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therefore, entered the Union (in 1796) as a slave state. Much of what is
now Alabama and Mississippi was once owned by Georgia, and when she
ceded it in 1802, she did so with the express condition that it should
remain slave soil; as a result of this, Alabama and Mississippi were
slave states. Louisiana was part of the Louisiana Purchase, and was
admitted (1812) as a slave state because it contained a great many
slaves at the time of the purchase.

Thus in 1820 there were twenty-two states in the Union, of which eleven
were slave, and eleven free. Notice now two things: 1. That the dividing
line between the slave and the free states was the south and west
boundary of Pennsylvania from the Delaware to the Ohio, and the Ohio
River; 2. That all the states in the Union except part of Louisiana lay
east of the Mississippi River. As to what should be the character of our
country west of that river, nothing had as yet been said, because as yet
no state lying wholly in that region had asked admittance to the Union.

%309. Shall there be Slave States West of the Mississippi
River?% - But when the people rushed westward after the war, great
numbers crossed the Mississippi and settled on the Missouri River, and
as they were now very numerous they petitioned Congress in 1818 for
leave to make the state of Missouri and to be admitted into the Union.

The petitioners did not say whether they would make a slave or a free
state; but as the Missourians owned slaves, everybody knew that Missouri
would be a slave state. To this the free states were opposed. If the
tobacco-growing, cotton-raising, and sugar-making states wanted slaves,
that was their affair; but slavery must not be extended into states
beyond the Mississippi, because it was wrong. No man, it was said, had
any right to buy and sell a human being, even if he was black. The
Southern people were equally determined that slavery should cross the
Mississippi. We cannot, said they, abolish slavery; because if our
slaves were set free, they would not work, and as they are very
ignorant, they would take our property and perhaps our lives. Neither
can we stop the increase of negro slave population. We must, then, have
some place to send our surplus slaves, or the present slave states will
become a black America.

%310. The Missouri Compromise.% - Each side was so determined, and it
was so clear that neither would yield, that a compromise was suggested.
The country east of the Mississippi, it was said, is partly slave,
partly free soil. Why not divide the country west of the great river in
the same way? At first the North refused. But it so happened that just
at this moment Maine, having secured the consent of Massachusetts,
applied to Congress for admission into the Union as a free state. The
South, which had control of the Senate, thereupon said to the North,
which controlled the House of Representatives, If you will not admit
Missouri as a slave state, we will not admit Maine as a free state. This
forced the compromise, and after a bitter and angry discussion it
was agreed

1. That Maine should come in as a free, and Missouri as a slave, state.

2. That the Louisiana Purchase should be cut in two by the parallel of
36° 30', and that all north of the line except Missouri should be free
soil[1]. This parallel was thereafter known as the "Missouri
Compromise Line."

[Footnote 1: The Compromise was violated in 1836, when the present
northwest corner of Missouri was taken from the free territory and added
to that state. See maps, pp. 299 and 348]


The admission of Maine and Missouri raised the number of states to
twenty-four.[1] No more were admitted for sixteen years. When Missouri
applied for admission as a state, Arkansas was (1819) organized as a

[Footnote 1: For the compromise read Woodburn's _Historical Significance
of the Missouri Compromise_ (in _Report American Historical
Association_, 1893, pp. 251-297); McMaster's _History of the People of
the United States_, Vol. IV., Chap. 39.]

%311. The Second Election of Monroe.% - This bitter contest over the
exclusion of slavery from the country west of the Mississippi shows how
completely party lines had disappeared in 1820. In the course of that
year, electors of a President were to be chosen in the twenty-four
states. That slavery would play an important part in the campaign, and
that some candidate would be put in the field by the people opposed to
the compromise, might have been expected. But there was no campaign, no
contest, no formal nomination. The members of Congress held a caucus,
but decided to nominate nobody. Every elector, it was well known, would
be a Republican, and as such would vote for the reëlection of Monroe and
Tompkins. And this almost did take place. Every one of the 229 electors
who voted was a Republican, and all save one in New Hampshire cast votes
for Monroe. But this one man gave his vote to John Quincy Adams. He said
he did not want Washington to be robbed of the glory of being the only
President who had ever received the unanimous vote of the electors.

March 4, 1821, came on Sunday. Monroe was therefore inaugurated on
Monday, March 5.


1. The dull times on the seaboard, the cheap land in the West, the love
of adventure, and the desire to "do better" led, during 1814-1820, to a
most astonishing emigration westward.

2. The rush of population into the Mississippi valley caused the
admission of six states into the Union between 1816 and 1821.

3. The question of the admission of Missouri brought up the subject of
shutting slavery out of the country west of the Mississippi, which ended
in a compromise and the establishment of the line 36° 30'.


_Northern Stream._

Effect of hard times in the East. -
Scenes along the highways. - Arrival
of the emigrants in the West. - The
half-faced camp. - The log cabin. -
Household utensils. - Clearing the
land. - Growth of towns.

_Middle Stream._

Moves down the Ohio valley,
across southern Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, and pushes up
the Missouri.

_Southern Stream._

The defeat of the Creek Indians
opens their lands in
Mississippi Territory to settlement.

* * * * *

This settlement of the West leads to:

Admission into the Union of:

1816. Indiana.
1817. Mississippi.
1818. Illinois.
1819. Alabama.

Admission of these states brings up the question of slavery.

1820. Maine.
1821. Missouri.

Organization of new territories.

1819. Arkansas.
1822. 1823. Florida.

_Status of slavery after 1820_.





_Country west of the Mississippi._

1804. Not settled.
1819. Attempt to make Missouri a slave state.
1820. The compromise.



%312. Improvement in Means of Travel%. - We have now considered two of
the results of the rush of population from the seaboard to the
Mississippi valley; namely, the admission of five new Western states
into the Union, and the struggle over the extension of slavery, which
resulted in the Missouri Compromise. But there was a third result, - the
actual construction of highways of transportation connecting the East
with the West. Along the seaboard, during the five years which followed
the war, great improvements were made in the means of travel. The
steamboat had come into general use, and, thanks to this and to good
roads and bridges, people could travel from Philadelphia to New York
between sunrise and sunset on a summer day, and from New York to Boston
in forty-eight hours. The journey from Boston to Washington was now
finished in four days and six hours, and from New York to Quebec in
eight days.

[Illustration: Bordentown, NJ.[1]]

[Footnote 1: From an old engraving. Passengers from Philadelphia landed
here from the steamboat and took stage for New Brunswick.]


In the West there was much the same improvement. The Mississippi and
Ohio swarmed with steamboats, which came up the river from New Orleans
to St. Louis in twenty-five days and went down with the current in
eight. Little, however, had been done to connect the East with the West.
Until the appearance of the steamboat in 1812, the merchants of
Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Louisville, and a host of other towns in the
interior bought the produce of the Western settlers, and floating it
down the Ohio and the Mississippi sold it at New Orleans for cash, and
with the money purchased goods at Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York,
and carried them over the mountains to the West. Some went in sailing
vessels up the Hudson from New York to Albany, were wagoned to the Falls
of the Mohawk, and then loaded in "Schenectady boats," which were
pushed up the Mohawk by poles to Utica, and then by canal and river to
Oswego, on Lake Ontario. From Oswego they went in sloops to Lewiston on
the Niagara River, whence they were carried in ox wagons to Buffalo, and
then in sailing vessels to Westfield, and by Chautauqua Lake and the
Allegheny River to Pittsburg. Goods from Philadelphia and Baltimore were
hauled in great Conestoga wagons drawn by four and six horses across the
mountains to Pittsburg. The carrying trade alone in these ways was
immense. More than 12,000 wagons came to Pittsburg in a year, bringing
goods on which the freight was $1,500,000.

[Illustration: Boats on the Mohawk[1]]

[Footnote 1: From an old print.]


With the appearance of the steamboat on the Mississippi and Ohio, this
trade was threatened; for the people of the Western States could now
float their pork, flour, and lumber to New Orleans as before, and bring
back from that city by steamboat the hardware, pottery, dry goods,
cotton, sugar, coffee, tea, which till then they had been forced to buy
in the East[1].

[Footnote 1: McMaster's _History of the People of the United States_,
Vol. IV., pp. 397-410, 419-421.]

This new way of trading was so much cheaper than the old, that it was
clear to the people of the Eastern States that unless they opened up a
still cheaper route to the West, their Western trade was gone.

[Illustration: The Erie Canal]

%313. The Erie Canal.% - In 1817 the people of New York determined to
provide such a route, and in that year they began to cut a canal across
the state from the Hudson at Albany to Lake Erie at Buffalo. To us, with
our steam shovels and drills, our great derricks, our dynamite, it would
be a small matter to dig a ditch 4 feet deep, 40 feet wide, and 363
miles long. But on July 4, 1817, when Governor De Witt Clinton turned
the first sod, and so began the work, it was considered a great
undertaking, for the men of those days had only picks, shovels,
wheelbarrows, and gunpowder to do it with.

Opposition to the canal was strong. Some declared that it would swallow
up millions of dollars and yield no return, and nicknamed it "Clinton's
Big Ditch." But Clinton was not the kind of man that is afraid of
ridicule. He and his friends went right on with the work, and after
eight years spent in cutting down forests, in blasting rocks, in
building embankments to carry the canal across swamps, and high
aqueducts to carry it over the rivers, and locks of solid masonry to
enable the boats to go up and down the sides of hills, the canal was

[Footnote 1: McMaster's _History_, Vol. IV., pp. 415-418.]

[Illustration: Model of a canal packet boat]

Then, one day in the autumn of 1825, a fleet of boats set off from
Buffalo, passed through the canal to Albany, where Governor De Witt
Clinton boarded one of them, and went down the Hudson to New York. A keg
of water from Lake Erie was brought along, and this, when the fleet
reached New York Harbor, Clinton poured with great ceremony into the
bay, to commemorate, as he said, "the navigable communication opened
between our Mediterranean seas [the Great Lakes] and the
Atlantic Ocean."

%314. Effect of the Erie Canal%. - The building of the canal changed
the business conditions of about half of our country. Before the canal
was finished, goods, wares, merchandise, going west from New York, were
carried from Albany to Buffalo at a cost of $120 a ton. After the canal
was opened, it cost but $14 a ton to carry freight from Albany to
Buffalo. This was most important. In the first place, it enabled the
people in New York, in Ohio, in Indiana, in Illinois, and all over the
West, to buy plows and hoes and axes and clothing and food and medicine
for a much lower price than they had formerly paid for such things. Life
in the West became more comfortable and easy than ever before.

In the next place, the Eastern merchant could greatly extend his
business. How far west he could send his goods depended on the expense
of carrying them. When the cost was high, they could go but a little way
without becoming so expensive that only a few people could buy them.
After 1825, when the Erie Canal made transportation cheap, goods from
New York city could be sold in Michigan and Missouri at a much lower
price than they had before been sold in Pittsburg or Buffalo.

%315. New York City the Metropolis.% - The New York merchant, in other
words, now had the whole West for his market. That city, which till 1820
had been second in population, and third in commerce, rushed ahead and
became the first in population, commerce, and business.

The same was true of New York state. As the canal grew nearer and nearer
completion, the people from other states came in and settled in the
towns and villages along the route, bought farms, and so improved the
country that the value of the land along the canal increased

A rage for canals now spread over the country. Many were talked of, but
never started. Many were started, but never finished. Such as had been
begun were hurried to completion. Before 1830 there were 1343 miles of
canal open to use in the United States.

%316. The Pennsylvania Highway to the West.% - In Pennsylvania the
opening of the Erie Canal caused great excitement. And well it might;
for freight could now be sent by sailing vessels from Philadelphia to
Albany, and then by canal to Buffalo, and on by the Lake Erie and
Chautauqua route to Pittsburg, for one third what it cost to go
overland. It seemed as if New York by one stroke had taken away the
Western commerce of Philadelphia, and ruined the prosperity of such
inland towns of Pennsylvania as lay along the highway to the West. The
demand for roads and canals at state expense was now listened to, and
in 1826 ground was broken at Harrisburg for a system of canals to join
Philadelphia and Pittsburg. But in 1832 the horse-power railroad came
into use, and when finished, the system was part railroad and
part canal.

%317. The Baltimore Route to the West.% - This energy on the part of
Pennsylvania alarmed the people of Baltimore. Unless their city was to
yield its Western trade to Philadelphia they too must have a speedy and
cheap route to the West. In 1827, therefore, a great public meeting was
held at Baltimore to consider the wisdom of building a railroad from
Baltimore to some point on the Ohio River. The meeting decided that it
must be done, and on July 4, 1828, the work of construction was begun.
In 1830 the road was opened as far as Ellicotts Mills, a distance of
fifteen miles. The cars were drawn by horses.

The early railroads, as the word implies, were roads made of wooden
rails, or railed roads, over which heavy loads were drawn by horses. The
very first were private affairs, and not intended for carrying

[Footnote 1: The first was used in 1807 at Boston to carry earth from a
hilltop to a street that was being graded. The second was built near
Philadelphia in 1810, and ran from a stone quarry to a dock. It was in
use twenty-eight years. The third was built in 1826, and extended from
the granite quarries at Quincy, Mass., to the Neponset River, a distance
of three miles. The fourth was from the coal mines of Mauchchunk, Pa.,
to the Lehigh River, nine miles. The fifth was constructed in 1828 by
the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company to carry coal from the mines to
the canal.]

%318. Public Railroads.% - In 1825 John Stevens, who for ten years
past had been advocating steam railroads, built a circular road at
Hoboken to demonstrate the possibility of using such means of
locomotion. In 1823 Pennsylvania chartered a company to build a railroad
from Philadelphia to the Susquehanna. But it was not till 1827, when the
East was earnestly seeking for a rapid and cheap means of transportation
to the West, that railroads of great length and for public use were
undertaken. In that year the people of Massachusetts were so excited
over the opening of the Erie Canal that the legislature appointed a
commission and an engineer to select a line for a railroad to join
Boston and Albany.

At this time there was no such thing as a steam locomotive in use in the
United States. The first ever used here for practical purposes was built
in England and brought to New York city in 1829, and in August of that
year made a trial trip on the rails of the Delaware and Hudson Canal
Company. The experiment was a failure; and for several years horses were
the only motive power in use on the railroads. In 1830, however, the
South Carolina Railroad having finished six miles of its road, had a
locomotive built in New York city, and in January, 1831, placed it on
the tracks at Charleston. Another followed in February, and the era of
locomotive railroading in our country began.

%319. The Portage Railroad.% - As yet the locomotive was a rude
machine. It could not go faster than fifteen miles an hour, nor climb a
steep hill. Where such an obstacle was met with, either the road went
around it, or the locomotive was taken off and the cars were let down or
pulled up the hill on an inclined plane by means of a rope and
stationary engine.[1] When Pennsylvania began her railroad over the
Alleghany Mountains, therefore, she used the inclined-plane system on a
great scale, so that in its time the Portage Railroad, as it was called,
was the most remarkable piece of railroading in the world.

[Footnote 1: Such an inclined plane existed at Albany, where passengers
were pulled up to the top of the hill. Another was at Belmont on the
Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, and another on the Paterson and Hudson
road near Paterson.]

The Pennsylvania line to the West consisted of a horse railroad from
Philadelphia to Columbia on the Susquehanna River; of a canal out the
Juniata valley to Hollidaysburg on the eastern slope of the Alleghany
Mountains, where the Portage Railroad began, and the cars were raised to
the summit of the mountains by a series of inclined planes and levels,
and then by the same means let down the western slope to Johnstown; and
then of another canal from Johnstown to Pittsburg.

[Illustration: Inclined plane at Belmont in 1835]

As originally planned, the state was to build the railroad and canal,
just as it built turnpikes. No cars, no motive power of any sort, except
at the inclined planes, were to be supplied. Anybody could use it who
paid two cents a mile for each passenger, and $4.92 for each car sent
over the rails. At first, therefore, firms and corporations engaged in
the transportation business owned their own cars, their own horses,
employed their own drivers, and charged such rates as the state tolls
and sharp competition would allow. The result was dire confusion. The
road was a single-track affair, with turnouts to enable cars coming in
opposite directions to pass each other. But the drivers were an unruly
set, paid no attention to turnouts, and would meet face to face on the
track, just as if no turnouts existed. A fight or a block was sure to
follow, and somebody was forced to go back. To avoid this, the road was
double-tracked in 1834, when, for the first time, two locomotives
dragging long trains of cars ran over the line from Lancaster to
Philadelphia. As the engine went faster than the horses, it soon became
apparent that both could not use the road at the same time; and after
1836 steam became the sole motive power, and the locomotive was
furnished by the state, which now charged for hauling the cars.[1]

[Footnote 1: On the early railroads see Brown's _History of the First
Locomotives in America._]

[Illustration: The first railroad train in New Jersey (1831)]

The puffing little locomotive bore little resemblance to its beautiful
and powerful successors. No cab sheltered the engineer, no brake checked
the speed, wood was the only fuel, and the tall smokestack belched forth
smoke and red-hot cinders. But this was nothing to what happened when
the train came to a bridge. Such structures were then protected by
roofing them and boarding the sides almost to the eaves. But the roof
was always too low to allow the smokestack to go under. The stack,
therefore, was jointed, and when passing through a bridge the upper half
was dropped down and the whole train in consequence was enveloped in a
cloud of smoke and burning cinders, while the passengers covered their
eyes, mouths, and noses.

%320. Railroads in 1835.% - In 1835 there were twenty-two railroads in
operation in the United States. Two were west of the Alleghanies, and
not one was 140 miles long. For a while the cars ran on "strap rails"
made of wooden beams or stringers laid on stone blocks and protected on
the top surface, where the car wheel rested, by long strips or straps
of iron spiked on. The spikes would often work loose, and, as the car
passed over, the strap would curl up and come through the bottom of the
car, making what was called a snake head. It was some time before the
all-iron rail came into use, and even then it was a small affair
compared with the huge rails that are used at present.

%321. Mechanical Inventions.% - The introduction of the steamboat and
the railroad, the great development of manufactures, the growth of the
West, and the immense opportunity for doing business which these
conditions offered, led to all sorts of demands for labor-saving and
time-saving machinery. Another very marked characteristic of the period
1825-1840, therefore, is the display of the inventive genius of the
people. Articles which a few years before were made by hand now began to
be made by machinery.

Before 1825 every farmer in the country threshed his grain with a flail,
or by driving cattle over it, or by means of a large wooden roller
covered with pegs. After 1825 these rude devices began to be supplanted
by the threshing machine. Till 1826 no axes, hatchets, chisels, planes,
or other edge tools were made in this country. In 1826 their manufacture
was begun, and in the following year there was opened the first hardware
store for the sale of American-made hardware.

The use of anthracite coal had become so general that the wood stove was
beginning to be displaced by the hard-coal stove, and in 1827 fire
bricks were first made in the United States. It was at about this time
that paper was first made of hay and straw; that boards were first
planed by machine; that bricks were first made by machinery; that
penknives and pocketknives were first manufactured in America; that
Fairbanks invented the platform weighing scales; that chloroform was
discovered; that Morse invented the recording telegraph; that a man in
New York city, named Hunt, made and sold the first lock-stitch sewing
machine ever seen in the world; that pens and horseshoes were made by
machine; that the reaping machine was given its first public trial (in
Ohio); and that Colt invented the revolver.

%322. Condition of the Cities.% - Yet another characteristic of the
period was the great change which came over the cities and towns. The
development of canal and railroad transportation had thrown many of the
old highways into disuse, had made old towns and villages decline in
population, and had caused new towns to spring up and flourish.
Everybody now wanted to live near a railroad or a canal. The rapid

Online LibraryJohn Bach McMasterA School History of the United States → online text (page 19 of 36)