Edward Channing.

A Short History of the United States online

. (page 12 of 25)
Online LibraryEdward ChanningA Short History of the United States → online text (page 12 of 25)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

of stricter laws. Finally the New Englanders even talked of seceding
from the Union.


[Sidenote: Outrage on the _Chesapeake_, 1807. _McMaster_, 227.]

251. The Outrage on the _Chesapeake_, 1807. - The British now added
to the anger of the Americans by impressing seamen from the decks of an
American warship. The frigate _Chesapeake_ left the Norfolk navy yard
for a cruise. At once the British vessel _Leopard_ sailed toward her and
ordered her to stop. As the _Chesapeake_ did not stop, the _Leopard_
fired on her. The American frigate was just setting out, and everything
was in confusion on her decks. But a coal was brought from the cook's
stove, and one gun was fired. Her flag was then hauled down. The British
came on board and seized four seamen, who they said were deserters from
the British navy. This outrage aroused tremendous excitement. Jefferson
ordered all British warships out of American waters and forbade the
people to supply them with provisions, water, or wood. The British
offered to restore the imprisoned seamen and ordered out of American
waters the admiral under whose direction the outrage had been done. But
they would not give up impressment.

[Sidenote: Madison elected President, 1808.]

252. Madison elected President, 1808. - There is nothing in the
Constitution to limit the number of times a man may be chosen President.
Many persons would gladly have voted a third time for Jefferson. But he
thought that unless some limit were set, the people might keep on
reëlecting a popular and successful President term after term. This
would be very dangerous to the republican form of government. So
Jefferson followed Washington's example and declined a third term,
Washington and Jefferson thus established a custom that has ever since
been followed. The Republicans voted for James Madison, and he was
elected President (1808).


[Sidenote: Non-Intercourse Act, 1809.]

253. The Non-Intercourse Act, 1809. - By this time the embargo had
become so very unpopular that it could be maintained only at the cost of
civil war. Madison suggested that the Embargo Act should be repealed,
and a Non-Intercourse Act passed in its place. Congress at once did as
he suggested. The Non-Intercourse Act prohibited commerce with Great
Britain and with France and the countries controlled by France. It
permitted commerce with the rest of the world. There were not many
European countries with which America could trade under this law. Still
there were a few countries, as Norway and Spain, which still maintained
their independence. And goods could be sold through them to the other
European countries. At all events, no sooner was the embargo removed
than commerce revived. Rates of freight were very high and the profits
were very large, although the French and the British captured many
American vessels.

[Sidenote: The Erskine treaty.]

[Sidenote: The British minister Jackson. _Source-Book_, 212-213]

254. Two British Ministers. - Soon after Madison's inauguration a
new British minister came to Washington. His name was Erskine, and he
was very friendly. A treaty was speedily made on conditions which
Madison thought could be granted. He suspended non-intercourse with
Great Britain, and hundreds of vessels set sail for that country. But
the British rulers soon put an end to this friendly feeling. They said
that Erskine had no authority to make such a treaty. They refused to
carry it out and recalled Erskine. The next British minister was a
person named Jackson. He accused Madison of cheating Erskine and
repeated the accusation. Thereupon Madison sent him back to London. As
the British would not carry out the terms of Erskine's treaty, Madison
was compelled to prohibit all intercourse with Great Britain.

[Sidenote: Still another policy. _McMaster_, 229-230.]

[Sidenote: French trickery.]

[Sidenote: British trickery.]

255. British and French Trickery. - The scheme of non-intercourse
did not seem to bring the British and the French to terms much better
than the embargo had done. In 1810, therefore, Congress set to work and
produced a third plan. This was to allow intercourse with both Great
Britain and France. But this was coupled with the promise that if one of
the two nations stopped seizing American ships and the other did not,
then intercourse with the unfriendly country should be prohibited.
Napoleon at once said that he would stop seizing American vessels on
November 1 of that year if the British, on their part, would stop their
seizures before that time. The British said that they would stop seizing
when Napoleon did. Neither of them really did anything except to keep on
capturing American vessels whenever they could get a chance.

[Sidenote: Indians of the Northwest. _Eggleston_, 242.]

[Sidenote: Tecumthe.]

256. Indian Troubles, 1810. - To this everlasting trouble with Great
Britain and France were now added the horrors of an Indian war. It came
about in this way. Settlers were pressing into Indiana Territory west of
the new state of Ohio. Soon the lands which the United States had bought
of the Indians would be occupied. New lands must be bought. At this time
there were two able Indian leaders in the Northwest. These were
Tecumthe, or Tecumseh, and his brother, who was known as "the Prophet."
These chiefs set on foot a great Indian confederation. They said that no
one Indian tribe should sell land to the United States without the
consent of all the tribes of the Confederation.

[Sidenote: Battle of Tippecanoe, 1811.]

257. Battle of Tippecanoe. - This determined attitude of the Indians
seemed to the American leaders to be very dangerous. Governor William
Henry Harrison of Indiana Territory gathered a small army of regular
soldiers and volunteers from Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. He marched to
the Indian settlements. The Indians attacked him at Tippecanoe. He beat
them off and, attacking in his turn, routed them. Tecumthe was not at
the battle. But he immediately fled to the British in Canada. The
Americans had suspected that the British were stirring up the Indians to
resist the United States. The reception given to Tecumthe made them feel
that their suspicions were correct.


[Sidenote: Henry Clay.]

[Sidenote: John C. Calhoun.]

258. The War Party in Congress. - There were abundant reasons to
justify war with Great Britain, or with France, or with both of them.
But there would probably have been no war with either of them had it not
been for a few energetic young men in Congress. The leaders of this war
party were Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. Clay was born in Virginia,
but as a boy he had gone to Kentucky. He represented the spirit of the
young and growing West. He was a true patriot and felt angry at the way
the British spoke of America and Americans, and at the way they acted
toward the United States. He was a very popular man and won men to him
by his attractive qualities and by his energy. Calhoun was a South
Carolinian who had been educated in Connecticut. He was a man of the
highest personal character. He had a strong, active mind, and he was
fearless in debate. As with Clay so with Calhoun, they both felt the
rising spirit of nationality. They thought that the United States had
been patient long enough. They and their friends gained a majority in
Congress and forced Madison to send a warlike message to Congress.

[Sidenote: Madison's war message, 1812. _McMaster>_, 231;
_Source-Book_, 214-216.]

259. Madison's Reasons for War, 1812. - In his message Madison
stated the grounds for complaint against the British as follows: (1)
they impressed American seamen; (2) they disturbed American commerce by
stationing warships off the principal ports; they refused to permit
trade between America and Europe; (4) they stirred up the western
Indians to attack the settlers; (5) they were really making war on the
United States while the United States was at peace with them. For these
reasons Madison advised a declaration of war against Great Britain, and
war was declared.



§§ 228, 229. - _a_. Draw a map showing the states and territories in

_b_. How and why had the center of population changed since 1791? Where
is it now?

_c_. Why did so many people live near tide water? Do the same reasons
exist to-day?

§§ 230-232. - _a_. What were the "best roads" in 1800?

_b_. Describe the dangers and discomforts of traveling in 1800.

_c_. What were the early steamboats like?

§§ 233, 234. - _a_. What fact hindered the growth of cotton on a large
scale in colonial times?

_b_. How did Whitney's cotton gin change these conditions?

§§ 235, 236. - _a_. Why had manufacturing received so little attention
before the Revolution?

_b_. How did the new government encourage manufacturing?


§ 237. - _a_. How did Jefferson's inauguration illustrate his political

_b_. Compare his method of opening Congress with that employed by
Washington and Adams. Which method is followed to-day?

§§ 238. - _a_. What is the Civil Service? How had Washington and Adams
filled offices? Was their action wise?

§§ 239. - _a_. Explain the Judiciary Act of 1801.

_b_. What power has Congress over the Judiciary? (Constitution, Art.

§§ 240. - _a_. What was Jefferson's policy toward expenses? How did he
carry it out? What was the result of these economies?

_b_. Was the reduction of the navy wise? What conditions make a large
navy necessary?

§§ 241-244. - _a_. When and how had Louisiana changed hands since its
settlement? Why were the Spaniards poor neighbors?

_b_. How did the United States acquire Louisiana?

_c_. Trace on a map the boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase. Compare
its value to-day with the price paid.

_d_. What important discoveries did Lewis and Clark make?

§§ 245, 246. - _a_. Give instances which illustrate the disadvantages of
the old way of electing the President and Vice-President.

_b_. Explain carefully the changes made by the Twelfth Amendment, and
show how a President may be elected by a minority of the voters.


§§ 247. - _a_. Describe the doings of the African pirates. Why had
Washington and Adams paid them?

_b_. Describe Jefferson's action and state the results.

§§ 248, 249. - _a_. Compare the power of France and Great Britain at this

_b_. How did they try to injure one another? How did they treat American

_c_. Explain the impressment of sailors by the British.

§§ 250, 251. - _a_. Describe the difficulties of Jefferson's position.

_b_. Give instances of refusal to buy British goods and the results.

_c_. Explain the Embargo Act. Why was it a failure?

_d_. Describe the outrage on the _Chesapeake_. Was the offer of the
British government enough? What more should have been promised?

§§ 252, 253. - _a_. What were Jefferson's objections to a third term?
What custom was established by these early Presidents?

_b_. Where have we found Madison prominent before?

_c_. Explain the difference between the Embargo Act and the
Non-Intercourse Act.

§§ 254, 255. - _a_. Describe the attempt to renew friendly intercourse
with Great Britain.

_b_. What do you think of Napoleon's treatment of the United States?

§§ 256. - _a_. What caused the trouble with the Indians?

_b_. Describe Harrison's action. How were the British connected with
this Indian trouble?

§§ 257-259. - _a_. How did all these affairs affect the relations between
the United States and Great Britain?

_b_. Explain the attitude of Clay and Calhoun.

_c_. What is meant by the "rising spirit of nationality"?

_d_. Illustrate, by facts already studied, the reasons given in
Madison's message.


_a_. How has machinery influenced the history of the United States?

_b_. Draw a map showing the extent of the United States in 1802 and

_c_. What were the four most important things in Jefferson's
administrations? Why do you select these?


_a_. Robert Fulton or Eli Whitney.

_b_. Exploration of the Northwest.

_c_. War with the African pirates.

_d_. Life and manners in 1800.


The purchase of Louisiana and the early development of the West are
leading points in this period. With the latter must be coupled the
important inventions which made such development possible. Commercial
questions should receive adequate attention and should be illustrated by
present conditions.

Jefferson's attitude toward both the Louisiana Purchase and the
enforcement of the Embargo Act is an illustration of the effect which
power and responsibility have on those placed at the head of the
government. This can also be illustrated by events in our own time.


WAR AND PEACE, 1812-1829

Books for Study and Reading

References. - Higginson's _Larger History, _365-442; Scribner's
_Popular History, _IV; Lossing's _Field-Book of the War of 1812;
_Coffin's _Building the Nation, _149-231.

Home Readings. - Barnes's _Yankee Ships; _Roosevelt's _Naval War of
1812; _Seawell's _Midshipman Paulding; _Holmes's _Old Ironsides;
_Goodwin's _Dolly Madison._



[Sidenote: American plan of campaign, 1812.]

[Sidenote: Objections to it.]

260. Plan of Campaign, 1812. - The American plan of campaign was
that General Hull should invade Canada from Detroit. He could then march
eastward, north of Lake Erie, and meet another army which was to cross
the Niagara River. These two armies were to take up the eastward march
and join a third army from New York. The three armies then would capture
Montreal and Quebec and generally all Canada. It was a splendid plan.
But there were three things in the way of carrying it out: (i) there was
no trained American army; (2) there were no supplies for an army when
gathered and trained; and (3) there was a small, well-trained and
well-supplied army in Canada.

[Illustration: DETROIT, ABOUT 1815.]

[Sidenote: Hull's march to Detroit.]

[Sidenote: His misfortunes.]

[Sidenote: He surrenders Detroit, 1812.]

261. Hull's Surrender of Detroit, 1812. - In those days Detroit was
separated from the settled parts of Ohio by two hundred miles of
wilderness. To get his men and supplies to Detroit, Hull had first of
all to cut a road through the forest. The British learned of the actual
declaration of war before Hull knew of it. They dashed down on his
scattered detachments and seized his provisions. Hull sent out
expedition after expedition to gather supplies and bring in the
scattered settlers. Tecumthe and the other Indian allies of the British
captured one expedition after another. The British advanced on Detroit,
and Hull surrendered. By this disaster the British got control of the
upper lakes. They even invaded Ohio.

[Illustration: PERRY'S BATTLE FLAG.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Lake Erie 1813. McMaster, 234-235.]

[Sidenote: Battle of the Thames, 1813.]

262. Perry's Victory on Lake Erie, 1813. - But the British triumph
did not last long. In the winter of 1812-13 Captain Oliver Hazard Perry
built a fleet of warships on Lake Erie. They were built of green timber
cut for the purpose. They were poor vessels, but were as good as the
British vessels. In September, 1813, Perry sailed in search of the
British ships. Coming up with them, he hoisted at his masthead a large
blue flag with Lawrence's immortal words, "Don't give up the ship" (p.
212), worked upon it. The battle was fiercely fought. Soon Perry's
flagship, the _Lawrence_, was disabled and only nine of her crew were
uninjured. Rowing to another ship, Perry continued the fight. In fifteen
minutes more all the British ships surrendered. The control of Lake Erie
was now in American hands. The British retreated from the southern side
of the lake. General Harrison occupied Detroit. He then crossed into
Canada and defeated a British army on the banks of the river Thames
(October, 1813).

[Illustration: THE "CONSTITUTION." From an early painting of the escape
of the _Constitution_ from the British fleet. The men in the boat are
preparing to carry out a small anchor.]

[Sidenote: The _Constitution_.]

[Sidenote: Chased by a British fleet, 1812.]

[Sidenote: She escapes.]

263. The Frigate _Constitution_. - One of the first vessels to get
to sea was the _Constitution_, commanded by Isaac Hull. She sailed from
Chesapeake Bay for New York, where she was to serve as a guard-ship. On
the way she fell in with a British squadron. The _Constitution_ sailed
on with the whole British fleet in pursuit. Soon the wind began to die
away. The _Constitution's_ sails were soaked with water to make them
hold the wind better. Then the wind gave out altogether, Captain Hull
lowered his boats and the men began to tow the ship. But the British
lowered their boats also. They set a great many boats to towing their
fastest ship, and she began to gain on the _Constitution_. Then Captain
Hull found that he was sailing over shoal water, although out of sight
of land, so he sent a small anchor ahead in a boat. The anchor was
dropped and men on the ship pulled in the anchor line. This was done
again and again. The _Constitution _now began to gain on the British
fleet. Then a sudden squall burst on the ships. Captain Hull saw it
coming and made every preparation to take advantage of it. When the rain
cleared away, the _Constitution_ was beyond fear of pursuit. But she
could not go to New York, so Captain Hull took her to Boston. The
government at once ordered him to stay where he was; but, before the
orders reached Boston, the _Constitution_ was far away.

[Sidenote: _Constitution_ and _Guerrière_, 1812.]

[Sidenote: Reasons for the victory.]

264. _Constitution_ and _Guerrière_, 1812. - For some time Hull
cruised about in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. One day he sighted a British
frigate - the _Guerrière_ - one of the ships that had chased the
_Constitution_. But now that Hull found her alone, he steered straight
for her. In thirty minutes from the firing of the first gun the
_Guerrière_ was a ruinous wreck. All of her masts and spars were shot
away and most of her crew were killed or wounded. The _Constitution_ was
only slightly injured, and was soon ready to fight another British
frigate, had there been one to fight. Indeed, the surgeons of the
_Constitution_ went on board of the _Guerrière_ to help dress the wounds
of the British seamen. The _Guerrière_ was a little smaller than the
_Constitution_ and had smaller guns. But the real reason for this great
victory was that the American ship and the American guns were very much
better handled than were the British ship and the British guns.

[Sidenote: _Wasp_ and the _Frolic_]

[Sidenote: Effect of these victories.]

265. The _Wasp_ and the _Frolic_, 1812. - At almost the same time
the American ship _Wasp_ captured the British brig _Frolic_. The _Wasp_
had three masts, and the _Frolic_ had only two masts. But the two
vessels were really of about the same size, as the American ship was
only five feet longer than her enemy, and had the lighter guns. In a few
minutes after the beginning of the fight the _Frolic_ was a shattered
hulk, with only one sound man on her deck. Soon after the conflict a
British battleship came up and captured both the _Wasp_ and her prize.
The effect of these victories of the _Constitution_ and the _Wasp_ was
tremendous. Before the war British naval officers had called the
_Constitution_ "a bundle of sticks." Now it was thought to be no longer
safe for British frigates to sail the seas alone. They must go in pairs
to protect each other from "Old Ironsides." Before long the
_Constitution_, now commanded by Captain Bainbridge, had captured the
British frigate _Java_, and the frigate _United States_, Captain
Decatur, had taken the British ship _Macedonian_. On the other hand, the
_Chesapeake_ was captured by the _Shannon_. This victory gave great
satisfaction to the British. But Captain Lawrence's last words, "Don't
give up the ship," have always been a glorious inspiration to
American sailors.

[Sidenote: Plan of campaign, 1814.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Lundy's Lane, 1814.]

266. Brown's Invasion of Canada, 1814. - In the first two years of
the war the American armies in New York had done nothing. But abler men
were now in command. Of these, General Jacob Brown, General Macomb,
Colonel Winfield Scott, and Colonel Ripley deserve to be remembered.
The American plan of campaign was that Brown, with Scott and Ripley,
should cross the Niagara River and invade Canada. General Macomb, with a
naval force under McDonough, was to hold the line of Lake Champlain. The
British plan was to invade New York by way of Lake Champlain. Brown
crossed the Niagara River and fought two brilliant battles at Chippewa
and Lundy's Lane. The latter battle was especially glorious because the
Americans captured British guns and held them against repeated attacks
by British veterans. In the end, however, Brown was obliged to retire.

[Sidenote: Invasion of New York.]

[Sidenote: Battle of Plattsburg, 1814.]

267. McDonough's Victory at Plattsburg, 1814. - General Prevost,
with a fine army of veterans, marched southward from Canada, while a
fleet sailed up Lake Champlain. At Plattsburg, on the western side of
the lake, was General Macomb with a force of American soldiers. Anchored
before the town was McDonough's fleet. Prevost attacked Macomb's army
and was driven back. The British fleet attacked McDonough's vessels and
was destroyed. That put an end to Prevost's invasion. He retreated back
to Canada as fast as he could go.

[Illustration: FORT McHENRY.]

[Sidenote: Burning of Washington, 1814.]

[Sidenote: "The Star-Spangled Banner."]

268. The British in the Chesapeake, 1814. - Besides their operations
on the Canadian frontier, the British tried to capture New Orleans and
the cities on Chesapeake Bay. The British landed below Washington. They
marched to the capital. They entered Washington. They burned the
Capitol, the White House, and several other public buildings. They then
hurried away, leaving their wounded behind them. Later on the British
attacked Baltimore and were beaten off with great loss. It was at this
time that Francis Scott Key wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner." He was
detained on board one of the British warships during the fight. Eagerly
he watched through the smoke for a glimpse of the flag over Fort McHenry
at the harbor's mouth. In the morning the flag was still there. This
defeat closed the British operations on the Chesapeake.

[Illustration: FLAG OF FORT McHENRY. Fifteen stars and fifteen
stripes - one of each for each state.]

[Sidenote: Jackson's Creek campaign, 1814.]

269. The Creek War. - The Creek Indians lived in Alabama. They saw
with dismay the spreading settlements of the whites. The Americans were
now at war. It would be a good chance to destroy them. So the Creeks
fell upon the whites and murdered about four hundred. General Andrew
Jackson of Tennessee commanded the American army in the Southwest. As
soon as he knew that the Creeks were attacking the settlers, he gathered
soldiers and followed the Indians to their stronghold. He stormed their
fort and killed most of the garrison.

[Illustration: BATTLE OF NEW ORLEANS. From a sketch by one of Jackson's

[Sidenote: Battle of New Orleans, 1815.]

[Sidenote: _Hero Tales_, 139-147.]

270. Jackson's Defense of New Orleans, 1814-15. - Jackson had
scarcely finished this work when he learned of the coming of a great
British expedition to the mouth of the Mississippi River. He at once
hastened to the defense of New Orleans. Below the city the country
greatly favored the defender. For there was very little solid ground
except along the river's bank. Picking out an especially narrow place,
Jackson built a breastwork of cotton bales and rubbish. In front of the
breastwork he dug a deep ditch. The British rushed to the attack. Most
of their generals were killed or wounded, and the slaughter was
terrible. Later, they made another attack and were again beaten off.

[Sidenote: Naval combats, 1814.]

271. The War on the Sea, 1814. - It was only in the first year or so
of the war that there was much fighting between American and British
warships. After that the American ships could not get to sea, for the
British stationed whole fleets off the entrances to the principal
harbors. But a few American vessels ran the blockade and did good

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Online LibraryEdward ChanningA Short History of the United States → online text (page 12 of 25)