John J. (John Joseph) Lalor.

Cyclopædia of political science, political economy, and of the political history of the United States online

. (page 255 of 290)
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settled in a manner sufHciently satisfactory to
both sections to quiet the question for nearly thirty
years. (See Compromises, IV.; Slavery, .V.)
State admissions ceased for fifteen years after the
admission of Missouri ; but the organization of
territories, and the continued movement of popu-
lation to the west, were guarantees that state for-
mation had not ceased altogether. — At the end of
Madison's second term, in 1817, Monroe became
president with hardly any opposition, except in
the matter of his nomination. In 1821 he was re-
elected without opposition. The federal party
had disappeared in national politics, and, during
the next three years, it disappeared in state politics
also. (See Era of Good Feeling.) In the all-
absorbing republican party, four distinct geogi-aph-
ical sections had been developed: the northern,
headed by John Quincy Adams, wished for pro-
tection to manufactures; the northwestern, head-
fed by Clay, wished for internal improvements ;
the southwestern, headed by Jackson, without
defined economic principles, had a general fond-
ness for democracy; and the southern, headed
by Crawford, wished for none of these things,
but cared only for state independence. In the
presidential election of 1834, all these four lead-
ers were candidates, and the result was that
Adams was elected by the house of represent-
atives. (See Disputed Elections, II.) Dur-
ing his single term the Clay and Adams factions
united in a common policy as to a protective
tariff and internal improvements. (See Tariff,
Internal Improvements.) On the other hand,
the Jackson and Crawford factions also drew
nearer together; Crawford's severe illness made
Jackson the recognized leader of a united opposi-
tion; and in 1828 he was elected president over
Adams. — Prom the close of the war until the end
of this period, democracy was assailing the orig-
inal spirit of the federal government at every vul-
nerable point. The old federalist system of leav-
ing nominations to conferences and correspond-
ence of leaders had long been abandoned in favor
of caucuses of congressmen, as more directly rep-
resenting the people. Now, this was not demo-
cratic enough, and the people began to take the
matter of nominations into their own hands. (See
Caucus System; Caucus, Congressional; Nom-
inating Conventions.) The electors had long
ceased to be anything more than automata; but
now congress began to assert a revisory power over
their action, which has proved more dangerous as
it has grown more complete. (See Electors.)
Jackson's election in 1828 was generally demanded
as a rebuke to the house of representatives, which
had disregarded the wish of a plurality of the peo-
ple, while it followed the forms and spirit of the
constitution, in electing Adams in 1824. About
the same time began the long list of attempts, as.
yet unsuccessful, to make the electoral system still
more democratic, or to do away with it altogether.



996



• UNITED STATES OP AMERICA.



(See Electors, "VI. ) In one point the movement
was more successful: in all the states, excepting
South Carolina, the choice of electors was aban-
doned by the state legislatures, and given to the
people. — In foreign affairs, the most noteworthy
event was the formulation of the "Monroe doc-
trine." This is fully treated elsewhere. (See
MoNKOE Doctrine.) — (In general, see Federal
Party, II.; Democratic Party, III.; Whig
Party, I.) — 4. The Democrats, 1839-49. Since
the beginning of Jackson's first term democracy
has held social and political control of the United
States. It showed itself first in a blind and un-
hesitating support of Jackson, as the exponent of
democracy. To his opponents this seemed like
the establishment of a popular tyranny, a Caesar-
ism. They, therefore, took the party name of
whigs, as the opponents of a would-be king, and
were joined, after the failure of nullification, by
most of the extreme state rights republicans of the
south. (See Whig Party, II.) Jackson's sup-
porters veiy naturally took the name of democrats,
though they still asserted a sole right to the name
of republicans, when they chose to use it. (See
Democratic Party, IV.) Under the lead of
Jackson and the new school of politicians which
surrounded him, the democrats attacked the na-
tional bank, drove it into politics, and, after a
struggle of about five years, destroyed it. (See
Bank Controversies, III. ; Deposits, Removal
op.) They broke up, not without much rebell-
ion in their own ranks, the Adams system of in-
ternal improvements. (See that title.) They ob-
tained a gradual reduction of the protective tariflf
(see Tariff), while they suppressed the attempt
of the South Carolina nuUificationists to abolish it
suddenly and by revolutionary means. (See Nul-
lification.) They gave the people a nominal
control over the appointing power by introducing
the practice of "rotation in office ": its real effects
are fully treated in a distinct series of articles.
(See Spoils System, Removals.) At the same
time they gave the people, or rather the politicians
who represented the people, full control over nom-
inations by the creation of the modern machinery
of a national party. (See Nominating Conven-
tions.) Finally, under Van Buren, Jackson's
successor, they completed the "divorce of bank
and state," by introducing the sub-treasury sys-
tem. (See Independent Treasury. ) — All these
changes are credited to the democratic party: in
reality, most of them were due to Jackson, who
toned up and re-enforced any wavering energy
in his party by an abundant use of his veto power.
(See Veto.) By whatever means accomplished,
they still further changed toward democracy the
feelings of the people; and the introduction of the
railroad in 1830, and the telegraph in 1844, into
the vast territory of the United States, fixed the
character of its political and social life, particular-
ly in the north and west. The south did not feel
• the change so much (see Slavery, IV.); and from
this time the drift of the two great sections apart
became more rapid. (See Nation, III. )— In foreign



affairs, the policy of the new leaders was as vigor-
ous as in domestic affairs. Claims for depredations
on American commerce during the Napoleonic
wars had long been urged against France, Spain,
Naples, Portugal and Denmark. Jackson collected
them. (See Executive, III.) There was much
popular sympathy with the Canadian revolt of
1837, but the government suppressed any active
interference with its course. (See McLeod Case.)

— This whole period, 1839-49, has been assigned
to the democrats, in spite of the whig success in
the presidential election of 1840. Harrison, the
whig president, died after serving but one month,
and the new president, Tyler, was a natural dem-
ocrat. His use of the veto power neutralized the
whig majority in congress during the first half of
his term; and during the second half he was sup-
ported by a democratic majority in the house. In
1844 the democrats returned to the full enjoyment
of their temporarily suspended power, by the elec-
tion of Polk and a democratic congress. As a
consequence of the election, Texas was annexed
(see Annexations, III.); the war with Mexico
followed (see Wars, V.); and this was followed
by a still larger acquisition of territory. (See An-
nexations, IV., V.) While this was going on,
the territory of Oregon was secured by treaty
with the only other claimant, Great Britain. (See
Northwest Boundary.) By all these changes,
the area of the United States took on the rounded
and complete form which has not since been al-
tered, except by the later acquisition of Alaska.
Six new states were admitted: Arkansas in 1836,
Michigan in 1837, Florida and Texas in 1845,
Iowa in 1846, and Wisconsin in 1848. (See their
names.) The agency of the railroad in hastening
the westward movement of population had now
become more evident, and several other incipient
states were developing. Foreign immigration had
not yet swelled to the enormous proportions which
it was soon to take; but the population had grown
about 600 per cent, larger in sixty years, from
3,900,000 in 1790 to 23,000,000 in 1850. A little
people had become a great people. (See, in gene-
ral, Democratic Party, IV.; Whig Party, II.)

— 5. Sectional Conflict, 1849-61. Southern lead-
ers always blamed the growing spirit of democ-
racy in the north and west for the anti-slavciy
agitation which began about 1830. (See Abo-
lition, II. ; Petition.) There was, no doubt, very
much truth in the assertion: Garrison, Wendell
Phillips and other abolitionists were the product
of the modern democratic spirit, not of the temper
of colonial or earlier constitutional times. The
spirit which moved them was one which cared
more for the equal rights of all mankind than for
political theories, nationality, state rights or con-
stitutions; and they became the Ishmaelites of
politics. They have claimed and received a large
share of the credit for the final overthrow of slav-
ery; and yet it is very difficult to locate the reasons
for their claim, unless he who provokes a wild
beast to such frenzy that his neighbors have to kill
it may justly claim the credit for its death. Most



UNITED STATES OP AMERICA.



997



of them were absolnte impracticables, unable to
suggest a policy or a remedy for slavery, except,
possibly, the forcible expulsion of slave-holding
states from the Union. The liberty party of 1840
and 1844 had neither growth nor effects; and the
free-soil party (see its name) of 1848 and 1852 was
hardly an improvement on the liberty party, if we
leave out its mere political allies. From 1830 until
1848 it can hardly be said that the real abolition-
ist feeling or influence increased even in propor-
tion to the growth of population. The only real
result of the twenty-years anti-slavery agitation
was to exasperate the slaveholders, to convince
them that the north was against slavery, instead
of against slavery extension, and thus to embit-
ter the conflict of the sections over the territory
wrested from Mexico. Anti-slavery agitation
never had the faintest prospect of success by its
own exertions: its first chance of life came from
the Mexican annexations, its first prospect of suc-
cess from the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and its final
victory from the civil war; and each of these
events took place against the will of the abolition-
ists. Slavery was destroyed by no human skill
or foresight. — In 1846, when the first indication
appeared of a purpose to acquire territory from
Mexico, outside of Texas, as "indemnity for the
past, and security for the future," it was proposed
to add. a proviso forbidding slavery in any such
acquisition. (See Wilmot Pkoviso.) For four
years this was the controlling question of national
politics. At first the proviso did not seem to be
very objectionable to the south or to the dominant
party: its proposer was a democrat, and it was fa-
vored by the Polk administration. As the discus-
sion went on, the south came to consider the pro-
posal as an attack upon slavery; and when the
proviso failed in 1850 several southern states had on
record declarations of their intention to secede if
it was adopted. The governing purpose of the
•democratic party was to preserve its national or-
ganization intact. It succeeded in so doing by
•evolving the idea that the question was to be set-
tled, for each territory, by its own people (see
Popular Sovbrbignty) : this was acceptable to
the northern wing, and was not as yet repudiated
by the southern wing. Nevertheless, its inevitable
result was to make the former somewhat smaller
than the latter, and thus to begin to unbalance the
party. The whigs proposed no solution of the
^eat question, and thus their two wings, while
maintaining their relative strength, were steadily
drifting away from one another. In 1 848 they suc-
•ceeded in electing Taylor president and Fillmore
vice-president, by means of nominating a popular
and successful general, without a platform; but
the success was deceptive. All through the ad-
ministration of Taylor and Fillmore the two great
parties were shifting their material. In the south,
pro-slavery whigs went into the democratic party;
in the north, anti-slaveiy democrats went into the
free-soil party. Thus the democratic party, while
remaining national, was becoming unbalanced,
and stronger in the south than in the north. The



northern whigs, abandoned by all the factions,
were the only stationary feature in the political
kaleidoscope; and in the presidential election of
1853 they were left completely in the lurch by
their former southern associates. — The Taylor
administration proposed, as a solution of the ter-
ritorial question, the immediate erection of the
territories into states, with full power to govern
their own affairs. This was followed out in the
case of California, because of the discovery of
gold in it and the consequent increase of popula-
tion. In the other territories, Utah and New
Mexico, both sections were content, in 1850, to ig-
nore the Wilmot proviso and leave the question
untouched. (See Compromises, V.) The whole
difficulty was thus covered out of sight for a time.
But there was an uneasy feeling that further diffi-
culties were not far off, and that the country was
in worse shape to meet them, not only from the
shifting of parties, but from the changes of leaders.
In the four ygars before 1853, Clay, Webster,
Calhoun, Polk and Taylor had died; and the new
men who took their places can hardly be ranked
as first-class men. Most of them had laid the
foundations of their political characters in the
belief that the great business of politics was to
evade and ignore slavery. The abler men were
those who had an active programme to ofler, the
radicals of both sections ; JeSerson Davis in the
south, and Seward, Sumner and Chase in the
north. Thus all the ability in politics was a sign
of disunion. The same tendency was shown in
every direction. Calhoun's speech of March 4,
1850, is a clear statement of the manner in which
the political,ecclesiastical and social cords that held
the Union together were being snapped in every
direction. Even the churches obeyed the general
impulse, and divided into churches "north" and
"south": only the Roman Catholic and Episcopal
organizations, of those which had a national ex-
tent, were able to resist it. When the whig party
succumbed to it, after the presidential election of
1852, there was no great tie left, except the na-
tional organization of the democratic party, and
that had lost much of its spirit. It is a remarka-
ble evidence of the innate strength of the Amer-
ican Union that the two fragments of the planet,
thus rent asunder by slavery before 1853, should
for nine years longer have gone in close and
parallel courses, held by such weak ties, before
the force of repulsion finally mastered them. — In
spite of the general uneasiness in respect to the
future, the first four years after the compromise
of 1850 passed quietly, except for the excitement
attending the execution of the new fugitive slave
law, and the opening movements of the attempts
to obtain new slave territory by "filibustering."
(See Fugitive Slave Law, Filibusters, Os-
TBND Manifesto.) In 1854 the slavery question
was again brought on the political field in larger
proportions than ever by the passage of the Kan-
sas-Nebraska bill, which virtually repealed the
Missouri compromise. (See Kansas-Nebraska
Bill.) The passage of the law not only provoked



998



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.



but compelled a struggle l)etween the sections,
for it threw between them the territory of Kansas,
as a prize for the more active. Slave state immi-
gi-ants and free state immigrants were at once ar-
rayed against one another; and the struggle con-
tinued for more than four years, marked by all
sorts of fraud and violence, and most of the char-
acteristics of civil war. (See Kansas.) The
struggle, at any rate, cut away the dead material
from politics. It put an end to the whig party.
Many of its members endeavored to galvanize its
corpse, and reunite its southern and northern
portions, by introducing opposition to foreigners
as an issue paramount to slavery; but the attempt
was a failure. (See American Party.) In 1856
the American party nominated presidential can-
didates, Fillmore and Donelson; and their defeat
put an end to their party. When the boards were
cleared, it was found that there were but two
rivals in politics: the democratic party, having a
national organization, strong in the south, and
weaker in the north; and the republican party,
sectional of necessity, and confined to the north.
(See Democratic Party, V. ; Republican
Party, 1.) This division made the election of
1856 almost entirely sectional, Fremont, the re-
publican candidate, carrying most of the northern
states, and Buchanan, the democratic candidate,
carrying the southern states, with enough north-
ern states to elect him. (See Electoral Votes,
XVIII.) But Fremont's defeat was a Pyrrhic
victory for slavery. For the first time in our his-
tory an electoral vote had been cast for a candidate
pledged against the extension of slavery; and his
party had so nearly united the free states that he
was defeated only by the failure of Pennsylvania
and Illinois to vote for him. Both these states
were evidently drifting straight to the republican
party, and it was not difllcult to forecast the result
of the next election, unless some great change of
policy took place in one section or the other. —
No such change took place: on the contrary, both
sections became more aggressive. The adminis-
tration, since 1853, had steadily sustained the
southern view, that the constitution protected
property, recognized slaves as property, and there-
fore protected slavery in the territories, while they
were territories. In 1857 the supreme court also
sustained the southern view. (See Dred Scott
Case.) This was the last re-enforcement which
the south could hope for, and it was a failure.
The dominant party of the north received it with
more wrath than respect, and answered it with an
increase of state laws to nullify or modify the
fugitive slave law. (See Personal Liberty
Laws.) A few of the bolder advanced the skir-
mish line of the war which was to follow, and at-
tempted a fugitive slave migration on a grand
scale. (See Brown, John.) Kansas had achieved
her destiny, and had really become a free state;
there was little on the surface to fight about; and
yet the wider divergence of the sections was yearly
becoming more apparent. — During Buchanan's
administration the first conflict took place with



the Mormons in Utah, and they made a nominal
submission. (See Mormons.) The admission of
California in 1850, Minnesota in 1858, and Oregon
in 1859, increased the number of states to 33; but
the increase was a new danger to slavery. The south
had always abandoned the control of the house
of representatives to the superior numbers of the
north, while the admission of states had been cal-
culated as carefully as possible to secure to the
south an equal share in the senate, without whose
assent no law could be passed. For the first sixty
years after 1789, each new free state was balanced
by a new slave state ; but this process had now
ceased to be possible. Texas was the last slave
state that ever was admitted ; and since its admis-
sion five new free states had come in, Kansas was
in readiness, and .the germs of others had ap-
peared. If this majority of free states was to con-
tinue the previous drift to the republican party,
that party would soon control both houses of con-
gress, elect the president, and pass such laws as it
pleased. Nor was the supreme court safe from it i
if the natural change in its personnel by death
and appointments to fill vacancies should prove
too slow a process, a law to increase the number of
justices would quicken it and put the Dred Scott
decision at the mercy of a republican majority.
This was the underlying danger, seldom referred
to but often thought of, which compelled slavery
to strike for its life while it yet had time. — Id
1860 the last of the old natural cords which held.
the Union together was snapped by the disruption
of the democratic party. (See Democratic Par-
ty, V.) There were now ifour parties in the po
litical field, a northern democratic paity, a south-
ern democratic party, a republican party, and a
" constitutional union " party. (See the names of
the two latter.) In the election the free states at
last became practically unanimous, and Abraham
Lincoln was elected president by the republicans.
It should be noted, however, that in the congress
which was to make the laws during the first half
of his administration, the republicans were in a
decided minority. Nevertheless, his election by
a union of the free states against the slave states
offered a casus belli which southern leaders were
not disposed to neglect. Secession was begun by
South Carolina ; the six other gulf states followed
at once ; and in February, 1861, the seceding
states formed a new government under the name
of the "Confederate States of America." The
forts, custom houses, mints, navy yards, and
public buildings of the United States within the
seceding states were seized, and the few regular
soldiers were compelled to surrender, except at
the forts near Key "West, Fort Pickens, at Pensa-
cola, and Fort Sumter, in Charleston harbor; and
the two latter were closely invested. Buchanan
was successful in keeping the peace until the end
of his term ; but, when Lincoln was inaugurated,
the authority of the United States was suspended
in the gulf states, from South Carolina to Texas.
(See, in general. Secession; Conference, Peace;
Confederate States; Buchanan.) — 6. TJieBe-



UNITED STATES OP AMERICA.



999



hellion, 1861-6. Early in April, President Lincoln
decided to put an end to the almost successful
process of starving out Fort Sumter, and sent a
provision fleet to supply it. The batteries around
it at once opened Are on the fort, and it surren-
dered April 14. Then followed a call for troops
to suppress the rebellion, and a declaration of war
by the confederate states, early in May, against the
United States. The first attempt at " coercing "
the seceding states was followed by the secession
of the southern tier of border states. North Caro-
lina, Tennessee and Arkansas, and of Virginia in
the northern tier. Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky
and Missouri refused to secede. (See Bordbk
States, and the names of the states.) These
secessions brought the area of the confederacy to
its maximum. — The financial history of the war
is fully given elsewhere. (See Finance, BANKise
IN THE United States, Internal Revenue,
Distilled Spirits, Income Tax, Tariff.) An
outline of its military and naval history is else-
where given. (See Rebellion, Alabama Claims,
Geneva Award.) Its political history is also
given elsewhere. (See Abolition, III. ; Emanci-
pation Proclamation ; Habeas Corpus ; Re-
publican Party, II. ; Democratic Party, VI. ;
Drafts ; Reconstruction, I.) At the close of
the rebellion no one was criminally punished for
participation in it. (See Treason, Amnesty.)
Almost the only civil victim was President Lin-
coln, who was assassinated just after the fall of
Richmond. (See his name). — Three states were
admitted during this periqd : Kansas in 1861,
"West Virginia in 1863, and Nevada in 1864. —7.
Beconstruetion, 1865-70. The war of the rebellion
and its result are usually regarded as the decisive
proofs of the stability of the American form of
government. And yet the five years following
were, for it, a still more crucial test. The forma^
tion of the confederacy made the theatre of war
paetido foreign soil during the rebellion; and the
territory remaining under the direct control of the
United States government was spared many of
those effects of war which are most evil to a re-
public. And those evils which were felt were met
with the reserve power arising from years of
peaceful constitutional discussion and long settled
habits of political thinking. The difficulties of
reconstructing the Union were to be met without
any such reserve power, and even with the counter-
acting influences of the passion of war and victory.
That the reconstruction should have been accom-
plished under such difficulties, and yet with so
little alteration of the spirit of the system, is the
most decisive proof that the American system is



Online LibraryJohn J. (John Joseph) LalorCyclopædia of political science, political economy, and of the political history of the United States → online text (page 255 of 290)