1902 Encyclopedia > United States > Industrial Development and Sectional Divergence: 1829-50

United States
(Part 8)




SECTION I: HISTORY AND CONSTITUTION (cont.)

Part 8. Industrial Development and Sectional Divergence: 1829-50


202. The eight years after 1829 have been called "the reign of Andrew Jackson"; his popularity, his long struggle for the presidency, and his feeling of his official ownership of the subordinate offices gave to his administration at least an appearance of Caesarism. But it was a strictly constitutional Caesarism; the restraints of written law were never violated, though the methods adopted within the law were new to national politics. Since about 1800 State politics in New York and Pennsylvania had been noted for the systematic use of the offices and for the merciless manner in which the office-holder was compelled to work for the party which kept him in place. The presence of New York and Pennsylvania politicians in Jackson’s cabinet taught him to use the same system. Removals, except for cause, had been almost unknown before; but under Jackson men were removed almost exclusively for the purpose of installing some more serviceable party tool; and a clean sweep was made in the civil service. Other parties adopted the system, and it has remained the rule at a change of administration until comparatively recent years (§ 323).

203. The system, brought with it a semi-military reorganization of parties. Hitherto nominations for the more important offices had been made mainly by legislative caucuses; candidates for president and vice-president were nominated by caucuses of Congressmen, and candidates for the higher State offices by caucuses of the State legislatures. Late in the preceding period "conventions" of delegates from the members of the party in the State occur in New York and Pennsylvania; and in 1831-32 this became the rule for presidential nominations. It rapidly developed into systematic State, county, and city "conventions"; and the result was the appearance of that complete, political machinery, the American political party, with its local organizations, and its delegates to county, State, and national conventions. The Democratic machinery was the first to appear, in Jackson’s second term (1833-37). Its workers were paid in offices, or hopes of office, so that it was said to be built on the "cohesive power of public plunder"; but its success was immediate and brilliant. The opposing party, the Whig party, had no chance of victory in 1836; and its complete overthrow drove its leaders into the organization of a similar machinery of their own, which scored its first success in 1840. Since that time these strange bodies, unknown to the law, have governed the country by turns; and their enormous growth has steadily made the organization of a third piece of such machinery more difficult or hopeless.

204. The Bank of the United States had hardly been heard of in politics until the new Democratic organization came into hostile contact with it. A semi-official demand upon it for a political appointment was met by a refusal; and the party managers called Jackson’s attention to an institution which he could not but dislike the more he considered it. His first message spoke of it in unfriendly terms, and every succeeding message brought a more open attack. The old party of Adams and Clay had by this time taken the name of Whigs, probably from the notion that they were struggling against "the reign of Andrew Jackson," and they adopted the cause of the bank with eagerness. The bank charter did not expire until 1836, but in 1832 Clay brought up a bill for a new charter. It was passed and vetoed (§ 113); and the Whigs went into the presidential election of that year on the veto. They were beaten; Jackson was re-elected; and the bank party could never again get a majority in the house of representatives for the charter. The insistence of the president on the point that the charter was a "monopoly" bore weight with the people. But the president could not obtain a majority in the senate. He determined to take a step which would give him an initiative, and which his opponents could not induce both houses to unite in overriding or punishing. Taking advantage of the provision that the secretary of the treasury might order the public funds to be deposited elsewhere than in the bank or its branches (§ 184), he directed the secretary to deposit all the public funds elsewhere. Thus deprived of its great source of dividends, the bank fell into difficulties, became a State bank after 1836, and then went into bankcruptcy.

205. All the political conflicts of Jackson’s terms of office were close and bitter. Loose in his ideas before 1829, Jackson shows a steady tendency to adopt the strictest construction of the powers of the Federal Government, except in such official perquisites as the offices. He grew into strong opposition to all traces of the "American system," and vetoed bills for internal improvements unsparingly; and his feeling of dislike to all forms protection is as evident, though he took more care not to make it too public. There are many reasons for believing that his drift was the work of a strong school of leaders – Van Buren, Benton (p. 788), Livingston, Taney (p. 790), Woodbury (p. 790), Cass Marcy (p. 789), and others – who developed the policy of the party, and controlled it until the great changes of parties about 1850 took their power from them. at all events, some persistent influence made the Democratic party of 1830-50 the most consistent and successful party which had thus far appeared in the United States.

206. Calhoun and Jackson were of the same stock Scottish Irish, - much alike in appearance and characteristics, the former representing the trained and educated logic of the race, the latter its instinct and passions. Jackson was led to break off his friendly relations with Calhoun in 1830, and he had been led to do so more easily because of the appearance of the doctrine of nullification, which was generally attributed, correctly enough, to the authorship of Calhoun. Asserting, as the Republican party of 1798 had done, the sovereign powers of each State, Calhoun held that, as a means of avoiding secession and violent struggle upon every occasion of the passage of an Act of Congress which should seem unconstitutional to any State, the State might properly suspend or "nullify" the operation of the law within its jurisdiction, in order to protect its citizens against oppression. Webster, of Massachusetts, and Hayne of South Carolina, debated the question in the senate in 1830, and the supporters of each claimed a virtual victory for their leader. The passage of the Tariff Act of 1832, which organized and systematized the protective system, forced the Calhoun party into action. A State convention in South Carolina declared the Tariff Act null and not law or binding on the people of the State, and made ready to enforce the declaration.

207. But the time was past when the power of a single State could withdraw it from the Union. The president issued a proclamation, warning the people of South Carolina against any attempt to carry out the ordinance of nullification; he ordered a naval force to take possession of Charleston harbor to collect the duties under the Act; he called upon Congress for additional executive powers, and Congress passed what nullifiers called the "bloody bill," putting the land and naval forces at the disposal of the president for the collection of duties against "unlawful combinations," and he is said to have announced, privately and profanely, his intention of making Calhoun the first victim of any open conflict. Affairs looked so threatening that an unofficial meeting of leading nullifiers" agreed to suspend the operation of the ordinance until Congress should adjourn; whence it derived the right to suspend has never been stated. 208.The president had already asked Congress to reduce the duties; and many Democratic members of Congress, who had yielded to the popular clamor for Protection, were very glad to use "the crisis" as an excuse for now voting against it. A compromise Tariff Act, scaling down all duties over 20 per cent. by one-tenth of the surplus each year, so as to bring duties to a uniform rate of 20 per cent. in 1843, was introduced by Clay and became law. Calhoun and his followers claimed this as all that the nullification ordinance had aimed at; and the ordinances was formally repealed. But nullification had received its death-blow; even those Southern leaders who maintained the right of secession refused to recognize the right of a State to remain in the Union while nullifying its laws; and, when protection was reintroduced by the tariff of 1842, nullification was hardly thought of.

209. All the internal conditions of the United States were completely altered by the introduction of railways. For twenty years past the Americans had been pushing in every direction which offered a hope of the means of reconciling vast territory with enormous population. Stephenson’s invention of the locomotive came just in time, and Jackson’s two terms of office marked the outburst of modern American life. English engines were brought over in 1829, and served as models for a year or two; and then the lighter forms of locomotives, better suited to American conditions, were introduced. The miles of railroad were 23 in 1830, 1098 in 1835, nearly 2000 in 1840, and thereafter they about doubled every five years until 1860.

210. A railway map of 1840 shows a fragmentary system, designed mainly to fill to gaps left by the means of communication in use 1830. one or two short lines run back into the country from savannah and Charleston; another runs north along the coast from Wilmington to Baltimore ; several lines connect New York with Washington and other points; and short lines elsewhere mark the opening which needed to be filled at once---a number in New England and the middle states, three in Ohio and Michigan, and three in Lousiana. Year after year new inventions came in to increase and aid this development. The anthracite coal of the middle States had been known since 1790 (§ 19), but no means had been devised to put the refractory agent to work. It was now successfully applied to railroads (1836), and to the manufacture of iron (1837). Hitherto wood had been the best fuel for iron-making; now the States which relied on wood were driven out of competition, and production was restricted to the States in which nature had placed coal alongside of iron. Steam navigation across the Atlantic was established in 1838. The telegraph came next, Morse’s line being erected in 1844. The spread of the railway system brought with it, as a natural development, the rise of the American system of express companies, whose first phases of individual enterprise appeared in 1839. No similar period in American history is so extraordinary for material development as to the decade 1830-40. At its beginning the country was an overgrown type of colonial life; at its end American life had been shifted to entirely new lines, which it has since followed. Modern American history had burst in with the explosiveness of an Arctic summer.

211. if the steamboat had aided Western development, the railway made it a freshet. Cities and States grew as if the oxygen of their surroundings had been suddenly increased. The steamboat new powers. Vacant places in the States east of Mississippi were filing up; the long lines of emigrant wagons gave way to the new and better methods of transport; and new grades of land were made accessible. Chicago was but a frontier fort in 1832; within a half-dozen years it was a flourishing town, with eight steamers connecting it with Buffalo, and dawning ideas of its future development of railway connections. The maps change from decade to decade, as map-makers hasten to insert new cities which have sprung up. Two new States, Arkansas and Michigan, were admitted (1836 and 1837). The population of Ohio leaps from 900,000 to 1,500,000, that of Michigan from 30,000 to 212,000, and that of the country from 13,000,000 to 17,000,000, between 1830 and 1840.

212. With the change of material surroundings and possibilities came a steady amelioration of social conditions and a development of social ideals., such features of the past as imprisonment for debt and the cruel indifference of old methods of dealing with crime began to disappear; the time was past when a State could use an abandoned copper-mine as its State prison. The domestic use of gas and anthracite coal, the introduction of expensive aqueducts for pure water, and the changing life of the people forced changes in the interior and exterior of American dwellings. Wood was still the common building material; imitations of Greek architecture still retained their vogue; but the interiors were models of comfort in comparison with the houses even of 1810. In the "new" regions this was not yet the case, and here social restraints were still so few that society seemed to be reduced almost to its primitive elements. Western steamers reeked with gambling, swindling, dueling, and every variety of vice. Public law was almost suspended in some regions; and organized associated of counterfeiters and horse-thieves terrorized whole sections of country. But this state of affairs was altogether temporary, as well as limited in its area; the older and more densely settled States had been well prepared for the change and had never lost command of the social forces, an the process of settling down went on, even in the newer States, with far more rapidity than could reasonably have been expected. Those who took part in the movements of population in 1830-40 had been trained under the rigid forms of the previous American life; and these soon-re-asserted themselves. The rebound was over before 1847, and the Western States were then as well prepared to receive and digest the great immigration which followed as the older States would have been in 1830.

213. A distinct American literature dates from this period. Most of the publications in the United States were still cheap reprints of foreign works; but native productions no longer followed foreign models with servility. Between 1830 and 1840 Whittier, Longfellow, Holmes, Poe, Hawthorne, Emerson, Bancroft, and Prescott joined the advance-guard of American writers- Bryant, Dana, Halleck, Drake, Irving, and Cooper; and even those writers who had already made their place in literature showed the influence of new conditions by their growing tendency to look less to foreign models and methods than before 1830. Popular education was improved. The new States had from the first endeavored to secure the best possible system of common schools. The attempt came naturally from the political instincts of the class from which the migration came; but the system which resulted was to be of incalculable during the years to come. Their absolute democracy and their universal use of the English language have made the common schools most successful machines for converting the raw material of immigration into American citizens. This supreme benefit is the basis of the system and the reason for its existence and development, but its incidental benefit of educating the people has been beyond calculation. It was an odd symptom of the general change that American newspapers took a new form during these ten years. The old "blanket-sheet" newspaper, cumbrous to handle and slow in all its ways, met its first rival in the type of newspaper which appeared first in New York city, in the Sun, the Herald, and the Tribune (1833, 1835, and 1841). Swift and energetic in gathering news, and fearless, sometimes reckless, in stating it they brought into American life with very much that is evil, a great preponderance of good.

214. The chaos into which a part of American society had been thrown had a marked effect on the financial institutions of the country, which went to pieces before it for a time. It had not been meant to make the public lands of the United States a source of revenue so much as a source of development. The sales had touched their high-water mark during the speculative year 1819, when receipts from them had amounted to $3,274,000; in other years they seldom went above $2,000,000. When the rail-road set the stream of migration moving faster than ever, and cities began to grow like mushrooms, it was natural that speculation in land should feel the effects. Sales rose to $3,200,000 in 1831, to $4,000,000 in 1833, to $5,000,000 in 1834, to $15,000,000 in 1835, and to $25,000,000 in 1836. In 1835 the president announced to Congress that the public debt was extinguished, and that some way of dealing with the surplus should be found. Calhoun’s proposal, that after the year 1836 all revenue above $5,000,000 should be divided among the States as a loan, was adopted, though only one such loan was made. The States had already taken a hand in the general speculation by beginning works of public improvement. Foreign, particularly English, capital was abundant; and States which had been accustomed to think a dozen times over a tax of a hundred thousand dollars now began to negotiate loans of millions of dollars and to appropriate the proceeds to the digging of canals and the construction of railroads. Their enterprises were badly conceived and badly managed, and only added to the confusion when the crash came. If the Federal Government and the States felt that they were rich, the imaginations of individuals ran riot. Every one wanted to buy; prices rose, and every one was growing rich on paper. The assessed value of real estate in New York city in 1832 was $104,000,000; in 1836 it had grown to$253,000,000. In Mobile the assessed value rose the $1,000,000 to $27,000,000. Fictitious values were the rule everywhere.

215. When Jackson (1833) ordered the Government revenues to be deposited elsewhere than in the Bank of the United States (§ 204), there was no Government agent to receive them. The secretary of the treasury selected banks at various points in which the revenue should be deposited by the collecting officers; but these banks were organized under charters from their States, as were all banks except that of the United States. The theory of the dominant party denied the constitutional power of Congress to charter a bank, and the States had not yet learned how to deal with such institutions. Their grants of bank charters had been based on ignorance, intrigue, favoritism, or corruption, and the banks were utterly unregulated. The democratic feeling was that the privilege of forming banking corporation should be open to all citizens, and it soon became so. Moreover it was not until after the crash that New York began the system of compelling such deposits as would really secure circulation, which was long afterward further developed into the present national bank system. In most of the States banks could be freely organized with or without tangible capital, and their notes could be sent to the West for the purchase of Government lands, which needed to be held but a month or two to gain handsome profit. "Wild-cat banks" sprang up all over the country; and the "pet banks," as those chosen for the deposit of Government revenues were called by their rivals, went into speculation as eagerly as the banks which hardly pretended to have capital.

216. The Democratic theory denied the power of Congress to make anything but gold or silver legal tender. There have been "paper-money heresies" in the party; but there were none such among the new school of Democratic leaders which came in the 1829; they were "hard money men." In 1836 Jackson’s secretary of the treasury ordered land agents to take nothing in payment for lands except gold or silver. In the following spring the full effects of the order became evident; they fell on the administration of Van Buren, Jackson successor. Van Buren had been Jackson’s secretary of state, the representative man of the new Democratic school, and, in the opinion of the opposition, the evil genius of the Jackson administration; and it seemed to the Whigs poetic justice that he should bear the weight of his predecessor’s errors. The "specie circular" turned the tide of paper back to the east, and, when it was presented for payment most of the banks suspended specie payment with hardly a struggle. There was no longer a thought of buying; every one wanted to sell; and prices ran down with a rapidity even more startling than that with which they had risen. Failures, to an extent and on a scale unprecedented in the United States, made up the "panic of 1837." Many of the States had left their bonds in the hands of their agents, and, on the failure of the latter, found that the bonds had been hypothecated or disposed of, so that the States got no return from them except a debt which was to them enormous. Saddled suddenly with such a burden, and unable even to pay interest, many of the States "repudiated" their obligations; and repudiation was made successful by the fact that a State cannot be sued except by its own consent (§ 65). Even the Federal Government felt the strain, for its revenues were locked up in suspended banks. A little more than a year after Congress had authorized the distribution of its surplus revenues among the States Van Buren was forced to call it into special session to provide some relief for the Government itself.





217. Van Buren held manfully to the strictest construction f the powers of the Federal Government. He insisted that the panic would best right itself without Government interference, and, after a four year’s struggle, he succeeded in making the "sub-treasury scheme" law (1840). It cut off all connection of the Government with banks, putting collecting and disbursing officers under bonds to hold money safely and to transfer it under orders from the treasury, and restricting payments to or by the United States to gold and silver. Its passage had been preceded by another commercial crisis (1839), more limited in its field, but more discouraging to the people . It is true that Jackson, in dealing with the finances, had "simply smashed things," leaving his successor to repair damages; but it is far from certain that this was not the best way available at the time. The wisest scheme of financial reform would have had small chance of success with the land-jobbers in Congress; and Van Buren’s firmness found the way out of the chaos.

218. Van Buren’s firmness was unpopular; and the Whig party now adopted methods which were popular, if somewhat demagogical. It nominated Harrison in 1840; it contrasted his homely frontier virtues with Van Buren’s "ostentatious indifference to the misfortunes of the people" and with the supposed luxury of his life in the White House; and, after the first of the modern "campaigns" of mass meetings and procession, Harrison was elected. He died soon after his inauguration (1841), and the vice-president, Tyler, became president. Tyler was of the extreme Calhoun school, which had shown some disposition to grans to Van Buren a support which it had refused to Jackson; and the Whigs had nominated Tyler to retain his faction with them. For he was the nominal leader of the party, while his politics were opposite to theirs, and the real leader of the party, Clay, was ready to force a quarrel upon him. The quarrel took place; the Whig majority in Congress was not large enough to pass any measures over Tyler’s veto; and the first two years of his administration were passed in barren conflict with his party. The "sub-treasury" law was repealed (1841); the tariff of 1842 introduced a modified protection; and there the Whigs were forced to stop. Their dissensions made Democratic success comparatively easy, and Tyler had the support of a Democratic house behind him during the last two years of his term.

219. The success of the Democratic machinery, and the reflex of its temporary check in 1840, with the influences brought to bear on it by the returning Calhoun faction, were such as to take the control of the party out of the hands of the leaders who had formed it. They had had high regard for political principle, even though they were willing to use doubtful methods for its propagation; these methods had now brought out new men, who looked mainly to success, and to close connection with the controlling political element of the South as the easiest means of attaining success. When the Democratic convention of 1844 met it was expected to renominate Van Buren. A majority of the delegates had been sent there for that purpose, but many of them would have been glad to be prevented from doing so. They allowed a resolution to be passed making a tow-thirds vote necessary for nomination; Van Buren was unable to command so many votes; and, when his name was withdrawn, Polk was nominated. The Whigs nominated Clay.

220. The beginning of the abolitionist movement in the United States, the establishment of the Liberator (1831) and of the American Anti-Slavery Society (1833), and the subsequent divisions in it, are given elsewhere (see Ency. Brit., vol. x pp. 86, 87). Up to that time "abolition" had meant gradual abolition; it was a wish rather than a purpose. Garrison called for immediate abolition. The basis of the American system was in the reserved rights of the States, and slavery rested on their will, which was not likely to be changed. But the cry was kept up. The mission of the abolitionists was to force the people to think of the question; and, in spite of riots, assaults, and persecution of every kind, they fulfilled it manfully. It was inevitable that, as the Northern people were brought unwillingly to think of the question, they should look with new eyes on many of its phases; while in the South many who might dislike slavery were disposed to resists the interferences with States rights which the new proposal involved. In truth, slavery was more and more out of harmony with the new economic conditions which were rapidly taking complete control of the North West, but had hardly been felt in the South. Thus the two sections, North and South , were more and more disposed to take opposite views of everything in which slavery was involved, and it had a faculty of involving itself in almost everything. The status of slavery in the Territories had been settled in 1820 (§ 197); that of slavery in the States had been settled by the constitution; but even in minor questions the intrusive element had to be reckoned with. The abolitionists sent their documents through the mails, and the South wished the Federal Government to interfere and stop the practice. The abolitionists persisted n petitioning Congress for the passage of various measures which Congress regarded as utterly unconstitutional; and the disposition of Congress to deny or regulate the right of petition in such matters excited the indignation of Northern men who had no sympathy with abolition. But the first occasion on which the view of the two sections came into flat contrast was on the question of the annexation of Texas.

221. The United States had had a vague claim to Texas until 1819, when the claim was surrendered to Spain in part compensation for Florida. On the revolt of Mexico, Texas became a part of that republic. It was colonized by Americans, mainly Southerners and slave-holders, and seceded from Mexico in 1835, defeating the Mexican armies and establishing its independence. Southern politicians desired its annexation to the United States for many reasons. Its people were kindred to them; its soil would widen the area of slavery; and its territory, it was hoped, could be divided into several States, to reinforce the Southern column in the senate. People in the North were either indifferent or hostile to the proposal; Van Buren had declared against it, and his action was the secret reason for his defeat in the Democratic convention. On the other hand, there were indications that the joint occupation of the Oregon country (§ 192) could not last much longer. American immigration into it had begun, while the Hudson’s Bay Company, the English tenant of the soil, was the natural enemy of immigration. To carry the sentiment of both section, the two points were coupled; and the Democratic convention declared for the reannexation of Texas and the reoccupation of Oregon.


222. One of the cardinal methods of the political abolitionists was to nominate candidates of their own against a doubtful friend, even though this secured the election of an open enemy. Clay’s effort to guard his condemnation of the Texas annexation project were just enough to push the Liberty party, the political abolitionists, into voting for candidates of their own in New York; on a close vote their loss was enough to throw the electoral votes of that State to Polk, and its votes decided the result. Polk was elected (November 1844); and Texas was annex to the United States in the following spring. At the next meeting of Congress (1845) Texas was admitted as a State.

223. West of Texas the northern prolongation of Mexico ran right athwart the westward movement of American population; and, though the movement had not yet reached the barrier, the Polk administration desired further acquisitions from Mexico. The western boundary of Texas was undefined; a strip of territory claimed by Texas was settled exclusively by Mexicans; but the Polk administration directed Taylor, the American commander in Texas to cross the Nueces river and seize the disputed territory. Collisions with Mexican troops followed; they were beaten in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, and were chased across the Rio Grande. Taylor followed, took the city of Monterey, and established himself far within northern Mexico.

224. On the news of the first bloodshed Congress declared war against Mexico, over the opposition of the Whigs. A land and naval force took possession of California, and a land expedition occupied New Mexico, so that the authority of Mexico over all the soil north of her present boundaries was abruptly terminated (1846). At the opening of 1847 Taylor fought the last battle in northern Mexico (Buena Vista), defeating the Mexicans, and Scott, with a new army, landed at Vera Cruz for a march upon the city of Mexico. Scott’s march was marked by one successful battle after another, usually against heavy odds; and in September he took the capital city and held it until peace was made (1848) by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Among the terms of peace was the cession of the present State of California and the Territories of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, the consideration being a payment of $15,000,000 by the United States and the assumption of some $3,000,000 of debts due by Mexico to American citizens. With a subsequent rectification of frontier (1853), this cession added some 500,000 square miles to the area of the United States; Texas itself made up some 375,000 square miles more. The settlement of the north-west boundary between Oregon and British Columbia (§ 221), giving its own share to each country (1846), with the Texas and Mexican cessions, gave the United States the complete territorial form retained until the annexation of Alaska in 1867.

225. In the new territory slavery had been forbidden under Mexican law; and its annexation brought up the question of its status under American law. He who remembers the historical fact that slavery had never been more than a custom, ultimately recognized and protected by State law, will not have much difficulty in deciding about the propriety of forcing such a custom by law upon any part of a territory. But, if slavery was to be excluded from the new territory, the States which should ultimately be formed out of it would enter as free States, inclined to take an anti-slavery view of doubtful questions; and the influence of the South in the senate would be decreased. For the first time the South appears as a distinct imperium in imperio in the territorial difficulties which began in 1848.

226. The first appearance of these difficulties brought out in the democratic party a solution which was so closely in line with the prejudices of the party, and apparently so likely to meet all the wishes of the South, that it bade fair to carry the party through the crisis without the loss of its Southern vote. This was "squatter sovereignty," the notion that it would be best for Congress to leave the people of each territory to settle the question of the existence of slavery for themselves. The broader and democratic ground for the party would have been that which it at first seemed likely to take – the "Wilmot proviso," a condition proposed to be added to the Act authorizing acquisitions of territory, providing that slavery should be forbidden in all territory to be acquired under the Act. In the end apparent expediency carried the dominant party off to "squatter sovereignty," and the Democratic adherents of the Wilmot proviso, with the Liberty party and the anti-slavery Whigs, united in 1848 under the name of the Free Soil party. The Whigs had no solution to offer; their entire programme, from this time to their downfall as a party, consisted in a persistent effort to evade or ignore all difficulties connected with slavery.

227. Taylor, after the battle of Buena Vista, resigned and came home, considering himself ill-used by the administration. He refused to commit himself to any party; and the Whigs were forced to accept him as their candidate in 1848. The Democrats nominated Cass; and the Free Soil party, or "Free-Soilers," nominated Van Buren. By the vote of the last-named party the Democratic candidate lost New York and the election, and Taylor was elected president. Taking office in 1849, he had on his shoulders the whole burden of the territorial difficulties, aggravated by the discovery of gold in California and the sudden rise of population there. Congress was so split into factions that it could for a long time agree upon nothing; thieves and outlaws were too strong for the semi-military government of California; and the people of that Territory, with the approval of the president, proceeded to form a constitution and apply fore admission as a State. They had so framed their constitution as to forbid slavery; and this was really the application of the Wilmot proviso to the richest part of the new territory, and the South felt that it had been robbed of the cream of what it alone had fought cheerfully to obtain.

228. The admission of California was not secured until September 1850, just after Taylor’s sudden death, and then only by the addition of a bonus to Texas, the division of the rest of the Mexican cession into the Territories of Utah and New Mexico without mention of slavery, and the passage of a Fugitive Slave Law. The slave trade, but not slavery, was forbidden in the District of Columbia. The whole was generally known as the compromise of 1850. Two of its features need notice. As has been said, slavery was not mentioned in the Act; and the status of slavery in the Territories was thus left uncertain. Congress can veto any legislation of a Territorial legislature, but, in fact, the two houses of Congress were hardly ever able to unite on anything after 1850, and both these Territories did establish slavery before 1860, without a Congressional veto. The advantage here was with the South. The other point, the Fugitive Slave Law, was a special demand of the South. The constitution contained clauses directing that fugitive criminals and slaves should be delivered up, on requisition, by the State to which they had fled (§ 124). In the case of criminals the delivery was directed to be made by the executive of the State to which they had fled; in the case of slaves no delivering authority was specified, and an Act of Congress in 1793 had imposed the duty on Federal judges or on local State magistrates. Some of the States had passed "personal liberty laws," forbidding or limiting the action of their magistrates in such cases; and the Act of 1850 transferred the decision of such cases to United States commissioners, with the assistance of United States marshals. It imposed penalties on rescues, and denied a jury trial. All the ill-effects of the law were not felt until a year or two of its operation had passed (§ 244).

229. The question of slavery had taken up so much time in Congress that its other legislation was comparatively limited. The rates of postage were reduced to five and ten cents for distances less and greater than 300 miles (1845) and the naval school at Annapolis was established the same year. The military school at West Point had been established in 1794. When the Democratic party had obtained complete control of the government, it reestablished the "sub-treasury," or independent treasury (1846), which is still the basis of the treasury system. In the same year, after an exhaustive report by Robert J. Walker, Polk’s secretary of the treasury, the tariff of 1846 was passed; it reduced duties, and cut out all forms of protection. With the exception of a slight additional reduction of duties in 1857, this remained in force until 1861.

230. Five States were admitted during the last ten years of this period,-Florida (1845), Texas (1845), Iowa (1846), Wisconsin (1848), and California (1850). The early entrance of Iowa, Wisconsin, and Florida had been due largely to Indian wars, - the Black Hawk war in Iowa and Wisconsin, (1832), and the Seminole war in Florida (1835-37), after each of which the defeated Indians were compelled to cede lands as the price of peace. The extinction of Indian titles in northern Michigan brought about the discovery of the great copper fields of that region, whose existence had been suspected long before it could be proved. Elsewhere settlement followed the lines already marked out, except in the new possessions on the Pacific coast, whose full possibilities were not yet known, railroads in the eastern States were beginning to show something of a connected system; in the South they had hardly changed since 1840; in the West they had only been prolonged on their original lines. The telegraph, which was to make man master of even the longest and most complicated systems, was brought into use in 1844; but it is not until the census of 1860 that its effects are seen in the fully connected network of railroads which then covers the whole North and West (§ 273).

231. The sudden development of wealth in the country gave an impetus to the spirit of invention. Goodyear’s method of vulcanizing rubber (1839) had come into use. M’Cormick had made an invention whose results have been hardly less than that of the locomotive in their importance to the United States. He had patented a reaping-machine in 1834, and this, further improved and supplemented by other inventions, had brought into play the whole system of agricultural machinery whose existence was scarcely known elsewhere until the London "World’s Fair" of 1851 brought it into notice. It was agricultural machinery that made Western farms profitable and enabled the railroads to fill the West so rapidly (§ 278). A successful sewing-machine came in 1846; the power-loom and the surgical use of anaesthetics in the same year; and the rotary press for printing in 1847

232. All the conditions of life were changing so rapidly that it was natural that the minds of men should change with them or become unsettled. This was the era of new sects, of communities, of fantastic proposals of every kind, of transcendentalism in literature, religion, and politics. Not the most fantastic or benevolent, but certainly the most successful, of these was the sect of Mormons, or latter-day Saints. They settled in the new Territory of Utah in 1847, calling their capital Salt Lake City, and spreading thence through the neighboring Territories. There they have become a menace to the American system; their numbers are so great that it is against American instincts to deprive them of self-government and keep them under a Congressional despotism; while their polygamy and submission to their hierarchy make it impossible to erect them into a State which shall have complete control of marriage and divorce.

233. The material development of the United States since 1830 had been extraordinary, but every year made it more evident that the South was not sharing in it. It is plain now that the fault was in the labor system of the South: her only laborers were slaves, and a slave who was fit for anything better than field labor was prima facie a dangerous man. The process of divergence had as yet gone only far enough to awaken intelligent men in the South to the fact of its existence, and to sir them to efforts as hopeless as they were earnest, to find some artificial stimulus for Southern industries. In the next ten years the process was to show its effects on the national field.





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