H. (Hermann) Von Holst.

The constitutional and political history of the United States. By Dr. H. von Holst .. (Volume 2) online

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book is DUE on the last date stamped belo









OF THE / & <9/ **













Entered according to Act cf Congress In the year eighteen hundred and eeventy-nlr.e

In the office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D 0.





THE title of the first volume of the German edition of this
work is Verfasaung und Democratie der Vereinigten Stou-
ten von Amerika. Believing that the literal translation of
that title would not convey to the American reader as cor-
rect an idea of the contents of the distinguished author's
book as: "The Constitutional and Political History of the
United States," the translators of the first volume agreed to
call the work in English by the latter name. This was done
without any previous consultation with the author himself.
Professor v. Hoist, however, has given this second volume
the title which is to be preserved in those that are yet to
come Verfassungsgeschichte der Vereinigten Staaten seit
der Administration Jacksons or " The Constitutional His-
tory of the United States from the Administration of Jackson."
It is due to Professor v. Hoist and the public to say that
the author himself is of opinion that the title chosen by the
translators for the first volume raises a claim which that vol-
ume does not entirely support. This second volume fulfills
the promise of the translators' title, and hence the reader
will find the scope of this second volume somewhat different
from that of the first.

Those acquainted with the German edition will notice
that the Einleitung (Introduction) to the second volume is


not here translated. The reason of its omission is that it
was intended by the author only for the German edition.

I desire to acknowledge my indebtedness to the kindly
criticism of Professor William F. Allen, of the University of
Wisconsin, General James M. Lynch, of Milwaukee, and
Alfred B. Mason, counsellor at law of Chicago, my collabo-
rator in the translation of the first volume, whose withdrawal
from the continuation of the task has not diminished his
interest in a work, the great merits of which he was one

of the first to recognize.




Jackson Inaugurates Government by Politicians. Crawford's De-
cline. King Caucus. Jackson's Career and Character. The Elec-
tion of Adams over Jackson in 1824. Kremer's Charge against
Clay. The Electoral College and the Direct Vote Theory. Jack-
son's Election a "People's" Victory. The Spoils System. Jack-
son's Inauguration. Disregard of the Great Questions of the Day.
Professional Politicians and Corruption in Politics. The Albany
Regency. Van Buren its Soul. Adams'. View of the Civil Serv-
ice. Marcy Proclaims the Doctrine: "To the Victor Belong the
Spoils." Jackson's Cabinet. The Eaton Scandal. Jackson the
Embodiment of Typical American Traits. His Demoniacal Will.
The Bank Question. Charges against Mason as President of the
Portsmouth Branch Bank. The Administration Thwarted and En-
raged. Jackson's Charges against the Bank. National Conven-
tions. The National Republicans Nominate Clay for President,
1831. Money Power of the Bank in Election of 1832. Democratic
Party Discipline. Veto of the Bank Bill. Discussion of the Veto
Power. The Veto Message Appeals to the Masses. Cabinet
Changes. Jackson's Bank. Agency Plan. The Deposits. Taney
Becomes Secretary of the Treasury. His View of the Removal of
the Deposits. Cabinet Officers, Their Duties and Accountability.
Congress and the Deposits. Presidential Usurpation. Resolution
Censuring Jackson Expunged from Senate Records. Jackson's In-
terpretation of the Constitution. The Rights of the President.
Jackson's Political Heirs. Trading Politicians and a Republic.
Jackson's Career Promotes Politician Rule.


The Early Anti-Slavery Societies not Abolition Societies in a Polit-
ical Sense. Missouri Question Awakens Popular Knowledge and
Fear of Slavocracy's Rule. The First Abolitionists. Lundy and


Garrison. Moral and Religious Awakening. Formation of Anti-
Slavery Societies. Negro Uprisings. Nat. Turner. The Negro and
the Gospel. Emancipation Efforts in Virginia. John Marshall's
View of Slavery. Abolitionists Accused of Inciting Negroes to Re-
volt. Laws against Slave Education. Prudence Crandall's Negro
School in Connecticut. Abolitionists Mobbed in New York. The
Garrison Mob in Boston. Character of Abolitionism. Municipal
Character of Slavery. Abolition Appeals to Congress. South Offers
Rewards for Garrison and Tappan. South Demands Suppression of
Free Speech on Slavery. Slavery Doomed. Fugitive Slaves. Abo-
litionism an Infamous Crime in the Southern States. Rifling of the
Mails. Postmaster-General Kendall Proscribes Abolition Mail Mat-
ter. Jackson's Message Indorses Him. The Bible Not Allowed to
be Given to Slaves. Calhoun's Bill against Abolition Mail Matter
Exalts State Above United States Laws. Calhoun a Lover of the
Union. His View of the Necessity of Slavery. Admission of Mich-
igan and Arkansas. Missouri Enlarged and the Compromise Vio-
lated. The Sacs and Foxes. Magnanimous Northern Assistance
of the Slavocrats in Congress. The Shame of the North.



Change of Administrations in America. Van Buren, the First
Politician President. Characters of Jackson and Van Buren. The
Latter's Career. His Contract for the Presidency. Rivalry with
Calhoun. Jackson's War on H. L. White. The First National Po-
litical Convention. Van Buren's Pledge to the South. Van Buren
Popularly Held Responsible for Jackson's Economic Policy. English
Capital and Speculation. Internal Improvements. Increase of
Small Banks. Changes in the Monetary Standards. Public Land
Sales. Southern Drafts on Foreign Capital. Plantations and Slaves
Held as Security. King Cotton. The Surplus from Public Land
Sales. Jackson's Specie Circular Hastens the Crisis of 1837. The
Crisis Inaugurated by the Bank of England. Suffering in the
South. Causes of the Crash. Van Buren's Creditable Conduct
Through the Crisis. His Plan of an Independent Treasury. Cal-
houn's Position on the Question and His Political Relations. The
Whigs' Attack on the Independent Treasury Plan. Clay Declares
the Plan Impossible. New York Turns against Van Buren. Dan-
ger of National Insolvency. Extra Session of Congress, 1837.


Recovery from the Crash. Re-ascendency of the Democrats. De-
pression of 1839. R. M. T. Hunter Elected Speaker. Suspension of
Specie Payments. Balance of Parties in a Republic. Separation
of the Banks and Finances of the Country. Van Buren's Victory.
Democratic Defeat in 1840 Insured.


Growing Differences on the Slavery Question Greet Van Buren.
Lovejoy's Murder. The Question of Political Activity in the Anti-
Slavery Societies. Garrison's Character and Principles. Divisions
Among the Abolitionists. The Woman Question. The Churches
and the Clergy. Slavery in the District of Columbia Governed by
the Laws of Maryland and Virginia. Petitions Submitted by Adams
for Abolition in the District. Calhoun's Attitude: Slavery Must be
Maintained or Disunion Must Ensue. He Realizes the Moral Aspect
of the Question. The Gag Resolutions in the Light of American Po-
litical Principles. Adams' Defense of the Right of Petition. Princi-
ples on which the Right is Based. The Attack on Adams. His Ex-
culpation. Calhoun's Doctrines a Growth exactly Apace with the
Times. He Declares Slavery a Positive Good. He Introduces Six
Resolutions on Slavery, Demonstrating its Rightful Status, Uphold-
ing States Rights, Demanding Federal Protection of Slavery and the
Denial of the Right of Petition as Respects Slavery in the District of
Columbia or Elsewhere. Gag Laws: Pinckney's, Patton's, Ather-
ton's, Johnson's. New York Abolition Convention at Arcade. The
Creek Treaty of 1790. Slaves Among the Seminoles. Unwarranted
Indemnity to Georgia Slaveholders. Removal of Seminoles Resolved
on. Payne's Landing Treaty. The United States Army Hunts
Slaves. Outrage on Osceola and his Revenge. The Second Seminole
War. Its Useless Expense of Life and Money. Military Investiga-
tion. Osceola Captured by Treachery. Jesup's Infamous Tactics.
United States Funds Used in Rewards for Recaptured Slaves. Ma-
comb's Mission to Conclude the War. Slavery not to be Wholly
Blamed for the War. Van Buren's Relation to it. Cases of the
"Enterprise" and the "Encomium." England's Action in them a
Serious Blow to Slavocracy. International Law and Slavery.
L'Amistad Case. Spain's Claim. Van Buren's Wish to Accede to
it. Adams' Heroic Defense of the Negroes, and their Release.
Van Buren's Retirement.




OF 1840 830

Slavery Question in the Campaign. National Debt Contracted
Under Van Buren. New Jersey Contested Congressional Election.
Decadence of Congress. Electioneering by Federal Officers. Cus-
totn-House and Post-Office. Defalcation of Swartwout. Wood-
bury's Lenient Dealing with Him. Growth of Political Knowledge
and Desire for "Change." Whig Gains. Clay's Political Fortunes
and His Desire to Please All Sides. The Triangular Correspond-
ence. Whig National Convention, 1839. Harrison and Tyler Nomi-
nated. Clay's Vexation. Harrison as a Man and Soldier. His
Political Past. His Pledge to Antagonize the Power of the Presi-
dent. Has the True Democratic Spirit. His Confused Position on
the Bank and Tariff. Tyler Nominated by Virtue of his Tears.
Tyler's Adherence to the States-Rights Doctrine. His Antagonism
to Harrison on the Bank, Tariff, and Internal Improvements. His
Position on Nullification. Tyler and Clay. "Down with the Tar-
quins; Away with the Spoilers." The Picturesque Character of
the Campaign. Doggerel. Van Buren's Renomination. His Un-
enthusing Character. Workingman's Party. Loco Focos. Tam-
many Hall. Necessity of the Element of Progress in a Political
Party. Harrison's Election. Cry of Fraud. The Liberty Party,
its Significance.



Harrison's Sincerity as to Civil Service Reform. "Change "in
Office. Office-Seekers said to Have Caused Harrison's Death. Re-
serve between Clay and Harrison. Effect of Harrison's Death.
Tyler's Politics. He Expects Factional Attacks on His Administra-
tion. Special Session of Congress. The Independent Treasury.
The Bank Controversy. Clay's Report. Tyler's Policy Governed by
Second Term Ambition. Clay's Desire for the Whig Nomination in
1844. Tyler's First Bank Veto. His Kitchen Cabinet. The Second
Bill and Veto. Ewing, Bell, Badger and Crittenderi Resign from
the Cabinet. Webster Retains His Position on Account of English
Relations. The Whig Manifesto. Democratic Gains over the
Whigs. National Deficit. Sale of Public Lands. Repudiation Fol-
lowing the Crisis of 1837. Land Distribution Bill. Webster Bank-
ruptcy Bill. To Relieve National Distress. Tyler Urges Part
Abandonment of the Compromise Tariff. Veto of the Tariff Bill.


Clay Proposes an Amendment Curtailing the Veto Power. The
Veto and Revenue Measures. Tyler and the Whigs. The Bill
Passed. Botts' Impeachment Resolutions. The Exchequer Bill.
Increase of Abolitionism. Adams' War in Congress against Slavery.

The Haverhill Petition. Adams' "Trial" and the Marshall Reso-
lutions Censuring Him. Right of Petition Vindicated. The
"Creole" Case. Censure of Giddings. The Declaration of Inde-
pendence and Abolitionism. The Quintuple Treaty on the Slave
Trade. Cass' Pamphlet. Severity of the Slave Code. Treaty of
Washington, 1842, on Slave Trade. The Bowie Knife and Revolver
in Congress for Enforcement of Slavocratic Views. The Democracy
of the North the Natural Ally of the South. Immigration and Poli-
tics. The Catholic Church. Congressional Representation, Law of
1842. Douglas' Advent. Tyler Removes Whigs. His Inaugural.

His Political Bankruptcy. The Political Situation in 1844; Clay,
Tyler, Van Buren, Johnson, Buchanan, Calhoun. The New York
Irish. Native Americans. The "Regular Ticket." The Tariff in
1844. Folk's Letter to Kane. The Bank Issue in the Campaign.^
Slavery and the Personality of the Candidates the Main Questions.
Fugitive Slaves. New York Refuses to Surrender Negro Seamen to
Virginia. Massachusetts Proposes a Constitutional Amendment
Excluding Slave Representation. Repeal of the Gag Law. North
and South in Politics and in the Churches. Progress of Disunion-
ism. The Princeton Explosion. Calhoun Becomes Secretary of
State to Effect Annexation of Texas.


Indefiniteness of the Louisiana Purchase Treaty. Controversy and
Treaty with Spain About the Floridas. The Sabine Line. Impor-
tance of Texas to the Slavocracy. Long's Scheme of a Texan Repub-
lic. Poinsett's Mission. Mexico Emancipates the Texas Slaves,
1829. Early Plots to Annex Texas. Land Companies. Sam. Hous-
ton. Jackson's Relations with Houston and the Annexation Plot.
Austin's Mission. The Revolution in Texas; Expulsion of Mexican
Troops. Declaration of Texan Independence. Fort Alamo and
Goliad. Capture of Santa Anna. United States Violation of Neu-
trality. Gorostiza's Complaints. General Gaines Crosses the Texan
Border. Texan Land Speculation. United States Troops Join the
Army of Texas. Gorostiza Leaves Washington. Recognition of
Texas Voted by Congress. President Houston Empowered to Raise
an Army of Forty Thousand. Ellis, Chargi, Submits United States


Claims and Threats against Mexico. Jackson Declares War Justifi-
able. Further Charges Trumped Up. Insulting Peace Offers Made
to Mexico. Van Buren Becomes President. Texas Proposes An-
nexation. Van Buren's Policy. Mexico Proposes to Arbitrate
Differences. Anti-annexation Petitions. Annexation in Congress.

Arbitration Does not Silence the Complaints. Texan Bank-
ruptcy. General Hamilton's Offer to Buy Texan Independence.
Houston Threatens Invasion of Mexico. Wise Babbles the Pro-
gramme, under Tyler, of a War of Conquest and Plunder against
Mexico. Settlers in California. Commodore Jones Patrols the Pa-
cific. Rumored Purchase of California by England. Capitulation
of Monterey. American Flag in Monterey. Webster Refuses Satis
faction to Mexico. The North Warns against Annexation. Chaotic
State of Texas. Europe and Texas. Calhoun Declares Annex-
ation Necessary. Election of 1844 Turns Upon the Question
of Annexation. Webster Resigns from the Cabinet. Legare
Succeeds Him, then Upshur. Upshur Declares against European
Interference with Slavery in America. He Proposes Annexation
to the Texan Agent Texas Grows Reserved. The Conven-
tion of January, 1843. The Treaty of November, 1843, Blocked
by the Senate. Mexico Inclined to War in Case of Annex-
ation. United States Navy "Protects" Texas against Renewal of
Hostilities by Mexico. The " Princeton " Disaster. Calhoun. Sec-
retary of State. The Annexation Treaty Signed; Delay in Ratifica-
tion. England's Position Shown by Aberdeen's Letter. Calhoun
Draws from it the Necessity of Annexation. The Monroe Doctrine
and Slavery. The Packenham Correspondence. Texas in the Elec-
tion of 1844. Clay on Annexation. His Candidacy. Van Buren.

Nomination of Polk. Senate Criticises the Annexation Treaty
Mexico Threatens to Regard Annexation as Cause for War. Treaty
Rejected. Further Complaints against- Mexico. Shannon Made
Minister, Mexico Threaterts to Renew Hostilities against Texas.
Calhoun Refuses to Allow This. Annexation again Urged by
Tyler, and by Southern Fire-Eaters in Convention. "Texas or Dis-
union," "Texas or the Abolition of the Tariff." Partyism in the
United States. Tyler Withdraws from the Presidential Field.
Antt-Annexationists Vote for Polk. Clay's Defeat Election
Frauds. Annexation of Texas Clearly against the Spirit of the Con-
stitution. Calhoun Casts aside the Constitution. Federal Conven-
tion on Annexation. Missouri Line. Walker Amendment. An-
nexation Bill Signed. Channing's Prophecy of Crime and Conquest
to Follow Texas Annexation.





Andrew Jackson's administration constitutes, in more
respects than one, an important epoch in the history of the
United States. With the nullification ordinance of South
Carolina and the compromise of 1833, the first phase in
the development of states-rightsism came to a close. Jack-
son's election was the triumph of the radical over the
moderate democracy. In the person of Adams, the last
statesman who was to occupy it for a long time left the
White Ilouse: professional politicians and the crowd took
possession of it.

A mere accident, in 1824, broke down the barrier which
had, since 1804, restricted the taking of the initiative in
the matter of proposing presidential candidates to congrese.
William H. Crawford, secretary of the treasury nnder Mon-
roe, was the designated candidate of a portion of the demo-
cratic party, when a stroke of paralysis made of him a
physical and mental ruin. Spite of this, however, his more
intimate friends did not want to drop him. Their hope was
in the weight which custom gave to the nomination made
by a so-called "caucus ".of the party members in congress.
They had not rightly read the signs of the times. The un-
democratic "King Caucus" was already so thoroughly
hated that, under any and all circumstances, his days were


numbered. 1 The effort to make such a man the head of the
nation decided his immediate and permanent downfall. Only
sixty-eight votes were cast in the caucus, and, from the very
first moment, Crawford had not the least prospect of success.*

The leading men in congress considered it most probable
that the "dynasty of the secretaries of state" would be still
continued, and that the younger Adams would be elected.
The wariest and oldest politicians began to evince the most
noteworthy distrust of the power of precedent.

Andrew Jackson was a thoroughly "irregular" candidate.
The legislature of Tennessee had recommended his election,
to the extreme astonishment of the people of the New
England states, who did not know whether to laugh at the
absurdity or grow wroth at the audacity of the recommen-
dation. Hitherto, only the names of men with whom the
people had been long acquainted as statesmen filling the
most important official positions, had been mentioned in
connection with the presidency. But Jackson had not yet
shown that he understood even the alphabet of the art of
politics. Tennessee had, indeed, sent him to the house
of representatives during Washington's administration, and
afterwards to the senate; but all that congress knew of him
was, that, whenever he began to speak, violence choked his
utterance. And his mind was as untrained as his passions
were unbridled. He had been, it is true, a lawyer of note
in Tennessee, and had sat on the bench of the supreme court
of the state. But he had won his laurels in this field at the
time when, to both lawyers and judges, it was, in Tennessee,

1 The caucus was, however, not only undemocratic, but unquestionably
in conflict with the spirit of the constitution, for art. II, sec. 1, 2, pro-
vides: " No senator or representative, or person holding an office of trust
or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an elector."

1 "The caucus has hurt nobody but its friends, as far as I can judge
now." Dan. Webster to Ez. Webster, 22 Feb., 1824. Webster's Priv.
Corresp., I, p. 346.


a matter of almost as much importance to be up to the
wiles and intrigues of the Indians, to have a fearless heart,
and be a good shot, as it was to be versed in the law of the

The nation knew Jackson only as a successful and arrogant
general. But the leading men of the eastern states thought,
and rightly so, that the political wisdom and political sobri-
ety of the people were too great to allow them to pay such
a price as the presidency for the battle of New Orleans and
a few victorious Indian fights. Another force, the influence
of which they did not comprehend until later, and even then
only imperfectly, was the decisive one.

Jackson was the man of the masses, because by his origin
and his whole course of development, both inner and outer,
he belonged to them.

From the mass of the population in the southern states
there arose an aristocracy of large landed proprietors and
slave holders, and in the northeastern states a bourgeoisie
composed of merchants, those engaged in industrial pursuits
and the followers of the learned professions. The struggle
for political supremacy had thus far been carried on by these
two strata of the population ; and the plebs, with political
rights, as a rule did no more than furnish the common sol-
diery with which the leaders fought their battles. But the
heat of party struggles and their vicissitudes had already
taught this same plebs, and well enough, that the power was
in their hands, and that it only depended on their will,
whether they would actually exercise it themselves or not.
The construction of the state was based on the assumption
that they were equal to the task, and the talk of their leaders
had gradually clothed the theory of popular sovereignty in
such a garb, that its literal execution and the idea of the
republic and of freedom seemed to be coincident. All that
was wanting to change the desire of making the actual con-


dition of things harmonize better with theory, into a resolve,
was an exciting cause in the shape of an opportunity. This
opportunity was afforded by Jackson's candidacy, for his
name was already a very noticeable one in the history of
his country. It was not the victorious general, but the man
of the people, the " popular man," who by his warlike deeds
had added to the people's fame and demonstrated his quali-
fications as a leader, that was selected as a standard bearer.
New England's scorn was silenced when the state conven-
tion of Pennsylvania, on the 4th of March, 1824, with only
one dissenting voice, indorsed the nomination of the legisla-
ture of Tennessee. If it were not for the fact that there
were four candidates in the field, Jackson would, in all prob-
ability, have been elected, even now, by an imposing major-
ity. In consequence of this division, no one of the candidates
received the constitutional majority of all the electoral votes,
and the election, therefore, Clay, who had received the
smallest number of electoral votes, dropping out devolved
on the house of representatives. Crawford had received only
four votes more than Clay, and was virtually no longer con-
sidered. 1 The question was now between Jackson and Adams,
and the decision lay with Clay and his adherents. Ninety-
nine electors had voted for Jackson, and eighty-four for
Adams. Spite of this, however, Clay cast his weight into
the balance for Adams, and the latter was elected by the
house of representatives, by the votes of thirteen states
against eleven, of which last seven were cast for Jackson and
four for Crawford. 1

1 " Shortly before the election of president, a meeting was held by the
members of the New York delegation, friendly to the election of Mr.
Crawford, at which, upon a full view of the subject, they decided with
preat unanimity to adhere to Mr. Crawford to the end, and leave the elec-
tion to be made by others." Hammond, The Hist, of Political Parties in
the State of New York, II, pp. 540, 541.

Deb. of Congr., VIII, p. 324.


Twelve days before the election in the house of represent-
atives, the Columbian Observer, a journal issued in Phil-
adelphia, had printed an anonymous letter charging Clay
with having traded his influence to Adams for the secreta-
ryship of state. One Kremer, a half -educated representative

Online LibraryH. (Hermann) Von HolstThe constitutional and political history of the United States. By Dr. H. von Holst .. (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 66)