be drawn out by a blindfolded man. In July, 1863, when this was done in New York city, a riot broke out and for several days the city was mob-ruled. Negroes were killed, property was destroyed, and the rioters were not put down till troops were sent by the government.

[4] William Tecumseh Sherman was born in Ohio in 1820, graduated from West Point, and served in the Seminole and Mexican wars. He became a banker in San Francisco, then a lawyer in Kansas, in 1860 superintendent of a military school in Louisiana, and then president of a street car company in St. Louis. In 1861 he was appointed colonel in the regular army. He fought at Bull Run, was made brigadier general of volunteers, and was transferred to the West, where he rose rapidly. After the war, Grant was made general of the army, and Sherman lieutenant general; and when Grant became President, Sherman was promoted to the rank of general. He was retired in 1884 and died in 1891 at New York.

[5] Joseph Eggleston Johnston was born in Virginia in 1807, graduated from West Point, and served in the Black Hawk, Seminole, and Mexican wars. When the Civil War opened, he joined the Confederacy, was made a major general, and with Beauregard commanded at the first battle of Bull Run. Johnston was next put in charge of the operations against McClellan (1862); but was wounded at Fair Oaks and succeeded by Lee. In 1863 he was sent to relieve Vicksburg, but failed. In 1864 he was put in command of Bragg’s army after its defeat, and so became opposed to Sherman.

[6] Early in October Hood had reached Dallas on his way to Tennessee. From Dallas he sent a division to capture a garrison and depots at Allatoona, commanded by General Corse. Sherman, who was following Hood, communicated with Corse from the top of Kenesaw Mountain by signals; and Corse, though greatly outnumbered, held the fort and drove off the enemy. On this incident was founded the popular hymn _Hold the Fort, for I am Coming_.

[7] To destroy the railroads so they could not be quickly rebuilt, the rails, heated red-hot in fires made of burning ties, were twisted around trees or telegraph poles. Stations, machine shops, cotton bales, cotton gins and presses were burned. Along the line of march, a strip of country sixty miles wide was made desolate.

[8] While the siege of Petersburg was under way, a tunnel was dug and a mine exploded under a Confederate work called Elliott’s Salient (July 30, 1864). As soon as the mass of flying earth, men, guns, and carriages had settled, a body of Union troops moved forward through the break thus made in the enemy’s line. But the assault was badly managed. The Confederates rallied, and the Union forces were driven back into the crater made by the explosion, where many were killed and 1400 captured.

[9] On October 19, 1864, St. Albans, a town in Vermont near the Canadian border, was raided by Confederates from Canada. They seized all the horses they could find, robbed the banks, and escaped. A little later the people of Detroit were excited by a rumor that their city was to be raided on October 30. Great preparations for defense were made; but no enemy came.

[10] Philip H. Sheridan was born at Albany, New York, in 1831, graduated from West Point, and was in Missouri when the war opened. In 1862 he was given a command in the cavalry, fought in the West, and before the year closed was made a brigadier and then major general for gallantry in action. At Chattanooga he led the charge up Missionary Ridge. After the war he became lieutenant general and then general of the army, and died in 1888.

[11] Sheridan had spent the night at Winchester, and as he rode toward his camp at Cedar Creek, he met such a crowd of wagons, fugitives, and wounded men that he was forced to take to the fields. At Newtown, the streets were so crowded he could not pass through them. Riding around the village, he met Captain McKinley (afterward President), who, says Sheridan, “spread the news of my return through the motley throng there.” Between Newtown and Middletown he met “the only troops in the presence of and resisting the enemy…. Jumping my horse over the line of rails, I rode to the crest of the elevation and … the men rose up from behind their barricade with cheers of recognition.” When he rode to another part of the field, “a line of regimental flags rose up out of the ground, as it seemed, to welcome me.” With these flags was Colonel Hayes (afterward President). Hurrying to another place, he came upon some divisions marching to the front. When the men “saw me, they began cheering and took up the double-quick to the front.” Crossing the pike, he rode, hat in hand, “along the entire line of infantry,” shouting, “We are all right…. Never mind, boys, we’ll whip them yet. We shall sleep in our quarters to-night.” And they did. Read _Sheridan’s Ride_ by T. Buchanan Read.

[12] Read _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, Vol. IV, pp. 729-746.

[13] On the flight of Davis from Richmond, read _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, Vol. IV, pp. 762-767; or the _Century Magazine_, November, 1883.

[14] After firing the shot, the assassin waved his pistol and shouted “_Sic semper tyrannis_”–“Thus be it ever to tyrants” (the motto of the state of Virginia) and jumped from the box to the stage. But his spur caught in an American flag which draped the box, and he fell and broke his leg. Limping off the stage, he fled from the theater, mounted a horse in waiting, and escaped to Virginia. There he was found hidden in a barn and shot. The body of the Martyr President was borne from Washington to Springfield, by the route he took when coming to his first inauguration in 1861. Read Walt Whitman’s poem _My Captain_.



THE SOUTHERN COAST BLOCKADE.–The naval war began with a proclamation of Davis offering commissions to privateers, [1] and two by Lincoln (April 19 and 27, 1861), declaring the coast blockaded from Virginia to Texas.

[Illustration: SINKING THE PETREL. Contemporary drawing.]

The object of the blockade was to cut off the foreign trade of the Southern states, and to prevent their getting supplies of all sorts. But as Great Britain was one of the chief consumers of Southern cotton, and was, indeed, dependent on the South for her supply, it was certain that unless the blockade was made effective by many Union ships, cotton would be carried out of the Southern ports, and supplies run into them, in spite of Lincoln’s proclamation.

[Illustration: CARTOON PUBLISHED IN 1861.]

RUNNING THE BLOCKADE.–This is just what was done. Goods of all sorts were brought from Great Britain to the city of Nassau in the Bahama Islands (map, p. 353). There the goods were placed on board blockade runners and started for Wilmington in North Carolina, or for Charleston. So nicely would the voyage be timed that the vessel would be off the port some night when the moon did not shine. Then, with all lights out, the runner would dash through the line of blockading ships, and, if successful, would by daylight be safe in port. The cargo landed, cotton would be taken on board; and the first dark night, or during a storm, the runner, again breaking the blockade, would steam back to Nassau.

THE TRENT AFFAIR.–Great Britain and France promptly acknowledged the Confederate States as belligerents. This gave them the same rights in the ports of Great Britain and France as our vessels of war. Hoping to secure a recognition of independence from these countries, the Confederate government sent Mason and Slidell to Europe. These two commissioners ran the blockade, went to Havana, and boarded the British mail steamship _Trent_. Captain Wilkes of the United States man-of-war _San Jacinto_, hearing of this, stopped the _Trent_ and took off Mason and Slidell. Intense excitement followed in our country and in Great Britain, [2] which at once demanded their release and prepared for war. They were released, and the act of Wilkes was disavowed as an exercise of “the right of search” which we had always resisted when exercised by Great Britain, and which had been one of the causes of the War of 1812.

THE CRUISERS.–While the commerce of the Confederacy was almost destroyed by the blockade, a fleet of Confederate cruisers attacked the commerce of the Union.

The most famous of these, the _Florida_, _Alabama_, _Georgia_, and _Shenandoah_ [3] were built or purchased in Great Britain for the Confederacy, and were suffered to put to sea in spite of the protests of the United States minister. Once on the ocean they cruised from sea to sea, destroying every merchant vessel under our flag that came in their way.

[Illustration: SHELL LODGED IN THE STERN POST OF THE KEARSARGE. Now in the Ordnance Museum, Washington Navy Yard.]

One of them, the _Alabama_, sailed the ocean unharmed for two years. She cruised in the North Atlantic, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Brazil, went around the Cape of Good Hope, entered the China Sea, came again around the Cape of Good Hope, and by way of Brazil and the Azores to Cherbourg in France. During the cruise she destroyed over sixty merchantmen. At Cherbourg the _Alabama_ was found by the United States cruiser _Kearsarge_, and one Sunday morning in June, 1864, the two met in battle off the coast of France, and the Alabama was sunk. [4]

OPERATIONS ALONG THE COAST.–Besides blockading the coast, the Union navy captured or aided in capturing forts, cities, and water ways. The forts at the entrance to Pamlico Sound and Port Royal were captured in 1861. Control of the waters of Pamlico and Albemarle [5] sounds was secured in 1862 by the capture of Roanoke Island, Elizabeth City, Newbern, and Fort Macon (map, p. 369). In 1863 Fort Sumter was battered down in a naval attack on Charleston. In 1864 Farragut led his fleet into Mobile Bay (in southern Alabama), destroyed the Confederate fleet, captured the forts at the entrance to the bay, and thus cut the city of Mobile off from the sea. In 1865 Fort Fisher, which guarded the entrance to Cape Fear River, on which was Wilmington, fell before a combined attack by land and naval forces.

ON THE INLAND WATERS.–On the great water ways of the West the notable deeds of the navy were the capture of Fort Henry on the Tennessee by Foote’s flotilla (p. 358), the capture of New Orleans by Farragut (p. 361), and the run of Porter’s fleet past the batteries at Vicksburg (p. 368).


THE MONITOR AND THE MERRIMAC .–But the most famous of all the naval engagements was that of the _Monitor_ and the _Merrimac_ in 1862. When the war opened, there were at the navy yard at Norfolk, Virginia, a quantity of guns, stores, supplies, and eleven vessels. The officer in command, fearing that they would fall into Confederate hands, set fire to the houses, shops, and vessels, and abandoned the place. One of the vessels which was burned to the water’s edge and sunk was the steam frigate _Merrimac_. Finding her hull below the water line unhurt, the Confederates raised the _Merrimac_, turned her into an ironclad ram, renamed her _Virginia_, and sent her forth to destroy a squadron of United States vessels at anchor in Hampton Roads (at the mouth of the James River).


Steaming across the roads one day in March, 1862, the _Merrimac_ rammed and sank the _Cumberland_, [6] forced the _Congress_ to surrender, and set her on fire. This done, the _Merrimac_ withdrew, intending to resume the work of destruction on the morrow; for her iron armor had proved to be ample protection against the guns of the Union ships. But the next morning, as she came near the _Minnesota_, the strangest-looking craft afloat came forth to meet her. Its deck was almost level with the water, and was plated with sheets of iron. In the center of the deck was an iron- plated cylinder which could be revolved by machinery, and in this were two large guns. This was the _Monitor_ [7] which had arrived in the Roads the night before, and now came out from behind the _Minnesota_ to fight the _Merrimac_. During four hours the battle raged with apparently no result; then the _Merrimac_ withdrew and the _Monitor_ took her place beside the _Minnesota_. [8] This battle marks the doom of wooden naval vessels; all the nations of the world were forced to build their navies anew.

FINANCES OF THE WAR.–Four years of war on land and sea cost the people of the North an immense sum of money. To obtain the money Congress began (1861) by raising the tariff on imported articles; by taxing all incomes of more than $800 a year; and by levying a direct tax, which was apportioned among the states according to their population. [9] But the money from these sources was not sufficient, and (1862) an internal revenue tax was resorted to, and collected by stamp duties. [10] Even this tax did not yield enough money, and the government was forced to borrow on the credit of the United States. Bonds were issued, [11] and then United States notes, called “greenbacks,” were put in circulation and made legal tender; that is, everybody had to take them in payment of debts. [12]

MONEY IN WAR TIME.–After the government began to issue paper money, the banks suspended specie payment, and all gold and silver coins, including the 3, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cent pieces, disappeared from circulation. The people were then without small change, and for a time postage stamps and “token” pieces of brass and copper were used instead. In March, 1863, however, Congress authorized the Issue of $50,000,000 in paper fractional currency. [13] Both the greenbacks and the fractional currency were merely promises to pay money. As the government did not pay on demand, coin commanded a premium; that is, $100 in gold or silver could be exchanged in the market (down till 1879) for more than $100 in paper money.

NATIONAL BANKS.–Besides the paper money issued by the government there were in circulation several thousand different kinds of state bank notes. Some had no value, some a little value, and others were good for the sums (in greenbacks) expressed on their faces. In order to replace these notes by a sound currency having the same value everywhere, Congress (1863) established the national banking system. Legally organized banking associations were to purchase United States bonds and deposit them with the government. Each bank so doing was then entitled to issue national bank notes to the value of ninety per cent [14] of the bonds it had deposited. Many banks accepted these terms; but it was not till (1865) after Congress taxed the notes of state banks that those notes were driven out of circulation.

COST OF THE WAR.–Just what the war cost can never be fully determined. Hundreds of thousands of men left occupations of all sorts and joined the armies. What they might have made had they stayed at home was what they lost by going to the front. Every loyal state, city, and county, and almost every town and village, incurred a war debt. The national government during the war spent for war purposes $3,660,000,000. To this must be added the value of our merchant ships destroyed by Confederate cruisers; the losses in the South; and many hundred millions paid in pensions to soldiers and their widows.

The loss in the cities and towns burned or injured by siege and the other operations of war, and the loss caused by the ruin of trade and commerce and the destruction of railroads, farms, plantations, crops, and private property, can not be fully estimated, but it was very great.

The most awful cost was the loss of life. On the Union side more than 360,000 men were killed, or died of wounds or of disease. On the Confederate side the number was nearly if not quite as large, so that some 700,000 men perished in the war. Many were young men with every prospect of a long life before them, and their early death deprived their country of the benefit of their labor.

DISTRESS IN THE SOUTH.–In the North the people suffered little if any real hardship. In the South, after the blockade became effective, the people suffered privations. Not merely luxuries were given up, but the necessaries of life became scarce. Thrown on their own resources, the people resorted to all manner of makeshifts. To get brine from which salt could be obtained by evaporation, the earthen floors of smokehouses, saturated by the dripping of bacon, were dug up and washed, and barrels in which salt pork had been packed were soaked in water. Tea and coffee ceased to be used, and dried blackberry, currant, and raspberry leaves were used instead. Rye, wheat, chicory, chestnuts roasted and ground, did duty for coffee. The spinning wheel came again into use, and homespun clothing, dyed with the extract of black-walnut bark, or with wild indigo, was generally worn. As articles were scarce, prices rose, and then went higher and higher as the Confederate money depreciated, like the old Continental money in Revolutionary times. In 1864 Mrs. Jefferson Davis states that in Richmond a turkey cost $60, a barrel of flour $300, and a pair of shoes $150. No little suffering was caused for want of medicines, [15] woolen goods, blankets, [16] shoes, paper, [17] and in some of the cities even bread became scarce. [18] To get food for the army the Confederate Congress (1863) authorized the seizure of supplies for the troops and payment at fixed prices which were far below the market rates. [19]

Some men made fortunes by blockade running, smuggling from the North, and speculation in stocks. Dwellers on the great plantations, remote from the operations of the contending armies, suffered not from want of food; but the great body of the people had much to endure.


1. The operations of the navy comprised (1) the blockade of the coast of the Confederate States, (2) the capture of seaports, (3) the pursuit and capture of Confederate cruisers, and (4) aiding the army on the western rivers.

2. A notable feature in the naval war was the use of ironclad vessels. These put an end to the wooden naval vessels, and revolutionized the navies of the world.

3. The cost of the war in human life, money, and property destroyed was immense, and can be stated only approximately.

4. In the South, as the war progressed, the hardships endured by the mass of the people caused much suffering.

[Illustration: LOADING A NAVAL CANNON IN THE CIVIL WAR. Contemporary drawing.]


[1] The first Confederate privateer to get to sea was the _Savannah_. She took one prize and was captured. Another, the _Beauregard_, was taken after a short cruise. A third, the _Petrel_, mistook the frigate St. Lawrence for a merchantman and attempted to take her, but was sunk by a broadside. After a year the blockade stopped privateering.

[2] Captain Wilkes was congratulated by the Secretary of the Navy, thanked by the House of Representatives, and given a grand banquet in Boston; and the whole country was jubilant. The British minister at Washington was directed to demand the liberation of the prisoners and “a suitable apology for the aggression,” and if not answered in seven days, or if unfavorably answered, was to return to London at once.

[3] Early in the war an agent was sent to Great Britain by the Confederate navy department to procure vessels to be used as commerce destroyers. The _Florida_ and _Alabama_ were built at Liverpool and sent to sea unarmed. Their guns and ammunition were sent in vessels from another British port. The _Shenandoah_ was purchased at London (her name was then the _Sea King_) and was met at Madeira by a tender from Liverpool with men and guns. On her way to Australia, the _Shenandoah_ destroyed seven of our merchantmen. She then went to Bering Sea and in one week captured twenty- five whalers, most of which she destroyed. This was in June, 1865, after the war was over. In August a British ship captain informed the commander of the _Shenandoah_ that the Confederacy no longer existed. The _Shenandoah_ was then taken to Liverpool and delivered to the British government, which turned her over to the United States.

[4] Read _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, Vol. IV, pp. 600-614.

[5] In 1864 a Confederate ironclad ram, the _Albemarle_, appeared on the waters of Albemarle Sound. As no Union war ship could harm her, Commander W. B. Gushing planned an expedition to destroy her by a torpedo. On the night of October 27, with fourteen companions in a steam launch, he made his way to the ram, blew her up with the torpedo, and with one other man escaped. His adventures on the way back to the fleet read like fiction, and are told by himself in _Battles and Leaders of the Civil War_, Vol. IV, pp. 634-640.

[6] The hole made in the Cumberland by the Merrimac was “large enough for a man to enter.” Through this the water poured in so rapidly that the sick, wounded, and many who were not disabled were carried down with the ship. After she sank, the flag at the masthead still waved above the water. Read Longfellow’s poem _The Cumberland_.

[7] The _Monitor_ was designed by John Ericsson, who was born in Sweden in 1803. After serving as an engineer in the Swedish army, he went to England; and then came to our country in 1839. He was the inventor of the first practical screw propeller for steamboats, and by his invention of the revolving turret for war vessels he completely changed naval architecture. His name is connected with many great inventions. He died in 1889.

[8] When the Confederates evacuated Norfolk some months later, the _Merrimac_ was blown up. The _Monitor_, in December, 1862, went down in a storm at sea.

[9] As the right of a State to secede was not acknowledged, this direct tax of $20,000,000 was apportioned among the Confederate as well as among the Union states. The Confederate states, of course, did not pay their share.

[10] Deeds, mortgages, bills of lading, bank checks, patent medicines, wines, liquors, tobacco, proprietary articles, and many other things were taxed. Between 1862 and 1865 about $780,000,000 was raised in this way.

[11] Between July 1, 1861, and August 31, 1865, bonds to the amount of $1,109,000,000 were issued and sold.

[12] The Legal Tender Act, which authorized the issue of greenbacks, was enacted in 1862, and two years later $449,000,000 were in circulation. The greenbacks could not be used to pay duties on imports or interest on the public debt, which were payable in specie.

[13] This paper fractional currency consisted of small paper bills in denominations of 3, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50 cents. Read the account in Rhodes’s _History of the U. S._, Vol. V, pp. 191-196.

[14] In 1902 changed to one hundred per cent.

[15] When Sherman was in command at Memphis, a funeral procession was allowed to pass beyond the Union lines. The coffin, however, was full of medicines for the Confederate army.

[16] Blankets were sometimes made of cow hair, or long moss from the seaboard, and even carpets were cut up and sent as blankets to the army.

[17] The newspapers of the time give evidence of the scarcity of paper. Some are printed on half sheets, a few on brown paper, and some on note paper.

[18] Riots of women, prompted by the high prices of food, occurred in Atlanta, Mobile, Richmond, and other places.

[19] Read “War Diary of a Union Woman in the South,” in the Century Magazine, October, 1889; Rhodes’s _History of the U. S._, Vol. V, pp. 348-384.



THREE ISSUES.–After the collapse of the Confederacy, our countrymen were called on to meet three issues arising directly from the war:–

1. The first was, What shall be done to destroy the institution of slavery? [1]

2. The second was, What shall be done with the late Confederate states? [2]

3. The third had to do with the national debt and the currency.

THE THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT.–When the war ended, slavery had been abolished in Maryland, Missouri, and West Virginia, by gradual or immediate abolition acts, and in Tennessee by a special emancipation act. In order that it might be done away with everywhere Congress (in January, 1865) sent out to the states a Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, declaring slavery abolished throughout the United States. In December, 1865, three fourths of the states having ratified, it became part of the Constitution, and slavery was no more.

RECONSTRUCTION.–After the death of Lincoln, the work of reconstruction was taken up by his successor, Johnson. [3] He recognized the governments established by loyal persons in Tennessee, Virginia, Arkansas, and Louisiana. For the other states he appointed provisional governors and authorized conventions to be called. These conventions repudiated the Confederate debt, repealed the ordinances of secession, and ratified the Thirteenth Amendment.

This done, Johnson considered these states as reconstructed and entitled to send senators and representatives to Congress. But Congress thought otherwise and would not admit their senators and representatives. Johnson then denied the right of Congress to legislate for the states not represented in Congress. He vetoed many bills which chiefly affected the South, and in the summer of 1866 made speeches denouncing Congress for its action.

THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT.–One measure which President Johnson would have vetoed if he could, was a Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution which Congress proposed in 1866. Ten of the former Confederate states rejected it, as did also four of the Union states. Congress, therefore, in March, 1867, passed over the veto a Reconstruction Act setting forth what the states would have to do to get back into the Union. One condition was that they must ratify the Fourteenth Amendment; when they had done so, and _when the amendment had become a part of the Constitution_, they were to be readmitted.

SOUTHERN STATES READMITTED.–Six states–North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Arkansas–submitted, and the amendment having become a part of the Constitution, they were (1868) declared again in the Union. Tennessee had been readmitted in 1866. Virginia, Mississippi and Texas were not readmitted till 1870, and Georgia not till 1871.

THE DEBT AND THE CURRENCY.–The financial question to be settled included two parts: What shall be done with the bonds (p. 381)? and What shall be done with the paper money? As to the first, it was decided to pay the bonds as fast as possible, [4] and by 1873 some $500,000,000 were paid. As to the second, it was at first decided to cancel (instead of reissuing) the greenbacks as they came into the treasury in payment of taxes and other debts to the government. But after the greenbacks in circulation had been thus reduced (from $449,000,000) to $356,000,000, Congress ordered that their cancellation should stop.

JOHNSON IMPEACHED.–The President meantime had been impeached. In March, 1867, Congress passed (over Johnson’s veto) the Tenure of Office Act, depriving him of power to remove certain officials. He might suspend them till the Senate examined into the cause of suspension. If it approved, the officer was removed. If it disapproved, he was reinstated. [5]

Johnson soon disobeyed the law. In August, 1867, he asked Secretary-of-War Stanton to resign, and when Stanton refused, suspended him. The Senate disapproved and reinstated Stanton. But Johnson then removed him and appointed another man in his place. For this act, and for his speeches against Congress, the House impeached the President, and the Senate tried him, for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” He was not found guilty. [6]

[Illustration: REPUBLICAN CARTOON OF 1868. “Blood will tell: The great race for the presidential sweepstakes, between the Western War Horse U. S. Grant and the Manhattan Donkey.”]

GRANT ELECTED PRESIDENT, 1868.–In the midst of Johnson’s quarrel with Congress the time came to elect his successor. The Democratic party nominated Horatio Seymour. The Republicans chose Ulysses S. Grant and elected him.

Grant’s first term is memorable because of the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment; the restoration to the Union of the last four of the former Confederate states, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, and Texas; the disorder in the South; and the character of our foreign relations.

THE FIFTEENTH AMENDMENT.–Encouraged by their success at the polls, the Republicans went on with the work of reconstruction, and (in February, 1869) Congress sent out the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

By the Fourteenth Amendment the states were left (as before) to settle for themselves who should and who should not vote. But if any state denied or in any way abridged the right of any portion of its male citizens over twenty-one years old to vote, Congress was to reduce the number of representatives from that state in Congress in the same proportion. But now by the Fifteenth Amendment each state was forbidden to deprive any man of the right to vote because of his “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In March, 1870, the amendment went into force, having been ratified by a sufficient number of states.

CARPETBAG RULE.–President Grant began his administration in troubled times. The Reconstruction Act had secured the negro the right to vote. Many Southern states were thereby given over to negro rule. Seeing this, a swarm of Northern politicians called “carpetbaggers” went south, made themselves political leaders of the ignorant freedmen, and plundered and misgoverned the states. In this they were aided by a few Southerners who supported the negro cause and were called “scalawags.” But most of the Southern whites were determined to stop the misgovernment; and, banded together in secret societies, called by such names as Knights of the White Camelia, and the Ku-Klux-Klan, they terrorized the negroes and kept them from voting. [7]

FORCE ACT.–Such intimidation was in violation of the Fifteenth Amendment. Congress therefore enacted the “Ku-Klux Act,” or Force Act (1871), which prescribed fine and imprisonment for any one convicted of hindering or attempting to hinder a negro from voting, or his vote when cast from being counted.

RISE OF THE LIBERAL REPUBLICANS.–The troubles which followed the enforcement of this act led many to think that the government had gone too far, and a more liberal treatment of the South was demanded. Many complained that the civil service of the government was used to reward party workers, and that fitness for office was not duly considered. There was opposition to the high tariff. These and other causes now split the Republican party in the West and led to the formation of the Liberal Republican party.

[Illustration: CARTOON OF 1862. “Say, Missus [Mexico], me and these other gents ‘ave come to nurse you a bit.” [8]]

FOREIGN RELATIONS.–Our foreign relations since the close of the Civil War present many matters of importance. In 1867 Alaska [9] was purchased from Russia for $7,200,000. At the opening of the war France sent troops to Mexico, overthrew the government, and set up an empire with Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, as emperor. This was a violation of the Monroe Doctrine (p. 282). When the war was over, therefore, troops were sent to the Rio Grande, and a demand was made on France to recall her troops. The French army was withdrawn, and Maximilian was captured by the Mexicans and shot. These things happened while Johnson was President.

SANTO DOMINGO.–In 1869 Grant negotiated a treaty for the annexation of the negro republic of Santo Domingo, and urged the Senate to ratify it. When the Senate failed to do so, he made a second appeal, with a like result.

ALABAMA CLAIMS.–In 1871 the treaty of Washington was signed, by which several outstanding subjects of dispute with Great Britain were submitted to arbitration. (1) Chief of these were the Alabama claims for damage to the property of our citizens by the Confederate cruisers built or purchased in Great Britain. [10] The five [11] arbitrators met at Geneva in 1872 and awarded us $15,500,000 in gold as indemnity. (2) A dispute over the northeastern fisheries [12] was referred to a commission which met at Halifax and awarded Great Britain $5,500,000. (3) The same treaty provided that a dispute over a part of the northwest boundary should be submitted to the emperor of Germany as arbitrator. He decided in favor of our claim, thus confirming our possession of the small San Juan group of islands, in the channel between Vancouver and the mainland.

CUBA.–In 1868 the people of Cuba rebelled against Spain, proclaimed a republic, and began a war which lasted nearly ten years. American ships were seized, our citizens arrested; American property in Cuba was destroyed or confiscated; and our ports were used to fit out filibusters to aid the Cubans. Because of these things and the sympathy felt in our country for the Cubans, Grant made offers of mediation, which Spain declined. As the war continued, the question of giving the Cubans rights of belligerents, and recognizing their independence, was urged on Congress.

While these issues were undecided, a vessel called the Virginius, flying our flag, was seized by Spain as a filibuster, and fifty-three of her passengers and crew were put to death (1873). War seemed likely to follow; but Spain released the ship and survivors, and later paid $80,000 to the families of the murdered men.


1. The end of the Civil War brought up several issues for settlement.

2. Out of the negro problem came the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the Constitution.

3. Out of the issue of readmitting the Confederate states into the Union grew a serious quarrel with President Johnson.

4. Congress passed the Reconstruction Act over Johnson’s veto (1867), and by 1868 seven states were back in the Union.

5. Johnson’s intemperate speeches and his violation of an act of Congress led to his impeachment and trial. He was not convicted.

6. Johnson was succeeded by Grant, in whose administration the remaining Southern states were readmitted to the Union; but the condition of the South, under carpetbag government, became worse than ever, and led to the passage of the Force Act.

7. Our foreign relations after the end of the war are memorable for the purchase of Alaska, the withdrawal of the French from Mexico, the treaty with Great Britain for the settlement of several old issues, the attempt of Grant to purchase Santo Domingo, and the Virginius affair with Spain.


[1] A closely related question was, What shall be done for the negroes set free by the Emancipation Proclamation? During the war, as the Union armies occupied more and more of Confederate territory, the number of freedmen within the lines grew to hundreds of thousands. Many were enlisted as soldiers, others were settled on abandoned or confiscated lands, and societies were organized to aid them. In 1865, however, Congress established the Freedmen’s Bureau to care for them. Tracts of confiscated land were set apart to be granted in forty-acre plots, and the bureau was to find the negroes work, establish schools for them, and protect them from injustice.

[2] When the eleven Southern states passed their ordinances of secession, they claimed to be out of the Union. As to this there were in the North three different views. (1) Lincoln held that no state could secede; that the people of the seceding states were insurgents or persons engaged in rebellion; that when the rebellion was crushed in any state, loyal persons could again elect senators and representatives, and thus resume their old relations to the Union. (2) Others held that these states had ceased to exist; that nothing but their territory remained, and that Congress could do what it pleased with this territory. (3) Between these extremes were most of the Republican leaders, who held that these states had lost their rights under the Constitution, and that only Congress could restore them to the Union.

[3] Andrew Johnson was born in North Carolina in 1808. He never went to school, and when ten years old was apprenticed to a tailor. When eighteen, he went to Tennessee, where he married and was taught to read and write by his wife. He was a man of ability, was three years alderman and three years mayor of Greenville, was three times elected a member of the legislature, six times a member of Congress, and twice governor of Tennessee. When the war opened, he was a Democratic senator from Tennessee, and stoutly opposed secession. In 1862 Lincoln made him military governor of Tennessee. In 1875 he was again elected United States senator, but died the same year.

[4] Some of these bonds (issued after March, 1863) contained the provision that they should be paid “in coin.” But others (issued in 1862) merely provided that the interest should be paid in coin. Now, greenbacks were legal tender for all debts except duties on imports and interest on the bonds. A demand was therefore made that the early bonds should be paid in greenbacks; also that all government bonds (which had been exempted from taxation) should be taxed like other property. This idea was so popular in Ohio that it was called the “Ohio idea,” and its supporters were nicknamed “Greenbackers.” To put an end to this question Congress (1869) provided that all bonds should be paid in coin.

[5] This Tenure of Office Act was afterward repealed (partly in 1869, and partly in 1887).

[6] There have been eight cases of impeachment of officers of the United States. The House begins by sending a committee to the Senate to impeach, or accuse, the officer in question. The Senate then organizes itself as a court with the Vice President as the presiding officer, and fixes the time for trial. The House presents articles of impeachment, or specific charges of misconduct, and appoints a committee to take charge of its side of the case. The accused is represented by lawyers, witnesses are examined, arguments made, and the decision rendered by vote of the senators. When a President is impeached, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides in place of the Vice President.

[7] Read _A Fool’s Errand_, by A. W. Tourgée, and _Red Rock_, by Thomas Nelson Page–two interesting novels describing life in the South during this period.

[8] When France first interfered in Mexican affairs, it was in conjunction with Great Britain and Spain, on the pretext of aiding Mexico to provide for her debts to these powers. But when France proceeded to overthrow the Mexican government, Great Britain and Spain withdrew.

[9] Soon after the purchase a few small Alaskan islands were leased to a fur company for twenty years, and during that time nearly $7,000,000 was paid into the United States treasury as rental and royalty. Besides seals and fish, much gold has been obtained in Alaska.

[10] The cruisers were the _Alabama_, _Sumter_, _Shenandoah_, _Florida_, and others (p. 378). We claimed that Great Britain had not done her duty as a neutral; that she ought to have prevented their building, arming, or equipping in her ports and sailing to destroy the commerce of a friendly nation, and that, not having done so, she was responsible for the damage they did. We claimed damages for (1) private losses by destruction of ships and cargoes; (2) high rates of insurance paid by citizens; (3) cost of pursuing the cruisers; (4) transfer of American merchant ships to the British flag; (5) prolongation of the war because of recognition of the Confederate States as belligerents, and the resulting cost to us. Great Britain denied that 2, 3, 4, and 5 were subject to arbitration, and it looked for a while as if the arbitration would come to naught. The tribunal decided against 2, 4, and 5 on principles of international law, and made no award for 3.

[11] One was appointed by the President, one by Great Britain, one by the King of Italy, one by the President of the Swiss Confederation, and one by the Emperor of Brazil. In 1794-1904 there were fifty-seven cases submitted to arbitration, of which twenty were with Great Britain.

[12] The question was, whether the privilege granted citizens of the United States to catch fish in the harbors, bays, creeks, and shores of the provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island was more valuable than the privilege granted British subjects to catch fish in harbors, bays, creeks, and off the coast of the United States north of 39°. The commission decided that it was.



THE WEST.–In 1860 the great West bore little resemblance to its present appearance. The only states wholly or partly west of the Mississippi River were Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas. Louisiana, Texas, California, and Oregon. Kansas territory extended from Missouri to the Rocky Mountains. Nebraska territory included the region from Kansas to the British possessions, and from Minnesota and Iowa to the Rocky Mountains. New Mexico territory stretched from Texas to California, Utah territory from the Rocky Mountains to California, and Washington territory from the mountains to the Pacific.

[Illustration: SCENE IN A MINING TOWN. Deadwood, Dakota, in the ’70’s.]

GOLD AND SILVER MINING.–One decade, however, completely changed the West. In 1858 gold was discovered on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains, near Pikes Peak; gold hunters rushed thither, Denver was founded, and in 1861 Colorado was made a territory. Kansas, reduced to its present limits, was admitted as a state the same year, and the northern part of Nebraska territory was cut off and called Dakota territory (map, p. 352).

In 1859 silver was discovered on Mount Davidson (then in western Utah), and population poured thither. Virginia City sprang into existence, and in 1861 Nevada was made a territory and in 1864, with enlarged boundaries, was admitted into the Union as a state.

[Illustration: THE WEST.]

Precious metals were found in 1862 in what was then eastern Washington; the old Fort Boise of the Hudson’s Bay Company became a thriving town, other settlements were made, and in 1863 the territory of Idaho was organized. In the same year Arizona was cut off from New Mexico.

Hardly had this been done when gold was found on the Jefferson fork of the Missouri River. Bannack City, Virginia City, and Helena were founded, and in 1864 Montana was made a territory. [1]

In 1867 Nebraska became a state, and the next year Wyoming territory was formed.

OVERLAND TRAILS.–When Lincoln was inaugurated in 1861, no railroad crossed the plains. The horse, the stagecoach, the pack train, the prairie schooner, [2] were the means of transportation, and but few routes of travel were well defined. The Great Salt Lake and California trail, starting in Kansas, followed the north branch of the Platte River to the mountains, crossed the South Pass, and went on by way of Salt Lake City to Sacramento. Over this line, once each week, a four-horse Concord coach [3] started from each end of the route.

From Independence in Missouri another line of coaches carried the mail over the old Santa Fe trail to New Mexico.

The great Western mail route began at St. Louis, went across Missouri and Arkansas, curved southward to El Paso in Texas, and then by way of the Gila River to Los Angeles and San Francisco; the distance of 2729 miles was covered in twenty-four days. [4]


PONY EXPRESS.–This was too slow for business men, and in 1860 the stage company started the Pony Express to carry letters on horseback from St. Joseph to San Francisco. Mounted on a swift pony, the rider, a brave, cool-headed, picked man, would gallop at breakneck speed to the first relay station, jump on the back of another pony and speed away to the second, mount a fresh horse and be off for a third. At the third station he would find a fresh rider mounted, who, the moment the mail bags had been fastened to his horse, would ride off to cover his three stations in as short a time as possible. The riders left each end of the route twice a week or oftener. The total distance, about two thousand miles, was passed over in ten days. [5]

In the large cities of the East free delivery of letters by carriers was introduced (1863), the postal money order system was adopted (1864), and trials were made with postal cars in which the mail was sorted while _en route_.

THE TELEGRAPH.–Meanwhile Congress (in June, 1860) incorporated the Pacific Telegraph Company to build a line across the continent. By November the line reached Fort Kearny, where an operator was installed in a little sod hut. By October, 1861, the two lines, one building eastward from California, and the other westward from Omaha, reached Salt Lake City. The charge for a ten-word message from New York to Salt Lake City was 87.50.

When the telegraph line was finished, the work of the Pony Express ended, and all letters went by the overland stage line, whose coaches entered every large mining center, carrying passengers, express matter, and the mail. [6]

OVERLAND FREIGHT.–The discovery of gold in western Kansas, in 1858, and the founding of Denver, led to a great freight business across the plains. Flour, bacon, sugar, coffee, dry goods, hardware, furniture, clothing, came in immense quantities to Omaha, St. Joseph, Atchison, Leavenworth, there to be hauled to the “diggings.” Atchison became a trade center. There, in the spring of 1860, might have been seen hundreds of wagons, and tons of goods piled on the levee, and warehouses full of provisions, boots, shoes, and clothing. From it, day after day, went a score of prairie schooners drawn by horses, mules, or oxen. [7]

THE RAILROAD.–The idea of a railroad over the plains was, as we have seen, an old one; but at last, in 1862, Congress chartered two railroad companies to build across the public domain from the Missouri River to California. One, the Union Pacific, was to start at Omaha and build westward. The other, the Central Pacific, was to start in California and build eastward till the two met. Work was begun in November, 1865, and in May, 1869, the two lines were joined at Promontory Point, near Salt Lake City.

As the railroad progressed, the overland coaches plied between the ends of the two sections, their runs growing shorter and shorter till, when the road was finished, the overland stagecoach was discontinued.

THE HOMESTEAD LAW.–When the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were chartered, they were given immense land grants; [8] but in the same year (1862) the Homestead Law was enacted. Under the provisions of this law a farm of 80 or 160 acres in the public domain might be secured by any head of a family or person twenty-one years old who was a citizen of our country or had declared an intention to become such, provided he or she would live on the farm and cultivate it for five years. [9] Between 1863 and 1870, 103,000 entries for 12,000,000 acres were made. This showed that the people desired the land, and was one reason why no more should be given to corporations.

NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD.–In 1864 Congress had chartered a railroad for the new Northwest, and had given the company an immense land grant. But building did not begin till 1870. All went well till 1873, when a great panic swept over the country and the road became bankrupt. It then extended from Duluth to Bismarck. Two years later the company was reorganized, and the road was finished in 1883. [10]

WHEAT FIELDS OF DAKOTA.–During the panic certain of the directors of the road bought great tracts of land from the company, paying for them with the railroad bonds. On some of these lands in the valley of the Red River of the North an attempt was made to raise wheat in 1876. It proved successful, and the next year a wave of emigration set strongly toward Dakota. In 1860 there were not 5000 people in Dakota; in 1870 there were but 14,000, mostly miners; in 1880 there were 135,000.

PRAIRIE HOMES.–These newcomers–homesteaders, as they were often called– broke up the prairie, planted wheat, raised sheep and cattle, and lived at first in a dugout, or hole dug in the side of a depression in the prairie. This was roofed (about the level of the prairie) with thick boards covered with sods. After a year or two in such a home the settler would build a sod house. The walls, two feet thick, were made of sods cut like great bricks from the prairie. The roof would be of boards covered with shingles or oftener with sods, and the walls inside would sometimes be whitewashed. Near watercourses a few settlers found enough trees to make log cabins.

[Illustration: LOG CABIN WITH SOD ROOF.]

THE RANCHES.–Stretching across the country from Montana and Dakota to Arizona lay the grass region, the great ranch country, where herds of cattle grazed and were driven to the railroads to be taken to market. In later years this became also the greatest sheep-raising and wool-producing region in the Union.

BUFFALOES AND INDIANS.–With the building of the railroads and the coming of the settlers the reckless slaughter of the buffalo and the crowding of the Indians began. [11] To-day the buffalo is as rare an animal in the West as in the East; and after many wars and treaties with the Indians, they now hold less than one hundredth of the land west of the Mississippi.

[Illustration: CUSTER’S FIGHT.]

MECHANICAL PROGRESS.–The period 1860 to 1880 was one of great mechanical and industrial progress. During this time dynamite and the barbed-wire fence were introduced; the compressed-air rock drill, the typewriter, the Westinghouse air brake, the Janney car coupler, the cable car, the trolley systems, the electric light, the search light, electric motors, the Bell telephone, the phonograph, the gas engine, and a host of other inventions and mechanical devices were invented. To satisfy the demands of trade and commerce, great works of engineering were undertaken, such as twenty years before could not have been attempted. The jetties constructed by James B. Eads in the South Pass at the mouth of the Mississippi, to force that river to keep open its own channel; the steel-arch railroad bridge built by Eads across the Mississippi at St. Louis; the Roebling suspension bridges over the Ohio at Cincinnati and over the East River at New York; and the successful laying of the Atlantic cable (1866) by Cyrus W. Field, are a few of the great mechanical triumphs of this period.

INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT.–Industries once carried on in the household or in small factories were conducted on a large scale by great corporations. The machine for making tin cans made possible the canning industry. The self- binding harvester and reaper made possible the immense grain fields of the West. The production and refining of petroleum became an industry of great importance. The great flour mills of Minneapolis, the iron and steel mills of Pennsylvania, the packing houses of Chicago and Kansas City, and many other enterprises were the direct result of the use of machinery.

[Illustration: STEEL MILL.]

RISE OF GREAT CORPORATIONS.–Trades and occupations, industries of all sorts, began to concentrate and combine, and large corporations took the place of individuals and small companies. In place of many little railroads there were now trunk lines. [12] In place of many little telegraph companies, express companies, and oil companies there were now a few large ones.

[Illustration: SETTLED AREA IN 1880.]

IMMIGRATION.–This industrial development, in spite of machinery, could not have been so great were it not for the increase in population, wealth, the facilities of transportation, and the great number of workingmen. These were largely immigrants, who came by hundreds of thousands year after year. From about 90,000 in 1862, the number who came each year rose to more than 450,000 in 1873; and then fell to less than 150,000 in 1878. The population of the whole country in 1880 was 50,000,000, of whom more than 6,500,000 were of foreign birth.


1. The discovery of gold and silver near the Rocky Mountains in 1858 and later brought to that region many thousand miners.

2. Their presence in that wild region made local government necessary, and by 1868 seven new territories were formed (Colorado, Dakota, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming), and one of them (Nevada, 1864) was admitted into the Union as a state.

3. Means of communication with California and the far West were improved. First came the Pony Express, then the telegraph, and finally the railroad.

4. The construction of the railroad across the middle of the country was followed by the building of another near the northern border.

5. Railroad building, the Homestead Law, and the success of the Dakota wheat farms, led to the rapid development of the new Northwest.

6. Quite as noticeable is the mechanical and industrial progress of the country, the rise of great corporations, and the flood of immigrants that came to our shores each year.


[1] For descriptions of the wild life in the new Northwest in the pioneer days read Langford’s Vigilante Days and Ways.

[2] A large wagon with a white canvas top.

[3] A kind of heavy coach, so called because first manufactured at Concord, New Hampshire.

[4] When the war opened and Texas seceded, this route was abandoned, and after April, 1861, letters and passengers went from St. Joseph by way of Salt Lake City to California.

[5] All letters had to be written on the thinnest paper, and no more than twenty pounds’ weight was allowed in each of the two pouches. The trail was infested with “road agents” (robbers), and roving bands of Indians were ever ready to murder and scalp; but in summer and winter, by day and night, over the plains and over the mountains, these brave men made their dangerous rides, carrying no arms save a revolver and a knife. Each letter had to be inclosed in a ten-cent stamped envelope and have on it in addition for each half ounce five one-dollar stamps of the Pony Express Company. The story of the Pony Express is told in Henry _Inman’s Great Salt Lake Trail_, Chap. viii.

[6] As the government had no post offices in the mining camps, the stage company became the postmasters, delivered the letters, and charged twenty- five cents for each. Sometimes the owner of a little store in a remote mountain camp would act as postmaster, and charge a high price for sending letters to or bringing them from the nearest stage station. One such used a barrel for the letter box, and sent the mail once a month. A hole was cut in the head of the barrel, and beside it was posted a notice which read: “This is a Post Office. Shove a quarter through the hole with your letter. We have no use for stamps as I carry the mail.”

[7] The lighter articles went in wagons drawn by four or six horses or mules, the heavier in great wagons drawn by six and eight yoke of oxen, which made the trip to Denver in five weeks. The cost of provisions brought in this way was very great. Thus in 1865, in Helena, Montana, flour sold for $85 a sack of one hundred pounds. Potatoes cost fifty cents in gold a pound, and coal oil, at Virginia City, $10 in gold a gallon. Board and lodgings rose in proportion, and it was not uncommon to see posted in the boarding houses such notices as this: “Board with bread at meals, $32; board without bread, $22.” Read Hough’s _The Way to the West_, pp. 200-221.

[8] Every other section in a strip of land twenty miles wide along the entire length of the railroad. The government had always been liberal in granting land to aid in the construction of roads, canals, and railroads, and between 1827 and 1860 had given away for such purposes 215,000,000 acres. Had these acres been in one great tract it would have been seven times as large as Pennsylvania. In 1862 Congress also added to its grants for educational purposes (p. 301) by giving to each state from 90,000 to 990,000 acres of public land in aid of a college for teaching agriculture and the mechanical arts.

[9] For conditions on which land could be secured before this, see p. 302.

[10] The history of the railroads across the continent is told in Cy. Warman’s _Story of the Railroad_; for the Northern Pacific, read pp. 179-196.

[11] White men eager for land invaded the Indian reservations; acts of violence were frequent, and shameful frauds were perpetrated by the agents of the government. The Indians, in retaliation, killed settlers and ran off horses, mules, and cattle. There were uprisings of the Sioux in Minnesota (1862) and in Montana (1866); but the worst offenders were the Apaches of Arizona, and against them General Crook waged war in 1872. Toward the close of 1872 the Modocs left their reservation in Oregon, took refuge in the Lava Beds in northern California, and defied the troops sent to drive them back. General Canby and several others were treacherously murdered at a conference (1873), and a war of several months’ duration followed before the Modocs were forced to surrender. In 1874 the Cheyennes (she-enz’), enraged at the slaughter of the buffaloes by the whites, made cattle raids, and more fighting ensued. An attempt to remove the Sioux to a new reservation led to yet another war in 1876, in which Lieutenant- Colonel Custer and his force of 262 men were massacred in Montana. Read Longfellow’s poem _The Revenge of Rain-in-the-Face_.

[12] Thus (1869) the New York Central (from Albany to Buffalo) and the Hudson River (from New York to Albany) were combined and formed one railroad under one management from New York to Buffalo.



THE NATIONAL LABOR PARTY.–The changed industrial conditions of the period 1860-80 affected politics, and after 1868 the questions which divided parties became more and more industrial and financial. The rise of the national labor party and its demands shows this very strongly. Ever since 1829 the workingman had been in politics in some of the states, and had secured many reforms. But no national labor congress was held till 1865, after which like congresses were held each year till 1870, when a national convention was called to form a “National Labor-Reform Party.”

The demands of the party thus formed (1872) were for taxation of government bonds (p. 387); repeal of the national banking system (p. 382); an eight-hour working day; exclusion of the Chinese; [1] and no land grants to corporations (p. 398). At every presidential election since this time, nominations have been made by one or more labor parties.

THE PROHIBITION PARTY.–Another party which first nominated presidential candidates in 1872 was that of the Prohibitionists. After much agitation of temperance reform, [2] efforts were made to prohibit the sale of liquor entirely, and between 1851 and 1855 eight states adopted prohibitory laws. Then the movement subsided for a while, but in 1869 it began again and in that year the National Prohibition Reform party was founded. In 1872 its platform called for the suppression of the sale of intoxicating liquor, and for a long series of other reforms. Every four years since that time the Prohibition party has named its candidates.

GRANT REFLECTED.–In 1872 no great importance was attached to either of these parties (the Labor and the Prohibition). The contest lay between General Grant, the Republican candidate for President, and Horace Greeley, [3] the Liberal Republican nominee (p. 390), who was supported also by most of the Democrats. Grant was elected by a large majority.

THE PANIC OF 1873.–Scarcely had Grant been reinaugurated when a serious panic swept over the country. The period since the war had been one of great prosperity, wild speculation, and extraordinary industrial development. Since 1869 some 24,000 miles of railroad had been built. But in the midst of all this prosperity, the city of Chicago was almost destroyed by fire (1871), [4] and the next year a large part of the city of Boston was burned. This led to a demand for money to rebuild them. Many speculative enterprises failed. The railroads that were being built ahead of population, in order to open up new lands, could not sell their bonds, and when a banker who was backing one of the railroads failed, the panic started. Thousands of business men failed, and the wages of workingmen were cut down.

THE SPECIE PAYMENT ACT.–The cry was then raised for more money, and (in 1874) Congress attempted to increase, or “inflate,” the amount of greenbacks in circulation from $356,000,000 to $400,000,000. Grant vetoed the bill. What shall be done with the currency? then became the question of the hour. Paper money was still circulating at less than its face value as measured in coin. To make it worth face value, Congress (1875) decided to resume specie payment; that is, the fractional currency was to be called in and redeemed in 10, 25, and 50 cent silver pieces; and after January 1, 1879, all greenbacks were to be redeemed in specie.

POLITICAL PARTIES IN 1876. [5]–This policy of resumption of specie payment did not please everybody. A Greenback party was formed, which called for the repeal of the Specie Payment Act and for the issue of more greenbacks. That the presidential election would be close was certain, and this certainty did much to lead the Democratic and Republican parties to take up some of the demands of the Prohibition, Liberal Republican, and Labor parties. Thus both the Democratic and Republican parties called for no more land grants to corporations, and for the exclusion of the Chinese.


THE ELECTION OF 1876.–The Republican candidate for President was Rutherford B. Hayes; [6] the Democratic candidate was Samuel J. Tilden. The admission of Colorado in August, 1876, made thirty-eight states, casting 369 electoral votes. A candidate to be elected therefore needed at least 185 electoral votes. So close was the contest that the election of Hayes was claimed by exactly 185 votes. This number included the votes of South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Oregon, in each of which a dispute was raging as to whether Republican or Democratic electors were chosen. Both sets claimed to have been elected, and both met and voted.

ELECTORAL COMMISSION.–The electoral votes of the states are counted in the presence of the House and Senate. The question then became, Which of these duplicate sets shall Congress count? To determine the question an electoral commission of fifteen members was created. [7] It decided that the votes of the Republican electors In the four states should be counted, and Hayes was therefore declared elected. [8]

END OF CARPETBAG GOVERNMENTS.–The inauguration of Hayes was followed by the recall of United States troops from the South, and the downfall of carpetbag governments in South Carolina and Louisiana. During the first half of Hayes’s term the. Democrats had control of the House of Representatives, and during the second half, of the Senate as well. As a result, proposed partisan measures either failed to pass Congress, or were vetoed by the President.

THE YEAR 1877 was one of great business depression. A strike on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in the summer of 1877 spread to other railroads and became almost an industrial insurrection. Traffic was stopped, millions of dollars’ worth of freight cars, machine shops, and other property was destroyed, and in the battles fought around Pittsburg many lives were lost. [9] Failures were numerous; in 1878 more business men failed than in the panic year 1873.

SILVER COINAGE.–For much of this business depression the financial policy of the government was blamed, and when Congress assembled in 1877, this policy was at once attacked. An attempt to repeal the act for resuming specie payment (p. 408) was made, but failed. [10] Another measure, however, concerning silver coinage, was more successful.

Congress had dropped (1873) the silver dollar from the list of coins to be made at the mint. [11] Soon afterward the silver mines of Nevada began to yield astonishingly, and the price of silver fell. This led to a demand (by inflationists and silver-producers) that the silver dollar should again be coined; and in 1878 Congress passed (over Hayes’s veto) the Bland-Allison Act, which required the Secretary of the Treasury to buy not less than $2,000,000 nor more than $4,000,000 worth of silver bullion each month and coin it into dollars. [12]

“THE CHINESE MUST GO.”–Another act vetoed by Hayes was intended to stop the coming of Chinese to our country. In 1877 an anti-Chinese movement was begun in San Francisco by the workingmen led by Dennis Kearney. Open-air meetings were held, and the demand for Chinese exclusion was urged so vigorously that Congress (1879) passed an act restricting Chinese immigration. Hayes vetoed this as violating our treaty with China, but (1880) negotiated a new treaty which provided that Congress might regulate the immigration of Chinese laborers.

THE ELECTION OF 1880; DEATH OF GARFIELD.–In 1880 there were again several parties, but the contest was between the Republicans with James A. Garfield [13] and Chester A. Arthur as candidates for President and Vice President, and the Democrats with Winfield S. Hancock and William H. English as leaders.

Garfield and Arthur were elected, and on March 4, 1881, were duly inaugurated. Four months later, as the President stood in a railway station in Washington, a disappointed office seeker shot him in the back. After his death (September 19, 1881) Chester A. Arthur became President. [14]

IMPORTANT LAWS, 1881-85.–All parties had called for anti-Chinese legislation. The long-desired act was accordingly passed by Congress, excluding the Chinese from our country for a period of twenty years. Arthur vetoed it as contrary to our treaty with China. An act “suspending” the immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years was then passed and became law; similar acts have been passed from time to time since then.

The Republicans (and Prohibitionists) had demanded the suppression of polygamy in Utah and the neighboring territories. Another law (the Edmunds Act, 1882) was therefore enacted for this end. [15]

The murder of Garfield aroused a general demand for civil service reform. The Pendleton Act (1883) was therefore enacted to secure appointment to office on the ground of fitness, not party service. [16]

[Illustration: THE CRUISER BOSTON.]

THE NEW NAVY.–After the close of the Civil War our navy was suffered to fall into neglect and decay. The thirty-seven cruisers, all but four of which were of wood; the fourteen single-turreted monitors built during the war; the muzzle-loading guns, belonged to a past age. By 1881 this was fully realized and the foundation of a new and splendid navy was begun by the construction of three unarmored cruisers–the _Atlanta_, _Boston_, and _Chicago_. Once started, the new navy grew rapidly, and in the course of twelve years forty-seven vessels were afloat or on the stocks. [17]

NEW REFORMS DEMANDED.–Meantime the wonderful development of our country caused a demand for further reforms. The chief employers of labor were corporations and capitalists, many of whom abused the power their wealth gave them. They were accused of importing laborers under contract and thereby keeping wages down, of getting special privileges from legislatures, and of combining to fix prices to suit themselves. In the campaign of 1884, therefore, these issues came to the front, and demands were made for (1) legislation against the importation of contract labor, (2) regulation of interstate commerce, especially as carried on by railways, (3) government ownership of telegraphs and railways, (4) reduction of the hours of labor, (5) bureaus to collect and spread information as to labor.

[Illustration: GROVER CLEVELAND.]

THE ELECTION OF 1884.–The Republicans nominated James G. Blaine for President; the Democrats, Grover Cleveland. [18] The nomination of Blaine gave offense to many Republicans; they took the name of Independents and supported Cleveland, who was elected.

IMPORTANT LAWS, 1885-89. [19]–As the two great parties, Democratic and Republican, had each favored the passage of certain laws demanded by the labor parties, these reforms were now obtained.

1. An Anti-Contract-Labor Law (1885) forbade any person, company, or corporation to bring aliens into the United States under contract to perform labor or service.

2. An Interstate Commerce Act (1887) provided for a commission whose duty it is to see that all charges for the carriage of passengers or freight are reasonable and just, and that no unfair special rates are made for favored shippers.

3. A Bureau of Labor was established and put in charge of a commissioner whose duty it is to “diffuse among the people of the United States useful information on subjects connected with labor.” Such bureaus or departments already existed in many of the states.

THE SURPLUS.–These old issues disposed of, the continued growth and prosperity of our country brought up new ones. For some time past the revenue of the government had so exceeded its expenses that on December 1, 1887, there was a surplus of $50,000,000 in the treasury. Six months later this had risen to $103,000,000.

[Illustration: THE STATUE OF LIBERTY.]

Three plans were suggested for disposing of the surplus. Some thought it should be distributed among the states as in 1837. Some were for buying government bonds and so reducing the national debt. Others urged a reduction of the annual revenue by cutting down the tariff rates. The President in his message in 1887 asked for such a reduction, and in 1888 the House passed a new tariff bill which the Senate rejected.

THE CAMPAIGN OF 1888.–In the campaign of 1888, therefore, the tariff issue came to the front. The Democrats renominated Grover Cleveland for President, and called for a tariff for revenue only, and for no more revenue than was needed to pay the cost of economical government. The Republicans nominated Benjamin Harrison [20] on a platform favoring a protective tariff, and elected him.

NEW STATES.–Both the great parties had called for the admission of new states. Just before the end of Cleveland’s term, therefore, an enabling act was passed for North and South Dakota, Washington, and Montana, which were accordingly admitted to the Union a few months later (1889). Idaho and Wyoming were admitted the following year (1890), and Utah in 1896.

NEW LAWS OF 1890.–The administration of affairs having again passed to the Republican party, it enacted the McKinley Tariff Law, which slightly raised the average rate of duties; the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, forbidding combinations to restrain trade; and a new financial measure which also bore the name of Senator Sherman. The law (p. 409) requiring the purchase and coinage of at least $2,000,000 worth of silver bullion each month did not satisfy the silver men. They wanted a free-coinage law, giving any man the privilege of having his silver coined into dollars (p. 224). As they had a majority of the Senate, they passed a free-coinage bill, but the House rejected it. A conference followed, and the so-called Sherman Act was passed, increasing the amount of silver to be bought each month by the government. [21]

THE CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION OF 1890.–The effect of the increased tariff rates, the Sherman Act, and large expenditures by Congress was at once apparent, and in the congressional election of 1890 the Republicans were beaten. The Democratic minority in the House of Representatives was turned into a great majority, and in both House and Senate appeared members of a new party called the Farmers’ Alliance. [22]

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1892.–The success of the Alliance men in the election of 1890, and the conviction that neither the Democrats nor the Republicans would further all their demands, led to a meeting of Alliance and Labor leaders in May, 1891, and the formation of “the People’s Party of the United States of America.” In 1892 this People’s Party, or the Populists, as they were called, nominated James B. Weaver for President, cast a million votes, and secured the election of four senators and eleven representatives in Congress. The Republicans renominated Harrison for President. But the Democrats secured majorities in the House and the Senate, and elected Cleveland. [23]

THE PANIC OF 1893.–When Cleveland’s second inauguration took place, March 4, 1893, our country had already entered a period of panic and business depression. Trade had fallen off. Money was hard to borrow. Foreigners who held our stocks and bonds sought to sell them, and a great amount of gold was drawn to Europe. So bad did business conditions become that the President called Congress to meet in special session in August to remedy matters.

The silver dollars coined by the government were issued and accepted by the government at their face value, and circulated on a par with gold, although the price of silver bullion had fallen so low that the metal in a silver dollar was worth less than seventy cents. Many people believed the business panic was due to fears that the government could not much longer keep the increasing volume of silver currency at par with gold. Therefore Congress repealed part of the Sherman Act of 1890, so as to stop the purchase of more silver.

THE WILSON TARIFF.–The business revival which the majority of Congress now expected, did not come. Failures continued; mills remained closed, gold continued to leave the country, and government receipts were $34,000,000 less than expenditures when the year ended. By the close of the autumn of 1893, hundreds of thousands of people were out of employment and many in want. In this condition of affairs Congress met in regular session (December, 1893). The Democrats were in control of both branches, and were pledged to revise the tariff. A bill was therefore passed, cutting down some of the tariff rates (the Wilson Act). [24]

Nobody expected that the revised tariff would yield enough money to meet the expenses of the government. One section of the law therefore provided that all yearly incomes above $4000 should be taxed two per cent. Though Congress had levied an income tax thirty years before, its right to do so was now denied by many, and the Supreme Court decided (1895) that the income tax was unconstitutional. [25]

AUSTRALIAN BALLOT.–One great reform which must not go unnoticed was the introduction of the Australian or secret ballot. The purpose of this system of voting, first used in Australia, is to enable the voter to prepare his ballot in a booth by himself and deposit it without any one knowing for whom he votes. The system was first used in our country in Massachusetts and in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1888. So successful was it that ten states adopted it the next year, and by 1894 it was in use in all but seven of the forty-four states.

NEGROES DISFRANCHISED.–Six of the seven were Southern states where negroes were numerous. After the fall of the carpetbag governments, illegal means were often used to keep negroes from the polls and prevent “negro domination” in these states. Later legal methods were tried instead: the payment of taxes, and sometimes such an educational qualification as the ability to read, were required of voters; but the laws were so framed as to exclude many negroes and few whites. Mississippi was the first state to amend her constitution for this purpose (1890), and nearly all the Southern states have followed her example. [26]

THE FREE COINAGE ISSUE.–Now that the treasury had ceased to buy silver, the demand for the free coinage of silver was renewed. The Republicans in their national platform, in 1896, declared against it, whereupon thirty- four delegates from the silver states (Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada) left the convention. The Democratic party declared for free coinage, [27] but many Democrats (“gold Democrats”) thereupon formed a new party, called the National Democratic, and nominated candidates on a gold-standard platform. Both the great parties were thus split on the issue of free coinage of silver.

THE CAMPAIGN OF 1896.–The Republican party nominated William McKinley [28] for President. The Democrats named William J. Bryan, and he was indorsed by the People’s party and the National Silver party. [29] The campaign was most exciting. The country was flooded with books, pamphlets, handbills, setting forth both sides of the silver issue; Bryan and McKinley addressed immense crowds, and on election day 13,900,000 votes were cast. McKinley was elected.

THE DINGLEY TARIFF.–The excitement over silver was such that in the campaign the tariff question was little considered. But the Republicans were pledged to a revision of the tariff, and accordingly (July, 1897) the Dingley Bill passed Congress and was approved by the President. Thus in the course of seven years the change of administration from one party to the other had led to the passage of three tariff acts–the McKinley (1890), the Wilson (1894), and the Dingley (1897).

FOREIGN COMPLICATIONS.–It is now time to review our foreign relations during this period. Twice since 1890 they had brought us apparently to the verge of war.

THE CHILEAN INCIDENT.–In 1891, while the United States ship _Baltimore_ was in the port of Valparaiso, Chile, some sailors went on shore, were attacked on the streets, and one was killed and several wounded. Chile offered no apology and no reparation to the injured, but instead sent an offensive note about the matter. Harrison, in a message to Congress (1892), plainly suggested war. But the offensive note was withdrawn, a proper apology was made, and the incident ended.

THE SEAL FISHERIES.–Great Britain and our country were long at variance over the question of ownership of seals in Bering Sea. Our purpose was to protect them from extermination by certain restrictions on seal fishing. To settle our rights in the matter, a court of arbitration was appointed and met in Paris in 1893. The decision was against us, but steps were taken to protect the seals from extermination. [30]


HAWAII.–Just before Harrison retired from office a revolution in the Hawaiian Islands drove the queen from the throne. A provisional government was then established, commissioners were dispatched to Washington, and a treaty for the annexation of Hawaii to the United States was drawn up and sent to the Senate. President Cleveland recalled the treaty and sought to have the queen restored. But the Hawaiians in control resisted and in 1894 established a republic.

VENEZUELA.–For many years there was a dispute over the boundary line between British Guiana and Venezuela, and in 1895 it seemed likely to involve Venezuela in a war with Great Britain. Our government had tried to bring about a settlement by arbitration. Great Britain refused to arbitrate, and denied our right to interfere. President Cleveland insisted that under the Monroe Doctrine we had a right, and in December, 1895, asked Congress to authorize a commission to investigate the claims of Great Britain. This was done, and great excitement at once arose at home and in Great Britain. But Great Britain and Venezuela soon submitted the question to arbitration.


1. The wonderful industrial growth of our country between 1860 and 1880 brought up for settlement grave industrial and financial questions.

2. The failure of the two great parties to take up these questions at once, caused the formation of many new parties, such as the National Labor, the Prohibition, the Liberal Republican, and the People’s party.

3. Some of their demands were enacted into laws, as the silver coinage act, the exclusion of the Chinese, the anti-contract-labor and interstate commerce acts, the establishment of a national labor bureau, and the antitrust act.

4. In 1890-97 the tariff was three times revised by the McKinley, Wilson, and Dingley acts.

5. In the political world the most notable events were the contested election of 1876-77; the recall of United States troops from the South, and the fall of carpetbag governments; the assassination of Garfield; and the two defeats of the national Republican ticket (1884 and 1892).

6. In the financial world the chief events were the panics of 1873 and 1893, the resumption of specie payment (1879), and the free-silver issue.

7. In the world at large we had trouble with Chile, Hawaii, and Great Britain.


[1] After the discovery of gold in California, Chinamen, called coolies, came to that state in considerable numbers. But they attracted little attention till 1852, when the governor complained that they were sent out by Chinese capitalists under contract, that the gold they dug was sent to China, and that they worked for wages so low that no American could compete with them. Attempts were then made to stop their importation, especially by heavy taxes laid on them. But the courts declared such taxation illegal, and appeals were then made to Congress for relief. No action was taken; but in 1868 an old treaty with China was amended, and to import Chinamen without their free consent was made a penal offense. This did not prevent their coming, so the demand was made for their exclusion by act of Congress.

[2] In the early years of the nineteenth century liquor was a part of the workingman’s wages. Every laborer on the farm, in the harvest field, every sailor, and men employed in many of the trades, as carpenters and masons, demanded daily grog at the cost of the employer. About 1810 a temperance movement put an end to much of this. But intemperance remained the curse of the workingman down to the days of Van Buren and Tyler, when a greater temperance movement began.

[3] Horace Greeley was born in New Hampshire in 1811, and while still a lad learned the trade of printer. When he went to New York in 1831, he was so poor that he walked the streets in search of work. During the Harrison campaign in 1840 he edited the Log Cabin, a Whig newspaper, and soon after the election founded the New York Tribune. In 1848 he was elected a member of Congress. He was one of the signers of the bond which released Jefferson Davis from imprisonment after the Civil War. Greeley overexerted himself in the campaign of 1872, and died a few weeks after the election.

[4] The fire is said to have been started by a cow kicking over a lamp in a small barn. Nearly 2200 acres were burned over, some 17,450 buildings consumed, 200 lives were lost, and 98,000 people made homeless.

[5] The close of the first century of our national independence was the occasion of a great exposition in Philadelphia–the first of many that have been held in our country on centennial anniversaries of great events in our history. The Philadelphia exposition was first planned as a mammoth fair for the display of the industries and arts of the United States; but Congress having approved the idea, all foreign nations were invited to take part, and thirty-three did so. The main building covered some twenty acres and was devoted to the display of manufactures. The exposition occupied also four other large buildings devoted to machinery, agriculture, etc., of which Horticultural Hall and Memorial Hall are still standing.

[6] Rutherford B. Hayes was born in Ohio in 1822, and after graduating from Kenyon College and the Harvard Law School settled at Fremont, Ohio, but soon moved to Cincinnati. At the opening of the war he joined the Union army and by 1865 had risen to the rank of brevet major general. While still in the army, he was elected to Congress, served two terms, and was then twice elected governor of Ohio. In 1875 he was elected for a third term. He died in 1893.

[7] The commission consisted of five senators, five representatives, and five justices of the Supreme Court; eight were Republicans, and seven Democrats.

[8] By 185 electoral votes against 184 for Tilden. The popular vote at the election of 1876 was (according to the Republican claim): for Hayes, 4,033,768; for Tilden, 4,285,992; for Peter Cooper (Greenback-Labor or “Independent”), 81,737; for Green Clay Smith (Prohibition), 9522.

[9] The strikers’ grievances were reduction of wages, irregular employment, irregular payment of wages, and forced patronage of company hotels. There were riots at Baltimore, Chicago, Reading, and other places besides Pittsburg; state militia was called out to quell the disorder; and at the request of the state governors, United States troops were sent to Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia.

[10] Specie payment was accordingly begun on January 1, 1879, and then for the first time since greenbacks were made legal tender they were accepted everywhere at par with coin. By the provisions of other laws, the amount of greenbacks kept in circulation was fixed at $346,681,000.

[11] The price of silver in 1872 was such that the 412-1/2 grains in the dollar were worth $1.02 in gold money. The silver dollar was worth more as silver bullion than as money, and was therefore little used as money. This dropping of the silver dollar from the list of coins, or ceasing to coin it, was called the “demonetization of silver.”

[12] To carry any number of these “cart-wheel dollars” in the pocket would have been inconvenient, because of their size and weight. Provision was therefore made that the dollars might be deposited in the United States treasury and paper “silver certificates” issued against them. Get specimens of different kinds of paper money, read the words printed on a silver certificate, and compare with the wording on a greenback (United States note) and on a national bank note.

[13] James A. Garfield was born in Ohio in 1831. While still a lad. he longed to be a sailor, and failing in this, he became a canal boatman. After a little experience as such he went back to school, supporting himself by working as a carpenter and teaching school. In 1854 he entered the junior class of Williams College, graduated in 1856, became a teacher in Hiram Institute, was elected to the Ohio senate in 1859, and joined the Union army in 1861. In 1862 he was elected to Congress, took his seat in December, 1863, and continued to be a member of the House of Representatives till 1881.

[14] Chester Alan Arthur was born in Vermont in 1830, graduated from Union College, became (1853) a lawyer in New York city, and was (1871-78) customs collector of the port of New York. In 1880 he attended the national Republican convention as a delegate from New York, and was one of the 302 members of that convention who voted to the last for the renomination of Grant. After Grant was defeated and Garfield nominated, Arthur was named for the vice presidency, in order to appease the “Stalwarts,” as the friends of Grant were called.

[15] When this failed to accomplish its purpose, Congress (1887) enacted another law providing heavy penalties for polygamy. The Mormon Church then declared against the practice.

[16] The murder of Garfield led also to a new presidential succession law. The old law provided that if both the President and the Vice President should die, the office should be filled temporarily by the president _pro tem_ of the Senate, or if there were none, by the speaker of the House of Representatives. But one Congress expired March 4, 1881, and the next one did not meet and elect its presiding officers till December; so if Arthur had died before then, there would have been no one to act as President. A new law passed in 1886 provides that if both the presidency and the vice presidency become vacant, the presidency shall pass to the Secretary of State, or, if there be none, to the Secretary of the Treasury, or, if necessary, to the Secretary of War, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Navy, or Secretary of the Interior.

[17] In 1881, Lieutenant A. W. Greely was sent to plant a station in the Arctic regions. Supplies sent in 1882 and 1883 failed to reach him, and alarm was felt for the safety of his party. In 1884 a rescue expedition was sent out under Commander W. S. Schley. Three vessels were made ready by the Navy Department, and a fourth by Great Britain. After a long search Greely and six companions were found on the point of starvation and five were brought safely home. During their stay in the Arctic, they had reached a point within 430 miles of the north pole, the farthest north any white man had then gone.

[18] Grover Cleveland was born in New Jersey in 1837. In 1841 his father, a Presbyterian minister, removed to Onondaga County, New York, where Grover attended school and served as clerk in the village store. Later he taught for a year in the Institute for the Blind in New York city; but soon began the study of law, and settled in Buffalo. He was assistant district attorney of Erie County, sheriff and mayor of Buffalo, and in 1882, as the Democratic candidate for governor of New York, carried the state by 192,000 plurality. Both when mayor and when governor he was noted for his free use of the veto power.

[19] In 1885 the Bartholdi statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was formally received at New York. It was a gift from the people of France to the people of America. A hundred thousand Frenchmen contributed the money for the statue, and the pedestal was built with money raised in the United States. An island in New York harbor was chosen for the site, and there the statue was unveiled in October, 1886. The top of Liberty’s torch is 365 feet above low water.

In September, 1886, a severe earthquake occurred near Charleston, South Carolina, the vibrations of which were felt as far away as Cape Cod and Milwaukee. In Charleston most of the houses were made unfit for habitation, many persons were killed, and some $8,000,000 worth of property was destroyed.

[20] Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was born at North Bend, Ohio, in 1833. He was educated at Miami University, studied law, settled at Indianapolis, and when the war opened, was reporter to the supreme court of Indiana. Joining the volunteers as a lieutenant, he was brevetted brigadier general before the war ended. In 1881 he became a senator from Indiana. He died in 1901.

[21] This required the Secretary of the Treasury to buy each month 4,500,000 ounces of silver, pay for it with treasury notes, and redeem the notes on demand in coin. After July 1, 1891, the silver so purchased need not be coined, but might be stored and silver certificates issued against it.

[22] Soon after the war the farmers in the great agricultural states had formed associations under such names as the Grange, Patrons of Husbandry, Patrons of Industry, Agricultural Wheel, Farmers’ Alliance, and others. About 1886 they began to unite, and formed the National Agricultural Wheel and the Farmers’ Alliance and Cooperative Union. In 1889 these and others were united in a convention at St. Louis into the Farmers’ Alliance and Industrial Union.

[23] The electoral vote was: for Cleveland, 277; Harrison, 145; Weaver, 22. The popular vote was: Democratic, 5,556,543; Republican, 5,175,582; Populist, 1,040,886; Prohibition, 255,841; Socialist Labor, 21,532.

[24] Cleveland objected to certain features of the bill, and refused to sign it; but he did not veto it. By the Constitution, if the President neither signs a bill nor returns it with his veto within ten days (Sunday excepted) after he receives it, the bill becomes a law without his signature, provided Congress has not meanwhile adjourned. If Congress adjourns before the ten-day limit expires and the President does not sign, then the bill does not become a law, but is “pocket vetoed.”

[25] Because Congress had made the tax uniform–the same on incomes of the same amount everywhere–instead of fixing the total amount to be raised and dividing it among the states according to population, as required by the Constitution in the case of direct taxes.