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Title: Formation of the Union

Author: Albert Bushnell Hart

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To the Memory





The second volume of the EPOCHS OF AMERICAN HISTORY aims to follow out the
principles laid down for "THE COLONIES,"--the study of causes rather than
of events, the development of the American nation out of scattered and
inharmonious colonies. The throwing off of English control, the growth out
of narrow political conditions, the struggle against foreign domination,
and the extension of popular government, are all parts of the
uninterrupted process of the Formation of the Union.

So mighty a development can be treated only in its elements in this small
volume. Much matter is thrown into graphic form in the maps; the
Suggestions for Readers and Teachers, and the bibliographies at the heads
of the chapters are meant to lead to more detailed accounts, both of
events and of social and economic conditions. Although the book includes
three serious wars, there is no military history in it. To the soldier,
the movement of troops is a professional question of great significance;
the layman needs to know, rather, what were the means, the character, and
the spirit of the two combatants in each case, and why one succeeded where
the other was defeated.

To my colleague, Professor Edward Channing, I am indebted for many
suggestions on the first four chapters.

CAMBRIDGE, July 1, 1892.


During the five years since this volume of the _Epochs of American
History_ was first issued, the literature of the subject has made
constant advances; and hence the Suggestions for Readers and Teachers and
the bibliographies at the head of each chapter have been pruned, enlarged,
and rewritten. The text has undergone fewer changes. The good-will of
users of the book has pointed out some errors and inaccuracies, which have
been corrected from time to time; and new light has in some cases dawned
upon the author. I shall always be grateful for corrections of fact or of

CAMBRIDGE, July 1, 1897.


Each of the volumes in the series is intended to be complete in itself,
and to furnish an account of the period it covers sufficient for the
general reader or student. Those who wish to supplement this book by
additional reading or study will find useful the bibliographies at the
heads of the chapters.

For the use of teachers the following method is recommended. A chapter at
a time may be given out to the class for their preliminary reading, or the
paragraph numbers may be used in assigning lessons. From the references at
the head of the chapter a report may then be prepared by one or more
members of the class on each of the numbered sections included in that
chapter; these reports may be filed, or may be read in class when the
topic is reached in the more detailed exercises. Pupils take a singular
interest in such work, and the details thus obtained will add a local
color to the necessarily brief statements of the text.


The following brief works will be found useful for reference and
comparison, or for the preparation of topics. The set should cost not more
than twelve dollars. Of these books, Lodge's _Washington_, Morse's
_Jefferson_, and Schurz's _Clay_, read in succession, make up a
brief narrative history of the whole period.

1. EDWARD CHANNING: _The United States of America, 1765-1865_. New
York: Macmillan Co., 1896.--Excellent survey of conditions and causes.

2. ALEXANDER JOHNSTON: _History of American Politics_. 2d ed. New
York: Holt, 1890.--Lucid account of political events in brief space.

3, 4. HENRY CABOT LODGE: _George Washington_ (_American Statesmen
Series_). 2 vols. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1889.--Covers the
period 1732-1799.

5. JOHN T. MORSE, JR.: _Thomas Jefferson_ (_American Statesmen Series_).
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1883.--Covers the period 1750-1809.

6. CARL SCHURZ: _Henry Clay_, I. (_American Statesmen Series_).
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1887.--Covers the period 1777-1833.

7. EDWARD STANWOOD: _A History of Presidential Elections_. 3d ed.
revised. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1892.--An account of the
political events of each presidential campaign, with the platforms and a
statement of the votes.

8. SIMON STERNE: _Constitutional History and Political Development of
the United States_. 4th ed. revised. New York: Putnam's, 1888.--An
excellent brief summary of the development of the Constitution.

9. HERMANN VON HOLST: _The Constitutional and Political History of the
United States_. Vol. I. _1750-1833_. _State Sovereignty and
Slavery_. Chicago: Callaghan & Co., 1877.--Not a consecutive history,
but a philosophical analysis and discussion of the principal
constitutional events.


The following works make up a convenient reference library of secondary
works for study on the period of this volume. The books should cost not
more than thirty-five dollars.

1-9. The brief works enumerated in the previous list.

10. EDWARD CHANNING and ALBERT BUSHNELL HART. _Guide to the Study of
American History_. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1896.--A classified bibliography,
with suggestions as to methods.

11. 12. GEORGE TICKNOR CURTIS: _Constitutional History of the United
States from their Declaration of Independence to the Close of their Civil
War_. 2 vols. New York: Harpers, 1889-1896.--Volume I. is a reprint of
Curtis's earlier _History of the Constitution_, in two volumes, and
covers the period 1774-1790. Chapters i.-vii. of Volume II. come down to
about 1830.

13. RICHARD FROTHINGHAM: _The Rise of the Republic of the United
States_. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1872.--A careful study of the
progress of independence, from 1750 to 1783. Indispensable.

14. SYDNEY HOWARD GAY: _James Madison (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1884.

15. JUDSON S. LANDON: _The Constitutional History and Government of the
United States_. A Series of Lectures. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co.,
1889.--The only recent brief constitutional history, except Sterne.

16. HENRY CABOT LODGE: _Alexander Hamilton (American Statesmen
Series)_. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1882.

17. JOHN T. MORSE, JR.: _John Adams (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1885.

18. JOHN T. MORSE, JR.: _John Adams (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1882.

19-21. JAMES SCHOULER: _History of the United States of America under
the Constitution_. New ed. 5 vols. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1895.--
This is the only recent and complete history which systematically covers
the whole period from 1783 to 1861. The style is very inelegant, but it is
an excellent repository of facts. Vols. I.-III. (sold separately) cover
the period 1783-1830.

22. WILLIAM MILLIGAN SLOANE: _The French War and the Revolution
(American History Series)_. New York: Scribners, 1893.--Covers the
period 1700-1783.

23. FRANCIS A. WALKER: _The Making of the Nation (American History
Series)_. New York: Scribners, 1894.--Covers the period 1783-1817.


For school use or for extended private reading, a larger collection of the
standard works on the period 1750-1829 is necessary. The following books
ought to cost about a hundred and fifty dollars. Many may be had at
secondhand through dealers, or by advertising in the _Publishers' Weekly_.

Additional titles may be found in the bibliographies at the heads of the
chapters, and through the formal bibliographies, such as Foster's
_References to Presidential Administrations_, Winsor's _Narrative
and Critical History_, Bowker and Iles's _Reader's Guide_, and Channing
and Hart's _Guide_.

1-23. The books enumerated in the two lists above.

24-32. HENRY ADAMS: _History of the United States of America_. 9 vols. New
York: Scribners, 1889-1891.--Period, 1801-1817. Divided into four sets,
for the first and second administrations of Jefferson and of Madison; each
set obtainable separately. The best history of the period.

33. HENRY ADAMS: _John Randolph (American Statesmen Series)_. Boston:
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1882.

34-43. GEORGE BANCROFT: _History of the United States, from the Discovery
of the American Continent_. 10 vols. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1834-
1874.--Vols. IV.-X. cover the period 1748-1782. Of the third edition, or
"author's last revision," in six volumes (New York: Appleton, 1883-1885),
Vols. III.-VI. cover the period 1763-1789. The work is rhetorical and
lacks unity, but is valuable for facts.

the United States_. 4 vols. New York: Scribners, 1876-1881.--Entirely
the work of Mr. Gay. Well written and well illustrated.

45,46. JOHN FISKE: _The American Revolution_. 2 vols. Boston: Houghton,
Mifflin & Co., 1891.

47. JOHN FISKE: _The Critical Period of American History_, 1783-1789.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1888.--Remarkable narrative style.

48. DANIEL C. GILMAN: _James Monroe (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1883.

49-52. RICHARD HILDRETH: _The History of the United States of America_.
Two series, each 3 vols. New York: Harpers, 1849-1856 (also later editions
from the same plates).--Vols. II.-VI. cover the period 1750-1821. Very
full and accurate, but without foot-notes. Federalist standpoint.

53. JAMES K. HOSMER: _Samuel Adams (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1885.

54-57. JOHN BACH MCMASTER: _A History of the People of the United
States, from the Revolution to the Civil War_. 4 vols. New York: Appleton,
1883-1895.--The four volumes published cover the period 1784-1820. The
point of view in the first volume is that of social history; in later
volumes there is more political discussion.

58. JOHN T. MORSE, JR.: _Benjamin Franklin (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1889.

59, 60. FRANCIS PARKMAN: _Montcalm and Wolfe_. 2 vols. Boston: Little,
Brown & Co., 1885.

61. GEORGE PELLEW: _John Jay (American Statesmen Series)_. Boston:
Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1890.

62, 63. TIMOTHY PITKIN: _A Political and Civil History of the United
States of America, from the Year 1763 to the Close of the Administration
of President Washington, in March, 1797_. 2 vols. New Haven: Howe and
Durrie & Peck, 1828.--An old book, but well written, and suggestive as to
economic and social conditions.

64. THEODORE ROOSEVELT:_ Gouverneur Morris (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1888.

65. JOHN AUSTIN STEVENS: _Albert Gallatin (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1884.

66-69. GEORGE TUCKER: _The History of the United States, from their
Colonization to the End of the Twenty-Sixth Congress, in 1841_. 4 vols.
Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1856-1857.--Practically begins in 1774. Written
from a Southern standpoint.

70. MOSES COIT TYLER: _Patrick Henry (American Statesmen Series)_.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1887.

71-78. JUSTIN WINSOR: _Narrative and Critical History of America_. 8 vols.
Boston & New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co., 1886-1889.--Vol. VI. And part
of Vol. VII. cover the period 1750-1789. The rest of Vol. VII. covers
the period 1789-1830. Remarkable for its learning and its bibliography,
but not a consecutive history.


In the above collections are not included the sources which are necessary
for proper school and college work. References will be found in the
bibliographies preceding each chapter below, and through the other
bibliographies there cited.


1. References--2. Colonial geography--3. The people and their
distribution--4. Inherited institutions--5. Colonial development of
English institutions--6. Local government in the colonies--7. Colonial
government--8. English control of the colonies--9. Social and economic
conditions--10. Colonial slavery.

11. References--12. Rival claims in North America (1690-1754)--13.
Collisions on the frontier (1749-1754)--14. The strength of the parties
(1754)--15. Congress of Albany (1754)--16. Military operations (1755-
1757)--17. The conquest of Canada (1758-1760)--18. Geographical results of
the war (1763)--19. The colonies during the war (1754-1763)--20. Political
effects of the war (1763).

21. References--22. Condition of the British Empire (1763)--23. New
schemes of colonial regulation (1763)--24. Writs of Assistance (1761-
1764)--25. The Stamp Act (1763-1765)--26. The Stamp Act Congress (1765)--
27. Revenue acts (1767)--28. Colonial protests and repeal (1767-1770)--29.
Spirit of violence in the colonies (1770-1773)--30. Coercive acts of 1774
--31. The First Continental Congress (1774)--32. Outbreak of hostilities
(1775)--33. Justification of the Revolution.

34. References--35. The strength of the combatants (1775)--36. The Second
Continental Congress (1775)--37. The national government formed (1775)--
38. Independence declared (1776)--39. New State governments formed (1775-
1777)--40. The first period of the war (1775-1778)--41. Foreign relations
(1776-1780)--42. The war ended (1778-1782)--43. Finances of the Revolution
(1775-1783)--44. Internal difficulties (1775-1782)--45. Formation of a
Constitution (1776-1781)--46. Peace negotiated (1781-1783)--47. Political
effects of the war (1775-1783).

48. References--49. The United States in 1781--50. Form of the government
(1781-1788)--51. Disbandment of the army (1783)--52. Territorial
settlement with the States (1781-1802)--53. Finances (1781-1788)--54.
Disorders in the States (1781-1788)--55. Slavery (1777-1788)--56. Foreign
relations and commerce (1781-1788)--57. Disintegration of the Union (1786,
1787)--58. Reorganization attempted (1781-1787).

59. References--60. The Federal Convention assembled (1787)--61.
Difficulties of the convention (1787)--62. Sources of the Constitution--
63. The great compromises (1787)--64. Details of the Constitution (1787)--
65. Difficulties of ratification (1787, 1788)--66. State conventions
(1787, 1788)--67. Expiration of the Confederation (1788)--68. Was the
Constitution a compact?

69. References--70. Geography of the United States in 1789--71. The people
of the United States in 1789--72. Political methods in 1789--73.
Organization of Congress (1789)--74. Organization of the Executive (1789,
1790)--75. Organization of the courts (1789-1793)--76. Revenue and
protection (1789, 1790)--77. National and State debts (1789, 1790)--78.
United States Bank (1791, 1792)--79. Slavery questions (1789-1798)--80.
The success of the new government (1789-1792).

81. References--82. Formation of political parties (1792-1794)--83. War
between France and England (1793)--84. American neutrality (1793)--85. The
Jay Treaty (1794-1796)--86. The Whiskey Rebellion (1794)--87. Election of
John Adams (1796)--88. Breach with France (1795-1798)--89. Alien and
Sedition Acts (1798)--90. Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions (1798-1800)--
91. Election of 1800, 1801--92. Causes of the fall of the Federalists.

93. References--94. The political revolution of 1801--95. Jefferson's
civil service (1801-1803)--96. Attack on the judiciary (1801-1805)--97.
The policy of retrenchment (1801-1809)--98. Barbary Wars (1801-1806)--99.
Annexation of Louisiana (1803)--100. Federal schemes of disunion (1803-
1809)--101. The Burr conspiracy (1806, 1807)--102. Aggressions on neutral
trade (1803-1807)--103. Policy of non resistance (1805-1807)--104. The
embargo (1807, 1808)--105. Repeal of the embargo (1809).

106. References--107. Non intercourse laws (1809, 1810)--108. Fruitless
negotiations (1809-1811)--109. The war party (1811)--110. Strength of the
combatants (1812)--111. War on the northern frontier (1812, 1813)--112.
Naval war (1812-1815)--113. Disastrous campaign of 1814--114. Question of
the militia (1812-1814)--115. Secession movement in New England (1814)--
116. Peace of Ghent (1812-1814)--117. Political effects of the war (1815).

118. References--119. Conditions of national growth (1815)--120. The
second United States Bank (1815)--121. Internal improvements (1806-1817)--
122. The first protective tariff (1816)--123. Monroe's administration
(1817-1825)--124. Territorial extension (1805-1819)--125. Judicial
decisions (1812-1824)--126. The slavery question revived (1815-1820)--127.
The Missouri Compromises (1818-1821)--128. Relations with Latin American
States (1815-1823)--129. The Monroe Doctrine (1823).

130. References--131. Political methods in 1824--132. The tariff of 1824
(1816-1824)--133. The election of 1824--134. The election of 1825--135.
The Panama Congress (1825, 1826)--136. Internal improvements (1817-1829)--
137. The Creek and Cherokee questions (1824-1829)--138. The tariff of
abominations (1828)--139. Organized opposition to Adams (1825-1829)--140.
The triumph of the people (1828).



1. Territorial Growth of the United States

2. English Colonies, 1763-1775

3. The United States, 1783

4 The United States, March 4, 1801

5. The United States, March 4, 1825





BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--R. G. Thwaites, _Colonies_, §§ 39, 74, 90; notes to
Joseph Story, _Commentaries_, §§ 1-197; notes to H. C. Lodge, _Colonies,
passim_; notes to Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, V. chs.
ii.-vi., Channing and Hart, _Guide_, §§ 130-133.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--R. G. Thwaites, _Colonies_, Maps Nos. 1 and 4 (_Epoch
Maps_, Nos. 1 and 4); G. P. Fisher _Colonial Era_, Maps Nos. 1 and 3;
Labberton, _Atlas_, lxiii., B. A. Hinsdale, _Old Northwest_ (republished
from MacCoun's _Historical Geography_).

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--Joseph Story _Commentaries_, §§ 146-190; W. E. H.
Lecky, _England in the Eighteenth Century_, II. 1-21, III. 267-305; T. W.
Higginson, _Larger History_, ch. ix.; Edward Channing, _The United
States_, 1765-1865 ch. i.; H. E. Scudder, _Men and Manners in America_;
Hannis Taylor, _English Constitution_, Introduction, I.; H. C. Lodge,
_Colonies_ (chapters on social life); T. Pitkin, _United States_, I.
85-138, Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, V. chs. ii.-vi.;
R. Frothingham, _Rise of the Republic_, chs. i., iv.; Grahame, _United
States_, III. 145-176.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--W. B. Weeden, _Economic and Social History of New
England_, II. chs. xiv., xv.; G. E. Howard, _Local Constitutional
History_, I. chs. ii., iii., vii.-ix.; C. F. Adams, _History of Quincy_,
chs. iii.-xiv.; M. C. Tyler, _History of American Literature_, II.; Edward
Channing, _Town and County Government_, and _Navigation Acts_; F. B.
Dexter, _Estimates of Population_; C. F. Bishop, _Elections in the
Colonies_; Wm. Hill, _First Stages of the Tariff Policy_; W. E. DuBois,
_Suppression of the Slave Trade_; J. R. Brackett, _Negro in Maryland_.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--Benjamin Franklin, _Autobiography_ (1706-1771);
John Woolman _Journal_ (1720-1772); George Whitefield, _Journals_
(especially 1739); Kalm, _Travels_ (1748-1749); Robert Rogers, _Concise
Account of North America_ (1765); A. Burnaby, _Travels_ (1759-1760);
Edmund Burke, _European Settlements in America_; William Douglass,
_Summary_; the various colonial archives and documents.--Reprints in II.
W. Preston, _Documents Illustrative of American History_ (charters, etc.);
_New Jersey Archives_, XI., XII., XVIII. (extracts from newspapers);
_American History Leaflets_, No. 16; _Library of American Literature_,
III.; _American History told by Contemporaries_, II.


[Sidenote: British America.]

By the end of the eighteenth century the term "Americans" was commonly
applied in England, and even the colonists themselves, to the English-
speaking subjects of Great Britain inhabiting the continent of North
America and the adjacent islands. The region thus occupied comprised the
Bahamas, the Bermudas, Jamaica, and some smaller West Indian islands,
Newfoundland, the outlying dependency of Belize, the territory of the
great trading corporation known as the Hudson's Bay Company, and--more
important than all the rest--the broad strip of territory running along
the coast from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the Altamaha River.

[Sidenote: Boundaries.]

It is in this continental strip, lying between the sea and the main chain
of the Appalachian range of mountains, that the formation of the Union was
accomplished. The external boundaries of this important group of colonies
were undetermined; the region west of the mountains was drained by
tributaries of the St. Lawrence and the Mississippi rivers, and both these
rivers were held in their lower course by the French. Four successive
colonial wars had not yet settled the important question of the
territorial rights of the two powers, and a fifth war was impending.

So far as the individual colonies were concerned, their boundaries were
established for them by English grants. The old charters of Massachusetts,
Virginia, and the Carolinas had given title to strips of territory
extending from the Atlantic westward to the Pacific. Those charters had
lapsed, and the only colony in 1750 of which the jurisdiction exercised
under the charter reached beyond the Appalachian mountains was
Pennsylvania. The Connecticut grant had long since been ignored; the
Pennsylvania limits included the strategic point where the Alleghany and
Monongahela rivers unite to form the Ohio. Near this point began the final
struggle between the English and the French colonies. The interior
boundaries between colonies in 1750 were matters of frequent dispute and
law-suits. Such questions were eventually brought to the decision of the
English Privy Council, or remained to vex the new national government
after the Revolution had begun.

[Sidenote: The frontiers.]

At this date, and indeed as late as the end of the Revolution, the
continental colonies were all maritime. Each of them had sea-ports
enjoying direct trade with Europe. The sea was the only national highway;
the sea-front was easily defensible. Between contiguous colonies there was
intercourse; but Nova Scotia, the last of the continental colonies to be
established, was looked upon as a sort of outlyer, and its history has
little connection with the history of the thirteen colonies farther south.
The western frontier was a source of apprehension and of danger. In
northern Maine, on the frontiers of New York, on the west and southwest,
lived tribes of Indians, often disaffected, and sometimes hostile. Behind
them lay the French, hereditary enemies of the colonists. The natural
tendency of the English was to push their frontier westward into the
Indian and French belt.


[Sidenote: Population.]

This westward movement was not occasioned by the pressure of population.
All the colonies, except, perhaps, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Delaware,
had abundance of vacant and tillable land. The population in 1750 was
about 1,370,000. It ranged from less than 5,000 in Georgia to 240,000 in
Virginia. Several strains of non-English white races were included in
these numbers. There were Dutch in New York, a few Swedes in Pennsylvania
and New Jersey, Germans in New York and Pennsylvania, Scotch Irish and
Scotch Highlanders in the mountains of Pennsylvania and South Carolina, a
few Huguenots, especially in the South, and a few Irish and Jews. All the
rest of the whites were English or the descendants of English. A slow
stream of immigration poured into the colonies, chiefly from England.
Convicts were no longer deported to be sold as private servants; but
redemptioners--persons whose services were mortgaged for their passage--
were still abundant. Many years later, Washington writes to an agent
inquiring about "buying a ship-load of Germans," that is, of
redemptioners. There was another important race-element,--the negroes,
perhaps 220,000 in number; in South Carolina they far out-numbered the
whites. A brisk trade was carried on in their importation, and probably
ten thousand a year were brought into the country. This stream poured
almost entirely into the Southern colonies. North of Maryland the number
of blacks was not significant in proportion to the total population. A few
Indians were scattered among the white settlements, but they were an alien
community, and had no share in the development of the country.

[Sidenote: Settlements.]
[Sidenote: American character.]

The population of 1,370,000 people occupied a space which in 1890
furnished homes for more than 25,000,000. The settlements as yet rested
upon, or radiated from, the sea-coast and the watercourses; eight-tenths
of the American people lived within easy reach of streams navigable to the
sea. Settlements had crept up the Mohawk and Susquehanna valleys, but they
were still in the midst of the wilderness. Within each colony the people
had a feeling of common interest and brotherhood. Distant, outlying, and
rebellious counties were infrequent. The Americans of 1750 were in
character very like the frontiersmen of to-day, they were accustomed to
hard work, but equally accustomed to abundance of food and to a rude
comfort; they were tenacious of their rights, as became offshoots of the
Anglo-Saxon race. In dealing with their Indian neighbors and their slaves
they were masterful and relentless. In their relations with each other
they were accustomed to observe the limitations of the law. In deference
to the representatives of authority, in respect for precedent and for the
observances of unwritten custom, they went beyond their descendants on the
frontier. Circumstances in America have greatly changed in a century and a
half: the type of American character has changed less. The quieter,
longer-settled communities of that day are still fairly represented by
such islands of undisturbed American life as Cape Cod and Cape Charles.
The industrious and thriving built good houses, raised good crops, sent
their surplus abroad and bought English goods with it, went to church, and
discussed politics. In education, in refinement, in literature and art,
most of the colonists had made about the same advance as the present
farmers of Utah. The rude, restless energy of modern America was not yet


[Sidenote: Sources of American government.]

In comparison with other men of their time, the Americans were
distinguished by the possession of new political and social ideas, which
were destined to be the foundation of the American commonwealth. One of
the strongest and most persistent elements in national development has
been that inheritance of political traditions and usages which the new
settlers brought with them. Among the more rigid sects of New England the
example of the Hebrew theocracy, as set forth in the Scriptures, had great
influence on government; they were even more powerfully affected by the
ideas of the Christian commonwealth held by the Protestant theologians,
and particularly by John Calvin. The residence of the Plymouth settlers in
the Netherlands, and the later conquest of the Dutch colonies, had brought
the Americans into contact with the singularly wise and free institutions
of the Dutch. To some degree the colonial conception of government had
been affected by the English Commonwealth of 1649, and the English
Revolution of 1688. The chief source of the political institutions of the
colonies was everywhere the institutions with which they were familiar at
the time of the emigration from England. It is not accurate to assert that
American government is the offspring of English government. It is nearer
the truth to say that in the middle of the seventeenth century the Anglo-
Saxon race divided into two branches, each of which developed in its own
way the institutions which it received from the parent stock. From the
foundation of the colonies to 1789 the development of English government
had little influence on colonial government. So long as the colonies were
dependent they were subject to English regulation and English legal
decisions, but their institutions developed in a very different direction.

[Sidenote: Political ideas.]

Certain fundamental political ideas were common to the older and the
younger branches of the Anglo-Saxon race, and have remained common to this
day. The first was the idea of the supremacy of law, the conception that a
statute was binding on the subject, on the members of the legislative
body, and even on the sovereign. The people on both sides of the water
were accustomed to an orderly government, in which laws were made and
administered with regularity and dignity. The next force was the
conception of an unwritten law, of the binding power of custom. This idea,
although by no means peculiar to the English race, had been developed into
an elaborate "common law,"--a system of legal principles accepted as
binding on subject and on prince, even without a positive statute. Out of
these two underlying principles of law had gradually developed a third
principle, destined to be of incalculable force in modern governments,--
the conception of a superior law, higher even than the law-making body. In
England there was no written constitution, but there was a succession of
grants or charters, in which certain rights were assured to the
individual. The long struggle with the Stuart dynasty in the seventeenth
century was an assertion of these rights as against the Crown. In the
colonies during the same time those rights were asserted against all
comers,--against the colonial governors, against the sovereign, and
against Parliament. The original colonies were almost all founded on
charters, specific grants which gave them territory and directed in what
manner they should carry on government therein. These charters were held
by the colonists to be irrevocable except for cause shown to the
satisfaction of a court of law; and it was a recognized right of the
individual to plead that a colonial law was void because contrary to the
charter. Most of the grants had lapsed or had been forcibly, and even
illegally, annulled; but the principle still remained that a law was
superior to the will of the ruler, and that the constitution was superior
to the law. Thus the ground was prepared for a complicated federal
government, with a national constitution recognized as the supreme law,
and superior both to national enactments and to State constitutions or

[Sidenote: Principles of freedom.]

The growth of constitutional government, as we now understand it, was
promoted by the establishment of two different sets of machinery for
making laws and carrying on government. The older and the younger branches
of the race were alike accustomed to administer local affairs in local
assemblies, and more general affairs in a general assembly. The two
systems in both countries worked side by side without friction; hence
Americans and Englishmen were alike unused to the interference of
officials in local matters, and accustomed through their representatives
to take an educating share in larger affairs. The principle was firmly
rooted on both sides of the water that taxes were not a matter of right,
but were a gift of the people, voted directly or through their
representatives. On both sides of the water it was a principle also that a
subject was entitled to his freedom unless convicted of or charged with a
crime, and that he should have a speedy, public, and fair trial to
establish his guilt or innocence. Everywhere among the English-speaking
race criminal justice was rude, and punishments were barbarous; but the
tendency was to do away with special privileges and legal exemptions.
Before the courts and before the tax-gatherers all Englishmen stood
practically on the same basis.


Beginning at the time of colonization with substantially the same
principles of liberty and government, the two regions developed under
circumstances so different that, at the end of a century and a half, they
were as different from each other as from their prototype.

[Sidenote: Separation of departments.]
[Sidenote: Aristocracy.]

The Stuart sovereigns of England steadily attempted to strengthen their
power, and the resistance to that effort caused an immense growth of
Parliamentary influence. The colonies had little occasion to feel or to
resent direct royal prerogative. To them the Crown was represented by
governors, with whom they could quarrel without being guilty of treason,
and from whom in general they feared very little, but whom they could not
depose. Governors shifted rapidly, and colonial assemblies eventually took
over much of the executive business from the governors, or gave it to
officers whom they elected. But while, in the eighteenth century, the
system of a responsible ministry was growing up in England under the
Hanoverian kings, the colonies were accustomed to a sharp division between
the legislative and the executive departments. Situated as they were at a
great distance from the mother-country, the assemblies were obliged to
pass sweeping laws. The easiest way of checking them was to limit the
power of the assemblies by strong clauses in the charters or in the
governor's instructions; and to the very last the governors, and above the
governors the king, retained the power of royal veto, which in England was
never exercised after 1708. Thus the colonies were accustomed to see their
laws quietly and legally reversed, while Parliament was growing into the
belief that its will ought to prevail against the king or the judges. In a
wild frontier country the people were obliged to depend upon their
neighbors for defence or companionship. More emphasis was thus thrown upon
the local governments than in England. The titles of rank, which continued
to have great social and political force in England, were almost unknown
in America. The patroons in New York were in 1750 little more than great
land-owners; the fanciful system of landgraves, palsgraves, and caciques
in Carolina never had any substance. No permanent colonial nobility was
ever created, and but few titles were conferred on Americans. An American
aristocracy did grow up, founded partly on the ownership of land, and
partly on wealth acquired by trade. It existed side by side with a very
open and accessible democracy of farmers.

[Sidenote: Powers of the colonies.]

The gentlemen of the colonies were leaders; but if they accepted too many
of the governor's favors or voted for too many of that officer's measures,
they found themselves left out of the assemblies by their independent
constituents. The power over territory, the right to grant wild lands, was
also peculiar to the New World, and led to a special set of difficulties.
In New England the legislatures insisted on sharing in this power. In
Pennsylvania there was an unceasing quarrel over the proprietors' claim to
quit-rents. Farther south the governors made vast grants unquestioned by
the assemblies. In any event, colonization and the grant of lands were
provincial matters. Each colony became accustomed to planting new
settlements and to claiming new boundaries. The English common law was
accepted in all the colonies, but it was modified everywhere by statutes,
according to the need of each colony. Thus the tendency in colonial
development was toward broad legislation on all subjects; but at the same
time the limitations laid down by charters, by the governor's
instructions, or by the home government, increased and were observed.
Although the assemblies freely quarrelled with individual governors and
sheared them of as much power as they could, the people recognized that
the executive was in many respects beyond their reach. The division of the
powers of government into departments was one of the most notable things
in colonial government, and it made easier the formation of the later
state and national governments.


[Sidenote: English local government.]

In each colony in 1750 were to be found two sets of governing
organizations,--the local and the general. The local unit appears at
different times and in different colonies under many names; there were
towns, townships, manors, hundreds, ridings, liberties, parishes,
plantations, shires, and counties. Leaving out of account minor
variations, there were three types of local government,--town government,
county government, and a combination of the two. Each of these forms was
founded on a system with which the colonists were familiar at the time of
settlement, but each was modified to meet the changed conditions of
America. The English county in 1600 was a military and judicial
subdivision of the kingdom; but for some local purposes county taxes were
levied by the quarter sessions, a board of local government. The officers
were the lord lieutenant, who was the military commander, and the justices
of the peace, who were at the same time petty judges and members of the
administrative board. The English "town" had long since disappeared except
as a name, but its functions were in 1600 still carried out by two
political bodies which much resembled it: the first was the parish,--an
organization of persons responsible as tax-payers for the maintenance of
the church building. In some places an assembly of these tax-payers met
periodically, chose officers, and voted money for the church edifice, the
poor, roads, and like local purposes. In other places a "select vestry,"
or corporation of persons filling its own vacancies, exercised the powers
of parish government. In such cases the members were usually of the more
important persons in the parish. The other wide-spread local organization
was the manor; in origin this was a great estate, the tenants of which
formed an assembly and passed votes for their common purposes.

[Sidenote: Towns.]

From these different forms of familiar local government the colonists
chose those best suited to their own conditions. New Englanders were
settled in compact little communities; they liked to live near the church,
and where they could unite for protection from enemies. They preferred the
open parish assembly, to which they gave the name of "town meeting." Since
some of the towns were organized before the colonial legislatures began to
pass comprehensive laws, the towns continued, by permission of the
colonial governments, to exercise extended powers. The proceedings of a
Boston town meeting in 1731 are thus reported:--

"After Prayer by the Revt. mr. John Webb,

"Habijah Savage Esqr. was chose to be Moderator for this meeting

"Proposed to Consider About Reparing mr. Nathaniell Williams His Kitchen

"In Answer to the Earnest Desire of the Honourable House of

"Voted an Entire Satisfaction in the Town in the late Conduct of their
Representatives in Endeavoring to preserve their Valuable Priviledges, And
Pray their further Endeavors therein--

"Voted. That the Afair of Repairing of the Wharff leading to the North
Battrey, be left with the Selectmen to do therein as they Judge best--"

[Sidenote: Counties.]

The county was also organized in New England, but took on chiefly judicial
and military functions, and speedily abandoned local administration. In
the South the people settled in separate plantations, usually strung out
along the rivers. Popular assemblies were inconvenient, and for local
purposes the people adopted the English select vestry system in what they
called parishes. The county government was emphasized, and they adopted
the English system of justices of the peace, who were appointed by the
governor and endowed with large powers of county legislation. Hence in the
South the local government fell into the hands of the principal men of
each parish without election, while in New England it was in the hands of
the voters.

[Sidenote: Mixed System.]

In some of the middle colonies the towns and counties were both active and
had a relation with each other which was the forerunner of the present
system of local government in the Western States. In New York each town
chose a member of the county board of supervisors; in Pennsylvania the
county officers as well as the town officers became elective. Whatever the
variations, the effect of local government throughout the colonies was the
same. The people carried on or neglected their town and county business
under a system defined by colonial laws; but no colonial officer was
charged with the supervision of local affairs. In all the changes of a
century and a half since 1750 these principles of decentralization have
been maintained.


[Sidenote: General form.]
[Sidenote: Suffrage.]

Earlier than local governments in their development, and always superior
to them in powers, were the colonial governments. In 1750 there was a
technical distinction between the charter governments of Connecticut,
Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, the proprietary governments of
Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland, and the provincial governments of
the eight other continental colonies. In the first group there were
charters which were substantially written constitutions binding on both
king and colonists, and unalterable except by mutual consent. In the
second group some subject, acting under a royal charter, appointed the
governors, granted the lands, and stood between the colonists and the
Crown. In the third group, precedent and the governor's instructions were
the only constitution. In essence, all the colonies of all three groups
had the same form of government. In each there was an elective
legislature; in each the suffrage was very limited; everywhere the
ownership of land in freehold was a requisite, just as it was in England,
for the county suffrage. In many cases there was an additional provision
that the voter must have a specified large quantity of land or must pay
specified taxes. In some colonies there was a religious requirement. The
land qualification worked very differently from the same system in
England. Any man of vigor and industry might acquire land; and thus,
without altering the letter of the law to which they were accustomed, the
colonial suffrage was practically enlarged, and the foundations of
democracy were laid. Nevertheless, the number of voters at that time was
not more than a fifth to an eighth as large in proportion to the
population as at present. In Connecticut in 1775 among 200,000 people
there were but 4,325 voters. In 1890, the fourth Connecticut district,
having about the same population, cast a vote of 36,500.

[Sidenote: Legislature.]

The participation of the people in their own government was the more
significant, because the colonies actually had what England only seemed to
have,--three departments of government. The legislative branch was
composed in almost all cases of two houses; the lower house was elective,
and by its control over money bills it frequently forced the passage of
measures unacceptable to the co-ordinate house. This latter, except in a
few cases, was a small body appointed by the governor, and had the
functions of the executive council as well as of an upper house. The
governor was a third part of the legislature in so far as he chose to
exercise his veto power. The only other limitation on the legislative
power of the assemblies was the general proviso that no act "was to be
contrary to the law of England, but agreeable thereto."

[Sidenote: Executive.]

The governor was the head of the executive department,--sometimes a native
of the colony, as Hutchinson of Massachusetts, and Clinton of New York.
But he was often sent from over seas, as Cornbury of New York, and Dunmore
of Virginia. In Connecticut and Rhode Island the legislatures chose the
governor; but they fell in with the prevailing practice by frequently re-
electing men for a succession of years. The governor's chief power was
that of appointment, although the assemblies strove to deprive him of it
by electing treasurers and other executive officers. He had also the
prestige of his little court, and was able to form at least a small party
of adherents. As a representative of the home government he was the object
of suspicion and defiance. As the receiver and dispenser of annoying fees,
he was likely to be unpopular; and wherever it could do so, the assembly
made him feel his dependence upon it for his salary.

[Sidenote: Judiciary.]

Colonial courts were nearly out of the reach of the assemblies, except
that their salaries might be reduced or withheld. The judges were
appointed by the governor, held during good behavior, and were reasonably
independent both of royal interference and of popular clamor. The
governor's council was commonly the highest court in the colony; hence the
question of the constitutionality of an act was seldom raised: since the
council could defeat the bill by voting against it, it was seldom
necessary to quash it by judicial process. Legal fees were high, and the
courts were the most unpopular part of the governments.


[Sidenote: English statutes.]
[Sidenote: The Crown.]
[Sidenote: Parliament.]

In Connecticut and Rhode Island, where the governor was not appointed by
the Crown, the colonies closely approached the condition of republics; but
even in these cases they acknowledged several powers in England to which
they were all subject. First came English law. It was a generally accepted
principle that all English statutes in effect at the time of the first
colonization held good for the colonies so far as applicable; and the
principles of the common law were everywhere accepted. Second came the
Crown. When the colonies were founded, the feudal system was practically
dead in England; but the conception that the Crown held the original title
to all the lands was applied in the colonies, so that all titles went back
to Indian or royal grants. Parliament made no protest when the king
divided up and gave away the New World. Parliament acquiesced when by
charter he created trading companies and bestowed upon them powers of
government. Down to 1765 Parliament seldom legislated for individual
colonies, and it was generally held that the colonies were not included in
English statutes unless specially mentioned. The Crown created the
colonies, gave them governors, permitted the local assemblies to grow up,
and directed the course of the colonial executive by royal instructions.

[Sidenote: Means of control.]

The agent of the sovereign in these matters was from 1696 to 1760 the so-
called Lords of the Board of Trade and Plantations. This commission,
appointed by The Crown, corresponded with the governors, made
recommendations, and examined colonial laws. Through them were exercised
the two branches of English control. Governors were directed to carry out
a specified policy or to veto specified classes of laws. If they were
disobedient or weak, the law might still be voided by a royal rescript.
The attorneys-general of the Crown were constantly called on to examine
laws with a view to their veto, and their replies have been collected in
Chalmers's "Opinions,"--a storehouse of material concerning the relations
of the colonies with the home government. The process of disallowance was
slow. Laws were therefore often passed in the colonies for successive
brief periods, thus avoiding the effects of a veto; or "Resolves" were
passed which had the force, though not the name, of statutes. In times of
crisis the Crown showed energy in trying to draw out the military strength
of the colonies; but if the assemblies hung back there was no means of
forcing them to be active. During the Stuart period the troubles at home
prevented strict attention to colonial matters. Under the Hanoverian kings
the colonies were little disturbed by any active interference. In one
respect only did the home government press hard upon the colonies. A
succession of Navigation Acts, beginning about 1650, limited the English
colonies to direct trade with the home country, in English or colonial
vessels. Even between neighboring English colonies trade was hampered by
restrictions or absolute prohibitions. Against the legal right of
Parliament thus to control the trade of the colonies the Americans did not
protest. Protest was unnecessary, since in 1750 the Acts were
systematically disregarded: foreign vessels carried freights to and from
American ports; American goods were shipped direct to foreign countries (§
23; Colonies, §§ 44, 128).


[Sidenote: Social life.]
[Sidenote: Intellectual life.]
[Sidenote: Economic conditions.]

Thus, partly from circumstances, and partly by their own design, the
colonies in 1750 were developing a political life of their own. Changes of
dynasties and of sovereigns or of ministers in England little affected
them. In like manner their social customs were slowly changing. The
abundance of land favored the growth of a yeoman class accustomed to take
part in the government. Savage neighbors made necessary a rough military
discipline, and the community was armed. The distance from England and an
independent spirit threw great responsibility on the assemblies. The
general evenness of social conditions, except that some men held more land
than others, helped on a democratic spirit. The conditions of the colonies
were those of free and independent communities. On the other hand,
colonial life was at best retired and narrow; roads were poor, inns
indifferent, and travelling was unusual. The people had the boisterous
tastes and dangerous amusements of frontiersmen. Outside of New England
there were almost no schools, and in New England schools were very poor.
In 1750 Harvard, Yale, William and Mary, and the College of New Jersey
(now Princeton) were the only colleges, and the education which they gave
was narrower than that now furnished by a good high school. Newspapers
were few and dull. Except in theology, there was no special instruction
for professional men. In most colonies lawyers were lightly esteemed, and
physicians little known. City life did not exist; Philadelphia, Boston,
New York, and Charleston were but provincial towns. The colonies had only
three industries,--agriculture, the fisheries, and shipping. Tobacco had
for more than a century been the staple export. Next in importance was the
New England fishery, employing six hundred vessels, and the commerce with
the West Indies, which arose out of that industry. Other staple exports
were whale products, bread-stuffs, naval stores, masts, and pig-iron.
The total value of exports in 1750 is estimated at £814,000. To carry
these products a fleet of at least two hundred vessels was employed;
they were built in the colonies north of Virginia, and most of them in New
England. The vessels themselves were often sold abroad. With the proceeds
of the exports the colonists bought the manufactured articles which they
prized. Under the Navigation Acts these ought all to have come from
England; but French silks, Holland gin, and Martinique sugar somehow found
their way into the colonies. The colonists and the home government tried
to establish new industries by granting bounties. Thus the indigo culture
in South Carolina was begun, and many unsuccessful attempts were made to
start silk manufactures and wine raising. The method of stimulating
manufactures by laying protective duties was not unknown; but England
could not permit the colonies to discriminate against home merchants, and
had no desire to see them establish by protective duties competitors for
English manufactures. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania did in a few cases lay
low protective duties. Except for the sea-faring pursuits of the Northern
colonies, the whole continental group was in the same dependent condition.
The colonists raised their own food and made their own clothes; the
surplus of their crops was sent abroad and converted into manufactured


[Sidenote: Slave trade.]
[Sidenote: The sections.]

In appearance the labor system of all the colonies was the same. Besides
paid white laborers, there was everywhere a class of white servants bound
without wages for a term of years, and a more miserable class of negro
slaves. From Nova Scotia to Georgia, in all the West Indies, in the
neighboring French and Spanish colonies, negro slavery was in 1750 lawful,
and appeared to flourish. Many attempts had been made by colonial
legislatures to cut off or to tax the importation of slaves. Sometimes
they feared the growing number of negroes, sometimes they desired more
revenue. The legislators do not appear to have been moved by moral
objections to slavery. Nevertheless, there was a striking difference
between the sections with regard to slavery. In all the colonies north of
Maryland the winters were so cold as to interfere with farming, and some
different winter work had to be provided. For such variations of labor,
slaves are not well fitted; hence there were but two regions in the North
where slaves were profitably employed as field-hands,--on Narragansett Bay
and on the Hudson: elsewhere the negroes were house or body servants, and
slaves were rather an evidence of the master's consequence than of their
value in agriculture. In the South, where land could be worked during a
larger portion of the year, and where the conditions of life were easier,
slavery was profitable, and the large plantations could not be kept up
without fresh importations. Hence, if any force could be brought to bear
against negro slavery it would easily affect the North, and would be
resisted by the South; in the middle colonies the struggle might be long;
but even there slavery was not of sufficient value to make it permanent.

[Sidenote: Anti-slavery agitation.]

Such a force was found in a moral agitation already under way in 1750. The
Puritans and the Quakers both upheld principles which, if carried to their
legitimate consequences, would do away with slavery. The share which all
men had in Christ's saving grace was to render them brethren hereafter;
and who should dare to subject one to another in this earthly life? The
voice of Roger Williams was raised in 1637 to ask whether, after "a due
time of trayning to labour and restraint, they ought not to be set free?"
"How cursed a crime is it," exclaimed old Sewall in 1700, "to equal men to
beasts! These Ethiopians, black as they are, are sons and daughters of the
first Adam, brethren and sisters of the last Adam, and the offspring of
God." On "2d mo. 18, 1688," the Germantown Friends presented the first
petition against slavery recorded in American history. By 1750
professional anti-slavery agitators like John Woolman and Benezet were at
work in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and many wealthy Quakers had set free
their slaves. The wedge which was eventually to divide the North from the
South was already driven in 1750. In his great speech on the Writs of
Assistance in 1761, James Otis so spoke that John Adams said: "Not a
Quaker in Philadelphia, or Mr. Jefferson of Virginia, ever asserted the
rights of negroes in stronger terms."




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, V.
560-622; Channing and Hart, _Guide_, §§ 131-132.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--No. 2, this volume (_Epoch Maps_, No. 5); Labberton,
_Historical Atlas_, lxiii.; B. A. Hinsdale, _Old Northwest_, I. 38, 63
(republished from MacCoun, _Historical Geography_); S. R. Gardiner,
_School Atlas_, No. 45; Francis Parkman, _Montcalm and Wolfe_,
frontispiece; Oldmixen, _British Empire_ (1741); _Mitchell's Map_ (1755);
_Evans's Map_ (1755); school histories of Channing, Johnston, Scudder,

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--Geo. Bancroft, _United States_, III. chs. xxiii.,
xxiv., IV. (last revision, II. 419-565); R. Hildreth, _United States_, II.
433-513; W. E. H. Lecky, _England in the Eighteenth Century_, II. ch.
viii., III. ch. x.; B. A. Hinsdale, _Old Northwest_, ch. v.; W. M. Sloane,
_French War and Revolution_, ch. viii.; Bryant and Gay, _Popular History_,
III. 254-328; J. R. Green, _English People_, IV. 166-218; Abiel Holmes,
_Annals of America_, II. 41-123; Geo. Chalmers, _Revolt of the American
Colonies_, II. book ix. ch. xx.; T. Pitkin, _Political and Civil History_,
I. 138-154.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Francis Parkman, _Montcalm and Wolfe_ (2 vols.),
latest and best detailed account; G. Warburton, _Conquest of Canada_,
(1849); T. Mante, _Late War_ (1772); W. B. Weeden, _New England_, II. chs.
xvi., xvii.; M. C. Tyler, _American Literature_, II. ch. xviii.; Theodore
Roosevelt, _Winning of the West_, II.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--John Knox, _Historical Journal_ (1757-1760);
Pouchot, _Mémoires_ (also in translation); Franklin, _Works_
(especially on the Albany Congress); Washington, _Works_, especially
his _Journal_ (Sparks's edition, II. 432-447); Robert Rogers, _Journal;
Documents relative to the Colonial History of New York_, X.--Reprints in
_American History told by Contemporaries_, II.


[Sidenote: International rivalry.]

"The firing of a gun in the woods of North America brought on a conflict
which drenched Europe in blood." In this rhetorical statement is suggested
the result of a great change in American conditions after 1750. For the
first time in the history of the colonies the settlements of England and
France were brought so near together as to provoke collisions in time of
peace. The attack on the French by the Virginia troops under Washington in
1754 was an evidence that France and England were ready to join in a
struggle for the possession of the interior of the continent, even though
it led to a general European war.

[Sidenote: Legal arguments.]

The peace of Aix-la-Chapelle of 1748 (Colonies, § 112) had not laid down a
definite line between the French and the English possessions west of the
mountains, According to the principles of international law observed at
the time of colonization, each power was entitled to the territory drained
by the rivers falling into that part of the sea-coast which it controlled.
The French, therefore, asserted a _prima facie_ title to the valleys
of the St. Lawrence and of the Mississippi (§ 2); if there was a natural
boundary between the two powers, it was the watershed north and west of
the sources of the St. John, Penobscot, Connecticut, Hudson, Susquehanna,
Potomac, and James. On neither side had permanent settlements been
established far beyond this irregular ridge. This natural boundary had,
however, been disregarded in the early English grants. Did not the charter
of 1609 give to Virginia the territory "up into the land, from sea to sea,
west and northwest"? (Colonies, § 29.) Did not the Massachusetts,
Connecticut, and Carolina grants run westward to the "South Sea"? And
although these grants had lapsed, the power of the king to make them was
undiminished; the Pennsylvania charter, the latest of all, gave title far
west of the mountains.

[Sidenote: Expediency.]

To these paper claims were added arguments of convenience: the Lake
Champlain region, the southern tributaries of Lake Ontario, and the
headwaters of the Ohio, were more easily reached from the Atlantic coast
than by working up the rapids of the St Lawrence and its tributaries, or
against two thousand miles of swift current on the Mississippi. To the
Anglo-Saxon hunger for more land was added the fear of Indian attacks; the
savages were alarmed by the advance of settlements, and no principles of
international law could prevent frontiersmen from exploring the region
claimed by France, or from occupying favorite spots. There was no
opportunity for compromise between the two parties; agreement was
impossible, a conflict was a mere matter of time, and the elaborate
arguments which each side set forth as a basis for its claim were intended
only to give the prestige of a legal title. In the struggle the English
colonies had one significant moral advantage: they desired the land that
they might occupy it; the French wished only to hold it vacant for some
future and remote settlement, or to control the fur-trade.


[Sidenote: The Iroquois]

For many years the final conflict had been postponed by the existence of a
barrier state,--the Iroquois, or Six Nations of Indians. This fierce,
brave, and statesmanlike race held a strip of the watershed from Lake
Champlain to the Allegheny River. For many years they had been subject to
English influence, exercised chiefly by William Johnson; but the
undisturbed possession of their lands was the price of their friendship.
They held back the current of immigration through the Mohawk. They aimed
to be the intermediary for the fur-trade from the northwest. They remained
throughout the conflict for the most part neutral, but forced the
contestants to carry on their wars east or south of them.

[Sidenote: English claims.]

Southwest of the territory of the Iroquois lay the region of the upper
Ohio and its tributaries, particularly the valleys of the Tennessee, the
Muskingum, the Allegheny, the Monongahela and its mountain-descending
tributary, the Youghioghany, of which the upper waters interlace with
branches of the Potomac. In this rich country, heavily wooded and
abounding in game, there were only a few Indians and no white inhabitants.
In 1749 France began to send expeditions through the Ohio valley to raise
the French flag and to bury leaden plates bearing the royal arms. A part
of the disputed region was claimed by Pennsylvania as within her charter
limits; Virginia claimed it, apparently on the convenient principle that
any unoccupied land adjacent to her territory was hers; the English
government claimed it as a vacant royal preserve; and in 1749 an Ohio
company was formed with the purpose of erecting the disputed region into a
"back colony." A royal grant of land was secured, and a young Virginian,
named George Washington, was sent out as a surveyor. He took the
opportunity to locate some land for himself, and frankly says that "it is
not reasonable to suppose that those, who had the first choice,... were
inattentive to ... the advantages of situation."

[Sidenote: Attempts to occupy.]

Foreseeing the struggle, the French began to construct a chain of forts
connecting the St. Lawrence settlements with the Mississippi. The chief
strategic point was at the junction of the Allegheny and Monongahela
rivers,--the present site of Pittsburg. The Ohio company were first on the
ground, and in 1753 took steps to occupy this spot. They were backed up by
orders issued by the British government to the governors of Pennsylvania
and Maryland "to repel force by force whenever the French are found within
the undoubted limits of their province." Thus the French and English
settlements were brought dangerously near together, and it was resolved by
Virginia to send George Washington with a solemn warning to the French. In
October, 1753, he set forth, and returned in December to announce that the
French were determined to hold the country. They drove the few English out
of their new post, fortified the spot, and called it Fort Duquesne. The
crisis seemed to Benjamin Franklin so momentous that at the end of his
printed account of the capture of the post he added a rude woodcut of a
rattlesnake cut into thirteen pieces, with the motto, addressed to the
colonies, "Join or die."

[Sidenote: No compromise.]

This was no ordinary intercolonial difficulty, to be patched up by
agreements between the frontier commanders. Both French and English
officers acted under orders from their courts. England and France were
rivals, not only on the continent, but in the West Indies, in India, and
in Europe. There was no disposition either to prevent or to heal the
breach on the Pennsylvania frontier.

[Sidenote: Washington attacks.]

When Washington set out with a small force in April, 1754, it was with the
deliberate intention of driving the French out of the region. As he
advanced towards Fort Duquesne they came out to meet him. He was the
quicker, and surprised the little expedition at Great Meadows, fired upon
the French, and killed ten of them. A few days later Washington and his
command were captured at Fort Necessity, and obliged to leave the country.
As Half King, an Iroquois chief, said, "The French behaved like cowards,
and the English like fools." The colonial war had begun. Troops were at
once despatched to America by both belligerents. In 1755 hostilities also
broke out between the two powers on the sea; but it was not until May 18,
1756, that England formally declared war on France, and the Seven Years'
War began in Europe.


[Sidenote: England and France.]

The first organized campaign in America was in 1755. Its effect was to
show that the combatants were not far from equally matched. France claimed
the position of the first European power: her army was large, her soldiers
well trained; her comparative weakness at sea was not yet evident. The
English navy had been reduced to 17,000 men; the whole English army
counted 18,000 men, of whom there were in America but 1,000. Yet England
was superior when it came to building ships, equipping troops, and
furnishing money subsidies to keep her allies in the field. The advantage
of prestige in Europe was thrown away when France allied herself with her
hereditary enemy, Austria, and thus involved herself in wars which kept
her from sending adequate reinforcements to America.

[Sidenote: The colonies.]

Until 1758 the war in the western world was fought on both sides chiefly
by the colonists. Here the British Americans had a numerical advantage
over the French. Against the 80,000 white Canadians and Louisianians they
could oppose more than 1,100,000 whites. Had the English colonists, like
the Canadians, been organized into one province, they might have been
successful within a year; but the freedom and local independence of the
fourteen colonies made them, in a military sense, weaker than their
neighbors. In Canada there was neither local government nor public
opinion; governors and intendants sent out from Paris ruled the people
under regulations framed in Paris for the benefit of the court centred in
Paris. While the colonies with difficulty raised volunteer troops, the
French commander could make a _levée en masse_ of the whole adult male
population. During the four campaigns from 1755 to 1758 the Canadians
lost little territory, and they were finally conquered only by a powerful
expedition of British regular troops and ships.

[Sidenote: Indians.]
[Sidenote: Theatre of war.]

One reason for this unexpected resistance was the aid of the Indians. The
Latin races have always had more influence over savage dependents than the
Anglo-Saxon. The French knew how to use the Indians as auxiliaries by
letting them make war on their own account and in their own barbarous
fashion. Nevertheless the Indians did not fight for the mere sake of
obliging the French, and when the tide turned, in 1759, they were mostly
detached. One other great advantage was enjoyed by the French: their
territory was difficult of access. The exposed coast was protected by the
strong fortresses of Louisbourg and Quebec, On the east, in the centre,
and on the Ohio they were in occupation and stood on the defensive. Acting
on the interior of their line, they could mass troops at any threatened
point. In the end their line was rolled up like a scroll from both ends.
Louisbourg and Fort Duquesne were both taken in 1758, but Montreal was
able to hold out until 1760.


[Sidenote: Indian treaty.]
[Sidenote: Union proposed]

Foreseeing a general colonial war, the Lords of Trade, in September, 1753,
directed the colonial governors to procure the sending of commissioners to
Albany. The first purpose was to make a treaty with the Iroquois; but a
suggestion was made in America that the commissioners also draw up a plan
of colonial union. In June, 1754, a body of delegates assembled from the
New England colonies, New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The Indian
treaty was duly framed, notwithstanding the ominous suggestion of one of
the savages: "It is but one step from Canada hither, and the French may
easily come and turn you out of your doors." On June 24 the Congress of
Albany adopted unanimously the resolution that "a union of all the
colonies is at present absolutely necessary for their security and
defence;" and that "it would be necessary that the union be established by
Act of Parliament."

[Sidenote: Franklin's scheme.]

Since the extinction of the New England Confederation in 1684 (Colonies, §
69) there had been no approach to any colonial union. The suggestions of
William III., of the Lords of Trade, of ministers, of colonial governors,
and of private individuals had remained without effect To Benjamin
Franklin was committed the task of drawing up a scheme which should at the
same time satisfy the colonial assemblies and the mother government. The
advantages of such an union were obvious. Combined action meant speedy
victory; separate defence meant that much of the border would be exposed
to invasion. Franklin hoped to take advantage of the pressure of the war
to induce the colonies to accept a permanent union. His draft, therefore,
provided for a "President General," who should have toward the union the
powers usually enjoyed by a governor towards his colony. This was not
unlike a project in view when Andros was sent over in 1685. The startling
innovation of the scheme was a "Grand Council," to be chosen by the
colonial assemblies. The duty of this general government was to regulate
Indian affairs, make frontier settlements, and protect and defend the
colonists. The plan grew upon Franklin as he considered it, and he added a
scheme for general taxes, the funds to be raised by requisitions for
specific sums on the separate colonial treasurers.

[Sidenote: The union fails.]

The interest of the plan is that it resembles the later Articles of
Confederation. At first it seemed likely to succeed; none of the twenty-
five members of the congress seem to have opposed it, but not one colony
accepted it. The charter and proprietary colonies feared that they might
lose the guaranty afforded by their existing grants. The new union was to
be established by Act of Parliament. Of government by that body they knew
little, and they had no disposition to increase the power of the Crown.
The town of Boston voted "to oppose any plan of union whereby they shall
apprehend the Liberties and Priviledges of the People are endangered." The
British government also feared a permanent union, lest it teach the
colonies their own strength in organization. The movement for the union
had but the faint approval of the Lords of Trade, and received no
consideration in England. As Franklin said: "The assemblies all thought
there was too much _prerogative_, and in England it was thought to have
too much of the _democratic_."

16. MILITARY OPERATIONS (1755-1757).

[Sidenote: Character of the war]

Washington's defeat in 1754 was followed by active military preparations
on both sides. So far as the number of campaigns and casualties goes, it
was a war of little significance; but it was marked by romantic incidents
and heroic deeds. Much of the fighting took place in the forest. The
Indians showed their characteristic daring and their characteristic
unwillingness to stand a long-continued, steady attack. Their scalping-
knives and stakes added a fearful horror to many of the battles. On both
sides the military policy seemed simple. The English must attack, the
French must do their best to defend. The French were vulnerable in Nova
Scotia and on the Ohio; their centre also was pierced by two highways
leading from the Hudson,--one through Lake Champlain, the other through
the Mohawk and Lake Ontario. These four regions must be the theatre of
war, and in 1755 the British government, seconded by the colonists,
planned an attack on the four points simultaneously.

[Sidenote: Braddock's expedition.]

The most difficult of the four tasks was the reduction of Fort Duquesne,
and it was committed to a small force of British regulars, with colonial
contingents, under the command of General Braddock. The character of this
representative of British military authority is summed up in a phrase of
his secretary's: "We have a general most judiciously chosen for being
disqualified for the service he is employed on in almost every respect."
Before him lay three plain duties,--to co-operate with the provincial
authorities in protecting the frontier, to impress upon the Indians the
superior strength of the English, and to occupy the disputed territory. He
did none of them. Among the provincials was George Washington, whose
experience in this very region ought to have influenced the general; but
the latter obstinately refused to learn that the rules of war must be
modified in a rough and wooded country, among frontiersmen and savage
enemies. July 9, 1755, the expedition reached a point eight miles from
Fort Duquesne. As Braddock's little army marched forward, with careful
protection against surprise, it was greeted with a volley from 250 French
Canadians and 230 Indian allies. Though the Canadians fled, the Indians
stood their ground from behind trees and logs. The Virginians and a few
regulars took to trees also, but were beaten back by the oaths and blows
of Braddock. "We would fight," they said, "if we could see anybody to
fight with." After three hours' stand against an invisible foe, Braddock's
men broke and abandoned the field. Out of 1,466 officers and men, but 482
came off safe. The remnant of the expedition fled, abandoned the country,
left the frontier unprotected; and over the road which they had
constructed came a stream of marauding Indians.

[Sidenote: Removal of the Acadians.]

In the centre the double campaign was equally unfruitful. On the borders
of Nova Scotia the French forts were captured. The victors felt unable to
hold the province, although it had been theirs since 1713, except by
removing the French Acadian inhabitants. It was a strong measure, carried
out with severity. Six thousand persons were distributed among the
colonies farther south, where their religion and their language both
caused them to be suspected and often kept them from a livelihood. The
justification was that the Acadians were under French influence, and were
likely to be added to the fighting force of the enemy; the judgment of
Parkman is that the "government of France began with making the Acadians
its tools, and ended with making them its victims."

[Sidenote: Campaigns of 1756, 1757.]

The campaigns of 1756 and 1757 were like that of 1755. After the retreat
of Braddock's expedition the frontier of Virginia and Pennsylvania was
left to the ravages of the Indians. The two colonies were slow to defend
themselves, and had no help from England. Systematic warfare was still
carried on in the centre and in the East. The French, under the guidance
of their new commander, Montcalm, lost no ground, and gained Oswego and
Fort William Henry. The English cause in Europe was declining. In the Far
East alone had great successes been gained; and the battle of Plassey in
1757 gave to England the paramount influence in India which she has ever
since exercised.

17. THE CONQUEST OF CANADA (1756-1780).

[Sidenote: William Pitt.]
[Sidenote: Campaign of 1758.]

Few characters in history are indispensable. From William of Orange to
William Pitt the younger there was but one man without whom English
history must have taken a different turn, and that was William Pitt the
elder. In 1757 he came forward as a representative of the English people,
and forced his way into leadership by the sheer weight of his character.
He secured a subsidy for Prussia, which was desperately making head
against France, Austria, and Russia in coalition. He made a comprehensive
plan for a combined attack on the French posts in America. He organized
fleets and armies. He was able to break through the power of court
influence, and to appoint efficient commanders. The first point of attack
was Louisbourg, the North Atlantic naval station of the French. Since its
capture by the New Englanders in 1745 (Colonies, § 127) it had been
strongly fortified. An English force under Amherst and Wolfe reduced it
after a brief siege in 1758. The attack through Lake George failed in
consequence of the inefficiency of the English commander, Abercrombie, but
the English penetrated across Lake Ontario and took Niagara. Nov. 25,
1758, Fort Duquesne was occupied by the English, and the spot was named
Pittsburg, after the great minister. For the first time the tide of war
set inward towards the St. Lawrence.

[Sidenote: Capture of Quebec.]

It is not evident that at the beginning the English expected more than to
get control of Lake Champlain and of the country south of Lake Erie. The
successes of 1758 led the way to the invasion, and eventually to the
occupation, of the whole country. France sent thousands of troops into the
European wars, but left the defence of its American empire to Montcalm
with 5,000 regulars, 10,000 Canadian militia, and a few thousand savage
allies. England, meanwhile, was able to send ships with 9,000 men to take
Quebec. No exploit is more remarkable than the capture of that famous
fortress. It was the key to the whole province; it was deemed impregnable;
it was defended by superior numbers. The English, after vain attempts,
were on the point of abandoning the siege. Wolfe's resolution and daring
found a way over the cliffs; and on the morning of Sept. 13, 1759, the
little English army was drawn up on the Plains of Abraham outside the
landward fortifications of the city; the fate of Canada was decided in a
battle in the open; the dying Wolfe defeated the dying Montcalm, and the
town surrendered. The fall of the rest of Canada was simply a matter of
time. One desperate attempt to retake Quebec was made in 1760, but the
force of Canada had spent itself. The 2,400 defenders of Montreal
surrendered to 17,000 assailants. The colony of New France ceased to
exist. For three years English military officers formed the only
government of Canada.


[Sidenote: European war.]
[Sidenote: George III.]
[Sidenote: The war continued.]

The conflict in Europe continued for three years after the colonial war
was at an end. During 1758, 1759, and 1760 Frederick the Second of Prussia
had held his own, with English aid; he was now to lose his ally. The
sudden death of George the Second had brought to the throne the first
energetic sovereign since William the Third. An early public utterance of
George the Third indicated that a new dynasty had arisen: "Born and bred
in England, I glory in the name of Briton." With no brilliancy of speech
and no attractiveness of person or manner, George the Third had a positive
and forcible character. He resented the control of the great Whig
families, to whom his grandfather and great-grandfather had owed their
thrones. He represented a principle of authority and resistance to the
unwritten power of Parliament and to the control of the cabinet. He had
virtues not inherited and not common in his time; he was a good husband, a
kind-hearted man, punctilious, upright, and truthful. He had, therefore, a
certain popularity, notwithstanding his narrow-mindedness, obstinacy, and
arrogance. Resolved to take a personal part in the government of his
country, he began by building up a party of the "king's friends," which
later supported him in the great struggle with the colonies. In a word,
George the Third attempted to restore the Crown to the position which it
had occupied under the last Stuart. Between such a king and the imperious
Pitt there could not long be harmony. The king desired peace with all
powers, and especially with France; Pitt insisted on continuing aggressive
war. In 1761 Pitt was forced to resign, and Frederick the Second was
abandoned. A change of sovereigns in Russia caused a change of policy, and
Prussia was saved. Still peace was not made, and in 1762 Spain joined with
France in the war on England; but the naval supremacy of England was
indisputable. The French West India Islands and Havana, the fortress of
the Spanish province of Cuba, were taken; and France was forced to make

[Sidenote: Question of Annexations.]
[Sidenote: Canada ceded.]

In the negotiations the most important question was the disposition of the
English conquests in America. Besides the Ohio country, the ostensible
object of the war, Great Britain held both Canada and the French West
Indies. The time seemed ripe to relieve the colonies from the dangers
arising from the French settlements on the north, and the Spanish colonies
in Florida and Cuba. The ministry wavered between keeping Guadeloupe and
keeping Canada; but if they were unable to deal with 8,000 Acadians in
1755, what should they do with 80,000 Canadians in 1763? Was the
inhospitable valley of the Lower St. Lawrence worth the occupation. And if
the French were excluded from North America, could the loyalty of the
colonies be guaranteed? France, however, humbled by the war, was forced to
yield territory somewhere; Canada had long been a burden on the French
treasury; since concession must be made, it seemed better to sacrifice the
northern colonies rather than the profitable West Indies. Choiseul, the
French Minister of Foreign Affairs, therefore ceded to England all the
French possessions east of the Mississippi except the tract between the
Amitic and the Mississippi, in which lay the town of New Orleans. The
island of Cape Breton went with Canada, of which it was an outlyer. The
wound to the prestige of France he passed over with a jaunty apothegm: "I
ceded it," he said, "on purpose to destroy the English nation. They were
fond of American dominion, and I resolved they should have enough of it."

[Sidenote: Louisiana ceded.]

Meanwhile, the Spaniards clamored for some compensation for their own
losses. The English yielded up Havana, and kept the two provinces of
Florida lying along the Gulf; and France transferred to Spain all the
province of Louisiana not already given to England, that is, the western
half of the Mississippi valley, and the Isle d'Orléans. The population was
stretched along the river front of the Mississippi and its lower branches;
it was devotedly French, and it was furious at the transfer. Of all her
American possessions France retained only her West Indies and the
insignificant islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon in the Gulf of St
Lawrence. Thenceforward there were but two North American powers. Spain
had all the continent from the Isthmus of Panama to the Mississippi, and
northward to the upper watershed of the Missouri, and she controlled both
sides of the Mississippi at its mouth. England had the eastern half of the
continent from the Gulf to the Arctic Ocean, with an indefinite stretch
west of Hudson's Bay.

[Sidenote: Interior boundaries.]

The interior boundaries of the English colonies were now defined by
proclamations and instructions from Great Britain. A colony of Canada was
established which included all the French settlements near the St.
Lawrence. Cape Breton was joined to Nova Scotia. On the south Georgia was
extended to the St. Mary's River. Florida was divided into two provinces
by the Appalachicola. The interior country from Lake Ontario to the Gulf
was added to no colony, and a special instruction forbade the governors to
exercise jurisdiction west of the mountains. In Georgia alone did the
governor's command cover the region west to the Mississippi. The evident
expectation was that the interior would be formed into separate colonies.


[Sidenote: Internal quarrels.]

Seven years of war from 1754 to 1760, and two years more of military
excitement, had brought about significant changes in the older colonies.
It was a period of great expenditure of men and money. Thirty thousand
lives had been lost. The more vigorous and more exposed colonies had laid
heavy taxes and incurred burdensome debts. The constant pressure of the
governors for money had aggravated the old quarrels with the assemblies.
The important towns were all on tide water, and not one was taken or even
threatened; hence the sufferings of the frontiersmen were not always
appreciated by the colonial governments. In Pennsylvania the Indians were
permitted to harry the frontier while the governor and the assembly were
in a deadlock over the question of taxes on proprietary lands. Braddock's
expedition in 1755 was intended to assert the claim of the English to
territory in the limits of Pennsylvania; but it had no aid from the
province thus concerned. Twice the peaceful Franklin stepped forward as
the organizer of military resistance.

[Sidenote: English control.]

In the early part of the war Massachusetts took the lead, inasmuch as her
governor, Shirley, was made commander-in-chief. Military and civil control
over the colonies was, during the war, divided in an unaccustomed fashion.
The English commanders, and even Governor Dinwiddie, showed their opinion
of the Provincials by rating all their commissions lower than those of the
lowest rank of regular British officers. The consequence was that George
Washington for a time resigned from the service. In 1757 there was a
serious dissension between Loudoun and the Massachusetts assembly, because
he insisted on quartering his troops in Boston. At first the colonies were
called on to furnish contingents at their own expense: Pitt's more liberal
policy was to ask the colonies to furnish troops, who were paid from the
British military chest. New England, as a populous region near the seat of
hostilities, made great efforts; in the last three campaigns Massachusetts
kept up every year five to seven thousand troops, and expended altogether
£500,000. The other colonies, particularly Connecticut, made similar
sacrifices, and the little colony of New York came out with a debt of

[Sidenote: Colonial trade.]

As often happens during a war, some parts of the country prospered,
notwithstanding the constant loss. New England fisheries and trade were
little affected except when, in 1758, Loudoun shut up the ports by a brief
embargo. As soon as Fort Duquesne was captured, settlers began to pass
across the mountains into western Pennsylvania, and what is now Kentucky
and eastern Tennessee. The Virginia troops received ample bounty lands;
Washington was shrewd enough to buy up claims, and located about seventy
thousand acres. The period of 1760 to 1763 was favorable to the colonies.
Their trade with the West Indies was large. For their food products they
got sugar and molasses; from the molasses they made rum; with the rum they
bought slaves in Africa, and brought them to the West Indies and to the
continent. The New Englanders fitted out and provisioned the British
fleets. They supplied the British armies in America. They did not hesitate
to trade with the enemy's colonies, or with the enemy direct, if the
opportunity offered. The conclusion of peace checked this brisk trade and
commercial activity. When the war was ended the agreeable irregularities
stood more clearly revealed.


[Sidenote: Free from border wars.]
[Sidenote: Pontiac's conspiracy.]

In government as well as in trade a new era came to the colonies in 1763.
Nine years had brought about many changes in the social and political
conditions of the people. In the first place, they no longer had any
civilized enemies. The Canadians, to be sure, were still mistrusted as
papists; but though the colonists had no love for them, they had no fear
of them; and twelve years later, at the outbreak of the Revolution, they
tried to establish political brotherhood with them. The colonies were now
free to expand westward, or would have been free, except for the
resistance of the Western Indians gathered about the Upper Lakes. In 1763
Pontiac organized them in the most formidable Indian movement of American
history. He had courage; he had statesmanship; he had large numbers. By
this time the British had learned the border warfare, and Pontiac was with
difficulty beaten. From that time until well into the Revolution Indian
warfare meant only the resistance of scattered tribes to the steady
westward advance of the English.

[Sidenote: Military experience.]

For the first time in their history the colonists had participated in
large military operations. Abercrombie and Amherst each had commanded from
twelve to fifteen thousand men. The colonists were expert in
fortification. Many Provincials had seen fighting in line and in the
woods. Israel Putnam had been captured, and the fires lighted to burn him;
and Washington had learned in the hard school of frontier warfare both to
fight, and to hold fast without fighting.

[Sidenote: United action.]

The war had further served to sharpen the political sense of the people.
Year after year the assemblies had engaged in matters of serious moment
They laid heavy taxes and collected them; they discussed foreign policy
and their own defence; they protested against acts of the British
government which affected them. Although no union had been formed at
Albany in 1754, the colonies had frequently acted together and fought
together. New York had been in great part a community of Dutch people
under English rule during the war; now, as most exposed to French attack,
it became the central colony. Military men and civilians from the
different colonies learned to know each other at Fort William Henry and at
Crown Point.

[Sidenote: Scheme of British control.]
[Sidenote: Theory of co-operation.]
[Sidenote: Proposed taxes.]
[Sidenote: Navigation Acts.]

This unwonted sense of power and of common interest was increased by the
pressure of the British government. Just before the war broke out, plans
had been set on foot in England to curb the colonies; legislation was to
be more carefully revised; governors were to be instructed to hold out
against their assemblies; the Navigation Acts were to be enforced. The
scheme was dropped when the war began, because the aid of the colonies in
troops and supplies was essential. Then arose two rival theories as to the
nature of the war. The British took the ground that they were sending
troops to protect the colonies from French invasion, and that all their
expeditions were benefactions to the colonies. The colonists felt that
they were co-operating with England in breaking down a national enemy, and
that all their grants were bounties. The natural corollary of the first
theory was that the colonies ought at least to support the troops thus
generously sent them; and various suggestions looking to this end were
made by royal governors. Thus Shirley in 1756 devised a general system of
taxation, including import duties, an excise, and a poll-tax; delinquents
to be brought to terms by "warrants of distress and imprisonment of
persons." When, in 1762, Governor Bernard of Massachusetts promised £400
in bounties on the faith of the colony, James Otis protested that he had
"involved their most darling privilege, the right of originating taxes."
On the other hand, the colonies systematically broke the Navigation Acts,
of which they had never denied the legality. To organize the control over
the colonies more carefully, to provide a colonial revenue for general
colonial purposes, to execute the Navigation Acts, and thus to confine the
colonial trade to the mother-country,--these were the elements of the
English colonial policy from 1763 to 1775. Before these ends were
accomplished the colonies had revolted.




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--Justin Winsor, _Handbook of the Revolution_, 1-25,
and _Narrative and Critical History_, VI. 62-112; W. E. Foster, _Monthly
Reference Lists_, No. 79; Channing and Hart, _Guide_, §§ 134-136.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--No. 2, this volume (Epoch Maps, No. 5); Labberton,
_Historical Atlas_, lxiv.; Gardiner, _School Atlas_, No. 46; Francis
Parkman, _Pontiac_, frontispiece; Putzger, _Atlas_, No. 21; B. A.
Hinsdale, _Old Northwest_, I. 68 (reprinted from MacCoun, _Historical

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--R. Frothingham, _Rise of the Republic_, 158-401; E.
Channing, _United States_, 1765-1865, ch. ii.; Geo. Bancroft, _United
States_ (original ed.) V., VII, chs. i-xxvi. (last revision III., IV. chs.
i-viii.); W. E. H. Lecky, _England in the Eighteenth Century_, III. ch.
xii.; R. Hildreth, _United States_, II. 514-577; III. 25-56; G. T. Curtis,
_Constitutional History_, I. i.; J. M. Ludlow, _War of Independence_, ch.
iii.; Abiel Holmes, _Annals of America_, II. 124-198; Bryant and Gay,
_United States_, III. 329-376; Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical
History_, VI. ch. i.; T. Pitkin, _United States_, I. 155-281; H, C. Lodge,
_Colonies_, ch. xxiii.; J. R. Green, _English People_, IV., 218-234; W. M.
Sloane, _French War and Revolution_, chs. x.-xiv.; Adolphus, _England_,
II. 134-332 _passim_; Grahame, _United States_, IV. book xi. Biographies
of John Adams, Samuel Adams, Otis, Dickinson, Hutchinson, Franklin, and

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--W. B. Weeden, _Economic and Special History of New
England_, II. chs. xviii., xix.; Wm. Tudor, _Life of James Otis_; J. K.
Hosmer, _Samuel Adams_, 21-312; J. T. Morse, _Benjamin Franklin_, 99-201;
M. C. Tyler, _Literature of the Revolution_, I., and _Patrick Henry_,
32-147; H. C. Lodge, _George Washington_, I. ch. iv.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--Works of Washington, Franklin, Patrick Henry, and
John Adams; James Otis, _Rights of the British Colonies asserted and
proved_: Examination of Franklin (Franklin, _Works_, IV. 161-195); W. B.
Donne, _Correspondence of George III. with Lord North_ [1768-1783]; John
Dickinson, _Farmer's Letters_; Jonathan Trumbull, McFingal (epic poem);
Mercy Warren, _History of the American Revolution_; Thomas Hutchinson,
_History of Massachusetts_, III., and _Diary and Letters_; Joseph
Galloway, _Candid Examination_; Stephen Hopkins, _Rights of the Colonies
Examined_.--Reprints in _Library of American Literature_, III.; _Old South
Leaflets_; _American History told by Contemporaries_, II.


[Sidenote: England's greatness.]

In 1763 the English were the most powerful nation in the world. The
British islands, with a population of but 8,000,000 were the
administrative centre of a vast colonial empire. Besides their American
possessions, the English had a foothold in Africa through the possession
of the former Dutch Cape Colony, and had laid the foundation of the
present Indian Empire; small islands scattered through many seas furnished
naval stations and points of defence. The situation of England bears a
striking resemblance to the situation of Athens at the close of the
Persian wars: a trading nation, a naval power, a governing race, a
successful military people; the English completed the parallel by
tightening the reins upon their colonies till they revolted. Of the other
European powers, Portugal and Spain still preserved colonial empires in
the West; but Spain was decaying. Great Britain had not only gained
territory and prestige from the war, she had risen rich and prosperous,
and a national debt of one hundred and forty million pounds was borne
without serious difficulty.

[Sidenote: English government.]

It was a time of vigorous intellectual life, the period of Goldsmith,
Edmund Burke, and Dr. Johnson. It was also a period of political
development. The conditions seemed favorable for internal peace and for
easy relations with the colonies. The long Jacobite movement had come to
an end; George the Third was accepted by all classes and all parties as
the legitimate sovereign. The system of government worked out in the
preceding fifty years seemed well established; the ministers still
governed through their control of Parliament; but the great Tory families,
which for two generations had been excluded from the administration, were
now coming forward. A new element in the government of England was the
determination of George the Third to be an active political force. From
his accession, in 1760, he had striven to build up a faction of personal
adherents, popularly known as the "king's friends;" and he had broken down
every combination of ministers which showed itself opposed to him.
Although the nation was not yet conscious of it, the forces were at work
which eventually were to create a party advocating the king's prerogative,
and another party representing the right of the English people to govern

[Sidenote: Effect on the colonies.]

This change in political conditions could not but affect the English
colonial policy. The king's imperious tone was reflected in all
departments, and was especially positive when the colonies began to
resist. It cannot be said that English parties divided on the question of
governing the colonies, but when the struggle was once begun, the king's
bitterest opponents fiercely criticised his policy, and made the cause of
the colonists their own. The great struggle with the colonies thus became
a part of the struggle between popular and autocratic principles of
government in England.


[Sidenote: Grenville's colonial policy.]

Allusion has already been made (§ 19) to vague schemes of colonial control
suggested during the war. More serious measures were impending. When
George Grenville became the head of the cabinet, in April, 1763, he took
up and elaborated three distinctly new lines of policy, which grew to be
the direct causes of the American Revolution. The first was the rigid
execution of the Acts of Trade; the second was the taxation of the
colonies for the partial support of British garrisons; the third was the
permanent establishment of British troops in America. What was the purpose
of each of these groups of measures?

[Sidenote: Navigation acts.]
[Sidenote: Effect of the system.]

The object of the first series was simply to secure obedience to the
Navigation Acts (Colonies, Section 44, 128),--laws long on the statute
book, and admitted by most Americans to be legal. The Acts were intended
simply to secure to the mother-country the trade of the colonies; they
were in accordance with the practice of other nations; they were far
milder than the similar systems of France and Spain, because they gave to
colonial vessels and to colonial merchants the same privileges as those
enjoyed by English ship-owners and traders. The Acts dated from 1645, but
had repeatedly been re-enacted and enlarged, and from time to time more
efficient provision was made for their enforcement. In the first place,
the Navigation Acts required that all the colonial trade should be carried
on in ships built and owned in England or the colonies. In the second
place, most of the colonial products were included in a list of
"enumerated goods," which could be sent abroad, even in English or
colonial vessels, only to English ports. The intention was to give to
English home merchants a middleman's profit in the exchange of American
for foreign goods. Among the enumerated goods were tobacco, sugar, indigo,
copper, and furs, most of them produced by the tropical and sub-tropical
colonies. Lumber, provisions, and fish were usually not enumerated; and
naval stores, such as tar, hemp, and masts, even received an English
bounty. In 1733 was passed the "Sugar Act," by which prohibitory duties
were laid on sugar and molasses imported from foreign colonies to the
English plantations, Many of these provisions little affected the
continental colonies, and in some respects were favorable to them. Thus
the restriction of trade to English and colonial vessels stimulated ship-
building and the shipping interest in the colonies. From 1772 to 1775 more
than two thousand vessels were built in America.

[Sidenote: Illegal trade.]
[Sidenote: Difficulty of enforcement.]

The chief difficulty with the system arose out of the obstinate
determination of the colonies, especially in New England, to trade with
their French and Spanish neighbors in the West Indies, with or without
permission: they were able in those markets to sell qualities of fish and
lumber for which there was no demand in England. Well might it have been
said, as a governor of Virginia had said a century earlier: "Mighty and
destructive have been the obstructions to our trade and navigation by that
severe Act of Parliament,... for all are most obedient to the laws, while
New England men break through them and trade to any place where their
interests lead them to." The colonists were obliged to register their
ships; it was a common practice to register them at much below their
actual tonnage, or to omit the ceremony altogether. Colonial officials
could not be depended upon to detect or to punish infractions of the Acts,
and for that purpose the English Government had placed customs officers in
the principal ports. Small duties were laid on imports, not to furnish
revenue, but rather to furnish fees for those officers. The amount thus
collected was not more than two thousand pounds a year; and the necessary
salaries, aggregating between seven and eight thousand pounds, were paid
by the British government.

24. WRITS OF ASSISTANCE (1761-1764).

[Sidenote: Smuggling.]
[Sidenote: Argument of James Otis.]

Under the English acts violation of the Navigation Laws was smuggling, and
was punishable in the usual courts. Two practical difficulties had always
been found in prosecutions, and they were much increased as soon as a more
vigorous execution was entered upon. It was hard to secure evidence, for
smuggled goods, once landed, rapidly disappeared; and the lower colonial
judges were both to deal severely with their brethren, engaged in a
business which public sentiment did not condemn. In 1761 an attempt was
made in Massachusetts to avoid both these difficulties through the use of
the familiar Writs of Assistance. These were legal processes by which
authority was given to custom-house officers to make search for smuggled
goods; since they were general in their terms and authorized the search of
any premises by day, they might have been made the means of vexatious
visits and interference. In February, 1761, an application for such a writ
was brought before the Superior Court of Massachusetts, which was not
subject to popular influence. James Otis, advocate-general of the colony,
resigned his office rather than plead the cause of the government, and
became the leading counsel in opposition. The arguments in favor of the
writ were that without some such process the laws could not be executed,
and that similar writs were authorized by English statutes. Otis in his
plea insisted that no English statute applied to the colonies unless they
were specially mentioned, and that hence English precedents had no
application. But he went far beyond the legal principles involved. He
declared in plain terms that the Navigation Acts were "a taxation law made
by a foreign legislature without our consent." He asserted that the Acts
of Trade were "irreconcilable with the colonial charters, and hence were
void." He declared that there were "rights derived only from nature and
the Author of nature;" that they were "inherent, inalienable, and
indefeasible by any laws, pacts, contracts, governments, or stipulations
which man could devise." The court, after inquiring into the practice in
England, issued the writs to the custom-house officers, although it does
not appear that they made use of them.

[Sidenote: Effect of the discussion.]

The practical effect of Otis's speech has been much exaggerated. John
Adams, who heard and took notes on the argument, declared, years later,
that "American independence was then born," and that "Mr. Otis's oration
against Writs of Assistance breathed into this nation the breath of life."
The community was not conscious at the time that a new and startling
doctrine had been put forth, or that loyalty to England was involved. The
arguments drawn from the rights of man and the supremacy of the charters
were of a kind familiar to the colonists. The real novelty was the bold
application of these principles, the denial of the legality of a system
more than a century old.

[Sidenote: Enforcement.]

So far was the home government from accepting these doctrines that in 1763
the offensive Sugar Act was renewed. New import duties were laid, and more
stringent provisions made for enforcing the Acts of Trade; and the ground
was prepared for a permanent and irritating controversy, by commissioning
the naval officers stationed on the American coast as revenue officials,
with power to make seizures.

25. THE STAMP ACT (1763-1765).

[Sidenote: Plan for a stamp duty.]
[Sidenote: Questions of troops.]

The next step in colonial control met an unexpected and violent
resistance. In the winter of 1763-1764 Grenville, then English prime
minister, called together the agents of the colonies and informed them
that he proposed to lay a small tax upon the colonies, and that it would
take the form of a stamp duty, unless they suggested some other method.
Why should England tax the colonies? Because it had been determined to
place a permanent force of about ten thousand men in America. A few more
English garrisons would have been of great assistance in 1754; the Pontiac
outbreak of 1763 had been suppressed only by regular troops who happened
to be in the country; and in case of later wars the colonies were likely
to be attacked by England's enemies. On the other hand, the colonies had
asked for no troops, and desired none. They were satisfied with their own
halting and inefficient means of defence; they no longer had French
enemies in Canada, and they felt what seems an unreasonable fear that the
troops would be used to take away their liberty. From the beginning to the
end of the struggle it was never proposed that Americans should be taxed
for the support of the home government, or even for the full support of
the colonial army. It was supposed that a revenue of one hundred thousand
pounds would be raised, which would meet one-third of the necessary

[Sidenote: Stamp Act passed.]

Notwithstanding colonial objections to a standing army, garrisons would
doubtless have been received but for the accompanying proposition to tax.
On March 10, 1764, preliminary resolutions passed the House of Commons
looking towards the Stamp Act. There was no suggestion that the
proposition was illegal; the chief objection was summed up by Beckford, of
London, in a phrase: "As we are stout, I hope we shall be merciful."

The news produced instant excitement in the colonies. First was urged the
practical objection that the tax would draw from the country the little
specie which it contained. The leading argument was that taxation without
representation was illegal. The remonstrances, by an error of the agents
who had them in charge, were not presented until too late. Franklin and
others protested to the ministry, and declared the willingness of the
colonies to pay taxes assessed in a lump sum on each colony. Grenville
silenced them by asking in what way those lump sums should be apportioned.
After a short debate in Parliament the Act was passed by a vote of 205 to
49. Barré, one of the members who spoke against it, alluded to the
agitators in the colonies as "Sons of Liberty;" the phrase was taken up in
the colonies, and made a party war-cry. George the Third was at that
moment insane, and the Act was signed by a commission.

[Sidenote: Expectations of success.]

Resistance in the colonies was not expected. Franklin thought that the Act
would go into effect; even Otis said that it ought to be obeyed. It laid a
moderate stamp-duty on the papers necessary for legal and commercial
transactions. At the request of the ministry, the colonial agents
suggested as stamp collectors some of the most respected and eminent men
in each colony. Almost at the same time was passed an act somewhat
relaxing the Navigation Laws; but a Quartering Act was also passed, by
which the colonists were obliged, even in time of peace, to furnish the
troops who might be stationed among them with quarters and with certain


[Sidenote: Internal and external taxes.]

Issue was now joined on the question which eventually separated the
colonies from the mother-country. Parliament had asserted its right to lay
taxes on the colonists for imperial purposes. The colonies had up to this
time held governmental relations only with the Crown, from whom came their
charters. They had escaped taxation because they were poor, and because
hitherto they had not occasioned serious expense; but they had accepted
the small import duties. They found it hard to reconcile obedience to one
set of laws with resistance to the other; and they therefore insisted that
there was a distinction between "external taxation" and "internal
taxation," between duties levied at the ports and duties levied within the

[Sidenote: Remonstrances.]

The moment the news reached America, opposition sprang up in many
different forms. The colonial legislatures preferred dignified
remonstrance. The Virginia Assembly reached a farther point in a set of
bold resolutions, passed May 29, 1765, under the influence of a speech by
Patrick Henry. They asserted "that the General Assembly of this colony
have the only and sole exclusive right and power to lay taxes and
impositions upon the inhabitants of this colony;" and that the Stamp Act"
has a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom."
On June 8, 1765, Massachusetts suggested another means of remonstrance, by
calling upon her sister colonies to send delegates to New York "to
consider of a general and united, dutiful, loyal, and humble
representation of their condition to his Majesty and to the Parliament."

[Sidenote: Riots.]
[Sidenote: Non-Importation.]

Meanwhile opposition had broken out in open violence. In August there were
riots in Boston; the house of Oliver, appointed as collector of the stamp
taxes, was attacked, and he next day resigned his office. Hutchinson was
acting governor of the colony: his mansion was sacked; and the manuscript
of his History of Massachusetts, still preserved, carries on its edges the
mud of the Boston streets into which it was thrown. The town of Boston
declared itself "particularly alarmed and astonished at the Act called the
Stamp Act, by which we apprehend a very grievous tax is to be laid upon
the colonies." In other colonies there were similar, though less violent,
scenes. Still another form of resistance was suggested by the
organizations called "Sons of Liberty," the members of which agreed to buy
no more British goods. When the time came for putting the act into force,
every person appointed as collector had resigned.

[Sidenote: Stamp Act Congress.]

These three means of resistance--protest, riots, and non-importation--were
powerfully supplemented by the congress which assembled at New York, Oct.
1765. It included some of the ablest men from nine colonies. Such men as
James Otis, Livingston of New York, Rutledge of South Carolina, and John
Dickinson of Pennsylvania, met, exchanged views, and promised co-
operation. It was the first unmistakable evidence that the colonies would
make common cause. After a session of two weeks the congress adjourned,
having drawn up petitions to the English government, and a "Declaration of
Rights and Grievances of the Colonists in America." In this document they
declared themselves entitled to the rights of other Englishmen. They
asserted, on the one hand, that they could not be represented in the
British House of Commons, and on the other that they could not be taxed by
a body in which they had no representation. They complained of the Stamp
Act, and no less of the amendments to the Acts of Trade, which, they said,
would "render them unable to purchase the manufactures of Great Britain."
In these memorials there is no threat of resistance, but the general
attitude of the colonies showed that it was unsafe to push the matter

[Sidenote: Repeal of the Stamp Act.]

Meanwhile the Grenville ministry had given place to another Whig ministry
under Rockingham, who felt no responsibility for the Stamp Act. Pitt took
the ground that "the government of Great Britain could not lay taxes on
the colonies." Benjamin Franklin was called before a committee, and urged
the withdrawal of the act. The king, who had now recovered his health,
gave it to be understood that he was for repeal. The repeal bill was
passed by a majority of more than two to one, and the crisis was avoided.

[Sidenote: Right of taxation asserted.]

To give up the whole principle seemed to the British government
impossible; the repeal was therefore accompanied by the so-called
Dependency Act. This set forth that the colonies are "subordinate unto and
dependent upon the Imperial Crown and Parliament of Great Britain, and
that Parliament hath, and of right ought to have, full power to make laws
and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and
people of America subjects to the Crown of Great Britain in all cases
whatsoever." Apparently matters had returned to their former course. The
gratitude of the colonies was loudly expressed; but they had learned the
effect of a united protest, they had learned how to act together, and they
were irritated by the continued assertion of the power of Parliament to
tax and otherwise to govern the colonies.

27. REVENUE ACTS (1767).

[Sidenote: Townshend's plans.]
[Sidenote: Quarrel with New York.]

The repeal of the Stamp Act removed the difficulty without removing the
cause. The year 1766 was marked in English politics by the virtual
retirement of Pitt from the government. His powerful opposition to
taxation of the colonies was thus removed, and Charles Townshend became
the leading spirit in the ministry. Jan. 26, 1767, he said in the House of
Commons: "I know a mode in which a revenue may be drawn from America
without offence.... England is undone if this taxation of America is given
up." And he pledged himself to find a revenue nearly sufficient to meet
the military expenses in America. At the moment that the question of
taxation was thus revived, the New York Assembly became involved in a
dispute with the home government by declining to furnish the necessary
supplies for the troops. An Act of Parliament was therefore passed
declaring the action of the New York legislature null,--a startling
assertion of a power of disallowance by Parliament.

[Sidenote: Enforcement.]

The three parts of the general scheme for controlling the colonies were
now all taken up again. For their action against the troops the New York
Assembly was suspended,--the first instance in which Parliament had
undertaken to destroy an effective part of the colonial government. For
the execution of the Navigation Acts a board of commissioners of customs
was established, with large powers. In June, 1767, a new Taxation Act was
introduced, and rapidly passed through Parliament. In order to avoid the
objections to "internal taxes," it laid import duties on glass, and white
lead, painters' colors, paper, and tea. The proceeds of the Act, estimated
at, £40,000, were to pay governors and judges in America. Writs of
Assistance were made legal. A few months afterwards,--December, 1767,--a
colonial department was created, headed by a secretary of state. The whole
machinery of an exasperating control was thus provided.

[Sidenote: Question of right of taxation.]

Issue was once more joined both in England and America on the
constitutional power of taxation. The great principle of English law that
taxation was not a right, but a gift of the persons taxed through their
representatives, was claimed also by the colonies. Opinions had repeatedly
been given by the law officers of the Crown that a colony could be taxed
only by its own representatives. The actual amount of money called for was
too small to burden them, but it was to be applied in such a way as to
make the governors and judges independent of the assemblies. The principle
of taxation, once admitted, might be carried farther. As an English
official of the time remarked: "The Stamp Act attacked colonial ideas by
sap; the Townshend scheme was attacking them by storm every day."


[Sidenote: Colonial protest.]
[Sidenote: Massachusetts circular.]
[Sidenote: Coercive measures.]

This time the colonies avoided the error of disorderly or riotous
opposition. The leading men resolved to act together through protests by
the colonial legislatures and through non-importation agreements. Public
feeling ran high. In Pennsylvania John Dickinson in his "Letters of a
Farmer" pointed out that "English history affords examples of resistance
by force." Another non-importation scheme was suggested by Virginia, but
was on the whole unsuccessful. In February, 1768, Massachusetts sent out a
circular letter to the other colonies, inviting concerted protests, and
declaring that the new laws were unconstitutional. The protest was
moderate, its purpose legal; but the ministry attempted to destroy its
effect by three new repressive measures. The first of them, April, 1768,
directed the governors, upon any attempt to pass protesting resolutions,
to prorogue their assemblies. The second was the despatch of troops to
Boston: they arrived at the end of September, and remained until the
outbreak of the Revolution. The third coercive step was a proposition to
send American agitators to England for trial, under an obsolete statute of
Henry the Eighth.

[Sidenote: Effect of the tax.]

Meanwhile the duties had been levied. The result was the actual payment of
about sixteen thousand pounds; this sum was offset by expenses of
collection amounting to more than fifteen thousand pounds, and
extraordinary military expenditures of one hundred and seventy thousand
pounds. Once more the ministry found no financial advantage and great
practical difficulties in the way of colonial taxation. Once more they
determined to withdraw from an untenable position, and once more, under
the active influence of the king and his "friends," they resolved to
maintain the principle. In April, 1770, all the duties were repealed
except that upon tea. Either the ministry should have applied the
principle rigorously, so as to raise an adequate revenue, or they should
have given up the revenue and the principle together.


[Sidenote: Troops in Boston.]
[Sidenote: Collision with the mob.]

Repeal could not destroy the feeling of injury in the minds of the
colonists; and repeal did not withdraw the coercive acts nor the troops.
The garrison in Boston, sustained at the expense of the British treasury,
was almost as offensive to the colonists of Massachusetts as if they had
been taxed for its support. From the beginning the troops were looked upon
as an alien body, placed in the town to execute unpopular and even illegal
acts. There was constant friction between the officers and the town and
colonial governments, and between the populace and the troops. On the
night of March 5, 1770, an affray occurred between a mob and a squad of
soldiers. Both sides were abusive and threatening; finally the soldiers
under great provocation fired, and killed five men. The riot had no
political significance; it was caused by no invasion upon the rights of
Americans: but, in the inflamed condition of the public mind, it was
instantly taken up, and has gone down to history under the undeserved
title of the Boston Massacre. Next morning a town meeting unanimously
voted "that nothing can rationally be expected to restore the peace of the
town and prevent blood and carnage but the immediate removal of the
troops." The protest was effectual; the troops were sent to an island in
the harbor; on the other hand, the prosecution of the soldiers concerned
in the affray was allowed to slacken. For nearly two years the trouble
seemed dying down in Massachusetts.

[Sidenote: Samuel Adams.]
[Sidenote: Committee of Correspondence.]

That friendly relations between the colonies and the mother-country were
not re-established is due chiefly to Samuel Adams, a member of the
Massachusetts General Court from Boston. His strength lay in his
vehemence, his total inability to see more than one side of any question,
and still more in his subtle influence upon the Boston town meeting, upon
committees, and in private conclaves. He seems to have determined from the
beginning that independence might come, ought to come, and must come. In
November, 1772, he introduced into the Boston town meeting a modest
proposition that "a committee of correspondence be appointed ... to state
the Rights of the Colonists and of this Province in particular as Men, as
Christians, and as Subjects;--and also request of each Town a free
communication of their Sentiments on this subject." The committee blew the
coals by an enumeration of rights and grievances; but its chief service
was its unseen but efficient work of correspondence, from town to town. A
few months later the colony entered into a similar scheme for
communication with the sister colonies. These committees of correspondence
made the Revolution possible. They disseminated arguments from province to
province: they had lists of those ripe for resistance; they sounded
legislatures; they prepared the organization which was necessary for the
final rising of 1774 and 1775.

[Sidenote: "Gaspee" burned.]
[Sidenote: Tea.]
[Sidenote: Hutchinson letters.]
[Sidenote: Boston Tea-party.]

Shortly before the creation of this committee, an act of violence in Rhode
Island showed the hostility to the enforcement of the Acts of Trade. The
"Gaspee," a royal vessel of war, had interfered legally and illegally with
the smuggling trade. On June 9, 1772, while in pursuit a vessel, she ran
aground. That night the ship was attacked by armed men, who captured and
burned her. The colonial authorities were indifferent: the perpetrators
were not tried; they were not prosecuted; they were not even arrested. On
Dec. 16, 1773, a similar act of violence marked the opposition of the
colonies to the remnant of the Townshend taxation acts. The tea duty had
been purposely reduced, till the price of tea was lower than in England.
Soon after the appointment of the Committees of Correspondence public
sentiment in Massachusetts was again aroused by the publication of letters
written by Hutchinson, then governor of Massachusetts, to a private
correspondent in England. The letters were such as any governor
representing the royal authority might have written. "I wish," said
Hutchinson, "the good of the colony when I wish to see some fresh
restraint of liberty rather than the connection with the parent state
should be broken." The assembly petitioned for the removal of Hutchinson,
and this unfortunate quarrel was one of the causes of a decisive step, the
Boston Tea-party. An effort was made to import a quantity of tea, not for
the sake of the tax, but in order to relieve the East India Company from
financial difficulties. On December 16, the three tea ships in the harbor
were boarded by a body of men in Indian garb, and three hundred and forty-
two chests of tea were emptied into the sea. Next morning the shoes of at
least one reputable citizen of Massachusetts were found by his family
unaccountably full of tea. In other parts of the country, as at Edenton in
North Carolina, and at Charleston in South Carolina, there was similar


[Sidenote: Public feeling in England.]

The British government had taken a false step by its legislation of 1770,
but the colonies had now put themselves in the wrong by these repeated
acts of violence. There seemed left but two alternatives,--to withdraw the
Tea Act, and thus to remove the plea that Parliament was taxing without
representation; or to continue the execution of the Revenue Act firmly,
but by the usual course of law. It was not in the temper of the English
people, and still less like the king, to withdraw offensive acts in the
face of such daring resistance. The failure to secure the prosecution of
the destroyers of the "Gaspee" caused the British government to distrust
American courts as well as American juries. One political writer, Dean
Tucker, declared that the American colonies in their defiant state had
ceased to be of advantage to England, and that they had better be allowed
quietly to separate. Pitt denied the right to tax, but declared that if
the colonies meant to separate, he would be the first to enforce the
authority of the mother-country.

[Sidenote: Coercive statutes.]
[Sidenote: Quebec Act.]

Neither orderly enforcement, conciliation, nor peaceful separation was the
policy selected. England committed the fatal and irremediable mistake of
passing illegal statutes as a punishment for the illegal action of the
colonists. Five bills were introduced and hastily pushed through
Parliament. The first was meant as a punishment for the Tea-party. It
enacted that no further commerce was to be permitted with the port of
Boston till that town should make its submission. Burke objected to a bill
"which punishes the innocent with the guilty, and condemns without the
possibility of defence." The second act was intended to punish the whole
commonwealth of Massachusetts, by declaring void certain provisions of the
charter granted by William III. in 1692. Of all the grievances which led
to the Revolution this was the most serious, for it set up the doctrine
that charters proceeding from the Crown could be altered by statute.
Thenceforward Parliament was to be omnipotent in colonial matters. The
third act directed that "Persons questioned for any Acts in Execution of
the Law" should be sent to England for trial. It was not intended to apply
to persons guilty of acts of violence, but to officers or soldiers who, in
resisting riots, might have made themselves amenable to the civil law. The
fourth act was a new measure providing for the quartering of soldiers upon
the inhabitants, and was intended to facilitate the establishment of a
temporary military government in Massachusetts. The fifth act had no
direct reference to Massachusetts, but was later seized upon as one of the
grievances which justified the Revolution. This was the Quebec Act,
providing for the government of the region ceded by France in 1763. It
gave to the French settlers the right to have their disputes decided under
the principles of the old French civil law; it guaranteed them the right
of exercising their own religion; and it annexed to Quebec the whole
territory between the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and the Great Lakes. The
purpose of this act was undoubtedly to remove the danger of disaffection
or insurrection in Canada, and at the same time to extinguish all claims
of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Virginia to the region west of


[Sidenote: Gage's quarrel with Massachusetts.]

The news of this series of coercive measures was hardly received in
Massachusetts before General Gage appeared, bearing a commission to act as
governor of the province; and in a few weeks the Port Bill and the
modifications of the charter were put in force. If the governor supposed
that Boston stood alone, he was quickly undeceived. From the other towns
and from other colonies came supplies of food and sympathetic resolutions.
On June 17th, under the adroit management of Samuel Adams, the General
Court passed a resolution proposing a colonial congress, to begin
September 1st at Philadelphia. While the resolutions were going through,
the governor's messenger in vain knocked at the locked door, to
communicate a proclamation dissolving the assembly. The place of that body
was for a time taken by the Committee of Correspondence, in which Samuel
Adams was the leading spirit, and by local meetings and conventions. In
August, Gage came to an open breach with the people. In accordance with
the Charter Act, he proceeded to appoint the so-called "mandamus"
councillors. An irregularly elected Provincial Congress declared that it
stood by the charter of 1692, under which the councillors were elected by
the General Court. The first effect of the coercive acts was, therefore,
to show that the people of Massachusetts stood together.

[Sidenote: Delegates chosen.]
[Sidenote: The Congress.]

Another effect was to enlist the sympathy of the other colonies. The
movement for a congress plainly looked towards resistance and revolution.
In vain did the governors dissolve the assemblies that seemed disposed to
send delegates. Irregular congresses and conventions took their place, and
all the colonies but Georgia somehow chose delegates. The first
Continental Congress which assembled in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774,
was, therefore, a body without any legal status. It included, however,
some of the most influential men in America. From Massachusetts came
Samuel Adams and John Adams; from New York, John Jay; from Virginia,
Patrick Henry and George Washington. The general participation in this
congress was an assurance that all America felt the danger of
parliamentary control, and the outrage upon the rights of their New
England brethren.

[Sidenote: Declaration of Rights.]

This feeling was voiced in the action of the Congress. Early resolutions
set forth approval of the action of Massachusetts. Then came the
preparation of a "Declaration of Rights" of the colonies, and of their
grievances. They declared that they were entitled to life, liberty, and
property, and to the rights and immunities of free and natural born
subjects within the realm of England. They denied the right of the British
Parliament to legislate in cases of "taxation and internal polity," but
"cheerfully consent to the operation of such Acts of the British
Parliament as are _bona fide_ restrained to the regulation of our external
commerce." They protested against "the keeping up a standing army
in these colonies in times of peace." They enumerated a long list of
illegal Acts, including the coercive statutes and the Quebec Act.

[Sidenote: The Association.]

The only action of the First Continental Congress which had in any degree
the character of legislation was the "Association,"--the only effective
non-importation agreement in the whole struggle. The delegates united in a
pledge that they would import no goods from England or other English
colonies, and particularly no slaves or tea; and they recommended to the
colonies to pass efficient legislation for carrying it out. The
Revolutionary "congresses" and "conventions," and sometimes the
legislatures themselves, passed resolutions and laid penalties. A more
effective measure was open violence against people who persisted in
importing, selling, or using British goods or slaves.

[Sidenote: Action of the Congress.]

The First Continental Congress was simply the mouthpiece of the colonies.
It expressed in unmistakable terms a determination to resist what they
considered aggressions; and it suggested as a legal and effective means of
resistance that they should refuse to trade with the of mother-country.
Its action, however, received the approval of an assembly or other
representative body in each of the twelve colonies. Before it adjourned,
the congress prepared a series of addresses and remonstrances, and voted
that if no redress of grievances should have been obtained, a second
congress should assemble in May, 1775.


[Sidenote: Attitude of the Whigs.]
[Sidenote: Coercion]

When Parliament assembled in January, 1775, it was little disposed to make
concessions; but the greatest living Englishman now came forward as the
defender of the colonies. Pitt declared that the matter could only be
adjusted on the basis "that taxation is theirs, and commercial regulation
ours." Although he was seconded by other leading Whigs, the reply of the
Tory ministry to the remonstrance of the colonies was a new series of
acts. Massachusetts was declared in a state of rebellion; and the
recalcitrant colonies were forbidden to trade with Great Britain, Ireland,
or the West Indies, or to take part in the Newfoundland fisheries.

[Sidenote: Affairs in Massachusetts.]
[Sidenote: Lexington and Concord.]

Before these acts could be known in America, matters had already drifted
to a point where neither coercion nor conciliation could effect anything.
Through the winter 1774-1775 Gage lay for the most part in Boston, unable
to execute his commission outside of his military lines, and unwilling to
summon a legislature which was certain to oppose him. The courts were
broken up, jurors could not be obtained, the whole machinery of government
was stopped. Meanwhile, in February, 1775, the people had a second time
elected a provincial congress, which acted for the time being as their
government. This body prepared to raise a military force, and asked aid of
other New England colonies. April 19, 1775, a British expedition was sent
from Boston to Lexington and Concord to seize military stores there
assembled for the use of the provincial forces. The British were
confronted on the village green of Lexington by about one hundred
militiamen, who refused to disperse, and were fired upon by the British.
At Concord the British found and destroyed the stores, but were attacked
and obliged to retire, and finally returned to Boston with a loss of three
hundred men. The war had begun. Its issue depended upon the moral and
military support which Massachusetts might receive from the other


[Sidenote: Malcontents put down.]

The cause of Massachusetts was unhesitatingly taken up by all the
colonies, from New Hampshire to Georgia. America was united. This
unanimity proceeded, however, not from the people, but from suddenly
constituted revolutionary governments. No view of the Revolution could be
just which does not recognize the fact that in no colony was there a large
majority in favor of resistance, and in some the patriots were undoubtedly
in a minority. The movement, started by a few seceders, carried with it a
large body of men who were sincerely convinced that the British government
was tyrannical. The majorities thus formed, silenced the minority,
sometimes by mere intimidation, sometimes by ostracism, often by flagrant
violence. One kind of pressure was felt by old George Watson of Plymouth,
bending his bald head over his cane, as his neighbors one by one left the
church in which he sat, because they would not associate with a "mandamus
councillor." A different argument was employed on Judge James Smith of New
York, in his coat of tar and feathers, the central figure of a shameful

[Sidenote: Early organization.]

Another reason for the sudden strength shown by the Revolutionary movement
was that the patriots were organized and the friends of the established
government did not know their own strength. The agent of British influence
in almost every colony was the governor. In 1775 the governors were all
driven out. There was no centre of resistance about which the loyalists
could gather. The patriots had seized the reins of government before their
opponents fairly understood that they had been dropped.

[Sidenote: Feeling of common interest.]

Another influence which hastened the Revolution was a desire to supplant
the men highest in official life. There was no place in the colonial
government for a Samuel Adams or a John Adams while the Hutchinsons and
the Olivers were preferred. But no personal ambitions can account for the
agreement of thirteen colonies having so many points of dissimilarity. The
merchants of Boston and New Haven, the townsmen of Concord and Pomfret,
the farmers of the Hudson and Delaware valleys, and the aristocratic
planters of Virginia and South Carolina, deliberately went to war rather
than submit. The causes of the Revolution were general, were wide-spread,
and were keenly felt by Americans of every class.

[Sidenote: Resistance of taxation.]

The grievance most strenuously put forward was that of "taxation without
representation." On this point the colonists were supported by the
powerful authority of Pitt and other English statesmen, and by an unbroken
line of precedent. They accepted "external taxation;" at the beginning of
the struggle they professed a willingness to pay requisitions apportioned
in lump sums on the colonies; they were accustomed to heavy taxation for
local purposes; in the years immediately preceding the Revolution the
people of Massachusetts annually raised about ten shillings per head. They
sincerely objected to taxation of a new kind, for a purpose which did not
interest them, by a power which they could not control. The cry of
"Taxation without representation" had great popular effect. It was simple,
it was universal, it sounded like tyranny.

[Sidenote: Resistance of garrisons.]

A greater and more keenly felt grievance was the establishment of
garrisons. The colonies were willing to run their own risk of enemies.
They asserted that the real purpose of the troops was to overawe their
governments. The despatch of the regiments to Boston in 1768 was plainly
intended to subdue a turbulent population. The British government made a
serious mistake in insisting upon this point, whether with or without

[Sidenote: Resistance to Acts of Trade.]

By far the most effective cause of the Revolution was the English
commercial system. One reason why a tax was felt to be so great a hardship
was, that the colonies were already paying a heavy indirect tribute to the
British nation, by the limitations on their trade. The fact that French
and Spanish colonists suffered more than they did, was no argument to
Englishmen accustomed in most ways to regulate themselves. The commercial
system might have been enforced; perhaps a tax might have been laid: the
two together made a grievance which the colonies would not endure.

[Sidenote: Stand for the charters.]

The coercive acts of 1774 gave a definite object for the general
indignation. In altering the government of Massachusetts they destroyed
the security of all the colonies. The Crown was held unable to withdraw a
privilege once granted; Parliament might, however, undo to-morrow what it
had done to-day. The instinct of the Americans was for a rigid
constitution, unalterable by the ordinary forms of law. They were right in
calling the coercive acts unconstitutional. They were contrary to the
charters, they were contrary to precedent, and in the minds of the
colonists the charters and precedent, taken together, formed an
irrepealable body of law.

[Sidenote: Oppression not grievous.]
[Sidenote: Restraints on trade.]
[Sidenote: Resistance to one-man power.]

In looking back over this crisis, it is difficult to see that the
colonists had suffered grievous oppression. The taxes had not taken four
hundred thousand pounds out of their pockets in ten years. The armies had
cost them nothing, and except in Boston had not interfered with the
governments. The Acts of Trade were still systematically evaded, and the
battle of Lexington came just in time to relieve John Hancock from the
necessity of appearing before the court to answer to a charge of
smuggling. The real justification of the Revolution is not to be found in
the catalogue of grievances drawn up by the colonies. The Revolution was
right because it represented two great principles of human progress. In
the first place, as the Americans grew in importance, in numbers, and in
wealth, they felt more and more indignant that their trade should be
hampered for the benefit of men over seas. They represented the principle
of the right of an individual to the products of his own industry; and
their success has opened to profitable trade a thousand ports the world
over. In the second place the Revolution was a resistance to arbitrary
power. That arbitrary power was exercised by the Parliament of Great
Britain; but, at that moment, by a combination which threatened the
existence of popular government in England, the king was the ruling spirit
over Parliament. The colonists represented the same general principles as
the minority in England. As Sir Edward Thornton said, when minister of
Great Britain to the United States, in 1879: "Englishmen now understand
that in the American Revolution you were fighting our battles."




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VI.
_passim_, VII. 1-214, VIII. App.; and _Readers' Handbook of the
Revolution_; W. F. Allen, _History Topics_, 107, 108; W. E. Foster,
_References to the Constitution of the United States_, 11-14; Channing and
Hart, _Guide_, §§ 136-141.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 2 and 3 this volume (_Epoch Maps_, Nos. 4 and
5); H. C Lodge, _Colonies_, frontispiece; Scribner, _Statistical Atlas_,
Pl. 12; Rhode, _Atlas_, No. xxviii.; Geo. Bancroft, _United States_
(original edition), V. 241; Labberton, _Atlas_, lxiv.; B. A. Hinsdale,
_Old Northwest_, I. 176, 180 (republished from T. MacCoun, _Historical
Geography_); List of contemporary maps in Winsor, _Handbook_, 302, school
histories of Channing, Johnston, Scudder, Thomas.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--G T. Curtis, _Constitutional History_, I. chs. i.-
iv. (History of the Constitution, I 28-123); W. E. H. Lecky, _England in
the Eighteenth Century_, IV. ch iv.; Geo. Bancroft, _United States_, VII.
chap. xxvii. (last revision, IV. Chs. ix.-xxvii, V.); R. Hildreth, _United
States_, IV. 57-373, 411-425, 440-444; Edward Channing, _United States_,
1765-1865, ch iii.; W. M. Sloane, _French War and Revolution_ chs. xviii.-
xxiv.; H. C. Lodge, _George Washington_, I. chs. v.-xi.; Abiel Holmes,
_Annals of America_, II. 199-353; Bryant and Gay, _United States_, III.
377-623, IV. 1-74; Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VI chs
ii.-ix., VII. chs. i., ii.; J. R. Green, _English People_, IV. 254-271;
Adolphus, _England_, II. 333-433, _passim_; Story, _Commentaries_, §§
198-217; T. Pitkin, United States, I. 282-422, II. 37-153.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--G. W. Greene, _Historical View_; R. Frothingham,
_Rise of the Republic_, 403-568; John Fiske, _American Revolution_; J. M.
Ludlow, _War of American Independence_, chs. v.-viii.; Geo. Pellew, _John
Jay_, 59-228; E. J. Lowell, _Hessians_; Charles Borgeaud, _Rise of Modern
Democracy_; M. C. Tyler, _Literature of the Revolution_, II.; L. Sabine,
_American Loyalists_; H. B. Carrington, _Battles of the Revolution_; W. B.
Weeden, _New England_, II. chs. xx, xxi.; W. G. Sumner, _Financier and
Finances of the American Revolution_.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--_Journals of Congress, Secret Journals of
Congress_, works and full biographies of the Revolutionary Statesmen;
Peter Force, _American Archives_; Jared Sparks, _Correspondence of the
Revolution_; F. Wharton, _Diplomatic Correspondence_; John Adams and
Abigail Adams, _Familiar Letters_; Tom Paine, _Common Sense_; Crevecoeur,
_Letters from an American Farmer_ [1770-1781]; J. Anbury, _Travels_ [1776-
1781]; Chastellux, _Voyage de Newport_ [also in translation, 1780-1781];
W. B. Donne, _Correspondence of George III. with Lord North_ [1768-1783];
Francis Hopkins, _Essays and Writings_; Philip Freneau, _Poems_; Baroness
Riedesel, _Letters and Memoirs_.--Reprints in Niles, _Principles and Acts
of the Revolution_; D. R. Goodloe, _Birth of the Republic_, 205-353;
Mathew Carey, _Remembrancer_; Frank Moore, _Diary of the American
Revolution_, _Old South Leaflets_, _American History told by
Contemporaries_, II.


[Sidenote: Power of Great Britain.]

When we compare the population and resources of the two countries, the
defiance of the colonists seems almost foolhardy. In 1775 England,
Ireland, and Scotland together had from eight to ten million souls; while
the colonies numbered but three millions. Great Britain had a considerable
system of manufactures, and the greatest foreign commerce in the world,
and rich colonies in every quarter of the globe poured wealth into her
lap. What she lacked she could buy. In the year 1775 the home government
raised ten million pounds in taxes, and when the time came she was able to
borrow hundreds of millions in all the colonies together, two million
pounds in money was the utmost that could be raised in a single year by
any system of taxes or loans. In 1776 one hundred and thirty cruisers and
transports brought the British army to New York: the whole American navy
had not more than seventeen vessels. In moral resources Great Britain was
decidedly stronger than America. Parliament was divided, but the king was
determined. On Oct 15, 1775, he wrote: "Every means of distressing America
must meet with my concurrence." Down to 1778 the war was popular in
England, and interfered little with her prosperity.

[Sidenote: Weakness of America.]

How was it in America? Canada, the Floridas, the West Indies, and Nova
Scotia held off. Of the three millions of population, five hundred
thousand were negro slaves, carried no muskets, and caused constant fear
of revolt. John Adams has said that more than a third part of the
principal men in America were throughout opposed to the Revolution; and of
those who agreed with the principles of the Revolution, thousands thought
them not worth fighting for. There were rivalries and jealousies between
American public men and between the sections. The troops of one New
England State refused to serve under officers from another State. The
whole power of England could be concentrated upon the struggle, and the
Revolution would have been crushed in a single year if the eyes of the
English had not been so blinded to the real seriousness of the crisis that
they sent small forces and inefficient commanders. England was at peace
with all the world, and might naturally expect to prevent the active
assistance of the colonies by any other power.

[Sidenote: The two armies.]
[Sidenote: Hessians.]
[Sidenote: Indians.]
[Sidenote: Discipline.]

When the armies are compared, the number and enthusiasm of the Americans
by no means made up for the difference of population. On the average,
33,000 men were under the American colors each year; but the army
sometimes fell, as at the battle of Princeton, Jan. 2, 1777, to but 5,000.
The English had an average of 40,000 troops in the colonies, of whom from
20,000 to 25,000 might have been utilized in a single military operation;
and in the crisis of the general European war, about 1780, Great Britain
placed 314,000 troops under arms in different parts of the world. The
efficiency of the American army was very much diminished by the fact that
two kinds of troops were in service,--the Continentals, enlisted by
Congress; and the militia, raised by each colony separately. Of these
militia, New England, with one fourth of the population of the country,
furnished as many as the other colonies put together. The British were
able to draw garrisons from other parts of the world, and to fill up gaps
with Germans hired like horses; yet, although sold by their sovereign at
the contract price of thirty-six dollars per head, and often abused in
service, these Hessians made good soldiers, and sometimes saved British
armies in critical moments. Another sort of aliens were brought into the
contest, first by the Americans, later by the English. These were the
Indians. They were intractable in the service of both sides, and
determined no important contest; but since the British were the invaders,
their use of the Indians combined with that of the Hessians to exasperate
the Americans, although they had the same kind of savage allies, and
eventually called in foreigners also. In discipline the Americans were far
inferior to the English. General Montgomery wrote: "The privates are all
generals, but not soldiers;" and Baron Steuben wrote to a Prussian officer
a little later: "You say to your soldier, 'Do this,' and he doeth it; but
I am obliged to say to mine, 'This is the reason why you ought to do
that,' and then he does it." The British officers were often incapable,
but they had a military training, and were accustomed to require and to
observe discipline. The American officers came in most cases from civil
life, had no social superiority over their men, and were so unruly that
John Adams wrote in 1777: "They quarrel like cats and dogs. They worry one
another like mastiffs, scrambling for rank and pay like apes for nuts."

[Sidenote: Commanders.]

The success of the Revolution was, nevertheless, due to the personal
qualities of these officers and their troops, when directed by able
commanders. In the early stages of the war the British generals were slow,
timid, unready, and inefficient. Putnam, Wayne, Greene, and other American
generals were natural soldiers; and in Washington we have the one man who
never made a serious blunder, who was never frightened, who never
despaired, and whose unflinching confidence was the rallying point of the
military forces of the nation.

[Sidenote: Plans of campaign.]

The theatre of the war was more favorable to the British than to the
Americans. There were no fortresses, and the coast was everywhere open to
the landing of expeditions. The simplest military principle demanded the
isolation of New England, the source and centre of the Revolution, from
the rest of the colonies. From 1776 the British occupied the town of New
York, and they held Canada. A combined military operation from both South
and North would give them the valley of the Hudson. The failure of
Burgoyne's expedition in 1777 prevented the success of this manoeuvre. The
war was then transferred to the Southern colonies, with the intention to
roll up the line of defence, as the French line had been rolled up in
1758; but whenever the British attempted to penetrate far into the country
from the sea-coast, they were eventually worsted and driven back.


[Sidenote: Conception of a "Congress."]

Before the war could be fought, some kind of civil organization had to be
formed. On May 10, 1775, three weeks after the battle of Lexington, the
second Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia, and continued, with
occasional adjournments, till May 1, 1781. To the minds of the men of that
day a congress was not a legislature, but a diplomatic assembly, a meeting
of delegates for conference, and for suggestions to their principals. To
be sure, this Congress represented the people, acting through popular
conventions, and not the old colonial assemblies; yet those conventions
assumed to exercise the powers of government in the colonies, and expected
the delegates to report back to them, and to ask for instructions.
Nevertheless, the delegates at once began to pass resolutions which were
to have effect without any ratification by the legislatures. Of the nine
colonies which gave formal instructions to their representatives, all but
one directed them to "order" something, or to "determine" something, or to
pass "binding" Acts.

[Sidenote: Advisory action.]

Thus Congress began rather as the adviser than as the director of the
colonies; but it advised strong measures. On May 30, 1775, a plan of
conciliation suggested by Lord North was pronounced "unreasonable and
insidious." On the request of the provincial congress of Massachusetts
Bay, it recommended that body to "form a temporary colonial government
until a governor of his Majesty's appointment will consent to govern the
colony according to its charter." June 12, Congress issued a proclamation
recommending "a day of public humiliation, fasting, and prayer." Like the
First Continental Congress, it framed several petitions and addresses to
the British people and to the king of Great Britain. During the first six
weeks of its existence, therefore, the Second Continental Congress acted
chiefly as the centre for common consultation, and as the agent for joint


[Sidenote: War in Massachusetts.]
[Sidenote: National military measures.]

The situation rapidly passed beyond the stage of advice. The people of
Massachusetts and the neighboring colonies, on their own motion, had shut
up the governor of the colony and his troops in the town of Boston, and
were formally besieging him. On June 17 the British made their last
sortie, and attacked and defeated the besieging forces at Bunker Hill.
Neither the country nor Congress could long stand still. Precisely a week
after assembling, Congress voted that certain commerce "must immediately
cease." A week later, May 26, they "Resolved, unanimously, that the
militia of New York be armed and trained ... to prevent any attempt that
may be made to gain possession of the town;" and on June 14 the momentous
resolution was reached that "an American continental army should be
raised." On the following day George Washington, Esq., of Virginia, "was
unanimously selected to command all the continental forces raised or to be
raised for the defence of American liberty." In October the fitting out of
a little navy and the commissioning of privateers were authorized.

These acts were acts of war such as up to this time had been undertaken
only by individual colonies or by the home government. They were, further,
acts of united resistance, and in form they pledged the whole country to
the establishment of a military force, and the maintenance of hostilities
until some accommodation could be reached.

[Sidenote: National diplomacy.]
[Sidenote: Other national powers.]

In other directions the Continental Congress showed similar energy.
November 29, 1775, "a Committee of Correspondence with our friends abroad"
was ordered, and thus began, the foreign relations of the United States of
America. National ambassadors were eventually sent out; no colony presumed
to send its own representative across the sea; foreign affairs from this
time on were considered solely a matter for the Continental Congress. In
like manner, Congress quietly took up most of the other matters which had
been acknowledged up to this time to belong to the home government.
Congress assumed the control of the frontier Indians, till this time the
wards of England. The post-national office had been directed by English
authority; Congress took it over. The boundaries and other relations of
the colonies had been strictly regulated by the home government; Congress
undertook to mediate in boundary disputes. Parliament had controlled
trade; Congress threw open American ports to all foreign nations, and
prohibited the slave-trade. In financial matters Congress went far beyond
any powers ever exercised by England. June 22 it ordered an issue of two
million dollars in continental paper currency, and subscriptions to
national loans were opened both at home and abroad.

[Sidenote: Basis of national authority.]

This assumption of powers is the more remarkable since their exercise by
England had caused the Revolution. The right to raise money by national
authority, the right to maintain troops without the consent of the
colonies, and the right to enforce regulations on trade,--these were the
three disputed points in the English policy of control. They were all
exercised by the Continental Congress, and accepted by the colonies. In a
word, the Continental Congress constituted a government exercising great
sovereign powers. It began with no such authority; it never received such
authority until 1781. The war must be fought, the forces of the people
must be organized; there was no other source of united power and
authority; without formally agreeing to its supremacy, the colonies and
the people at large acquiesced, and accepted it as a government.

[Sidenote: Organization of the government.]

For the carrying out of great purposes Congress was singularly
inefficient. The whole national government was composed of a shifting body
of representatives elected from time to time by the colonial or State
legislatures. It early adopted the system of forming executive committees
out of its own number: of these the most important was the Board of War,
of which John Adams was the most active member. Later on, it appointed
executive boards, of which some or all the members were not in Congress:
the most notable example was the Treasury Office of Accounts. Difficult
questions of prize and maritime law arose; and Congress established a
court, which was only a committee of its own members. In all cases the
committees, boards, or officials were created, and could be removed, by
Congress. The final authority on all questions of national government in
all its forms was simply a majority of colonies or States in the
Continental Congress.


[Sidenote: Tendency towards independence.]

Under the direction of Congress and the command of General Washington the
siege of Boston was successfully pushed forward during the winter of 1775-
76. From the beginning of the struggle to this time two political currents
had been running side by side,--the one towards a union of the colonies,
the other towards independence. Of these the current of union had run a
little faster. Notwithstanding the authority which they had set over
themselves, the colonies still professed to be loyal members of the
British empire. To be sure, there is a strong smack of insincerity in the
protestations poured forth by the assemblies and the second Continental
Congress. But John Adams says: "That there existed a general desire of
independence of the Crown in any part of America before the Revolution, is
as far from the truth as the zenith is from the nadir." Yet Patrick Henry
declared as early as September, 1774. that "Government is dissolved.
Fleets and armies and the present state of things show that government is
dissolved. We are in a state of nature, sir.... All America is thrown into
one mass."

[Sidenote: Hesitation.]
[Sidenote: Suggestion of independence.]

From the moment that the Second Continental Congress had ordered the
colonies to be put in a state of defence, either independence must come,
or thee colonies must submit. No far-seeing man could expect that England
would make the concessions which the colonies declared indispensable. Yet
for more than a year Congress hesitated to declare publicly that the
Americans would not return to obedience. As forgiving and loyal subjects
of a king misled by wicked advisers, they still seemed supported by
precedent and acting on the rights of Englishmen. Suggestions were made
throughout 1775 looking towards independence Thus the New Hampshire
Revolutionary Convention declared that "the voice of God and of nature
demand of the colonies to look to their own political affairs." In May,
1775, came the resolutions of a committee of Mecklenburg County, North
Carolina. In declaring that the government of the colonies had ceased to
exist, they were probably not different in spirit from many other
resolutions passed by like bodies. On July 8, 1775, Congress sent its last
formal petition to the Crown. In it "Your Majesty's faithful subjects" set
forth "the impossibility of reconciling the usual appearance of respect
with a just Attention to our own preservation against those artful and
cruel Enemies who abuse your royal Confidence and Authority for the
Purpose of effecting our destruction." Congress was determined to wait
until the petition had been received. On the day when it was to have been
handed to the king, appeared a royal proclamation announcing that open and
armed rebellion was going on in America.

[Sidenote: Congress determined.]

The news of the fate of the petition reached Philadelphia on October 31.
The hesitation of Congress was at an end. Three days later it resolved to
recommend the people of New Hampshire to establish their own government.
The next day similar advice was given to South Carolina, with the promise
of continental troops to defend the colony. Here for the first time was an
official recognition of the fact that the colonies stood no longer under
English control. It was an assertion that independence existed, and the
steps towards a formal declaration were rapid.

[Sidenote: Independence decided on.]
[Sidenote: Declaration of Independence.]
[Sidenote: Rights of man.]

In this as in other similar crises Congress waited to find out the wish of
the colonial legislatures. By May 15, 1776, the opinion of so many
colonies had been received in favor of a declaration of independence that
Congress voted, "That it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of
authority under the Crown of Great Britain should be totally suppressed."
Congress was now committed; and during the next few weeks the form of the
declaration was the important question for discussion. Throughout the
country, resolutions in favor of independence were passed by legislatures,
conventions, and public meetings. On July 4, 1776, Congress adopted a
solemn Declaration of Independence. Like the statement of grievances of
1765 and the declaration of 1774, this great state paper, drawn by the
nervous pen of Thomas Jefferson, set forth the causes of ill-feeling
toward Great Britain. First comes a statement of certain self-evident
truths, a reiteration of those rights of man upon which Otis had dwelt in
his speech of 1761. Then follows an enumeration of grievances put forward
in this crisis as their justification in the face of the world; yet of the
twenty-nine specifications of oppressive acts, not more than five were
manifestly illegal according to the prevailing system of English law. So
far as the Declaration of Independence shows, liberality and concession on
the part of England might even then have caused the Revolution to halt.

[Sidenote: Assertion of independence.]

Another part of the Declaration is a statement that "These United Colonies
are free and independent states, dissolved from all allegiance to Great
Britain, and have the powers of sovereign states." In form and spirit this
clause does not create independent states, but declares that they are
already independent. Independence in no wise changed the status or
character of the Continental Congress: it continued to direct military
operations and foreign negotiations, to deal with the Indians, and to
regulate national finances. The immediate effect of the Declaration of
Independence was that it obliged every American to take sides for or
against the Revolution. No one could any longer entertain the delusion
that he could remain loyal to Great Britain while making war upon her. It
was, therefore, a great encouragement to the patriots, who speedily
succeeded, in most colonies, in driving out or silencing the loyalists.
There is a tradition that another member of Congress said to Franklin at
this time, "We must all hang together." "Yes," replied Franklin, "we must
all hang together, or we shall all hang separately."


[Sidenote: Is the Union older than the States?]
[Sidenote: Revolutionary governments.]

A practical result of the Declaration of Independence was that from that
day each colony assumed the name of State; and the union changed its name
of "The United Colonies" to the proud title of "The United States of
America." Were the new States essentially different from the colonies?
This is one of the insoluble questions connected with the formation of the
Union. Calhoun later declared that the Declaration of Independence changed
the colonies from provinces subject to Great Britain to States subject to
nobody. Lincoln in his message of July 4, 1861, said that "The Union gave
each of them whatever of independence and liberty it has. The Union is
older than any of the States, and in fact it created them as States." That
the States did not regard independence as freeing them from their relation
to Congress may be seen from the fact that their new governments were
formed under the direction or with the permission of Congress. The
outbreak of the Revolution in 1775 had suddenly destroyed the
constitutional governments with which the colonies were familiar.
Everywhere courts were prevented from sitting, and governors were impeded
or driven out. In order to organize resistance and also to carry out the
ordinary purposes of government, in each colony there arose a
revolutionary and unauthorized body, known as the Provincial Convention,
or Provincial Congress, which took upon itself all the powers of
government. The new arrangement was unsatisfactory to a people accustomed
to orderly government and to stable administrations. They turned to
Congress for advice. At first Congress suggested only temporary
arrangements. In November, 1775, it encouraged the colonies to form
permanent organizations, and on May 10, 1776, it advised them all to
"adopt such governments as shall ... best conduce to the happiness and
safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general."

[Sidenote: State constitutions.]

Acting under these suggestions, the colonies had already begun before July
4, 1776, to draw up written instruments of government. In two States,
Connecticut and Rhode Island, the old charters were so democratic that
with a few slight changes of phraseology they were sufficient for the new
conditions. In all other colonies the opportunity was taken to alter the
familiar machinery. The Provincial Conventions, or, in one case, a special
Constitutional Convention, drew up a constitution and put it into force.
Since the governor had been unpopular, in several cases his place was
supplied by an executive council. The courts were reorganized on the old
basis, and the judges were left appointive. The first constitution to be
formed was that of New Hampshire. January 5, 1776, the Provincial Congress
voted "to take up civil government as follows." By 1777, nine other new
constitutions had thus been provided. They mark an epoch in the
constitutional history of the world. The great English charters and the
Act of Settlement were constitutional documents; but they covered only a
small part of the field of government. Almost for the first time in
history, representatives of the people were assembled to draw up
systematic and complete constitutions, based on the consent of the

[Sidenote: Constitution of Massachusetts.]

Singularly enough, the last State to form a definite constitution was
Massachusetts. Till 1776, that colony claimed to be acting under a charter
which England was ignoring. The General Court then chose councillors of
its own to act as an executive. Dissensions broke out, and a considerable
body of the people of Berkshire County repudiated this government and
demanded a new constitution. In 1780 a constitution was drafted by a
convention assembled solely for that purpose, and, for the first time in
the history of America, the work of a convention was submitted for
ratification by a popular vote.

40. THE FIRST PERIOD OF THE WAR (1775-1778).

[Sidenote: British military policy.]

Two policies presented themselves to the British government at the
beginning of the war. They might have used their great naval strength
alone, blockading the coast and sealing every harbor; thus the colonies
would be cut off from the rest of the world, and allowed to enjoy their
independence until they were ready to return to their allegiance. The
alternative of invasion was chosen; but it was useless, with the forces
available, to occupy any considerable part of the interior. By threatening
various parts of the coast, the Americans could be obliged to make many
detachments of their few troops. By occupying the principal towns, such as
Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, and Savannah, the centres of
resistance could be broken up, the loyalists encouraged, and bases
established, from which the main American armies were to be reached and
destroyed. On the sea the navy was to be used to ruin American commerce
and to prevent the importation of supplies.

[Sidenote: American military policy.]

The policy of the Americans was, not to attempt to defend the whole coast,
but to keep as large a number of troops as they could raise together in
one body, as a substantial army; to defend their land communication from
New England to the South; and by standing ready for operations in the
field, to prevent the British from making any large detachments. They must
hold as much of their territory as possible, in order to prevent
defections; and they must take every advantage of their defensive
position, in order at length to hem in and capture the opposing armies on
the coast, as they did finally at Yorktown. The open gate through the
Hudson they strove to close early in the war by invasion of Canada. On the
sea all they could do was to capture supplies and destroy commerce, and by
the ravages of their privateers to inspire the enemy with respect.

[Sidenote: Plans frustrated.]

Neither party was able to carry out its plans. The British took all the
principal seaports, but were able to hold none, except New York, to the
end of the war. First Burgoyne and later Cornwallis made a determined
attempt to penetrate far into the interior, and both were captured. On the
other hand, the Americans could not shake off the main central army, and
there was danger to the very last that the British would beat them in one
pitched battle which would decide the war.

[Sidenote: Campaign of 1776.]
[Sidenote: Princeton and Trenton.]

Military operations began with several surprises to the advantage of the
colonists. They took Ticonderoga and invested Boston before the British
government believed that a fight was impending. An expedition to Canada
failed in 1775-76, but Boston fell. Down to the day of the Declaration of
Independence the advantage was clearly with the colonists. The hard, stern
struggle of the war began in August, 1776, with the arrival of the British
in the harbor of New York. The Americans were attacked on Long Island, and
obliged to retreat across the river; when the militia were attacked on
that side Washington says: "They ran away in the greatest confusion,
without firing a shot." Eye-witnesses relate that "His Excellency was left
on the ground within eighty yards of the enemy, so vexed with the infamous
conduct of the troops that he sought death rather than life." The American
army with difficulty escaped northward, and Washington was obliged to
abandon the important line of the Hudson, and to retreat before the
British towards Philadelphia. The campaign of 1776 had gone against the
Americans. Suddenly out of the gloom and despair came two brilliant little
victories. Crossing the Delaware on Christmas night, 1776, Washington
struck and beat parts of the British forces at Trenton and Princeton. They
retired, and the patriots held Philadelphia during the winter.

[Sidenote: Campaign of 1777.]
[Sidenote: Steadfastness of the American army.]

In the spring of 1777 Howe transferred his troops by sea to the
Chesapeake, beat the Americans, occupied Philadelphia, and lay in that
city till the next year. It was a dear success. While the main British
force was thus withdrawn from New York, an attempt was made to pierce the
colonies from the northward. Burgoyne slowly descended during the summer
of 1777; but, unsupported by Howe, on October 17 he was obliged to
surrender his whole army at Saratoga. This victory roused the spirit and
courage of the new nation, and strengthened the hands of the envoys who
were begging for French alliance. It enabled Washington to maintain a
small army in winter quarters at Valley Forge, twenty miles from
Philadelphia. Whatever the early faults of American troops and officers,
they had learned to obey and to suffer as soldiers, patriots, and heroes.
At one time barely five thousand men were fit for duty. "Naked and
starving as they are." wrote Washington, "we cannot sufficiently admire
the incomparable patience and fidelity of the soldiers." With the first
days of the year 1778 came the darkest hour of the Revolution. The little
army, the indispensable hope, was beginning to thin out; the finances of
the country were desperate; nine hundred American vessels had been
captured; an apathy had fallen upon the country. Yet light was beginning
to dawn: Steuben, the German, had begun to introduce the discipline which
was to make the American army a new and powerful instrument; Lafayette had
brought the sympathy of France and his own substantial services; more than
all, during these dark days the American envoys were concluding the treaty
with France which was to save the Union.

41. FOREIGN RELATIONS (1776-1780).

[Sidenote: Interest of France.]
[Sidenote: English plan of reconciliation.]

From the beginning of the American struggle the French government had
looked on with interest and pleasure. The arrogance of England during the
previous war and during the negotiations of 1763 had excited a general
dislike throughout Europe. When, in June, 1776, Silas Deane appeared at
Paris as the American envoy, he found, not recognition, but at least
sympathy and assistance. Beaumarchais, a play-writer and adventurer, was
made an unofficial agent of France; and through him arms and supplies from
royal arsenals came into the hands of the Americans. More to the purpose,
money was placed at the disposal of the envoys. In 1776 a million francs
were thus secured; in 1777 two millions. The arrival of Franklin in Paris
in December, 1776, increased the American influence, and negotiations were
entered upon for a treaty. The English cabinet, understanding the danger
of a double war, made a last effort at reconciliation with the colonies.
In 1778 Lord North brought forward an act declaring that Parliament "will
not impose any duty, taxes, or assessment whatever ... in North America or
the West Indies, except only such duties as it may be expedient to impose
for the regulation of commerce, the net produce of such duties to be
always paid and applied to and for the use of the colony in which the same
shall be levied." The principle which had been so strenuously asserted by
the home government from 1765 to 1774 was now abandoned; it might
reasonably be expected that the violent acts of Massachusetts directed
against taxation would be forgiven. Commissioners were sent to America
with almost unlimited powers to remove the grievances of the colonies, and
to restore peace and concord.

[Sidenote: Alliance with France.]

Before they were appointed, a treaty of alliance had been made, Feb. 6,
1778, between the United States and France. With it went a treaty of
commerce, insuring reciprocal trade with France. The colonies, which in
1758 had been fiercely fighting the French as their hereditary enemies,
were now delighted at the prospect of their support. The peace commission
remained in America from June to October; but though they offered every
concession short of absolute independence, the Americans remained firm,
and entered with confidence on the campaign of 1778.

42. THE WAR ENDED (1778-1782).

[Sidenote: Stubbornness of George III.]
[Sidenote: Campaign of 1778.]

The European crisis was favorable to the Americans; the British government
had hitherto been unable to reduce them; the Germans would furnish no more
mercenaries; a strong minority in Parliament opposed the American war;
France had declared war in March, 1778, and Spain was about to follow.
Proper reinforcements could not be sent to America. The country cried out
for Pitt, who had declared himself positively against American
independence. The king resolutely refused. "No advantage to this country,
no personal danger to myself," said he, "can ever make me address myself
to Lord Chatham or to any other branch of the opposition." Pitt died on
May 11, and the chance of a statesmanlike policy disappeared. When the
French fleet, with four thousand troops, appeared in American waters in
July, 1778, Washington formed the hopeful plan of driving the British out
of the country. Philadelphia had been abandoned by Clinton, acting under
orders of the British government. Only two places were left in the
possession of the British,--New York city and Newport, Rhode Island. The
combined American and French expedition against Newport was a failure,
although, as Washington said, "it would have given the finishing blow to
British pretensions of sovereignty over this country."

[Sidenote: The war continued.]

Meanwhile, in England the king was imposing his relentless will upon a
ministry tired of the war, and upon the English people. It was the climax
of George the Third's effort to escape from the principle of Parliamentary
responsibility. "This country," he said, "will never regain a proper tone
unless ministers, as in the reign of King William, will not mind now and
then being in a minority." In April, 1779, Spain allied herself with
France, and the combined fleets of those two powers obtained the mastery
of the seas. Paul Jones, with a little fleet under an American commission,
captured two British men-of-war, almost in sight of the English coast.

[Sidenote: Southern campaign.]

A new plan was formed for an American campaign in 1779. Forces were
directed against Georgia and South Carolina,--States in which there were
many loyalists. Savannah was taken, Charleston was assailed, and the
expedition under Cornwallis penetrated far into North Carolina. Yet at the
end of 1780 the British held, besides New York, only the provinces of
South Carolina and Georgia. In September, 1780, Benedict Arnold all but
delivered to the hands of the enemy the important fortress of West Point.
He was weary of the struggle, and anxious to secure his own safety.

[Sidenote: Surrender of Yorktown.]

With renewed spirit the Americans in 1781 took the offensive in the
Carolinas under Greene. Cornwallis moved northward to the peninsula of
Yorktown. The moment had come. By a rapid movement of Washington's army
and the effective cooperation of the French fleet, Cornwallis was trapped
at Yorktown; and on Oct. 19, 1781, he surrendered, with eight thousand
men. It was the first decided victory which Washington had himself gained.
It made evident to England the hopelessness of continuing the contest; and
in November, 1782, peace was made.

[Sidenote: Reasons for American success.]

The Revolutionary war was successful because the English underestimated
the strength of the movement at the beginning, because the English
commanders were incapable, and because in the later period, when the
British were aroused, their strength was diverted by the dangerous
European war. It was gained finally by the firmness and resolution of the
people, and that resolution is typified in Washington. His patience and
endurance, his ability to hold in check large forces with small armies
imperfectly equipped, his power to keep the country up to the support of
the war, mark him as one of the world's great military commanders.


[Sidenote: Resources.]

The successful termination of the war is the more remarkable because it
was fought by a government almost without means, and finally without
credit. The saddest part of the suffering at Valley Forge is that it was
unnecessary. There was always food and clothing in the country, but
Congress had no money to buy it. Congress had no power to lay taxes, and
the colonies, most of which were spending large sums on their own militia,
were not disposed to supply the general treasury. The pay of the
Continental troops and of the general officers, the furnishing of
equipments and stores, the support of foreign embassies, were burdens that
must be borne, and Congress must find the means.

[Sidenote: Continental currency.]

The most successful and the most disastrous resource was the issue of
paper-money. When, in June, 1775, it was proposed to meet the general
expenses by putting forth two millions in Continental notes, there was but
feeble objection. It was the only way of raising money which seemed to
cost nobody anything. In the course of a year four millions more followed.
Congress, with commendable foresight, called upon each colony to pay in a
sum sufficient to retire its proportion of the issue. Nothing was paid,
and the printing-press was again put in motion, until in January, 1779,
fifty millions were issued at a time. In November, 1779, the limit of two
hundred millions was reached. In order to float these notes the States
passed acts making them a legal tender; but at the same time they were
themselves issuing large sums in a similar currency. Counterfeits
abounded, but it soon became a matter of little difference whether a bill
was good or bad, since the best was worth so little. From the time of the
capture of New York by the British in 1776 the notes began to fall. In
1778 the news of the French alliance caused a little rise; but in 1781 the
bills fell to a point where a thousand dollars exchanged for one dollar in
specie, and a Philadelphia wag made out of the notes a blanket for his
dog. The Continental currency was never redeemed, and was consequently a
forced tax on those who were least able to pay, since every holder lost by
its depreciation while in his hands.

[Sidenote: Loans.]

The absolutely necessary expenditures, without which no army could make
head against the British, were from twenty to twenty-five million specie
dollars each year. Of this the Continental bills furnished on an average
some eight or ten millions. Another method of raising money was that of
borrowing on funded loans. Great schemes were put forth. The United States
were to borrow at four per cent; they were to borrow two millions; they
were to borrow ten millions; they were to borrow twenty millions. The
result was that in three years $181,000 was thus loaned, and up to the end
of the war but $1,600,000,--hardly a hundredth part of the necessary
means. Failing to raise money directly, recourse was bad to the so-called
loan-office certificates. These were issued to creditors of the
government, and bore interest. The greater part of the military supplies
were paid for in this extravagant and demoralizing fashion, and in 1789
they had to be settled, with accumulated interest amounting to nearly
fifty per cent. Better success was had in Europe. No private banker would
lend money to a set of rebels not recognized by any government as
independent, but the French and Spanish governments were willing to
advance both money and stores. In this way the United States received
about three million dollars.

[Sidenote: Requisitions.]

When it was evident that the domestic loan had failed, Congress called
upon the States to furnish five millions of dollars, apportioned among
them according to their importance. These requisitions were repeated at
intervals during the Revolution, but always with the same effect. Not a
fourth part of the sums asked for was paid by the States. A system of
"specific supplies" was adopted in 1778, by which the States were allowed
to pay their quotas in kind. It added a new source of confusion, and
brought no more revenue.

[Sidenote: Miscellaneous resources.]

Every device that the government could put into operation for raising
money was eventually tried. A lottery brought considerable sums into the
treasury, the supplies for the army were seized at Valley Forge and
elsewhere, and paid for in certificates. Bills were drawn on foreign
ministers for funds which it was hoped they might have in hand by the time
the bills reached them, and the government bought, and sent abroad to meet
its indebtedness, cargoes of tobacco and other products.

[Sidenote: Speculation.]

The financial burdens of the government were increased by a spirit of
extravagance, speculation, and even of corruption. Washington wrote,
"Unless extortion, forestalling, and other practices which have ... become
exceedingly prevalent can meet with proper checks, we must inevitably sink
under such a load of accumulated oppressions." The whole cost of the war
is estimated at one hundred and thirty-five millions. Of this about one
hundred millions had been raised through the Continental bills and other
devices. About thirty-five millions remained as a national debt.


[Sidenote: Weakness of Congress.]

That Congress was able to make no better provision for the finances was
due to a decline in its prestige rather than to a lack of interest in the
war. Some of the ablest members were drawn into military service, or sent
on foreign missions. The committee system made it inefficient, and it was
difficult to bring it to a decision upon the most important matters. In
vain did Washington storm, and implore it to act quickly and intelligently
on military matters of great moment. Its relations with the States changed
as the war advanced. Dec. 7, 1776;  Congress made Washington for a time
almost a dictator. In 1779 the Virginia legislature formally denied that
it was "answerable to Congress for not agreeing with any of its

[Sidenote: The loyalists.]

To the frequent unfriendly relations with the States was added the
constant conflict with the loyalists. Throughout the colonies the
adherents to England or the sympathizers with the English government were
under grave suspicion. Many of them left the country; some enlisted with
the British, and returned to fight against their own land. A body of
loyalists led the hostile Indians into the Wyoming valley to torture and
to murder. The loyalists who remained at home were often the medium of
communication with the British lines. Some of them, like Dr. Mather Byles
of Boston, and George Watson of Plymouth, were allowed to remain on
condition that they held their tongues. Washington was so exasperated with
them that he termed them "execrable parricides." In every State the
loyalists were feared and hated. When the British invaded the country, the
loyalists joined them; when the British were repulsed, thousands of them
were obliged to abandon their homes.

[Sidenote: Dissensions in States.]

The finances of the States were as much disturbed as those of the Union.
Their paper-money issues shared the same fate. Their debts, funded and
unfunded, increased. They were harassed by internal divisions, even among
the patriots. In Massachusetts, Berkshire County remained until 1780
practically independent, and the county convention did not scruple to
declare to the General Court that there were "other States which will, we
doubt not, as bad as we are, gladly receive us."


[Sidenote: Preliminaries of a constitution.]
[Sidenote: Articles submitted.]

One cause of the weakness of Congress and the disorders in the States was
the want of a settled national government. The Continental Congress
understood that it was but a makeshift, and on the day when a committee
was formed to frame a Declaration of Independence, another committee was
appointed to draw up Articles of Confederation. It reported July 12, 1776;
but the moment discussion began, it was seen that there were almost
insuperable difficulties. The first was the question whether each State
should have one vote, as in the existing government, or whether each
should cast a number of votes in proportion to its population; the second
question was how revenue should be raised and assessed; the third was how
the western country should be held; the fourth was what powers should be
given to the general government, and what retained by the States; the
fifth, how disputes within the Union should be settled. When, on Nov. 15,
1777, Congress had finally adopted a draft of Articles of Confederation,
the decline of its power and influence was reflected in the proposed
instrument of government. On the question of representation, the rule of
vote by States was continued. The only taxation was a formal system of
requisitions on the States. Here the question of slavery was unexpectedly
brought in: the Northern States desired to apportion the taxes according
to total population, including slaves. "Our slaves are our property" said
Lynch, of South Carolina; "If that is debated, there is an end of the
Confederation. Being our property, why should they be taxed more than
sheep?" A compromise was reached, by which requisitions were to be
assessed in proportion to the value of lands in the several States. The
question of control of territory was not distinctly settled by the
articles. The powers to be conferred upon the Confederation were
practically limited to war, peace, and foreign affairs. A cumbrous system
of arbitration courts was established for disputes between States, but
there was no machinery for settling quarrels between States and the
national government.

[Sidenote: The Western lands.]
[Sidenote: Maryland will not ratify.]
[Sidenote: Articles in force.]

Congress had spent a year and a half in forming the Articles of
Confederation. The States took three and a half years in ratifying them.
Ten States early signified their willingness to adopt them. Three others
stood out because the Western lands were left in dispute. In 1776 when the
British authority had been declared no longer existent in the colonies,
each of the new States considered itself possessed of all the British
lands which at any time had been included within its boundary; and in 1778
Virginia had captured the few British posts northwest of the Ohio, and had
shortly after created that immense region, now the seat of five powerful
States, into the "County of Illinois." On the other hand, it was strongly
urged that the Western territory had been secured through a war undertaken
by all the colonies for the whole country, and that the lands ought to be
reserved to reward the continental soldiers, and to secure the debt of the
United States. For the sake of union, two of the three dissatisfied
commonwealths agreed to the Articles of Confederation. One State alone
stood firm: Maryland, whose boundaries could not be so construed as to
include any part of the lands, refused to ratify unless the claims of
Virginia were disallowed; Virginia and Connecticut proposed to close the
Union without Maryland; Virginia even opened a land office for the sale of
a part of the territory in dispute; but threats had no effect. New York,
which had less to gain from the Western territory than the other
claimants, now came forward with the cession of her claims to the United
States; and Virginia, on Jan. 2, 1781, agreed to do the like. On March 1,
1781, it was announced that Maryland had ratified the Articles of
Confederation, and they were duly put into force. From that date the
Congress, though little changed in personnel or in powers, was acting
under a written constitution, and the States had bound themselves to abide
by it.

46. PEACE NEGOTIATED (1779-1782).

[Sidenote: Instructions of 1779.]
[Sidenote: Instructions of 1781.]

Thus the settlement of the final terms of peace fell to the new
government, but rather as a heritage than as a new task. Instructions
issued by Congress in 1779 had insisted, as a first essential, on an
acknowledgment by Great Britain of the independence of the United States.
Next, adequate boundaries were to be provided; the United States must
extend as far west as the Mississippi, as far south as the thirty-first
parallel, and as far north as Lake Nipissing. The third desideratum was
undisturbed fishery rights on the banks of Newfoundland. Finally, it was
expected that a treaty of commerce would be yielded by Great Britain after
the peace was made. In 1781 Virginia, alarmed by Cornwallis's invasion,
succeeded in carrying a very different set of instructions. The only
essential was to be the substantial admission that America was
independent; in all else the treaty was to be made in a manner
satisfactory to the French minister of foreign affairs.

[Sidenote: The king consents to peace.]
[Sidenote: Independence.]
[Sidenote: Boundary.]
[Sidenote: Instructions ignored.]

Before peace could be reached it was necessary to break down the iron
opposition of the king. On Feb. 28, 1781 Conway's motion, looking to the
cessation of the war, was adopted by Parliament. "The fatal day has come,"
said the king. It was not merely his American policy which had failed; the
party of the "King's Friends" was beaten; North resigned; and after twelve
years of strenuous opposition, the king was obliged to accept a Whig
ministry, which he detested, and to let it negotiate for peace. A part of
the ministry still cherished the delusion that the Americans would accept
terms which did not leave them independent. The firmness of the American
envoys was effectual; a royal commission was at last addressed to Oswald,
authorizing him to treat with "the commissioners of the United States of
America" in Paris. Then came the important question of boundary. Without
the thirteen colonies the possession of the Floridas was of little value
to England, and they had been reduced by a Spanish expedition in 1781;
they were therefore returned to Spain. For a long time the English
insisted that a neutral belt of Indian territory should be created west of
the mountains. That point was finally waived; the Americans withdrew their
pretensions to the territory north of Lake Erie; and the St. Lawrence
River system, from the western end of Lake Superior to the forty-fifth
parallel, was made the boundary. From the forty-fifth parallel to the sea,
the boundary was described as following the "highlands which divide those
rivers that empty themselves into the St. Lawrence from those which fall
into the Atlantic Ocean." The country was little known; the commissioners
were probably confused; and the ground was thus prepared for a dispute
which lasted fifty-nine years. In the course of the negotiations the
American ambassadors, Jay, Adams, Franklin, and Laurens, became suspicious
of the French court. There is now some reason for believing that
Vergennes, the French minister, had dealt honorably with the American
interests, and could have secured excellent terms. "Would you break your
instructions?" asked one of the fellow-commissioners of Jay. "I would," he
replied, "as I would break this pipe." Thenceforward the Americans dealt
directly and solely with the English envoys.

[Sidenote: The Mississippi.]
[Sidenote: The fisheries.]

The next question to be settled was the claim of the English to the
navigation of the Mississippi, which was supposed to reach northward into
British territory. It was yielded; the Americans, however, received no
corresponding right of navigation through Spanish territory to the sea.
Next came the fisheries. As colonists the New Englanders had always
enjoyed the right to fish upon the Newfoundland banks, and to land at
convenient spots to cure their fish. Adams, representing New England,
insisted that "the right of fishing" should be distinctly stated; he
carried his point.

[Sidenote: Loyalists.]
[Sidenote: Debts.]
[Sidenote: Slaves.]
[Sidenote: Treaty signed.]

The main difficulties disposed of, three troublesome minor points had to
be adjusted. The first was the question of loyalists. They had suffered
from their attachment to the British government; they had been exiled;
their estates had been confiscated, their names made a by-word. The
British government first insisted, and then pleaded, that the treaty
should protect these persons if they chose to return to their former
homes. The Americans would agree only that Congress should "earnestly
recommend" to the thirteen legislatures to pass Relief Acts. Then came the
question of private debts due to the British merchants at the outbreak of
the Revolution, and still unpaid. Some of the American envoys objected to
reviving these obligations; but Adams, when he arrived, set the matter at
rest by declaring that he had "no notion of cheating anybody." Finally
came the question of the treatment of the slaves who had taken refuge with
the British armies; and the English commissioners agreed that the British
troops should withdraw "without causing any destruction or the carrying
away any negroes or other property of the American inhabitants." On Nov.
30, 1782, a provisional treaty was signed; but it was not until Sept. 3,
1783 after the peace between France and England had been adjusted, that
the definitive treaty was signed, in precisely the same terms.

With great difficulty a quorum was assembled, and on Jan. 14, 1784, it was
duly ratified by Congress. The treaty was a triumph for American
diplomacy. "It is impossible," says Lecky, the ablest historian of this
period, "not to be struck with the skill, hardihood, and good fortune that
marked the American negotiations. Everything the United States could with
any show of plausibility demand from England, they obtained."


[Sidenote: American union.]

Thus in seven years America had advanced from the condition of a body of
subordinate colonies to that of a nation. Furthermore, the people, who at
the beginning of the struggle were scattered and separated, and who
scarcely knew each other, were now united under a government; the
Confederation, however weak, was the strongest federation then in
existence. The people had learned the lesson of acting together in a great
national crisis, and of accepting the limitations upon their governments
made necessary by the central power.

[Sidenote: Union not perfected.]

The spirit of the new nation was now to be subjected to a test more severe
than that of the Revolution. Danger banded the colonies together during
the war. Would they remain together during peace? Sectional jealousies had
broken out in Congress and in camp; and in the crisis of 1777 an effort
had been made to displace Washington. There had been repeated instances of
treachery among military officers and among foreign envoys. The States
were undoubtedly much nearer together than the colonies had been; they had
accepted a degree of control from the general government which they had
refused from England; but they were not used to accept the resolutions of
Congress as self-operative. Their conception of national government was
still that national legislation filtrated from Congress to the State
legislatures, and through that medium to the people.

[Sidenote: Frontier difficulties.]

The interior of the country was in a confused and alarming state. The
territorial settlement with the States had only begun, and was to be the
work of years. The Indians were a stumbling-block which must be removed
from the path of the settlers. Within the States there were poverty,
taxation, and disorder, and a serious discontent.

[Sidenote: Common institutions.]

Nevertheless, the system of the colonies was a system of union. The State
governments all rested on the same basis of revolution and defiance of
former established law; but when they separated from England they
preserved those notions of English private and public law which had
distinguished the colonies. The laws and the governments of the States
were everywhere similar. The States were one in language, in religion, in
traditions, in the memories of a common struggle, and in political and
economic interests.

[Sidenote: Trade hampered.]

Commercially, however, the situation of the country was worse than it had
been in three quarters of a century. Though the fisheries had been saved
by the efforts of Adams, the market for the surplus fish was taken away.
As colonies they had enjoyed the right to trade with other British
colonies; as an independent nation they had only those rights which
England chose to give. For a time the ministry seemed disposed to make a
favorable commercial treaty; but in 1783 an Order in Council was issued
cutting off the Americans from the West Indian trade; and it was not until
1818 that they recovered it.

[Sidenote: Republican government encouraged.] A great political principle
had been strengthened by the success of the Revolution: republican
government had been revived in a fashion unknown since ancient times. The
territory claimed by Virginia was larger than the island of Great Britain.
The federal republic included an area nearly four times as large as that
of France. In 1782 Frederick of Prussia told the English ambassador that
the United States could not endure, "since a republican government had
never been known to exist for any length of time where the territory was
not limited and concentred." The problem was a new one; but in communities
without a titled aristocracy, which had set themselves against the power
of a monarch, and which had long been accustomed to self-government, the
problem was successfully worked out. The suffrage was still limited to the
holders of land; but the spirit of the Revolution looked towards
abolishing all legal distinctions between man and man; and the foundation
of later democracy, with its universal suffrage, was thus already laid.

[Sidenote: Influence of rights of man.]

The influence of the republican spirit upon the rest of the world was not
yet discerned; but the United States had established for themselves two
principles which seriously affected other nations. If English colonies
could by revolution relieve themselves from the colonial system of
England, the French and Spanish colonies might follow that example; and
forty years later not one of the Spanish continental colonies acknowledged
the authority of the home government. The other principle was that of the
rights of man. The Declaration of Independence contained a list of rights
such as were familiar to the colonists of England, but were only theories
elsewhere. The success of the Revolution was, therefore, a shock to the
system of privilege and of class exemptions from the common burdens, which
had lasted since feudal times. The French Revolution of 1789 was an
attempt to apply upon alien ground the principles of the American




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VI.
745, VII. 199-236, 527-543, VIII. 491;, notes to Curtis, Bancroft,
McMaster, and Pitkin; W. F. Foster, _References to the Constitution_,
12-14; J. J. Lalor, _Cyclopedia_, I. 577; Channing and Hart, _Guide_, §§
142, 149-153.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1, 3, this volume ( _Epoch Maps_, Nos. 6, 7);
Labberton, _Atlas_, lxvi.; Rhode, _Atlas_, No. xxviii.; Johnston, _History
of the United States for Schools_, 133; Gordon _American Revolution_, I.
frontispiece; B. A. Hinsdale, _Old Northwest_, I. 188, 201 (reprinted from
MacCoun's _Historical Geography_), also I. frontispiece, and II. 393;
Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VII. 140; school
histories of Channing, Johnston, Scudder Thomas.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--Joseph Story, _Commentaries_, §§ 218-271; R. Hildreth,
_United States_, III, 374-481; T. Pitkin, II. 9-36, 154-218; H. Von Hoist,
_United States_, I. 1-46; Geo. Tucker, _United States_, I. 291-347; Justin
Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VII. ch. iii.; J. T. Morse,
_Franklin_, 216-420; Abiel Holmes, _Annals of America_, II. 353-371; J.
Schouler, _United States_, I. 1-30; Bryant and Gay, _Popular History_, IV.
79-99; F. A. Walker _Making of a Nation_, ch. 1; Edward Channing, _United
States 1761-1865_. ch. iv.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--G. T. Curtis _Constitutional History_, chs. v.-xiv.
(_History of the Constitution_ I. 214-347); George Bancroft, _United
States_ (last revision), VI. 5-194, _History of the Constitution_, I. 1-
266; John Fiske, _Critical Period_, 1-186; J. B. McMaster, _United
States_, I. 103-416; J. F. Jameson _Essays on the Constitution_; T.
Pitkin, _United States_, I. 283-422, II. 223; William B. Weeden, _New
England_, II. chs. xxii., xxiii.; W. G. Sumner, _Financier and Finances_,
II. chs. xvi.-xxvii.; B. A. Hinsdale, _Old Northwest_, chs. ix.-xvi.; H.
B. Adams, _Maryland's Influence_; W. Hill, _First Stages of the Tariff
Policy_; S. Sato, _Public Land Question_; Theodore Roosevelt. _Winning of
the West_, III.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--_Journals of Congress_; _Secret Journals_;
Madison's notes in H. D. Gilpin, _Papers of James Madison_, and in
_Elliot's Debates_, V.; letters of Washington, Madison, John Jay,
Hamilton, and Franklin, in their works; Thomas Paine, _Public Good_; Noah
Webster, _Sketches of American Policy_; Pelatiah Webster, _Dissertation on
the Political Union_; Brissot de Warville's _Examen Critique_ [1784], and
_Nouveau Voyage_ [1788], (also in translation); Thomas Jefferson, _Notes
on Virginia_.--Reprints in _American History told by Contemporaries_,
II., _American History Leaflets_, Nos. 20, 22, 28.


[Sidenote: Army.]
[Sidenote: Territory.]

The task thrown upon Congress in 1781 would have tried the strongest
government in existence. An army of more than ten thousand men was under
arms, and must be kept up until peace was formally declared, and then must
be paid off. The territorial claims of the States and of the Union were
still in confusion. Virginia roused the suspicion of the small States by
making the promised cession in terms which Congress could not accept, and
the other States had made no motion towards yielding their claims.
Relations with the Indians were still confused. Superintendents of Indian
affairs had been appointed, and in 1778 a treaty was negotiated with the
Creeks; but the States, particularly Pennsylvania and Georgia, continued
to make their own arrangements with Indian tribes.

[Sidenote: Finances.]
[Sidenote: Commerce.]
[Sidenote: General weakness.]

The finances of the country seemed to have reached their lowest ebb. An
attempt was made to float a new issue of continental money at one dollar
for forty of the old bills The new obligations speedily sank to the level
of the old, and the country was practically bankrupt. The aid of the
French was all that kept the government afloat (§ 43). The return of peace
was expected to restore American commerce to its old prosperity; but
having gone to war principally because colonial commerce with other
countries was restricted, the Americans found themselves deprived of their
old freedom of trade with England. They were subject to discriminating
duties in English ports, and were excluded from the direct trade with the
English West Indies, which had been the chief resource the colonial ship-
owners. The State governments were in debt, embarrassed, and beset with
the social difficulties which come in the train of war. The disbanded
troops were not accustomed to regular employment or to a quiet life; taxes
were heavy and odious; the far Western settlements clamored to be set free
from the States to which they belonged. Above all, the national government
was weak, inefficient, and little respected by the army or the people at

60. FORM OF THE GOVERNMENT (1781-1788.)

[Sidenote: Congress.]

The first and fundamental defect of the government was in the organization
of Congress. The Continental Congress had been a head without a body;
under the Articles of Confederation, Congress was a body without a head. A
single assembly continued to be the source of all national legislative,
executive, and judicial power (§ 37). As though to prevent the country
from getting the benefit of experience, no man could remain a member of
Congress for more than three years in succession. The delegates of each
State continued to cast jointly one vote; if only one member were present,
the vote of a State was not counted; if but two were present, they might
produce a tie. On important questions the approval of nine States was
necessary, and often less than that number had voting representatives on
the floor. Amendment was impossible, except by consent of all the State
legislatures. Although Congress had to deal with difficult questions of
peace, its principal power was that of carrying on war. Congress might
make treaties, but it could pass no act in defence of American commerce.

[Sidenote: Executive departments.]

A great effort was made to improve the executive system. By resolutions
passed early in 1781, secretaries were appointed for the three departments
of Foreign Affairs, War, and Finance; the board system, championed by
Samuel Adams and others, was to be abandoned. The importance of the War
Department diminished after 1782. "The Secretary of the United States for
the Department of Foreign Affairs" was quartered in two little rooms, and
furnished with two clerks. The post was filled first by Robert R.
Livingston, and from 1784 by John Jay. The office of Superintendent of
Finance was bestowed upon Robert Morris of Pennsylvania.

[Sidenote: Courts.]

The Articles of Confederation provided for a special tribunal to settle
territorial disputes between the States. The system was invoked in 1782,
and a verdict was rendered in favor of Pennsylvania and against
Connecticut in their rival claims to the Wyoming region. A second set of
federal courts was constituted by designating certain State courts to try
piracies and felonies committed on the high seas. A third and the only
important federal tribunal was the Court of Appeals in prize cases, which
began to sit in January, 1780, and before which were sued sixty-five
cases.  All the courts, like all the executive departments, were created
by Congress, alterable by Congress, and subject to the control of
Congress. In 1784 the Court of Appeals was allowed to lapse, by the
refusal of Congress to pay the salaries of the judges.


To follow the history of the Confederation from year to year would be
unprofitable. It was a confused period, with no recognized national
leaders, no parties, no great crises. We shall therefore take up one after
another the important questions which arose, and follow each to the end of
the Confederation.

[Sidenote: Half-pay question.]
[Sidenote: Protests.]

The first duty of Congress after peace was declared was to cut off the
military expenditures (§ 42). The food, clothing, and pay of the army
amounted to about $400,000 a month. Provision had been made for bounty
lands for the soldiers; the officers expected some more definite reward.
On April 26, 1778, Congress, by a majority of one State, had voted half
pay for life to the officers, as an essential measure for keeping the army
together. In the four years following, five different votes had been
passed, each annulling the previous one. Another proposition, in November,
1782, was to remit the whole matter to the States. On March 10, 1783,
appeared the so-called "Newburgh addresses,"--an anonymous plea to the
army, urging the officers not to separate until Congress had done justice
in this respect. A crisis was threatened. Washington himself attended the
meeting of the officers, and counselled moderation. He used his utmost
influence with Congress, and on the 22d of March secured a vote of full
pay for five years. As the treasury was empty, the only payment to the
officers was in certificates of indebtedness, upon which interest
accumulated during the next seven years. Massachusetts protested,
declaring the grant to be "more than an adequate reward for their
services, and inconsistent with that equality which ought to subsist among
citizens of free and republican states." In June, 1783, three hundred
mutineers surrounded the place of meeting of Congress, and demanded a
settlement of their back pay; and the executive council of Pennsylvania
declined to interfere. The result was that Congress changed its place of
meeting, and ever after retained a lively resentment against the city of


[Sidenote: The Western claims.]
[Sidenote: Northwest cessions.]

Although Congress had no power, under the Articles of Confederation, to
regulate territory, it earnestly urged the States to cede their claims.
The Ohio River divided the Western country into two regions, each having a
separate territorial history. The northern part was claimed by Virginia,
Massachusetts, and Connecticut, on the ground that their old charters,
extending to the Pacific, were revived (§ 45). The United States, as
representing the landless States, claimed the whole region as territory
won by the common effort and sacrifice of the Revolutionary War. On March
1, 1784, Virginia ceded all her claims north of the Ohio River, except a
reservation for bounty lands. Massachusetts followed in 1785; the
commonwealth had large tracts of unoccupied land in Maine and in New York.
Connecticut had no such resources, and in 1786 ceded only the western part
of her claim, retaining till 1800, as a "Western Reserve," a strip,
extending along Lake Erie, one hundred and twenty miles west from

[Sidenote: Territorial organization.]

The claims to the region north of the Ohio having thus been extinguished,
the government began to make plans for the administration of its domain.
On Oct. 10, 1780, the Continental Congress had promised that the lands
ceded by the States should be "disposed of for the common benefit of the
United States," and "be settled and formed into distinct republican States
which shall become members of the federal union." These two principles are
the foundation both of the territorial and the public land systems of the
United States.

On April 23, 1784, an ordinance reported by Jefferson was passed,
providing for representative legislatures as fast as the West grew
sufficiently populous to maintain them. It is hardly a misfortune that the
map was not encumbered with the names suggested by Jefferson for the new
States,--Cherronesus, Metropotamia, Assenisippia, Polypotamia, and
Pelisipia; but another clause was voted down which would have prohibited
slavery in the Territories after 1800.

[Sidenote: Northwest Ordinance.]

June 13, 1787, a second ordinance passed Congress, which was inferior in
importance only to the Federal Constitution. It provided minutely for a
preliminary territorial government, in which laws were to be made by
appointive judges, and for a later representative government. The
conception was that the Territories were to occupy the position formerly
claimed by the colonies; they were to be subject to no general taxation,
but placed under a governor appointed by the general government; their
laws were to be subject to his veto, and to later revision by the central
authority. A new principle was the preparation of the Territories for
statehood: the ordinance laid down a series of "Articles of Compact" to
govern them after they were admitted into the Union. Religious liberty and
personal rights were to be secured; general morality and education to be
encouraged; and finally it was provided that "there shall be neither
slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said Territory, otherwise than in
the punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly
convicted." The introduction of this clause is due to New England men, who
were anxious to form a colony on the Ohio, and who desired to secure the
freedom with which they were familiar. The clause had no effect upon
slaves held in the Territory at the time of the passage of the ordinance,
but it distinctly expresses the dissatisfaction of the country with the
system of human slavery. As soon as the Northwest Territory was organized,
the sale of lands began; but nothing was received in cash till long after
the Confederation had expired.

[Sidenote: Southern cessions.]

In the southern block of States the territorial settlement proceeded more
slowly, and was in every way less satisfactory. Virginia retained both
jurisdiction and land in Kentucky. North Carolina in 1790 granted the
jurisdiction in what is now Tennessee, but every acre of the land had
already been granted by the State. South Carolina had almost nothing to
cede, and yielded it in 1787. Georgia stood out on the claim to the whole
territory between her present boundary and the Mississippi, and would not
yield until 1802. Slavery was not prohibited.

53. FINANCES (1781-1788).

[Sidenote: Financial status.]
[Sidenote: Requisitions.]

The financial condition of the Confederation was throughout deplorable (§
43). The Revolution imposed upon the country a heavy debt. The accounts of
the government were so badly kept that to this day it is impossible to
state the amount; but it was probably about thirty millions, with an
annual interest charge of about two millions. The necessary expenditure
for the support of Congress, of the army on a peace-footing, and of the
executive and judicial boards and departments, called for about half a
million more. The continental currency had practically been repudiated,
and no more could be floated; Congress had no power to lay either direct
or indirect taxes; the post-office had an income of about $25,000 a year,
all of which was expended upon the service. Hence Congress fell back on
requisitions apportioned on the States: one of its principal functions was
each year to calculate the amount necessary for the public service, and to
call upon the State legislatures for their quota. The total sum required
from 1781 to 1788 was about $16,000,000. Of this there had actually been
paid during the seven years $3,500,000 in specie, and $2,500,000 in
certificates of national indebtedness. The annual cash income of the
government was therefore about half a million, which was entirely absorbed
by the necessary running expenses of the government, leaving nothing for
the payment of interest.

[Sidenote: Morris's administration.]

This condition of virtual bankruptcy might have been avoided had Robert
Morris been able to carry out the reforms which he proposed when he became
superintendent of finance in 1781. He found the financial administration
complicated and corrupt. He attempted to substitute business methods and
punctuality of payment. While the war lasted, however, the only financial
system possible was to squeeze every source of revenue, and to pay only
what could not be avoided. When peace returned, the States would provide
no better system. To keep up the credit of the government the first
necessity was the prompt payment of interest: the payment of interest
required money; money must come from taxes, and the State declined to levy
the taxes. In 1784 Morris resigned in despair, and thenceforward a
Treasury Board mismanaged the finances of the nation.

[Sidenote: Bank of North America.]

May 26, 1781, Congress had taken the important step of chartering the Bank
of North America. The United States was to furnish part of the capital,
and to make the bank its financial agent. Its notes were to be receivable
in the duties and taxes of every State in the Union. Morris asked Jay to
get specie from Spain to start the bank. "I am determined," said he, "that
the bank shall be well supported until it can support itself, and then it
will support us." Its connection with the government practically ceased
after the retirement of Morris in 1784, although it remained under a State
charter a prosperous and useful institution, and is still in existence, a
sound and healthy bank.

[Sidenote: The currency.]

Another financial measure was the attempt to correct the currency. After
the end of the war there was found in circulation an extraordinary mixture
of gold and silver coins of all nations, especially the Spanish milled
dollar, which had been accepted by the Continental Congress as the unit of
its issues. All the currency was badly counterfeited, defaced, and
clipped. In 1782 the quartermaster-general, Timothy Pickering, who was
about to pay out a part of the French subsidy in coin, wrote as follows:
"I must trouble you for the necessary apparatus for clipping. 'Tis a
shameful business and an unreasonable hardship on a public officer.... A
pair of good shears, a couple of punches, and a leaden anvil of two or
three pounds weight. Will you inquire how the goldsmiths put in their
plugs?" The Confederation, upon Jefferson's report, July 6, 1785, adopted
the dollar as its unit, and provided for a decimal ratio; but a few tons
of copper cents made up the only national currency put into circulation.

[Sidenote: Foreign loans.]

Towards the end of its existence the Confederation found itself on the
brink of a default of interest on debts due to foreign governments and
bankers. France in 1783 made a final loan of six hundred thousand francs;
and from 1783 to 1788 Dutch bankers were found who had sufficient
confidence in the government to advance it $1,600,000 on favorable terms.
With the proceeds of these loans the government was able to pay the
accumulated interest on the foreign loans, and thus to keep its credit
above water in Europe.

54. DISORDERS IN THE STATES (1781-1788).

[Sidenote: State financial legislation.]

The finances of the States were little better than those of the Union. The
States controlled all the resources of the country; they could and did
raise taxes, but they appropriated the proceeds to their own pressing
necessities; and the meagre sums paid to Congress represented a genuine
sacrifice on the part of many States, particularly Pennsylvania and
Massachusetts. Unfortunately the States exercised unlimited powers over
their own currency and commercial relations. Times were hard, debts had
accumulated, property had been destroyed by the war. State after State
passed stay laws delaying the collection of debts; or "tender laws" were
enacted, by which property at an appraised value was made a legal tender,
Cattle, merchandise, and unimproved real estate were the usual currency
thus forced upon creditors. After peace was declared, a second era of
State paper-money issues came on, and but four of the thirteen States
escaped the craze.

[Sidenote: Weakness of the States.]
[Sidenote: Proposed new states.]
[Sidenote: Insurrections.]

These remedies bore hard on the creditors in other States, created a
feeling of insecurity among business men, and gave no permanent relief.
The discontented, therefore, sought a remedy for themselves. The
Revolutionary War had left behind it an eddy of lawlessness and disregard
of human life. The support of the government was a heavy load upon the
people. The States were physically weak, and the State legislatures
habitually timid. In several States there were organized attempts to set
off outlying portions as independent governments. Vermont had set the
example by withdrawing from New York in 1777, and throughout the
Confederation remained without representation either in the New York
legislature or in Congress. In 1782 the western counties of Pennsylvania
and Virginia threatened to break off and form a new State. From 1785 to
1786 the so-called State of "Franklin," within the territory of what is
now eastern Tennessee, had a constitution and legislature and governor,
and carried on a mild border warfare with the government of North
Carolina, to which its people owed allegiance. The people of Kentucky and
of Maine held conventions looking toward separation. The year 1786 was
marked by great uneasiness in what had been supposed to be the steadiest
States in the union. In New Hampshire the opposition was directed against
the legislature; but General Sullivan, by his courage, succeeded in
quelling the threatened insurrection without bloodshed. In Massachusetts
in the fall of 1786 concerted violence prevented the courts from sitting;
and an organized force of insurgents under Captain Shays threatened to
destroy the State government. As a speaker in the Massachusetts convention
of 1788 said, "People took up arms; and then if you went to speak to them
you had the musket of death presented to your breast. They would rob you
of your property, threaten to burn your houses; obliged you to be on your
guard night and day.... How terrible, how distressing was this!... Had any
one that was able to protect us come and set up his standard, we should
all have flocked to it, even though it had been a monarch." The arsenal at
Springfield was attacked. The State forces were met in the open field by
armed insurgents. Had they been successful, the Union was not worth one of
its own repudiated notes. The Massachusetts authorities were barely able
to restore order, and Congress went beyond its constitutional powers in an
effort to assist.

55. SLAVERY (1777-1788).

[Sidenote: Anti-slavery spirit.]
[Sidenote: Emancipation acts.]
[Sidenote: Southern sentiment.]

One evidence that the States were still sound and healthful was the
passage of Emancipation acts. The Revolutionary principles of the rights
of man, the consent of the governed, and political equality, had been
meant for white men; but it was hard to deny their logical application to
the blacks. New anti-slavery societies were formed, particularly in
Pennsylvania; but the first community to act was Vermont. In the
Declaration of Rights prefixed to the Constitution of 1777 it was declared
that since every man is entitled to life, liberty, and happiness,
therefore "no ... person born in this country, or brought here over sea,
ought to be holden by law to serve any person as a servant, slave, or
apprentice" after he arrives at the age of maturity. A few years later
this was supplemented by an act abolishing the institution of slavery
outright. The number of slaves in Vermont was inconsiderable, but in 1780
two States, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, took similar action, affecting
several thousand persons. The Massachusetts constitution of 1780 declared
that "all men are born free and equal." This clause was a few years later
interpreted by the courts to mean that after 1780 no person could legally
be held as a slave. In Pennsylvania in the same year a gradual
Emancipation Act was passed, under which persons then in bondage were to
serve as slaves during their lives; their children, born after 1780, were
eventually to become free; and no person was to be brought into the State
and sold as a slave. Within four years New Hampshire and Connecticut
passed similar Emancipation Acts. In Rhode Island the number of slaves,
3,500, was considerable in proportion to the population, and that State
therefore made a distinct sacrifice for its principles by its act of 1785.
Thus at the expiration of the Confederation in 1788, all the States north
of Maryland, except New York and New Jersey, had put slavery in process of
extinction; those two States followed in 1799 and 1804. Many Southern
statesmen hoped that the institution was dying out even in the South.
Jefferson in 1787 wrote: "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect
that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever." Some steps
were taken, particularly in Virginia and Kentucky, for the amelioration of
the condition of the blacks; and the slave-trade was forbidden in most of
the States of the Union during this period.


[Sidenote: Relations with England.]

In no respect, not even in finance, was the weakness of the Confederation
so evident as in the powerlessness of Congress to pass commercial laws,
and its consequent inability to secure commercial treaties. In 1785 John
Adams was sent as minister to Great Britain, and was received with
civility by the sovereign from whom he had done so much to tear the
brightest jewel of his crown; but when he endeavored to come to some
commercial arrangement, he could make no progress. It is easy now to see
that the best policy for Great Britain would have been in every way to
encourage American commerce; the Americans were accustomed to trade with
England; their credits and business connections were established with
English merchants; the English manufactured the goods most desired by
America. When the Whigs were driven out of power in 1783, the last
opportunity for such an agreement was lost. July 2, 1783, an Order in
Council was issued, restraining the West India trade to British ships,
British built; and on March 26, 1785, the Duke of Dorset replied to the
American commissioners who asked for a treaty: "The apparent determination
of the respective States to regulate their own separate interests renders
it absolutely necessary, towards forming a permanent system of commerce,
that my court should be informed how far the commissioners can be duly
authorized to enter into any engagement with Great Britain which it may
not be in the power of any one of the States to render totally useless and

[Sidenote: Loyalists.]
[Sidenote: British debts.]
[Sidenote: Posts.]

There were other reasons why the British continued to subject American
ships in English ports to discriminations and duties from which the
vessels of most other powers were exempt. The treaty of 1783 had provided
that Congress would recommend to the States just treatment of the
loyalists; the recommendation was made. Most of the States declined to
comply; men who had been eminent before the Revolution returned to find
themselves distrusted, and sometimes were mobbed; their estates, which in
most cases had been confiscated, were withheld, and they could obtain no
consideration. This was unfriendly, but not a violation of any promise.
The action of the States in placing obstacles in the way of collecting
debts due to British merchants before the Revolution was a vexatious
infraction of the treaty. Five States had passed laws for the partial or
complete confiscation of such debts, and even after the treaty
Pennsylvania and Massachusetts passed similar Acts. As an offset, the
British minister in 1786 declared that the frontier posts would not be
surrendered so long as the obstacles to the collection of British debts
were left standing.

[Sidenote: The Spanish treaty.]

The only other power with which the United States desired commercial
relations without possessing them was Spain. The Eastern States were very
anxious to obtain privileges of trade. The Spanish were willing to grant
them, but made it a condition that the Americans should not have the right
of free navigation of the lower Mississippi. Jay, acting under the
instruction of Congress, in 1786 negotiated a treaty in which he agreed to
the Spanish conditions. Instantly the West was aroused, and violent
threats were made by the people of Kentucky and the adjacent region that
if that treaty went into effect they would withdraw from the Union. "The
tendency of the States," said Madison, a few months later, "to violations
of the laws of nations and treaties ... has been manifest.... The files of
Congress contain complaints already from almost every nation with which
treaties have been formed."


[Sidenote: The Confederation violated.]
[Sidenote: Danger of anarchy.]

The year 1786 marks a crisis in the development of the Union. The
inefficiency of Congress was reflected in the neglect of constitutional
duties by the States: Rhode Island recalled her delegates, and refused to
appoint new members; New Jersey felt so much injured by a New York tariff
that an act was passed taxing the lighthouse established by New York on
Sandy Hook; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia
already had raised troops on their own account and for their own purposes,
in violation of the Articles of Confederation. Davie, of North Carolina, a
little later declared that the "encroachments of some States on the rights
of others, and of all on those of the Confederation, are incontestable
proofs of the weakness and imperfections of that system." Of the
requisition of that year for $2,000,000 in specie, only about $400,000 was
paid. Some States offered their own depreciated notes, and New Jersey
refused to make any contribution until the offensive New York Acts were
withdrawn. In May, 1786, Charles Pinckney on the floor of Congress
declared that "Congress must be invested with more powers, or the federal
government must fall."


[Sidenote: Five percent scheme.]
[Sidenote: Revenue scheme.]

Before the Articles of Confederation had gone into effect, Congress had
already proposed a radical amendment; and within three years it suggested
two others. The first proposition, made February 3, 1781, was that the
States allow Congress to levy an import duty of five per cent, the
proceeds to be applied "to the discharge of the principal and interest of
the debts already contracted ... on the faith of the United States for
supporting the present war." In the course of about a year twelve States
had complied with this reasonable request. Rhode Island alone stood out,
and the plan failed. Forthwith Congress presented another financial
scheme, which was called a "general revenue plan." April 12, 1783, it
asked the States to allow Congress to lay low specific import duties for
twenty-five years, to be collected by officers appointed by the States.
The States were further recommended to lay some effective taxes, the
proceeds to be set aside for government requisitions. The effect was
precisely the same as before. Twelve States agreed; but the opposition of
New York prevented the first part of the plan from being carried out. Not
a single State had condescended to pay attention to the second request.

[Sidenote: Commerce amendment.]

Apparently abandoning any hope of an adequate revenue, Congress, on April
30, 1784, proposed a third amendment, that the States should permit it to
pass commercial laws discriminating against foreign powers which refused
to make commercial treaties. This was aimed at Great Britain. Washington
urged the measure in vigorous language. "We are," said he, "either a
united people, or we are not so. If the former, let us in all matters of
national concern act as a nation which has a national character to
support." Yet he could not bring even Virginia to agree to the plan, and
it quickly failed.

[Sidenote: Schemes of revision.]

A poor constitution, which could be amended only by unanimous vote, was
likely to stifle the nation. A few feeble suggestions were heard that the
experiment of republican government be given over; others urged that the
Americans be brought within one centralized government. Alexander Hamilton
would have established a government "controlling the internal police of
the States, and having a federal judiciary." Upon the last of his three
schemes, dated 1783, is written: "Intended to be submitted to Congress,
but abandoned for want of support." Even Washington's vastly greater
influence had no effect. In a circular letter to the governors, dated
June, 1783, he says: "It is indispensable to the happiness of the
individual States that there should be lodged somewhere a supreme power to
regulate and govern the general concerns of the confederated republic."
Yet not a State would take the initiative in reforming the constitution.

From 1784 to 1786 pamphlets began to appear in which more definite
suggestions were made for a new government. Pelatiah Webster proposed a
government with enlarged powers, and a legislature of two houses. "If they
disagree," said he, "let them sit still until they recover their good
humor." The method in which the new government was to enforce its powers
was put in a quaint and incisive form. "My principle is," said Webster,
"the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Every person ... who shall disobey
the supreme authority shall be answerable to Congress." The idea that the
constitution needed radical amendment had at last found a lodgment in the
public mind.




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--P. L. Ford, _Bibliography and Reference List of the
Constitution_; Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VII.
256-266; W. E. Foster, _References to the Constitution_, 15, 21; Channing
and Hart, _Guide_, §§ 154-156; A. B. Hart, _Federal Government_, §§ 38,

HISTORICAL MAPS.--As in § 48 above, § 69 below.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--J. B. McMaster, _People of the United States_, I.
416-524; R. Hildreth, _United States_, III. 482-546; T. Pitkin, _United
States_, II. 218-316; H. C. Lodge, _Washington_, II. ch. I.; J. Story,
_Commentaries_, §§ 272-372; J. Schouler, _United States_, I. 31-70; Geo.
Tucker, _United States_, I. 347-383; Justin Winsor, _Narrative and
Critical History_, VII. ch. iv.; H. Von Hoist, _Constitutional History_,
I. 47-63; J. S. Landon, _Constitutional History_, 59-96; F. A. Walker,
_Making of the Nation_, chs. ii., iii.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--G. T. Curtis, _Constitutional History, I. chs. xv.-
xxxvi. (_History of the Constitution_, III. 232-604); Geo. Bancroft,
_United States_, last revision, VI. 195-462 (_History of the
Constitution_, I. 267-278, II. 1-47, 144, 350); William C. Rives,
_James Madison_, II. 313-633; H. L. Carson, _One Hundredth Anniversary of
the Constitution_; J. B. McMaster, _Pennsylvania and the Federal
Constitution_; John Fiske, _Critical Period_, 183-350; S. H. Gay,
_Madison_, 88-127; J. C. Hamilton, _Republic_, III. 236-569; J. H.
Robinson, _Sources of the Constitution_; S. B. Harding, _Federal
Constitution in Massachusetts_; C. E. Stevens, _Sources of the
Constitution_; C. Borgeaud, _Adoption and Amendment of Constitutions_;
the various State histories.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--Journal of the Convention, Madison's notes,
Yates's notes, Luther Martin's letter, proceedings of State conventions,--
all in _Elliot's Debates_ (5 vols.); H. D. Gilpin, _Papers of James
Madison_, vols. II., III.; brief references in the works of Washington,
Madison, Hamilton, and Jefferson; letters in the biographies of Madison,
Hamilton, Rufus King, Gerry; _The Federalist_.--Reprints in P. L. Ford,
_Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States_, and _Essays on the
Constitution; American History told by Contemporaries_, III.; _Library of
American Literature_, VI.


[Sidenote: A convention suggested.]
[Sidenote: Annapolis Convention.]
[Sidenote: Action of Congress.]

That Congress did not possess the confidence of the country was evident
from the failure of all its amendments. It had, therefore, been suggested
first by Hamilton in 1780, later by Tom Paine in his widespread pamphlet
"Public Good," that a convention be specially summoned to revise the
Articles of Confederation. The initiative in the movement was finally
taken by the States. In 1786 the intolerable condition of internal
commerce caused Virginia to suggest to the sister States that a conference
be held at Annapolis. The few delegates who appeared separated, after
recommending that there be held "a convention of delegates from the
different States ... to devise such further provisions as shall appear to
them necessary to render the constitution of the federal government
adequate." Congress was no longer able to resist the movement: on Feb. 1,
1787, it resolved that a convention be held "for the sole and express
purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to
Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions
therein as shall, when agreed to by Congress and confirmed by the States,
render the federal government adequate to the exigencies of government and
the preservation of the union."

[Sidenote: Convention assembled.]

By May, 1787, delegates to the proposed convention had been chosen in all
the States except New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Many of the ablest and
most experienced public men were included. Among them were Francis Dana
and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, Alexander Hamilton of New York,
Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and James Madison and George Washington
of Virginia. The convention was the most distinguished body which had ever
assembled in America; if its work could not command public confidence,
there was no hope for the Union.


[Sidenote: Task of the convention.]

When on May 25, 1787, the convention assembled at Philadelphia, its task,
under the call of Congress, was limited to the preparation of amendments
to the old Confederation. The first formal resolution to which it came
after organization reads as follows: "That a national government ought to
be established, consisting of a supreme legislature, executive, and
judiciary." The convention from the beginning was evidently resolved to
recommend a new, elaborate, and powerful form of government. The key to
this action is found in the history of the twelve years from 1775 to 1787.
The country had tried a revolutionary, irresponsible, form of government,
and it had not worked well. It had tried a union of sovereign States;
neither the Union nor the States had prospered. The time had come to
change the government in form, in powers, and in the means of carrying out
its powers. The States must be held to their duties; Congress must be
restrained; local quarrels must cease; revenue must be secured, commerce
protected, and treaties guaranteed; the West must be saved, and
insurrections put down. The first duty of the convention was to repair the
errors of the Confederation.

[Sidenote: Want of authority.]

Americans have become accustomed to look upon the Constitution as a kind
of political revelation; the members of the convention themselves felt no
sense of strength or inspiration. They had no authority of their own.
Their work must be submitted for the ratification of States which had been
unable to agree upon a single modification of the articles. They must
encounter the jealousy of Congress and the prejudices of the people. While
the convention sat, a rumor went abroad that they would report in favor of
a monarchy.

In order to bring the discussion to a focus, the Virginia delegates had
agreed upon a plan drawn by Madison, who had been in communication with
Washington; it was presented by Edmund Randolph. This plan in the end
formed the basis of the constitution as adopted.

[Sidenote: Divisions.]

No sooner had debate actually begun than the convention proved to be
divided into many factions. Some members, like Patterson, were on
principle opposed to a strong government; others, like Hamilton, desired
to break down the State boundaries, and to create a centralized republic.
Still more distinct was the opposition between the large States and the
small: the former inclined to a representation based on population; the
latter insisted that the States should be equal units. Again, the trading
States--New England, New York, and Maryland--were inclined to grant large
powers over commerce; the agricultural States, particularly Virginia,
wished to see commerce regulated still by the States in part. Another line
of division was between the slaveholding and the non-slaveholding States;
here the champions were Massachusetts on one side, and South Carolina on
the other. Throughout the convention these various elements combined and
recombined as their interests seemed affected. Although there were no
permanent parties, the members of which regularly voted together, there
was disagreement and disappointment from the beginning to the end.


[Sidenote: American experience.]

Another popular delusion with regard to the Constitution is that it was
created out of nothing; or, as Mr. Gladstone puts it, that "It is the
greatest work ever struck off at any one time by the mind and purpose of
man." The radical view on the other side is expressed by Sir Henry Maine,
who informs us that the "Constitution of the United States is a modified
version of the British Constitution ... which was in existence between
1760 and 1787." The real source of the Constitution is the experience of
Americans. They had established and developed admirable little
commonwealths in the colonies; since the beginning of the Revolution they
had had experience of State governments organized on a different basis
from the colonial; and, finally, they had carried on two successive
national governments, with which they had been profoundly discontented.
The general outline of the new Constitution seems to be English; it was
really colonial. The President's powers of military command, of
appointment, and of veto were similar to those of the colonial governor.
National courts were created on the model of colonial courts. A
legislature of two houses was accepted because such legislatures had been
common in colonial times. In the English Parliamentary system as it
existed before 1760 the Americans had had no share; the later English
system of Parliamentary responsibility was not yet developed, and had
never been established in colonial governments; and they expressly
excluded it from their new Constitution.

[Sidenote: State experience.]

They were little more affected by the experience of other European
nations. Just before they assembled, Madison drew up an elaborate abstract
of ancient, mediæval, and existing federal governments, of which he sent a
copy to Washington. It is impossible to trace a single clause of the
Constitution to any suggestion in this paper. The chief source of the
details of the Constitution was the State constitutions and laws then in
force. Thus the clause conferring a suspensive veto on the President is an
almost literal transcript from the Massachusetts constitution. In fact,
the principal experiment in the Constitution was the establishment of an
electoral college; and of all parts of the system this has worked least as
the framers expected. The Constitution represents, therefore, the
accumulated experience of the time; its success is due to the wisdom of
the members in selecting out of the mass of colonial and State
institutions those which were enduring,

[Sidenote: Novelties.]

The real boldness of the Constitution is the novelty of the federal system
which it set up. For the first time in history an elaborate written
constitution was applied to a federation; and the details were so
skilfully arranged that the instrument framed for thirteen little
agricultural communities works well for forty-four large and populous
States. A second novelty was a system of federal courts skilfully brought
into harmony with the State judiciary. Even here we see an effect of the
twelve years experience of imperfect federation. The convention knew how
to select institutions that would stand together; it also knew how to
reject what would have weakened the structure.


[Sidenote: State sovereignty.]

It was a long time before a compromise between the discordant elements
could be reached. To declare the country a centralized nation was to
destroy the traditions of a century and a half: to leave it an assemblage
of States, each claiming independence and sovereignty, was to throw away
the results of the Revolution. The convention finally agreed that while
the Union should be endowed with adequate powers, the States should retain
all powers not specifically granted, and particularly the right to
regulate their own internal affairs.

[Sidenote: Representation of States.]

The next great question all but led to the breaking up of the convention.
The New Hampshire delegate had not yet appeared, and Rhode Island was
never represented in the convention; the large states had therefore a
majority of one. On June 13 it was voted that the ratio of representation
in both branches of the legislature should be in proportion to the
population. Two days later, Patterson of New Jersey brought forward a plan
satisfactory to the small States, by which the old plan of vote by States
was to be retained, and the Confederation practically continued. For many
days the two parties were unable to agree; the crisis was so serious that
on June 28 Franklin, who was not renowned for piety, moved that
thenceforward the sessions be opened with prayer. The deadlock was finally
broken by the so-called Connecticut Compromise, adopted July 7: equal
representation was to be preserved in the upper house, and proportional
representation was to be granted in the lower.

[Sidenote: Representation of slaves.]

When it was proposed to levy taxes on the same basis, the Southern members
objected that their negroes were not equal to freemen as producers of
wealth. On July 12, the matter was adjusted by a compromise: the
Southerners agreed to count slaves only at three fifths of their number,
in apportioning both representatives and direct taxes. Since direct taxes
have been but three times assessed in the history of the United States,
the practical advantage was on the side of the North.

[Sidenote: Slave trade.]

It was otherwise in the third difficult question. Near the end of the
convention the commercial and the agricultural States came into a
disagreement. New England was anxious that Congress should have power to
pass Acts protecting American shipping; on the other hand, the South
desired to continue the slave-trade. Pinckney declared that "South
Carolina can never receive the plan if it prohibits the slave-trade;" and
Sherman of Connecticut cynically remarked, "The slave-trade is iniquitous;
but inasmuch as the point of representation was settled, he should not
object." On August 24 a third compromise left to Congress the power of
passing Navigation Acts, but forbade it to prohibit the slave-trade during
twenty years.


[Sidenote: Difficult questions.]

These difficult points out of the way, the convention arranged the details
of the new government. One of the principal minor questions was the method
of presidential election. Many members inclined towards an executive
council; instead, it was agreed that there should be a President elected
by Congress; but almost at the last moment, on September 7, the better
plan of indirect election by the people was adopted. At one time the
convention had agreed that Congress should have the right of veto upon
State laws; it was abandoned, and instead was introduced a clause that the
Constitution should be the supreme law of the land, and powerful courts
were created to construe the law.

[Sidenote: Simplicity of the Constitution.]

In making up the list of the powers of Congress, the convention used brief
but comprehensive terms. Thus all the difficulties arising out of the
unfriendly commercial legislation of States, and their institution, with
foreign treaties, were removed by the simple clause: "The Congress shall
have Power ... to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the
several States, and with the Indian Tribes." The great question of
taxation was settled by fourteen words: "The Congress shall have Power ...
To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises."

[Sidenote: Omissions.]

In a few respects the Constitution was deficient. It did not profess to be
all-comprehensive, for the details of the government were to be worked out
in later statutes. There was, however, no provision for future annexations
of territory. No safeguards were provided for the proper appointment and
removal of public officers. The growth of corporations was not foreseen,
and no distinct power was conferred upon Congress either to create or to
regulate them. Above all, the convention was obliged to leave untouched
the questions connected with slavery which later disrupted the Union.

[Sidenote: The work finished.]

On Sept. 17, 1787, the convention finished its work. To the eloquent and
terse phraseology of Gouverneur Morris we owe the nervous English of the
great instrument. As the members were affixing their signatures, Franklin
remarked, pointing to the picture of a sun painted behind the President's
chair: "I have often and often,... in the vicissitudes of my hopes and
fears, looked ... without being able to tell whether it was rising or
setting; but now, at length, I have the happiness to know that it is a
rising and not a setting sun."


[Sidenote: Action of Congress.]
[Sidenote: Action of legislatures.]

The text of the Constitution was printed and rapidly distributed
throughout the Union. It was still but a lifeless draft, and before it
could become an instrument of government the approving action of Congress,
of the legislatures, and of State conventions was necessary. Congress, on
Sept. 28, 1787, unanimously resolved that the Constitution be transmitted
to State legislatures. The federal convention had determined that the
consideration of its work should not depend, like the Articles of
Confederation, upon the slow and unwilling humor of the legislatures, but
that in each State a convention should be summoned solely to express the
will of the State upon the acceptance of the Constitution. It had further
avoided the rock upon which had been wrecked the amendments proposed by
Congress; when nine State conventions should have ratified the
Constitution, it was to take effect for those nine. On the same day that
Congress in New York was passing its resolution, the Pennsylvania
legislature in Philadelphia was fixing the day for the election of
delegates; all the State legislatures followed, except in Rhode Island.

[Sidenote: The Constitution attacked.]

The next six months was a period of great anxiety and of national danger.
The Constitution was violently attacked in every part of the Union: the
President, it was urged, would be a despot, the House of Representatives a
corporate tyrant, the Senate an oligarchy. The large States protested that
Delaware and Rhode Island would still neutralize the votes of Virginia and
Massachusetts in the Senate. The federal courts were said to be an
innovation. It was known that there had been great divisions in the
convention, and that several influential members had left, or at the last
moment had refused to sign. "The people of this commonwealth," said
Patrick Henry, "are exceedingly uneasy in being brought from that state of
full security which they enjoyed, to the present delusive appearance of
things." A special objection was made to the lack of a bill of rights,
such as existed in State constitutions. The reply was that the framers of
the Constitution had deliberately omitted it because Congress was in no
case to have powers not conferred upon it by the Constitution. The
argument was not conclusive: Rev. Mr. Caldwell, in the North Carolina
convention, declared that "unalienable rights ought not to be given up if
not necessary;" and another member of the same convention objected that
"if there be no religious test required, Pagans, Deists, and Mahometans
might obtain offices, And ... the senators and representatives might all
be pagans." It was even suggested as a serious danger that the Pope of
Rome might eventually be elected president.

[Sidenote: Federalists and Antifederalists.]

The friends of the measure, in order to deprecate the charge that they
aimed at centralization, took upon themselves the name of Federalists.
Their opponents called themselves antifederalists, corresponded with each
other, and formed a short-lived national party. A shower of pamphlets on
both sides fell upon the country. Of these the most famous and most
efficacious was the "Federalist," successive numbers of which were
contributed by Hamilton, Madison, and John Jay. With a calmness of spirit,
a lucidity of style, and a power of logic which make it to this day one of
the most important commentaries on the Constitution, the "Federalist"
strove to show that the Constitution was safe for the people and
advantageous for the States.

66. STATE CONVENTIONS (1787, 1788).

[Sidenote: First nine states.]

As the State conventions assembled, the excitement grew more intense. Four
States alone contained within a few thousands of half the population of
the Union: they were Massachusetts, Virginia, New York, and North
Carolina. In the convention of each of these States there was opposition
strong and stubborn; one of them--North Carolina--adjourned without
action; in the other three, ratification was obtained with extreme
difficulty and by narrow majorities.

The first State to come under the "New Roof," as the Constitution was
popularly called, was Delaware. In rapid succession followed Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, Georgia, and Connecticut. In Massachusetts, the sixth State,
there was a hard fight; the spirit of the Shays Rebellion was still alive;
the opposition of Samuel Adams was only overcome by showing him that he
was in the minority; John Hancock was put out of the power to interfere by
making him the silent president of the convention. It was suggested that
Massachusetts ratify on condition that a long list of amendments be
adopted by the new government: the friends of the Constitution pointed out
that the plan was simply to ratify a part of the Constitution and to
reject the rest; each succeeding State would insist on a list of
amendments, and the whole work must be done over. Feb. 6, 1788, the
enthusiastic people of Boston knew that the convention, by a vote of 187
to 167, had ratified the Constitution; the amendments being added, not as
a condition, but as a suggestion. Maryland, South Carolina, and New
Hampshire brought the number up to nine.

[Sidenote: Virginia and New York.]

Before the ninth ratification was known, the fight had been won also in
Virginia. Among the champions of the Constitution were Madison, Edmund
Randolph, and John Marshall. James Monroe argued against the system of
election which was destined twice to make him President. In spite of the
determined opposition of Patrick Henry, and in spite of a proposition to
ratify with amendments, the convention accepted. New York still held off.
Her acquiescence was geographically necessary; and Alexander Hamilton, by
the power of his eloquence and his reason, changed the vote of a hostile
convention and added the eleventh State.


[Sidenote: The old Congress.]

During the session of the convention in Philadelphia Congress had
continued to sit in New York, and the Northwest Ordinance was passed at
this time (§ 52). On Sept. 13, 1788 Congress voted that the Constitution
had been ratified, and that elections should proceed for the officers of
the new government, which was to go into operation the first Wednesday in
March, 1789.

[Sidenote: Seat of government.]
[Sidenote: Congress expires.]

Since Congress and the President must meet somewhere, it became the duty
of the old Congress to fix, at least temporarily, the seat of government,
Trenton, Lancaster, Princeton, and New York were suggested. Baltimore was
voted; then, with its usual inconsistency, two days later Congress voted
for New York. An attempt was made to settle the accounts of Congress; but
all that could be ascertained was that they were in great confusion, and
that vouchers had not yet been turned in for the expenditure of large
sums. On October 23 is the last official record: "Two States attended."
During the next five months the only evidences of national life were the
perfunctory service of a few executive officers, the feeble movements of
the army, now reduced to about six hundred men, and the steady
accumulation of unpaid interest.

[Sidenote: Rhode Island and North Carolina.]

What, meantime, was the situation of the two States, Rhode Island and
North Carolina, which had not ratified the Constitution, and which were,
therefore, not entitled to take part in the elections? They had in 1781
entered into a constitution which was to be amended only by unanimous
consent; their consent was refused; legally they had a right to insist on
the continuance of the old Congress. The new Constitution was, strictly
speaking, unconstitutional; it had been ratified by a process unknown to
law. The situation was felt to be delicate, and the States were for the
time being left to themselves. North Carolina came into the Union by a
ratification of Nov. 21, 1789. It was suggested that the trade of States
which did not recognize Congress should be cut off, and Rhode Island
yielded. May 19, 1790, her ratification completed the Union.


[Sidenote: The Constitution irregular.]

The third attempt to form an organic union was now successfully carried
out. The irregular authority of the Continental Congress had been replaced
by the legal but inefficient Confederation; to this was now to succeed an
organized government, complete in all its departments, and well endowed
with powers. How had this Constitution been adopted? What was the
authority which had taken upon itself to diminish the powers of the
States, and to disregard the clauses which required unanimous consent to
amendments? Was the new Constitution an agreement between eleven States,
or was it an instrument of government for the whole people? Upon this
question depends the whole discussion about the nature of the Union and
the right of secession.

[Sidenote: Compact theory.]

The first theory is that the Constitution was a compact made between
sovereign States. Thus Hayne in 1830 declared that "Before the
Constitution each state was an independent sovereignty, possessing all the
rights and powers appertaining to independent nations.... After the
Constitution was formed, they remained equally sovereign and independent
as to all powers not expressly delegated to the federal government.... The
true nature of the Federal Constitution, therefore, is ... a compact to
which the States are parties." The importance of the word "compact" is
that it means an agreement which loses its force when any one of the
parties ceases to observe it; a compact is little more than a treaty.
Those who framed the Constitution appeared to consider it no compact; for
on May 30, 1787, Mr. Randolph moved that "-no treaty or treaties among the
whole or part of the States, as individual sovereignties, would be
sufficient." In fact, the reason for the violent opposition to the
ratification of the Constitution was that when once ratified, the States
could not withdraw from it.

[Sidenote: Constitution theory.]

Another view is presented by Webster in his reply to Hayne: "It is, sir,
the people's Constitution, the people's government, made for the people,
made by the people, and answerable to the people. The people of the United
States have declared that this Constitution shall be the supreme law." It
is plain that the Constitution does not rest simply upon the consent of
the majority of the nation. No popular vote was taken or thought of; each
act of ratification set forth that it proceeded from a convention of the
people of a State.

[Sidenote: Basis of the Constitution.]

The real nature of the new Constitution appears in the light of the
previous history of the country. The Articles of Confederation had been a
compact. One of the principal reasons why the Confederation was weak was
that there was no way of compelling the States to perform their duties.
The new Constitution was meant to be stronger and more permanent. The
Constitution was, then, not a compact, but an instrument of government
similar in its origin to the constitutions of the States. The difference
was that, by general agreement, it was not to take effect until it was
shown that in at least nine States the people were willing to live under
it. Whatever the defects of the Confederation, however humiliating its
weakness to our national pride, it had performed an indispensable service;
it had educated the American people to the point where they were willing
to accept a permanent federal union. As the "Federalist" put it, "A nation
without a national government is an awful spectacle."




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 1-5; _References to the Constitution_, 18, 19; Justin
Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VII. 299-309, 323-329, 413-418,
446, 454, VIII. App.; P. L. Ford, _Bibliotheca Hamiltonia_; Channing and
Hart, _Guide_, §§ 157-161.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1 and 3, this volume, and No. 1 in W. Wilson,
_Division and Reunion_ (_Epoch Maps_, Nos. 6, 7, and 8); T. MacCoun,
_Historical Geography_; Scribner, _Statistical Atlas_, Plate 13.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--J. B. McMaster, _People of the United States_, I.
525-604, II. 1-88; R. Hildreth, _United States_, IV. 25-410; J. Schouler,
_United States_, I. 74-220; H. Von Holst, _Constitutional History_, I. 64-
111; T. Pitkin, _Political and Civil History_, II. 317-355; Gen. Tucker,
_United States_, I. 384-503; J. S. Landon, _Constitutional History_, 97-
119; Bryant and Gay, _Popular History_, IV. 100-123.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--George Gibbs, _Memoirs of the Administrations of
Washington and Adams_, I. 28-88; J. C. Hamilton, _History of the
Republic_, IV.; W. G. Sumner, _Alexander Hamilton_; H. C. Adams,
_Taxation in the United States_ (1789-1816); W. G. Sumner, _Financier and
Finances of the American Revolution_, II. chs. xvii.-xxxii.; J. T. Morse,
_Life of Hamilton_, I. chs. vii.-xii.; M. P. Follet, _Speaker_; H. C.
Lodge, _Hamilton_, 88-152, and _Washington_, II. 1-128; J. T. Morse, _John
Adams_, 241-264, and _Jefferson_, 96-145; S. H. Gay, _Madison_, 128-192.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--W. Maclay, _Journal_ (1789-1791) (a racy account
of the Senate in the First Congress); Thomas Jefferson, _Anas_, in
_Works_, ix. 87-185 (confessedly made up twenty-five years later); William
Sullivan, _Familiar Letters on Public Characters_, 36-47 (written in reply
to Jefferson); Joel Barlow, _Vision of Columbus_, 1787 (an epic poem);
correspondence in works of Washington, Hamilton, Madison, Jefferson, and
John Jay; newspapers, especially the _Columbian Centinel_, _Gazette of the
United States_, _National Gazette_.--Reprints in _American History told
by Contemporaries_, III.


[Sidenote: Boundary questions.]

What were the physical, social, and political conditions under which the
new government was to be established? In 1789 the exterior boundaries of
the country were loosely defined by treaty (§ 46), but were not yet marked
out, and there were several serious controversies. From the mouth of the
St, Croix River to the head of the Connecticut the boundary was in
confusion, and no progress had been made towards settling it. The water-
line through the St. Lawrence and the Lakes was still unadjusted. It was
found that the headwaters of the Mississippi lay to the south of the Lake
of the Woods, so that there was a gap on the northwest. On the south Spain
disputed the right of Great Britain to establish the boundary, insisted
that her own undoubted settlements lay within the territory claimed by the
United States, and declined to grant the free navigation of the lower
Mississippi to the sea. Still more humiliating was the presence of British
garrisons at Fort Niagara, Detroit, and other points within the undisputed
boundaries of the United States.

[Sidenote: Interior boundaries.]

The interior boundaries of the country were in a like unsettled condition.
Neither North Carolina nor Georgia had yielded up their western claims (§
52). Vermont had not yet been recognized by New York as outside of her
jurisdiction, and the Western Reserve lay along the southern shore of Lake
Erie as an outlying part of Connecticut. No territorial government had
been established for the Northwest territory, although settlement had
begun to pour in. The southern territory was in complete confusion:
Kentucky and the Tennessee valley were practically independent
communities; and Georgia claimed the whole region south of them.


[Sidenote: Population.]

A census taken in 1790 gives us the number of inhabitants as a little
under 4,000,000. Of these, 750,000--nearly one-fifth of the whole
population--were negroes. Of the 3,170,000 whites, the ancestors of eight-
tenths were probably English, and most of the others spoke English and
were a homogeneous part of the community. Counting by sections, the States
north of Maryland had a population of 1,968,000, and those south of
Pennsylvania had 1,925,000; the States which were to be permanently slave-
holding contained, therefore, a population about equal to that of New
England and the Middle States. Only a small part of this population was to
be found west of the mountains. Settlement was working into central New
York, southwest Pennsylvania, the neighboring parts of Virginia, and the
upper waters of the Tennessee; but the only considerable western community
was in Kentucky. These distant settlers had an important influence on the
Union, since they lay within easy reach of the Spanish settlements, and
occasionally threatened to withdraw.

[Sidenote: Intellectual life.]

The intellectual life of the people was little developed. Schools had not
sensibly improved since colonial times. The graduating classes of all the
colleges in 1789 count up to about 170. There were but two schools of
medicine in the country, and no regular school of law. In one department
of literature alone were the Americans eminent: the state papers of public
men such as Washington, Hamilton, and Jefferson are written with the force
and directness of the best school of English. Poetry there was; its
character may be judged by a single quotation from Barlow's "Vision of
Columbus," a favorite epic, published in 1787:--

  "There stood stern Putnam, seamed with many a scar,
  The veteran honours of an earlier war;
  Undaunted Stirling, dreadful to his foes,
  And Gates and Sullivan to vengeance rose;
  While brave McDougall, steady and sedate,
  Stretched the nerved arm to ope the scene of fate."

[Sidenote: Economic conditions.]

In economic conditions the United States were little more advanced than
had been the colonies. The country abounded in natural resources: timber
clad the whole Appalachian range, and spread far into the Mississippi
valley; the virgin soil, and particularly the rich and untouched prairies
of the West, were an accumulation of unmeasured wealth. Yet it was little
easier to get from the sea to Lake Erie or to the Ohio than it had been
forty years before. It seemed impossible that a country could be held
together when it was so large that a courier might be two months on his
way from the seat of government to the most distant frontier; and
Jefferson predicted that it would be a thousand years before the country
would be thickly settled as far west as the Mississippi. The chief
resource of the country was agriculture; almost every State raised its own
food, and there were considerable exports, particularly of wheat and
flour. Manufactures were chiefly imported from England, the only widely
known American industry being the distilling of New England rum. The chief
source of wealth was still commerce; in 1790 the exports and imports were
about twenty million dollars each, or five dollars per head of the
population. The movement of vessels to foreign ports was tolerably free,
but the vexatious restrictions and taxes imposed by England tended to
throw an undue part of the profit into the hands of the English merchants.
Business of every kind was much hampered by the want of bank capital and
by the state of the currency.


[Sidenote: Current political theories.]

The chief intellectual interest of the people was in politics. The State
and the national constitutions both protected freedom of speech, and
Americans were accustomed freely to discuss public men and public
measures. Public opinion was, however, created by a comparatively small
number of persons,--the leading planters of the South, merchants and great
families in the Middle States, the gentlemen and clergy in New England.
Already two different schools of political thought had appeared. The one
is typified by John Adams's elaborate work, "The Defence of the American
Constitutions," published in 1787. "The rich, the well-born, and the
able," he says, "... must be separated from the mass and placed by
themselves in a senate." The leading spirit in the other school was Thomas
Jefferson. He wrote in 1787: "I am persuaded that the good sense of the
people will always be found the best army. They may be led astray for a
moment, but will soon correct themselves." The accepted principle of
republican government was nevertheless that there should be a limited
number of voters, following the lead of experienced statesmen of a higher
social class.

[Sidenote: Political methods.]

A few symptoms of a change in political methods were visible. In 1788 a
nominating convention was held in Harrisburg; this method of selecting
candidates by representatives of the voters of their party was rapidly
extended. In 1789 the secret Columbian Order, or Tammany Society, was
formed in New York. At first benevolent and literary, the correspondent of
the Massachusetts Historical Society, by 1800 it had become a political
organization and was controlling local elections. In several States, and
particularly in New York, factions had grown up about leading families of
public men; in a few years they became political machines subject to the
direction of a few leaders. Buying of votes was almost unknown, but there
was much disorder at elections.

[Sidenote: Respect for authority.]

In many respects both the State and national governments were weak. The
legislatures had, during the Revolution, been accustomed to ride roughshod
over the minority, and they were still inclined to grant charters and
privileges only to party friends; Federalist legislatures would charter
only Federalist banks. Americans enjoyed their individual liberty, but
resented the use of force either for collecting taxes or for upholding the
authority of government; and the States were not accustomed unhesitatingly
to accept the action of Congress. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxon
respect for law was recovering from the shock of the Revolution. There was
a strong feeling of loyalty to the State governments, and the beginning of
national interest and patriotism. By common consent the new Constitution
was put quietly into effect by those who expected its success.


[Sidenote: First congressional election.]

The first step in the organization of the government was to elect senators
and representatives. The Senate was small, and was expected to be a kind
of executive council. In due time John Adams was chosen vice-president,
and became chairman. The Senate sat for several years in secret session;
but from the journal of William Maclay, senator from Pennsylvania, we
learn many interesting details, and know that the casting vote of the
chairman was often necessary to settle important questions. The time and
manner of electing members of the House was left to the States. In some
cases all the members from a State were elected on one general ticket; in
others the State was divided into districts. Among the distinguished
members were Theodore Sedgwick and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts,
Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut, and James Madison of Virginia. From the
first, the custom obtained that a member of the House should be a resident
of the district from which he was chosen.

[Sidenote: Organization of Congress.]

The House organized April 6. In the Speaker appeared an officer until now
unknown in the Federal system. At first he was only a moderator; after
about a year he was given the power to appoint committees; and from that
time dates the growth of those powers which have made him second in
influence only to the President of the United States. The procedure was
modelled partly on that of the old Congress, and partly upon that of the
State legislatures: it is noticeable, however, that the system of
permanent committees so familiar during the previous twelve years was not
immediately readopted; It began to come in about 1794. The first act on
the statute book was passed June 1, 1789, and prescribed a form of oath.
Congress voted itself a moderate per diem of six dollars. The only other
important question relative to the form of Congress was that of
apportionment. On April 5, 1792, a bill allotting the members of the House
to the States was the subject of the first executive veto.

[Sidenote: Amendments.]

One important function was performed before Congress adjourned, by
submitting to the States twelve amendments to the Constitution. These were
made up by comparison of the propositions submitted by the States at the
time of ratification, and practically constituted a brief bill of rights.
In due time all but two unimportant clauses were ratified by the States,
and the great objection to the Constitution was thus removed.

The importance of the First Congress was that the general forms adopted
for the transaction of its business have continued without serious change
to the present day. Its officers have increased, its powers have
developed, its political importance has expanded; but its parliamentary
procedure is still much the same as in 1789.


[Sidenote: The first President.]

While the senators and representatives were being selected, Presidential
electors were also chosen in all the eleven States except New York. The
States exercised their constitutional discretion: in some the electors
were chosen by the legislatures, in others by general ticket, and in
others by districts. In one thing they agreed: when quorums of both houses
were obtained, so that the votes could be counted, April 6, 1789, it was
found that every elector had cast a ballot for George Washington. On April
30 he took the oath of office in Federal Hall on Wall Street, New York,
and Maclay records for the benefit of posterity that "he was dressed in
deep brown, with metal buttons with an eagle on them, white stockings, a
bag, and sword." As the presidency was an entirely new office, there was
much difficulty and some squabbling over the details of his place. The
question of title was raised; and it was understood that Washington would
have liked to be called "His High Mightiness, the President of the United
States and Protector of their Liberties." No action was taken, and the
simple title of "Mr. President" was by common consent adopted.

[Sidenote: Executive departments.]
[Sidenote: Treasury Department.]

The duties of the President were clearly defined by the Constitution. It
now became necessary to make some provision for subordinate executive
officers. Here for the first time the importance of the legislation of the
First Congress is visible. They had it in their power to put flesh and
blood upon the dry bones of the Constitution: they might surround the
President with a vigorous, active, and well-centred body of subordinates;
or they might go back to the practice of the old Congress, and create
executive officers who should be practically the servants of Congress.
They resolved to trust the President. The first executive department to be
established was the Department of Foreign Affairs, of which the name was a
little latter changed to the Department of State. In due time Thomas
Jefferson was appointed Secretary of State; among his successors have been
John Marshall, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay,
Martin Van Buren, Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, James Buchanan, and
William H, Seward. The War Department bill passed August 7, and Henry
Knox, who had been the head of the army under the old system, was
reappointed. In establishing the Treasury Department a strong effort was
made to create a Secretary of the Treasury as an agent of Congress rather
than as the officer of the President. The details of the office were
therefore carefully regulated by the statute, and specific duties were
assigned to the Secretary. He was, however, appointed by the President,
and the question was raised whether he was also removable by the
President. The Senate insisted that the removal should not be valid
without its approval; the House insisted that the President should be
unrestrained by the casting vote of the Vice-President the latter system
was adopted. The first Secretary of the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton.

[Sidenote: Relations with Congress.]

Then came the question of the relations of cabinet officers to Congress.
Maclay records that on August 22, 1790, the President appeared in the
Senate with Knox, and intimated that the Secretary of War would explain a
proposed Indian treaty. The only remark that Knox seems to have made was:
"Not till Saturday next;" but Maclay was convinced that he was there "to
overawe the timid and neutral part of the Senate." With some displeasure,
the Senate referred the matter to a committee. Hamilton desired an
opportunity to address the House; but it was not accorded, nor does it
appear that the privilege has ever been granted to any cabinet officer.
Knox's speech is the nearest approach to the Parliamentary system which
has been known in Congress.


[Sidenote: The Judiciary Act.]

By the Constitution there was to be a supreme court and such inferior
courts as Congress should create. By the Act of Sept. 24, 1789 the federal
judicial system was organized substantially as it now stands. Following
the precedent of some of the States, two grades of inferior courts were
created,--the district and the circuit. The judicial business of the
country was small, and for the time being the supreme justices were to
hold the circuit courts. Prosecuting officers and marshals were appointed,
and here is to be found the germ of the present system of limited terms
for public officials: they were to have commissions which should run four
years; it seems to have been tacitly understood that they would be
reappointed. A few brief clauses defined the manner in which suits could
be appealed from the State courts to the national. This statute has made
it possible to apply federal law in the same way throughout the Union:
errors of construction, and divergencies of judgment involving the
national Constitution, laws, and treaties, are corrected through this
power of appeal to one central supreme tribunal. A little later an Act was
passed defining crimes against the United States. The courts were speedily
organized, and John Jay of New York was made the first chief justice.

[Sidenote: Important decisions.]

For a few years no important decisions were made by the court; but in
February, 1793, a suit was entertained against the State of Georgia; soon
after, one was entered against the State of Massachusetts. Georgia replied
by passing a statute punishing with death any United States marshal who
might attempt to serve a process upon her. Massachusetts urged the passing
of an eleventh constitutional amendment; it was duly adopted in 1798, and
prohibited suits before a federal court against a State, by a citizen of
another State or of a foreign country.


[Sidenote: Revenue scheme.]

The first necessity of the new government was to lay the taxes authorized
under the new Constitution for its own support, for the payment of
interest, and eventually for sinking the principal of the public debt. Two
days after the House organized, Madison introduced a scheme, which
eventually passed into the first tariff act. On May 13, 1789, after
agreeing to a duty on "looking-glasses and brushes," it was moved to lay a
tax of ten dollars each on imported slaves. A Georgia member protested
against the tax as intended for the benefit of Virginia, and "hoped
gentlemen would have some feeling for others;" the proposition failed.

[Sidenote: Question of protection.]

Another amendment, however, raised the most important political question
connected with taxation. April 9, 1789, a Pennsylvania member wished to
increase the list of dutiable articles, so as "to encourage the
productions of our country and to protect our infant manufactures." A
South Carolina member at once objected. Two days later a petition from
Baltimore manufacturers asked Congress to impose on "all foreign articles
which can be made in America such duties as will give a just and decided
preference to our labors." New England opposed the proposed duties because
molasses, hemp, and flax were included; molasses was a "raw material" for
the manufacture of rum; and hemp and flax were essential for the cordage
of New England ships. Lee of Virginia moved to strike out the duty on
steel, since a supply could not be furnished within the United States, and
he thought it an "oppressive, though indirect, tax on agriculture."

[Sidenote: The first tariff.]

The act as passed July 4, 1789, bore the title of "An Act for the
encouragement and protection of manufactures;" yet the highest ad valorem
duty was fifteen per cent. To be sure, the high rates of freight at that
time afforded a very large additional protection; but no general revenue
act ever passed by Congress has imposed so low a scale of duties.

[Sidenote: Hamilton's scheme.]

By the time the revenue had begun to come in under this Act, Secretary
Hamilton had worked out in his mind a general financial system, intended
to raise the credit and to strengthen the authority of the Union. The
first step was to provide a sufficient revenue to pay running expenses and
interest. Finding that the first tariff produced too little revenue, in
1790 and again in 1792 it was slightly increased, at Hamilton's
suggestion. The second part of his scheme was to lay an excise, an
internal duty upon distilled spirits. In 1791 a tax, in its highest form
but twenty-five cents a gallon, was laid on spirits distilled from foreign
or domestic materials. The actual amount of revenue from this source was
always small; but Hamilton expected that the people in the interior would
thus become accustomed to federal officers and to federal law. The effect
of the revenue Acts was quickly visible: in 1792 the annual revenue of the
government had risen to $3,600,000.

77. NATIONAL AND STATE DEBTS (1789, 1790).

[Sidenote: The debt funded.]

The third part of Hamilton's scheme was to fund the national debt into one
system of bonds, and to pay the interest. When he assumed control of the
Treasury he found, as nearly as could be calculated, ten millions of
foreign debt with about two millions of accrued interest, and twenty-nine
millions of domestic debt with eleven millions of accrued interest,--a
total of more than fifty-two millions. So far as there was any sale for
United States securities they had fallen to about twenty-five per cent of
their par value. Jan. 14, 1790, Hamilton submitted one of a series of
elaborate financial reports; it called on Congress to make such provision
for principal and interest as would restore confidence. By this time an
opposition had begun to rise against the great secretary, and Madison
proposed to inquire in each case what the holder of a certificate of debt
had paid for it; he was to be reimbursed in that amount, and the balance
of the principal was to be paid to the original holder. Hamilton pointed
out that in order to place future loans the Treasury must assure the
public that bonds would be paid in full to the person holding a legal
title. Congress accepted Hamilton's view, and an act was passed by which
the interest was to be promptly paid, and an annual sum to be set apart
for the redemption of the principal. The securities of the United States
instantly began to rise, and in 1793 they were quoted at par. The credit
of the government was reestablished.

[Sidenote: Assumption proposed.]

Now came a fourth part of Hamilton's scheme, upon which he laid great
stress: he proposed that the outstanding State debts should likewise be
taken over by the general government. The argument was that the States had
incurred their debts for the common purpose of supporting the Revolution.
There was strong opposition, particularly from States like Virginia, which
had extinguished the greater part of their own debt. The House showed a
bare majority in favor of the assumption project; on the appearance of
members from North Carolina, which had just entered the Union, that
majority was, on April 12, 1790, reversed.

[Sidenote: The seat of government.]
[Sidenote: Compromise.]

Meanwhile the old question of the permanent seat of the federal government
had been revived, and, as in the days of the Confederation, it seemed
impossible to agree. It was expected that the capital would lie somewhere
in the Northern States; at one time Germantown was all but selected. The
Virginia members suddenly took fire, and Lee declared that "he was averse
to sound alarms or introduce terror into the House, but if they were well
founded he thought it his duty;" and Jackson of Georgia declared that
"this will blow the coals of sedition and injure the Union." The matter
was laid over until the middle of 1790. It was evident that the friends of
assumption were in a small minority, and the friends of a Northern capital
in a small majority. Hamilton worked upon Jefferson to secure a
compromise. The matter was adjusted at Jefferson's table: a few Northern
votes were obtained for a Southern capital, and two Virginia members
agreed to vote for assumption. By very narrow majorities it was therefore
agreed that the national capital should be placed on the Potomac River,
and that State debts amounting to $21,500,000 should be assumed. A few
months later the President selected the site of the present national
capital, and in due time the debts were taken up.

78. UNITED STATES BANK (1791, 1792).

[Sidenote: A bank proposed.]

Having thus reorganized the finances of the country, Hamilton now proposed
the fifth part of his scheme,--the establishment of a national bank. In a
report of Dec. 14, 1790, he presented the subject to the attention of
Congress. He urged that it would benefit the public by offering an
investment, that it would aid the government in making loans and by
collecting taxes, and that its notes would be a useful currency. Hamilton
drafted a bill, which was an adaptation of the charter of the Bank of
England. The capital of $10,000,000, and the management of the bank, were
to be private; but the government was to be a stockholder, and to have the
right of requiring periodical statements of the bank's condition.

The Senate passed the bill without a division, substantially as drawn by
Hamilton. Apparently it was on the point of going through the House, when
Smith of South Carolina objected, and Jackson of Georgia declared that he
had never seen a bank bill in the State of Georgia; "nor will they ever
benefit the farmers of that State or of New York;" and he called it an
unconstitutional monopoly.

[Sidenote: The question of implied powers.]

After a week's debate on the question whether the bank was authorized by
the Constitution, it passed the House by a vote of 39 to 20, and was sent
to the President. He called for the opinions of the members of his cabinet
in writing, and the answers submitted by Hamilton and Jefferson are still
among the most important documents on the construction of the
Constitution. Jefferson's standpoint was simply that, since the
Constitution nowhere expressly authorized the creation of a bank, Congress
had gone beyond its powers. Hamilton asserted that if the bank were
"necessary and proper to carry out any of the specific powers, such as
taxation and the borrowing of money, then Congress might create a bank, or
any other public institution, to serve its ends." The President accepted
Hamilton's view, and the act was signed. The capital of the bank was
speedily subscribed, and it immediately entered on a prosperous and useful

79. SLAVERY QUESTIONS (1789-1798).

[Sidenote: Anti-slavery memorials.]

The question of the extent of the powers of Congress had already once been
raised. On February 11 and 12, 1790, there were presented to Congress two
memorials, the one the "Address of the People called Quakers, in their
Annual Assembly convened;" the other the "Memorial of the Pennsylvania
Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery." These memorials asked
Congress to "exert upright endeavors, to the full extent of your power, to
remove every obstruction to public righteousness," particularly in the
matter of slavery. The motion to commit instantly roused Southern members.
Jackson of Georgia said that "any extraordinary attention of Congress to
the petition would hold their property in jeopardy." The matter was sent
to a subcommittee, composed chiefly of Southern members. On March 8th that
committee reported the principles under which Congress acted during the
next seventy years. They said that Congress had no power to interfere with
slavery or the treatment of slaves within the States; they might pass laws
regulating the slave-trade, but could not then stop the importation of
slaves from foreign countries into the United States. Another resolution,
to the effect that Congress would exercise its powers for the humane
principles of the memorial, was struck out by the House. The anti-slavery
organizations from which these memorials had proceeded kept up a brisk
fusillade of petitions. In some cases the House refused to receive them,
but Congress did pass several laws reducing the evils of the slave-trade.

[Sidenote: Fugitive slaves.]

In 1793 the question came up, how fugitive slaves should be restored if
they had fled and taken refuge in another State. An act was passed by
which the United States assumed authority in the matter; the claimant was
simply to satisfy any national or State magistrate that he was entitled to
the person claimed. The act had hardly gone into effect before a fugitive
was apprehended in Massachusetts. Josiah Quincy, who was employed to
defend him, tells us that he "heard a noise, and turning round he saw the
constables lying sprawling on the floor, and a passage opening through the
crowd, through which the fugitive was taking his departure, without
stopping to hear the opinion of the court." From the very first,
therefore, we find in vigorous action the paraphernalia of the later anti-
slavery movement,--societies, petitions, laws, and deliberate violation of


[Sidenote: The government established.]

The end of Washington's first administration in March, 1793, saw the
government completely organized, and accepted throughout the Union. The
distinction between friends and opponents of the Constitution had entirely
disappeared. There was no longer any suggestion of substantial amendment.
Two Congresses had gone through their work, and had accustomed the people
to a national legislature. The President had made appointments, sent
ambassadors, commanded the army, and vetoed bills, and yet there was no
fear of a monarchy. The national courts were in regular and undisturbed
session. The Union was complete, and two new States, Vermont and Kentucky,
had been admitted.

This remarkable success was due in considerable part to the personal
influence of a few men. Washington's great popularity and his
disinterested use of his new powers had taken away a multitude of fears.
The skill of Hamilton had built up a successful financial system. In
Congress Madison had been efficient in working out the details of
legislation. Washington, with his remarkable judgment of men, had selected
an able staff of officials, representing all the sections of the country.

[Sidenote: Prosperity]

Yet, as Washington himself had said, "Influence is not government." One of
the chief elements of the Union's strength was that it pressed lightly
upon the people. For the first time in the history of America there was an
efficient system of import duties. They were almost the sole form of
taxation, and, like all indirect taxes, their burden was not felt. Above
all, the commercial benefits of the new Union were seen from North to
South. Trade between the States was absolutely unhampered, and a brisk
interchange of products went on. The country was prosperous; its shipping
increased, and foreign trade was also growing steadily.

[Sidenote: Relations with the States.]

So far the Union had met no violent resistance either from insurgents or
from the States. In the Virginia convention of 1788 Patrick Henry had
said: "I never will give up that darling word 'requisitions;' my country
may give it up, the majority may wrest it from me, but I never will give
it up till my grave." Nevertheless, when the requisitions on the States
were given up, the chief cause of dispute in the Union was removed. Up to
this time the only distinctly sectional legislation had been the
assumption of the State debts and the fixing of the national capital; and
these two had been set off against each other. If peace continued, there
was every prospect of a healthy growth of national spirit.




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 1-8; Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_,
VII. 294-314, 319, 320, 329-336, 454-456, 513-519; Channing and Hart,
_Guide_, §§ 162, 166.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1, 4, this volume (_Epoch Maps_, Nos. 7, 9);
MacCoun, _Historical Geography_; Scribner, _Statistical Atlas_, Plate 13;
J. Morse, _American Geography_.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--J. B McMaster, _United States_, II. 89-557; H. Von
Holst, _Constitutional History_, I. 112-167; J. Schouler, _United States_,
I. 221-501; R. Hildreth, _United States_, IV. 411-704; V. 25-418; T.
Pitkin, _United States_, II. 356-500 (to 1797); George Tucker, _United
States_, I. 504-628, II. 21-145; Bryant and Gay, _Popular History_, IV.
123-144; Bradford, _Constitutional History_, 125-201.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Standard lives of Washington, especially Sparks,
Marshall, and Irving; C. F. Adams, _Life of John Adams_; Henry Adams,
_Albert Gallatin_; H. C. Lodge, _Washington_, II. 129-269; J. T. Morse,
_Jefferson_, 146-208, and _John Adams_, 241-310; G. Pellew, _John Jay_,
262-339; S. H. Gay, _Madison_, 193-251; George Gibbs, _Administrations of
Washington and Adams_, I., II.; W. H. Trescott, _Diplomatic History_; T.
Lyman, _Diplomacy_; J. C. Hamilton, _Republic_, V., VI.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--Thomas Jefferson, _Anas_ (_Works_, IX. 185-203);
William Sullivan, _Familiar Letters on Public Characters_, 48-187 (written
in reply to Jefferson); Works of Washington, Jefferson, Fisher Ames, John
Jay, Rufus King, Arthur St. Clair, John Adams, Madison, and Gallatin;
Abigail Adams, _Letters_; W. Winterbotham, _Historical View_ (1795); T.
Cooper, _Some Information respecting America_ (1793, 1794); Rochefoucault-
Liancourt, _Voyage dans les États-Unis_ (1795-1797) (also in translation);
J. Weld, _Travels through the States_ (1795-1797); newspapers, especially
_General Advertiser_ and _Aurora, Boston Gazette_.--Reprints in Alexander
Johnston, _American Orations_, I.; _American History told by
Contemporaries_, III.


[Sidenote: Origin of parties.]

During the four uneventful years from 1789 to 1793 two political parties
had been slowly developed. Some writers have imagined that these two
parties were a survival of the Revolutionary Whigs and Tories; some have
traced them back to the debate on the assumption of State debts. John
Adams, years later, went to the heart of the matter when he said: "You say
our divisions began with Federalism and anti-Federalism. Alas! they began
with human nature." The foundation for the first two great national
parties was a difference of opinion as to the nature and proper functions
of the new government.

During the second Congress, from 1791 to 1793, arose an opposition to
Hamilton which gradually consolidated into a party. It came chiefly from
the Southern and Middle States, and represented districts in which there
was little capital or trade. Arrayed among his supporters were most of the
representatives from New England, and many from the Middle States and
South Carolina: they represented the commercial interests of the country;
they desired to see the debt funded and the State debts assumed; they
began to act together as another party.

[Sidenote: Hamilton and Jefferson.]

The final form taken by these two parties depended much upon the character
of their leaders. Hamilton, a man of great personal force and of strong
aristocratic feeling, represented the principle of authority, of
government framed and administered by a select few for the benefit of
their fellows. Jefferson, an advocate of popular government extended to a
point never before reached, declared that his party was made up of those
"who identified themselves with the people, have confidence in them,
cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the
most wise depositary of the public interest." Between two such men
controversies were certain to arise. In May, 1792, Jefferson wrote that
Hamilton had introduced speculation and a dangerous construction of the
constitution; and Hamilton wrote that Jefferson was at the head of a
hostile faction dangerous to the Union. Washington attempted to make
himself an arbiter of this quarrel, but was unable to reconcile the two
men. They both urged him to accept a second term for the presidency, and
he was again unanimously elected in 1792. The quarrel between the two
great chiefs had by this time got abroad. Hamilton was said to be a
monarchist. His administration of the Treasury was attacked, and an
investigation was held early in 1793; but no one was able to find any

[Sidenote: Party names.]

By this time the followers of Jefferson had begun to take upon themselves
the name of Republicans. They held that the government ought to raise and
spend as little money as possible; beyond that they rested upon the
principles first definitely stated in Jefferson's opinion on the bank (§
96) that Congress was confined in its powers to the letter of the
Constitution; and that the States were the depositary of most of the
powers of government. The other party took upon itself the name of
Federal, or Federalist, which had proved so valuable in the struggle over
the Constitution. Among its most eminent members were Hamilton, John Jay,
Vice-President John Adams, and President Washington.

[Sidenote: Newspaper organs.]

Both parties now began to set in motion new political machinery. The
"Gazette of the United States" became the recognized mouthpiece of the
Federalists, and the "National Gazette," edited by Philip Freneau,
translating clerk in Jefferson's department, began to attack Hamilton and
other leading Federalists, and even the President. At a cabinet meeting
Washington complained that "that rascal Freneau sent him three copies of
his paper every day, as though he thought he would become a distributer of
them. He could see in this nothing but an impudent design to insult him."


[Sidenote: French Revolution.]
[Sidenote: War.]

So far the parties had been little more than personal followings; the
mighty movements in Europe were now to crystallize them. Early in 1789 a
revolution had come about in France; in 1791 a constitution was put in
force under which the king became a limited monarch; in 1792 war broke out
between France and a Prussian-Austrian alliance. Disasters on the frontier
were followed by the overthrow of the monarchy, and in January, 1793,
Louis the Sixteenth was executed. The anarchical movement, once begun,
hurried on until the government of France fell into the hands of men
controlled by the populace of Paris. On Feb. 3, 1793, the French Republic
declared war against England: the issue was instantly accepted. As the two
powers were unable conveniently to reach each other on land, great efforts
were made on both sides to fit out fleets. The colonies of each power were
exposed to attack, and colonial trade was in danger.

[Sidenote: Interest of America.]

From the first the sympathy of the United States had naturally been with
France. The republic seemed due to American example; Jefferson was our
minister at Paris in 1789, and saw his favorite principles of human
liberty extending to Europe. The excesses of the Revolution, however,
startled the Federalists, who saw in them a sufficient proof that
Jefferson's "people" could not be trusted. The war brought up the question
of the treaty of 1778 with France, by which the Americans bound themselves
to guarantee the colonial possessions of France in case of defensive war.

[Sidenote: Danger to America.]

For the United States to enter the war as ally of either side meant to
lose most of the advantages gained by the new Constitution: the Indians on
the frontier had opposed and defeated a large body of United States
troops; the revenue of the country derived from imports would cease as
soon as war was declared; American ships would be exposed to capture on
every sea. Trade with the West Indies, which proceeded irregularly and
illegally, was now likely to be broken up altogether. The question was no
longer one of international law, but of American politics: the Democrats
were inclined to aid France, by war or by indirect aid,--such as we had
received from France at the beginning of the Revolutionary War; the
Federalists leaned toward England, because they wished English trade, and
because they feared the spread of anarchical principles in America.


[Sidenote: Neutrality proclamation.]

On April 5, 1793, the news of the outbreak of war was received at
Philadelphia. Washington at once summoned his cabinet for the most
important discussion which it had yet held. Was the United States to
consider itself bound to enter the war and to defend the French West
Indies against Great Britain? Should the President declare that the United
States stood neutral in this contest? The question was new. For the first
time in history there was an independent American power,--a nation so far
removed by distance and by interest from European conflicts that it might
reasonably ask that it should not be drawn into the struggle. Hamilton was
inclined to hold the treaties abrogated by the change of government in
France; Jefferson insisted that they were binding; both agreed that the
President ought to issue a proclamation announcing that the United States
would take no part on either side. The neutrality proclamation, issued
April 22, was therefore an announcement to the world that the United
States stood outside the European system, and might continue friendly
relations with both belligerent powers.

[Sidenote: Genet's mission.]

This attitude was anything but what France had expected. On April 8 a
French minister, Genet, landed in Charleston, armed with a quantity of
blank commissions for privateers. He was a man twenty-eight years old,
whose diplomatic experience had culminated in the disruption of one of the
weaker neighbors of France. He had no doubt that the sympathy of the
American people was with his country. He proposed, therefore, to act as
though he stood upon his own soil: men were enlisted; privateers were
commissioned; prizes were taken in American waters and brought into
American ports for condemnation. Genet advanced northward in a kind of
triumphal procession. Throughout the South and West, Democratic clubs were
organized, modelled on the French Jacobin and other revolutionary clubs.

[Sidenote: Genet and Washington.]

He reached Philadelphia, to be confronted by the Neutrality Proclamation
and by the firmness of the President. His privateers were checked. He does
not appear to have demanded of the United States a fulfilment of the
treaty of 1778, but he did ask for advance payment of money due to France,
and for other favors. To his chagrin, Congress was not to meet until
December, and he insisted in vain that there should be an extra session.
In July Genet proceeded to fit out a captured British vessel, the "Little
Sarah," as a privateer; and, contrary to the remonstrances of the
government and his own implied promise, she was sent to sea. Encouraged by
this success, he determined to make a public appeal to the people to
override the President. His purpose was made known, and his career was at
an end. When the United States asked for his recall, it was cheerfully
accorded by the French government. In three months Genet had contrived to
offend the principal officers of government and to insult the nation. The
current of feeling was thus set toward England.

85. THE JAY TREATY (1794-1796).

[Sidenote: American grievances.]
[Sidenote: Neutral rights.]

Once more the English government neglected the favorable moment for
securing the friendship of the United States. The grievances so much
resented under the Confederation (§ 56) were continued: the Western posts
were still occupied by the British; American vessels still paid
unreasonable duties in British ports; the West India trade was still
withheld. The war at once led to new aggressions. France and England
throughout sought to limit American commerce by capturing vessels for
violations of four disputed principles of international law. The first was
that provisions are "contraband of war," and hence that American vessels
carrying breadstuffs, the principal export of the United States, were
engaged in an unlawful trade: the United States insisted that only
military stores were "contraband of war." The second limiting principle
was that, after notice of the blockade of a port, vessels bound to it
might be taken anywhere on the high seas: the United States held that the
notice had no validity unless there was an actual blockading force outside
the port. The third principle was the so-called "Rule of 1756," that where
a European country forbade trade with its colonies in time of peace it
should not open it to neutrals in time of war: the United States denied
the right of Great Britain to interfere in their trade with the French and
Spanish colonies. The fourth principle was that a ship might be captured
if it had upon it goods which were the property of an enemy. The United
States asserted that "Free ships make free goods," that a neutral vessel
was not subject to capture, no matter whose property she carried.

[Sidenote: Aggressions on the United States.]
[Sidenote: Impressment.]
[Sidenote: Danger of war.]

On May 9, 1793, the French ordered the capture of vessels loaded with
provisions, although expressly excepted by the treaty of 1778. On June 8
the British issued a similar order; and in November the rule of 1756 was
again put in force by the British government. Captures at once began by
both powers; but the British cruisers were more numerous, did more damage,
and thus inclined public sentiment in the United States against England.
The pacific Jefferson now came forward as the defender of American
interests: Sept. 16, 1793, he sent to Congress a report in which he set
forth the aggressions upon American commerce, and recommended a policy of
retaliation. Meantime a new grievance had arisen, which was destined to be
a cause of the War of 1812. In time of war the commanders of British naval
vessels were authorized to "impress" British seamen, even out of British
merchant vessels. The search of American merchantmen on the same errand at
once began, and was felt by the United States government to be humiliating
to the national dignity. The whole country was outraged by the frequent
seizure of native Americans, on the pretext that they were English born.
Public feeling rose until on March 26, 1794, a temporary embargo was laid,
forbidding vessels to depart from American ports. On April 17, a motion
was introduced to cut off commercial intercourse with Great Britain. On
April 19, therefore, the President appointed John Jay, Chief Justice of
the United States, as a special envoy to make a last effort to adjust
matters in England. Nevertheless, the non-inter course bill passed the
House, and was defeated only by Adams's casting vote in the Senate.

[Sidenote: Jay's Treaty.]

Fortunately it was a time when communication with Europe was slow. Not
until June did Jay reach England. A treaty was negotiated on November 19,
but was not received by Washington until after the adjournment of Congress
in March, 1795. The treaty had indeed removed some old grievances: the
posts were to be evacuated; commissions were to settle the northeast
boundary, and to adjust the claims for the British debts; but Jay got no
indemnity for the negroes carried away by the British in 1783. The
commercial clauses were far less favorable: the discriminating taxes
against American shipping were at last withdrawn; but Jay was unable to
secure any suitable guarantee for neutral trade, and could obtain no
promise to refrain from searching American merchantmen, or seizing
English-born sailors found thereon. Above all, the West India trade, which
the United States so much desired, was granted only with the proviso that
it should be carried on in vessels of less than seventy tons burden. In
return for these meagre concessions, granted only for twelve years, the
United States agreed not to export to any part of the world "molasses,
sugar, coffee, cocoa, or cotton."

[Sidenote: Excitement in the United States.]

A special session of the Senate was summoned in June, 1795. and with great
difficulty the necessary two-thirds majority was obtained. The twelfth
article, containing the West India and the export clauses, was
particularly objectionable, and the Senate struck it out. During the
remainder of the year there was the fiercest popular opposition; the
commercial and ship-building interest felt that it had been betrayed; Jay
was burned in effigy; Hamilton was stoned at a public meeting; State
legislatures declared the treaty unconstitutional. Washington was attacked
so fiercely that he said the language used "could scarcely be applied to a
Nero, to a notorious defaulter, or even to a common pickpocket." When
Congress met in 1795 an effort was made to prevent the necessary
appropriations for carrying out the treaty. It was only the great personal
popularity of Washington that saved the country from a repudiation of the
treaty and a war with England. Once in force, the treaty was found
moderately favorable. Our commerce increased, and captures were much


[Sidenote: The excise unpopular.]
[Sidenote: Outbreak.]

During this year of excitement a serious outbreak had occurred in
Pennsylvania. Ever since the first Excise Act in 1791 (§ 76), there had
been determined opposition to the collection of the whiskey tax. The
people of southwestern Pennsylvania were three hundred miles from tide-
water; and whiskey was the only commodity of considerable value, in small
bulk, with which they could purchase goods. The tax, therefore, affected
the whole community. In 1792 the policy pursued at the beginning of the
Revolution was brought into action: mobs and public meetings began to
intimidate the tax-collectors. In 1794 the difficulties broke out afresh,
and on July 17 the house of Inspector-General Neville was attacked by a
band of armed men; one man was killed, and the house was burned. Great
popular mass meetings followed, and a few days later the United States
mail was robbed.

[Sidenote: Suppression.]

As this violence was directed against the revenue laws, Hamilton made it
his special task to suppress it. On September 25 the President called out
the militia from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia.
Hamilton himself accompanied the troops, fifteen thousand in number; they
marched over the mountains, and reached the disaffected country at the end
of October. The insurgents made no stand in the field, and the troops
returned, after making a few arrests.

The matter now went to the courts. Six persons were indicted for treason,
of whom two, Vigol and Mitchell, were convicted. They were rough and
ignorant men, who had been led into the outbreak without understanding
their own responsibility, and Washington pardoned them both. In July,
1795, a general amnesty was proclaimed.

[Sidenote: Effect.]

The effect of the whole movement was to make it evident throughout the
nation that the United States had at its disposal a military force
sufficient to put down any ordinary insurrection. In his message on the
subject on Nov. 19, 1794, Washington alluded to "combinations of men who
have disseminated suspicions, jealousies, and accusations of the whole
government." The Senate applied these words to "self-created societies."
The allusion was to the Democratic clubs, founded in 1793 when Genet came
to the country (§ 84), and still in existence. The effect of Washington's
criticism was to break down the societies and to check a movement which
looked toward resistance to all constituted government. The opposition
were compelled to take a less objectionable party name, and began to call
themselves Republicans.


[Sidenote: Washington retires.]
[Sidenote: Nominations.]

On Sept. 17, 1796, Washington, in a public address, announced that he
should not accept a re-election. The presidency had been irksome to
Washington, and the personal attacks upon himself had grieved him; but he
retired with the admiration and respect of the whole country. The
selection of a successor at once became a party question. Jefferson, who
had resigned the office of Secretary of State at the end of 1793, was the
natural leader of the Republicans. John Adams, then Vice-President, had
the largest Federalist following; but Hamilton hoped, by an electoral
trick, to bring T. Pinckney, the candidate for Vice-President, in over his
head. Adams candidly expressed his opinion of this intrigue: "That must be
a sordid people indeed, a people destitute of a sense of honor, equity,
and character, that could submit to be governed and see hundreds of its
most meritorious public men governed by a Pinckney under an elective

[Sidenote: Adams and Jefferson.]

The danger was not, however, from Pinckney, but from Jefferson. When the
votes were counted it was found that Adams had received the vote of the
Northern States, with Delaware and a part of Maryland; but that Jefferson
had received almost the whole vote of the South and of Pennsylvania. Adams
became President by a vote of seventy-one, and Jefferson Vice-President by
a vote of sixty-eight. The two men had been associated in early years, and
were not unfriendly to each other. There was even a hint that Jefferson
was to be taken into the cabinet. As soon as the administration began, all
confidence between them was at an end. The same set of elections decided
the membership of Congress to serve from 1797 to 1799; the Senate remained
decidedly Federalist; in the House the balance of power was held by a few
moderate Republicans.

[Sidenote: Adams's cabinet.]

Adams considered himself the successor to the policy of Washington, and
committed the serious mistake of taking over his predecessor's cabinet.
Hamilton retired in 1795; he had been replaced by his friend and admirer,
Oliver Wolcott; the Secretary of State was Timothy Pickering of
Pennsylvania: both these men looked upon Hamilton as their party chief.
The administration began, therefore, with divided counsels, and with
jealousy in the President's official household.

88. BREACH WITH FRANCE (1795-1798).

[Sidenote: Monroe's mission.]

While the war-cloud with England was gathering and disappearing, new
complications had arisen with France. The Jay treaty was received by that
power as an insult, partly because it was favorable to her rival, partly
because it removed the danger of war between England and the United
States. In 1795 the first period of the Revolution was over, and an
efficient government was constituted, with an executive directory of five.
James Monroe, appointed minister to France, had begun his mission in
September, 1794, just after the fall of Robespierre; he appeared in the
National Convention, and the president of that body adjured him to "let
this spectacle complete the annihilation of an impious coalition of
tyrants." During Jay's negotiations he continued to assure the French of
the friendship of America, although the Directory speedily declared that
Jay's treaty had released France from the treaty of 1778. As Monroe made
no effort to push the American claims for captured vessels, he was
recalled in disgrace in 1796, and C. C. Pinckney was appointed as his

[Sidenote: Pinckney rebuffed.]

Three weeks after his inauguration Adams received a despatch from Pinckney
announcing that he had been treated as a suspected foreigner, and that
official notice had been given that the Directory would not receive
another minister from the United States until the French grievances had
been redressed. A special session of Congress was at once summoned, and
the President declared that "the action of France ought to be repelled
with a decision which shall convince France and the world that we are not
a degraded people, humiliated under a colonial spirit of fear and sense of
inferiority." Headstrong behavior on the President's part would have
immediately brought on war; but he had already made up his mind to send a
special mission to France. In June, 1797, John Marshall and Elbridge
Gerry, a Republican, but a personal friend of the President, were sent out
to join Pinckney in a final representation.

[Sidenote: X. Y. Z. affair.]

It was nearly a year before news of the result was received. On April 2,
1798, the President communicated the despatches revealing the so-called
"X. Y. Z. affair." It appeared that the envoys on reaching Paris, in
October, 1797, had been denied an official interview, but that three
persons, whose names were clouded under the initials X. Y. Z., had
approached them with vague suggestions of loans and advances; these were
finally crystallized into a demand for fifty thousand pounds "for the
pockets of the Directory." The despatch described one conversation.
"'Gentlemen,' said X., 'you do not speak to the point. It is money. It is
expected that you will offer money.' We said that we had spoken to that
point very explicitly, that we had given an answer. 'No,' he replied, 'you
have not. What is your answer?' We replied, 'It is No, no, no; not a
sixpence.'" The President concluded with a ringing paragraph which summed
up the indignation of the American people at this insult. "I will never
send another minister to France without assurances that he will be
received, respected, and honored as the representative of a great, free,
powerful, and independent nation."

[Sidenote: Naval war with France.]

The Republican opposition in Congress was overwhelmed and almost silenced.
A succession of statutes in April, May, and June hurried on military and
naval preparations, and on July 7, 1798, American vessels of war were
authorized to attack French cruisers. On Feb. 9, 1799, the "Constellation"
took the French frigate "Insurgente," and American cruisers and privateers
had the satisfaction of retaliating for the numerous captures of American
vessels by preying on French commerce. Measures were taken to raise land
forces; but here again the rift in the Federal party appeared. Washington
was made titular commander-in-chief. It was expected that operations would
be directed by the second in command, and Hamilton's friends insisted that
he should receive that appointment. With great reluctance Adams granted
the commission, the result of which was the resignation of Knox, who had
been third on the list.


[Sidenote: Triumph of the Federalists.]
[Sidenote: Alien Act.]

For the first and last time in his administration John Adams found himself
popular. From all parts of the country addresses were sent to the
President approving his patriotic stand. The moderate Republicans in the
House were swept away by the current, and thus there was built up a
compact Federalist majority in both houses. It proceeded deliberately to
destroy its own party. The newspapers had now reached an extraordinary
degree of violence; attacks upon the Federalists, and particularly upon
Adams, were numerous, and keenly felt. Many of the journalists were
foreigners, Englishmen and Frenchmen. To the excited imagination of the
Federalists, these men seemed leagued with France in an attempt to destroy
the liberties of the country; to get rid of the most violent of these
writers, and at the same time to punish American-born editors who too
freely criticised the administration, seemed to them essential. This
purpose they proposed to carry out by a series of measures known as the
Alien and Sedition Acts. A naturalization law, requiring fourteen years
residence, was hurried through. On April 25 a Federalist introduced a
temporary Alien Act, for the removal of "such aliens born, not entitled by
the constitution and laws to the rights of citizenship, as may be
dangerous to its peace and safety." The opposition, headed by Albert
Gallatin, made a strong appeal against legislation so unnecessary,
sweeping, and severe. The Federalists replied in panic fear: "Without such
an act," said one member, "an army might be imported, and could be
excluded only after a trial." To the details of the bill there was even
greater objection. It conferred upon the President the power to order the
withdrawal of any alien; if he refused to go, he might be imprisoned at
the President's discretion, Nevertheless, the act, limited to two years,
was passed on June 25, 1798. Adams seems to have had little interest in
it, and never made use of the powers thus conferred.

[Sidenote: Sedition Act.]
[Sidenote: Sedition prosecutions.]

The Sedition Act was resisted with even greater stubbornness. It proposed
to punish persons who should conspire to oppose measures of the
government, or to intimidate any office-holder. The publishing of libels
upon the government, or either house, or the President, was likewise made
a crime. Against this proposition there were abundant arguments, on
grounds both of constitutionality and expediency. It introduced the new
principle of law that the United States should undertake the regulation of
the press, which up to this time had been left solely to the States. That
its main purpose was to silence the Republican journalists is plain from
the argument of a leading Federalist: the "Aurora," a Republican organ,
had said that "there is more safety and liberty to be found in
Constantinople than in Philadelphia;" and the "Timepiece" had said of
Adams that "to tears and execrations he added derision and contempt." It
is impossible to agree with the member who quoted these extracts that
"they are indeed terrible. They are calculated to freeze the blood in the
veins." The Sedition Act was to expire in 1801. It was quickly put into
operation, and one of the prosecutions was against Callender, known to be
a friend of Jefferson; he was indicted and convicted for asserting among
other things that "Mr. Adams has only completed the scene of ignominy
which Mr. Washington began." So far from silencing the ribald journalists,
the Act and its execution simply drew down worse criticism. On the other
hand, the Federalist press, which had been hardly inferior in violence,
was permitted to thunder unchecked. The Alien and Sedition Acts were party
measures, passed for party purposes; they did not accomplish the purposes
intended, and they did the party irreparable harm.


[Sidenote: Danger of disunion.]
[Sidenote: Madison's and Jefferson's resolutions.]

The elections of 1798 in the excited state of public feeling assured a
Federalist majority in the Congress to sit from 1799 to 1801. The
Republicans felt that their adversaries were using the power of the
federal government to destroy the rights of the people. June 1, 1798,
Jefferson wrote to a friend who thought that the time was come to withdraw
from the Union; "If on the temporary superiority of one party the other is
to resort to a scission of the Union, no federal government can exist."
The remedy which lay in his mind was an appeal to the people through the
State legislatures. In November and December, 1798, two series of
resolutions were introduced,--one in the Virginia legislature, the other
in the Kentucky legislature; the first drawn by Madison, and the second by
Jefferson's own hand. They set forth that the Constitution was a compact
to which the States were parties, and that "each party has an equal right
to judge for itself as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of
redress." The Alien and Sedition Acts and some other statutes were
declared by Kentucky "not law ... void and of no effect;" and the other
States were called upon to unite in so declaring them void, and in
protesting to Congress. For the first time since the Constitution had been
formed, a clear statement of the "compact" theory of government was now
put forth. It was a reasonable implication from these resolutions that if
the Federalist majority continued to override the Constitution, the States
must take more decisive action; but the only distinct suggestion of an
attack on the Union is found in a second series of Kentucky resolutions,
passed in 1799, in which it is declared that "nullification ... of all
unauthorized acts ... is the rightful remedy."

[Sidenote: Purpose of the resolutions.]

The constitutional doctrine in these resolutions was secondary. The real
purpose was to arouse the public to the dangerous character of the
Federalist legislation. Madison, many years afterward, explained that he
meant only an appeal to the other States to unite in deprecation of the
measures. The immediate effect was to set up a sort of political platform,
about which the opponents of the Federalists might rally, and by the
presentation of a definite issue to keep up the Republican organization
against the electoral year 1800.

91. ELECTION OF 1800-1801.

[Sidenote: Peace with France.]
[Sidenote: Breach in the party.]

The Alien and Sedition Acts had quickly destroyed all Adams's popularity
in the Republican party; his later action deprived him of the united
support of the Federalists. War with France was pleasing to them as an
assertion of national dignity, as a protest against the growth of
dangerous democracy in France, and as a step toward friendship or eventual
alliance with England. Early in 1799 Talleyrand intimated that a minister
would now be received from the American government. Without consulting his
cabinet, with whom Adams was not on good terms, the President appointed an
embassy to France. Early in 1800 they made a favorable treaty with France:
better guarantees were secured for American neutral trade; the old
treaties of 1778 were practically set aside; and the claims of American
merchants for captures since 1793 were abandoned, This last action gave
rise to the French Spoliation Claims, which remained unsettled for nearly
a century thereafter, Adams's determination to make peace was
statesmanlike and patriotic, but it gave bitter offence to the warlike
Federalists. In May, 1800, Adams found his cabinet so out of sympathy that
he removed Pickering, Secretary of State, and appointed John Marshall.
This meant a formal breach between the Adams and the Hamilton wings of the

[Sidenote: Republicans successful.]

The campaign of 1800 thus began with the Federalists divided, and the
Republicans hopeful. Hamilton was determined to force Adams from the
headship, and prepared a pamphlet, for which materials were furnished by
Oliver Wolcott, Secretary of the Treasury. Aaron Burr, a wily Republican
leader, managed to get a copy, published it, and spread it broadcast.
Adams was re-nominated by a caucus of Federalist members, and C. C.
Pinckney was put on the ticket with him. Jefferson was, as in 1796, the
candidate of his party for President. For Vice-President there was
associated with him Burr, who was able to control the important vote of
the State of New York. The result of this coalition was seen in May, 1800,
when a New York legislature was elected with a Republican majority; and
that legislature would, in the autumn, cast the vote of the State. The
Federalists persevered, but South Carolina deserted them, so that both
Jefferson and Burr received seventy-three votes, and Adams had only sixty-
five. The Federalist supremacy was broken.

[Sidenote: Election by the House.]

Now arose an unexpected complication. There being a tie between Jefferson
and Burr, the House of Representatives was called upon to decide between
them, its vote being cast by States. Had the majority of the House been
Republican, Jefferson would, of course, have received their votes; it was,
however, Federalist, and the Federalists thought themselves entitled to
choose that one of their enemies who was least likely to do them harm.
Obscure intrigues were entered upon both with Jefferson and Burr. Neither
would make definite promises, although Burr held out hopes of alliance
with the Federalists. Hamilton now came forward with a letter in which he
declared that of the two men Jefferson was less dangerous. "To my mind,"
said he, "a true estimate of Mr. Jefferson's character warrants the
expectation of a temporizing rather than of a violent system." After a
long struggle the deadlock was broken; Jefferson was chosen President of
the United States, and Burr Vice-President.


[Sidenote: Unpopularity of the Federalists.]
[Sidenote: Judiciary Act.]

The electoral majority was small; the Federalists preserved their
organization, and had the prestige of twelve years of administration; it
was impossible to realize that there never again would be a Federalist
president. In the election of 1804, however, they received but fourteen
electoral votes altogether (§ 100). The reasons for this downfall are
many, However popular the French war had been, the taxes made necessary by
it had provoked great dissatisfaction; and in 1799 a little insurrection,
the so-called Fries Rebellion, had broken out in Pennsylvania. The
Sedition prosecutions were exceedingly unpopular, The last acts of the
party left a violent resentment. In 1801, after it was known that there
would be a Republican President with a large majority in both houses of
Congress, the Federalists resolved to bolster up their power in the third
department of government. A Judiciary Act was therefore passed, creating
new courts, new judges, and new salaried officials. All the resulting
appointments were made by Adams, and duly confirmed by the Senate, thus
anticipating by many years any real needs of the country. A vacancy
occurring in the chief-justiceship, Adams appointed John Marshall, one of
the few Virginia Federalists; he had made his reputation as a politician
and statesman: even Adams himself scarcely foresaw that he was to be the
greatest of American jurists.

[Sidenote: Internal dissensions.]

Still more fatal were the internal dissensions in the party. In 1799
Washington died, and no man in the country possessed his moderating
influence, The cabinet, by adhering to Hamilton and corresponding with him
upon important public matters, had weakened the dignity of the President
and of the party. In the election of 1800 Hamilton, besides his open
attack on Adams, had again tried to reduce his vote sufficiently to bring
Pinckney in over his head. Adams himself, although a man of strong
national spirit, was in some respects too moderate for his party. Yet his
own vanity and vehemence made him unfit to be a party leader.

[Sidenote: Republican theories.]

While these reasons may account for the defeat of the Federalists, they do
not explain their failure to rise again. They had governed well: they had
built up the credit of the country; they had taken a dignified and
effective stand against the aggressions both of England and of France. Yet
their theory was of a government by leaders. Jefferson, on the other hand,
represented the rising spirit of democracy. It was not his protest against
the over-government of the Federalists that made him popular, it was his
assertion that the people at large were the best depositaries of power.
Jefferson had taken hold of the "great wheel going uphill." He had behind
him the mighty force of the popular will.




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 8-12; Justin Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_,
VII. 310, 315-320, 336-341, 418-420, 519-522, 527-547; H. B. Tompkins,
_Bibliotheca Jeffersoniana_; Channing and Hart, _Guide_, §§ 167-171.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1 and 4, this volume (_Epoch Maps_, Nos. 7 and
9); Labberton, _Atlas_ Nos. lxvi., lxvii.; MacCoun, _Historical
Geography_; Scribner, _Statistical Atlas_, Plates 13, 14.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--J. B. McMaster, _People of the United States_, II.
538-635; III. 1-338; J. Schouler, _United States_, II. 1-194; Bryant
and Gay, _Popular History_, 1. 144-184; H. Von Holst, _Constitutional
History_, I. 168-226; R. Hildreth, _United States_, V. 419-686; VI. 25-
148; Geo. Tucker, _United States_, II. 146-348; Bradford, _Constitutional
History_, I. 202-329.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Henry Adams, _United States_, I.-IV., _John Randolph_,
48-267, and _Life of Gallatin; J. T. Morse, _Jefferson_, 209-300; George
Tucker, _Life of Jefferson_; H. S. Randall, _Life of Jefferson_; J. A.
Stevens, _Gallatin_, 176-311; S. H. Gay, _Madison_, 252-282; lives of
Burr, Gerry, Plumer, Pickering; T. Lyman, _Diplomacy_; J. C. Hamilton,
_Republic_, VII.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--Works of Jefferson, Madison, and Gallatin; J. Q.
Adams, _Memoirs_, I. 248-551; William Sullivan, _Familiar Letters_, 187-
289; Timothy Dwight, _Character of Thomas Jefferson_; S. G. Goodrich,
_Recollections_, I. 106-137, 265-298; Basil Hall, _Voyages and Travels_;
Timothy Dwight, _Travels_ (1796-1813); Thomas Ashe, _Travels_ (1806); John
Mellish, _Travels_ (1806-1811); John Davis, _Travels_ (1798-1802); Isaac
Weld, _Travels_; J. Stephens, _War in Disguise_.--Reprints in Mathew
Carey, _The Olive Branch_; Henry Adams, _Documents Relating to New England
Federalism; American History told by Contemporaries_, III.


[Sidenote: Character of Jefferson.]

To the mind of the Federalists the success of the Republicans, and
particularly the elevation of Jefferson, meant a complete change in the
government which they had been laboring to establish. Jefferson was to
them the type of dangerous liberality in thought, in religion, and in
government. In his tastes and his habits, his reading and investigation,
Jefferson was half a century in advance of his contemporaries. Books and
letters from learned men constantly came to him from Europe; he
experimented in agriculture and science. Accused during his lifetime of
being an atheist, he felt the attraction of religion, and, in fact, was
not far removed from the beliefs held by the Unitarian branch of the
Congregational Church in New England. Brought up in an atmosphere of
aristocracy, in the midst of slaves and inferior white men, his political
platform was confidence in human nature, and objection to privilege in
every form. Although a poor speaker, and rather shunning than seeking
society, he had such influence over those about him that no President has
ever so dominated the two Houses of Congress.

[Sidenote: Jefferson's faults.]

Jefferson's great defect was a mistaken view of human nature: this showed
itself in an unfortunate judgment of men, which led him to include among
his friends worthless adventurers like Callender. As a student and a
philosopher, he believed that mankind is moved by simple motives, in which
self-interest is predominant: hence his disinclination to use force
against insurrections; the people, if left to themselves, would, he
believed, return to reason. Hence, also, his confidence in a policy of
commercial restriction against foreign countries which ignored our neutral
rights; this was set forth in his commercial report of 1793 (§ 85), and
later was the foundation of his disastrous embargo policy (§ 103). He had
entire confidence in his own judgment and statesmanship; his policy was
his own, and was little affected by his advisers; and he ventured to
measure himself in diplomacy against the two greatest men of his time,--
William Pitt the younger and Napoleon Bonaparte.

[Sidenote: Moderate policy.]

Fortunately his administration began at a period when general peace seemed
approaching. The treaty of Amiens in 1802 made a sort of armistice between
France and Great Britain, and neutral commerce was relieved from capture.
The national income was steadily rising (§ 52), the Indians were quiet,
the land dispute with Georgia--the last of the long series--was on the
point of being settled, the States showed no sign of insubordination. In
his inaugural address the new President took pains to reassure his fellow-
citizens. "We have called by different names brethren of the same
principle," said he; "we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists."
Among the essential principles of government which he enumerated, appeared
"absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority,--the vital
principle of republics,--from which is no appeal but to force, the vital
principle and immediate parent of despotism."

[Sidenote: Purpose to win the Federalists.]

The studied moderation of this address shows clearly the policy which
Jefferson had in his mind. In a letter written about this time he says:
"To restore that harmony which our predecessors so wickedly made it their
object to break, to render us again one people, acting as one nation,...
should be the object of every man really a patriot." Jefferson was
determined to show the Federalists that there would be no violent change
in his administration; he hoped thus to detach a part of their number so
as to build up the Republican party in the Northern States. Even in
forming his cabinet he avoided violent shocks; for some months he retained
two members of Adams's cabinet; his Secretary of State was Madison, who in
1789 was as much inclined to Federalism as to Republicanism; and he
shortly appointed as his Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, the
Parliamentary leader of the party, but in financial principles and policy
much like Hamilton.


[Sidenote: Jefferson's principles.]

In a few weeks the disposition to conciliate was severely tried by the
pressure of applicants for office. Jefferson's principles on this subject
were summed up in a letter written March 24, 1801: "I will expunge the
effects of Mr. A.'s indecent conduct in crowding nominations after he knew
they were not for himself.... Some removals must be made for
misconduct.... Of the thousands of officers, therefore, in the United
States a very few individuals only, probably not twenty, will be removed:
and these only for doing what they ought not to have done." Gallatin
heartily supported him in this policy of moderation. Jefferson then laid
down the additional principle that he would fill all vacancies with
Republicans until the number of officeholders from each party was about
equal. "That done, I shall return with joy to that state of things when
the only questions concerning a candidate shall be, Is he honest? Is he
capable? Is he faithful to the Constitution?"

[Sidenote: Political removals.]

Adams was promptly rebuked by the removal of twenty-four persons appointed
in the two months previous. Other removals were made for what would now be
called "offensive partisanship." Then came a third group of removals, in
order, as Jefferson said, "to make some room for some participation for
the Republicans." At the time he acknowledged that there had been sixteen
cases,--in fact, there were many more; at the end of about two years after
his inauguration, out of 334 officers occupying important places, 178 were
new appointments, and of their predecessors at least 99 had been removed.
These officers in many cases carried with them a staff of subordinates. It
is safe to say that one half the persons who had been in the civil service
of the United States in March, 1801, were out of it in March, 1805.

[Sidenote: Appointments.]

Nor did Jefferson adhere to his purpose to appoint Federalists and
Republicans indiscriminately after the balance should have been reached.
He appointed none but members of his own party; many Federalists in office
came over to the Republicans; and by 1809 the civil service was
practically filled with Republicans.

96. ATTACK ON THE JUDICIARY (1801-1805).

[Sidenote: Repeal of the Judiciary Act.]

Moderation in Jefferson's mind did not extend to the judiciary which had
been forced upon the country by the Federalists in 1801. At his suggestion
Breckenridge, in 1802, moved to repeal the recent Act, and thus to get rid
at once of the new courts and of the incumbents. The Federalists protested
that the Constitution was being destroyed. "I stand," said Gouverneur
Morris, "in the presence of Almighty God and of the world, and I declare
to you that if you lose this charter, never, no, never, will you get
another. We are now, perhaps, arrived at the parting point." The repeal
was plainly intended to remove the last bulwark of the Federalist party in
the government. It was made more obnoxious by a clause suspending the
sessions of the Supreme Court until February, 1803. It was passed by a
majority of one in the Senate, and by a party vote of fifty-nine to
thirty-two in the House. The President signed it, and all the new circuit
judges and judicial officers were thus struck from the roll of the

[Sidenote: Impeachments.]
[Sidenote: Marbury vs. Madison.]

The narrow majority in the Senate warned Jefferson not to proceed farther
with such statutes; but the judiciary could be affected in another way.
Several of the supreme and district judges were ardent Federalists, and
had expressed strong political opinions from the bench. In February, 1803,
the House impeached John Pickering, district judge in New Hampshire; his
offence was drunkenness and violence on the bench; but the purpose to
intimidate the other judges was unmistakable. Two of them accepted the
issue. The Supreme Court had resumed its session only a few days, when, in
1803, Marshall made a decision in the case of Marbury _vs._ Madison.
Marbury was one of Adams's "midnight appointments;" the suit was brought
for his commission, which had not been delivered, and was retained by
Madison when he became Secretary of State. Marshall decided that "to
withhold his commission is an act deemed by the court not warranted by
law, but violative of a legal vested right." Upon a technical point,
however, the complaint was dismissed.

[Sidenote: Chase trial.]
[Sidenote: Appointments.]

Further defiance came from another justice of the Supreme Court, Samuel
Chase of Maryland. His prejudice against Callender on his trial for
sedition had exasperated the Republicans (§ 89), and on May 2, 1803, while
the Pickering impeachment was impending, Chase harangued the grand jury as
follows: "The independence of the national judiciary is already shaken to
its foundation, and the virtue of the people alone can restore it.... Our
republican constitution will sink into a mobocracy,... the worst of all
possible governments." Pickering was convicted March 12, 1804, and on the
same day the House impeached Chase. By this time the Republicans had
overshot the mark, and notwithstanding Chase's gross partisanship, on
March 1, 1805, the impeachment failed for want of a two-thirds vote.  The
only hope of controlling the Supreme Court was therefore to fill
vacancies, as they occurred, with sound Republicans. Three such
opportunities occurred in Jefferson's administration. To his great
chagrin, the new judges showed themselves as independent, though not as
aggressive, as Marshall.


[Sidenote: Federal finance.]

Although the effort to check the power of the judiciary failed, in another
direction Jefferson struck out a new and popular policy.  Under the
Federalists the taxes had increased from $3,600,000 in 1792 to $10,700,000
in 1800. This increase had been more than balanced by the growth of
expenditures. The Indian and French wars had brought unexpected expenses
upon the government, and the construction of a little navy was still going
on, In 1793 the government spent $3,800,000. In 1800 it spent $10,800,000.
Of this amount $6,000,000 went for the army and navy, and $3,000,000 for
interest. The deficits had been obscured by a funding system under which
payments to the sinking fund were practically made out of borrowed money,
so that the debt had risen from $80,000,000 in 1793 to nearly $83,000,000,
in 1800.

[Sidenote: Gallatin's finance.]

If peace could be guaranteed, a considerable part of the expenditure could
be cut down; and thus taxes might be reduced, and still a surplus be left,
out of which to pay instalments on the public debt. In his first annual
message the President accordingly advised the reduction of the military
and naval forces, and also of the civil officers. Gallatin proceeded to
draw up a financial plan: the annual revenue was to be $10,800,000,
military expenses were to be cut down to $2,500,000, and the civil
expenses to about $1,000,000; the remainder, $7,300,000, was to be devoted
to the reduction of the debt.

[Sidenote: Success of the system.]

Neither part of this scheme worked precisely as had been expected. The
army indeed underwent what Jefferson called a "chaste reformation;" it was
cut down from 4,000 to 2,500 men, to the great discontent of the officers.
The number of vessels in commission was reduced from about twenty-five to
seven, and the construction of vessels on the stocks was stopped, so that
in 1802 less than $1,000,000 was spent on the navy. Nevertheless, the
civil and miscellaneous expenses of the government grew steadily. Under
the Federalist administration, the total expenditures in time of peace,
exclusive of interest, had never been more than $3,000,000; in 1802
Gallatin spent $3,700,000, and in 1809 $7,500,000. The debt was, however,
rapidly diminished, and in 1809 stood at only $45,000,000; nearly half of
the interest charge was thus cut off, and for the first time the
government found itself with more money than it knew how to use. The taxes
had been reduced by a million and a half, by striking off the unpopular
direct tax and excise; the loss was more than met by an unexpected
increase in the revenue from customs, which in 1808 stood at $16,000,000,

[Sidenote: Drawbacks.]

To reach this result Jefferson and Gallatin deliberately neglected to make
ordinary preparations against attack; fortifications were abandoned,
skilled officers dismissed, ships allowed to decay at the wharves or on
the stocks, and the accumulation of military material ceased. The only
offset to this neglect was the creation of a military school at West Point
in 1802, and the training gained by the naval wars against the Barbary

98. BARBARY WARS (1801-1806).

[Sidenote: The navy.]

The Peace Establishment Act of March 3, 1801, authorized the President to
sell all the vessels of the navy except thirteen frigates, of which only
six were to be kept in commission; and the number of naval officers was
reduced from five hundred to two hundred. "I shall really be chagrined,"
wrote Jefferson, "if the water in the Eastern Branch will not admit our
laying up the whole seven there in time of peace, because they would be
under the immediate eye of the department, and would require but one set
of plunderers to take care of them." Events were too much for Jefferson's
genial intention. Ever since the Middle Ages the petty Moorish powers on
the north coast of Africa had made piracy on the Mediterranean trade their
profession. In accordance with the custom of European nations, in 1787 the
United States had bought a treaty of immunity with Morocco, and later with
Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis. Every payment to one of these nests of
pirates incited the others to make increased demands. In May, 1800, the
Pasha of Tripoli wrote to the President of the United States: "We could
wish that these your expressions were followed by deeds, and not by empty
words.... If only flattering words are meant, without performance, every
one will act as he finds convenient." Receiving no satisfaction, he
declared war upon the United States.

[Sidenote: The pirates subdued.]

One of the first acts of Jefferson's administration was, therefore, to
despatch a squadron to blockade Tripoli, and in 1802 he was obliged to
consent to a declaration of war by the United States. The frigates were
unsuitable, and in 1803 Congress resumed the hated Federalist policy of
building a navy. Four new vessels, of a small and handy type, were
constructed, and under Commodore Preble, Tripoli was compelled in 1805 to
make peace and to cease her depredations. The other Barbary powers were
cowed by this exhibition of spirit, and for some years our commerce was
undisturbed. The first result of the war was, therefore, that the corsairs
were humbled. A far greater advantage to the United States was the skill
in naval warfare gained by the officers of the navy. Thenceforward it was
impossible to think of shutting the navy up in the Eastern Branch of the
Potomac. Naval expenditures slowly increased, and seven years later the
good effect was seen in the War of 1812.


[Sidenote: Jefferson's political principles.]

Jefferson came into power as a stickler for a limited government, confined
chiefly to foreign and commercial affairs. He now entered upon the most
brilliant episode of his administration,--the annexation of Louisiana; and
that transaction was carried out and defended upon precisely the grounds
of loose construction which he had so much contemned.

[Sidenote: Napoleon's colonial system.]

In 1763 France had two flourishing American colonies,--Louisiana and
Hayti, the western end of the island of San Domingo. The former province
was ceded to Spain (§ 18); the latter, the centre of the French colonial
system, was nearly destroyed by a slave insurrection in 1791. When, in
1800, Napoleon Bonaparte became First Consul and virtual dictator, he
formed a brilliant scheme of reviving the French colonial empire. The
first step was to recover Louisiana; the second was to make peace with
England, so as to stop the naval war and release the French resources; the
third step was to occupy, first Hayti, and then Louisiana. The three plans
were pursued with characteristic rapidity. In October, 1800, the secret
treaty of San Ildefonso was negotiated, by which Spain agreed to return
Louisiana to France, the condition being that Napoleon should create a
kingdom of Etruria for the son-in-law of the king of Spain. In 1802 the
Peace of Amiens was made with England.

[Sidenote: Toussaint Louverture.]

A combined French and Spanish squadron had already, October, 1801, carried
a great expedition to occupy the whole island of San Domingo, with secret
orders to re-establish slavery. Then came an unexpected check: the fleet
and the army of ten thousand experienced French troops were unable to
break down the resistance of Toussaint Louverture, a native black general
who aimed to be the Napoleon of the island. Toussaint was taken; but the
army was forced back into a few sea-ports, and almost swept away by
disease. The blacks were still masters of the island.

[Sidenote: Alarm of the United States.]

The next step was to have been the occupation of Louisiana. By this time,
April, 1802, the news of the cession reached the United States, and drew
from Jefferson a remarkable letter. "The day that France takes possession
of New Orleans," said he, "fixes the sentence which is to restrain her
forever within her low-water mark. From that moment we must marry
ourselves to the British fleet and nation." As though to justify this
outburst of anti-Gallican zeal on the part of the old friend of France,
the Spanish Intendant of Louisiana, Oct. 16, 1802, withdrew the so-called
"right of deposit" under which Americans on the upper Mississippi had been
able to send goods to the sea and to receive return cargoes without the
payment of Spanish duty. If the province were to pass to France with the
Mississippi closed, it seemed to Jefferson essential that we should obtain
West Florida, with the port of Mobile; and in January, 1803, James Monroe
was sent as special envoy to secure this cession.  [Sidenote: Louisiana

The day after he reached Paris, Livingston, the resident minister, had
closed a treaty for the cession, not of West Florida, but of all
Louisiana. The inner history of this remarkable negotiation has been
brought to light by Henry Adams in his History of the Administration of
Jefferson. The check in San Domingo had dampened the colonial ardor of
Napoleon; war was about to break out again with England; Napoleon's
ambition turned toward an European empire; and he lightly offered the
province which had come to him so cheaply. Neither Livingston, Monroe, nor
Jefferson had thought it possible to acquire New Orleans; with 880,000
square miles of other territory it was tossed into the lap of the United
States as the Sultan throws a purse of gold to a favorite.

[Sidenote: Indefinite boundaries.]

The treaty, dated April 30, 1803, gave to the United States Louisiana,
"with the same extent that it now has in the hands of Spain, and that it
had when France possessed it." The two phrases, instead of explaining each
other, were contradictory: Louisiana as it was when France possessed it
had included settlements as far east as the Perdido River; Louisiana in
the hands of Spain had extended only to the Iberville. The United States
had therefore annexed a province without knowing its boundaries. We are
now aware that Napoleon had issued orders to occupy the country on the
north only as far as the Iberville, but on the south as far as the Rio
Grande; at the time France refused to give any information on either
point. Hence the United States gave up the claim to Texas, in which there
was reason, and insisted on the title to West Florida, which was nowhere
to be found in the treaty.


[Sidenote: Anger of the Federalists.]
[Sidenote: Arguments for annexation.]

The annexation of Louisiana aroused a storm in both hemispheres. The
Spanish government vehemently protested, the more because the promised
kingdom of Etruria proved to be but a mock principality. In the United
States the Federalists attacked both the annexation and the method of
annexation with equal violence. The treaty promised that the people should
as soon as possible be admitted as a State into the Union; the balance of
power in the government was thus disturbed, and the Federalists foresaw
that the influence of New England must diminish. Their constitutional
arguments were just such as had been heard from the Republican writers and
legislatures in 1798: the constitution, they said, nowhere gives express
power to annex territory, and therefore there is no such power; the Union
is a partnership, and new members cannot be admitted except by unanimous
consent. The Republicans furnished themselves with arguments drawn from
the Federal arsenal: the right to annex territory, they said could be
implied from the power to make treaties, from the power to regulate
territory, and from the "necessary and proper" clause. Jefferson was not
so ready to give up his cherished principles, and proposed a
constitutional amendment to approve and confirm the cession. His party
friends scouted the idea. The treaty was duly ratified, fifteen millions
were appropriated for the purchase, and on Dec. 20, 1803, possession of
the territory was given,

[Sidenote: Intrigues with Burr.]

The cup of the Federalists was now full, and a few violent spirits, of
whom Timothy Pickering was the leader, suggested that the time had come to
withdraw from the Union. They found no hearing among the party at large.
In 1804, therefore, they tried to form a combination with a wing of the
New York Republicans controlled by Burr, who had been read out of his
party by the Jeffersonian wing. He came forward as an independent
candidate for Governor, and asked for the support of the New York
Federalists. Hamilton stood out against this movement, and wrote a letter
urging his friends not to vote for him. Burr received the Federalist vote,
but was defeated, and in his humiliation sent Hamilton a challenge, and
killed him in the duel. The affair still further weakened the Federalists;
in the national election of 1804 they cast but fourteen votes,--those of
Connecticut, Delaware, and Maryland. Even Massachusetts voted for

[Sidenote: The Federalists weakened.]

Commerce was still increasing; the Union was growing in extent and
importance; neither the interests nor the principles of the people had
suffered. The Federalist predictions of danger from Jefferson had not been
fulfilled. There were still a few leaders who brooded over a plan of
separation; but the strength of the Federalists was now so broken that in
1807 John Quincy Adams, son of the ex-President, and senator from
Massachusetts, went over to the Republican party.

101. THE BURR CONSPIRACY (1806-1807).

[Sidenote: Burr's schemes.]

The election of 1804 was the last attempt of Aaron Burr to re-enter public
life. His private character, already sufficiently notorious, had been
destroyed by the murder of Hamilton, and he was a desperate man. In 1805
Burr went West, and was well received by many prominent men, including
General Wilkinson, the senior officer of the United States army, and
Andrew Jackson, then a lawyer in Nashville, Tennessee. His purposes were
vague: he planned the establishment of a colony on the new Western lands;
he had relations with certain Spanish adventurers who wished the
independence of Mexico; he hinted at securing the secession of the Western
States, with the aid of the British government. His chief purpose seems to
have been to head a revolution in the newly acquired Louisiana.

[Sidenote: Burr's expedition.]

To the rumors that Burr had some desperate and treasonable intention
Jefferson paid no attention. In December, 1806, Burr mustered a party of
men at Blennerhasset's Island, in the Ohio River, and with them floated
down the river. Twice attempts were made by local authorities to stop him
and prosecute him, but he was allowed to continue, with about a hundred
men, till in January, 1807, while on the lower Mississippi, he learned
from a newspaper that the President had issued a proclamation directing
his capture. He abandoned his men, and shortly afterwards fell into the
hands of the authorities, and was sent to Washington for trial.

[Sidenote: Wilkinson's treachery.]
[Sidenote: Burr's Trial.]

Meanwhile steps had been taken to prevent the expected rising in
Louisiana. Wilkinson was then on the extreme western frontier. He received
a cipher message from Burr, and after waiting for some hours to make up
his mind, concluded to betray him, sent the letters to the government,
went to New Orleans, and there arrested several of Burr's adherents, by
military authority. The danger to the Union had been slight, the laxity on
Jefferson's part unpardonable. Having Burr in his power, he now
relentlessly pursued him with a prosecution for treason. The trial was
held in Richmond, Chief Justice Marshall presiding, and ended on Sept. 1,
1807. The indictment had set forth the mustering of the men at
Blennerhasset's Island: since the only acts which could be called
treasonable had occurred elsewhere, the court declared the evidence
insufficient, and there was nothing for the jury to do but to bring him in
not guilty. The President had shown that he could use force, if necessary;
and the courts had again shown their independence of the President. Burr
disappeared from public notice.


[Sidenote: American trade.]
[Sidenote: Admiralty decisions.]

The renewal of the war between England and France in May, 1803, at first
was advantageous to the United States; it precipitated the cession of
Louisiana and it gave new employment for American shipping. French West
Indian products were freely imported, re-shipped, and exported, thus
avoiding the rule of 1756 (§ 85); as a result, the customs revenue leaped
in one year from fourteen to twenty millions. In 1805 these favorable
conditions were reversed. In May the British admiralty courts decided that
goods which had started from French colonies could be captured, even
though they had been landed and re-shipped in the United States. Captures
at once began; English frigates were stationed outside the port of New
York, and vessels coming in and going out were insolently stopped and
searched; impressments were revived. In 1804 thirty-nine vessels had been
captured by the British; in 1805 one hundred and sixteen were taken; and
probably a thousand American seamen were impressed.

[Sidenote: Continental System.]

On Oct. 21, 1805, the combined French and Spanish fleets were overwhelmed
at Trafalgar. Thenceforward England had the mastery of the seas, while
France remained supreme on land. Napoleon, who had in 1804 taken the title
of Emperor, was determined to destroy English trade with the Continent,
and had no scruples against ruining neutrals in the attempt. He resolved
upon a "Continental System,"--to shut against the importation of English
goods the ports of France and her dependencies and allies, including, as
the result of recent conquests, almost the whole northern coast of the
Mediterranean, and a considerable part of the coast of the German Ocean
and the Baltic Sea.

[Sidenote: Orders and decrees.]

The English retaliated with an Order in Council, dated May 16, 1806, by
which the whole coast from Brest to the river Elbe was declared blockaded.
There was no blockading squadron; yet American vessels were captured as
they left their own ports bound for places within the specified limit.
Napoleon retorted with the Berlin Decree of Nov. 21, 1806, in which he
declared the whole British Islands in a state of blockade; the trade in
English merchandise was forbidden, and no vessel that had touched at a
British port could enter a French port. These measures were plainly
intended to cut off the commerce of neutrals; and as the European wars had
now swept in almost every seafaring power, on one side or the other, the
Americans were the great neutral carriers. In January, 1807, Great Britain
announced that neutral vessels trading from one port under French
influence to another were subject to capture, and that all French ports
were blockaded. The Milan Decree of December, 1807, completed the
structure of injustice by ordering the capture of all neutral vessels
which had been searched by an English vessel. In 1806 the Jay Treaty
expired, and the Americans lost its slight protection. The effect of this
warfare of proclamations was at once seen in the great increase of
captures: one hundred and ninety-four American vessels were taken by
England in 1807, and a large number by the French.

103. POLICY OF NON-RESISTANCE (1805-1807).

[Sidenote: Prosperity of American trade.]

The wholesale seizure of American property was exasperating to the last
degree. The disdainful impressment of American seamen, and still more the
unofficial blockade of the ports, would have justified war. Yet
notwithstanding the loss of American shipping, trade continued to prosper,
and vessels engaged in foreign commerce increased; freights were so high
that an annual loss by capture of ten per cent could be made up out of the
profits. The New Englanders, therefore, who suffered most were not most
anxious for war, nor could Jefferson bear to give up his policy of debt-
reduction and of peaceful trade. Toward France, indeed, he showed
remarkable tenderness, because that power controlled Spain, from which
Jefferson was eagerly seeking the cession of West Florida.

[Sidenote: Gunboat system.]

Some American policy must be formulated. War seemed to Jefferson
unnecessary, and he therefore attempted three other remedies, which in a
measure neutralized each other. The first was to provide some kind of
defence. To build new vessels seemed to him an invitation to the English
navy to swoop down and destroy them. To fortify the coasts and harbors
properly would cost fifty millions of dollars. He proposed, therefore, to
lay up the navy and to build a fleet of gunboats, to be hauled up under
sheds in time of peace, but if war came, to be manned by a naval militia
and to repel the enemy. Between 1806 and 1812 one hundred and seventy-six
gunboats were built. They never rendered any considerable service, and
took $1,700,000 out of Gallatin's surplus.

[Sidenote: Pinkney treaty.]

The second part of Jefferson's policy was to negotiate with England for a
new treaty. The conditions upon which he insisted were impossible, and
Pinkney and Monroe, therefore, in December, 1806, made the best terms they
could: there was no article against impressment; they surrendered the
principle that free ships make free goods; they practically accepted the
rule of 1756. The treaty was so unacceptable that Jefferson never
submitted it to the Senate; and thenceforward to the War of 1812 we had
only such commercial privileges as England chose to grant.

[Sidenote: Non-importation act.]

The only remaining arrow in Jefferson's quiver was the policy of
commercial restriction. On April 18, 1806, an act was Passed by which,
after November 15, the importation of manufactured goods from England and
English colonies was forbidden. Even this was suspended on December 29.

[Sidenote: "Leopard" and "Chesapeake."]
[Sidenote: The Americans aroused.]

The effect of these feeble efforts to secure fair treatment was seen on
June 27, 1807. The only excuse for the impressment of American seamen was
that sailors from the British men-of-war were apt to desert when they
reached an American port, and frequently shipped on board American
vessels. The chief reason was the severity of naval discipline and the low
wages paid by the British government. The American frigate "Chesapeake,"
about leaving Norfolk for a Mediterranean cruise, had several such
deserters on board without the commander's knowledge. When outside the
capes the British frigate "Leopard" suddenly bore down on her, hailed her,
and her captain announced that he was about to search the ship for these
deserters. Commander Barron was taken by surprise; his guns were not ready
for action, his crew was not yet trained. He refused to permit the search,
was fired upon, and was obliged to surrender. Four men were taken off, of
whom three were American citizens, and the "Chesapeake" carried back the
news of this humiliation. The spirit of the nation was aflame. Had
Jefferson chosen, he might have gone to war upon this issue, and would
have had the country behind him. The extreme point which he reached was a
proclamation warning British armed vessels out of American waters; he
preferred a milder sort of warfare.

104. THE EMBARGO (1807-1808).

[Sidenote: Jefferson's recommendations.]

The Non-importation Act, which up to this time had had no force, finally
went into effect Dec. 14, 1807. Two days later news was received that the
king had ordered British naval officers to exercise their assumed right of
impressment. Forthwith Jefferson sent a message to Congress, hinting that
England was about to prohibit American commerce altogether, and
recommending an embargo so as to prevent the loss of our ships and seamen.
The Senate hurried a bill through all its stages in a single day; and the
House, by nearly two to one, accepted it. No foreign merchant vessel could
leave an American port, except in ballast, or with a cargo then on board;
no American merchantman could leave for a foreign port on any terms.

[Sidenote: The embargo evaded.]

The embargo was not really intended to save American shipping, for the
owners were willing to run their own risks. The restriction was so new, so
sweeping so little in accordance with the habits of the people, and so
destructive to the great interests of commerce that it was systematically
evaded. Vessels left port on a coasting voyage, and slipped into a West
Indian port, and perhaps returned with a West Indian cargo. Severe
supplementary acts were therefore necessary. A great trade sprang up
across the border into Canada, followed by new restrictions, with severe
penalties and powers of search hitherto unknown in the law of the United
States. On Lake Champlain, on June 13, 1808, a band of sixty armed men
fired upon United States troops, and carried a raft in triumph over the
border. A prosecution for treason against one of the men involved was a

[Sidenote: No settlement with England.]

The expectation was that the President, backed up by the embargo, would
now succeed in a negotiation with England, that atonement would be made
for the "Chesapeake" outrage, and that a commercial treaty would at last
be gained. Mr. George Rose came over as British minister in December,
1807; but he took the unfortunate attitude that the American government
owed England an apology for action growing out of the "Chesapeake"
outrage, and he returned in March without accomplishing anything: the two
countries remained in an attitude of hostility throughout the year.


[Sidenote: Effect on England.]

When Congress assembled in December, 1808, the effect of the embargo was
manifest. English merchants engaged in the American trade protested, and
asked the British government to withdraw its Orders in Council. Lord
Castlereagh declared that the embargo was "operating at present more
forcibly in our favor than any measure of hostility we could call forth,
without war actually declared;" English trade to the amount of $25,000,000
was, indeed, cut off; but notwithstanding this loss, the total exports of
England increased. "The embargo," says Henry Adams, "served only to lower
the wages and the moral standard of the laboring classes throughout the
British empire, and to prove their helplessness."

[Sidenote: Effect on France.]

The reception of the embargo by France was even more humiliating. On April
17, 1808, Napoleon issued a decree at Bayonne directing that all American
vessels which might enter the ports of France, Italy, and the Hanse towns
should be seized, "because no vessels of the United States can now
navigate the seas without infracting the law of the said States." "The
Emperor applauds the embargo," said the French foreign minister.

[Sidenote: Effect on the United States.]

In America the embargo, which was intended to cut off the profits of
foreign merchants and the provisions needed in foreign countries, had
crippled the shipping interests, had destroyed the export trade, and had
almost ruined the farmers. Exports dropped in one year from one hundred
and ten millions to twenty-two millions; import duties were kept up during
1808 by returning vessels, but in 1809 sank from sixteen millions to seven
millions; shipbuilding fell off by two-thirds; shipping in foreign trade
lost 100,000 tons; wheat fell from two dollars to seventy-five cents a
bushel. The South, from which the majority in favor of the embargo had
been drawn, suffered most of all: tobacco could not be sold, and Virginia
was almost bankrupt.

[Sidenote: The embargo a failure.]
[Sidenote: The embargo repealed.]

The money loss did not measure the injury to the country. New England
ingenuity was devoted to new methods of avoiding the law of the land, and
a passionate feeling of sectional injury sprang up. In the election of
1808 the Federalists carried all New England except Vermont, and had a few
Southern votes; and the Republican majority in Congress was much cut down.
The embargo had plainly failed, and the only alternative seemed to be war.
Even Jefferson was obliged to admit that the embargo must end a few months
later; "But I have thought it right," he wrote, "to take no part myself in
proposing measures, the execution of which will devolve on my successor."
It became known that Madison, the President-elect, favored the repeal of
the embargo in June, and that Jefferson was only anxious that it should
last out his administration. The discontent of New England was so manifest
that a South Carolina member said: "You have driven us from the embargo.
The excitement in the East renders it necessary that we should enforce the
embargo with the bayonet, or repeal it. I will repeal it,--and I could
weep over it more than over a lost child." On Feb. 2, 1809, the House, by
a vote of 70 to 40, decided upon immediate repeal. The only question now
was what policy should be substituted. On February 28 an agreement was
reached: the embargo was replaced by a non-intercourse law which forbade
British or French vessels to enter American ports; but there was no threat
against the captors of American vessels.

[Sidenote: Jefferson humiliated.]

Throughout his whole administration Jefferson had never before been
confronted with an offensive bill. He had been practically the leader in
both houses of Congress, and until this moment his followers had never
deserted him. He could not end his administration with a veto, and he
signed the act, although it was a tacit condemnation of his whole policy
with reference to neutral trade. The defence of the embargo was that it
prevented war: but it had inflicted on the country the material losses and
excited the factional spirit which would have resulted from war; and the
danger of war was greater at the end than at the beginning of the


THE UNION IN DANGER (1809-1815).


BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 12-15; J. Winsor, _Narrative and Critical History_, VII.
320-323, 341-343, 420-437, 457-460, 522-524; Channing and Hart, _Guide_,
§§ 170-173.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1 and 4, this volume (_Epoch Maps_, Nos. 7 and
9); T. MacCoun, _Historical Geography_; Henry Adams, _United States_, VI,
VII., VIII., _passim_; Anderson, _Canada_ (1814); Arrowsmith, _Map of the
United States_ (1813); Scribner, _Statistical Atlas_, Plate 14; school
histories of Channing, Johnston, Scudder, and Thomas.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS--R. Hildreth, _United States_, VI. 149-674; H. Von
Hoist, _Constitutional History_, I 226-272; J. Schouler, _United States_,
II. 194-444; J. B. McMaster, _United States_, III. 339-560 (to 1812), IV.;
Bryant and Gay, _Popular History_, IV. 185-244; Geo. Tucker, _United
States_, II. 349-515, III. 21-145; Bradford, _Constitutional History_, I.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Henry Adams, _History of the United States_, V.-
IX.; C. Schurz, _Henry Clay_, I. 38-137; S. H. Gay, _James Madison_, 283-
337; C. J. Ingersoll, _Historical Sketch of the Second War_; T. Roosevelt,
_Naval War of 1812_; J. Armstrong, _Notices of the War of 1812_; B. J.
Lossing, _Pictorial Field-book of the War of 1812_; H. M Brackenridge,
_History of the Late War_; William Jones, _Military Occurrences_ and
_Naval Occurrences_; E. S. Maclay, _United States Navy_.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS--J. Q. Adams, _Memoirs_, II, III. (ch. ix); S.
G Goodrich, _Recollections_, I. 435-514, II. 9-60; Dolly Madison,
_Memoirs and Letters_; John Randolph, _Letters to a Young Relative_; S.
Leech, _Thirty Years from Home_ (by a seaman of the Macedonian); W.
Cobbett, _Pride of Britannia Humbled_(1815); Coggeshall, _History of the
American Privateers_; William Sullivan, _Familiar Letters on Public
Characters_, 290-355; Timothy Dwight, _History of the Hartford
Convention_. Works of Jefferson, Madison, Gallatin, Dallas, Clay.--
Reprints in M. Carey, _Olive Branch_; A. Johnston, _American Orations_, I,
_American History told by Contemporaries_, III.

107. NON-INTERCOURSE LAWS (1809, 1810).

[Sidenote: Madison's administration.]

James Madison, who became President March 4, 1809, felt that his
administration was to be a continuation of that of Jefferson; and he took
over three members of Jefferson's cabinet, including Gallatin. The
Secretary of State, Robert Smith, was incapable, and Madison was
practically his own foreign minister.

[Sidenote: The situation abroad.]

The condition of European affairs was, on the whole, favorable to America.
In 1807 Russia had formed an alliance with France and had accepted the
Continental System, thus cutting off American trade; but in 1808 the
French lost ground in Spain, and the Spanish and Portuguese ports were
thus opened to American commerce. Nevertheless a hundred and eight
merchantmen were captured by England in 1808.

[Sidenote: Non-intercourse Act.]
[Sidenote: Favorable trade.]

To defend American commerce and the national honor, the administration
possessed but three weapons,--war, retaliatory legislation, and diplomacy.
War meant both danger and sacrifice; there was already a deficit in the
Treasury. Congress, therefore, continued to legislate, while at the same
time attempts were made to negotiate with both France and England. The
Non-intercourse Act continued in force throughout 1809, and hardly impeded
American commerce; trade with England and France went on through a few
intermediary ports such as Lisbon and Riga, and there was a brisk direct
trade under special license of one or the other of the powers. The
shipping engaged in foreign trade now reached a higher point than ever
before. The profits of American vessels were so great that forged American
papers were openly sold in England. The defection of New England was
stayed, and the President was supported by a fair majority in both Houses.
It remained to be seen whether non-intercourse would have any effect in
securing a withdrawal of the offensive orders and decrees.


[Sidenote: The Erskine treaty.]

On April 19, 1809, Madison obtained what seemed a diplomatic triumph;
Erskine, the new British envoy, signed a formal agreement that the British
government should withdraw the Orders in Council. A proclamation was then
issued, announcing that trade might be renewed with Great Britain. As
France had from the first protested that her Decrees were simply
retaliatory, it was expected that they would in due time also be annulled.
The satisfaction of the country was short-lived: Erskine had gone beyond
his instructions. Once more the opportunity to conciliate the United
States was thrown away by England; his agreement was formally disavowed;
and on August 9 the President had the mortification of issuing a second
proclamation, announcing that the Orders had not been withdrawn, and that
trade with England was still forbidden.

[Sidenote: Jackson's negotiation.]

Another British minister, James Jackson, was received October 1, and began
his negotiation by asserting that Madison had tricked Erskine into signing
an agreement which the American government knew he was not authorized to
make. The charge was denied, and his relations were finally closed on
November 8 by a note in which he was informed that inasmuch as he "had
used a language which cannot be understood but as reiterating and even
aggravating the same gross insinuation, no further communications will be
received." Having thus practically been dismissed for brutally insulting
the government to which he was accredited, Jackson made a tour of the
Eastern States, and was received with hospitality and enthusiasm by the
leading New England Federalists.

[Sidenote: Macon Bill No. 2.]
[Sidenote: Anger of France.]
[Sidenote: Pretended revocation by France.]

From France no satisfaction could be obtained during 1809. To remove all
restrictions on commerce was to give up everything; but Congress was tired
of resistance, and on May i, 1810, passed the "Macon Bill No. 2," which
was practically a surrender of all the principles at stake. It provided
that commerce should be free, but that if either England or France should
withdraw her Orders or Decrees, intercourse should be prohibited with the
nation which retained them. The probable effect on France was speedily
seen by the publication of a Decree which had been issued March 23, 1810:
it declared that all American vessels which had entered French ports after
the date of the Non-Intercourse Act of 1809 were to be seized. This was
practically an act of war. The Macon bill now suggested to the Emperor
that the Americans might be entrapped into another ambush: on August 5 his
foreign minister wrote to Armstrong, the American minister, that "the
Emperor loves the Americans," and that he would revoke the Milan and
Berlin Decrees from November 1, provided England would withdraw her Orders
in Council. Five days earlier the secret Decree of the Trianon had ordered
the seizure of all American vessels that might reach French ports. The
object of these measures was to entice American vessels within the reach
of the French, and the ruse was successful. November 1 the President
issued a proclamation declaring trade with England suspended because
France had withdrawn her Decrees. Then ensued a long diplomatic
discussion: since captures of American vessels by French cruisers
continued, the British government refused to admit that the Decrees had
been withdrawn, and complained of the prohibition of English trade. On
December 25 Napoleon drew in his net by a general order for the seizure of
all American vessels in French ports; and property to the value of about
ten million dollars was thus confiscated.

[Sidenote: Fruitless negotiation with England.]

The British ministry kept its promise to Jackson, not to recall him till
the end of a year. In February, 1811, Pinkney, our minister in London,
demanded his passports, and left England with a tacit threat of war. The
British government instantly sent a fourth minister, Mr. Foster, to the
United States, and on June 13, 1811, reparation was made for the "Leopard-
Chesapeake" outrage. This tardy act was received with coldness: four weeks
earlier the English corvette "Little Belt" had fired upon the American
frigate "President;" the fire was returned, and the "Little Belt"

109. THE WAR PARTY (1811).

[Sidenote: Madison's first Congress.]

The responsibility for peace or war was now thrown upon the Congress which
assembled Nov. 4, 1811. It had been elected at a time when it was believed
that France had at last withdrawn the Decrees, and it had a strong
Republican majority in both branches; there were but six Federalists in
the Senate, and thirty-seven in the House. Even Massachusetts had chosen a
Republican senator.

[Sidenote: The young Republicans.]

The new Congress had little of the timid spirit of its predecessor. It
contained an unusual number of vigorous young men. Among the members who
appeared for the first time in the House were John C. Calhoun, Langdon
Cheves, and William Lowndes; two years later Daniel Webster took his seat.
The first act of the new House Was to elect as its Speaker Henry Clay of
Kentucky,--a young man for the first time a member of the House, and known
to be in favor of war. His selection meant a change of counsels; the
committees were reorganized, and Calhoun was made a leading member of the
committee on Foreign Relations.

[Sidenote: Influence of the West.]

For the first time since 1807 war seemed likely. The controlling element
in Congress had no longer the traditions of the Revolutionary War and the
influence of Revolutionary statesmen. Many of these members represented
interior States, having no sea-coast, and subject to no danger from
invasion. These States were too new to command the affectionate support of
their people; to their members the United States government represented
the power and dignity of America; they chafed under the humiliations which
had so long been suffered. The growth of the South and West enabled
Congress to override the Federalists of New England and the peace
Republicans of the Middle States.

[Sidenote: Madison's attitude.]

The President was a peaceful man, but he was unable to manage Congress,
and was weary of the long series of offensive measures against his
country. The annual message bore a distinctly warlike tone, especially
toward England; and Gallatin suggested increased import duties and new war

[Sidenote: Who was the enemy?]

The grievances of the United States were heavy, but to go to war was
difficult. The government was hampered by the fact that the New England
ship-owners, in whose behalf the government was negotiating and
threatening, preferred an irregular and hazardous trade to war. A more
serious difficulty was that France had notoriously been a worse enemy than
England; she had done all the open injury in her power, and had then
treacherously entrapped our vessels. Madison had taken the untenable
ground that our trade was respected by France, and that the British
government was therefore bound to withdraw its Orders. The New England
Federalists had a corresponding partisan friendship for England, and could
see no offence in the blockade of our coasts, or even in impressment.

[Sidenote: Designs on Canada.]

Yet the war spirit against England was steadily rising. The reason is to
be found in a speech delivered by Henry Clay some months later: "An
honorable peace is obtainable only by an efficient war. My plan would be
to call out the ample resources of the country, give them a judicious
direction, prosecute the war with the utmost vigor, strike wherever we can
reach the enemy at sea or on land, and negotiate the terms of peace at
Quebec or Halifax." The immediate object of the war was, therefore, not to
secure the rights of vessel-owners: war would instantly make all American
commerce subject to capture; the evident purpose was to take Canada, and
by the occupation of British territory to force England to make a
favorable peace.

[Sidenote: Preliminaries of war.]

On Jan. 6, 1812, a bill for raising twenty-five thousand troops was
passed, and fifty thousand volunteers were authorized. The enthusiasm of
Congress was chilled by new action of the French government, which proved
its friendliness by capturing American merchantmen wherever found upon the
sea. Nevertheless, on April 1 the President recommended an embargo, which
was understood to be preliminary to war with England. As the time for
Presidential nominations came on, the New York Republicans bolted, and
nominated De Witt Clinton.

[Sidenote: War declared.]

Still the war was delayed. Although on May 19 news was received that the
British government would not yield the Orders in Council, it was June 1
before Madison sent to Congress a message recommending war, and not until
June 18 did the declaration pass. Nearly forty Republican members refused
to vote for it, and the test vote was seventy-nine to forty-nine in the
House, and nineteen to thirteen in the Senate.

[Sidenote: Causes of the war.]

The causes of the war, as set forth in the messages of the President and
in contemporary speeches, were four. The first was that the British had
tampered with the Indians and urged them to hostilities: it was true, and
it was trying; but the breaking out of war simply aggravated that
difficulty. The second charge was the interference with neutral trade by
the Orders in Council; but the injury from the French Decrees had been
more humiliating. The third complaint was perhaps the most serious and
exasperating: it was the virtual blockade of American ports by British
cruisers, and their interference with arriving and departing vessels.
Finally came the impressment of American seamen.

[Sidenote: Orders in Council withdrawn.]

Of these grievances the last two had not up to this time been put forward
as cause for war. On June 16, two days before the declaration of war, the
British government reluctantly withdrew the Orders in Council against
which the United States had for six years protested. Before hostilities
had fairly begun, notice was sent to the American government: it insisted
on prosecuting the war, which was therefore undertaken ostensibly for the
protection of the coast and the prevention of impressments.


[Sidenote: Population.]
[Sidenote: Financial resources.]

In every respect except in the numbers available for land operations the
Americans seemed inferior to the English. It was a war between a people of
eight millions and a people of nearly twenty millions. The United States
had been deceived by eleven years of great prosperity, and failed to see
that the revenues of the government rose almost entirely from import
duties, which would be cut off by war; and Congress showed a decided
unwillingness to supplement these with other taxes. In 1811 the customs
produced $13,000,000, in 1812 but $9,000,000; and the total revenue of the
government was less than $10,000,000. The war, once begun, cost about
$30,000,000 a year. The government was therefore thrown back upon loans,
and it borrowed $98,000,000 during the war. As the credit of the
government began to diminish, those loans were sold at prices much less
than their face, and the country was obliged to issue $37,000,000 of
Treasury notes. Meanwhile, England was raising by taxation nearly
£70,000,000 a year, and in 1815 was successfully carrying a debt of
£860,000,000. The remnant of Republican prejudice against Federalist
finances was just sufficient to prevent the re-chartering of the United
States Bank in 1811. The country, therefore, entered on the war with
insufficient means, impaired credit, and a defective financial

[Sidenote: National spirit.]
[Sidenote: Disloyal utterances.]

In national spirit, also, the United States was the weaker. The British
had for twenty years been carrying a popular war with France, in which
they had shown themselves far superior at sea, and had gained great
military experience. In the United States sectional spirit was more
violent than at any time since 1798. We now know that some of the leading
Federalists were, up to the outbreak of the war, in confidential
communication with British envoys. In 1809 and 1810 the Republican
governor and legislature in Pennsylvania were opposing with military
violence the service of the writs of the United States District Court in
the Olmstead Case. The disaffection of the Federalists was publicly
expressed by Josiah Quincy, of Massachusetts, in a Speech in 1811 on the
admission of Louisiana: "If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion
that it is virtually a dissolution of this Union; that it will free the
States from their moral obligation; and, as it will be the right of all,
so it will be the duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation,
amicably if they can, violently if they must."

[Sidenote: The two armies.]  Nor did the military and naval preparation of
the country make up for its political weakness. The regular army of the
United States was composed of 6,700 men. The service was so unpopular that
two proclamations were issued in 1812 promising pardons to deserters. The
highest number of officers and men in the regular army was during the war
but 34,000. The dependence of the government, therefore, for offensive
operations was upon the State militia. The general officers were old
Revolutionary soldiers or men who had seen no service; the military
organization was defective; and the Secretary of War, Eustis, was
incompetent. In this very year, 1812, the British regular troops under
Wellington were steadily beating back the French, who had been supposed to
be the best soldiers in the world.

[Sidenote: The two navies.]

In naval affairs comparison between the two powers was almost impossible.
The American navy consisted of twelve vessels, the largest of which were
the three 44-gun frigates "United States", "Constitution," and
"President". The number of men was 4,000, with 1,500 marines. The British
navy was composed of eight hundred and thirty vessels, of which two
hundred and thirty were larger than any of the American ships; they had
150,000 seamen, and unlimited power of impressing sailors.

[Sidenote: The theatre of the war.]

The theatre of war was to be much the same as in the French and Indian war
(§ 14). The lines stretched from Nova Scotia to the Great Lakes, but
settlement had extended so far westward that Detroit marked the flank of
both powers, and Lake Erie was included in the field of operations. Like
Braddock in 1755 (§ 16), the Americans expected to roll the enemy's line
up from west to east; and at the same time they meant to penetrate where
Loudon and Abercrombie had attacked, through Lake Ontario and Lake
Champlain. For harbor and coast defence they relied chiefly on the fleet
of gunboats.


[Sidenote: Campaign of 1812.]

For the beginning of the campaign two expeditions were planned,--one
across the river from Detroit, the other across the Niagara from Buffalo.
The experience of the Revolution threw little light on the problem of
conveying large bodies of men, with the necessary stores, across such
stretches of wild country. General Hull, in command at Detroit, after a
single effort to invade Canada, was forced back, and on Aug. 16, 1812, was
brought to a disgraceful capitulation. Fort Dearborn, now Chicago, and
Mackinac were captured at about the same time. In October and November two
attempts were made to cross the Niagara into Canada. Owing to the
incapacity of the commanders, Van Rensselaer and Smythe, six thousand
American troops were held in check, and smaller bodies of them defeated,
by one thousand British. The military authorities in the centre waited for
the reduction of western Canada before attempting to advance northward to

[Sidenote: Campaign of 1813.]

The campaign of 1813 was little more fortunate. The British, with their
savage allies, held Detroit; but a fresh-water navy had been constructed
by both parties on Lake Erie, and the victory of Commodore Perry gave the
control of Lake Erie, and thus of Detroit, to the Americans. On the
Niagara frontier the Americans were successful in occupying the British
forts on the western side of the river, but could not penetrate the
country. A northern expedition descended the St. Lawrence, but was obliged
to retire into American territory without result; and in the last days of
the year the Niagara posts were again abandoned.

112. NAVAL WARFARE (1812-1815).

[Sidenote: The first cruise.]
[Sidenote: English cruisers captured.]

When the war broke out, the purpose of the administration was to keep the
vessels of the United States navy in Port for harbor and coast defence. An
order was sent to New York authorizing a brief preliminary cruise, and
within one hour Commodore Rodgers, with the frigates "President", and
"Congress", the ship "Hornet" and brig "Argus", had got to sea. Within two
days the little squadron attacked the British frigate "Belvidera," which
had made herself obnoxious by her blockade of American ports, but lost
her. On August 19 the frigate "Constitution", Captain Hull, met the
British frigate "Guerriere", renowned for its unauthorized search of
American vessels: in thirty minutes the "Guerriere" was taken; and the
"Constitution" returned in triumph to Boston. The effects of this
brilliant victory were immediately felt: New England shared in it; British
naval prestige had received a damaging blow; and the Navy Department could
no longer hope to keep the navy at home for police duty. Meantime the
sloop-of-war "Wasp" had captured the British brig "Frolic" of equal force;
and Decatur, in the frigate "United States", on October 25 took the
British frigate "Macedonian". A few weeks later the frigate
"Constitution" captured the British frigate "Java".

[Sidenote: Effect of the victories.]

The result of six months naval warfare was the capture of three British
frigates and two smaller vessels, besides large numbers of merchantmen.
American commerce had been almost driven from the seas, but only three
small American cruisers had been taken. The victories were more than
unexpected, they were astounding In nearly every fight the American vessel
was of heavier tonnage, and threw a heavier broadside; but the sailors
were fighting the most renowned naval power in the world, The British
captains in every case sought the encounter, and they were defeated by the
superior tactical skill, and especially the superior gunnery, of the
Americans, Congress was obliged by the force of public sentiment to begin
the construction of new vessels. At the same time American privateers
ranged the seas and brought in British merchantmen. In 1813 there was a
minor naval warfare on Lakes Erie, Ontario, and Champlain, Two small armed
vessels, the "Peacock" and the "Boxer," were captured at sea by the
Americans; and the ship "Essex," under Captain Porter, ranged the Pacific
and captured thirteen vessels,

[Sidenote: The American navy subdued.]

The tide had now begun to turn, In June, 1813, Captain Lawrence, of the
frigate "Chesapeake," was challenged by Captain Broke, of the "Shannon,"
to fight him near the harbor of Boston. People assembled on Marblehead
Neck to see the English cruiser made a prize; after a hard fight the
"Chesapeake" was captured and towed into Halifax. It was the victory of
disciplined courage over courage less trained, and perhaps less well
handled. By this time large blockading squadrons had been sent out, and
most of the American fleet was shut up in the harbors of Boston, New
London, and New York. The frigate "President" was captured while
endeavoring to escape from New York; the "Essex" was taken in a neutral
port; and for a time there was no American cruiser on the sea.

[Sidenote: American privateers.]

The defence of the newly acquired American reputation at sea was thus left
to the privateers. They were small, handy vessels, apt at striking, and
quick to run away. In 1813 they captured four hundred prizes, while the
national cruisers took but seventy-nine. The "True-Blooded Yankee" alone
in thirty-seven days took twenty-seven vessels, some of them in Dublin
Bay, and was not captured. The loss of property and of prestige was so
great that in 1814 insurance on vessels crossing the Irish Channel was
rated at thirteen per cent. During two and a half years of war the
privateers took fourteen hundred prizes, and the cruisers took three
hundred more. On the other hand, about seventeen hundred American
merchantmen had been captured by the British. The flag of the United
States on unarmed vessels had at the end of 1814 almost ceased to float on
the ocean.


[Sidenote: The situation abroad.]

Nothing but a total want of understanding of the conditions in Europe
could have brought about the War of 1812. In 1811 the Continental System
(§ 102) had broken down, because Russia would no longer cut off the trade
in American ships. The result of this breach was Napoleon's Russian
campaign of 1812; his success would have totally excluded American
commerce from the Baltic, and would probably have resulted in the
overthrow of England. The Americans were assisting the cause of a great
tyranny and a great commercial monopoly.

[Sidenote: Fall of Napoleon.]

During 1812 and 1813, while the Americans were vainly struggling to
capture a few petty forts on the Canadian frontier, Napoleon was falling
back step by step; and on April 6, 1814, he abdicated his throne, and a
general European peace was made.

[Sidenote: Lundy's Lane.]
[Sidenote: English invasion.]
[Sidenote: Capture of Washington.]

The result was new energy in the American war. Twelve thousand English
veteran troops were despatched to Canada, and expeditions were planned to
harass the American coast. The struggle was renewed on the Niagara
frontier under the efficient command of Jacob Brown, a New York militia
general. An American force penetrated into Canada and fought the
successful battle of Lundy's Lane; but Brown was wounded, and his forces
abandoned the field. The British now attempted to invade the United
States; the Maine coast was occupied, almost without resistance, as far
south as the Penobscot; the Americans were attacked at Fort Erie, on the
west side of the Niagara; and a force of eighteen thousand men moved up
Lake Champlain to Plattsburg. On September 11 its advance was checked by a
field-work and an American fleet under Macdonough. Both at Fort Erie and
at Plattsburg the veteran British troops were beaten off by the Americans
behind their breastworks. Meanwhile the nation had been overwhelmed with
terror and shame by the capture of Washington. Five thousand British
troops landed from the Chesapeake, marched fifty miles across a populous
country, and coolly took the national capital. The defence made by General
Winder is characterized in his order to the artillery when, with seven
thousand militia, he was about to make a stand: "When you retreat, take
notice that you must retreat by the Georgetown road." The President and
cabinet fled, and the public buildings were burned, in alleged retaliation
for destruction of buildings in Canada; and the assailing force withdrew
to its ships without molestation. Encouraged by this success, a similar
attack was made upon Baltimore; here a spirited resistance from behind
intrenchments once more beat the British off.

[Sidenote: Attack on New Orleans.]

Now came the news that an expedition was preparing to attack the Gulf
coast. Andrew Jackson, who had been engaged in Indian wars in the
southwest, was put in command. Still, he made no preparation for the
defence of New Orleans, until, on December 10, the British expedition of
fifty sail was sighted. Jackson now showed his native energy; troops were
hurried forward, and militia were brought together. A want of common
watchfulness suffered the British to reach a point within seven miles of
New Orleans before they met any resistance. Then Jackson made such defence
as he could. He formed an intrenched line with artillery; and here, with
about forty-five hundred men, he awaited the advance of eight thousand of
the British. They attacked him Jan. 8, 1815, and were repulsed.

114. QUESTION OF THE MILITIA (1812-1814).

[Sidenote: New England disaffected.]

As at New Orleans, so throughout the war, the greater part of the fighting
was done by State militia hastily assembled, imperfectly disciplined, and
serving only for short terms. From the beginning, however, the New England
States had refused to furnish militia on the call of the general
government. They did not interfere with volunteer recruiting, and
Massachusetts alone supplied as many troops as came from Virginia and
North and South Carolina; but they declined officially to take part in
offensive military operations. The war was very unpopular to the New
Englanders because of the great losses to their commerce, and because they
paid more than half the expense; nor had New England any sympathy with
that invasion of Canada which was so popular in the West.

[Sidenote: Militia refused.]

As soon as war broke out, the Secretary of War authorized General Dearborn
to summon twenty thousand militia from the New England States. Care was
taken in sending the call to ask for small detachments of the militia, so
as to rid the United States of the general militia officers appointed by
the States. The result of these combined causes was that the Governor of
Connecticut refused to send militia, declaring that he must "yield
obedience to the paramount authority of the Constitution and the laws."
The Massachusetts House voted that the "war is a wanton sacrifice of our
best interests;" and the Governor of Massachusetts informed the President
that since there was no invasion, there was no constitutional reason for
sending the militia. New Hampshire took similar ground, and the governor
of Rhode Island congratulated the legislature on the possession of two
cannon, with which that State might defend itself against an invader. On
Nov. 10, 1813, Governor Chittenden of Vermont ordered the recall of a
brigade which had been summoned outside the boundary of the State,
declaring it to be his opinion that "the military strength and resources
of this State must be reserved for its own defence and protection

[Sidenote: National government hampered.]
[Sidenote: New England attacked.]

The general government had no means of enforcing its construction of the
Constitution. It did, however, withdraw garrisons from the New England
forts, leaving those States to defend themselves; and refused to send them
their quota of the arms which were distributed among the States. This
attitude was so well understood that during the first few months of the
war English cruisers had orders not to capture vessels owned in New
England. As the war advanced, these orders were withdrawn, and the
territory of Massachusetts in the District of Maine was invaded by British
troops. An urgent call for protection was then made upon the general
government; but even in this crisis Massachusetts would not permit her
militia to pass under the control of national military officers.


[Sidenote: Federalist successes.]
[Sidenote: Opposition to the war.]

More positive and more dangerous opposition had been urged in New England
from the beginning of the war. Besides the sacrifice of men, Massachusetts
furnished more money for the war than Virginia. In the elections of 1812
and 1813 the Federalists obtained control of every New England State
government, and secured most of the New England members of Congress. The
temper of this Federalist majority may be seen in a succession of
addresses and speeches in the Massachusetts legislature. On June 15, 1813,
Josiah Quincy offered a resolution that "in a war like the present, waged
without justifiable cause and prosecuted in a manner which indicates that
conquest and ambition are its real motives, it is not becoming a moral and
religious people to express any approbation of military or naval exploits
which are not immediately connected with the defence of our sea-coast and
soil." As the pressure of the war grew heavier, the tone in New England
grew sterner. On Feb. 18, 1814, a report was made to the Massachusetts
legislature containing a declaration taken almost literally from Madison's
Virginia Resolution of 1798 (§ 90), that "whenever the national compact is
violated, and the citizens of the State oppressed by cruel and
unauthorized laws, this legislature is bound to interpose its power and
wrest from the oppressor his victim."

[Sidenote: Impotence of Congress.]
[Sidenote: Resistance threatened.]

The success of the British attacks in August and September, 1814, seemed
to indicate the failure of the war. Congress met on September 19 to
confront the growing danger: but it refused to authorize a new levy of
troops; it refused to accept a proposition for a new United States Bank;
it consented with reluctance to new taxes. The time seemed to have arrived
when the protests of New England against the continuance of the war might
be made effective. The initiative was taken by Massachusetts, which, on
October 16 voted to raise a million dollars to support a State army of ten
thousand troops, and to ask the other New England States to meet in

[Sidenote: A convention called.]

On Dec. 15, 1814, delegates assembled at Hartford from Massachusetts,
Connecticut, and Rhode Island, with unofficial representatives from New
Hampshire and Vermont. The head of the Massachusetts delegation was George
Cabot, who had been chosen because of his known opposition to the
secession of that State. As he said himself: "We are going to keep you
young hot-heads from getting into mischief." The expectation throughout
the country was that the Hartford convention would recommend secession,
Jefferson wrote: "Some apprehend danger from the defection of
Massachusetts. It is a disagreeable circumstance, but not a dangerous one.
If they become neutral, we are sufficient for one enemy without them; and,
in fact, we get no aid from them now."

[Sidenote: Hartford Convention.]
[Sidenote: Secession impending.]

After a session of three weeks, the Hartford Convention adjourned, Jan.
14, 1815, and published a formal report. They declared that the
Constitution had been violated, and that "States which have no common
umpire must be their own judges and execute their own decisions." They
submitted a list of amendments to the Constitution intended to protect a
minority of States from aggressions on the part of the majority. Finally
they submitted, as their ultimatum, that they should be allowed to retain
the proceeds of the national customs duties collected within their
borders. Behind the whole document was the implied intention to withdraw
from the Union if this demand were not complied with. To comply was to
deprive the United States of its financial power, and was virtually a
dissolution of the constitution. The delegates who were sent to present
this powerful remonstrance to Congress were silenced by the news that
peace had been declared.

116. THE PEACE OF GHENT (1812-1814).

[Sidebar: Russian mediation.]
[Sidebar: American commissioners sent.]

Three months after the war broke out, the Russian government had offered
mediation; it regretted to see the strength of the English allies wasted
in a minor contest with America. Madison eagerly seized this opportunity,
and on May 9, 1813, Gallatin and Bayard were sent as special
commissioners. On arriving in Russia they found that the British
government had refused the offer of mediation. The immediate effect was to
take Gallatin out of the Treasury, and he was followed by Secretary
Campbell, to whose incompetence the financial impotence of the war is
partly due. Toward the end of 1813 an offer of direct negotiation was made
by the British government, and John Quincy Adams, Jonathan Russell, and
Henry Clay were added to the negotiators. The absence of Clay, who had
exercised such influence as Speaker of the House, accounts for the apathy
of Congress in 1814.

[Sidebar: The effect of European peace.]
[Sidenote: Impressment.]

It was not until Aug. 8, 1814, that the commissioners finally met English
commissioners at Ghent. Of the grievances which had brought on the war,
most had been removed by the European peace: neutral vessels were no
longer captured; the blockade of American ports in time of peace was not
likely to be resumed; and the impressment of American seamen ceased
because the English navy was reduced. The two countries were therefore
fighting over dead questions. The Americans, however, naturally desired,
in making peace, to secure a recognition of the principles for which they
had gone to war; and the British had now no other enemy, and were incensed
at the temerity of the little nation which had attempted to invade Canada
and had so humiliated England at sea.  Gradually, the commissioners began
to find common ground. Gallatin reported to the home government that in
his judgment no article could be secured renouncing the right to impress
British subjects wherever found. With a heavy heart, Madison consented
that that point should be omitted from the treaty.

[Sidenote: The war unpopular in England.]
[Sidenote: Effect of American defence.]

During 1814 great pressure was put upon the British government to make
peace, on account of the loss inflicted by American privateers. The war
was costing England about ten million pounds sterling a year, and no
definite result had been gained except the capture of a part of Maine and
of the American post of Astoria in Oregon. The Americans were unable to
make headway in Canada; the English were equally unable to penetrate into
the United States. Wellington was consulted, and reported that in his
judgment the British could hope for no success without naval superiority
on the lakes. The brave resistance of the Americans at Fort Erie and
Plattsburg had won the respect of the great military commander. The
ministry, therefore, resolved upon peace.

[Sidenote: Territory.]
[Sidenote: Fisheries.]
[Sidenote: The treaty signed.]

The first question to settle was that of territory. The British consented
to restore the territory as it had been before the war; some attempt was
made to create a belt of frontier neutral territory for the Indians who
had been allies of the British, but that point was also abandoned.  Next
came the question of the fisheries: the British held that the American
rights had been lost by the war; Clay insisted that the British right of
navigation of the Mississippi had also been forfeited, and that the
fisheries might therefore be sacrificed as a "matter of trifling moment."
Adams stood out for the fisheries, and the result was that neither
question was mentioned in the treaty. In 1818 a special convention was
negotiated, defining the fishery rights of the United States.  Upon these
general lines agreement was at last reached, and the treaty was signed
Dec. 24, 1814, several weeks before the battle of New Orleans.


[Sidenote: No gain from the war.]
[Sidenote: National pride.]

After nearly three years of war, the expenditure of one hundred millions
of dollars, the loss of about thirty thousand lives, the destruction of
property, and ruinous losses of American vessels, the country stood where
it had stood in 1812, its boundary unchanged, its international rights
still undefined, the people still divided. Yet peace brought a kind of
national exaltation. The naval victories had been won by officers and men
from all parts of the Union, and belonged to the nation. The last struggle
on land, the battle of New Orleans, was an American victory, and
obliterated the memory of many defeats. President Madison, in his annual
message of 1815, congratulated the country that the treaty "terminated
with peculiar felicity a campaign signalized by the most brilliant

[Sidenote: Training of soldiers.]

One noteworthy effect of the war had been the development of a body of
excellent young soldiers. Winfield Scott distinguished himself in the
Niagara campaigns, and rose eventually to be the highest officer of the
American army. William Henry Harrison's military reputation was based
chiefly on the Indian battle of Tippecanoe in 1811, but it made him
President in 1840. Andrew Jackson's victory at New Orleans brought him
before the people, and caused his choice as President in 1828. The
national pride was elated by the successes of American engineers, American
naval architects, American commodores, and volunteer officers like Jacob
Brown, who had finally come to the front.

[Sidenote: Extrication from European politics.]

The end of the war marks also the withdrawal of the United States from the
complications of European politics. From 1775 to 1815 the country had been
compelled, against its will, to take sides, to ask favors, and to suffer
rebuffs abroad. During the long interval of European peace, from 1815 to
1853, the United States grew up without knowing this influence.
Furthermore, the field was now clear for a new organization of American
industries. The profits of the shipping trade had not been due so much to
American enterprise as to the greater safety of foreign cargoes in neutral
bottoms. When this advantage was swept away, American shipping languished,
and its place was taken by manufacturing.

[Sidenote: Decay of the Federalist party.]
[Sidenote: Persistence of Federalist principles.]
[Sidenote: Gain in national spirit.]

The most marked result of the war was the absorption of the Federalist
Party, which at once began, and in five or six years was complete. In the
election of 1812 eighty-nine votes had been cast for the Federalist
candidate (§ 109); in 1816 there were but thirty-four (§ 123); in 1820
there was not one. This did not mean that Federalist principles had
decayed or been overborne; the real reason for the extinction of that
party was that it lived in the ranks of the Republican party. When
Jefferson in 1801 said, "We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists,"
he expressed what had come to be true in 1815. The great principles for
which the Federalists had striven were the right of the federal government
to exercise adequate powers, and its duty to maintain the national
dignity: those principles had been adopted by the Republicans.  John
Randolph was almost the only leader who continued to stand by the
Republican doctrine enunciated by Jefferson when he became President.
Jefferson himself had not scrupled to annex Louisiana, to lay the embargo,
and to enforce it with a severity such as Hamilton would hardly have
ventured on. Madison had twice received and used the power to discriminate
between the commerce of England and of France; and during the war the
nation had reimposed federal taxes and adopted Federalist principles of
coercion. James Monroe, Secretary of State at the end of Madison's
administration, and candidate for the Presidency in 1816, was in his
political beliefs not to be distinguished from moderate Federalists like
James A. Bayard in 1800. The Union arose from the disasters of the War of
1812 stronger than ever before, because the people had a larger national
tradition and greater experience of national government, and because they
had accepted the conception of government which Washington and Hamilton
had sought to create.




BIBLIOGRAPHIES.--W. E. Foster, _References to Presidential
Administrations_, 15-19; Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History_,
VII. 344, 345, 437-439; J.F. Jameson, _Bibliography of Monroe_ (Appendix
to Oilman's _Monroe_); Channing and Hart, _Guide_, §§ 174-178.

HISTORICAL MAPS.--Nos. 1 and 5, this volume, and No. 1, Wilson, _Division
and Reunion_ (_Epoch Maps_ Nos. 7, 8, and 10); Labberton, _Atlas_, lxvii.;
T. MacCoun, _Historical Geography, Scribner, Statistical Atlas_, Plate 14.

GENERAL ACCOUNTS.--H. Von Holst, _Constitutional History_, I. 273-408; R.
Hildreth, _United States_. VI. 575-713 (to 1821); James Schouler, _United
States_, II. 444-463, III. 1-335; Bryant and Gay, _Popular History_. IV.
244-281; J. B. McMaster, _People of the United States_, IV. (to 1820);
Geo. Tucker, _United States_, III. 146-408; J. T. Morse, _John Quincy
Adams_, 102-164; Ormsby, _Whig Party_, 129-172.

SPECIAL HISTORIES.--Henry Adams, _History of the United States_, IX.;
Carl Schurz, _Henry Clay_, I. 137-202; N. P. Gilman, _James Monroe_, 125-
174; F. W. Taussig, _Tariff History_, J. L. Bishop, _American
Manufactures_, II. 146-298; G. F. Tucker, _Monroe Doctrine_, Payne,
_European Colonies_, E. Stanwood, _Presidential Elections_, H. L. Carson,
_Supreme Court_, I. chs. xii.-xiv.; A C. McLaughlin, _Cass_, chs. ii., iv.

CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS.--J. Q. Adams, _Memoirs_, IV.-VI.; Josiah Quincy,
_Figures of the Past_, _Niles Register_, T. H. Benton, _Thirty Years'
View_, I. 1-44; Nathan Sargent, _Public Men, and Events_, I. 17-56; R.
Rush, _Residence at the Court of London_, J. Flint, _Recollections of the
last Ten Years_ (1826); R. Walsh, _Appeal from the Judgment of Great
Britain_ (1819); D. Warden, _Statistical, Political, and Historical
Account of the United States_ (1819); S. G. Goodrich, Recollections, II.
393-436; _The National Intelligencer_; Featon, _Sketches of America_,
_Fifth Report_; works of Clay, Calhoun, Webster, Madison, Woodbury.--
Reprints in F. W. Taussig, _State Papers and Speeches on the Tariff_,
_American History told by Contemporaries_, III.


[Sidenote: Prosperity.]

The population of the United States at the end of the war was about eight
million five hundred thousand, and it was increasing relatively faster in
the South and West than near the seaboard. The return of peace seemed also
a return of prosperity. Short crops abroad revived the demand for American
cereals, so that the surplus accumulated during the war could be sold at
fair prices, and the exports in 1816 ran up to $64,000,000. In 1815,
American shipping recovered almost to the point which it had reached in
1810. The revenue derived from taxation in 1814 was but $11,000,000; in
1816 it was $47,000,000. More than twenty thousand immigrants arrived in
1817. Wealth seemed increasing both in the North and the South.

[Sidenote: National literature.]
[Sidenote: The Clergy.]

Another evidence of the quickening of national life was the beginning of a
new national literature. In 1815 was founded the "North American Review,"
and in an early number appeared Bryant's "Thanatopsis." Already in 1809
had appeared the first work of an American which was comparable with that
of the British essayists,--Washington Irving's "Knickerbocker" History of
New York. His quaint humor was not less appreciated from his good-natured
allusions to the Jeffersonian principle of government "by proclamation."
The hold of the clergy had been much weakened in New England; there had
been a division of the Congregational Church, with the subsequent founding
of the Unitarian branch; and the Jeffersonian principle of popular
government was gaining ground. The people were keen and alert.

[Sidenote: Means of transportation.]
[Sidenote: Steamboats.]

In two respects the war had taught the Americans their own weakness: they
had had poor facilities for transportation, and they had lacked
manufactures of military material. There was a widespread feeling that the
means of intercommunication ought to be improved. The troops on the
northern frontier had been badly provisioned and slowly reinforced because
they could not readily be reached over the poor roads. A system had been
invented which was suitable for the rapid-running rivers of the interior
and for lake navigation: in 1807 Fulton made the first voyage by steam on
the Hudson River. Nine years later a system of passenger service had been
developed in various directions from New York, and a steamer was running
on the Mississippi.

[Sidenote: Rise of manufactures.]
[Sidenote: Foreign competition.]

Manufactures had sprung up suddenly and unexpectedly in the United States.
The restrictive legislation from 1806 to 1812, though it had not cut off
foreign imports, had checked them; and shrewd ship-owners had in some
cases diverted their accumulated capital to the building of factories. In
1812 commerce with England was totally cut off, and importations from
other countries were loaded down with double duties. This indirect
protection was enough to cause the rise of many manufactures, particularly
of cotton and woollen goods. In 1815, the capital invested in these two
branches of industry was probably $50,000,000. On the conclusion of peace
in England and America an accumulated stock of English goods poured forth,
and the imports of the United States instantly rose from $12,000.000 in
1814, to $106,000,000 in 1815. These importations were out of proportion
to the exports and to the needs of the country, and they caused the
stoppage of a large number of American factories. Meanwhile, American
ships had begun to feel the competition of foreign vessels in foreign
trade. Without intending it, the country had drifted into a new set of
economic conditions.


[Sidenote: Banks and currency.]

The first evidence of this change of feeling was a demand for the renewal
of the bank which had been allowed to expire in 1811 (§ 110). The country
had been thrown entirely upon banks chartered by the States; the pressure
of the war had caused their suspension, and the currency and banking
capital of the United States had thus been thrown into complete confusion.
For example, the Farmers Exchange Bank of Gloucester, R. I., was started,
with a capital of $3,000; accumulated deposits so that one of the
directors was able to steal $760,000; and then it failed, with specie
assets of $86.46. In 1811 there were eighty-eight State banks; in 1816
there were two hundred and forty-six.

[Sidenote: Bank bill of 1814.]
[Sidenote: The Bank Act.]

Since the re-charter bill of 1811 had failed by only one vote, Dallas,
Secretary of the Treasury in 1814, again proposed a national bank.
Congress accepted the principle, but an amendment proposed by John C.
Calhoun so altered the scheme that upon Dallas's advice Madison cast his
first important veto against it on Jan. 30, 1815. What Dallas desired was
a bank which would lend money to the government; what Congress planned was
a bank which would furnish a currency based on specie. In the next session
of Congress Madison himself urged the creation of a bank, and this time
Calhoun supported him. The Federalists, headed by Daniel Webster,--
remnants of the party which had established the first national bank,--
voted against it on the general principle of factious opposition. A small
minority of the Republicans joined them, but it was passed without much
difficulty, and became a law on April, 10, 1816.

[Sidenote: Bank charter.]

The bank was modelled on its predecessor (§ 78), but the capital was
increased from $10,000,000 to $35,000,000, of which the United States
government held $7,000,000. It was especially provided that "the deposits
of the money of the United States shall be made in said bank or branches
thereof." In return for its special privileges the bank agreed to pay to
the government $1,500,000. The capital was larger than could safely be
employed; it was probably intended to absorb bank capital from the State
banks. The prosperity of the country, aided by the operations of the bank,
secured the renewal of specie payments by all the sound banks in the
country on Feb. 20, 1817.

[Sidenote: Loose construction accepted.]

The striking feature in the bank was not that it should be established,
but that it should be accepted by old Republicans like Madison, who had
found the charter of a bank in 1791 a gross perversion of the
Constitution. Even Henry Clay, who in 1811 had powerfully contributed to
the defeat of the bank, now came forward as its champion.


[Sidenote: Local improvements.]
[Sidenote: Cumberland road.]
[Sidenote: Gallatin's scheme.]

Side by side with the bank bill went a proposition for an entirely new
application of the government funds. Up to this time internal
improvements--roads, canals and river and harbor improvements--had been
made by the States, so far as they were made at all. Virginia and Maryland
had spent considerable sums in an attempt to make the Potomac navigable,
and a few canals had been constructed by private capital, sometimes aided
by State credit. In 1806 the United States began the Cumberland Road, its
first work of the kind; but it was intended to open up the public lands in
Ohio and the country west, and was nominally paid for out of the proceeds
of those public lands. Just as the embargo policy was taking effect,
Gallatin, encouraged by the accumulation of a surplus in the Treasury,
brought in a report, April 4, 1808, suggesting the construction of a great
system of internal improvements: it was to include coastwise canals across
the isthmuses of Cape Cod, New Jersey, upper Delaware and eastern North
Carolina; roads were to be constructed from Maine to Georgia, and thence
to New Orleans, and from Washington westward to Detroit and St. Louis. He
estimated the cost at twenty millions, to be provided in ten annual
instalments. Jefferson himself was so carried away with this prospect of
public improvement that he recommended a constitutional amendment to
authorize such expenditures. The whole scheme disappeared when the surplus
vanished; but from year to year small appropriations were made for the
Cumberland road, so that up to 1812 more than $200,000 had been expended
upon it.

[Sidenote: Calhoun's Bonus Bill.]
[Sidenote: Madison's veto.]

The passage of the bank bill in 1816 was to give the United States a
million and a half of dollars (Section 120). Calhoun, therefore, came
forward, Dec. 23, 1816 with a bill proposing that this sum be employed as
a fund "for constructing roads and canals and improving the navigation of
watercourses." "We are" said he, "a rapidly--I was about to say a
fearfully--growing country.... This is our pride and danger, our weakness
and our strength." The constitutional question he settled with a phrase:
"If we are restricted in the use of our money to the enumerated powers, on
what principle can the purchase of Louisiana be justified?" The bill
passed the House by eighty-six to eighty-four; it was strongly supported
by New York members, because it was expected that the general government
would begin the construction of a canal from Albany to the Lakes; it had
also large support in the South, especially in South Carolina. In the last
hours of his administration Madison vetoed it. His message shows that he
had selected this occasion to leave to the people a political testament;
he was at last alarmed by the progress of his own party, and, like
Jefferson, he insisted that internal improvements were desirable, but
needed a constitutional amendment. The immediate effect of the veto was
that New York, seeing no prospect of federal aid, at once herself began
the construction of the Erie Canal, which was opened eight years later.
[Sidenote: State improvements.] Other States attempted like enterprises;
but the passes behind the Susquehanna and Potomac rivers were too high,
and no permanent water way was ever finished over them.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

[Sidenote: Party strength.]

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

[Sidenote: Commercial treaties.]

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


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

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

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

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

125. JUDICIAL DECISIONS (1812-1824).

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

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

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

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

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

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


[Sidenote: Silent growth of slavery.]

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

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

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

[Sidenote: Schemes of colonization.]

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

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

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

[Sidenote: Status of Louisiana.]

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


[Sidenote: Arkansas debate.]

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

[Sidenote: Proposed restriction on Missouri.]

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

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

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

[Sidenote: Missouri constitution.]

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

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

In form the compromises were a settlement of difficulties between the two
Houses; in fact they were an agreement between the two sections, by which
the future of slavery in every part of the Louisiana purchase was to be
settled once for all. Threats were freely made that if slavery were
prohibited in Missouri, the South would withdraw. Calhoun told Adams that
if the trouble produced a dissolution of the Union, "the South would be
from necessity compelled to form an alliance, offensive and defensive,
with Great Britain." Adams retorted by asking whether, in such a case, if
"the population of the North should be cut off from its natural outlet
upon the ocean, it would fall back upon its rocks bound hand and foot to
starve, or whether it would not retain its powers of locomotion to move
southward by land?" The compromise was, as Benton says, "conceived and
passed as a Southern measure," although Randolph called it a "dirty
bargain;" nevertheless, on the final test vote thirty-five Southern
members refused to admit the principle that Congress could prohibit
slavery in the Territories. The South gained Missouri, and a few years
later Arkansas came in as a slave State; but in the long run the advantage
was to the North. The South got the small end of the triangle; the North
the whole region now occupied by the States of Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, the
Dakotas, and Montana, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, and Minnesota; and
the final struggle over slavery was postponed for thirty years.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

[Sidenote: Effect.]

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

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




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

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

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

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

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


[Sidenote: Old statesmen gone.]

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

[Sidenote: New constitutions.]

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

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

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

[Sidenote: The Gerrymander.]

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

[Sidenote: Political organization.]

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

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

[Sidenote: Effect of the tariff.]

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

[Sidenote: Act of 1824.]

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

133. THE ELECTION OF 1824.

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

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

[Sidenote: Andrew Jackson.]

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

[Sidenote: Electoral vote.]

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

134. THE ELECTION OF 1825.

[Sidenote: Clay favors Adams.]

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

[Sidenote: Election in the House.]

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

[Sidenote: "Corrupt bargain."]

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

[Sidenote: "Demos Krateo".]

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

135. THE PANAMA CONGRESS (1825-1826).

[Sidenote: Adam's cabinet.]

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

[Sidenote: Proposed Spanish-American Congress.]

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

[Sidenote: Objections to the Congress.]

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

[Sidenote: Connection with Monroe Doctrine.]

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


[Sidenote: Monroe's veto.]

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

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

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

[Sidenote: Opposition.]

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

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

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

[Sidenote: The system losing ground.]

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


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

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

[Sidenote: Conflict of authority.]

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

[Sidenote: The Cherokees subdued.]

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


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

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

[Sidenote: Tariff agitation.]

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

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

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

[Sidenote: Southern protests.]

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

[Sidenote: Power of the West.]

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

[Sidenote: General ticket system.]

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

[Sidenote: Democracy vs. tradition.]

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

End of Project Gutenberg's Formation of the Union, by Albert Bushnell Hart


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