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Full text of "A history of the United States"

,L CHESTER',! 





THIS BOOK IS PRESENT 

IN OUR LIBRARY 

THROUGH THE 

GENEROUS 

CONTRIBUTIONS OF 

ST. MICHAEL'S ALUMNI 

TO THE VARSITY 

FUND 



A HISTORY OF 
THE UNITED STATES 





Russell & Sons photo 



CECIL CHESTERTON 



A HISTORY OF 
THE UNITED STATES 

BY 

CECIL CHESTERTON 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 

G. K. CHESTERTON 



LONDON 
CHATTO & WINDUS 

1919 



First published January 16, 1919 
Second impression January 17, 1919 



All rights reserved 



DEDICATED TO 

MY COMRADE AND HOSPITAL MATE, 

LANCE-CORPOKAJL WOOD, 

OP THE KING'S OWN LIVERPOOLS, 

CITIZEN OF MASSACHUSETTS, 

WHO JOINED THE BRITISH ARMY IN 

AUGUST, 1914. 

... more than my brother, how shall I thank thee for all ? 
Each of the heroes around us has fought for his house and his line, 
But thou hast fought for a stranger in hate of a wrong not thine. 
Happy are all free peoples too strong to be dispossessed, 
But happiest those among nations that dare to be strong for the reafe." 

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING, 



INTRODUCTION 

THE author of this book, my brother, died in a French 
military hospital of the effects of exposure in the last fierce 
fighting that broke the Prussian power over Christendom ; 
fighting for which he had volunteered after being invalided 
home. Any notes I can jot down about him must neces- 
sarily seem jerky and incongruous ; for in such a relation 
memory is a medley of generalisation and detail, not to be 
uttered in words. One thing at least may fitly be said 
here. Before he died he did at least two things that he 
desired. One may seem much greater than the other ; but 
he would not have shrunk from naming them together. 
He saw the end of an empire that was the nightmare of 
the nations ; but I believe it pleased him almost as much 
that he had been able, often in the intervals of bitter 
warfare and by the aid of a brilliant memory, to put 
together these pages on the history, so necessary and so 
strangely neglected, of the great democracy which he never 
patronised, which he not only loved but honoured. 

Cecil Edward Chesterton was born on November 12, 
1879 ; and there is a special if a secondary sense in which 
we may use the phrase that he was born a fighter. It 
may seem in some sad fashion a flippancy to say that he 
argued from his very cradle. It is certainly, in the same 
sad fashion, a comfort, to remember one truth about our 
relations : that we perpetually argued and that we never 
quarrelled. In a sense it was the psychological truth, I 
fancy, that we never quarrelled because we always argued. 
His lucidity and love of truth kept things so much on the 
level of logic, that the rest of our relations remained, thank 
God, in solid sympathy ; long before that later time when, 
in substance, our argument had become an agreement. 

vii 6 2 



viii INTRODUCTION 

Nor, I think, was the process valueless; for at least we" 
learnt how to argue in defence of our agreement. But the 
retrospect is only worth a thought now, because it illustrates 
a duality which seemed to him, and is, very simple ; but 
to many is baffling in its very simplicity. When I say his 
weapon was logic, it will be currently confused with 
formality or even frigidity: a silly superstition always 
pictures the logician as a pale-faced prig. He was a living 
proof, a very living proof, that the precise contrary is 
the case. In fact it is generally the warmer and more 
sanguine sort of man who has an appetite for abstract 
definitions and even abstract distinctions. He had all the 
debating dexterity of a genial and generous man like 
Charles Fox. He could command that more than legal 
clarity and closeness which really marked the legal argu- 
ments of a genial and generous man like Danton. In his 
wonderfully courageous public speaking, he rather preferred 
being a debater to being an orator ; in a sense he main- 
tained that no man had a right to be an orator without 
first being a debater. Eloquence, he said, had its proper 
place when reason had proved a thing to be right, and it 
was necessary to give men the courage to do what was 
right. I think he never needed any man's eloquence to 
give him that. But the substitution of sentiment for 
reason, in the proper place for reason, "affected him " as 
musicians are affected by a false note." It was the com- 
bination of this intellectual integrity with extrordinary 
warmth and simplicity in the affections that made the 
point of his personality. The snobs and servile apologists 
of the regime he resisted seem to think they can atone for 
being hard-hearted by being soft-headed. He reversed, if 
ever a man did, that relation in the organs. The opposite 
condition really covers all that can be said of him in this 
brief study ; it is the clue not only to his character but to 
his career. 

If rationah'sm meant being rational (which it hardly 
ever does) he might at every stage of his life be called 
a red-hot rationalist. Thus, for instance, he very early 
became a Socialist and joined the Fabian Society, on the 
executive of which he played a prominent part for some 
years. But he afterwards gave the explanation, very 



INTRODUCTION ix 

characteristic for those who could understand it, that what 
he liked about the Fabian sort of Socialism was its hard- 
ness. He meant intellectual hardness; the fact that the 
society avoided sentimentalism, and dealt in affirmations 
and not mere associations. He meant that upon th# 
Fabian basis a Socialist was bound to believe in Socialism, 
but not in sandals, free love, bookbinding, and immediate 
disarmament. But he also added that, while he liked their 
hardness, he disliked their moderation. In other words, 
when he discovered, or believed that he discovered, that 
their intellectual hardness was combined with moral hard- 
ness, or rather moral deadness, he felt all the intellectual 
ice melted by a moral flame. He had, so to speak, a 
reaction of emotional realism, in which he saw, as suddenly 
as simple men can see simple truths, the potterers of Social 
Reform as the plotters of the Servile State. He was 
himself, above all things, a democrat as well as a Socialist ; 
and in that intellectual sect he began to feel as if he were 
the only Socialist who was also a democrat. His dogmatic, 
democratic conviction would alone illustrate the falsity of 
the contrast between logic and life. The idea of human 
equality existed with extraordinary clarity in his brain, 
precisely because it existed with extraordinary simplicity 
in his character. His popular sympathies, unlike so many 
popular sentiments, could really survive any intimacy with 
the populace ; they followed the poor not only at public 
meetings but to public houses. He was literally the only 
man I ever knew who was not only never a snob, but 
apparently never tempted to be a snob. The fact is almost 
more important than his wonderful lack of fear ; for such 
good causes, when they cannot be lost by fear, are often 
lost by favour. 

Thus he came to suspect that Socialism was merely 
social reform, and that social reform was merely slavery. 
But the point still is that though his attitude to it was now 
one of revolt, it was anything but a mere revulsion of 
feeling. He did, indeed, fall back on fundamental things, 
on a fury at the oppression of the poor, on a pity for 
slaves, and especially for contented slaves. But it is the 
mark of his type of mind that he did not abandon Socialism 
without a rational case against it, and a rational system to 



x INTRODUCTION 

oppose to it. The theory he substituted for Socialism is 
that which may for convenience be called Distributivism ; 
the theory that private property is proper to every private 
citizen. This is no place for its exposition ; but it will be 
evident that such a conversion brings the convert into 
touch with much older traditions of human freedom, as 
expressed in the family or the guild. And it was about the 
same time that, having for some time held an Anglo- 
Catholic position, he joined the Roman Catholic Church. 
It is notable, in connection with the general argument, that 
while the deeper reasons for such a change do not concern 
such a sketch.^ as this, he was again characteristically 
amused and annoyed with the sentimentalists, sympathetic 
or hostile, who supposed he was attracted by ritual, music, 
and emotional mysticism. He told such people, somewhat 
to their bewilderment, that he had been converted because 
Rome alone could satisfy the reason. In his case, of course, 
as in Newman's and numberless others, well-meaning 
people conceived a thousand crooked or complicated ex- 
planations, rather than suppose that an obviously honest 
man believed a thing because he thought it was true. He 
was soon to give a more dramatic manifestatfon of his 
strange taste for the truth. 

The attack on political corruption, the next and perhaps 
the most important passage in his life, still illustrates the 
same point, touching reason and enthusiasm. Precisely 
because he did know what Socialism is and what it is 
not, precisely because he had at least learned that from the 
intellectual hardness of the Fabians, he saw the spot where 
Fabian Socialism is not hard but soft. Socialism means 
the assumption by the State of all the means of production, 
distribution, and exchange. To quote (as he often quoted 
with a rational relish) the words of Mr. Balfour, that is 
Socialism and nothing else is Socialism. To such clear 
thinking, it is at once apparent that trusting a thing to the 
State must always mean trusting it to the statesmen. He 
could defend Socialism because he could define Socialism ; 
and he was not helped or hindered by the hazy associations 
of the sort of Socialists who perpetually defended what they 
never defined. Such men might have a vague vision of red 
flags and red ties waving in an everlasting riot above the 



INTRODUCTION xi 

fall oi top-hats and Union Jacks ; but he knew that 
Socialism established meant Socialism official, and con- 
ducted by some sort of officials. All the primary forms of 
private property were to be given to the government; and 
it occurred to him, as a natural precaution, to give a glance 
at the government. He gave some attention to the actual 
types and methods of that governing and official class, into 
whose power trams and trades and shops and houses were 
already passing, amid loud Fabian cheers for the progress 
of Socialism. He looked at modern parliamentary govern- 
ment: he looked at it rationally and steadily and not 
without reflection. And the consequence was that he was 
put in the dock, and very nearly put in the lock-up, for 
calling it what it is. 

In collaboration with Mr. Belloc he had written " The 
Party System," in which the plutocratic and corrupt nature 
of our present polity is set forth. And when Mr. Belloc 
founded the Eye- Wttness, as a bold and independent organ 
of the same sort of criticism, he served as the energetic 
second in command. He subsequently became editor of the 
Eye-Witness, which was renamed as the New Witness. It 
was during the latter period that the great test case of 
political corruption occurred ; pretty well known in Eng- 
land, and unfortunately much better known in Europe, as 
the Marconi scandal. To narrate its alternate secrecies 
and sensations would be impossible here ; but one fashion- 
able fallacy about it may be exploded with advantage. An 
extraordinary notion still exists that the Neiv Witness 
denounced Ministers for gambling on the Stock Exchange. 
It might be improper for Ministers to gamble ; but 
gambling was certainly not a misdemeanor that would have 
hardened with any special horror so hearty an Anti- 
Puritan as the man of whom I write. The Marconi case 
did not raise the difficult ethics of gambling, but the per- 
fectly plain ethics of secret commissions. The charge 
against the Ministers was that, while a government con- 
tract was being considered, they tried to make money out 
of a secret tip, given them by the very government con- 
tractor with whom their government was supposed to be 
bargaining. This was what their accuser asserted ; but this 
was not what they attempted to answer by a prosecution. 



xii INTRODUCTION 

He was prosecuted, not for what he had said of the 
government, but for some secondary things he had said of 
the government contractor. The latter, Mr. Godfrey Isaacs, 
gained a verdict for criminal libel; and the judge inflicted 
a fine of 100. Readers may have chanced to note the 
subsequent incidents in the life of Mr. Isaacs, but I am 
here only concerned with incidents in the life of a more 
interesting person. 

In any suggestion of his personality, indeed, the point 
does not lie in what was done to him, but rather in what 
was not done. He was positively assured, upon the 
very strongest and most converging legal authority, that 
unless he offered certain excuses he would certainly go to 
prison for several years. He did not offer those excuses ; 
and I believe it never occurred to him to do so. His 
freedom from fear of all kinds had about it a sort of solid 
unconsciousness and even innocence. This homogeneous 
quality in it has been admirably seized and summed up 
by Mr. Belloc in a tribute of great truth and power. " His 
courage was heroic, native, positive and equal: always at 
the highest potentiality of courage. He never in his life 
checked an action or a word from a consideration of 
personal caution, and that is more than can be said of any 
other man of his time." After the more or less nominal 
fine, however, his moral victory was proved in the one 
way in which a military victory can ever be proved. It is 
the successful general who continues his 'own plan of 
campaign. Whether a battle be ticketed in the history 
books as lost or won, the test is which side can continue 
to strike. He continued to strike, and to strike harder 
than ever, up to the very moment of that yet greater 
experience which changed all such military symbols into 
military facts. A man with instincts unspoiled and in that 
sense almost untouched, he would have always answered 
quite naturally to the autochthonous appeal of patriotism ; 
but it is again characteristic of him that he desired, in 
his own phrase, to " rationalize patriotism," which he did 
upon the principles of Rousseau, that contractual theory 
which, in these pages, he connects with the great name 
of Jefferson. But things even deeper than patriotism 
impelled him against Prussianism. His enemy was the 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

barbarian when he enslaves, as something more hellish 
even than the barbarian when he slays. His was the 
spiritual instinct by which Prussian order was worse than 
Prussian anarchy; and nothing was so inhuman as an 
inhuman humanitarianism. If you had asked him for 
what he fought and died amid the wasted fields of France 
and Flanders, he might very probdbly have answered that 
it was to save the world from German social reforms. 

This note, necessarily so broken and bemused, must 
reach its useless end. I have said nothing of numberless 
things that should be remembered at the mention of his 
name ; of his books, which were great pamphlets and may 
yet be permanent pamphlets ; of his journalistic exposures 
of other evils besides the Marconi, exposures that have 
made a new political atmosphere in the very election that 
is stirring around us; of his visit to America, which 
initiated him into an international friendship which is the 
foundation of this book. Least of all can I write of him 
apart from his work ; of that loss nothing can be said by 
those who do not suffer it, and less still by those who do. 
And his experiences in life and death were so much greater 
even than my experiences of him, that a double incapacity 
makes me dumb. A portrait is impossible ; as a friend he 
is too near me, and as a hero too far away. 

G. K. CHESTERTON. 



AUTHOR'S PREFACE 

I HAVE taken advantage of a very brief respite from other, 
and in my judgment more valuable, employment, to produce 
this short sketch of the story of a great people, now our 
Ally. My motive has been mainly that I do not think that 
any such sketch, concentrated enough to be readable by 
the average layman who has other things to do (especially 
in these days) than to study more elaborate and authori- 
tative histories, at present exists, and I have thought that 
in writing it I might perhaps be discharging some little 
part of the heavy debt of gratitude which I owe to America 
for the hospitality I received from her when I visited her 
shores during the early months of the War. 

This book is in another sense the product of that visit. 
What I then saw and heard of contemporary America so 
fascinated me that believing as I do that the key to every 
people is in its past I could not rest until I had mastered 
all that I could of the history of my delightful hosts. This 
I sought as much as possible from the original sources, 
reading voraciously, and at the time merely for my pleasure, 
such records as I could get of old debates and of the 
speech and correspondence of the dead. The two existing 
histories, which I also read, and upon which I have drawn 
most freely, are that of the present President of the United 
States and that of Professor Rhodes, dealing with the period 
from 1850 to 1876. With the conclusions of the latter 
authority it will be obvious that I am in many respects by 
no means at one; but I think it the more necessary to 
say that without a careful study of his book I could neither 
have formed my own conclusions nor ventured to challenge 
his. The reading that I did at the time of which I speak 
is the foundation of what I have now written. It will be 



xvi AUTHOR'S PREFACE 

well understood that a Private in the British Army, even 
when invalided home for a season, has not very great 
opportunities for research. I think it very likely that 
errors of detail may be discovered in these pages ; I am 
quite sure that I could have made the book a better one if 
I had been able to give more time to revising my studies. 
Yet I believe that the story told here is substantially true ; 
and I am very sure that it is worth the telling. 

If I am asked why I think it desirable at this moment 
to attempt, however inadequately, a history of our latest 
Ally, I answer that at this moment the whole future of our 
civilization may depend upon a thoroughly good under- 
standing between those nations which are now joined in 
battle for its defence, and that ignorance of each other's 
history is perhaps the greatest menace to such an under- 
standing. To take one instance at random how many 
English writers have censured, sometimes in terms of 
friendly sorrow, sometimes in a manner somewhat phari- 
saical, the treatment of Negroes in Southern States in all 
its phases, varying from the provision of separate waiting- 
rooms to sporadic outbreaks of lynching ! How few ever 
mention, or seem to have even heard the word " Recon- 
struction " a word which, in its historical connotation, 
explains all ! 

I should, perhaps, add a word to those Americans who 
may chance to read this book. To them, of course, I must 
offer a somewhat different apology. I believe that, with all 
my limitations, I can tell my fellow-countrymen things 
about the history of America which they do not know. 
It would be absurd effrontery to pretend that I can tell 
Americans what they do not know. For them, whatever 
interest this book may possess must depend upon the value 
of a foreigner's interpretation of the facts. I know that 
I should be extraordinarily interested in an American's 
view of the story of England since the Separation ; and I 
can only hope that some degree of such interest may attach 
to these pages in American eyes. 

It will be obvious to Americans that in some respects 
my view of their history is individual. For instance, 1 give 
Andrew Jackson both a greater place in the development 
of American democracy and a higher meed of personal 



AUTHOE'S PREFACE xvii 

praise than do most modern American historians and 
writers whom I have read. I give my judgment for what 
it is worth. In my view, the victory of Jackson over the 
Whigs was the turning-point of American history and 
finally decided that the United States should be a de- 
mocracy and not a parliamentary oligarchy. And I am 
further of opinion that, both as soldier and ruler, " Old 
Hickory" was a hero of whom any nation might well be 
proud. 

I am afraid that some offence may be given by my 
portrait of Charles Sumner. I cannot help it. I do not 
think that between his admirers and myself there is any 
real difference as to the kind of man he was. It is a kind 
that some people revere. It is a kind that I detest abso- 
lutely leprous scoundrels excepted more than I can bring 
myself to detest any other of God's creatures. 



CECIL CHESTERTON, 



SOMEWHERE IN FRANCE, 
May 1*2, 1918. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PAR 

I. THE ENGLISH COLONIES 1 

II. ABMS AND THE BIGHTS OF MAN 14 

in. "WE, THE PEOPLE" 36 

IV. THE MANTLE OF WASHINGTON 51 

V. THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 66 

VI. THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 90 

VII. THE SPOILS OP MEXICO 110 

VIII. THE SLAVERY QUESTION 129 

IX. SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 156 

X. " THE BLACK TERROR " 203 

XI. THE NEW PROBLEMS 227 

INDEX 241 



xix 



A HISTORY 
OF THE UNITED STATES 



CHAPTER I 

THE ENGLISH COLONIES 

IN the year of Our Lord 1492, thirty-nine years after the 
taking of Constantinople by the Turks asd eighteen years 
after the establishment of Caxton's printing press, one 
Christopher Columbus, an Italian sailor, set sail from Spain 
with the laudable object of converting the Khan of Tartary 
to the Christian Faith, and on his way discovered the 
continent of America. The islands on which Columbus 
first landed and the adjacent stretch of mainland from 
Mexico to Patagonia which the Spaniards who followed 
him colonized lay outside the territory which is now known 
as the United States. Nevertheless the instinct of the 
American democracy has always looked back to him as a 
sort of ancestor, and popular American tradition conceives 
of him as in some shadowy fashion a founder. And that 
instinct and tradition, like most such national instincts and 
traditions, is sound. 

In the epoch which most of us can remember pretty 
vividly for it came to an abrupt end less than five years 
ago when people were anxious to prove that everything 
important in human history had been done by " Teutons," 
there was a great effort to show that Columbus was not 
really the first European discoverer of America ; that that 
honour belonged properly to certain Scandinavian sea- 
captains who at some time in the tenth or eleventh 

1 B 



2 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

centuries paid a presumably piratical visit to the coast 
of Greenland. It may be so, but the incident is quite 
irrelevent. That one set of barbarians from the fjords of 
Norway came in their wanderings in contact with another 
set of barbarians living in the frozen lands north of 
Labrador is a fact, if it be a fact, of little or no historical 
import. The Vikings had no more to teach the Esqui- 
maux than had the Esquimaux to teach the Vikings. 
Both were at that time outside the real civilization of 
Europe. 

Columbus, on the other hand, came from the very 
centre of European civilization and that at a time when 
that civilization was approaching the summit of one of its 
constantly recurrent periods of youth and renewal. In the 
North, indeed, what strikes the eye in the fifteenth century 
is rather the ugliness of a decaying order the tortures, 
the panic of persecution, the morbid obsession of the danse 
macabre things which many think of as Mediaeval, but 
which belong really only to the Middle Ages when old and 
near to death. But all the South was already full of the new 
youth of the Renaissance. Boccaccio had lived, Leonardo 
was at the height of his glory. In the fields of Touraine 
was already playing with his fellows the boy that was to 
be Rabelais. 

Such adventures as that of Columbus, despite his pious 
intentions with regard to the Khan of Tartary, were a 
living part of the Renaissance and were full of its spirit, 
and it is from the Renaissance that American civilization 
dates. It is an important point to remember about America, 
and especially about the English colonies which were to 
become the United States, that they have had no memory 
of the Middle Ages. They had and have, on the other 
hand, a real, formative memory of Pagan antiquity, for 
the age in which the oldest of them were born was full of 
enthusiasm for that memory, while it thought, as most 
Americans still think, of the Middle Ages as a mere feudal 
barbarism. 

Youth and adventurousness were not the only notes of 
the Renaissance, nor the only ones which we shall see 
affecting the history of America. Another note was pride, 
and with that pride in its reaction against the old Christian 



THE ENGLISH COLONIES 3 

civilization went a certain un-Christian scorn of poverty 
and still more of the ugliness and ignorance which go 
with poverty ; and there reappeared to an extent at least, 
and naturally most of all where the old religion had been 
completely lost that naked Pagan repugnance which 
almost refused to recognize a human soul in the barbarian. 
It is notable that in these new lands which the Kenaissance 
had thrown open to European men there at once reappears 
that institution which had once been fundamental to 
Europe and which the Faith had slowly and with difficulty 
undermined and dissolved Slavery. 

The English colonies in America owe their first origin 
partly to the English instinct for wandering and especially 
for wandering on the sea, which naturally seized on the 
adventurous element in the Renaissance as that most 
congenial to the national temper, and partly to the secular 
antagonism between England and Spain. Spain, whose 
sovereign then ruled Portugal and therefore the Portuguese 
as well as Spanish colonies, claimed the whole of the New 
World as part of her dominions, and her practical authority 
extended unchallenged from Florida to Cape Horn. It 
would have been hopeless for England to have attempted 
seriously to challenge that authority where it existed in 
view of the relative strength at that time of the two 
kingdoms; and in general the English seamen confined 
themselves to hampering and annoying the Spanish com- 
merce by acts of privateering which the Spaniards naturally 
designated as piracy. But to the bold and inventive mind 
of the great Raleigh there occurred another conception. 
Spain, though she claimed the whole American continent, 
had not in fact made herself mistress of all its habitable 
parts. North of the rich lands which supplied- gold and 
silver to the Spanish exchequer, but still well within the 
temperate zone of climate, lay great tracts bordering the 
Atlantic where no Spanish soldier or ruler had ever set 
his foot. To found an English colony in the region would 
not be an impossible task like the attempt to seize any 
part of the Spanish empire, yet it would be a practical 
challenge to the Spanish claim. Raleigh accordingly 
projected, and others, entering into his plans, successfully 
planted, an English settlement on the Atlantic seaboard 



4 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

to the south of Chesapeake Bay which, in honour of the 
Queen, was named "Virginia." 

In the subsequent history of the English colonies which 
became American States we often find a curious and 
recurrent reflection of their origin. Virginia was the first 
of those colonies to come into existence, and we shall see 
her both as a colony and as a State long retaining a sort 
of primacy amongst them. She also retained, in the 
incidents of her history and in the characters of many of 
her great men, a colour which seems partly Elizabethan. 
Her Jefferson, with his omnivorous culture, his love of 
music and the arts, his proficiency at the same time in 
sports and bodily exercises, suggests something of the 
graceful versatility of men like Essex and Raleigh, and we 
shall see her in her last agony produce a soldier about 
whose high chivalry and heroic and adventurous failure 
there clings a light of romance that does not seem to belong 
to the modern world. 

If the external quarrels of England were the immediate 
cause of the foundation of Virginia, the two colonies which 
next make their appearance owe their origin to her internal 
divisions. James I. and his son Charles I., though by 
conviction much more genuine Protestants than Elizabeth, 
were politically more disposed to treat the Catholics with 
leniency. The paradox is not, perhaps, difficult to explain. 
Being more genuinely Protestant they were more in- 
terested in the internecine quarrels of Protestants, and 
their enemies in those internecine quarrels, the Puritans, 
now become a formidable party, were naturally the fiercest 
enemies of the old religion. This fact probably led the 
two first Stuarts to look upon that religion with more 
indulgence. They dared not openly tolerate the Catholics, 
but they were not unwilling to show them such favour as 
they could afford to give. Therefore when a Catholic 
noble, Lord Baltimore, proposed to found a new plantation 
in America where his co-religionists could practise their 
faith in peace and security, the Stuart kings were willing 
enough to grant his request. James approved the project, 
his son confirmed it, and, under a Royal Charter from King 
Charles I., Lord Baltimore established his Catholic colony, 
which he called "Maryland." The early history of this 



THE ENGLISH COLONIES 5 

colony is interesting because it affords probably the first 
example of full religious liberty. It would doubtless have 
been suicidal for the Catholics, situated as they were, to 
attempt anything like persecution, but Baltimore and the 
Catholics of Maryland for many generations deserve none 
the less honour for the consistency with which they pursued 
their tolerant policy. So long as the Catholics remained 
in control all sects were not only tolerated but placed on 
a footing of complete equality before the law, and as a fact 
both the Nonconformist persecuted in Virginia and the 
Episcopalian persecuted in New England frequently found 
refuge and peace in Catholic Maryland. The English 
Revolution of 1689 produced a change. The new English 
Government was pledged against the toleration of a 
Catholicism anywhere. The representative of the Baltimore 
family was deposed from the Governorship and the control 
transferred to the Protestants, -who at once repealed the 
edicts of toleration and forbade the practice of the Catholic 
religion. They did not, however, succeed in extirpating it, 
and to this day many of the old Maryland families are 
Catholic, as are also a considerable proportion of the 
Negroes. It may further be noted that, though the experi- 
ment in religious equality was suppressed by violence, the 
idea seems never to have been effaced, and Maryland was 
one of the first colonies to accompany its demand for 
freedom with a declaration in favour of universal toleration. 
At about the same time that the persecuted Catholics 
found a refuge in Maryland, a similar refuge was sought 
by the persecuted Puritans. A number of these, who had 
found a temporary home in Holland, sailed thence for 
America in the celebrated Mayflower and colonized New 
England on the Atlantic coast far to the north of the planta- 
tions of Raleigh and Baltimore. From this root sprang 
the colonies of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and 
Rhode Island, and later the States of New Hampshire and 
Maine. It would be putting it with ironical mildness to 
say that the Pilgrim Fathers did not imitate the tolerant 
example of the Catholic refugees. Religious persecution 
had indeed been practised by all parties in the quarrels of 
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries ; but for much of 
the early legislation of the Puritan colonies one can find 



6 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

no parallel in the history of European men. Calvinism, 
that strange fierce creed which Wesley so correctly described 
as one that gave God the exact functions and attributes 
of tthe devil, produced even in Europe a sufficiency of 
madness and horror ; but here was Calvinism cut off from 
its European roots and from the reaction and influence 
of Christian civilization. Its records read like those of a 
madhouse where religious maniacs have broken loose and 
locked up their keepers. We hear of men stoned to death 
for kissing their wives on the Sabbath, of lovers pilloried or 
flogged at the cart's tail for kissing each other at all with- 
out licence from the deacons, the whole culminating in a 
mad panic of wholesale dernonism and witchburning so 
vividly described in one of the most brilliant of Mrs. 
Gaskell's stories, "Lois the Witch." Of course, in time 
the fanaticism of the first New England settlers cooled into 
something like sanity. But a strong Puritan tradition 
remained and played a great part in American history. 
Indeed, if Lee, the Virginian, has about him something of 
the Cavalier, it is still more curious to note that nineteenth- 
century New England, with its atmosphere of quiet scholars 
and cultured tea parties, suddenly flung forth in John 
Brown a figure whose combination' of soldierly skill with 
maniac fanaticism, of a martyr's fortitude with a murderer's 
cruelty, seems to have walked straight out of the seventeenth 
century and finds its nearest parallel in some of the 
warriors of the Covenant. 

The colonies so far enumerated owe their foundation 
solely to English enterprise and energy ; but in the latter 
half of the seventeenth century foreign war brought to 
England a batch of colonies ready made. At the mouth 
of the Hudson River, between Maryland and the New 
England colonies, lay the Dutch settlement of New Amster- 
dam. The first colonists who had established themselves 
there had been Swedes, but from Sweden its sovereignty 
had passed to Holland, and the issue of the Dutch wars 

fave it to the English, by whom it was re-christened New 
brk in honour of the King's brother, afterwards James II. 
It would perhaps be straining the suggestion already 
made of the persistent influences of origins to see in the 
varied racial and national beginnings of New York a 



THE ENGLISH COLONIES 7 

presage of that cosmopolitan quality which still marks the 
greatest of American cities, making much of it a patch- 
work of races and languages, and giving to the electric stir 
of Broadway an air which suggests a Continental rather 
than an English city, but it is more plausible to note that 
New York had no original link with the Puritanism of New 
England and of the North generally, and that in fact we 
shall find the premier city continually isolated from the 
North, following a tradition and a policy of its own. 

With New Amsterdam was also ceded the small Dutch 
plantation of Delaware, which lay between Maryland and 
the Atlantic, while England at the same time established 
her claim to the disputed territory between the two which 
became the colony of New Jersey. 

Shortly after the cession of New Amsterdam William 
Penn obtained from Charles II. a charter for the establish- 
ment of a colony to the north of Maryland, between that 
settlement and the newly acquired territories of New 
Jersey and New York. This plantation was designed 
especially as a refuge for the religious sect to which Penn 
belonged, the Quakers, who had been persecuted, by all 
religious parties and especially savagely by the 'Puritan 
colonists of New England. Penn, the most remarkable 
man that ever professed the strange doctrines .of that sect, 
was a favourite with the King, who had a keen eye for 
character, and as the son of a distinguished admiral he 
had a sort of hereditary claim upon the gratitude of the 
Crown. He easily carried his point with Charles, and him- 
self supervised the foundations of the new commonwealth 
of Pennsylvania. Two surveyors were sent out by royal 
authority to fix the boundary between Penn's concession 
and the existing colony of Maryland Mr. Mason and Mr. 
Dixon by name. However elated these two gentlemen 
may have been by their appointment to so responsible an 
omce,*they probably little thought that their names would 
be immortalized. Yet so it was to be. For the line they 
drew became the famous " Mason-Dixon " line, and was to 
be in after years the frontier between the Slave States and 
the Free. 

In all that he did in the New World Penn showed him- 
self not only a great but a most just and wise man. He 



8 A HISTORY OP THE UNITED STATES 

imitated, with happier issue, the liberality of Baltimore in 
the matter of religious freedom, and to this day the Catholics 
of Philadelphia boast of possessing the only Church in the 
United States in which Mass has been said continuously 
since the seventeenth century. But it is in his dealings 
with the natives that Penn's humanity and honour stand 
out most conspicuously. None of the other founders of 
English colonies had ever treated the Indians except as 
vermin to be exterminated as quickly as possible. Penn 
treated them as free contracting parties with full -human 
rights. He bought of them fairly the land he needed, and 
strictly observed every article of the pact that he made 
with them. Anyone visiting to-day the city which he 
founded will find in its centre a little strip of green, still 
unbuilt upon, where, in theory, any passing Indians are at 
liberty to pitch their camp a monument and one of the 
clauses of Penn's celebrated treaty. 

In the same reign the settlement of the lands lying to 
the south of Virginia had begun, under the charter granted 
by Charles II. to the Hyde family, and the new plantations 
were called after the sovereign " Carolina." But their 
importance dates from the next century, when they received 
the main stream of a new tide of immigration due to 
political and economic causes. England, having planted a 
Protestant Anglo-Scottish colony in North-East Ireland, 
proceeded to ruin its own creation by a long series of 
commercial laws directed to the protection of English manu- 
facturers against the competition of the colonists. Under 
the pressure of this tyranny a great number of these 
colonists, largely Scotch by original nationality and Pres- 
byterian by religion, left Ulster for America. They poured 
into the Carolinas, North and South, as well as into 
Pennsylvania and Virginia, and overflowed into a new colony 
which was established further west and named Georgia. It 
is important to note this element in the colonization of the 
Southern States, because it is too often loosely suggested 
that the later division of North and South corresponded to 
the division of Cavalier and Puritan. It is not so. Virginia 
and Maryland may be called Cavalier in their origin, but 
in the Carolinas and Georgia there appears a Puritan 
tradition, not indeed as fanatical as that of New England, 



THE ENGLISH COLONIES 9 

but almost as persistent. Moreover this Scotch-Irish stock, 
whose fathers, it may be supposed, left Ireland in no very 
good temper with the rulers of Great Britain, afterwards 
supplied the most military and the most determined element 
in Washington's armies, and gave to the Kepublic some of 
its most striking historical personalities: Patrick Henry 
and John Caldwell Calhpun, Jackson, the great President, 
and his namesake the brilliant soldier of the Confederacy. 

The English colonies now formed a solid block extend- 
ing from the coasts of Maine into which northernmost 
region the New England colonies had overflown to the 
borders of Florida. Florida was still a Spanish possession, 
but Spain had ceased to be formidable as a rival or enemy 
of England. By the persistence of a century in arms and 
diplomacy, the French had worn down the Spanish power, 
and France was now easily the strongest nation in Europe. 
France also had a foothold, or rather two footholds, in North 
America. One of her colonies, Louisiana, lay beyond 
Florida at the mouth of the Mississippi; the other, 
Canada, to the north of the Maine, at the mouth of the St.* 
Lawrence. It was the aim of French colonial ambition to 
extend both colonies inland into the unmapped heart of 
the American continent until they should meet. This 
would necessarily have had the effect of hemming in the 
English settlements on the Atlantic seaboard and prevent- 
ing their Western expansion. Throughout the first half of 
the eighteenth century, therefore, the rivalry grew more 
and more acute, and even when France and England were 
at peace the French and English in America were almost 
constantly at war. Their conflict was largely carried on 
under cover of alliances with the warring Indian tribes, 
whose feuds kept the region of the Great Lakes in a 
continual turmoil. The outbreak of the Seven Years' War 
and the intervention of England as an ally of Prussia put 
an end to the necessity for such pretexts, and a regular 
military campaign opened upon which was staked the 
destiny of North America. 

It is not necessary for the purposes of this book to 
follow that campaign in detail. The issue was necessarily 
fought out in Canada, for Louisiana lay remote from the 
English colonies and was separated from them by the 



10 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

neutral territory of the Spanish Empire. England had 
throughout the war the advantage of superiority at sea, 
which enabled her to supply and reinforce her armies, 
while the French forces were practically cut off from 
Europe. The French, on the other hand, had at the 
beginning the advantage of superior numbers, at least so 
far as regular troops were concerned, while for defensive 
purposes they possessed an excellent chain of very strong 
fortresses carefully prepared before the war. After the earlier 
operations, which cleared the French invaders out of the 
English colonies, the gradual reduction of these strongholds 
practically forms the essence of the campaign undertaken 
by a succession of English generals under the political 
direction of the elder Pitt. That campaign was virtually 
brought to a close by the brilliant exploit of James Wolfe 
in 1759 the taking of Quebec. By the Treaty of Paris in 
1763 Canada was ceded to England. Meanwhile Louisiana 
had been transferred to Spain in 1762 as part of the price 
of a Spanish alliance, and France ceased to be a rival to 
England on the American continent. 

During the French war the excellent professional army 
which England was able to maintain in the field was 
supported by levies raised from the English colonies, 
which did good service in many engagements. Among the 
officers commanding these levies one especially had attracted, 
by his courage and skill, and notably by the part he bore in 
the clearing of Pennsylvania, the notice of his superiors 
George Washington of Virginia. 

England was now in a position to develop in peace the 
empire which her sword had defended with such splendid 
success and glory. Before we consider the causes which so 
suddenly shattered that empire, it is necessary to take 
a brief survey of its geography and of its economic 
conditions. 

The colonies, as we have seen, were spread along the 
Atlantic seaboard to' an extent of well over a thousand 
miles, covering nearly twenty degrees of latitude. The 
variations of climate were naturally great, and involved 
marked differentiations in the character and products of 
labour. The prosperity of the Southern colonies depended 
mainly upon two great staple industries. Raleigh, in the 



THE ENGLISH COLONIES 11 

course of his voyages, had learned from the Indians the 
use of the tobacco plant and had introduced that admirable 
discovery into Europe. As Europe learned (in spite of 
the protests of James I.) to prize the glorious indulgence 
now offered to it, the demand for tobacco grew, and its 
supply became the principal business of the colonies of 
Virginia and Maryland. Further to the south a yet 
more important and profitable industry was established. 
The climate of the Carolinas and of Georgia and of the 
undeveloped country west of these colonies, a climate at 
once warm and humid, was found to be exactly suited to 
the cultivation of the cotton plant. This proved the more 
important when the discoveries of Watt and Arkwright 
gave Lancashire the start of all the world in the manipula- 
tion of the cotton fabric. From that moment begins the 
triumphant progress of " King Cotton," which was long to 
outlast the political connection between the Carolinas and 
Lancashire, and was to give in the political balance of 
America peculiar importance to the " Cotton States." 

But at the time now under consideration these cotton- 
growing territories were still under the British Crown, and 
were subject to the Navigation Laws upon which England 
then mainly relied for the purpose of making her colonies 
a source of profit to her. The main effect of these was to 
forbid the colonies to trade with any neighbour save the 
mother country. This condition, to which the colonists 
seem to have offered no opposition, gave to the British 
manufacturers the immense advantage of an unrestricted 
supply of raw material to which no foreigner had access. 
It is among the curious ironies of history that the prosperity 
of Lancashire, which was afterwards to be identified with 
Free Trade, was originally founded upon this very drastic 
and successful form of Protection. 

The more northerly colonies had no such natural 
advantages. The bulk of the population lived by ordinary 
farming, grew wheat and the hard cereals and raised cattle. 
But during the eighteenth century England herself was 
still an exporting country as regards these commodities, 
and with other nations the colonists were forbidden to 
trade. The Northern colonies had, therefore, no consider- 
able export commerce, but on the seaboard they gradually 



12 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

built up a considerable trade as carriers, and Boston and 
New York merchant captains began to have a name on the 
Atlantic for skill and enterprise. Much of the trans- 
oceanic trade passed into their hands, and especially one 
most profitable if not very honourable trade of which, by 
the Treaty of Utrecht, England had obtained a virtual 
monopoly the trade in Negro slaves. 

The pioneer of this traffic had been Sir John Hawkins, 
one of the boldest of the great Elizabethan sailors. He 
seems to have been the first of the merchant adventurers 
to realize that it might prove profitable to kidnap Negroes 
from the West Coast of Africa and sell them into slavery 
in the American colonies. The cultivation of cotton and 
tobacco in the Southern plantations, as of sugar in the 
West Indies, offered a considerable demand for labour of a 
type suitable to the Negro. The attempt to compel the 
native Indians to such labour had failed ; the Negro proved 
more tractable. By the time with which we are dealing 
the whole industry of the Southern colonies already rested 
upon servile coloured labour. 

In the Northern colonies that is, those north of Mary- 
land the Negro slave existed, but only casually, and, as it 
were, as a sort of accident. Slavery was legal in all the 
colonies even in Pennsylvania, whose great founder had 
been almost alone in that age in disapproving of it. As 
for the New England Puritans, they had from the first 
been quite enthusiastic about the traffic, in which indeed 
they were deeply interested as middle-men ; and Calvinist 
ministers of the purest orthodoxy held services of thanks- 
giving to God for cargoes of poor barbarians rescued from 
the darkness of heathendom and brought (though forcibly) 
into the gospel light. But though the Northerners had no 
more scruple about Slavery than the Southerners, they had 
far less practical use for it. The Negro was of no value for 
the sort of labour in which the New Englanders engaged ; 
he died of it in the cold climate. Negro slaves there were 
in all the Northern States, but mostly employed as domestic 
servants or in casual occupations. They were a luxury, 
not a necessity. 

A final word must be said about the form of government 
under which the colonists lived. In all the colonies, though 



THE ENGLISH COLONIES 13 

there were, of course, variations of detail, it was, sub- 
stantially the same. It was founded in every case upon 
Royal Charters granted at some time or other to the 
planters by the English king. In every case there was a 
Governor, who was assisted by some sort of elective assembly. 
The Governor was the representative of the King and was 
nominated by him. The legislature was in some form or 
other elected by the free citizens. The mode of election 
and the franchise varied from colony to colony Massa- 
chusetts at one time based hers upon pew rents but it 
was generally in harmony with the feeling and traditions 
of the colonists. It was seldom that any friction occurred 
between the King's representative and the burgesses, as 
they were generally called. While the relations between 
the colonies and the mother country remained tranquil 
the Governor had every motive for pursuing a conciliatory 
policy. His personal comfort depended upon his being 
popular in the only society which he could frequent. His 
repute with the Home Government, if he valued it, was 
equally served by the tranquillity and contentment of the 
dominion he ruled. 

In fact, the American colonists, during the eighteenth 
century, enjoyed what a simple society left to itself almost 
always enjoys, under whatever forms the substance of 
democracy. That fact must be emphasized, because without 
a recognition of it the flaming response which met the first 
proclamation of theoretic democracy would be unintelligible. 
It is explicable only when we remember that to the 
unspoiled conscience of man as man democracy will ever 
be the most self-evident of truths. It is the complexity of 
our civilization that blinds us to its self-evidence, teaching 
us to acquiesce in irrational privilege as inevitable, ajid at 
last to see nothing strange in being ruled by a class, 
whether of nobles or of mere parliamentarians. But the 
man who looks at the world with the terrible eyes of his 
first innocence can never see an unequal law as anything 
but an iniquity, or government divorced from the general 
will as anything but usurpation. 



CHAPTER II 

ARMS AND THE EIGHTS OF MAN 

SUCH was roughly the position of the thirteen English 
colonies in North America when in the year 1764, shortly 
after the conclusion of the Seven Years' War, George 
Grenville, who had become the chief Minister of George III. 
after the failure of Lord Bute, proposed to raise a revenue 
from these colonies by the imposition of a Stamp Act. 

The Stamp Act and the resistance it met mark so 
obviously the beginning of the business which ended in 
the separation of the United States from Great Britain 
that Grenville and the British Parliament have been fre- 
quently blamed for the lightness of heart with which they 
entered upon so momentous a course. But in fact it did 
not seem to them momentous, nor is it easy to say why 
they should have thought it momentous. It is certain that 
Grenville's political opponents, many of whom were after- 
wards to figure as the champions of the colonists, at first 
saw its momentousness as little as he. They offered to his 
proposal only the most perfunctory sort of opposition, less 
than they habitually offered to all his measures, good 
or bad. 

And, in point of fact, there was little reason why a 
Whig of the type and class that then governed England 
should be startled or shocked by a proposal to extend the 
English system of stamping documents to the English 
colonies. That Parliament had the legal right to tax the 
colonies was not seriously questionable. Under the British 
Constitution the power of King, Lords and Commons over 
the King's subjects was and is absolute, and none denied 
that the colonists were the King's subjects. They pleaded 
indeed that their charters did not expressly authorize such 

14 



ABMS AND THE RIGHTS OF MAN 15 

taxation ; but neither did they expressly exclude it, and on 
a strict construction it would certainly seem that a power 
which would have existed if there had been no charter 
remained when the charter was silent. 

It might further be urged that equity as well as law 
justified the taxation of the colonies, for the expenditure 
which these taxes were raised to meet was largely incurred 
in defending the colonies first against the French and then 
against the Indians. The method of taxation chosen was 
not new, neither had it been felt to be specially grievous. 
Much revenue is raised in Great Britain and all European 
countries to-day by that method, and there is probably no 
form of taxation at which men grumble less. Its introduc- 
tion into America had actually been recommended on its 
merits by eminent Americans. It had been proposed by 
the Governor of Pennsylvania as early as 1739. It had 
been approved at one time by Benjamin Franklin himself. 
To-day it must seem to most of us both less unjust and 
less oppressive than the Navigation Laws, which the 
colonists bore without complaint. 

As for the suggestion sometimes made that there was 
something unprecedented ly outrageous about an English 
Parliament taxing people who were unrepresented there, it 
is, in view of the constitution of that Parliament, somewhat 
comic. If the Parliament of 1764 could only tax those 
whom it represented, its field of taxation would be somewhat 
narro\y. Indeed, the talk about taxation without repre- 
sentation being tyranny, however honestly it might be 
uttered by an American, could only be conscious or 
unconscious hypocrisy in men like Burke, who were not 
only passing their lives in governing and taxing people 
who were unrepresented, but who were quite impenitently 
determined to resist any attempt to get them represented 
even in the most imperfect fashion. 

All this is true ; and yet it is equally true that the 
proposed tax at once excited across the Atlantic the 
most formidable discontent. Of this discontent we may 
perhaps summarize the immediate causes as follows. 
Firstly, no English minister or Parliament had, as a fact, 
ever before attempted to tax the colonies. That important 
feature of the case distinguished it from that of the 



16 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Navigation Laws, which had prescription on their side. 
Then, if the right to tax were once admitted, no one could 
say how far it would be pushed. Under the Navigation 
Laws the colonists knew just how far they were restricted, 
and they knew that within the limits of such restrictions 
they could still prosper. But if once the claim of the 
British Parliament to tax were quietly accepted, it seemed 
likely enough that every British Minister who had nowhere 
else to turn for a revenue would turn to the unrepresented 
colonies, which would furnish supply after supply until 
they were " bled white." That was a perfectly sound, 
practical consideration, and it naturally appealed with 
especial force to mercantile communities like that of Boston. 

But if we assume that it was the onJy consideration 
involved, we shall misunderstand all that followed, and be 
quite unprepared for the sweeping victory of a purely 
doctrinal political creed which brought about the huge 
domestic revolution of which the breaking of the ties with 
England was but an aspect. The colonists did feel it unjust 
that they should be taxed by an authority which was in no 
way responsible to them ; and they so felt it because, as has 
already been pointed out, they enjoyed in the management 
of their everyday affairs a large measure of practical 
democracy. Therein they differed from the English, who, 
being habitually governed by an oligarchy, did not feel it 
extraordinary that the same oligarchy should tax them. 
The Americans for the most part governed themselves, and 
the oligarchy came in only as an alien and unnatural 
thing levying taxes. Therefore it was resisted. 

The resistance was at first largely instinctive. The 
formulation of the democratic creed which should justify 
it was still to come. Yet already there were voices, especially 
in Virginia, which adumbrated the incomparable phrases 
of the greatest of Virginians. Already Richard Bland had 
appealed to " the law of Nature and those rights of 
mankind that flow from it." Already Patrick Henry had 
said, " Give me liberty or give me death ! " 

It was but a foreshadowing of the struggle to come. In 
1766 the Rockingham Whigs, having come into power upon 
the fall of Grenville, after some hesitation repealed the 
Stamp Act, reaffirming at the same time the abstract right of 



ARMS AND THE RIGHTS OF MAN 17 

Parliament to tax the colonies. America was for the time 
quieted. There followed in England a succession of weak 
Ministries, all, of course, drawn from the same oligarchical 
class, and all of much the same political temper, but all at 
issue with each other, and all more or less permanently at 
issue with the King. As a mere by-product of one of the 
multitudinous intrigues to which this situation gave rise, 
Charles Townshend, a brilliant young Whig orator who 
had become Chancellor of the Exchequer, revived in 1768 
the project of taxing the American colonies. This was 
now proposed in the form of a series of duties levied on 
goods exported to those colonies the one most obnoxious 
to the colonists and most jealously maintained by the 
Ministers being a duty on tea. The Opposition had now 
learnt from the result of the Stamp Act debate that American 
taxation was an excellent issue on which to challenge the 
Ministry, and the Tea Tax became at once a " Party Ques- 
tion " that is, a question upon which the rival oligarchs 
divided themselves into opposing groups. 

Meanwhile in America the new taxes were causing 
even more exasperation than the Stamp Act had caused 
probably because they were more menacing in their form, 
if not much more severe in their effect. At any rate, it is 
significant that in the new struggle we find the commercial 
colony of Massachusetts very decidedly taking the lead. 
The taxed tea, on its arrival in Boston harbour, was seized 
and flung into the sea. A wise Government would have 
withdrawn when it was obvious that the enforcement of the 
taxes would cost far more than the taxes themselves were 
worth, the more so as they had already been so whittled 
down by concessions as to be worth practically nothing, 
and it is likely enough that the generally prudent and 
politic aristocrats who then directed the action of England 
would have reverted to the Rockingham policy had not the 
King made up his unfortunate German mind to the coercion 
and humiliation of the discontented colonists. It is true 
that the British Crown had long lost its power of indepen- 
dent action, and that George III. had failed in his youthful 
attempts to recapture it. Against the oligarchy combined 
he was helpless; but his preference for one group of 
oligarchs over another was still an asset, and he let it 

c 



18 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

clearly be understood that such influence as he possessed 
would be exercised unreservedly in favour of any group 
that would undertake to punish the American rebels. He 
found in Lord North a Minister willing, though not without 
considerable misgivings, to forward his policy and able to 
secure for it a majority in Parliament. And from that 
moment the battle between the Home Government and 
the colonists was joined. 

The character and progress of that battle will best be 
grasped if we mark down certain decisive incidents which 
determine its course. The first of these was the celebrated 
" Boston Tea Party " referred to above. It was the first 
act of overt resistance, and it was followed on the English 
side by the first dispatch of an armed force grossly in- 
adequate for its purpose to America, and on the American 
by the rapid arming and drilling of the local militias not 
yet avowedly against the Crown, but obviously with the 
ultimate intention of resisting the royal authority should 
it be pushed too far. 

The next turning-point is the decision of the British 
Government early in 1774 to revoke the Charter of 
Massachusetts. It is the chief event of the period during 
which war is preparing, and it leads directly to all that 
follows. For it raised a new controversy which could not 
be resolved by the old legal arguments, good or bad. 
Hitherto the colonists had relied upon their interpretation 
of existing charters, while the Government contented itself 
with putting forward a different interpretation. But the 
new action of that Government shifted the ground of debate 
from the question of the interpretation of the charters 
to that of the ultimate source of their authority. The 
Ministers said in effect, " You pretend that this document 
concedes to you the right of immunity from taxation. We 
deny it : but at any rate, it was a free gift from the 
British Crown, and whatever rights you enjoy under it 
you enjoy during His Majesty's pleasure. Since you insist 
on misinterpreting it, we will withdraw it, as we are 
perfectly entitled to do, and we will grant you a new charter 
about the terms of which no such doubts can arise." 

It was a very direct and very fundamental challenge, 
and it inevitably produced two effects the one immediate, 



ARMS AND THE RIGHTS OF MAN 19 

the other somewhat deferred. Its practical first-fruit was 
the Continental Congress. Its ultimate but unmistakably 
logical consequence was the Declaration of Independence. 

America was unified on the instant, for every colony 
felt the knife at its throat. In September a Congress met, 
attended by the representatives of eleven colonies. Peyton 
Randolph, presiding, struck the note of the moment with 
a phrase : " I am not a Virginian, but an American." 
Under Virginian leadership the Congress vigorously backed 
Massachusetts, and in October a " Declaration of Colonial 
Right " had been issued by the authority of all the colonies 
represented there. 

The British Ministers seem to have been incomprehen- 
sibly blind to the seriousness of the situation. Since they 
were pledged not to concede what the colonists demanded, 
it was essential that they should at once summon all the 
forces at their command to crush what was already an 
incipient and most menacing rebellion. They did nothing 
of the sort. They slightly strengthened the totally inade- 
quate garrison which would soon have to face a whole 
people in arms, and they issued a foolish proclamation 
merely provocative and backed by no power that could 
enforce it, forbidding the meeting of Continental Congresses 
in the future. That was in January. In April the 
skirmishes of Lexington and Concord had shown how 
hopelessly insufficient was their military force to meet 
even local sporadic and unorganized revolts. In May the 
second, Continental Congress met, and in July appeared 
by its authority a general call to arms addressed to the 
whole population of America. 

Up Jbo this point the colonists, if rebellious in their 
practical attitude, had been strictly constitutional in their 
avowed aims. In the " Declaration of Colonial Right " of 
1774, and even in the appeal to arms of 1775, all suggestion 
of breaking away from the Empire was repudiated. But 
now that the sword was virtually drawn there were practical 
considerations which made the most prudent of the rebels 
consider whether it would not be wiser to take the final 
step, and frankly repudiate the British Sovereignty alto- 
gether. For one thing, by the laws of England, and 
indeed of all civilized nations, the man who took part in 



20 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

an armed insurrection against the head of the State 
committed treason, and the punishment for treason was 
death. Men who levied war on the King's forces while still 
acknowledging him as their lawful ruler were really inviting 
the Government to hang them as soon as it could catch 
them. It might be more difficult for the British Govern- 
ment to treat as criminals soldiers who were fighting under 
the orders of an organized de facto government, which at 
any rate declared itself to be that of an independent 
nation. Again, foreign aid, which would not be given for the 
purpose of reforming the internal administration of British 
dominions, might well be forthcoming if it were a question 
of dismembering those dominions. These considerations 
were just and carried no little weight ; yet it is doubtful 
if they would have been strong enough to prevail against 
the sentiments and traditions which still bound the colonies 
to the mother country had not the attack on the charters 
forced the controversy back to first principles, and so 
opened the door of history to the man who was to provide 
America with a creed and to convert the controversy from 
a legal to something like a religious quarrel. 

Old Peyton Randolph, who had so largely guided the 
deliberations of the first Continental Congress, was at 
the last moment prevented by ill-health from attending 
the second. His place in the Virginian Delegation was 
taken by Thomas Jefferson. 

Jefferson was not yet thirty when he took his seat in 
the Continental Congress, but he was already a notable 
figure in his native State. He belonged by birth to the 
slave-holding gentry of the South, though not to the richest 
and most exclusive section of that class. Physically he 
was long limbed and loose jointed, but muscular, with a 
strong ugly face and red hair. He was adept at the 
physical exercises which the Southerners cultivated most 
assiduously, a bold and tireless rider who could spend days 
in the saddle without fatigue, and a crack shot even among 
Virginians. In pursuit of the arts and especially of music 
he was equally eager, and his restless intelligence was 
keenly intrigued by the new wonders that physical science 
was beginning to reveal to men ; mocking allusions to his 
interest in the habits of horned frogs will be found in 



ARMS AND THE RIGHTS OF MAN 21 

American pasquinades of two generations. He had sat in 
the Virginian House of Burgesses and had taken a prominent 
part in the resistance of that body to the royal demands. 
As a speaker, however, he was never highly successful, and 
a just knowledge of his own limitations, combined perhaps 
with a temperamental dislike, generally led him to rely on 
his pen rather than his tongue in public debate. For as 
a writer he had a command of a pure, lucid and noble 
English unequalled in his generation and equalled by 
Corbett alone. 

But for history the most important thing about the 
man is his creed. It was the creed of a man in the fore- 
front of his age, an age when French thinkers were busy 
drawing from the heritage of Latin civilizations those 
fundamental principles of old Rome which custom and the 
corruptions of time had overgrown. The gospel of the 
new age had already been written : it had brought to 
the just mind of Jefferson a conviction which he was to 
communicate to all his countrymen, and through them 
to the new nation which the sword was creating. The 
Declaration of Independence is the foundation stone of the 
American Republic, and the Declaration of Independence 
in its essential part is but an incomparable translation and 
compression of the Contrat Social. The aid which France 
brought to America did not begin when a French fleet 
sailed into Chesapeake Bay. It began when, perhaps 
years before the first whisper of discontent, Thomas 
Jefferson sat down in his Virginian study to read the latest 
work of the ingenious M. Rousseau. 

For now the time was rife for such intellectual leader- 
ship as Jefferson, armed by Rousseau, could supply. The 
challenge flung down by the British Government in the 
matter of the Charter of Massachusetts was to be taken up. 
The argument that whatever rights Americans might have 
they derived from Royal Charters was to be answered by 
one who held that their " inalienable rights " were derived 
from a primordial charter granted not by King George but 
by his Maker. 

The second Continental Congress, after many hesitations, 
determined at length upon a complete severance with the 
mother country. A resolution to that effect was carried 



22 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

on the motion of Lee, the great Virginian gentleman, an 
ancestor of the noblest of Southern warriors. After much 
adroit negotiations a unanimous vote was secured for it. A 
committee was appointed to draft a formal announcement 
and defence of the step which had been taken. Jefferson 
was chosen a member of the committee, and to him was most 
wisely entrusted thejjrafting of the famous " Declaration." 
The introductory paragraphs of the Declaration of 
Independence contain the whole substance of the faith 
upon which the new Commonwealth was to be built. 
Without a full comprehension of their contents the subse- 
quent history of America would be unintelligible. It will 
therefore be well to quote them here verbatim, and I do 
so the more readily because, apart from their historic 
importance, it is a pity that more Englishmen are not 
acquainted with this masterpiece of English prose. 

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary 
for one people to dissolve the political bands ivhich have con- 
nected them with another and to assume among the powers 
of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws 
of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect 
for the opinion of Mankind requires that they shall declare 
the cause that impels the separation. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident : that all men are 
created equal ; that they are endowed by their Creator with 
certain inalienable rights ; that among these are life t liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights 
governments are instituted among men, deriving their just 
powers from the consent of the governed ; that whenever any 
form of government becomes destructive of those ends it is the 
right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to reinstate a 
new government, laying its foundation on such principles and 
organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most 
likely to effect their safety and happiness. 

^ The Declaration goes on to specify the causes of 
grievances which the colonists conceive themselves to have 
against the royal government, and concludes as follows : 

We, therefore, the representatives of the United tates 
of America in General Congress asscmlled, appealing to the 



ARMS AND THE RIGHTS OF MAN 23 

Supreme Judge of the World for the rectitude of our inten- 
tions, do in the name and by the authority of the good people 
of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these 
United Colonies are and of right ought to be -Free and 
Independent States. 

The first principles set out in the Declaration must be 
rightly grasped if American history is understood, for 
indeed the story of America is merely the story of the 
working out of those principles. Briefly the theses are 
two : first, that men are of right equal, and secondly, 
that the moral basis of the relations between governors 
and governed is contractual. Both doctrines have in this 
age had to stand the fire of criticisms almost too puerile 
to be noticed. It is gravely pointed out that men are of 
different heights and weights, that they vary in muscular 
power and mental cultivation as if either Rousseau or 
Jefferson was likely to have failed to notice this occult fact ! 
Similarly the doctrine of the contractual basis of society is 
met by a demand for the production of a signed, sealed, 
and delivered contract, or at least for evidence that such 
a contract was ever made. But Rousseau says with a 
good sense and modesty which dealers in "prehistoric" 
history would do well to copy that he does not know how 
government in fact arose. Nor does anyone else. What 
he maintains is that the moral sanction of government is 
contractual, or, as Jefferson puts it, that government 
" derives its just powers from the consent of the governed." 

The doctrine of human equality is in a sense mystical. 
It is not apparent to the senses, nor can it be logically 
demonstrated as an inference from anything of which 
the senses can take cognizance. It can only be stated 
accurately, and left to make its appeal to men's minds. It 
may be stated theologically by saying, as the Christian 
theology says, that all men are equal before God. Or it 
may be stated in the form which Jefferson uses that all 
men are equal in their "inalienable rights." But it must 
be accepted as a first principle or not at all. The nearest 
approach to a method of proving it is to take the alterna- 
tive proposition and deduce its logical conclusion. Would 
those who would maintain that the " wisest and best " have 
rights superior to those of their neighbours, welcome a law 



24 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

which would enable any person demonstrably wiser or 
more virtuous than themselves to put them to death ? I 
think that most of them have enough modesty (and 
humour) to shrink, as Huxley did, from such a proposition. 
But the alternative is the acceptance of Jefferson's doctrine 
that the fundamental rights of men are independent of 
adventitious differences, whether material or moral, and 
depend simply upon their manhood. 

The other proposition, the contractual basis of human 
society and its logical consequences, the supremacy of the 
general will, can be argued in the same fashion. It is best 
defended by asking, like the Jesuit Suarez, the simple 
question : " If sovereignty is not in the People, where is 
it ? " It is useless to answer that it is in the " wisest 
and best." Who are the wisest and best ? For practical 
purposes the phrases must mean either those whom their 
neighbours think wisest and best in which case the 
ultimate test of democracy is conceded or those who 
think themselves wisest and best : which latter is what in 
the mouths of such advocates it usually does mean. Thus 
those to whom the Divine Eight of the conceited makes no 
appeal are forced back on the Jeffersonian formula. Let 
it be noted that that formula does not mean that the people 
are always right or that a people cannot collectively do 
deliberate injustice or commit sins indeed, inferentially it 
implies that possibility but it means that there is on 
earth no temporal authority superior to the general will 
of a community. 

It is, however, no part of the function of this book to 
argue upon the propositions contained in the Declaration 
of Independence. It is merely necessary to chronicle the 
historical fact that Jefferson, as mouthpiece of the Continental 
Congress, put forward these propositions as self-evident, and 
that all America, looking at them, accepted them as such. 
On that acceptance, the intensity and ardent conviction of 
which showed itself, as will presently be seen, in a hundred 
ways, the American Commonwealth is built. In the modern 
haze of doubt and amid the denial of all necessary things, 
there have been found plenty of sophists, even in America, to 
dispute these great truisms. But if the American nation 
as a whole ever ceases to believe in them, it will not merely 



ARMS AND THE RIGHTS OF MAN 25 

decay, as all nations decay when they lose touch with 
eternal truths ; it will drop suddenly dead. 

We must now turn back a little in time in order to 
make clear the military situation as it stood when Jefferson's 
" Declaration " turned the war into a war of doctrines. 

The summer of 1775 saw the first engagement which 
could well be dignified with the name of a battle. A small 
English force had been sent to Boston with the object of 
coercing the recalcitrant colony of Massachusetts. It was 
absolutely insufficient, as the event showed, even for that 
purpose, and before it had landed it was apparent that its 
real task would be nothing less than the conquest of 
America. The Massachusetts rebels wisely determined to 
avoid a combat with the guns of the British fleet; they 
abandoned the city and entrenched themselves in a strong 
position in the neighbourhood known as Bunker's Hill. The 
British troops marched out of Boston to dislodge them. This 
they eventually succeeded in doing ; and those who regard 
war as a game like billiards to be settled by scoring points 
may claim Bunker's Hill as a British victory. But it 
produced all the consequences of a defeat. The rebel army 
was not destroyed; it was even less weakened than the 
force opposed to it, It retired in good order" to a position 
somewhat further back, and the British force had no option 
but to return to Boston with its essential work undone. For 
some time England continued to hold Boston, but the State 
of Massachusetts remained in American hands. At last, in 
the absence of any hope of any effective action, the small 
English garrison withdrew, leaving the original prize of 
war to the rebels. 

On the eve of this indecisive contest the American 
Congress met to consider the selection of a commander-in- 
chief for the revolutionary armies. Their choice fell on 
General George Washington, a Virginian soldier who, as 
has been remarked, had served with some distinction in the 
French wars. 

The choice was a most fortunate one. America and 
England have agreed to praise Washington's character so 
highly that at the hands of the young and irreverent he is 
in some danger of the fate of Aristides. For the benefit of 
those who tend to weary of the Cherry Tree and the Little 



26 * A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Hatchet, it may be well to say that Washington was a very 
typical Southern gentleman in his foibles as well as in his 
virtues. Though his temper was in large matters under 
strict control, it was occasionally formidable and vented 
itself in a free and cheerful profanity. He loved good wine, 
and like most eighteenth-century gentlemen, was not 
sparing in its use. He had a Southerner's admiration for 
the other sex an admiration which, if gossip may be 
credited, was not always strictly confined within monogamic 
limits. He had also, in large measure, the high dignity 
and courtesy of his class, and an enlarged liberality of 
temper which usually goes with such good breeding. There 
is no story of him more really characteristic than that of 
his ceremoniously returning the salute of an aged Negro 
and saying to a friend who was disposed to deride his 
actions : " Would you have me let a poor ignorant coloured 
man say that he had better manners than I ? " For the 
rest the traditional eulogy of his public character is not 
undeserved. It may justly be said of him, as it can be 
said of few of the great men who have moulded the 
destinies of nations, that history can put its fingers on no 
act of his and say : " Here this man was preferring his own 
interest to his country's." 

As a military commander Washington ranks high. He 
had not, indeed, the genius of a Marlborough or a Napoleon. 
Rather he owed his success to a thorough grasp of his 
profession combined with just that, remarkably level and 
unbiassed judgment which distinguished his conduct of 
civil affairs. He understood very clearly the conditions of 
the war in which he was to engage. He knew that Great 
Britain, as soon as she really woke up to the seriousness of 
her peril, would send out a formidable force of well-disciplined 
professional soldiers, and that at the hands of such a force 
no mere levy of enthusiastic volunteers could expect any- 
thing but defeat. The breathing space which the incredible 
supineness of the British Government allowed him enabled 
him to form something like a real army. Throughout the 
campaigns that followed his primary object was not to win 
victories, but to keep that army in being. So long as it 
existed, he knew that it could be continually reinforced by 
the enthusiasm of the colonials, and that the recruits so 



ARMS AND THE BIGHTS OF MAN 27 

obtained could be consolidated into and imbued with the 
spirit of a disciplined body. The moment it ceased to exist 
Great Britain would have to deal simply with rebellious 
populations, and Washington was soldier enough to know 
that an army can always in time break up and keep down 
a mere population, however eager and courageous. 

And now England at last did what, if she were deter- 
mined to enforce her will upon the colonists, she ought to 
have done at least five years before. She sent out an army 
on a scale at least reasonably adequate to the business for 
which it was designed. It consisted partly of excellent 
British troops and partly of those mercenaries whom the 
smaller German princes let out for hire to those who chose 
to employ them. It was commanded by Lord Howe. The 
objective of the new invasion for the procrastination of 
the British Government had allowed the war to assume 
that character was the city of New York. 

New York harbour possesses, as anyone who enters it 
can see, excellent natural defences. Manhattan Island, 
upon which the city is built, lies at the mouth of the 
Hudson between two arms of that river. At the estuary 
are a number of small islets well suited for the emplace- 
ment of powerful guns. The southern bank runs north- 
ward into a sharp promontory, at the end of which now 
stands the most formidable of American fortresses. The 
northern approach is covered by Long Island. The 
British command decided on the reduction of Long Island 
as a preliminary to an assault upon the city. The island 
is long and narrow, and a ridge of high ground runs down 
it like a backbone. This ridge Washington's army sought 
to hold against the attack of the British forces. It was the 
first real battle of the war, and it resulted in a defeat so 
overwhelming that it might well have decided the fate of 
America had not Washington, as soon as he saw how the 
day was going, bent all his energies to the tough task of 
saving his army. It narrowly escaped complete destruction, 
but ultimately a great part succeeded, though with great 
loss and not a little demoralization, in reaching Brooklyn 
in safety. 

The Americans still held New York, the right bank of 
the Hudson ; but their flank was dangerously threatened, 



28 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

and Washington, true to his policy, preferred the damaging 
loss of New York to the risk of his army. He retired inland, 
again offered battle, was again defeated and forced back into 
Pennsylvania. So decided did the superiority of the British 
army prove to be that eventually Philadelphia itself, then 
the capital of the Confederacy, had to be abandoned. 

Meanwhile another British army under the command 
of General Burgoyne held Canada. That province had 
shown no disposition to join in the revolt; an early attempt 
on the part of the rebels to invade it had been successfully 
repelled. Besides English and German troops, Burgoyne 
had the aid of several tribes of Indian auxiliaries, whose 
aid the British Government had been at some pains 
to secure a policy denounced by Chatham in a powerful 
and much-quoted speech. Burgoyne was a clever and 
imaginative though not a successful soldier. He conceived 
and suggested to his Government a plan of campaign 
which was sound in strategic principle, which might well 
have succeeded, and which, if it had succeeded, would have 
dealt a heavy and perhaps a decisive blow to American 
hopes. How far its failure is to be attributed to his own 
faulty execution, how far to the blunders of the Home 
Government, and how far to accidents which the best 
general cannot always avoid, is still disputed. But that 
failure was certainly the turning-point of the war. 

Burgoyne's project was this : He proposed to advance 
from Canada and push across the belt of high land which 
forms the northern portion of what is now New York 
State, until he struck the upper Hudson. Howe was at 
the same time to advance northward up the Hudson, join 
hands with him and cut the rebellion in two. 

It was a good plan. The cutting off and crushing of 
one isolated district after another is just the fashion in 
which widespread insurrectionary movements have most 
generally been suppressed by military force. The Govern- 
ment accepted it, but, owing as it would seem to the 
laziness or levity of the English Minister involved, 
instructions never reached Howe until it was too late for 
him to give effective support to his colleague. All, how- 
ever, might have prospered had Burgoyne been able to 
more rapidly. His first stroke promised well. The 



ARMS AND THE BIGHTS OF MAN 29 

important fort of Triconderoga was surprised and easily 
captured, and the road was open for his soldiers into the 
highlands. But that advance proved disastrously slow. 
Weeks passed before he approached the Hudson. His 
supplies were running short, and when he^. reached Sara- 
toga, instead of joining hands with Howe he found himself 
confronted by strongly posted American forces, greatly 
outnumbering his own ill-sustained and exhausted army. 
Seeing no sign of the relief which he had expected to the 
south though as a fact Howe had by this time learnt of 
the expedition and was hastening to his assistance on 
October 6, 1777, he and his army surrendered to the 
American commander, General Gates. 

The effect of Burgoyne's surrender was great in America ; 
to those whose hopes had been dashed by the disaster of 
Long Island, the surrender of New York and Washington's 
enforced retreat it brought not only a revival of hope but 
a definite confidence in ultimate success. But that effect 
was even greater in Europe. Its immediate fruit was Lord 
North's famous " olive branch " of 1778 ; the decision of 
the British Government to accept defeat on the original 
issue of the war, and to agree to a surrender of the claim 
to tax the colonists on condition of their return to their 
allegiance. Such a proposition made three years earlier 
would certainly have produced immediate peace. Perhaps 
it might have produced peace even as it was though it is 
unlikely, for the declaration had filled men's souls with a 
new hunger for pure democracy if the Americans had 
occupied the same isolated position which was theirs when 
the war began. But it was not in London alone that 
Saratoga had produced its effect. While it decided the 
wavering councils of the British Ministry in favour of 
concessions, it also decided the wavering councils of the 
French Crown in favour of intervention. 

As early as 1776 a mission had been sent to Versailles 
to solicit on behalf of the colonists the aid of France. Its 
principal member was Benjamin Franklin, the one revolu- 
tionary leader of the first rank who came from the Northern 
colonies. He had all the shrewdness and humour of the 
Yankee with an enlarged intelligence and a wide knowledge 
of men which made him an almost ideal negotiator in such 



30 A HISTOBY OF THE UNITED STATES 

a cause. Yet for some time his mission hung fire. France 
had not forgotten her expulsion from the North American 
continent twenty years before. She could not but desire 
the success of the colonists and the weakening or dis- 
memberment * of the British Empire. Moreover, French 
public opinion - and its power under the Monarchy, 
though insufficient, was far greater than is now generally 
understood full of the new ideals which were to produce 
the Ke volution, was warmly in sympathy with the rebellion. 
But, on the other hand, an open breach with England 
involved serious risks. France was only just recovering 
from the effects of a great war in which she had on the 
whole been worsted, and very decidedly worsted, in the 
colonial field. The revolt of the English colonies might 
seem a tempting opportunity for revenge ; but suppose 
that the colonial resistance collapsed before effective aid 
could arrive ? Suppose the colonists merely used the 
threat of French intervention to extort terms from England 
and then made common cause against the foreigner? 
These obvious considerations made the French statesmen 
hesitate. Aid was indeed given to the colonial rebels, 
especially in the very valuable form of arms and muni- 
tions, but it was given secretly and unofficially, with the 
satirist Beaumarchais, clever, daring, unscrupulous and 
ready to push his damaged fortunes in any fashion, as 
unaccredited go-between. But in the matter of open 
alliance with the rebels against the IJritish Government 
France temporized, nor could the utmost efforts of Franklin 
and his colleagues extort a decision. 

Saratoga extorted it. On the one hand it removed a 
principal cause of hesitation. After such a success it was 
unlikely that the colonists would tamely surrender. On 
the other it made it necessary to take immediate action. 
Lord North's attitude showed clearly that the British 
Government was ready to make terms with the colonists. 
It was clearly in the interests of France that those terms 
should be refused. She must venture something to make 
sure of such a refusal. With little hesitation the advisers 
of the French Crown determined to take the plunge. They 
acknowledged the revolted colonies as independent States, 
and entered into a defensive alliance with these States 



ARMS AND THE BIGHTS OF MAN 31 

against Great Britain. That recognition and alliance 
immediately determined the issue of the war. What would 
have happened if it had been withheld cannot be certainly 
determined. It seems not unlikely that the war would have 
ended as the South African War ended, in large surrenders 
of the substance of Imperial power in return for a theoretic 
acknowledgment of its authority. But all this is specula- 
tive. The practical fact is that England found herself, 
in the middle of a laborious, and so far on the whole 
unsuccessful, effort to crush the rebellion of her colonies, 
confronted by a war with France, which, through the close 
alliance then existing between the two Bourbon monarchies, 
soon became a war with both France and Spain. This 
change converted the task of subjugation from a difficult but 
practicable one, given sufficient time and determination, to 
one fundamentally impossible. 

Yet, so far as the actual military situation was concerned, 
there were no darker days for the Americans than those 
which intervened between the promise of French help and 
its fulfilment. Lord Cornwallis had appeared in the South 
and had taken possession of Charleston, the chief port 
of South Carolina. In that State the inhabitants were less 
unanimous than elsewhere. The " Tories," as the local 
adherents of the English Crown were called, had already 
attempted a rebellion against the rebellion, but had been 
forced to yield to the Republican majority backed by the 
army of Washington. The presence of Cornwallis revived 
their courage. They boasted in Taiieton, able, enterprising 
and imperious, an excellent commander for the direction 
of irregular warfare, whose name and that of the squadron 
of horse which he raised and organized became to the 
rebels what the names of Claverhouse and his dragoons 
were to the Covenanters. Cornwallis and Tarleton between 
them completely reduced the Carolinas, save for the strip 
of mountainous country to the north, wherein many of 
those families that Taiieton had " burnt out " found refuge, 
and proceeded to overrun Georgia. Only two successes 
encouraged the rebels. At the Battle of the Cowpens 
Taiieton haying, with the recklessness which was the defeat 
of his qualities as a leader, advanced too far into the hostile 
country, was met and completely defeated by Washington. 



32 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

The defeat produced little immediate result, but it was the one 
definite military success which the American general achieved 
before the advent of the French, and it helped to keep up 
the spirit of the insurgents. Perhaps even greater in its 
moral effect was the other victory, which from the military 
point of view was even more insignificant. In Sumter and 
Davie the rebels found two cavalry leaders fully as daring 
and capable as Tarleton himself. They formed from among 
the refugees who had sought the shelter of the Carolinian 
hills a troop of horse with which they made a sudden raid 
upon the conquered province and broke the local Tories at 
the Battle of the Hanging Rock. It was a small affair so 
far as numbers went, and Davie's troopers were a handful 
of irregulars drawn as best might be from the hard-riding, 
sharp-shooting population of the South. Many of them 
were mere striplings ; indeed, among them was a boy of 
thirteen, an incorrigible young rebel who had run away 
from school to take part in the fighting. In the course 
of this narration it will be necessary to refer to that boy 
again more thair once. His name was Andrew Jackson. 

While there was so little in the events of the Southern 
campaign to bring comfort to the rebels, in the North their 
cause suffered a moral blow which was felt at the moment 
to be almost as grave as any military disaster. Here the 
principal American force was commanded by one of the 
ablest soldiers the Rebellion had produced, a man who 
might well have disputed the pre-eminent fame of Wash- 
ington if he had not chosen rather to challenge and with 
no contemptible measures of success that of Iscariot. 
Benedict Arnold was, like Washington, a professional 
soldier whose talent had been recognized before the war. 
He had early embraced the revolutionary cause, and had 
borne a brilliant part in the campaign which ended in the 
surrender of Bourgoyne. There seemed before him every 
prospect of a glorious career. The motives which led him 
to the most inexpiable of human crimes were perhaps 
mixed, though all of them were poisonous. He was in 
savage need of money to support the extravagance of his 
private tastes : the Confederacy had none to give, while the 
Crown had plenty. But it seems also that his ravenous 
vanity had been wounded, first by the fact that the glory of 



ARMS AND THE RIGHTS OF MAN 33 

Burgoyne's defeat had gone to Gates and not to him, and 
afterwards by a censure, temperate and tactful enough and 
accompanied by a liberal eulogy of his general conduct, 
which Washington had felt obliged to pass on certain of his 
later military proceedings. At any rate, the " ingratitude " 
of his country was the reason he publicly alleged for his 
treason ; and those interested in the psychology of infamy 
may give it such weight as it may seem to deserve. For 
history the important fact is that Arnold at this point in 
the campaign secretly offered his services to the English, 
and the offer was accepted. 

Arnold escaped to the British camp and was safe. The 
unfortunate gentleman on whom patriotic duty laid the 
unhappy task of trafficking with the traitor was less 
fortunate. Major Andre had been imprudent enough to 
pay a visit to a spot behind the American lines, and, at 
Arnold's suggestion, to do so in plain clothes. He was 
taken, tried, and hanged as a spy. Though espionage was 
not his intention, the Americans cannot fairly be blamed 
for deciding that he should die. He had undoubtedly 
committed an act which was the act of a spy in the eyes 
of military law. It is pretty certain that a hint was given 
that the authorities would gladly exchange him for Arnold, 
and it is very probable that the unslaked thirst for just 
vengeance against Arnold was partly responsible for the 
refusal of the American commanders to show mercy. 
Andre's courage and dignity made a profound impression 
on them, and there was a strong disposition to comply 
with his request that he should at least be shot instead 
of hanged. But to that concession a valid and indeed 
irresistible objection was urged. Whatever the Americans 
did was certain to be scanned with critical and suspicious 
eyes. Little could be said in the face of the facts if they 
treated Andre as a spy and inflicted on him the normal 
fate of a spy. But if they showed that they scrupled to 
hang him as a spy, it would be easy to say that they had 
shot a prisoner of war. 

Arnold was given a command in the South, and the 
rage of the population of that region was intensified into 
something like torment when they saw their lands occupied 
and their fields devastated no longer by a stranger from 



34 A HISTORY OP THE UNITED STATES 

overseas who was but fulfilling his military duty, but by 
a cynical and triumphant traitor. Virginia was invaded 
and a bold stroke almost resulted in the capture of the 
author of the Declaration of Independence himself, who 
had been elected Governor of that State. In the course 
of these raids many abominable things were done which 
it is unnecessary to chronicle here. The regular English 
troops, on the whole, behaved reasonably well, but 
Tarleton's native " Tories " were inflamed by a fanaticism 
far fiercer than theirs, while atrocity was of course normal 
to the warfare of the barbarous mercenaries of England, 
whether Indian or German. It is equally a matter of 
course that such excesses provoked frequent reprisals from 
the irregular colonial levies. 

But aid was at last at hand. Already Lafayette, a 
young French noble of liberal leanings, had appeared in 
Washington's camp at the head of a band of volunteers, 
and the accession, small as it was, led to a distinct revival 
of the fortunes of the revolution in the South. It was, 
however, but a beginning. England, under pressure of the 
war with France and # Spain, lost that absolute supremacy 
at sea which has ever been and ever will be necessary to 
her conduct of a successful war. A formidable French 
armament was able to cross the Atlantic. A French fleet 
threatened the coasts. Cornwallis, not knowing at which 
point the blow would fall, was compelled to withdraw 
his forces from the country they had overrun, and to 
concentrate them in a strong position in the peninsula 
of Yorktown. Here he was threatened on both sides by 
Washington and Rochambeau, while the armada of De 
Grasse menaced him from the sea. The war took on 
the character of a siege. His resources were speedily 
exhausted, and on September 19, 1781, he surrendered. 

It was really the end of the war so far as America was 
concerned, though the struggle between England and 
France continued for a time with varying fortunes in other 
theatres, and the Americans, though approached with 
tempting offers, wisely as well as righteously refused to 
make a separate peace at the expense of their Allies. But 
the end could no longer be in doubt. The surrender of 
Burgoyne had forced North to make concessions; the 



ARMS AND THE EIGHTS OP MAN 35 

surrender of Cornwallis made his resignation inevitable. 
A new Ministry was formed under Bockingham pledged to 
make peace. Franklin again went to Paris as representative 
of the Confederation and showed himself a diplomatist 
of the first rank. To the firmness with which he main- 
tained the Alliance against the most skilful attempts 
to dissolve it must largely be attributed the successful 
conclusion of a general peace on terms favourable to 
the Allies and especially favourable to America. Britain 
recognized the independence of her thirteen revolted 
colonies, and peace was restored. 

I have said that England recognized her thirteen 
revolted colonies. She did not recognize the American 
Republic, for as yet there was none to recognize. The war 
had been conducted on the American side nominally by the 
Continental Congress, an admittedly ad hoc authority not 
pretending to permanency ; really by Washington and his 
army which, with the new flag symbolically emblazoned 
with thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, was the one 
rallying point of unity. That also was now to be dissolved. 
The States had willed to be free, and they were free. 
Would they, in their freedom, will effectively to be a 
nation ? That was a question which not the wisest 
observer could answer at the time, and which was not 
perhaps fully answered until well within the memory of 
men still living. Its solution will necessarily form the 
main subject of this book. 



CHAPTER III 

" WE, THE PEOPLE " 

AN account of the American Revolution which took 
cognizance only of the armed conflict with England would 
tell much less than half the truth, and even that half would 
be misleading. If anyone doubts that the real inspira- 
tion which made America a nation was drawn, not from 
Whiggish quarrels about taxes, but from the great dogmas 
promulgated by Jefferson, it is sufficient to point out that 
the States did not even wait till their victory over England 
was assured before effecting a complete internal revolution 
on the basis of those dogmas. Before the last shot had 
been fired almost the last privilege had disappeared. 

The process was a spontaneous one, and its fruits 
appear almost simultaneously in every State. They can 
be followed best in Virginia, where Jefferson himself took 
the lead in the work of revolutionary reform. 

Hereditary titles and privileges went first. On this 
point public feeling became so strong that the proposal to 
form after the war a society to be called " the Cincinnati," 
which was to consist of those who had taken a prominent 
part in the war and afterwards of their descendants, 
was met, in spite of the respect in which Washington and 
the other military heroes were held, with so marked an 
expression of public disapproval that the hereditary part 
of the scheme had to be dropped. 

Franchises were simplified, equalized, broadened, so 
that in practically every State the whole adult male popu- 
lation of European race received the suffrage. Social and 
economic reforms having the excellent aim of securing and 
maintaining a wide distribution of property, especially of 
land, were equally prominent among the achievements of 
that time. Jefferson himself carried in Virginia a drastic 

3G 



"WE, THE PEOPLE" 37 

code of Land Laws, which anticipated many of the essential 
provisions which through the Code Napoleon revolutionized 
the system of land-owning in Europe. As to the practical 
effect of such reforms we have the testimony of a man 
whose instinct for referring all things to practice was, if 
anything, an excess, and whose love for England was the 
master passion of his life. " Every object almost that 
strikes my view," wrote William Cobbett many years 
later, " sends my mind and heart back to England. In 
viewing the ease and happiness of this people the contrast 
fills my soul with indignation, and makes it more and more 
the object of my life to assist in the destruction of the 
diabolical usurpation which has trampled on king as well as 
people." 

Another principle, not connected by any direct logic 
with democracy and not set forth in the Declaration of 
Independence, was closely associated with the democratic 
thesis by the great French thinkers by whom that thesis 
was revived, and had a strong hold upon the mind of 
Jefferson the principle of religious equality, or, as it 
might be more exactly defined, of the Secular State. 

So many loose and absurd interpretations of this 
principle have been and are daily being propounded, that 
it may be well to state succinctly what it does and does 
not mean. 

It does not mean that anyone may commit any anti- 
social act that appeals to him, and claim immunity from 
the law on the ground that he is impelled to that act by 
his religion : can rob as a conscientious communist, murder 
as a conscientious Thug, or refuse military service as 
a conscientious objector. None understood better than 
Jefferson it was the first principle of his whole political 
system that there must be some basis of agreement 
amongst citizens as to what is right and what is wrong, and 
that what the consensus of citizens regards as wrong must 
be punished by the law. All that the doctrine of the 
Secular State asserted was that such general agreement 
among citizens need not include, as in most modern States 
it obviously does not include, an agreement on the subject 
of religion. Religion is, so to speak, left out of the Social 
Contract, and consequently each individual retains his 



38 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

natural liberty to entertain and promulgate what views he 
likes concerning it, so long as such views do not bring him 
into conflict with those general principles of morality, 
patriotism and social order upon which the citizens of the 
State are agreed, and which form the basis of its laws. 

The public mind of America was for the most part well 
prepared for the application of this principle. We have 
already noted how the first experiment in the purely 
secular organization of society had been made in the 
Catholic colony of Maryland and the Quaker colony of 
Pennsylvania. The principle was now applied in its 
completeness to one State after another. The Episcopalian 
establishment of Jefferson's own State was the first to fall ; 
the other States soon followed the example of Virginia. 

At the same time penalties or disabilities imposed as 
a consequence of religious opinions were everywhere 
abrogated. Only in New England was there any hesitation. 
The Puritan States did not take kindly to the idea of 
tolerating Popery. In the early days of the revolution 
their leaders had actually made it one of the counts of their 
indictment against the British Government that that 
Government had made peace with Anti-Christ in French 
Canada a fact remembered to the permanent hurt of the 
Confederacy when the French Canadians were afterwards 
invited to make common cause with the American rebels. 
But the tide was too strong even for Calvinists to resist ; 
the equality of all religions before the law was recognized 
in every State, and became, as it remains to-day, a 
fundamental part of the American Constitution. 

It may be added that America affords the one 
conspicuous example of the Secular State completely 
succeeding. In France, where the same principles were 
applied under the same inspiration, the ultimate result 
was something wholly different : an organized Atheism 
persecuting the Christian Faith. In England the principle 
has never been avowedly applied at all. In theory the 
English State still professes the form of Protestant 
Christianity defined in the Prayer-book, and "tolerates" 
dissenters from it as the Christian States of the middle 
ages tolerated the Jews, and as in France, during the 
interval between the promulgation of the Edict of Nantes 



"WE, THE PEOPLE" 39 

and its revocation, a State definitely and even pronouncedly 
Catholic tolerated the Huguenots. Each dissentient religious 
body claims its right to exist in virtue of some specific Act 
of Parliament. Theoretically it is still an exception, though 
the exceptions have swallowed the rule. 

Moreover, even under this rather hazy toleration, those 
who believe either more or less than the bulk of their 
fellow-countrymen and who boldly proclaim their belief 
usually find themselves at a political disadvantage. In 
America it never seems to have been so. Jefferson him- 
self, a Deist (the claim sometimes made that he was a 
" Christian " seems to rest on nothing more solid than the 
fact that, like nearly all the eighteenth-century Deists, he 
expressed admiration for the character and teaching of 
Jesus Christ), never for a moment forfeited the confidence 
of his countrymen on that account, though attempts were 
made, notably by John Adams, to exploit it against him, 
Taney, a Catholic, was raised without objection on that 
score to the first judicial post in America, at a date when 
such an appointment would have raised a serious tumult in 
England. At a later date Ingersoll was able to vary the 
pastime of " Bible-smashing " with the profession of an 
active Republican wire-puller, without any of the embarrass- 
ments which that much better and honester man, Charles 
Bradlaugh, had to encounter. The American Republic 
has not escaped the difficulties and problems which are 
inevitable to the Secular State, when some of its citizens 
profess a religion which brings them into conflict with 
the common system of morals which the nation takes for 
granted ; the case of the Mormons is a typical example of 
such a problem. But there is some evidence that, as the 
Americans have applied the doctrine far more logically than 
we, they have also a keener perception of the logic of its 
limitations. At any rate, it is notable that Congress has 
refused, in its Conscription Act, to follow our amazing 
example and make the conscience of the criminal the judge 
of the validity of legal proceedings against him. 

Changes so momentous, made in so drastic and sweep- 
ing a fashion in the middle of a life and death struggle for 
national existence, show how vigorous and compelling was 
the popular impulse towards reform. Yet all the great 



40 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

things that were done seem dwarfed by one enormous 
thing left undone ; the heroic tasks which the Americans 
accomplished are forgotten in the thought of the task which 
stared them in the face, but from which they, perhaps 
justifiably, shrank. All the injustices which were abolished 
in that superb crusade against privilege only made plainer 
the shape of the one huge privilege, the one typical injustice 
which still stood the blacker against such a dawn Negro 
Slavery. 

It has already been mentioned that Slavery was at one 
time universal in the English colonies and was generally 
approved by American opinion, North and South. Before 
the end of the War of Independence it was almost as 
generally disapproved, and in all States north of the 
borders of Maryland it soon ceased to exist. 

This was not because democratic ideals were more 
devotedly cherished in the North than in the South ; on 
the whole the contrary was the case. But the institution 
of Slavery was in no way necessary to the normal life and 
industry of the North ; its abrogation made little difference, 
and the rising tide of the new ideas to which it was 
necessarily odious easily swept it away. In their method 
of dealing with it the Northerners, it must be owned, 
were kinder to themselves than to the Negroes. They 
declared Slavery illegal within their own borders, btft they 
generally gave the slave-holder time to dispose of his 
human property by selling it in the States where Slavery 
still existed. This fact is worth noting, because it became 
a prime cause of resentment and bitterness when, at a later 
date, the North began to reproach the South with the guilt 
of slave-owning. For the South was faced with no such 
easy and manageable problem. Its coloured population 
was almost equal in number to its white colonists ; in some 
districts it was even greatly preponderant. Its staple 
industries were based on slave labour. To abolish Slavery 
would mean an industrial revolution of staggering magnitude 
of which the issue could not be foreseen. And even if that 
were faced, there remained the sinister and apparently 
insoluble problem of what to do with the emancipated 
Negroes. Jefferson, who felt the reproach of Slavery 
keenly, proposed to the legislature of Virginia a scheme so 



"WE, THE PEOPLE" 41 

radical and comprehensive in its character that it is not 
surprising if men less intrepid than he refused to adopt it. 
He proposed nothing less than the wholesale repatriation 
of the blacks, who were to set up in 1 Africa a Negro Republic 
of their own under American protection. Jefferson fully 
understood the principles and implications of democracy, 
and he was also thoroughly conversant with Southern 
conditions, and the fact that he thought (and events have 
certainly gone far to justify him) that so drastic a solution 
was the only one that offered hope of a permanent and 
satisfactory settlement is sufficient evidence that the 
problem was no easy one. For the first time Jefferson 
failed to carry Virginia with him; and Slavery remained 
an institution sanctioned by law in every State south of the 
Mason-Dixon Line. 

While the States were thus dealing with the problems 
raised by the application to their internal administration 
of the principles of the new democratic creed, the force of 
mere external fact was compelling them to attempt some 
sort of permanent unity. Those who had from the first a 
specific enthusiasm for such unity were few, though 
Washington was among them, and his influence counted 
for mucn. But what counted for much more was the 
pressure of necessity. It was soon obvious to all clear- 
sighted men that unless some authoritative centre of union 
were created the revolutionary experiment would have been 
saved from suppression by arms only to collapse in mere 
anarchic confusion. The Continental Congress, the only 
existing authority, was moribund, and even had it been 
still in its full vigour, it had not the powers which the 
situation demanded. It could not, for instance, levy taxes 
on the State ; its revenues were completely exhausted and it 
had no power to replenish them. The British Government 
complained that the conditions of peace were not observed 
on the American side, and accordingly held on to the 
positions which it had occupied at the conclusion of the 
war. The complaint was perfectly just, but it did not arise 
from deliberate bad faith on the part of those who directed 
(as far as anyone was directing) American policy, but from 
the simple fact that there was no authority in America 
capable of enforcing obedience and carrying the provisions 



42 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

of the treaty into effect. The same moral was enforced by 
a dozen other symptoms of disorder. The Congress had 
disbanded the soldiers, as had been promised, on the 
conclusion of peace, but, having no money, could not keep 
its at least equally important promise to pay them. This led 
to much casual looting by men with arms in their hands 
but nowhere to turn for a meal, and the trouble culminated 
in a rebellion raised in New England by an old soldier of 
the Continental Army called Shay. Such incidents as 
these were the immediate cause of the summoning at 
Philadelphia of a Convention charged with the task of 
framing a Constitution for the United States. 

Of such a Convention Washington was the only possible 
President ; and he was drawn from a temporary and 
welcome retirement in his Virginian home to re-enter in a 
new fashion the service of his country. Under his presidency 
disputed and compromised a crowd of able men representa- 
tive of the widely divergent States whose union was to be 
attempted. There was Alexander Hamilton, indifferent or 
hostile to the democratic idea but intensely patriotic, and 
bent above all things upon the formation of a strong central 
authority; Franklin with his acute practicality and his 
admirable tact in dealing with men; Gerry, the New 
Englander, Whiggish and somewhat distrustful of the 
populace; Pinckney of South Carolina, a soldier and the 
most ardent of the Federalists, representing, by a curious 
irony, the State which was to be the home of the most 
extreme dogma of State Eights; Madison, the Virginian, 
young, ardent and intellectual, his head full of the new 
wine of liberty. One great name is lacking. Jefferson had 
been chosen to represent the Confederacy at the French 
Court, where he had the delight of watching the first act 
of that tremendous drama, whereby his own accepted 
doctrine was to re-shape France, as it had already re- 
shaped America. The Convention, therefore, lacked the 
valuable combination of lucid thought on the philosophy 
of politics and a keen appreciation of the direction of the 
popular will which he above all men could have supplied. 

The task before the Convention was a hard and perilous 
one, and nothing about it was more hard and perilous than 
its definition. What were they there to do ? Were they 



"WE, THE PEOPLE" 43 

framing a treaty between independent Sovereignties, 



which, in spite of the treaty, would retain their indepen- 
dence, or were they building a nation by merging these 
Sovereignties in one general Sovereignty of the American 
people ? They began by proceeding on the first assumption, 
re-modelling the Continental Congress avowedly a mere 
alliance and adding only such powers as it was plainly 
essential to add. They soon found that such a plan would 
not meet the difficulties of the hour. But they dared not 
openly adopt the alternative theory : the States would not 
have borne it. Had it, for example, been specifically laid 
down that a State once entering the Union might never 
after withdraw from it, quite half the States would have 
refused to enter it. To that extent the position afterwards 
taken up by the Southern Secessionists was historically 
sound. But there was a complementary historical truth 
on the other side. There can be little doubt that in this 
matter the founders of the Eepublic desired and intended 
more than they ventured to attempt. The fact that men 
of unquestionable honesty and intelligence were in after 
years so sharply and sincerely divided as to what the 
Constitution really was, was in truth the result of a divided 
mind in those who framed the Constitution. They made 
an alliance and hoped it would grow into a nation. The 
preamble of the Constitution represents the aspirations of 
the American Fathers ; the clauses represent the furthest 
they dared towards those aspirations. The preamble was 
therefore always the rallying point of those who wished 
to see America one nation. Its operative clause ran : " We, 
the People of the Unite^ States, in order to form a more 
perfect Union, ... do ordain and establish this Constitu- 
tion for the United States of America." That such 
language was a strong point in favour of the Federalist 
interpreters of the Constitution was afterwards implicitly 
admitted by the extreme exponents of State Sovereignty 
themselves, for when they came to frame for their own 
Confederacy a Constitution reflecting their own views they 
made a most significant alteration. The corresponding 
clause in the Constitution of the Southern Confederacy ran, 
" We, the deputies of the Sovereign and Independent States, 
... do ordain," etc., etc. 



44 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

For the rest two great practical measures which involved 
no overbold challenge to State Sovereignty were wisely 
planned to buttress the Union and render it permanent. 
A clause in the Constitution forbade tariffs between the 
States and established complete Free Trade within the 
limits of the Union. An even more important step was 
that by which the various States which claimed territory 
in the as yet undeveloped interior were induced to sur- 
render such territory to the collective ownership of the 
Federation. This at once gave the States a new motive 
for unity, a common inheritance which any State refusing 
or abandoning union must surrender. 

Meanwhile it would be unjust to the supporters of 
State Rights to deny the excellence and importance of 
their contribution to the Constitutional settlement. To 
them is due the establishment of local liberties with safe- 
guards such as no other Constitution gives. And, in spite 
of the military victory which put an end to the disputes 
about State Sovereignty and finally established the 
Federalist interpretation of the Constitution, this part of 
their work endures. The internal affairs of every State 
remain as the Constitution left them, absolutely in its own 
control. The Federal Government never interferes save 
for purposes of public taxation, and, in the rare case of 
necessity, of national defence. For the rest nine-tenths 
of the laws under which an American citizen lives, nearly 
all the laws that make a practical difference to his life, are 
State laws. Under the Constitution, as framed, the States 
were free to form their separate State Constitutions according 
to their own likings, and to arrange the franchise and the 
test of citizenship, even for Federal purposes, in their own 
fashion. This, with the one stupid and mischievous excep- 
tion made by the ill-starred Fifteenth Amendment, remains 
the case to this day, with the curious consequence, among 
others, that it is now theoretically possible for a woman to 
become President of the United States, if she is the citizen 
of a State where female suffrage's admitted. 

Turning to the structure of the central authority which 
the Constitution sought to establish, the first thing that 
strikes us in the teeth of the assertion of most British and 
some American writers is that it was emphatically not a 



"WE, THE PEOPLE" 45 

copy of the British Constitution in any sense whatever. It 
is built on wholly different principles, drawn mostly from 
the French speculations of that age. Especially one notes, 
alongside of the careful and wise separation of the judiciary 
from the executive, the sound principle enunciated by 
Montesquieu and other French thinkers of the eighteenth 
century, but rejected and contemned by England (to her 
great hurt) as a piece of impracticable logic the separation 
of the executive and legislative powers. It was this principle 
which made possible the later trans formation of the Presidency 
in to A sort of Elective Monarchy. 

This result was not designed or foreseen ; or rather it 
was to an extent foreseen, and deliberately though un- 
successfully guarded against. The American revolutionists 
were almost as much under the influence of classical antiquity 
as the French. From it they drew the noble conception of 
" the Eepublic," the public thing acting with impersonal 
justice towards all citizens. But with it they also drew an 
exaggerated dread of what they called " Csesarisrn," and 
with it they mixed the curious but characteristic illusion 
of that age an illusion from which, by the way, Rousseau 
himself was conspicuously free that the most satisfactory 
because the most impersonal organ of the general will is to 
be found in an elected assembly. They had as yet imper- 
fectly learnt that such an assembly must after all consist 
of persons, more personal because less public than an 
acknowledged ruler. They did not know that, while a 
despot may often truly represent the people, a Senate, 
however chosen, always tends to become an oligarchy. 
Therefore they surrounded the presidential office with 
checks which in mere words made the President seem less 
powerful than an English King. Yet he has always in fact 
been much more powerful. And the reason is to be found 
in the separation of the executive from the legislature. 
The President, while his term lasted, had the full powers 
of a real executive. Congress could not turn him out, 
though it could in various ways check his actions. He 
could appoint his own Ministers (though the Senate must 
ratify the choice) and they were wisely excluded from the 
legislature. An even wiser provision limited the appoint- 
ment of Members of Congress to positions under the 



46 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

executive. Thus both executive and legislature were kept, 
so far as human frailty permitted, pure in their normal 
functions. The Presidency remained a real Government. 
Congress remained a real check. 

In England, where the opposite principle was adopted, 
the Ministry became first the committee of an oligarchical 
Parliament and later a close corporation nominating the 
legislature which is supposed to check it. 

The same fear of arbitrary power was exhibited, and 
that in fashion really inconsistent with the democratic 
principles which the American statesmen professed, in the 
determination that the President should be chosen by the 
people only in an indirect fashion, through an Electoral 
College. This error has been happily overruled by events. 
Since the Electoral College was to be chosen ad hoc for 
the single purpose of choosing a President, it soon became 
obvious that pledges could easily be exacted from its 
members in regard to their choice. By degrees the 
pretence of deliberate action by the College wore thinner 
and thinner. Finally it was abandoned altogether, and 
the President is now chosen, as the first magistrate of a 
democracy ought to be chosen, if election is resorted to at all, 
b^f the direct vote of the nation. At the time, however, it 
was supposed that the Electoral College would be an inde- 
pendent deliberative assembly. It was further provided 
that the second choice of the Electoral College should be 
Vice-President, and succeed to the Presidency in the event 
of the President dying during his term of office. If there 
was a "tie" or if no candidate had an absolute majority 
in the College, the election devolved on the House of 
Representatives voting in this instance by States. 

In connection with the election both of Executive and 
Legislature, the old State Rights problem rose in another 
form. Were all the States to have equal weight and repre- 
sentation, as had been the* case in the old Continental 
Congress, or was their weight and representation to be 
proportional to their population ? On this point a compromise 
was made. The House of Representatives was to be chosen 
directly by the people on a numerical basis, and in the 
Electoral College which chose the President the same 
principle was adopted. In the Senate all States were to 



"WE, THE PEOPLE" 47 

have equal representation ; and the Senators were to be 
chosen by the legislatures of the States ; they were regarded 
rather as ambassadors than as delegates. The term of a 
Senator was fixed for six years, a third of the Senate 
resigning in rotation every two years. The House of 
Eepresentatives was to be elected in a body foivtwo years. 
The President was elected for four years, at the end of 
which time he could be re-elected. 

Such were the main lines of the compromises which 
were effected between the conflicting views of the extreme 
Federalists and extreme State Rights advocates, and the 
conflicting interests of the larger and smaller States. But 
there was another threatened conflict, more formidable and, 
as the event proved, more enduring, with which the framers 
of the Constitution had to deal. Two different types of 
civilization had grown up on opposite sides of the Mason- 
Dixon line. How far Slavery was the cause and how far a 
symptom of this divergence will be discussed more fully in 
future chapters. At any rate it was its most conspicuous 
mark or label. North and South differed BO conspicuously 
not only in their social organization but in every habit of 
life and thought that neither would tamely bear to be 
engulfed in a union in which the other was to be pre- 
dominant. To keep an even balance between them was 
long the principal effort of American statesmanship. That 
effort began in the Convention which framed the Consti- 
tution. It did not cease till the very eve of the Civil War. 

The problem with which the Convention had to deal 
was defined within certain well-understood limits. No 
one proposed that Slavery should be abolished by Federal 
enactment. It was universally acknowledged that Slavery 
within a State, however much of an evil it might be, was an 
evil with which State authority alone had a right to deal. 
On the other hand, no one proposed to make Slavery a 
national institution. Indeed, all the most eminent Southern 
statesmen of that time, and probably the great majority of 
Southerners, regarded it as a reproach, and sincerely hoped 
that it would soon disappear. There remained, however, 
certain definite subjects of dispute concerning which an 
agreement had to be reached if the States were to live in 
peace in the same household. 



48 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

First, not perhaps in historic importance, but in the 
insistence of its demand for an immediate settlement, was 
the question of representation. It had been agreed that in 
the House of Representatives and in the Electoral College 
this should be proportionate to population. The urgent 
question at once arose : should free white citizens only be 
counted, or should the count include the Negro slaves? 
When it is remembered that these latter numbered some- 
thing like half the population of the Southern States, the 
immediate political importance of the issue will at once be 
recognized. If they were omitted the weight of the South 
in the Federation would be halved. In the opposite alter- 
native it would be doubled. By the compromise eventually 
adopted it was agreed that the whole white population 
should be counted and three-fifths of the slaves. 

The second problem was this : if Slavery was to be 
legal in one State and illegal in another, what was to be the 
status of a slave escaping from a Slave State into a free ? 
Was such an act to be tantamount to an emancipation ? 
If such were to be the case, it was obvious that slave 
property, especially in the border States, would become an 
extremely insecure investment. The average Southerner 
of that period was no enthusiast for Slavery. He was not 
unwilling to listen to plans of gradual and compensated 
emancipation. But he could not be expected to contem- 
plate losing in a night property for which he had perhaps 
paid hundreds of dollars, without even the hope of recovery. 
On this point it was found absolutely necessary to give 
way to the Southerners, though Franklin, for one, disliked 
this concession more than any other. It was determined 
that " persons held to service or labour " escaping into 
another State should be returned to those " to whom such 
service or labour may be due." 

The last and on the whole the least defensible of the 
concessions made in this matter concerned the African 
Slave Trade. That odious traffic was condemned by almost 
all Americans even by those who were accustomed to 
domestic slavery, and could see little evil in it. Jefferson, 
in the original draft of the Declaration of Independence, 
had placed amongst the accusations against the English 
King the charge that he had forced the slave trade on 



"WE, THE PEOPLE" 49 

reluctant colonies. The charge was true so far at any rate 
as Virginia was concerned, for both that State and its 
neighbour, Maryland, had passed laws against the traffic 
and had seen them vetoed by the Crown. But the extreme 
South, where the cotton trade was booming, wanted more 
Negro labour; South Carolina objected, and found an 
expected ally in Massachusetts. Boston had profited more 
by the Slave Trade than any other American city. She 
could hardly condemn King George without condemning 
herself. And, though her interest in the traffic had 
diminished, it had not wholly ceased. The paragraph in 
question was struck out of the Declaration, and when the 
Convention came to deal with the question the same curious 
alliance thwarted the efforts of those who demanded the 
immediate prohibition of the trade. Eventually the Slave 
Trade was suffered to continue for twenty years, at thel end 
of which time Congress might forbid it. This was done in 
1808, when the term of suffrance had expired. 

Thus was Negro Slavery placed under the protection of 
the Constitution. It would be a grave injustice to the 
founders of the American Commonwealth to make it seem 
that any of them liked doing this. Constrained by a cruel 
necessity, they acquiesced for the time in an evil which 
they hoped that time would remedy. Their mind is 
significantly mirrored by the fact that not once in the 
Constitution are the words " slave " or " slavery " mentioned. 
Some euphemism is always used, as "persons held to 
service or labour," " the importation of persons," " free 
persons," contrasted with "other persons," and so on. 
Lincoln, generations later, gave what was undoubtedly the 
true explanation of this shrinking from the name of the 
thing they were tolerating and even protecting. They 
hoped that the Constitution would survive Negro Slavery, 
and they would leave no word therein to remind their 
children that they had spared it for a season. Beyond 
question they not only hoped but expected that the 
concession which for the sake of the national unity they 
made to an institution which they hated and deplored would 
be for a season only. The influence of time and the growth 
of those great doctrines which were embodied in the 
Declaration of Independence could not but persuade all 



50 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

men at last ; and the day, they thought, could not be for 
distant when the Slave States themselves would concur in 
some prudent scheme of emancipation, and make of Negro 
Slavery an evil dream that had passed away. None the less 
not a few of them did what they had to do with sorrowful 
and foreboding hearts, and the author of the Declaration of 
Independence has left on record his own verdict, that he 
trembled for his country when he remembered that God 
was just. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE MANTLE OF WASHINGTON 

THE compromises of the Constitution, on whatever grounds 
they may be criticized, were so far justified that they gained 
their end. That end was the achievement of union ; and 
union was achieved. This was not done easily nor without 
opposition. In some cities anti-Constitutional riots took 
place. Several States refused to ratify. The opposition 
had the support of the great name of Patrick Henry, who 
had been the soul of the resistance to the Stamp Act, 
and who now declared that under the specious name of 
" Federation" Liberty had been betrayed. The defence 
was conducted in a publication called The Federalist largely 
by two men afterwards to be associated with fiercely 
contending parties, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. 
But more persuasive than any arguments that the ablest 
advocate could use were the iron necessities of the 
situation. The Union was an accomplished fact. For 
any State, and especially for a small State and it was 
the small States that hesitated most to refuse to enter it 
would be so plainly disastrous to its interests that the 
strongest objections and the most rooted suspicions had 
eventually to give way. Some States hung back long: 
some did not ratify the Constitution until its machinery 
was actually working, until the first President had been 
chosen and the first Congress had met. But all ratified it 
at last, and before the end of Washington's first Presidency 
the complement of Stars and Stripes was made up. 

The choice of a President was a foregone conclusion. 
Everyone knew that Washington was the man whom the 
hour and the nation demanded. He was chosen without 
a contest by the Electoral College, and would undoubtedly 

51 



52 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

have been chosen with the same practical unanimity by 
the people had the choice been theirs. So long as he 
retained his position he retained along with it the virtually 
unchallenged pre-eminence which all men acknowledged. 
There had been cabals against him as a general, and there 
were signs of a revival of them when his Presidency was 
clearly foreshadowed. The impulse came mostly from the 
older and wealthier gentry of his own State the Lees for 
example who tended to look down upon him as a " new 
man." Towards the end of his political life he was 
to some extent the object of attack from the opposite 
quarter; his fame was assailed by the fiercer and less 
prudent of the Democratic publicists. But, throughout, 
the great mass of the American people trusted him as their 
representative man, as those who abused him or conspired 
against him did so to their own hurt. A less prudent 
man might easily have worn out his popularity and 
alienated large sections of opinion, but Washington's 
characteristic sagacity, which had been displayed so 
constantly during the war, stood him in as good stead in 
matters of civil government. He propitiated Nemesis 
and gave no just provocation to any party to risk its 
popularity by attacking him. While he was President the 
mantle of his great fame was ample enough to cover the 
deep and vital divisions which were appearing even in his 
own Cabinet, and were soon to convulse the nation in a 
dispute for the inheritance of his power. 

His Secretary to the Treasury was Alexander Hamilton. 
This extraordinary man presents in more than one respect 
a complex problem to the historian. He has an unques- 
tionable right to a place and perhaps to a supreme place 
among the builders of the American Republic, and much of 
its foundation-laying was his work. Yet he shows in history 
as a defeated man, and for at least a generation scarcely 
anyone dared to give him credit for the great work that he 
really did. To-day the injustice is perhaps the other way. 
In American histories written since the Civil War he is 
not only acclaimed as a great statesman, but his overthrow 
at the hands of the Jeffersonians is generally pointed at 
as a typical example of the folly and ingratitude of the 
mob. This version is at least as unjust to the American 



THE MANTLE OF WASHINGTON 53 

people as the depreciation of the Democrats was to him. 
The fact is that Hamilton's work had a double aspect. In 
so far as it was directed to the cementing of a permanent 
union and the building of a strong central authority it 
was work upon -the lines along which the nation was 
moving, and towards an end which the nation really, if 
sub-consciously, desired. But closely associated with this 
object in Hamilton's mind was another which the nation 
did not desire and which was alien to its instincts and 
destiny. All this second part of his work failed, and 
involved him in its ruin. 

Hamilton had fought bravely in the Revolutionary 
War, but for the ideals which had become more and more 
the inspiration of the Revolution he cared nothing, and 
was* too honest to pretend to care. He had on the other 
hand a strong and genuine American patriotism. Perhaps 
his origin helped him to a larger view in this matter than 
was common among his contemporaries. He was not born 
in any of the revolted colonies, but in Bermuda, of good 
blood but with the bar sinister stamped upon his birth. 
He had migrated to New York to seek his fortune, but his 
citizenship of that State remained an accident. He had 
no family traditions tying him to any section, and, more 
than any public man that appeared before the West began 
to produce a new type, he felt America as a whole. He 
had great administrative talents of which he was fully 
conscious, and the anarchy which followed the conclusion 
of peace was hateful to his instinct for order and strong 
government. But the strong government which he would 
have created was of a different type from that which 
America ultimately developed. Theoretically he made no 
secret of his preference for a Monarchy over a Republic, 
but the suspicion that he meditated introducing monarchical 
institutions into America, though sincerely entertained by 
Jefferson and others, was certainly false. Whatever his 
theoretic preferences, he was intensely alive to the logic of 
facts, and must have known that a brand-new American 
monarchy would have been as impossible as it would have 
been ludicrous. In theory and practice, however, he really 
was anti-democratic. Masses of men seemed to him 
incapable alike of judgment and of action, and he thought 



54 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

no enduring authority could be based upon the instincts 
of the " great beast," as he called the mob. He looked for 
such authority and what seemed to him the example of 
history, and especially to the example of England. He 
knew how powerful both at home and abroad was the 
governing machine which the English aristocracy had 
established after the revolution of 1689; and he realized 
more fully than most men of that age, or indeed of this, 
that its strength lay in a small but very national governing 
class wielding the people as an instrument. Such a class 
he wished to -create in America, to connect closely, as the 
English oligarchy had connected itself closely, with the 
great moneyed interests, and to entrust with the large 
powers which in his judgment the central government of 
the Federation needed. 

Jefferson came back from France in the winter of 1789, 
and was at once offered by Washington the Secretaryship 
of State. The offer was not a very welcome one, for he 
was hot with the enthusiasm of the great French struggle, 
and would gladly have returned to Paris and watched its 
progress. He felt, however, that the President's insistence 
laid upon him the duty of giving the Government the 
support of his abilities and popularity. He had accepted 
the Constitution which he had no share in framing, not 
perhaps as exactly what he would have desired, but cer- 
tainly in full good faith and without reserve. It probably 
satisfied him at least as well as it satisfied Hamilton, who 
had actually at one time withdrawn from the Convention 
in protest against its refusal to accept his views. Jeffer- 
son's criticisms, such as they were, related mostly to 
matters of detail : some of them were just and some were 
subsequently incorporated in amendments. But there is 
ample evidence that for none of them ^yas he prepared to 
go the length of opposing or even delaying the settlement. 
It is also worth noting that none of them related to 
the balance of power between the Federal and State 
Governments, upon which Jefferson is often loosely accused 
of holding extreme particularist views. As a fact he 
never held such views. His formula that " the States are 
independent as to everything within themselves and united 
as to everything respecting foreign nations" is really a 



THE MANTLE OF WASHINGTON 55 

very good summary of the principles upon which the 
Constitution is based, and states substantially the policy 
which all the truest friends of the Union have upheld. 
But he was committed out and out to the principle of 
popular government, and when it became obvious that the 
Federalists under Hamilton's leadership were trying to 
make the central government oligarchical, and that they 
were very near success, Jefferson quite legitimately invoked 
and sought to confirm the large powers secured by the 
Constitution itself to the States for the purpose of 
obstructing their programme. 

It was some time, however, before the antagonism 
between the two Secretaries became acute, and meanwhile 
the financial genius of Hamilton was reducing the economic 
chaos bequeathed by the war to order and solvency. All 
of his measures showed fertility of invention and a thorough 
grasp of his subject; some of them were unquestionably 
beneficial to the country. But a careful examination will 
show how closely and deliberately he was imitating the 
English model which we know to have been present to 
his mind. He established a true National Debt similar to 
that which Montague had created for the benefit of William 
of Orange. In this debt he proposed to merge the debts 
of the individual States contracted during the War of 
Independence. Jefferson saw no objection to this at the 
time, and indeed it was largely through his favour that 
a settlement was made which overcame the opposition of 
certain States. 

This settlement had another interest as being one of 
the perennial geographical' compromises by means of which 
the Union was for so long preserved. The support of 
Hamilton's policy came mainly from the North ; the 
opposition to it from the South. It so happened that 
coincidentally North and South were divided on another 
question, the position of the projected Capital of the 
Federation. The Southerners wanted it to be on the 
Potomac between Virginia and Maryland ; the Northerners 
would have preferred it further north. At Jefferson's house 
Hamilton met some of the leading Southern politicians, 
and a bargain was struck. The Secretary's proposal as 
to the State debts was accepted, and the South had its 



56 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

way in regard to the Capital. Hamilton probably felt that 
he had bought a solid advantage in return for a purely 
sentimental concession. Neither he nor anyone else could 
foresee the day of peril when the position of Washington 
between the two Southern States would become one of 
the gravest of the strategic embarrassments of the Federal 
Government. 

Later, when Hamilton's policy and personality had 
become odious to him, Jefferson expressed remorse for 
his conduct of the occasion, and blamed his colleague for 
taking advantage of his ignorance of the question. His 
sincerity cannot be doubted, but it will appear to the 
impartial observer that his earlier judgment was the wiser 
of the two. The assumption of State debts had really 
nothing "monocratic" or anti-popular about it nothing 
even tending to infringe the rights and liberties of the 
several States while it was clearly a statesmanlike measure 
from the national standpoint, tending at once to restore 
the public credit and cement the Union. But Jefferson 
read backwards into this innocuous and beneficent stroke 
of policy the spirit which he justly perceived to inform 
the later and more dubious measures which proceeded from 
the same author. 

Of these the most important was the creation of the 
first United States Bank. Here Hamilton was quite 
certainly inspired by the example of the English Whigs. 
He knew how much the stability of the settlement made 
in 1689 had owed to the skill and foresight with which 
Montague, through the creation of the Bank of England, 
had attached to it the great moneyed interests of the City. 
He wished, through the United States Bank, to attach the 
powerful moneyed interests of the Eastern and Middle 
States in the same fashion to the Federal Government. 
This is how he and his supporters would have expressed 
it. Jefferson said that he wished to fill Congress with a 
crowd of mercenaries bound by pecuniary ties to the 
Treasury and obliged to lend it, through good and evil 
repute, a perennial and corrupt support. The two versions 
are really only different ways of stating the same thing. 
To a democrat such a standing alliance between the 
Government and the rich will always seem a corrupt thing 






THE MANTLE OF WASHINGTON 57 

nay, the worst and least remediable form of corruption. 
To a man of Hamilton's temper it seemed merely the 
necessary foundation of a stable political equilibrium. Thus 
the question of the Bank really brought the two parties 
which were growing up in the Cabinet and in the nation 
to an issue which revealed the irreconcilable antagonism 
of their principles. 

The majority in Congress was with Hamilton ; but his 
opponents appealed to the Constitution. They denied the 
competency of Congress under that instrument to establish 
a National Bank. When the Bill was in due course sent 
to Washington for signature he asked the opinions of his 
Cabinet on the constitutional question, and both Hamilton 
and Jefferson wrote very able State Papers in defence of 
their respective views. After some hesitation Washington 
decided to sign the Bill and to leave the question of 
constitutional law to the Supreme Court. In due course 
it was challenged there, but Marshal, the Chief Justice, was 
a decided Federalist, and gave judgment in favour of the 
legality of the Bank. 

The Federalists had won the first round. Meanwhile 
the party which looked to Jefferson as leader was organizing 
itself. It took the name of " Kepublican," as signifying its 
opposition to the alleged monarchical designs of Hamilton 
and his supporters. Later, when it appeared that such 
a title was really too universal to be descriptive, the 
Jeffersonians began to call themselves by the more 
genuinely characteristic title of " Democratic Republicans," 
subsequently abbreviated into "Democrats." That name 
the party which, alone among American parties, can boast 
an unbroken historic continuity of more than a century, 
retains to this day. 

At the end of his original term of four years, Washington 
was prevailed upon to give way to the universal feeling of 
the nation and to accept a second term. No party thought 
of opposing him, but a significant division appeared over 
the Vice-Presidency. The Democrats ran Clinton against 
John Adams of Massachusetts, and though they failed 
there appeared in the voting a significant alliance, which 
was to determine the politics of a generation. New York 
State, breaking away from her Northern neighbours, voted 



58 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

with the Democratic South for Clinton. And the same 
year saw the foundation in New York City of that dubious 
but very potent product of democracy, which has perhaps 
become the best abused institution in the civilized world, 
yet has somehow or other contrived to keep in that highly 
democratic society a power which it could never retain 
for a day without a genuine popular backing Tammany 
Hall. 

Meanwhile the destinies of every nation of European 
origin, and of none perhaps more, in spite of their 
geographical remoteness, than of the United States, were 
being profoundly influenced %y the astonishing events that 
were shaping themselves in Western Europe. At first all 
America was enthusiastic for the French Revolution. 
Americans were naturally grateful for the aid given them 
by the French in their own struggle for freedom, and saw 
with eager delight the approaching liberation of their 
liberators. But as the drama unrolled itself a sharp, 
though very unequal, division of opinion appeared. In 
New England, especially, there were many who were 
shocked at the proceedings of the French, at their violence, 
at their Latin cruelty in anger, and, above all perhaps, at 
that touch of levity which comes upon the Latin when he 
is face to face with death. Massacres and carmagnoles 
did not strike the typical Massachusetts merchant as 
the methods by which God-fearing men should protest 
against oppression. The strict military government which 
succeeded to, controlled and directed in a national fashion 
the violent mood of the people that necessary martial law 
which we call " the Terror " seemed even less acceptable 
to his fundamentally Wl^iggish political creed. Yet and 
it is a most significant fact the bulk of popular American 
opinion was not shocked by these things. It remained 
steadily with the French through all those events which 
alienated opinion even Liberal opinion in Europe. It 
was perhaps because European opinion, especially English 
opinion, even when Liberal, was at bottom aristocratic, 
while the American people were already a democracy. But 
the fact is certain. By the admission of those American 
writers who deplore it and fail to comprehend it, the great 
mass of the democracy of America continued, through good 



THE MANTLE OP WASHINGTON 59 

and evil repute, to extend a vivid and indulgent sympathy 
to the democracy of France. 

The division of sympathies "which had thus become 
apparent was converted into a matter of practical politics 
by the entry of England into the war which a Coalition was 
waging against the French Republic. That intervention 
at once sharpened the sympathies of both sides and 
gave them a practical purpose. England and France 
were now arrayed against each other, and Americans, 
though their Government remained neutral, arrayed them- 
selves openly as partisans of either combatant. The 
division followed almost exactly the lines of the earlier 
quarrel which had begun to appear as the true meaning of 
Hamilton's policy discovered itself. The Hamiltonians were 
for England. The Jeffersonians were for France. 

A war of pamphlets and newspapers followed, into the 
details of which it is not necessary to go. The Federalists, 
with the tide going steadily against them, had the good luck 
to secure the aid of a pen which had no match in Europe. 
The greatest master of English controversial prose that 
ever lived was at that time in America. Normally, 
perhaps, his sympathies would have been with the 
Democrats. But love of England was ever the deepest 
and most compelling passion of the man who habitually 
abused her institutions so roundly. The Democrats were 
against his fatherland, and so the supporters of Hamilton 
found themselves defended in a series of publications over 
the signature of " Peter Porcupine" with all the energy and 
genius which belonged only to William Cobbett. 

A piquancy of the contest was increased by the fact 
that it was led on either side by members of the Adminis- 
tration. Washington had early put forth a Declaration of 
Neutrality, drawn up by Randolph, who, though leaning 
if i anything to Jefferson's side, took up a more or less 
intermediate position between the parties. Both sides 
professed to accept the principle of neutrality, but their 
interpretations of it were widely different. Jefferson did 
not propose to intervene in favour of France, but he did 
not think that Americans were bound to disguise their 
moral sympathies. They would appear, he thought, both 
ungrateful and false to the first principles of their own 



60 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

commonwealth if, whatever limitation prudence might 
impose in their action, they did not desire that France should 
be victorious over the Coalition of Kings. The great majority 
of the American people took the same view. When Genet, 
the envoy of the newly constituted Republic, arrived from 
France, he received an ovation which Washington himself 
at the height of his glory could hardly have obtained. 
Nine American citizens out pf ten hastened to mount the 
tricolour cockade, to learn the " Marseillaise," and to take 
their glasses to the victory of the sister Republic. So 
strong was the wave of popular enthusiasm that the 
United States might perhaps have been drawn into active 
co-operation with France had France been better served by 
her Minister. 

Genet was a Girondin, and the Girondins, perhaps 
through that defect in realism which ruined them at home, 
were not good diplomatists. It is likely enough that the 
warmth of his reception deranged his judgment ; at any 
rate he misread its significance. He failed to take due 
account of that sensitiveness of national feeling in a 
democracy which, as a Frenchman of that time, he should 
have been specially able to appreciate. He began to treat 
the resources of the United States as if they had already 
been placed at the disposal of France, and, when very 
properly rebuked, he was foolish enough to attempt to 
appeal to the nation against its rulers. The attitude of the 
Secretary of State ought to have warned him of the 
imprudence of his conduct. No man in America was a 
better friend to France than Jefferson ; but he stood up 
manfully to Genet in defence of the independent rights of 
his country, and the obstinacy of the ambassador produced, 
as Jefferson foresaw that it must produce, a certain 
reaction of public feeling by which the Anglophil party 
benefited. 

At the close of the year 1793, Jefferson, weary of 
endless contests with Hamilton, whom he accused, not 
without some justification, of constantly encroaching on his 
colleague's proper department, not wholly satisfied with the 
policy of the Government and perhaps feeling that Genet's 
indiscretions had made his difficult task for the moment 
impossible, resigned his office. He would have done so 



THE MANTLE OF WASHINGTON 01 

long before had not Washington, sincerely anxious through- 
out these troubled years to hold the balance even between 
the parties, repeatedly exerted all his influence to dissuade 
him. The following year saw the "Whiskey Insurrection " 
in Pennsylvania a popular protest against Hamilton's 
excise measures. Jefferson more than half sympathized 
with the rebels. Long before, on the occasion of Shay's 
insurrection, he had expressed with some exaggeration a 
view which has much more truth in it than those modern 
writers who exclaim in horror at his folly could be expected 
to understand the view that the readiness of people to 
rebel against their rulers is no bad test of the presence of 
democracy among them. He had even added that he hoped 
the country would never pass ten years without a rebellion 
of some sort. In the present case he had the additional 
motives for sympathy that he himself disapproved of the 
law against which Pennsylvania was in revolt, and detested 
its author. Washington could not be expected to take the 
same view. He was not anti-democratic like Hamilton; 
he sincerely held the theory of the State set forth in the 
Declaration of Independence. But he was something of an 
aristocrat, and very much of a soldier. As an aristocrat 
he was perhaps touched with the illusion which was so 
fatal to his friend Layfayette, the illusion that privilege 
can be abolished and yet the once privileged class partially 
retain its ascendancy by a sort of tacit acknowledgment by 
others of its value. As a soldier he disliked disorder and 
believed in discipline. As a commander in the war he had 
not spared the rod, and had even complained of Congress 
for mitigating the severity of military punishments. 
It may be that the " Whiskey Insurrection," which he 
suppressed with prompt and drastic energy, led him for the 
first time to lean a little to the Hamiltonian side. At any 
rate he was induced, though reluctantly and only under 
strong pressure, to introduce into a Message to Congress a 
passage reflecting on the Democratic Societies which were 
springing up everywhere and gaining daily in power ; and 
in return found himself attacked, sometimes with scurrility, 
in the more violent organs of the Democracy. 

Washington's personal ascendancy was, however, 
sufficient to prevent the storm from breaking while he 



62 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

was President. It was reserved for his successor. In 1797 
his second term expired. He had refused a third, thereby 
setting an important precedent which every subsequent 
President has followed, and bade farewell to politics in 
an address which is among the great historical documents 
of the Republic. The two points especially emphasized 
were long the acknowledged keynotes of American policy : 
the avoidance at home of " sectional " parties that 
is, of parties following geographical lines and abroad 
the maintenance of a strict independence of European 
entanglements and alliances. 

Had a Presidential election then been what it became 
later, a direct appeal to the popular vote, it is probable that 
Jefferson would have been the second President of the 
United States. But the Electoral College was still a reality, 
and its majority leant to Federalism. Immeasurably 
the ablest man among the Federalists was Hamilton, 
but for many reasons he was not an " available" choice. 
He was not a born American. He had made many and 
formidable personal enemies even within the party. Perhaps 
the shadow on his birth was a drawback ; perhaps also the 
notorious freedom of his private life for the strength of 
the party lay in Puritan New England. At any rate the 
candidate whom the Federalists backed and succeeded in 
electing fwas John Adams of Massachusetts. By the 
curiously unworkable rule, soon repealed, of the original 
Constitution, which gave the Vice-Presidency to the 
candidate who had the second largest number of votes, 
Jefferson found himself elected to that office under a 
President representing everything to which he was opposed. 

John Adams was an honest man and sincerely loved 
his country. There his merits ended. He was readily 
quarrelsome, utterly without judgment and susceptible to 
that mood of panic in which mediocre persons are readily 
induced to act the "strong man." During his administra- 
tion a new quarrel arose with France a quarrel in which 
once again those responsible for that country's diplomacy 
played the game of her enemies. Genet had merely been 
an impracticable and impatient enthusiast. Talleyrand, 
who under the Directory took charge of foreign affairs, was 
a scamp ; and, clever as he was, was unduly contemptuous 



THE MANTLE OF WASHINGTON 68 

of America, where he had lived for a time in exile. He 
attempted to use the occasion of the appearance of an 
American Mission in Paris to wring money out of America, 
not only for the French Treasury, but for his own private 
profit and that of his colleagues and accomplices. A 
remarkable correspondence, which fully revealed the 
blackmailing attempt made by the agents of the French 
Government on the representatives of the United States, 
known as the " X.Y.Z." letters, was published and roused 
the anger of the whole country. "Millions for defence 
but not a cent for tribute " was the universal catchword. 
Hamilton would probably have seized the opportunity to 
go to war with France with some likelihood of a national 
backing. Adams avoided war and thereby split his party, 
but he did not avoid steps far more certain, than a war to 
excite the hostility of democratic America. His policy was 
modelled upon the worst of the panic-bred measures by 
means of which Pitt and his colleagues were seeking to 
suppress " Jacobinism " in England. Such a policy was 
odious anywhere; in a democracy it was also insane. 
Further the Aliens Law and the Sedition Law which he 
induced Congress to pass were in flagrant and obvious 
violation of the letter and spirit of the Constitution. They 
were barely through Congress when the storm broke on 
their authors. Jefferson, in retirement at Monticello, saw 
that his hour was come. He put himself at the head of 
the opposition and found a whole nation behind him. 

Kentucky, carved out of the western territory and 
newly grown to Statehood, took the lead of resistance. 
For her legislature Jefferson drafted the famous " Kentucky 
Resolutions," which condemned the new laws as uncon- 
stitutional (which they were) and refused to allow them 
to be administered within her borders. On the strength 
of these resolutions Jefferson has been described as the 
real author of the doctrine of " Nullification " : and 
technically this may be true. Nevertheless there is all 
the difference in the world between the spirit of the 
Kentucky Resolutions and that of " Nullification," as South 
Carolina afterwards proclaimed its legitimacy. About the 
former there was nothing sectional. It was not pretended 
that Kentucky had any peculiar and local objection to the 






64 A HISTORY OP THE UNITED STATES 

Sedition Law, or was standing against the other States in 
resisting it. She was vindicating a freedom common to 
all the States, valued by all and menaced in all. She 
claimed that she was making herself the spokesman of 
the other States in the same fashion as Hampden made 
himself the spokesman of the other great landed proprietors 
in resisting taxation by the Crown. 

The event amply justified her claim. The oppression 
laws which the Federalists had induced Congress to pass 
were virtually dead letters from the moment of their 
passing. And when the time came for the nation to speak, 
it rose as one man and flung Adams from his seat. The 
Federalist party virtually died of the blow. The dream 
of an oligarchical Republic was at an end, and the will of 
the people, expressed with unmistakable emphasis, gave 
the Chief Magistracy to the author of the Declaration of 
Independence. 



CHAPTER V 

THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 

I ^ HAVE spoken of Jefferson's election as if it had been a 
direct act of the people; and morally it was so. But in 
the actual proceedings there was a certain hitch, which 
is of interest not only because it illustrated a peculiar 
technical defect in the original Constitution and so led to its 
amendment, but because it introduces here, for the first 
time, the dubious but not unfascinating figure of j Aaron Burr. 
Burr was a politician of a type which democracies will 
always produce, and which those who dislike democracy 
will always use for its reproach. Yet the reproach is 
evidently unjust. In all societies, most of those who 
meddle with the government of men will do so in pursuit 
of their own interests, and in all societies the professional 
politician will reveal himself as a somewhat debased type. 
In a despotism he will become a courtier and obtain favour 
by obsequious and often dishonourable services to a prince. 
In an old-fashioned oligarchy he will adopt the same 
attitude towards some powerful noble. In a parliamentary 
plutocracy, like our own, he will proceed in fashion with 
which we are only too familiar, will make himself the paid 
servant of those wealthy men who finance politicians, and 
will enrich himself by means of "tips" from financiers 
and bribes from Government contractors. In a democracy, 
the same sort of man will try to obtain his ends by nattering 
and cajoling the populace. It is not obvious that he is 
more mischievous as demagogue than he was as courtier, 
lackey, or parliamentary intriguer. Indeed, he is almost 
certainly less so, for he must at least in some fashion 
serve, even if only that he may deceive them, those whose 
servant he should be. At any rate, the purely self-seeking 
demagogue is certainly a recurrent figure in democratic 

65 F 






66 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

politics, and of the self-seeking demagogue Aaron Burr was 
an excellent specimen. 

He had been a soldier not without distinction, and to 
the last he retained a single virtue the grand virtue of 
courage. For the rest, he was the Tammany Boss writ 
large. An able political organizer, possessed of much 
personal charm, he had made himself master of the powerful 
organization of the Democratic party in New York State, 
and as such was able to bring valuable support to the 
party which was opposing the administration of Adams. 
As a reward for his services, it was determined that he 
should be Democratic candidate for the Vice-Presidenc}^. 
But here the machinery devised by the Convention played 
a strange trick. When the votes of the Electoral College 
came to be counted, it was found that instead of Jefferson 
leading and yet leaving enough votes to give Burr the 
second place, the votes for the two were exactly equal. 
This, under the Constitution, threw the decision into the 
hands of the House of Representatives, and in that House 
the Federalists still held the balance of power. They 
could not choose their own nominee, but they could choose 
either Jefferson or Burr, and many of them, desiring at the 
worst to frustrate the triumph of their great enemy, were 
disposed to choose Burr; while Burr, who cared only for 
his own career, was ready enough to lend himself to such 
an intrigue. 

That the intrigue failed was due mainly to the patriotism 
of Hamilton. All that was best and worst in him concurred 
in despising the mere flatterer of the mob. Jefferson was 
at least a gentleman. And, unfairly as he estimated him 
both morally and intellectually, he knew very well that the 
election of Jefferson would not be a disgrace to the Republic, 
while the election of Burr would. His patriotism overcame 
his prejudices. He threw the whole weight of his influence 
with the Federalists against the intrigue, and he defeated 
it. It is the more to his honour that he did this to the 
advantage of a man whom he could not appreciate and who 
was his enemy. It was the noblest and purest act of his 
public career. It probably cost him his life. 

Jefferson was elected President and Burr Vice-President, 
as had undoubtedly been intended by the great majority of 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 67 

those who had voted the Democratic ticket at the elections. 
But the anomaly and disaster of Burr's election had been 
so narrowly avoided that a change in the Constitution 
became imperative. It was determined that henceforward 
the votes for President and Vice-President should be 
given separately. The incident had another consequence. 
Burr, disappointed in hopes which had almost achieved 
fulfilment, became from that moment a bitter enemy of 
Jefferson and his administration. Also, attributing the 
failure of his promising plot to Hamilton's intervention, he 
hated Hamilton with a new and insatiable hatred. Perhaps 
in that Jhour he already determined that his enemy should 
die. 

Jefferson's inauguration was full of that deliberate and 
almost ceremonial contempt of ceremony in which that age 
found a true expression of its mood, though later and 
perhaps more corrupt times have inevitably found such 
symbolism merely comic. It was observed as striking the 
note of the new epoch that the President rejected all that 
semi-regal pomp which Washington and Adams had thought 
necessary to the dignity of their office. It is said that he 
not only rode alone into Washington (he was the first 
President to be inaugurated in the newly built capital), 
dressed like any country gentleman, but, when he 
dismounted to take the oath, tethered his horse with his 
own hands. More really significant was the presence of the 
populace that elected him the great heaving, unwashed 
crowd elbowing the dainty politicians in the very presence 
chamber. The President's inaugural address was full 
of a generous spirit of reconciliation. "We are all 
Eepublicans," he said, "we are all Federalists." Every 
difference of opinion was not a difference of principle, nor 
need such differences interfere with "our attachment, to 
our Union and to representative government." 

Such liberality was the more conspicuous by contrast 
with the petty rancour of his defeated rival, who not only 
refused to perform the customary courtesy of welcoming 
his successor at the White House, but spent his last hours 
there appointing Federalists feverishly to public offices 
solely in order to compel Jefferson to choose between the 
humiliation of retaining such servants and the odium of 



68 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 



dismissing them. The new President very rightly refused 
to recognize nominations so made, and this has been 
seized upon by his detractors to hold him up as the real 
author of what was afterwards called "the Spoils System." 
It would be far more just to place that responsibility upon 
Adams. 

The most important event of Jefferson's first adminis- 
tration was the Louisiana Purchase. The colony of 
Louisiana at the mouth of the Mississippi, with its vast 
hinterland stretching into the heart of the American 
continent, had, as we have seen, passed in 1762 from 
French into Spanish hands. Its acquisition by the United 
States had been an old project of Jefferson's. When 
Secretary of State under Washington, he had mooted it when 
settling with the Spanish Government the question of the 
navigation of the Mississippi. As President he revived 
it; but before negotiations could proceed far the whole 
situation was changed by the retrocession of Louisiana to 
France as part of the terms dictated by Napoleon to a 
Spain which had fallen completely under his control. The 
United States could not, in any case, have regarded the 
transfer without uneasiness, and to all schemes of purchase 
it seemed a death-blow, for it was believed that the French 
Emperor had set his heart upon the resurrection of French 
Colonial power in America. But Jefferson was an excellent 
.diplomatist, at once conciliatory and unyielding : he played 
his cards shrewdly, and events helped him. The Peace 
of Amiens was broken, and, after a very brief respite, 
England and France were again at war. Napoleon's 
sagacity saw clearly enough that he could not hope to hold 
and develop his new colony in the face of a hostile power 
which was his master on the sea. It would suit his 
immediate purpose better to replenish his treasury with good 
American dollars which might soon be urgently needed. 
He became, therefore, as willing to sell as Jefferson was 
to buy, and between two men of such excellent sense a 
satisfactory bargain was soon struck. The colony of 
Louisiana and all the undeveloped country which lay behind 
it became the inheritance of the American Federation. 

Concerning the transaction, there is more than one 
point to be noted of importance to history. One is the light 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 69 

which it throws on Jefferson's personal qualities. Because 
this man held very firmly an abstract and reasoned theory of 
the State, could define and defend it with extraordinary 
lucidity and logic, and avowedly guided his public conduct 
by its light, there has been too much tendency to regard 
him as a mere theorist, a sort of Girondia, noble in 
speculation and rhetoric, but unequal to practical affairs 
and insufficiently alive to concrete realities. He is often 
contrasted unfavourably with Hamilton in this respect : 
and yet he had, as events proved, by far the acuter sense 
of the trend of American popular opinion and the practical 
reuirements of a government that should command its 
respect ; and he made fewer mistakes in mere political 
tactics than did his rival. But his diplomacy is the best 
answer to the charge. Let anyone who entertains it 
follow closely the despatches relating to the Louisiana 
purchase, and observe how shrewdly this supposed visionary 
can drive a good bargain for his country, even when 
matched against Talleyrand with Bonaparte behind him. 
One is reminded that before he entered politics he enjoyed 
among his fellow-planters a reputation for exceptional busi- 
ness acumen. 

Much more plausible is the accusation that Jefferson 
in the matter of Louisiana forgot his principles, and acted 
in a manner grossly inconsistent with his attitude when 
the federalists were in power. Certainly, the purchase 
can only be defended constitutionally by giving a much 
larger construction to the powers of the Federal authority 
than even Hamilton had ever promulgated. If the silence 
of the Constitution on the subject must, as Jefferson had 
maintained, be taken as forbidding Congress and the 
Executive to charter a bank, how much more must a 
similar silence forbid them to expend millions in acquiring 
vast new territories beyond the borders of the Confederacy. 
In point of fact, Jefferson himself believed the step he 
and Congress were taking to be beyond their present 
powers, and would have preferred to have asked for a 
Constitutional Amendment to authorize it. But he readily 
gave way on this to those who represented that such a course 
would give the malcontent minority their chance, and 
perhaps jeopardize the whole scheme. The fact is, that 



70 A HISTOKY OP THE UNITED STATES 

" State Eights " were not to Jefferson a first principle, but 
a weapon which he used for the single purpose of resisting 
oligarchy. His first principle, in which he never wavered 
for a moment, was that laid down in the "Declaration " 
the sovereignty of the General Will. To Taim Federalism 
was nothing and State Sovereignty was nothing but the 
keeping of the commandments of the people. Judged by 
this test, both his opposition to Hamilton's bank and his 
purchase of the Louisiana territory were justified ; for on 
both occasions the nation was with him. 

Jefferson's inconsistency, therefore, if inconsistency it 
were, brought him little discredit. It was far otherwise 
with the inconsistency of the Federalists. For they also 
changed sides, and of their case it may be said that, like 
Milton's Satan, they " rode with darkness." The most 
respectable part of their original political creed was their 
nationalism, their desire for unity, and their support of 
a strong central authority. Had this been really the 
dominant sentiment of their connection, they could not but 
have supported Jefferson's policy, even though they might 
not too unfairly have reproached him with stealing their 
thunder. For not only was Jefferson's act a notable 
example of their own theory of "broad construction" of 
the Constitution, but it was perhaps a more fruitful piece 
of national statesmanship than the best of Hamilton's 
measures, and it had a direct tendency to promote and 
perpetuate that unity which the Federalists professed to 
value so highly, for it gave to the States a new estate of 
vast extent and incalculable potentialities, which they must 
perforce rule and develop in common. But the Federalists 
forgot everything, even common prudence, in their hatred 
of the man who had raised the people against them. To 
injure him, most of them had been ready to conspire with 
a tainted adventurer like Burr. They were now ready 
for the same object to tear up the Union and all their 
principles with it. One of their ablest spokesmen, Josiah 
Quincey, made a speech against the purchase, in which 
he anticipated the most extreme pronouncements of the 
Nullifyers of 1832 and the Secessionists of 1860, declared 
that his country was not America but Massachusetts, that 
to her alone his ultimate allegiance was due, and that 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 71 

if her interests were violated by the addition of new 
Southern territory in defiance of the Constitution, she 
would repudiate the Union and take her stand upon her 
rights as an independent Sovereign State. 

By such an attitude the Federalists destroyed only 
themselves. Some of the wiser among them left the party 
on this issue, notably John Quincey Adams, son of the 
second President of the United States, and himself to be 
raised later, under somewhat disastrous circumstances, to 
the same position. The rump that remained true, not to 
their principles but rather to their vendetta, could make 
no headway against a virtually unanimous nation. They 
merely completed and endorsed the general judgment on 
their party by an act of suicide. 

But the chief historical importance of the Louisiana 
purchase lies in the fact that it gave a new and for long 
years an unlimited scope to -that irresistible movement of 
expansion westward which is the key to all that age in 
American history. In the new lands a new kind of 
American was growing up. Within a generation he was 
to come by his own; and a Westerner in the chair of 
Washington was to revolutionize the Commonwealth. 

Of the governing conditions of the West, two stand out 
as of especial importance to history. 

One was the presence of unsubdued and hostile Indian 
tribes. Ever since that extraordinary man, Daniel Boon 
(whose strange career would make an epic for which there 
is no room in this book), crossed the Alleghanies a decade 
before the beginning of the Revolution and made an 
opening for the white race into the rich valleys of Kentucky, 
the history of the western frontier of European culture 
had been a cycle of Indian wars. The native race had 
not yet been either tamed or corrupted by civilization. 
Powerful chiefs still ruled great territories as independent 
potentates, and made peace and war with the white men 
on equal terms. From such a condition it followed that 
courage and skill in arms were in the West not merely 
virtues and accomplishments to be admired, but necessities 
which a man must acquire or perish. The Westerner was 
born a fighter, trained as a fighter, and the fighting instinct 
was ever dominant in him. So also was the instinct of 



72 A HISTOBY OF THE UNITED STATES 

loyalty to his fellow-citizens, a desperate, necessary loyalty 
as to comrades in a besieged city as, indeed, they often 
were. 

The other condition was the product partly of natural 
circumstances and partly of that wise stroke of statesman- 
ship which had pledged the new lands in trust to the 
whole Confederacy. The Westerner was American perhaps 
he was the first absolutely instinctive American. The older 
States looked with much pride to a long historical record 
which stretched back far beyond the Union into colonial 
times. The Massachusetts man would still boast of the 
Pilgrim Fathers. The Virginian still spoke lovingly of the 
" Old Plantation." But Kentucky and Tennessee, Ohio and 
Indiana were children of the Union. They had grown to 
statehood within it, and they had no memories outside it. 
They were peopled from all the old States, and the pioneers 
who peopled them were hammered into an intense and 
instinctive homogeneity by the constant need of fighting 
together against savage nature and savage man. Thus, 
while in the older settlements one man was- conscious 
above all things that he was a New Englander, and another 
that he was a Carolinan, the Western pioneer was primarily 
conscious that he was a white man and not a Red Indian, 
nay, often that he was a man and not a grizzly bear. 
Hence grew up in the West that sense of national unity 
which was to be the inspiration of so many celebrated 
Westerners of widely different types and opinions, of Clay, 
of Jackson, of Stephen Douglas, and of Abraham Lincoln. 

But this was not to take place until the loyalty of 
the West had first been tried by a strange and sinister 
temptation. 

Aaron Burr had been elected Vice-President coincidently 
with Jefferson's election as President ; but his ambition was 
far from satisfied. He was determined to make another bid 
for the higher place, and as a preliminary he put himself 
forward as candidate for the Governorship of New York 
State. It was as favourable ground as he could find to try 
the issue between himself and the President, for New York 
had been the centre of his activities while he was still an 
official Democrat, and her favour had given him his original 
position in the party. But he could not hope to succeed 






THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 73 

without the backing of those Federalist malcontents who 
had nearly made him President in 1800. To conciliate 
them he bent all his energies and talents, and was again 
on the point of success when Hamilton, who also belonged 
to New York State, again crossed his path. Hamilton 
urged all the Federalists whom he could influence to have 
nothing to do with Burr, and, probably as a result of his 
active intervention, Burr was defeated. 

Burr resolved that Hamilton must be prevented from 
thwarting him in the future, and Jie deliberately chose a 
simple method of removing him. He had the advantage 
of being a crack shot. He forced a private quarrel on 
Hamilton, challenged him to a duel, and killed him. 

He can hardly have calculated the effect of his action : 
it shocked the whole nation, which had not loved Hamilton, 
but knew him for a better man than Burr. Duelling, 
indeed, was then customary among gentlemen in the 
United States, as it is to-day throughout the greater part 
of the civilized world ; but it was very rightly felt that the 
machinery which was provided for the vindication of out- 
raged honour under extreme provocation was never meant 
to enable one man, under certain forms, to kill another 
merely because he found his continued existence personally 
inconvenient. That was what Burr had done ; and morally 
it was undoubtedly murder. Throughout the whole East 
Burr became a man marked with the brand of Cain. He 
soon perceived it, but his audacity would not accept defeat. 
He turned to the West, and initiated a daring conspiracy 
which, as he hoped, would make him, if not President of 
the United States, at least President of something. 

What Burr's plan, as his own mind conceived it, really 
was it is extremely difficult to say ; for he gave not only 
different but directly opposite accounts to the various 
parties whom he endeavoured to engage in it. To the 
British Ambassador, whom he approached, he represented 
it as a plan for the dismemberment of the Republic from 
which England had everything to gain. Louisiana was to 
secede, carrying the whole West with her, and the new 
Confederacy was to become the ally of the Mother Country. 
For the Spanish Ambassador he had another story. Spain 
was to recover predominant influence in Louisiana by 



74 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

detaching it from the American Republic, and recognizing 
it as an independent State. To the French-Americans of 
Louisiana he promised complete independence of both 
America and Spain. To the Westerners, whom he tried 
to seduce, exactly the opposite colour was given to the 
scheme. It was represented as a design to provoke a war 
with Spain by the invasion and conquest of Mexico ; and 
only if the Federal Government refused to support the 
filibusters was the West to secede. Even this hint of 
hypothetical secession was only whispered to those whom 
it might attract. To others all thought of disunion was 
disclaimed ; and yet another complexion was put on the plot. 
The West was merely to make legitimate preparations 
for the invasion of Mexico and Florida in the event of 
certain disputes then pending with Spain resulting in 
war. It was apparently in this form that the design was 
half disclosed to the most influential citizen and commander 
of the militia in the newly created State of Tennessee, 
Andrew Jackson, the same that we saw as a mere school- 
boy riding and fighting at Hanging Rock. 

Jackson had met Burr during the brief period when he 
was in' Congress as representative of his State. He had 
been entertained by him and liked him, and when Burr 
visited Tennessee he was received by Jackson with all the 
hospitality of the West. Jackson was just the man to be 
interested in a plan for invading Mexico in the event of 
a Spanish war, and he would probably not have been much 
shocked for the West was headstrong, used to free fighting, 
and not nice on points of international law at the idea of 
helping on a war for the purpose. But he loved the Union 
as he loved his own life. Burr said nothing to him of his 
separatist schemes. When later he heard rumours of them, 
he wrote peremptorily to Burr for an explanation. Burr, 
who, to do him justice, was not the man to shuffle or 
prevaricate, lied so vigorously and explicitly that Jackson 
for the moment believed him. Later clearer proof came 
of his treason, and close on it followed the President's 
proclamation apprehending him, for Burr had been betrayed 
by an accomplice to Jefferson. Jackson at once ordered 
out the militia to seize him, but he had already passed 
westward 'out of his control. The Secretary for War, who, 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 75 

as it happened, was a personal enemy of Jackson's, thinking 
his connection with Burr might be used against him, wrote 
calling in sinister tone for an account of his conduct. 
Jackson's reply is so characteristic of the man that it 
deserves to be quoted. After saying that there was nothing 
treasonable in Burr's communications to him personally, he 
adds : " But, sir, when proofs showed him to be a Treator " 
(spelling was never the future President's strong point), 
" I would cut his throat with as much pleasure as I would 
cut yours on equal testimony." 

The whole conspiracy fizzled out. Burr could get no 
help from any of the divergent parties he had attempted 
to gain. No one would fight for him. His little band of 
rebels was scattered, and he himself was seized, tried for 
treason, and acquitted on a technical point. But his dark, 
tempestuous career was over. Though he lived to an 
unlovely old age, he appears no more in history. 

Jefferson was re-elected President in 1804. He was 
himself doubtful about the desirability of a second tenure, but 
the appearance at the moment of a series of particularly 
foul (attacks upon his private character made him feel 
that to retire would amount to something like a plea of 
guilty. Perhaps it would have served his permanent fame 
better if he had not accepted another term, for, owing 
to circumstances for which he was only partly to blame, 
his second Presidency appears in history as much less 
successful than his first. 

Its chief problem was the maintenance of peace and 
neutrality during the colossal struggle between France 
under Napoleon and the kings and aristocracies of Europe 
who had endeavoured to crush the French Revolution, and 
who now found themselves in imminent peril of being 
crushed by its armed and amazing child. 

Jefferson sincerely loved peace. Moreover, the sympathy 
for France, of which he had at one time made no disguise, 
was somewhat damped by the latest change which had 
taken place in the French Government. Large as was 
his vision compared with most of his contemporaries, he 
was too much soaked in the Republican tradition of 
antiquity, which was so living a thing in that age, to see 
in the decision of a nation of soldiers to have a soldier 



76 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

for their ruler and representative the fulfilment of 
democracy and not its denial. But his desire for peace 
was not made easier of fulfilment by either of the 
belligerent governments. Neither thought the power of 
the United States to help or hinder of serious account, 
and both committed constant acts of aggression against 
American rights. Nor was his position any stronger in 
that he had made it a charge against the Federalists that 
they had provided in an unnecessarily lavish fashion for 
the national defence. In accordance with his pledges he 
had reduced the army. His own conception of the best 
defensive system for America was the building of a large 
number of small but well-appointed frigates to guard her 
coasts and her commerce. It is fair to him to say that 
when war came these frigates of his gave a good account of 
themselves. Yet his own position was a highly embarrassing 
one, anxious from every motive to avoid war and yet 
placed between an enemy, or rather two enemies, who 
would yield nothing to his expostulations, and the rising 
clamour, especially in the West, for the vindication of 
American rights by an appeal to arms. 

Jefferson attempted to meet the difficulty by a weapon 
which proved altogether inadequate for the purpose 
intended, while it was bound to react almost as seriously 
as a war could have done on the prosperity of America. 
He proposed to interdict all commerce with either of the 
belligerents so long as both persisted in disregarding 
American rights, while promising to raise the interdict in 
favour of the one which first showed a disposition to treat 
the United States fairly. Such a policy steadily pursued 
by such an America as we see to-day would probably 
have succeeded. But at that time neither combatant was 
dependent upon American products for the essentials of 
vitality. The suppression of the American trade might 
cause widespread inconvenience, and even bring individual 
merchants to ruin, but it could not hit the warring nations 
hard enough to compel governments struggling on either 
side for their very lives in a contest which seemed to 
hang on a hair to surrender anything that might look like 
a military advantage. On the other hand, the Embargo, 
as it was called, hit the Americans themselves very hard 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 77 

indeed. So great was the outcry of the commercial 
classes, that the President was compelled to retrace his 
steps and remove the interdict. The problem he handed 
over unsolved to his successor. 

That successor was James Madison, another Virginian, 
Jefferson's lieutenant ever since the great struggle with the 
Federalists and his intimate friend from a still earlier 
period. His talents as a writer were great; he did not 
lack practical sagacity, and his opinions were Jefferson's 
almost without a single point of divergence. But he 
lacked Jefferson's personal prestige, and consequently the 
policy followed during his Presidency was less markedly his 
own than that of his great predecessor had been. 

Another turn of the war-wheel in Europe had left 
America with only one antagonist in place of two. Trafalgar 
had destroyed, once and for all, the power of France on 
the sea, and she was now powerless to injure American 
interests, did she wish to do so. England, on the other 
hand, was stronger for that purpose than ever, and was 
less restrained than ever in the exercise of her strength. 
A new dispute, especially provocative to the feelings of 
Americans, had arisen over the question of the impressment 
of seamen. The press-gang was active in England at 
the time, and pursued its victims on the high seas. It 
even claimed the right to search the ships of neutrals for 
fugitives. Many American vessels were violated in this 
fashion, and it was claimed that some of the men thus 
carried off to forced service, though originally English, 
had become American citizens. England was clearly in 
the wrong, but she refused all redress. One Minister, sent 
by us to Washington, Erskine, did indeed almost bring 
matters to a satisfactory settlement, but his momentary 
success only made the ultimate anger of America more 
bitter, for he was disowned and recalled, and, as if in 
deliberate insult, was replaced by a certain Jackson who, 
as England's Ambassador to Denmark in 1804, had borne 
a prominent part in the most sensational violation of the 
rights of a neutral country that the Napoleonic struggle 
had produced. 

There seemed no chance of peace from any conciliatory 
action on the part of Great Britain. The sole chance 



78 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

hung on the new President's inheritance of Jefferson's 
strong leaning in that direction. But Madison was by no 
means for peace at any price ; and indeed Jefferson him- 
self, from his retreat at Monticello, hailed the war, when 
it ultimately came, as unmistakably just. For a long 
time, however, the President alone held the nation back 
from war. The War Party included the Vice-President 
Munroe, who had been largely instrumental in bringing 
about the Louisiana purchase. But its greatest strength 
was in the newly populated West, and its chief spokesman 
in Congress was Henry Clay of Kentucky. 

This man nils so large a space in American politics for 
a full generation that some attempt must be made to give 
a picture of him. Yet a just account of his character is 
not easy to give. It would be simple enough to offer a 
superficial description, favourable or hostile, but not one 
that would account for all his actions. Perhaps the best 
analysis would begin by showing him as half the aboriginal 
Westerner and half the Washington politician. In many 
ways he was very Western. He had a Westerner's 
pugnacity, and at the same time a Westerner's geniality 
and capacity for comradeship with men. He had to the last 
a Westerner's private tastes especially a taste for gambling 
and a Westerner's readiness to fight duels. Above all, 
from the time that he entered Congress as the fiercest of 
the " war hawks " who clamoured for vengeance on England, 
to the time when, an old and broken man, he expended the 
last of his enormous physical energy in an attempt to bridge 
the widening gulf between North and South, he showed 
through many grievous faults and errors that intense 
national feeling and that passion for the Union which 
were growing so vigorously in the fertile soil beyond the 
Alleghanies. But he was a Western shoot early engrafted 
on the political society of Washington the most political 
of all cities, for it is a political capital and nothing else. 
He entered Congress young and found there exactly the 
atmosphere that suited his tastes and temperament. He 
was as much the perfect parliamentarian as Gladstone. 
For how much his tact and instinct for the tone of the 
political assembly in which he moved counted may be 
guessed from this fact: that while there is no speech of 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 79 

Lis that has come clown to us that one could place for 
a moment beside some of extant contemporary speeches of 
Webster and Calhoun, yet it is unquestionable that he was 
considered fully a match for either Webster or Calhoun in 
debate, and in fact attained an ascendancy over Congress 
which neither of those great orators ever possessed. At 
the management of the minds of men with whom he was 
actually in contact he was unrivalled. No man was so 
skilful in harmonizing apparently irreconcilable differences 
and choosing the exact line of policy which opposing factions 
could agree to support. Three times he rode what seemed 
the most devastating political storms, and three times 
he imposed a peace. But with the strength of a great 
parliamentarian he had much of the weakness that goes 
with it. He thought too much as a professional ; and in his 
own skilled work of matching measures, arranging parties 
and moving politicians about like pawns, he came more and 
more to forget the silent drive of the popular will. All this, 
however, belongs to a later stage of Clay's development. 
At the moment, we have to deal with him as the ablest 
of those who were bent upon compelling the President 
to war. 

Between Clay and the British Government Madison's 
hand was forced, and war was declared. In America there 
were widespread rejoicings and high hopes of the conquest 
of Canada and the final expulsion of England from the 
New World. Yet the war, though on the whole justly 
entered upon, and though popular with the greater part 
of the country, was not national in the fullest sense. It 
did not unite, rather it dangerously divided, the Federation, 
and that, unfortunately, on geographical lines. New 
England from the first was against it, partly because 
most of her citizens sympathized with Great Britain in her 
struggle with Napoleon, and partly because her mercantile 
prosperity was certain to be hard hit, and might easily 
be ruined by a war with the greatest of naval powers. 
When, immediately after the declaration of war, in 
1812, Madison was put forward as Presidential candidate 
for a second term, the contest showed sharply the line 
of demarcation. North-east of the Hudson he did not 
receive a vote. 



80 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

The war opened prosperously for the Republic, with the 
destruction by Commander Perry of the British fleet on 
Lake Ontario an incident which still is held in glorious 
memory by the American Navy and the American people. 
Following on this notable success, an invasion of Canada 
was attempted; but here Fortune changed sides. The 
invasion was a complete failure, the American army was 
beaten, forced to fall back, and attacked, in its turn, upon 
American soil. Instead of American troops occupying 
Quebec, English troops occupied a great part of Ohio. 

Meanwhile, Jefferson's frigates were showing their metal. 
In many duels with English cruisers they had the advantage, 
though ,we in this country naturally hear most indeed, it 
is almost the only incident of this war of which we ever do 
hear of one of the cases in which victory went the other 
way the famous fight between the Shannon and the 
Chesapeake. On the whole, the balance of such warfare 
leant in favour of the American sea-captains. But it was 
not by such warfare that the issue could be settled. 
England, summoning whatj strength she could spare from 
her desperate struggle with the French Emperor, sent an 
adequate fleet to convoy a formidable army to the American 
coast. It landed without serious opposition at the mouth 
of the Chesapeake, and marched straight on the national 
capital, which the Government was forced to abandon. 

No Englishman can write without shame of what 
followed. All the public buildings of Washington were 
deliberately burnt. For this outrage the Home Govern- 
ment was solely responsible. The general in command 
received direct and specific orders, which he obeyed 
unwillingly. No pretence of military necessity, or even of 
military advantage, can be pleaded. The act, besides being 
a gross violation of the law of nations, was an exhibition of 
sheer brutal spite, such as civilized war seldom witnessed 
until Prussia took a hand in it. It had its reward. It burnt 
deep into the soul of America ; and from that incident far 
more than from anything that happened in the War of 
Independence dates that ineradicable hatred of England 
which was for generations almost synonymous with patriotism 
in most Americans, and which almost to the hour of President 
Wilson's intervention made many in that country doubt 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 81 

whether, even as against Prussia, England could really be 
the champion of justice and humanity. 

Things never looked blacker for the Republic than in 
those hours when the English troops held what was 
left of Washington. Troubles came thicker and thicker 
upon her. The Creek Nation, the most powerful of the 
independent Indian tribes, instigated partly by English 
agents, partly by the mysterious native prophet Tecumseh, 
suddenly descended with fire and tomahawk on the scattered 
settlements of the South- West, while at the same time a 
British fleet appeared in the Gulf of Mexico, apparently 
meditating either an attack on New Orleans or an invasion 
through the Spanish territory of Western Florida, and 
in that darkest hour when it seemed that only the utmost 
exertions of every American could save the United States 
from disaster, treason threatened to detach an important 
section of the Federation from its allegiance. 

The discontent of New England is intelligible enough. 
No part of the Union had suffered so terribly from the war, 
and the suffering was the bitterer for being incurred in a 
contest which was none of her making, which she had 
desired to avoid, and which had been forced on her by 
other sections which had suffered far less. Her commerce, 
by which she largely lived, had been swept from the seas. 
Her people, deeply distressed, demanded an immediate 
peace. Taking ground as discontented sections, North and 
South, always did before 1864, on the doctrine of State 
Sovereignty, one at least, and that the greatest of the New 
England States, began a movement which seemed to point 
straight to the dilemma of surrender to the foreigner or 
secession and dismemberment from within. 

Massachusetts invited representatives of her sister States 
to a Convention at Hartford. The Convention was to be 
consultative, but its direct and avowed aim was to force the 
conclusion of peace on any terms. Some of its promoters 
were certainly prepared, if they did not get their way, to 
secede and make a separate peace for their own State. 
The response of New England was not as unanimous as the 
conspirators had hoped. Vermont and New Hampshire 
refused to send delegates. Rhode Island consented, 
but qualified her consent with the phrase " consistently 



82 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

with her obligations" implying that she would be no 
party to a separate peace or to the break-up of the Union. 
Connecticut alone came in without reservation. Perhaps 
this partial failure led the plotters to lend a more moderate 
colour to their policy. At any rate, secession was not 
directly advocated at Hartford. It was hinted that if 
such evils as those of which the people of New England 
complained proved permanent, it might be necessary ; but 
the members of the Convention had the grace to admit that 
it ought not to be attempted in the middle of a foreign war. 
Their good faith, however, is dubious, for they put forward 
a proposal so patently absurd that it could hardly have 
been made except for the purpose of paving the way for a 
separate peace. They declared that each State ought to be 
responsible for its own defences, and they asked that their 
share of the Federal taxes should be paid over to them for 
the purpose. With that and a resolution to meet again at 
Boston and consider further steps if their demands were 
not met, they adjourned. They never reassembled. 

In the South the skies were clearing a little. Jackson 
of Tennessee, vigorous and rapid in movement, a master of 
Indian warfare, leading an army of soldiers who worshipped 
him as the Old Guard worshipped Napoleon, by a series of 
quick and deadly strokes overthrew the Creeks, followed 
them to their fastnesses, and broke them decisively at 
Tohopeka in the famous "hickory patch" which was the 
holy place of their nation. 

He was rewarded in the way that he would have most 
desired : by a commission against the English, who had 
landed at Pensacola in Spanish territory, perhaps with the 
object of joining hands with theirjlndian allies. They found 
those allies crushed by Jackson's energy, but they still 
retained their foothold on the Florida coast, from which they 
could menace Georgia on the one side and New Orleans 
on the other. Spain was the ally of England in Europe, 
but in the American War she professed neutrality. As, 
however, she made no effort to prevent England using a 
Spanish port as a base of operations, she could not justly 
complain when Jackson seized the neighbouring port of 
Mobile, from which he marched against the British anc( 
dislodged them. But the hardest and most glorious part 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 83 

of his task was to come. The next blow was aimed at 
New Orleans itself. Jackson hastened to its defence. 
The British landed in great force at the mouth of the 
Mississippi and attacked the city from both sides. Jackson's 
little army was greatly outnumbered, but the skill with 
which he planned the defence and the spirit which he 
infused into his soldiers (the British themselves said that 
-Jackson's men seemed of a different stuff from all other 
American troops they had encountered) prevailed against 
heavy odds. Three times Jackson's lines were attacked : 
in one place they were nearly carried, but his energy 
just repaired the disaster. At length the British retired 
with heavy losses and took to their ships. New Orleans 
was saved. 

Before this last and most brilliant of American victories 
had been fought and won, peace had been signed at Ghent. 
News travelled slowly across the Atlantic, and neither 
British nor American commanders knew of it for months 
later. But early in the year negotiations had been opened, 
and before Christmas they reached a conclusion. Great 
Britain was more weary of the war than her antagonist. 
If she had gone on she might have won a complete 
victory, or might have seen fortune turn decisively against 
her. She had no wish to try the alternative. Napoleon 
had abdicated at Fontainbleau, and been despatched to 
Elba, and there were many who urged that the victorious 
army of the Peninsula under Wellington himself should 
be sent across the Atlantic to dictate terms. ^But England 
was not in the mood for more fighting. After twenty years 
of incessant war she saw at last the hope of peace. She 
saw also that the capture of Washington had not, as had 
been hoped, put an end to American resistance, but had 
rather put new life into it. To go on meant to attempt 
again the gigantic task which she had let drop as much 
from weariness as from defeat a generation before. She 
preferred to cry quits. The Peace, which was signed on 
behalf of a Eepublic by Clay once the most vehement of 
" war-hawks " was in appearance a victory for neither 
side. Frontiers remained exactly as they were when the 
first shot was fired. No indemnity was demanded or paid 
by either combatant. The right of impressment the 



84 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

original cause of war, was neither affirmed nor disclaimed, 
though since that date England has never attempted to use 
it. Yet there is no such thing in history as "a drawn 
war." One side or the other must always have attempted 
the imposition of its will and failed. In this case it was 
England. America will always regard the war of 1812 
as having ended in victory ; and her view is substantially 
right. The new Republic, in spite of, or, one might more 
truly say, because of the dark reverses she had suffered 
and survived, was strengthened and not weakened by her 
efforts. The national spirit was raised and not lowered. 
The mood of a nation after a war is a practically unfailing 
test of victory or defeat ; and the mood of America after 
1814 was happy, confident, creative the mood of a boy 
who has proved his manhood. 

In 1816 Madison was succeeded by Monroe. Monroe, 
though, like his successor, a Virginian and a disciple of 
Jefferson, was more of a nationalist, and had many points 
of contact with the new Democracy which had sprung up 
first in the West, and was daily becoming more and more 
the dominant sentiment of the Republic. " Federalism " 
had perished because it was tainted with oligarchy, but 
there had been other elements in it which were destined to 
live, and the " National Republicans," as they came to call 
themselves, revived them. They were for a vigorous 
foreign policy and for adequate preparations for war. They 
felt the Union as a whole, and were full of a sense of its 
immense undeveloped possibilities. They planned expensive 
schemes of improvement by means of roads, canals, and 
the like to be carried out at the cost of the Federal 
Government, and they cared little for the protests of the 
doctrinaires of " State Right." To them America owes, 
for good or evil, her Protective system. The war had for 
some years interrupted commerce with the Old World, 
and native industries had, perforce, grown up to supply 
the wants of the population. These industries were 
now in danger of destruction through the reopening of 
foreign trade, and consequently of foreign competition. 
It was determined to frame the tariff hitherto imposed 
mainly, if not entirely, with a view to revenue in 
such a way as to shelter them from such peril. The 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 85 

exporting Cotton States, which had nothing to gain from 
Protection, were naturally hostile to it ; but they were 
overborne by the general trend of opinion, especially in the 
West. One last development of the new " national " 
policy the most questionable of its developments and 
opposed by Clay at the time, though he afterwards made 
himself its champion was the revival, to meet the financial 
difficulties created by the war, of Hamilton's National 
Bank, whose charter, under the Jeffersonian regime, had 
been suffered to expire. 

But the Western expansion, though it did much to 
consolidate the Republic, contained in it a seed of dissension. 
We have seen how, in the Convention, the need of keeping 
an even balance between Northern and Southern sections 
was apparent. That need was continually forced into 
prominence as new States were added. The presence or 
absence of Negro Slavery had become the distinguishing 
badge of the sections ; and it became the apple of discoiti 
as regards the development of the West. Jefferson had 
wished that Slavery should be excluded from all the 
territory vested in the Federal authority, but he had been 
overruled, and the prohibition had been applied only to 
the North- Western Territory out of which the States of Ohio, 
Indiana, and Illinois were carved. The South-West had 
been left open to Slavery, and it had become the custom, 
with the purpose of preserving the balance in the Senate, 
to admit Slave States and Free in pairs. This worked 
satisfactorily enough so long as the States claiming 
admission were within a well-defined geographical area. 
But when Missouri became sufficiently populated to be 
recognized as a State, there was a keen contest. Her 
territory lay across the lino which had hitherto divided 
the sections. She must be either a Northern promontory 
projecting into the south or a Southern promontory pro- 
jecting into the north. Neither section would yield, and 
matters were approaching a domestic crisis when Clay 
intervened. He was in an excellent position to arbitrate, 
for he came from the most northern of Southern States, 
and had ties with both sections. Moreover, as has been 
said, his talents were peculiarly suited to such management 
as the situation required. He proposed a settlement which 



86 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

satisfied moderate men on both sides, was ratified by a 
large majority in Congress, and accepted on all hands as 
final. Missouri was to enter the Union, as she apparently 
desired to do, as a Slave State, but to the west of her 
territory the line 36 30' longitude, very little above her 
southern border, was to be the dividing line of the sections. 
This gave the South an immediate advantage, but at 
a heavy ultimate price, for it left her little room for 
expansion. But one more Slave State could be carved out 
of the undeveloped Western Territory that of Arkansas. 
Beyond that lay the lands reserved by treaty to the Indian 
tribes, which extended to the frontier of the Western 
dominions of Mexico. Clay, who, though by no means 
disposed to be a martyr on the question, sincerely desired 
to bring about the gradual extinction of Slavery, may well 
have deliberately planned this part of his compromise 
to accomplish that end. At the same time, Maine a 
territory hitherto attached to Connecticut was admitted 
as a Free State to balance Missouri. 

Such was the great Missouri Compromise which kept 
the peace between the sections for a generation, and which 
gradually acquired an almost religious sanction in the 
minds of Americans devoted to the Union. It struck the 
note of the new era, which is called in American history 
" the era of good feeling." Sectional differences had been 
settled, political factions were in dissolution. Monroe's 
second election was, for the first time since Washington's 
retirement, without opposition. There were no longer 
any organized parties, such as Hamilton and Jefferson and 
even Clay had led. There were, of course, still rivalries 
and differences, but they were personal or concerned with 
particular questions. Over the land there was a new 
atmosphere of peace. 

Abroad, America had never been stronger. To this 
period belongs the acquisition of Florida from Spain, an 
acquisition carried through by purchase, but by a bargain 
rather leonine in character. It cannot, however, be said 
that the United States had no reasonable grievance in the 
matter. Spain had not been able or said that she had 
not been able to prevent the British from taking forcible 
possession of one of her principal ports during a war in 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 87 

which she was supposed to be neutral. She declared 
herself equally unable to prevent the Creek and Seminole 
Indians from taking refuge in her territory and thence 
raiding the American lands over the border. Monroe had 
a good case when he pressed on her the point that she 
must either maintain order in her dominions or allow 
others to do so. Jackson, who was in command against 
the Seminoles, insisted not unreasonably that he could 
not deal with them unless he was allowed to follow them 
across the Spanish frontier and destroy their base of 
operations. Permission was given him, and he used it 
to the full, even to the extent of occupying important towns 
in defiance of the edicts of their Spanish governors. Monroe's 
Cabinet was divided in regard to the defensibility of 
Jackson's acts, but these acts probably helped to persuade 
Spain to sell while she could still get a price. The bargain 
was struck : Florida became American territory, and Jackson 
was appointed her first governor. 

But the best proof that the prestige of America stood 
higher since the war of 1812 was the fact that the Power 
which had then been her rather contemptuous antagonist 
came forward to sue for her alliance. The French 
Revolution, which had so stirred English-speaking America, 
had produced an even greater effect on the Latin colonies 
that lay further south. Almost all the Spanish dominions 
revolted against the Spanish Crown, and after a short 
struggle successfully established their independence. 
Naturally, the rebels had the undivided sympathy of the 
United States, which was the first Power to recognize their 
independence. Now, however, the Holy Alliance was 
supreme in Europe, and had reinstated the Bourbons on the 
Spanish as on the French throne. It was rumoured that 
the rulers of the Alliance meditated the further step of 
re- subjugating Spain's American empire. Alexander I. of 
Russia was credited with being especially eager for the 
project, and with having offered to dispatch a Russian 
army from Siberia for the purpose : it was further believed 
that he proposed to reward himself by extending his own 
Alaskan dominions as far south as California. England, 
under Canning's leadership, had separated herself from the 
Holy Alliance, and had almost as much reason as the United 



88 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

States to dread and dislike such a scheme as the Czar was 
supposed to meditate. Canning sent for the American 
Ambassador, and suggested a joint declaration against any 
adventures by European powers on the American Continent. 
The joint declaration was declined, as seeming to commit 
the United States too much to one of those "entangling 
alliances" against which Washington had warned his 
fellow-countrymen ; but the hint was taken. 

Monroe put forth a proclamation in which he declared 
that America was no longer a field for European colonization, 
and that any attempt on the part of a European power 
to control the destiny of an American community would 
be taken as a sign of "an unfriendly disposition towards 
the United States." 

Canning let it be understood that England backed the 
declaration, and that any attempt to extend the operations 
of the Holy Alliance to America would have to be carried 
out in the teeth of the combined opposition of the two 
great maritime powers so recently at war with each other. 
The plan was abandoned, and the independence of the 
South American Republics was successfully established. 

But much more was established. The " Monroe 
Doctrine " became, and remains to-day, the corner-stone 
of American foreign policy. It has been greatly extended 
in scope, but no American Government has ever, for a 
moment, wavered in its support. None could afford to do 
so. To many Englishmen the doctrine itself, and still 
more the interpretation placed upon it by the United 
States in later times, seems arrogant just as to many 
Americans the British postulate of unchallengable supremacy 
at sea seems arrogant. But both claims, arrogant or no, 
are absolutely indispensable to the nation that puts them 
forward. If the American Republic were once to allow the 
principle that European Powers had the right, on any 
pretext whatever, to extend their borders on the American 
Continent, then that Republic would either have to perish 
or to become in all things a European Power, armed to 
the teeth, ever careful of the balance of power, perpetually 
seeking alliances and watching rivals. The best way to 
bring home to an honest but somewhat puzzled American 
and there are many such why we cannot for a moment 



THE VIRGINIAN DYNASTY 89 

tolerate what is called by some "the freedom of the seas," 
is to ask him whether he will give us in return the 
" freedom " of the American Continent. The answer in 
both cases is that sane nations do not normally, and with 
their eyes open, commit suicide. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 

DURING the " era of good feeling " in which the Virginian 
dynasty closed, forces had been growing in the shadow 
which in a few short years were to transform the Republic. 
The addition to these forces of a personality completed the 
transformation which, though it made little or no change 
in the laws, we may justly call a revolution. 

The government of Jefferson and his successors was a 
government based on popular principles and administered 
by democratically minded gentlemen. The dreams of an 
aristocratic republic, which had been the half-avowed 
objective of Hamilton, were dissipated for ever by the 
Democratic triumph of 1800. The party which had 
become identified with such ideas was dead ; no politician 
any longer dared to call himself a Federalist. The dogmas 
of the Declaratioa of Independence were everywhere 
recognized as the foundation of the State, recognized and 
translated into practice in that government was by consent, 
and in the main faithfully reflected the general will. But 
the administration, in the higher branches at least, was 
exclusively in the hands of gentlemen. 

When a word is popularly used in more than one sense, 
the best course is perhaps to define clearly the sense in 
which one uses it, and then to use it unvaryingly in that 
sense. The word "gentleman," then, will here always be 
used in its strictly impartial class significance without 
thought of association with the idea of "Good man" or 
" Quietly conducted person," and without any more intention 
of compliment than if one said "peasant" or "mechanic." 
A gentleman is one who has that kind of culture and habit 
of life which usually go with some measure of inheritance 
in wealth and status. That, at any rate, is what is meant 

90 






THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 91 

when it is here said that Jefferson and his immediate 
successors were gentlemen, while the growing impulses to 
which they appealed and on which they relied came from 
men who were not gentlemen. 

This peculiar position endured because the intense 
sincerity and single-mindedness of Jefferson's democracy 
impressed the populace and made them accept him as their 
natural leader, while his status as a well-bred Virginian 
squire, like Washington, veiled the revolution that was 
really taking place. The mantle of his prestige was large 
enough to cover not only his friend Madison, but Madison's 
successor Monroe. But at that point the direct inheritance 
failed. Among Monroe's possible successors there was no 
one ^ plainly marked out as the heir of the Jeffersonian 
tradition. Thus though no American public man saw it 
at the time America had come to a most important parting 
of the ways. The Virginian dynasty had failed; the chief 
power in the Federation must now either be scrambled for 
by the politicans or assumed bylhe people. 

Among the politicians who must be considered in the 
running for the presidency, the ablest was Henry Clay of 
Kentucky. He was the greatest parliamentary leader that 
America has known. He was unrivalled in the art of 
reconciling conflicting views and managing conflicting wills. 
We have already seen him as the triumphant author of the 
Missouri Compromise. He was a "Westerner, and was 
supposed to possess great influence in the new States. 
Politically he stood for Protection, and for an interpretation 
of the Constitution which leaned to Federalism and away 
from State Sovereignty. Second only to Clay if, indeed, 
second to him in abilities was John Caldwell Calhoun of 
South Carolina. Calhoun was not yet the Calhoun of the 
'forties, the lucid fanatic of a fixed political dogma. At 
this time he was a brilliant orator, an able and ambitious 
politician whose political system was unsettled, but tended 
at the time rather in a nationalist than in a particularist 
direction. The other two candidates were of less intellectual 
distinction, but each had something in his favour. William 
Crawford of Georgia was the favourite candidate of the 
State Bights men ; he was supposed to be able to command 
the support of the combination of Virginia and New York, 



92 A HISTOKY OF THE UNITED STATES 

which had elected every President since 1800, and there 
lingered about him a sort of shadow of the Jeffersonian 
inheritance. John Quincey Adams of Massachusetts was 
the grandson of Washington's successor, but a professed 
convert to Democratic Republicanism a man of moderate 
abilities, but of good personal character and a reputation 
for honesty. He was Monroe's Secretary of State, and had 
naturally a certain hereditary hold on New England. 

Into the various intrigues and counter-intrigues of these 
politicians it is not necessary to enter here, for from the 
point of view of American history the epoch-making event 
was the sudden entry of a fifth man who was not a politician. 
To the confusion of all their arrangements the great Western 
State of Tennessee nominated as her candidate for the 
Presidency General Andrew Jackson, the deliverer of New 
Orleans. 

Jackson was a frontiersman and a soldier. Because he 
was a frontiersman he tended to be at once democratic in 
temper and despotic in action. In the rough and tumble 
of life in the back blocks a man must often act without 
careful inquiry into constitutional privileges, but he must 
always treat men as men and equals. It has already been 
noted that men left to themselves always tend to be 
roughly democratic, and that even before the Revolution 
the English colonies had much of the substance of 
democracy; they had naturally more of it after the 
Revolution. But even after the Revolution something like 
an aristocracy was to be noted in the older States, North 
and South, consisting in the North of the old New England 
families with their mercantile wealth and their Puritan 
traditions, in the South of the great slave-owning squires. 
In the new lands, in the constant and necessary fight with 
savage nature and savage man, such distinctions were 
obliterated. Before a massacre all men are equal. In the 
presence of a grizzly bear " these truths " are quite 
unmistakably self-evident. The West was in a quite new 
and peculiar sense democratic, and was to give to 
America the great men who should complete the work of 
democracy. 

The other side of Jackson's character, as it influenced 
his public life, was the outlook which belonged to him as 



THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 93 

a soldier. He had the soldier's special virtue of loyalty. 
He was, throughout his long life, almost fanatically loyal 
in word and deed to his wife, to his friends, to his country. 
But above all he was loyal to the Jeffereonian dogma of 
popular sovereignty, which he accepted quite simply and 
unquestioningly, as soldiers are often found to accept a 
religion. And, accepting it, he acted upon it with the same 
simplicity. Sophistications of it moved him to contempt 
and anger. Sovereignty was in the people. Therefore 
those ought to rule whom the people chose ; and these 
were the servants of the people and ought to act as the 
people willed. All of which is quite unassailable; but 
anyone who has ever mixed in the smallest degree in politics 
will understand how appalling must have been the effect 
of the sudden intrusion in that atmosphere of such truisms 
by a man who really acted as if they were true. With 
this simplicity of outlook Jackson possessed in an almost 
unparalleled degree the quality which makes a true leader 
the capacity to sum up and interpret the inarticulate will 
of the mass. His eye for the direction of popular feeling 
was unerring, perhaps largely because he snared or rather 
incarnated the instincts, the traditions what others would 
call the prejudices of those who followed him. As a 
military leader his soldiers adored him, and he carried 
into civil politics a good general's capacity for identifying 
himself with the army he leads. 

He had also, of course, the advantage of a picturesque 
personality and of a high repute acquired in arms. The 
populace called him " Old Hickory " a nickname originally 
invented by the soldiers who followed him in the 
frontier wars of Tennessee. They loved to tell the tale of 
his victories, his duels, his romantic marriage, and to 
recall and perhaps exaggerate his soldier's profanity of 
speech. But this aspect of Jackson's personality has been 
too much stressed. It was stressed by his friends to adver- 
tise his personality and by his enemies to disparage it. 
It is not false, but it may lead us to read history falsely. 
Just as Danton's loud voice, large gesture and occasional 
violence tend to produce a portrait of him which ignores 
the lucidity of his mind and the practicality of his 
instincts, making him a mere chaotic demagogue, so the " Old 



94 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Hickory " legend makes Jackson too much the peppery 
old soldier and ignores his sagacity, which was in essential 
matters remarkable. His strong prejudices and his hasty 
temper often led him wrong in his estimate of individuals, 
but he was hardly ever at fault in his judgment of masses 
of men presenting therein an almost exact contrast to his 
rival andj enemy, Clay. With all his limitations, Jackson 
stands out for history as one of the two or three genuine 
creative statesmen that America has produced, and you 
cannot become a creative statesman merely by swearing 
and fighting duels. 

Jackson accepted the nomination for the Presidency. 
He held, in strict accordance with his democratic creed, 
that no citizen should either seek or refuse popular election. 
But there seems no reason to think that at this time he 
cared much whether he were elected or no. He was not 
an ambitious man, he made no special efforts to push his 
cause, and he indignantly refused to be involved in any of 
the intrigues and bargains with which Washington was 
buzzing, or to give any private assurances to individuals 
as to the use which he would make of his power and 
patronage if chosen. But when the votes were counted it 
was clear that he was the popular favourite. He had by 
far the largest number of votes in the electoral college, 
and these votes came from all parts of the Republic 
except New England, while so far as can be ascertained 
the popular vote showed a result even more decidedly 
in his favour. But in the College no candidate had an 
absolute majority, and it therefore devolved, according to 
the Constitution, upon the House of Representatives, 
voting by States, to choose the President from among 
the three candidates whose names stood highest on the 
list. 

The House passed over Jackson and gave the prize to 
Adams., who stood next to him though at a considerable 
interval. That it had a constitutional right to do so cannot 
be disputed : as little can it be disputed that in doing so 
it deliberately acted against the sentiment of the country. 
There was no Congressman who did not know perfectly 
well that the people wanted Jackson rather than Adams. 
This, however, was not all. The main cause of the decision 



THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 95 

to which the House carne was the influence of Clay. Clay 
had been last on the list himself, for the West, where his 
main strength lay, had deserted him for Jackson, but his 
power in Congress was great, and he threw it all into 
Adams' scale. It is difficult to believe that a man of such 
sagacity was really influenced by the reasons he gave at 
the time that he " would not consent by contributing to 
the election of a military chieftain to give the strongest 
guarantee that the Republic will march in the fatal road 
which has conducted every Republic to ruin." Jackson 
was a soldier, but he had no army, nor any means of 
making himself a Caesar if he had wished to do so. Yet Clay 
may reasonably have felt, and was even right in feeling, 
that Jackson's election would be a blow to Republican 
Institutions as he understood them. He was really a 
patriot, but he was above all things a Parliamentarian, 
and the effect of Jacksonian democracy really was to 
diminish the importance of Parliamentarianism. Altogether 
Clay probably honestly thought that Adams was a fitter 
man to be President than Jackson. 

Only he had another motive ; and the discovery of this 
motive moved not only Jackson but the whole country to 
indignation. Adams had no sooner taken the oath than, 
in accordance with a bargain previously made between the 
backers of the two men, unofficially but necessarily with 
their knowledge, he appointed Clay Secretary of State. 

Jackson showed no great resentment when he was 
passed over for Adams : he respected Adams, though he 
disliked and distrusted Clay. But when, in fulfilment of 
rumours which had reached him but which he had refused 
to credit, Clay became Secretary, he was something other 
than angry : he was simply shocked, as he would have 
been had he heard of an associate caught cheating at 
cards. He declared that the will of the people had been 
set aside as the result of a " corrupt bargain." He was 
not wrong. It was in its essence a corrupt bargain, and 
its effect was certainly to set aside the will of the people. 
Where Jackson was mistaken was in deducing that Adams 
and Clay were utterly dishonourable and unprincipled men. 
He was a soldier judging politicians. But the people 
judged them in the same fashion. 



96 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED -STATES 

From that moment Jackson drew the sword and threw 
away the scabbard. He and his followers fought the Adams 
administration step by step and hour by hour, and every 
preparation was made for the triumphant return of Jackson 
at the next election. -If there was plenty of scurrility 
against Adams and Clay in the journals of the Jacksonian 
party, it must be owned that the scribblers who supported 
the Administration stooped lower when they sought to 
attack Jackson through his wife, whom he had married 
under circumstances which gave a handle to slander. 
The nation was overwhelmingly with Jackson, and the 
Government of Quincey Adams was almost as much hated 
and abused as that of old John Adams had been. The 
tendency of recent American writers has been to defend the 
unpopular President and to represent the campaign against 
him and his Secretary as grossly unjust. The fact is that 
many of the charges brought against both were quite 
unfounded, but that the real and just cause of the popular 
anger against the Administration was its tainted origin. 

The new elections came in 1828, and the rejected of 
Congress carried the whole country. The shadowy figment 
of the " Electoral College," already worn somewhat thin, 
was swept away and Jackson was chosen as by a plebiscite. 
That was the first and most important step in the 
Jacksonian Revolution. The founders of the Republic, 
while acknowledging the sovereignty of the people, had 
nevertheless framed the Constitution with the intention of 
excluding the people from any direct share in the election 
of the Chief Magistrate. The feeble check which they had 
devised was nullified. The Sovereign People, baulked in 
1824, claimed its own in 1828, and Jackson went to the 
White House as its direct nominee. 

His first step was to make a pretty thorough clearance 
of the Departmental Offices from the highest to the lowest. 
This action, which inaugurated what is called in America 
the " Spoils System " and has been imitated by subsequent 
Presidents down to the present time, is legitimately regarded 
as the least defensible part of Jackson's policy. There can 
be little doubt that the ultimate effect was bad, especially as 
an example ; but in Jackson's case there were extenuating 
circumstances. He was justly conscious of a mandate from 



THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 97 

the people to govern. He had against him a coalition of 
the politicians who had till that moment monopolized power, 
and the public offices were naturally full of their creatures. 
He knew that he would have a hard fight in any case with 
the Senate against him and no very certain majority in the 
House of Representation. If the machinery of the Executive 
failed him he could not win, and, from his point of view, 
the popular mandate would be betrayed. 

For the most drastic measures he could take to strengthen 
himself and to weaken his enemies left those enemies still 
very formidable. Of the leading politicians, only Calhoun, 
who had been chosen as Vice-President, was his ally, and 
that alliance was not to endure for long. The beginning 
of the trouble was, perhaps, the celebrated " Eaton " affair, 
which is of historic importance only as being illustrative 
of Jackson's character. Of all his Cabinet, Eaton, an old 
Tennessee friend and comrade in arms, probably enjoyed 
the highest place in the President's personal affections. 
Eaton had recently married the daughter of an Irish 
boarding-house keeper at whose establishment he stayed 
when in Washington. She had previously been the wife 
of a tipsy merchant captain who committed suicide, some 
said from melancholia produced by strong drink, others 
from jealousy occasioned by the levity of his wife's behaviour. 
There seems no real evidence that she was more than 
flirtatious with her husband's guests, but scandal had been 
somewhat busy with her name, and when Eaton married 
her the ladies of Washington showed a strong disposition 
to boycott the bride. The matrons of the South were 
especially proud of the unblemished correctitude of their 
social code, and Calhoun's wife put herself ostentatiously 
at the head of the movement. Jackson took the other side 
with fiery animation. He was ever a staunch friend, and 
Eaton had appealed to his friendship. Moreover, his own 
wife, recently dead, had received Mrs. Eaton and shown a 
strong disposition to be friends with her, and he considered 
the reflections on his colleague's wife were a slur on her, 
whose memory he honoured almost as that of a saint, but 
who, as he could not but remember, had herself not been 
spared by slanderers. He not only extended in the most 
conspicuous manner the protection of his official countenance 

H 



98 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

to his friend's wife, but almost insisted upon his Cabinet 
taking oath, one by one, at the point of the sword, that 
they believed Mrs. Eaton to be "as chaste as a virgin." 
But the Ministers, even when overborne by their chivalrous 
chief, could not control the social behaviour of their wives, 
who continued to cold-shoulder the Batons, to the President's 
great indignation and disgust. Van Buren, who regarded 
Calhoun as his rival, and who, as a bachelor, was free to 
pay his respects to Mrs. Eaton without prejudice or 
hindrance, seems to have suggested to Jackson that Calhoun 
had planned the whole campaign to ruin Eaton. Jackson 
hesitated to believe this, but close on the heels oFthe affair 
came another cause of quarrel, arising from the disclosure 
of the fact that Calhoun, when Secretary for War in Monroe's 
Cabinet, had been one of those who wished to censure 
Jackson for his proceedings in Florida a circumstance 
which he had certainly withheld, and, according to Jackson, 
deliberately lied about in his personal dealings with the 
general. Private relations between the two men were 
completely broken off, and they were soon to be ranged on 
opposite sides in the public quarrel of the utmost import 
to the future of the Republic. 

We have seen how the strong Nationalist movement 
which had sprung from the war of 1812 had produced, 
among other effects, a demand for the protection of American 
industries. The movement culminated in the Tariff of 
1828, which the South called the " Tariff of Abominations." 
This policy, popular in the North and West, was naturally 
unpopular in the Cotton States, which lived by their vast 
export trade and had nothing to gain by a tariff. South 
Carolina, Calhoun's State, took the lead in opposition, and her 
representatives, advancing a step beyond the condemnation 
of the taxes themselves, [challenged the constitutional 
right of Congress to impose them. The argument was not 
altogether without plausibility. Congress was undoubtedly 
empowered by the Constitution to raise a revenue, nor was 
there any stipulation as to how this revenue was to be 
raised. But it was urged that no power was given to levy 
taxes for any other purpose than the raising of such revenue. 
The new import duties were, by the admission of their 
advocates, intended to serve a wholly different purpose not 



THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 99 

mentioned in the Constitution the protection of native 
industries. Therefore, urged the Carolinian Free Traders, 
they were unconstitutional and could not be lawfully 
imposed. 

This argument, though ingenious, was not likely to 
convince the Supreme Court, the leanings of which were 
at this time decidedly in favour of Nationalism. The 
Carolinans therefore took their stand upon another principle, 
for which they found a precedent in the Kentucky 
Resolutions. They declared that a State had, in virtue of 
its sovereignty, the right to judge as an independent nation 
would of the extent of its obligations under the Treaty of 
Union, and, having arrived at its own interpretation, to act 
upon it regardless of any Federal authority. This was the 
celebrated doctrine of " Nullification," and in pursuance of 
it South Carolina announced her intention of refusing to 
allow the protective taxes in question to be collected at her 
ports. 

Calhoun was not the originator of Nullification. He 
was Yice-President when the movement began, and could 
with propriety take no part in it. But after his quarrel 
with Jackson he resigned his office and threw in his lot with 
his State. The ablest and most lucid statements of the 
case for Nullification are from his pen, and when he took 
his seat in the Senate he was able to add to his contribution 
the weight of his admirable oratory. 

Much depended upon the attitude of the new President, 
and the Nullifiers did not despair of enlisting him on their 
side. Though he had declared cautiously in favour of a 
moderate tariff (basing his case mainly on considerations of 
national defence), he was believed to be opposed to the 
high Protection advocated by Clay and Adams. He was 
himself a Southerner and interested in the cotton industry, 
and at the late election he had had the unanimous backing 
of the South; its defection would be very dangerous for 
him. Finally, as an ardent Democrat he could hardly 
fail to be impressed by the precedent of the Kentucky 
Resolutions, which had Jefferson's authority behind 
them, and, perhaps to enforce this point, Jefferson's birthday 
was chosen as the occasion when the President was to be 
committed to Nullification. 



100 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

A Democratic banquet was held at Washington in honour 
of the founder of the party. Jackson was present, and so 
were Calhoun and the leading Nullifiers. Speeches had to 
be made and toasts given, the burden of which was 
a glorification of State Sovereignty and a defence of 
Nullification. Then Jackson rose and gave his famous toast : 
" Our Union : it must be preserved." Calhoun tried to 
counter it by giving : " Our Union, next to our liberties 
most dear." But everyone understood the significance of 
the President's toast. It was a declaration of war. 

The Nullifiers had quite miscalculated Jackson's attitude. 
He was a Southerner by birth, but a frontiersman by up- 
bringing, and all the formative influences of his youth were 
of the West. It has been noted how strongly the feeling 
of the West made for the new unity, and in no Westerner 
was the national passion stronger than in Jackson. In 
1814 he had told Monroe that he would have had the 
leaders of the Hertford Convention hanged, and he applied 
the same measure to Southern as to Northern sectionalism. 
To the summoning of the Nullifying Convention in South 
Carolina, he replied by a message to Congress asking for 
powers to coerce the recalcitrant State. He further told 
his Cabinet that if Congress refused him the powers 
he thought necessary he should have no hesitation in 
assuming them. He would call for volunteers to maintain 
the Union, and would soon have a force at his disposal that 
should invade South Carolina, disperse the State forces, 
arrest the leading Nullifiers and bring them to trial before 
the Federal Courts. 

If the energy of Jackson was a menace to South Caro- 
lina, it was a grave embarrassment to the party regularly 
opposed to him in Congress and elsewhere. That this 
party could make common cause with the Nullifiers seemed 
impossible. The whole policy of high Protection against 
which South Carolina had revolted was Clay's. Adams had 
signed the Tariff of Administrations. Daniel Webster of 
Massachusetts, the leading orator of the party and the 
greatest forensic speaker that America has produced, had 
at one time been a Free Trader. But he was deeply 
committed against the Nullifiers, and had denounced the 
separatist doctrines which found favour in South Carolina 



THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 101 

in a speech the fine peroration of which American school- 
boys still learn by heart. Webster, indeed, whether from 
shame or from conviction, separated himself to some extent 
from his associates and gave strenuous support to the 
" Force Bill " which the President had demanded. 

But Clay was determined that Jackson should not have 
the added power and prestige which would result from the 
suppression of Nullification by the strong hand of the 
Executive. His own bias was in favour of a strong and 
unified Federal authority, but he would have made Congress 
that authority rather than the President a policy even 
less favourable than Jackson's to State, Rights, but more 
favourable to the Parliamentarianism in which Clay 
delighted and in which his peculiar talents shone. At all 
costs the Kentucky politician resolved to discount the 
intervention of the President, and his mind was peculiarly 
fertile in devising and peculiarly skilful in executing such 
manoeuvres as the situation required. The sacrifice of his 
commercial policy was involved, but he loved Protection 
less than he hated Jackson, and less, to do him justice, 
than he loved the Union. Negotiations were opened with 
Calhoun, and a compromise tariff proposed, greatly 
modified in the direction of Free Trade and free of 
the " abominations " of which South Carolina specially 
complained. This compromise the Nullifiers, awed perhaps 
by the vigour of Jackson, and doubtful of the issue if 
matters were pushed too far, accepted. 

Jackson did not like the Clay-Calhoun compromise, 
which seemed to him a surrender to treason ; but in such 
a matter he could not control Congress. On one thing he 
insisted : that the Force Bill should take precedence over 
the new Tariff. On this he carried his point. The two 
Bills were passed by Congress in the order he demanded, 
and both were signed by him on the same day. 

Upon this the South Carolinian Convention repealed its 
ordinance nullifying the Tariff, and agreed to the collection 
of the duties now imposed. It followed this concession 
by another ordinance nullifying the Force Bill. The 
practical effect of this was nil, for there was no longer 
anything to enforce. It was none the less important. It 

int that South CaroHiaar-daclmed to abandon the weapon 




102 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

of Nullification. Indeed, it might plausibly be urged that 
that weapon had justified itself by success. It had been 
defended as a protection against extreme oppression, and 
the extreme oppression complained of had actually ceased 
in consequence of its use. At any rate, the effect^was 
certainly to strengthen rather than to weaken extreme 
particularism in the South. On this point Jackson saw 
further than Clay or any of his contemporaries. While 
all America was rejoicing over the peaceful end of what 
had looked like an ugly civil quarrel, the President was 
writing to a friend and supporter : " You have Nullifiers 
amongst you. Frown upon them. . . . The Tariff was a 
mere excuse and a Southern Confederacy the real object. 
The next excuse will be the Negro or Slavery Question." 

The controversy with the Nullifiers had exhibited 
Jackson's patriotism and force of character in a strong and 
popular light, but it had lost him what support he could 
still count upon among the politicians. Calhoun was now 
leagued with Clay and Webster, and the "front bench" 
men (as we should call them) were a united phalanx of 
opposition. It is characteristic of his courage that in face 
of such a situation Jackson ventured to challenge the 
richest and most powerful corporation in America. 

The first United States Bank set up by Alexander 
Hamilton as part of his scheme for creating a powerful 
governing class in America was, as we have seen, swept 
away by the democratic reaction which Jefferson led to 
victory. The second, springing out of the financial 
embarrassments which followed the war with Great Britain, 
had been granted a charter of twenty years which had 
now nearly expired. The renewal of that charter seemed, 
however, to those who directed the operations of the Bank 
and to those who were deep in the politics of Washington, 
a mere matter of course. 

The Bank was immensely powerful and thoroughly 
unpopular. The antinomy would hardly strike a modern 
Englishman as odd, but it was anomalous in what was 
already a thoroughly democratic state. It was powerful 
because it had on its side the professional politicians, the 
financiers, the rich of the great cities generally in fact, what 
the Press which such people control calls " the intelligence 



THE JACKSONIAN EEVOLUTION 108 

of the nation." Rut it was hated by the people, and 
it soon appeared that it was hated as bitterly by the 
President. Writers who sympathize with the plutocratic 
side in the quarrel had no difficulty in convicting Jackson 
of a regrettable ignorance of finance. Beyond question he 
had not that intimate acquaintance with the technique of 
usury which long use alone can give. But his instincts in 
such a matter were as keen and true as the instincts of the 
populace that supported him. By the mere health of his 
soul he could smell out the evil of a plutocracy. He 
knew that the bank was a typical monopoly, and he knew 
that such monopolies ever grind the faces of the poor and 
fill politics with corruption. And the corruption with 
which the Bank was filling America might have been 
apparent to duller eyes. The curious will find ample 
evidence in the records of the time, especially in the 
excuses of the Bank itself, the point at which insolence 
becomes comic being reached when it was gravely pleaded 
that loans on easy terms were made to members of 
Congress because it was in the public interest that such 
persons should have practical instruction in the principles 
of banking ! Meanwhile everything was done to corner 
the Press. Journals favourable to the Bank were financed 
with loans issued on the security of their plant. Papers 
on the other side were, whenever possible, corrupted by the 
same method. As for the minor fry of politics, they were 
of course bought by shoals. 

It is seldom that such a policy, pursued with vigour 
and determination by a body sufficiently wealthy to stick 
at nothing, fails, to carry a political assembly. With 
Congress the Bank was completely successful. A Bill to 
re-charter that institution passed House and Senate by 
large majorities. It was immediately vetoed by the 
President. 

Up to this point, though his private correspondence 
shows that his mind had long been made up, there had been 
much uncertainty as to what Jackson would do. Biddle, 
the cunning, indefatigable and unscrupulous chairman 
of the Bank, believed up to the last moment that, if 
Congress could be secured, he would not dare to interpose. 
To do so was an enterprise which certainly required 



104 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

courage. It meant fighting at the same time an immensely 
strong corporation representing two-thirds of the money 
power of the nation, and with tentacles in every State in 
the Union, and a parliamentary majority in both Houses 
led by a coalition of all the most distinguished politicians 
of the day. The President had not in his Cabinet any 
man whose name carried such public weight as those of 
Clay, Webster, or Calhoun, all now in alliance in support 
of the Bank ; and his Cabinet, such as it was, was divided. 
The cleverest and most serviceable of his lieutenants, Van 
Buren, was unwilling to appear prominently in the matter. 
He feared the power of the Bank in New York State, where 
his own influence lay. McLane, his Secretary of the 
Treasury, was openly in favour of the Bank, and continued 
for some time to assure Biddle of his power to bring the 
President round to his views. 

But, as a fact, the attitude of Jackson was never really 
in doubt. He knew that the Bank was corrupting public 
life ; the very passage of the Bill, against the pledges 
given by any Congressmen to their constituents, was 
evidence of this, if any were needed. He knew further 
that it was draining the productive parts of the country, 
especially the South and West, for the profit of a lucky 
financial group in the Eastern States. He knew also that 
such financial groups are never national : he knew that 
the Bank had foreign backers, and he showed an almost 
startling prescience as to the evils that were to follow in the 
train of cosmopolitan finance, " more formidable and more 
dangerous than the naval and military power of an enemy." 
But above all he knew that the Bank was odious to the 
people, and he was true to his political creed, whereby 
he, as the elect of the people, was bound to enforce its 
judgment without fear or favour. 

Jackson's Veto Message contained a vigorous exposition 
of his objections to the Bank on public grounds, together 
with a legal argument against its constitutionality. It 
was admitted that the Supreme Court had declared the 
chartering of the Bank to be constitutional, but this, it was 
urged, could not absolve the President of the duty of following 
his own conscience in interpreting the Constitution he had 
sworn to maintain. The authority of the Supreme Court 



THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 105 

must not, therefore, be permitted to control the Congress or 
the Executive, but have only such influence as the force of 
its reasoning may discover. It is believed that this part 
of the message, which gave scandal to legalists, was supplied 
by Taney, the Attorney-General. It is a curious coincidence, 
if this be so, that more than twenty years later we shall 
find another great President, though bred in the anti- 
Jacksonian Whig tradition, compelled to take up much the 
same attitude in regard to a Supreme Court decision 
delivered by Taney himself. 

Biddle and his associates believed that the Message 
would be fatal to the President. So did the leaders of 
the political opposition, and none more than Clay. 
Superlatively skilful in managing political assemblies, he 
was sometimes strangely at fault in judging the mind of 
the mass a task in which Jackson hardly ever failed. He 
had not foreseen the anger which his acceptance of a place 
for Adams would provide ; and he now evidently believed 
that the defence of the Bank would be a popular cry in the 
country. He forced the "Whig" Convention for such 
was the name which the very composite party opposed to 
Jackson had chosen to put it in the forefront of their 
programme, and he seems to have looked forward com- 
placently to a complete victory on that issue. 

His complacency could not last long. Seldom has a 
nation spoken so directly i through the complex and often 
misleading machinery of elections as the American nation 
spoke in 1832 against the bank. North, south, east 
and west the Whigs were routed. Jackson was re-elected 
President by such an overwhelming expression of the popular 
choice as made the triumph of 1828 seem a little thing. 
Against all the politicians and all the interests he had 
dared to appeal to Caesar, and the people, his unseen ally, 
had in an instant made his enemies his footstool. 

It was characteristic of the man that he at once 
proceeded to carry the war into. Africa. Biddle, though 
bitterly disappointed, was not yet resigned to despair. It 
was believed and events in the main confirm the belief 
that he contemplated a new expedient, the use of what still 
remained of the financial power of the Bank to produce 
deliberate scarcity and distress, in the hope that a reaction 






106 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

against the President's policy would result. Jackson 
resolved to strike the Bank a crippling blow before such 
juggling could be attempted. The Act of Congress which 
had established the Bank gave him power to remove the 
public deposits at will ; and that power he determined to 
exercise. 

A more timid man would have had difficulty with his 
Cabinet. Jackson overcame the difficulty by accepting full 
personal responsibility for what he was about to do. He 
did not dismiss the Ministers whose opinion differed from 
his, he brought no pressure to bear on their consciences ; 
but neither did he yield his view an inch to theirs. He 
acted as he had resolved to act, and made a minute in the 
presence of his Cabinet that he did so on his own initiative. 
It was essential that the Secretary of the Treasury, through 
whom he must act, should be with him. McLane had 
already been transferred to the State Department, and 
Jackson now nominated Taney, a strong-minded lawyer, 
who was his one unwavering supporter in the struggle. 
Taney removed the public deposits from the United States 
Bank. They were placed for safe keeping in the banks of 
the various States. The President duly reported to Congress 
his reasons for taking this action. 

In the new House of Representatives, elected at the 
same time as the President, the Democrats were now 
predominant ; but the Senate changes its complexion more 
slowly, and there the " Whigs " had still a majority. This 
majority could do nothing but exhibit impotent anger, and 
that they most unwisely did. They refused to confirm 
Taney's nomination as Secretary to the Treasury, as a little 
later they refused to accept him as a Judge of the High 
Court. They passed a solemn vote of censure on the 
President, whose action they characterized, in defiance of 
the facts, as unconstitutional. But Jackson, strong in the 
support of the nation, could afford to disregard such natural 
ebullitions of bad temper. The charter of the Bank lapsed 
and was not renewed, and a few years later it wound up its 
affairs amid a reek of scandal, which sufficed to show what 
manner of men they were who had once captured Congress 
and attempted to dictate to the President. The Whigs 
were at last compelled to drink the cup of humiliation to 



THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 107 

the dregs. Another election gave Jackson a majority even 
in the Senate, and in spite of the protests of Clay, Webster 
and Calhoun the censure on the President was solemnly 
expunged from its records. 

After the triumphant termination of the Bank, Jackson's 
second term of office was peaceful and comparatively 
uneventful. There were indeed some important questions 
of domestic and foreign policy with which it fell to him to 
deal. One of these was the position of the Cherokee 
Indians, who had been granted territory in Georgia and 
the right to live on their own lands there, but whom the 
expansion of civilization had now made it convenient to 
displace. It is impossible for an admirer of Jackson to 
deny that his attitude in such a matter was too much 
that of a frontiersman. Indeed, it is a curious irony that 
the only American statesman of that age who showed 
any disposition to be careful of justice and humanity in 
dealing with the native race was John C. Calhoun, the 
uncompromising defender of Negro Slavery. At any rate, 
the Indians were, in defiance, it must be said, of the plain 
letter of the treaty, compelled to choose between submission 
to the laws of Georgia and transplantation beyond the 
Mississippi. Most of them were in the event transplanted. 

Jackson's direction of foreign policy was not only 
vigorous but sagacious. Under his Presidency long- 
standing disputes with both France and England were 
brought to a peaceful termination on terms satisfactory to 
the Kepublic. To an Englishman it is pleasant to note 
that the great President, though he had fought against the 
English perhaps because he had fought against them 
was notably free from that rooted j antipathy to Great 
Britain which was conspicuous in most patriotic Americans 
of that age and indeed down to very recent times. " With 
Great Britain, alike distinguished in peace and war," he 
wrote in a message to Congress, " we may look forward to 
years of peaceful, honourable, and elevated competition. 
Everything in the condition and history of the two nations 
is calculated to inspire sentiments of mutual respect and to 
carry conviction to the minds of both that it is their policy 
to preserve the most cordial relations." It may also be of 
some interest to quote the verdict of an English statesman, 



108 A HISTORY OP THE UNITED STATES 

who, differing from Jackson in all those things in which 
an aristocratic politician must necessarily differ from the 
tribune of a democracy, had nevertheless something of the 
same symbolic and representative national character and 
something of the same hold upon his fellow-countrymen. 
A letter from Van Buren, at that time representing the 
United States at the Court of Sis. James's, to Jackson 
reports Palmer ston as saying to him that " a very strong 
impression had been made here of the dangers which this 
country had to apprehend from your elevation, but that 
they had experienced better treatment at your hands than 
they had done from any of your predecessors." 

So enormous was Jackson's popularity that, if he had 
been the ambitious Csesarist that his enemies represented, 
he could in all probability have safely violated the Wash- 
ington-Jefferson precedent and successfully sought election 
a third time. But he showed no desire to do so. He had 
undergone the labours of a titan for twelve eventful and 
formative years. He was an old man ; he was tired. He may 
well have been glad to rest for what years were left to him 
of life in his old frontier State, which he had never ceased 
to love. He survived his Presidency by nine years. Now 
and then his voice was heard on a public matter, and, 
whenever it was heard, it carried everywhere a strange 
authority as if it were the people speaking. But he never 
sought public office again. 

Jackson's two periods of office mark a complete revolution 
in American institutions ; he has for the Republic as it 
exists to day the significance of a second founder. From 
that period dates the frank abandonment of the fiction 
of the Electoral College as an independent deliberative 
assembly, and the direct and acknowledged election of the 
nation's Chief Magistrate by the nation itself. In the 
constitution of the Democratic Party, as it grouped itself 
round him, we get the first beginnings of the " primary," 
that essential organ of direct democracy of which English 
Parliamentarism has no hint, but which is the most vital 
feature of American public life. But, most of all, from his 
triumph and the abasement of his enemies dates the 
concentration of power in the hands of the President as the 
real unifying centre of authority. His attitude towards his 



THE JACKSONIAN REVOLUTION 109 

Cabinet has been imitated by all strong Presidents since. 
America does not take kindly to a President who shirks 
personal responsibility or hides behind his Ministers. 
Nothing helped Lincoln's popularity more than the story- 
apocryphal or no of his taking the vote of his Cabinet on 
a proposition of his own and then remarking : " Ayes one ; 
Noes six. The Ayes have it." Even the " Spoils System," 
whatever its evils, tended to strengthen the Elect of the 
People. It made the power of an American President more 
directly personal than that of the most despotic rulers 
of Continental Europe; for they are always constrained 
by a bureaucracy, while his bureaucracy even down to 
its humblest members is of his own appointment and 
dependent on him. 

The party, or rather coalition, which opposed these 
changes, selected for itself, as has been seen, the name of 
" Whig." The name was, perhaps, better chosen than the 
American Whigs realized. They meant and it was true 
as far as it went that, like the old English Whigs, they 
stood for free government by deliberative assemblies against 
arbitrary personal power. They were not deep enough in 
history to understand that they also stood, like the old 
English Whigs, for oligarchy against the instinct and 
tradition of the people. There is a strange irony about the 
fate of the parties in the two countries. In the Monarchy 
an aristocratic Parliamentarism won, and the Crown 
became a phantom. In the Republic a popular sovereignty 
won, and the President became more than a king. 



CHAPTER VII ^ 

THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 

THE extent of Jackson's more than monarchical power is 
well exemplified by the fact that Van Buren succeeded him 
almost as a king is succeeded by his heir. Van Buren was 
an apt master of electioneering and had a strong hold upon 
the democracy of New York. He occupied in the new 
Democratic Party something of the position which Burr 
had occupied in the old. But while Burr had sought his 
own ends and betrayed, Van Buren was strictly loyal to his 
chief. He was a sincere democrat and a clever man ; but 
no one could credit him with the great qualities which the 
wielding of the immense new power created by Jackson 
seemed to demand. None the less he easily obtained the 
Presidency as Jackson's nominee. Since the populace, 
whose will Jackson had made the supreme power in the 
State, could not vote for him, they were content to vote for 
the candidate he was known to favour. 

Indeed, in some ways the coalition which called itself 
the Whig party was weakened rather than strengthened 
by the substitution of a small for a great man at the head 
of the Democracy. Antagonism to Jackson was the real 
cement of the coalition, and some of its members did not 
feel called upon to transfer their antagonism unabated to 
Van Buren. 

The most eminent of these was Calhoun, who now 
broke away from the Whigs and appeared prepared to give 
a measure of independent support to the Administration. 
He did not, however, throw himself heartily into the 
Democratic Party or seek to regain the succession to its 
leadership which had once seemed likely to be his. From 
the moment of his quarrel with Jackson the man changes out 

no 



THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 111 

of recognition : it is one of the most curious transforma- 
tions in history, like an actor stripping off his stage costume 
and appearing as his very self. Political compromises, 
stratagems, ambitions drop from him, and he stands out as 
he appears in that fine portrait whose great hollow eyes 
look down from the walls of the Capitol at Washington, the 
enthusiast, almost the fanatic, of a fixed idea and purpose. 
He is no longer national, nor pretends to be. His one 
thought is the defence of the type of civilization which he 
finds in his own State against the growing power of the 
North, which he perceives with a tragic clearness and the 
probable direction of which he foresees much more truly 
than did any Northerner of that period. He maintains 
continually, and without blurring its lines by a word of 
reservation or compromise, the dogma of State Sovereignty 
in its most extreme and almost parricidal form. His great 
pro-Slavery speeches belong to the same period. They are 
wonderful performances, full of restrained eloquence, and 
rich in lucid argument and brilliant illustration. Sincerity 
shines in every sentence. They serve to show how strong 
a case an able advocate can make out for the old pre- 
Christian basis of European society ; and they will have a 
peculiar interest if ever, as seems not improbable, the 
industrial part of Northern Europe reverts to that basis. 

Van Buren, on the whole, was not an unsuccessful 
President. He had many difficulties to contend with. He 
had to face a serious financial panic, which some consider 
to have been the result of Jackson's action in regard to the 
Bank, some of the machinations of the Bank itself. He 
surmounted it successfully, though not without a certain 
loss of popularity. We English have some reason to speak 
well of him in that he resisted the temptation to embroil 
his country with ours when a rebellion in Canada offered 
an opportunity which a less prudent man might very well 
have taken. For the rest, he carried on the government 
of the country on Jacksonian lines with sufficient fidelity 
not to forfeit the confidence of the old man who watched 
id advised him, sympathetically but not without anxiety, 

rom his " Hermitage " in Tennessee. 

One singular episode may conveniently be mentioned 

lere, though the incident in which it originated rather 



112 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

belongs to the Jacksonian epoch. This is not the place 
to discuss the true nature of that curious institution called 
Freemasonry. Whatever its origin, whether remote and 
derived from Solomon's Temple as its devotees assert, or, 
as seems more intrinsically probable, comparatively modern 
and representing one of the hundreds of semi-mystical fads 
which flourished in the age of Cagliostro, it had acquired 
considerable importance in Europe at the end of the 
eighteenth century. At some unknown date it was carried 
across the Atlantic, and sprouted vigorously in America ; 
but it does not seem to have been taken particularly 
seriously, until the States were startled by an occurrence 
which seemed more like part in what is known in that 
country as " a dime novel " than a piece of history. 

A journalist named Morgan, who had been a Freemason, 
announced his intention of publishing the inviolable secrets 
of the Society. The announcement does not seem to have 
created any great sensation ; probably the majority of 
Americans were as sceptical as is the present writer as 
to the portentous nature of the awful Unspeakabilities 
which so many prosperous stock-brokers and suburban 
builders keep locked in their bosoms. But what followed 
naturally created a sensation of the most startling kind. 
For on the morrow of his announcement Morgan dis- 
appeared and never returned. What happened to him is 
not certainly known. A body was found which may or 
may not have been his. The general belief was that he 
had been kidnapped and murdered by his fellow-Craftsmen, 
and, indeed, it really seems the natural inference from the 
acknowledged facts that at least some one connected with 
the Brotherhood was responsible for his fate. A violent 
outcry against Masonry was the natural result, and, as some 
of the more prominent politicians of the day, including 
President Jackson himself, were Masons, the cry took 
a political form. An Anti-Masonic Party was formed, and 
at the next Presidential election was strong enough to carry 
one State and affect considerably the vote of others. The 
movement gradually died down and the party disappeared ; 
but the popular instinct that secret societies, whether 
murderous or not, have no place in a Free State was none 
the less a sound one. 



THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 113 

Jhave said that Van Buren's election was a sign of 
Jackson's personal influence. But the election of 1840 
was a more startling sign of the completeness of his moral 
triumph, of the extent to which his genius had transformed 
the State. In 1832 the Whigs pitted their principles against 
his and lost. In 1840 they swallowed their principles, 
mimicked his, and won. 

The Whig theory so far as any theory connected the 
group of politicians who professed that name was that 
Congress and the political class which Congress represented 
should rule, or at least administer, the State. From that 
theory it seemed to follow that some illustrious Senator or 
Congressman, some prominent member of that political 
class, should be chosen as President. The Whigs had acted 
in strict accord with their theory when they had selected 
as their candidate their ablest and most representative 
politician, Clay. But the result had not been encouraging. 
They now frankly abandoned their theory and sought to 
imitate the successful practice of their adversaries. They 
looked round for a Whig Jackson, and they found him in 
an old soldier from Ohio named Harrison, who had achieved 
a certain military reputation in the Indian wars. Following 
their model even more closely, they invented for him the 
nickname of " Old Tippercanoe," derived from the name 
of one of his victories, and obviously suggested by the 
parallel of "Old Hickory." Jackson, however, really had 
been called " Old Hickory " by his soldiers long before he 
took a leading part in politics, while it does not appear 
that Harrison was ever called " Tippercanoe " by anybody 
except for electioneering purposes. However, the name 
served its immediate purpose, and 

" Tippercanoe, 
And Tyler too 1 " 

became the electoral war-cry of the Whigs. Tyler, a 
Southern Whig from Virginia, brought into the ticket to 
conciliate the Southern element in the party, was their 
candidate for the Vice-Presidency. 

Unfortunately for themselves, the Democrats played the 
Whig game by assailing Harrison with very much the same 
taunts which had previously been used by the Whigs against 
Jackson. The ignorance of the old soldier, his political 



114 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES^ 

inexperience, even his poverty and obscurity of origin, were 
exploited in a hundred Democratic pamphlets by writers 
who forgot that every such reflection made closer the 
parallel between Harrison and Jackson, and so brought 
to the former just the sort of support for which the Whigs 
were angling. 

. " Tipper canoe " proved an excellent speculation for the 
Whig leaders. It was "Tyler too," introduced to meet 
the exigencies of electioneering (and rhyme) that altogether 
disconcerted all their plans. 

Tyler was a Southerner and an extreme Particularism 
He had been a Nullifier, and his quarrel with Jackson's 
Democracy had simply been a quarrel with his Unionism. 
His opinions on all subjects, political, administrative, and 
fiscal, were as remote from those of a man like Clay as any 
opinions could be. This was perfectly well known to those 
who chose him for Yice-President. But while the President 
lives and exercises his functions the Vice-President is in 
America a merely ornamental figure. He has nothing to 
say in regard to policy. He is not even a member of the 
Administration. He presides over the Senate, and that is all. 
Consequently there has always been a strong temptation 
for American wire-pullers to put forward as candidate for 
the Vice-Presidency a man acceptable to some more or 
less dubious and detached group of their possible supporters, 
whose votes it is desired to obtain, but who are not intended 
to have any control over the effective policy of the 
Government. Yet more than one example has shown how 
perilous this particular electioneering device may turn out 
to be. For if the President should die before the expiration 
of his term, the whole of his almost despotic power passes 
unimpaired to a man who represents not the party, but a 
more or less mutinous minority in the party. 

It was so in this case. Harrison was elected, but barely 
lived to take the oath. Tyler became President. For a short 
time things went comparatively smoothly. Harrison had 
chosen Webster as Secretary of State, and Tyler confirmed 
his appointment. But almost at once it became apparent 
that the President and his Secretary differed on almost 
every important question of the day, and that the Whig 
Party as a whole was with the Secretary. The President's 



THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 115 

views were much nearer to those of the Democratic 
opposition, but that opposition, smarting under its defeat, was 
not disposed to help either combatant out of the difficulties 
and humiliations which had so unexpectedly fallen on both 
in the hour of triumph. Yet, if Webster were dismissed 
or driven to resign, someone of note must be! found to 
take his place. Personal followers the President had none. 
But in his isolation he turned to the one great figure in 
American politics that stood almost equally alone. It was 
announced that the office vacated by Webster had been 
offered to and accepted by John Caldwell Calhoun. 

Calhoun's acceptance of the post is sometimes treated 
as an indication of the revival of his ambitions for a national 
career. It is suggested that he again saw a path open to 
him to the Presidency which he had certainly once coveted. 
But though his name was mentioned in 1844 as a possible 
Democratic candidate, it was mentioned only to be found 
wholly unacceptable, and indeed Calhoun's general conduct 
when Secretary was not such as to increase his chances of 
an office for which no one could hope who had not a large 
amount of Northern as well as Southern backing. It seems 
more likely that Calhoun consented to be Secretary of 
State as a means to a definite end closely connected with 
what was now the master-passion of his life, the defence of 
Southern interests. At any rate, the main practical fruit of 
his administration of affairs was the annexation of Texas. 

Texas had originally been an outlying and sparsely 
peopled part of the Spanish province of Mexico, but even 
before the overthrow of Spanish rule a thin stream of 
immigration had begun to run into it from the South- 
western States of America. The English-speaking element 
became, if not the larger part of the scant population, 
at least the politically dominant one. Soon after the 
successful assertion of Mexican independence'against Spain, 
Texas, mainly under the leadership of her American 
settlers, declared her independence of Mexico. The occasion 
of this secession was the abolition of Slavery by the native 
Mexican Government, the Americans who settled in Texas 
being mostly slave-owners drawn from the Slave States. 
Some fighting took place, and ultimately the independence 
of Texas seems to have been recognized by one of the 



116 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

many governments which military and popular revolutions 
and counter-revolutions rapidly set up and pulled down in 
Mexico proper. The desire of the Texans or at least of 
that governing part of them that had engineered the 
original secession was to enter the American Union, but 
there was a prolonged hesitation at Washington about 
admitting them, so that Texas remained for a long time 
the "Lone Star State," independent alike of Mexico and 
the United States. This hesitation is difficult at first 
sight to understand, for Texas was undoubtedly a valuable 
property and its inhabitants were far more willing to be 
incorporated than, say, the French colonists of Louisiana had 
been. The key is. no doubt, to be found in the internecine 
jealousies of the sections. The North or at any rate New 
England had been restive over the Louisiana purchase 
as tending to strengthen the Southern section at the 
expense of the Northern. If Texas were added to Louisiana 
the balance would lean still more heavily in favour of the 
South. But what was a cause of hesitation to the North 
and to politicians who looked for support to the North 
was a strong recommendation to Calhoun. He had, as he 
himself once remarked, a remarkable gift of foresight 
an uncomfortable gift, for he always foresaw most clearly 
the things he desired least. He alone seems to have 
understood fully how much the South had sacrificed by 
the Missouri Compromise. He saw her hemmed in and 
stationary while the North added territory to territory and 
State to State. To annex Texas would be, to an extent at 
least, to cut the bonds which limited her expansion. When 
the population should have increased sufficiently it was 
calculated that at least four considerable States could be 
carved out of that vast expanse of country. 

But, though Calhoun's motive was probably the poli- 
tical strengthening of the South, his Texan policy could 
find plenty of support in every part of the Union. Most 
Northerners, especially in the new States of the North- 
West, cared more for the expansion of the United States 
" than for the sectional jealousies. They were quite prepared 
to welcome Texas into the Union ; but, unfortunately for 
Calhoun, they had a favourite project of expansion of their 
own for which they expected a corresponding support. 



THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 117 

The whole stretch of the Pacific slope which intervenes 
between Alaska and California, part of which is now 
represented by the States of Washington and Oregon and 
part by British Columbia, was then known generally as 
''Oregon." Its ownership was -claimed both by British 
and American Governments upon grounds of prior 
exploration, into the merits of which it is hardly necessary 
to enter here. Both claims were in fact rather shadowy, but 
both claimants were quite convinced that theirs was the 
stronger. For many years the dispute had been hung up 
without being settled, the territory being policed jointly by 
the two Powers. Now, however, there came from the 
Northern expansionists a loud demand for an immediate 
settlement and one decidedly in their favour. All territory 
south of latitude 47 40' must be acknowledged as American, 
or the dispute must be left to the arbitrament of arms. 
" Forty- seven-forty or fight ! " was the almost unanimous 
cry of the Democracy of the North and West. 

The Secretary of State set himself against the Northern 
Jingoes, and though his motives may have been sectional, 
his arguments were really unanswerable. He pointed out 
that to fight England for Oregon at that moment would be 
to fight her under every conceivable disadvantage. An 
English army from India could be landed in Oregon in a 
few weeks. An American army sent to meet it must either 
round Cape Horn and traverse the Atlantic and Pacific 
oceans in the face of the most powerful navy in the world 
or march through what was still an unmapped wilderness 
without the possibility of communications or supports. If, 
on the other hand, the question were allowed to remain in 
suspense, time would probably redress the balance in 
favour of the United States. American expansion would 
in time touch the borders of Oregon, and then the dispute 
could be taken up and settled under much more favourable 
circumstances. It was a perfectly just argument, but it 
did not convince the " forty-seven-forty-or-fighters," who 
roundly accused the Secretary and not altogether unjustly 
of caring only for the expansion of his own section. 

Calhoun was largely instrumental in averting a war 
with England, but he did not otherwise conduct himself in 
such a manner as to conciliate opinion in that country, 



118 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

England, possibly with the object of strengthening her 
hand in bargaining for Oregon, had intervened tentatively 
in relation to Texas. Lord Aberdeen, then Peel's Foreign 
Secretary, took up that question from the Anti- Slavery 
standpoint, and expressed the hope that the prohibition 
of Slavery by Mexico would not be reversed if Texas 
became part of the American Union. The intervention, 
perhaps, deserved a snub for, after all, England had only 
recently emancipated the slaves in her own colonies and 
a sharp reminder that by the Monroe Doctrine, to which 
she was herself a consenting party, no European Power 
had a right to interfere in the domestic affairs of an 
American State. Calhoun did not snub Lord Aberdeen: 
he was too delighted with his lordship for giving him the 
opportunity for which he longed. But he did a thing 
eminently characteristic of him, which probably no other 
man on the American continent would have done. He sat 
down and wrote an elaborate and very able State Paper 
setting forth the advantages of Slavery as a foundation for 
civilization and public liberty. It was this extraordinary 
dispatch that led Macaulay to say in the House of Commons 
that the American Republic had " put itself at the head 
of the nigger-driving interest throughout the world as 
Elizabeth put herself at the head of the Protestant 
interest." As regards Calhoun the charge was perfectly 
true ; and it is fair to him to add that he undoubtedly 
believed in Slavery much more sincerely than ever Elizabeth 
did in Protestantism. But he did not represent truly 
the predominant feeling of America. Northern Democratic 
papers, warmly committed to the annexation of Texas, 
protested vehemently against the Secretary's private fad 
concerning the positive blessedness of Slavery being put 
forward as part of the body of political doctrine held by 
the United States. Even Southerners, who accepted Slavery 
as a more or less necessary evil, did not care to see it thus 
blazoned on the flag. But Calhoun was impenitent. He 
was proud of the international performance, and the only 
thing he regretted, as his private correspondence shows, 
was that Lord Aberdeen did not continue the debate which 
he had hoped would finally establish his favourite thesis 
before the tribunal of European opinion. 



THE SPOILS; OF MEXICO 119 

Taxas was duly annexed, and Tyler's Presidency drew 
towards its close. He seems to have hoped that the 
Democrats whom he had helped to defeat in 1840 would 
accept him as their candidate for a second term in 1844 ; 
but they declined to do so, nor did they take kindly to the 
suggestion of nominating Calhoun. Instead, they chose 
one Polk, who had been a stirring though not very eminent 
politician in Jacksonian days. The choice is interesting 
as being the first example of a phenomenon recurrent in 
subsequent American politics, the deliberate selection of a 
more or less obscure man on the ground of what Americans 
call "availability." 

It is the product of the convergence of two things the 
fact of democracy as indicated by the election of a First 
Magistrate by a method already frankly plebiscitary, and 
the effect of a Party System, becoming, as all Party 
Systems must become if they endure, at once increasingly 
rigid and increasingly unreal. 

The aim of party managers necessarily professionals 
was to get their party nominee elected. But the 
conditions under which they worked were democratic. They 
could not, as such professionals can in an oligarchy like 
ours, simply order the electors to vote for any nincompoop 
who was either rich and ambitious enough to give them, 
the professionals, money in return for their services, or 
needy and unscrupulous enough to be their hired servant. 
They were dealing with a free people that would not have 
borne such treatment. They had to consider as a practical 
problem for what man the great mass of the party would 
most readily and effectively vote. And it was often discovered 
that while the nomination of an acknowledged "leader" 
led, through the inevitable presence (in a democracy) 
of conflicts and discontents within the party, to the loss 
of votes, the candidate most likely to unite the whole 
party was one against whom no one had any grudge and 
who simply stood for the " platform " which was framed in 
a very democratic fashion by the people themselves voting 
in their " primaries." When this system is condemned 
and its results held up to scorn, it should be remembered 
that among other effects it is certainly responsible for the 
selection of Abraham Lincoln, 



120 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Polk was not a Lincoln, but he was emphatically an 
" available " candidate, and he won, defeating Clay, to 
whom the Whigs had once more reverted, by a formidable 
majority. He found himself confronted with two pressing 
questions of foreign policy. During the election the 
Democrats had played the " Oregon " card for all it was 
worth, and the new President found himself almost 
committed to the " forty-seven-forty-or-fight " position. But 
the practical objections to a war with England on the 
Oregon dispute were soon found to be just as strong as 
Calhoun had represented them to be. Moreover, the 
opportunity presented itself for a war at once much more 
profitable and much less perilous than such a contest was 
likely to prove, and it was obvious that the two wars could 
not be successfully undertaken at once. 

The independence of Texas had been in some sort 
recognized by Mexico, but the frontier within which that 
independence formally existed was left quite undefined, 
and the Texan view of it differed materially from the 
Mexican. The United States, by annexing Texas, had 
shouldered this dispute and virtually made it their own. 

It is seldom that historical parallels are useful ; they 
are never exact. But there are certain real points of like- 
ness between the war waged by the United States against 
Mexico in the 'forties and the war waged by Great Britain 
against the Boer Republics between 1899 and 1902. In 
both cases it could be plausibly represented that the 
smaller and weaker Power was the actual aggressor. But 
in both cases there can be little doubt that it was the 
stronger Power which desired or at least complacently 
contemplated war. In both cases, too, the defenders of 
the war, when most sincere, tended to abandon their 
technical pleas and to take their stand upon the principle 
that the interests of humanity would best be served by 
the defeat of a " backward " people by a more " progressive " 
one. It is not here necessary to discuss the merits of such 
a plea. But it may be interesting to note the still closer 
parallel presented by the threefold division of the opposition 
in both cases. The Whig Party was divided in 1847, almost 
exactly as was the " Liberal " Party in 1899. There was, 
especially in New England, an ardent and sincere minority 



THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 121 

which was violently opposed to the war and openly denounced 
it as an unjustifiable aggression. Its attitude has been made 
fairly familiar to English readers by the first series of 
Lowell's "Bigelow Papers." This minority corresponded 
roughly to those who in England were called " Pro-Boers." 
There was another section which warmly supported the 
war : it sought to outdo the Democrats in their patriotic 
enthusiasm, and to reap as much of the electoral harvest of 
the prevalent Jingoism as might be. Meanwhile, the body 
of the party took up an intermediate position, criticized the 
diplomacy of the President, maintained that with better 
management the war might have been avoided, but refused 
to oppose the war outright when once it had begun, and 
concurred in voting supplies for its prosecution. 

The advocates of the war had, however, to face at its 
outset one powerful and unexpected defection, that of 
Calhoun. No man had been more eager than he for the 
annexation of Texas, but, Texas once annexed, he showed 
a marked desire to settle all outstanding questions with 
Mexico quickly and by a compromise on easy terms. He 
did all he could to avert war. When war actually came, 
he urged that even the military operations of the United 
States should be strictly defensive, that they should confine 
themselves to occupying the disputed territory and repelling 
attacks upon it, but should under no circumstances attempt 
a counter-invasion of Mexico. There can be little doubt 
that Calhoun' s motive in proposing this curious method of 
conducting a war was, as usual, zeal for the interests of his 
section, and that he acted as he did because he foresaw the 
results of an extended war more correctly than did most 
Southerners. He had coveted Texas because Texas would 
strengthen the position of the South. Slavery already 
existed there, and no one doubted that if Texas came into 
the Union at all it must be as a Slave State. But it would 
be otherwise if great conquests were made at the expense of 

r Mexico. Calhoun saw clearly that there would be a strong 
movement to exclude Slavery from such conquests, and, 
having regard to the numerical superiority of the North, 
he doubted the ability of his own section to obtain in 
the scramble that must follow the major part of the 
spoil. 



122 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Calhoun, however, was as unable to restrain by his 
warnings the warlike enthusiasm of the South as were the 
little group of Peace Whigs in New England to prevent 
the North from being swept by a similar passion. Even 
Massachusetts gave a decisive vote for war. 

The brief campaign was conducted with considerable 
ability, mainly by Generals Taylor and Scott. Such army 
as Mexico possessed was crushingly defeated at Monterey. 
An invasion followed, and the fall of Mexico City completed 
the triumph of American arms. By the peace dictated in 
the captured capital Mexico had, of course, to concede the 
original point of dispute in regard to the Texan frontier. 
But greater sacrifices were demanded of her, though not 
without a measure of compensation. She was compelled 
to sell at a fixed price to her conqueror all the territory to 
which she laid claim on the Pacific slope north of San 
Diego. Thus Arizona, New Mexico, and, most important 
of all, California passed into American hands. 

But before this conclusion had been reached a significant 
incident justified the foresight of Calhoun. Towards the 
close of the campaign, a proposal made in Congress to 
grant to the Executive a large supply to be expended during 
the recess at the President's discretion in purchasing Mexican 
territory was met by an amendment moved by a Northern 
Democrat named Wilmot, himself an ardent supporter of 
the war, providing that from all territory that might be so 
acquired from Mexico Slavery should be for ever excluded. 
The proviso was carried in the House of Representatives by 
a majority almost exactly representative of the comparative 
strength of the two sections. How serious the issue thus 
raised was felt to be is shown by the fact that the 
Executive preferred dispensing with the money voted to 
allowing it to be pushed further. In the Senate both 
supply and condition were lost. But the " Wilmot Proviso " 
had given the signal for a sectional struggle of which no 
man could foresee the end. 

Matters were further complicated by a startlingly 
unexpected discovery. On the very day on which peace was 
proclaimed, one of the American settlers who had already 
begun to make their way into California, in digging for 
water on his patch of reclaimed land, turned up instead a 






THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 123 

nugget of gold. It was soon known to the ends of the 
earth that the Republic had all unknowingly annexed one 
of the richest goldfields yet discovered. There followed all 
the familiar phenomena which Australia had already 
witnessed, which South Africa was later to witness, and 
which Klondyke has witnessed in our time. A stream of 
immigrants, not only from every part of the United States 
but from every part of the civilized world, ibegan to pour into 
California drunk with the hope of immediate and enormous 
gains. Instead of the anticipated gradual development of 
the new territory, which might have permitted considerable 
delay and much cautious deliberation in the settlement of 
its destiny, one part of that territory at least found itself 
within a year the home of a population already numerous 
enough to be entitled to admission to the Union as a State, 
a population composed in great part of the most restless 
and lawless of mankind, and urgently in need of some sort 
of properly constituted government. 

A Convention met to frame a plan of territorial 
administration, aud found itself at once confronted with the 
problem of the admission or exclusion of Slavery. Though 
many of the delegates were from the Slave States, it was 
decided unanimously to exclude it. There was nothing 
sentimentally Negrophil about the attitude of the 
California^ ; indeed, they proclaimed an exceedingly 
sensible policy in the simple formula : "No Niggers, Slave 
or Free ! " But as regards Slavery their decision was 
emphatic and apparently irreversible. 

The Southerners were at once angry and full of anxiety. 
It seemed that they had been trapped, that victories won 
largely by Southern valour were to be used to disturb 
still more the balance already heavily inclining to the 
rival section. In South Carolina, full of the tradition of 
Nullification, men already talked freely of Secession. The 
South, as a whole, was not yet prepared for so violent a 
step, but there was a feeling in the air that the type of 
civilization established in the Slave States might soon have 
to fight for its life. 

On the top of all this vague unrest and incipient division 
came a Presidential election, the most strangely unreal in 
the whole history of the United States. The issue about 



124 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

which alone all men, North and South, were thinking was 
carefully excluded from the platforms and speeches of either 
party. Everyone of either side professed unbounded 
devotion to the Union, no one dared to permit himself the 
faintest allusion to the hot and human passions which were 
patently tearing it in two. The Whigs, divided on the late 
war, divided on Slavery, divided on almost every issue by 
which the minds of men were troubled, yet resolved to 
repeat the tactics which had succeeded in 1840. And the 
amazing thing is that they did in fact repeat them and 
with complete success. They persuaded Zachary Taylor, 
the victor of Monterey, to come forward as their candidate. 
Taylor had shown himself an excellent commander, but 
what his political opinions might be no-one knew, for it 
transpired that he had never in his life even recorded a 
vote. The Whigs, however, managed to extract from him 
the statement that if he had voted at the election of 1844 
as, in fact, he had not it would have been for Clay rather 
than for Polk ; and this admission they proceeded, rather 
comically, to trumpet to the world as a sufficient guarantee 
from "a consistent and truth-speaking man" of the 
candidate's lifelong . devotion to " Whig " principles. 
Nothing further than the above remark and the frank 
acknowledgment that he was a slave-owner could be 
extracted from Taylor in the way of programme or 
profession of faith. But the Convention adopted him with 
acclamation. Naturally such a selection did not please 
the little group of Anti-War Whigs a group which was 
practically identical with the extreme Anti- Slavery wing 
of the party and Lowell, in what is perhaps the most 
stinging of all his satires, turned Taylor's platform or 
absence of platform to ridicule in lines known to thousands 
of Englishmen who know nothing of their occasion : 

" Ez fer my princerples, I glory i 
In hevin' nothin' of the sort. 
I ain't a Whig, I ain't a Tory, 
I'm jest a Candidate in short." 

" Monterey," however, proved an even more successful 
election cry than " Tippercanoe." The Democrats tried to 
play the same game by putting forward General Cass, who 
bad also fought with some distinction in the Mexican War 






THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 125 

and had the advantage if it were an advantage of having 
really proved himself a stirring Democratic partisan as 
well. But Taylor was the popular favourite, and the Whigs 
by the aid of his name carried the election. 

He turned out no bad choice. For the brief period 
during which he held the Presidential office he showed con- 
siderable firmness and a sound sense of justice, and seems 
to have been sincerely determined to hold himself strictly 
impartial as between the two sections into which the Union 
was becoming every day more sharply divided. Those 
who expected, on the strength of his blunt avowal of slave- 
owning, that he would show himself eager to protect and 
extend Slavery were quite at fault. He declared with the 
common sense of a soldier that California must come into 
the Union, as she wished to come in, as a Free State, and 
that it would be absurd as well as monstrous to try and 
compel her citizens to be slave-owners against their will. 
But he does not appear to have had any comprehensive 
plan of pacification to offer for the quieting of the distracted 
Union, and, before he could fully develop his policy, what- 
ever it may have been, he died and bequeathed his power 
to Millard Filmore, the Vice-President, a typical " good 
party man " without originality or initiative. 

The sectional debate had by this time become far more 
heated and dangerous than had been the debates which the 
Missouri Compromise had settled thirty years before. The 
author of the Missouri Compromise still lived, and, as 
the peril of the Union became desperate, it came to be said 
more and more, even by political opponents, that he and 
he alone could save the Republic. Henry Clay, since his 
defeat in 1844, had practically retired from the active 
practice of politics. He was an old man. His fine physique 
had begun to give way, as is often the case with such men, 
under the strain of a long life that had been at once 
laborious and self-indulgent. But he heard in his half- 
retirement the voice of the nation calling for him, and he 
answered. His patriotism had always been great, great 
also his vanity. It must have been strangely inspiring to 
him, at the end of a career which, for all its successes, was 
on the whole a failure for the great stake for which he 
played was always snatched from him to live over again 



126 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

the great triumph of his youth, and once more to bequeath 
peace, as by his last testament, to a distracted nation. God 
allowed him that not ignoble illusion, and mercifully sent 
him to his rest before he could know that he had failed. 

The death of Taylor helped Clay's plans; for the 
soldier-President had discovered a strong vein of obstinacy. 
He had his own views on the question, and was by no 
means disposed to allow any Parliamentary leader to over- 
ride them. Filmore was quite content to be an instrument 
in the hands of a stronger man, and, after his succession, 
Clay had the advantage of the full support of the Executive 
in framing the lines of the last of his great compromises. 

In the rough, those lines were as follows : California was 
to be admitted at once, and on her own terms, as a Free 
State, Arizona and New Mexico were to be open to Slavery 
if they should desire its introduction; their Territorial 
Governments, when formed, were to decide the question. 
This adjustment of territory was to be accompanied by 
two balancing measures dealing with two other troublesome 
problems which had been found productive of much 
friction and bitterness. The district of Columbia that 
neutralized territory in which the city of Washington stood 
having been carved out of two Slave States, was itself 
within the area of legalized Slavery. But it was more than 
that. It was what we are coming to call, in England, a 
"Labour Exchange." In fact, it was the principal slave 
mart of the South, and slave auctions were carried on at 
the very doors of the Capitol, to the disgust of many who 
were not violent in their opposition to Slavery as a domestic 
institution. To this scandal Clay proposed to put an end 
by abolishing the Slave Trade in the district of Columbia. 
Slavery was still to be lawful there, but the public sale and 
purchase of slaves was forbidden. In return for this 
concession to Anti- Slavery sentiment, a very large counter- 
concession was demanded. As has already been said, the 
Constitution had provided in general terms for the return 
of fugitive slaves who escaped from Slave States into the 
Free. But for reasons and in a fashion which it will be 
more convenient to examine in the next chapter, this 
provision of the Constitution had been virtually nullified by 
the domestic legislation of many Northern States. To put 



THE SPOILS OF MEXICO 127 

an end to this, Clay proposed a Fugitive Slave Law which 
imposed on the Federal Government the duty of recovering 
escaped slaves, and authorized the agents of that Govern- 
ment to do so without.'reference to the Courts or Legislature 
of the State in which the slave might be seized. 

The character of the settlement showed that its author's 
hand had in no way forgotten its cunning in such matters. 
As in the Missouri Compromise, every clause shows how 
well he had weighed and judged the conditions under 
which he was working, how acutely he guessed the points 
upon which either side could be persuaded to give way, and 
the concessions for which either would think worth paying 
a high price. And in fact his settlement was at the time 
accepted by the great mass of Union-loving men, North 
and South. Some Northern States, and especially Massa- 
chusetts, showed a disposition to break away under what 
seemed to them the unbearable strain of the Fugitive Slave 
Law. But in dealing with Massachusetts Clay found a 
powerful ally in Webster. That orator was her own son, 
and a son of whom she was immensely proud. He 4iad, 
moreover, throughout his public life, avowed himself a 
convinced opponent of Slavery. When, therefore, he lent 
the weight of his support to Clay's scheme he carried with 
him masses of Northern men whom no one else could have 
persuaded. He proclaimed his adhesion of the Compromise 
in his famous speech of the 10th of May one of the greatest 
that he ever delivered. It was inevitable that his attitude 
should be assailed, and the clamour raised against him by 
the extreme Anti- Slavery men at the time has found an 
echo in many subsequent histories of the period. He is 
accused of having sold his principles in order that he might 
make an unscrupulous bid for the Presidency. That he 
desired to be President is true, but it is not clear that the 
10th of May speech improved his chances of it ; indeed, the 
reverse seems to have been the case. A candid examination 
of the man and his acts will rather lead to the conclusion 
that throughout his life he was, in spite of his really noble 
gift of rhetoric, a good deal more of the professional 
lawyer-politician than his admirers have generally been 
disposed to admit, but that his "apostacy" of 1850 was, 
perhaps, the one act of that life which was least influenced 



128 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

by professional motives and most by a genuine conviction 
of the pressing need of saving the Union. 

The support of a Southern statesman of like authority 
might have done much to give finality to the settlement. 
But the one Southerner who carried weight comparable to 
that of Webster in the North was found among its 
opponents. A few days after Webster had spoken, the 
Senate listened to the last words of Calhoun. He was 
already a dying man. He could not even deliver his final 
protest with his own lips. He sat, as we can picture him, 
those great, awful eyes staring haggardly without hope 
into nothingness, while a younger colleague read that protest 
for him to the Assembly that he had so often moved, 
yet never persuaded. Calhoun rejected the settlement; 
indeed, he rejected the whole idea of a territorial 
settlement on Missouri lines. It is fair to his sagacity to 
remember that the mania for trying to force Slavery on 
unsuitable and unwilling communities which afterwards 
took possession of those who led the South to disaster could 
claim no authority from him. His own solution is to be 
found in the " Testament " published after his death an 
amazing solution, based on the precedent of the two Roman 
Consuls, whereby two Presidents were to be elected, one by 
the North and one by the South, with a veto on each other's 
acts. He probably did not expect that the wild proposal 
would be accepted. Indeed, he did not expect that anything 
that he loved would survive. With all his many errors 
on his head, there was this heroic thing about the man 
that he was one of those who can despair of the Republic 
and yet not desert it. With an awful clearness he saw the 
future as it was to be, the division becoming ever wider, the 
contest more bitter, the sword drawn, and at the last defeat. 
In the sad pride and defiance of his dying speech one catches 
continually an echo of the tragic avowal of Hector : " For 
in my heart and in my mind I know that Troy shall fall." 

He delivered his soul, and went away to die. And the 
State to which he had given up everything showed its 
thought of him by carving above his bones, as sufficient 
epitaph, the single word : " CALHOUN:' 






CHAPTER VIII 

THE SLAVERY QUESTION 

THE Compromise of 1850, though welcomed on all sides as 
a final settlement, failed as completely as the Missouri 
Compromise had succeeded. It has already been said that 
the fault was not in any lack of skill in the actual framing 
of the plan. As a piece of political workmanship it was 
even superior to Clay's earlier masterpiece, as the rally to 
it at the moment of all but the extreme factions, North and 
South, sufficiently proves. That it did not stand the wear 
of a few years as well as the earlier settlement had stood 
the wear of twenty was due to a change in conditions, and 
to understand that change it is necessary to take up again 
the history of the Slavery Question where the founders of 
the Eepublic left it. 

It can hardly be said that these great men were wrong- 
in tolerating Slavery. Without such toleration at the time 
the Union could not have been achieved and the American 
Republic could not have come into being. But it can 
certainly be said that they were wrong in the calculation 
by means of which they largely justified such toleration 
not so much to their critics as to their own consciences. 
They certainly expected, when they permitted Slavery for a 
season, that Slavery would gradually weaken and disappear. 
But as a fact it strengthened itself, drove its roots deeper, 
gained a measure of moral prestige, and became every year 
harder to destroy. 

"Whence came their miscalculation ? In part no doubt 
it was connected with that curious and recurrent illusion 
which postulates in human affairs a thing called "Pro- 
gress." This illusion, though both logically and practically 

129 K 



130 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

the enemy of reform for if things of themselves tend to 
grow better, why sweat and agonize to improve them ? is 
none the less characteristic, generally speaking, of reforming 
epochs, and it was not without its hold over the minds 
of the American Fathers. But there were also certain 
definite causes, some of which they could hardly have 
foreseen, some of which they might, which account for the 
fact that Slavery occupied a distinctly stronger position 
halfway through the nineteenth century than it had seemed 
to do at the end of the eighteenth. 

The main cause was an observable fact of psychology, 
of which a thousand examples could be quoted, and which 
of itself disposes of the whole " Progressive " thesis the 
ease with which the human conscience gets used to an evil. 
Time, so far from being a remedy as the "Progressives" 
do vainly talk is always, while no remedy is attempted, 
a factor in favour of the disease. We have seen this 
exemplified in the course of the present war. The mere 
delay in the punishment of certain gross outrages against 
the moral traditions of Europe has made those outrages 
seem just a little less horrible than they seemed at first, so 
that men can even bear to contemplate a peace by which 
their authors should escape punishment a thing which 
would haye been impossible while the anger of decent men 
retained its virginity. So it was with Slavery. Accepted 
at first as an unquestionable blot on American Democracy, 
but one which could not at the moment be removed, it 
came gradually to seem something normal. A single 
illustration will show the extent of this decline in moral 
sensitiveness. In the first days of the Republic Jefferson, 
a Southerner and a slave-owner, could declare, even while 
compromising with Slavery, that he trembled for his 
country when he remembered that God was just, could 
use of the peril of a slave insurrection this fine phrase : 
" The Almighty has no attribute that could be our ally 
in such a contest." Some sixty years later, Stephen 
Douglas, as sincere a democrat as Jefferson, and withal 
a Northerner with no personal interest in Slavery, 
could ask contemptuously whether if Americans were 
fit to rule themselves they were not fit to rule "a few 
niggers." 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 131 

The next factor to be noticed was that to which Jefferson 
referred in the passage quoted above the constant dread 
of a Negro rising. Such a rising actually took place in 
Virginia in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. It 
was a small affair, but the ghastly massacre of whites which 
accompanied it was suggestive of the horrors that might 
be in store for the South m the event of a more general 
movement among the slaves. The debates which this crisis 
produced in the Virginian legislature are of remarkable 
interest. They show how strong the feeling against Slavery 
as an institution still was in the greatest of Slave States. 
Speaker after speaker described it as a curse, as a perma- 
nent peril, as a " upas tree " which must be uprooted before 
the State could know peace and security. Nevertheless 
they did not uproot it. And from the moment of their 
refusal to uproot it or even to make a beginning of 
uprooting it they found themselves committed to the 
opposite policy which could only lead to its perpetuation. 
From the panic of that moment date the generality of the 
Slave Codes which so many of the Southern States adopted 
codes deliberately framed to prevent any improvement in 
the condition of the slave population and to make impossible 
even their peaceful and voluntary emancipation. 

There was yet another factor, the economic one, which 
to most modern writers, starting from the basis of historical 
materialism, has necessarily seemed the chief of all. It 
was really, I think, subsidiary, but it was present, and it 
certainly helped to intensify the evil. It consisted in tta 
increased profitableness of Slavery, clue, on the one hand, 
to the invention in America of Whitney's machine for 
extracting cotton, and, on the other, to the industrial 
revolution in England, and the consequent creation in 
Lancashire of a huge and expanding market for the products 
of American slave labour. This had a double effect. It not 
only strengthened Slavery, but also worsened its character. 
In place of the generally mild and paternal rule of the old 
gentlemen-planters came in many parts of the South a 
brutally commercial regime, which exploited and used up 
the Negro for mere profit. It was said that in this further 
degradation of Slavery the agents were often men from 
the commercial North ; nor can this be pronounced a mere 



132 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

sectional slander in view of the testimony of two such 
remarkable witnesses as Abraham Lincoln and Mrs. 
Beecher Stowe. 

All these things tended to establish the institution of 
Slavery in the Southern States. Another factor which, 
whatever its other effects, certainly consolidated Southern 
opinion in its defence, was to be found in the activities of 
the Northern Abolitionists. 

In the early days of the Republic Abolition Societies 
had existed mainly, if not exclusively, in the South. This 
was only natural, for, Slavery having disappeared from the 
Northern States, there was no obvious motive for agitating 
or discussing its merits, while south of the Mason-Dixon line 
the question was still a practical one. The Southern Aboli- 
tionists do not appear to have been particularly unpopular 
with their fellow-citizens. They are perhaps regarded as 
something of cranks, but as well-meaning cranks whose 
object was almost everywhere admitted to be theoretically 
desirable. At any rate, there is not the suspicion of any 
attempt to suppress them ; indeed, the very year before the 
first number of the Liberator was published in Boston, a 
great Conference of Anti-Slavery Societies, comprising 
delegates from every part of the South, met at Baltimore, 
the capital city of the Slave State of Maryland. 

Northern Abolitionism was, however, quite a different 
thing. It owed its inception to William Lloyd Garrison, 
one of those enthusiasts who profoundly affect history solely 
by the tenacity with which they hold to and continually 
enforce a burning personal conviction. But for that tenacity 
and the unquestionable influence which his conviction 
exerted upon men, he would be a rather ridiculous figure, 
for he was almost every sort of crank certainly a non- 
resister, and, I think, a vegetarian and teetotaller as well. 
But his burning conviction was the immorality of Slavery ; 
and by this he meant something quite other than was 
meant by Jefferson or later by Lincoln. When these great 
men spoke of Slavery as a wrong, they regarded it as a 
social and political wrong, an evil and unjust system which 
the community as a community ought as soon as possible 
to abolish and replace by a better. But by Garrison slave- 
holding was accounted a personal sin like murder or adultery. 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 133 

The owner of slaves, unless he at once emancipated them 
at whatever cost to his own fortunes, was by that fact a 
wicked man, and if he professed a desire for ultimate 
extinction of the institution, that only made him a hypocrite 
as well. This, of course, was absurd ; fully as absurd 
as the suggestion sometimes made in regard to wealthy 
Socialists, that if they were consistent they would give up 
all their property to the community. A man living under 
an economic system reposing on Slavery can no more help 
availing himself of its fruits than in a capitalist society 
he can help availing himself of capitalist organization. 
Obviously, unless he is a multi-millionaire, he cannot buy 
up all the slaves in the State and set them free, while, if he 
buys some and treats them with justice and humanity, he 
is clearly making things better for them than if he left 
them in the hands of masters possibly less scrupulous. 
But, absurd as the thesis was, Garrison pushed it to its 
wildest logical conclusions. No Christian Church ought, 
he maintained, to admit a slave-owner to communion. No 
honest man ought to count a slave-owner among his 
friends. No political connection with slave-owners was 
tolerable. The Union, since it involved such a connection, 
was " a Covenant with Death and an Agreement with Hell." 
Garrison publicly burnt the Constitution of the United 
States in the streets of Boston. 

Abolitionist propaganda of this kind was naturally 
possible only in the North. Apart from all questions of 
self-interest, no Southerner, no reasonable person who 
knew anything about the South, though the knowledge 
might be as superficial and the indignation against Slavery 
as intense as was Mrs. Beecher Stowe's, could possibly 
believe the proposition that all Southern slave-owners were 
cruel and unjust men. But that was not all. Garrison's 
movement killed Southern Abolitionism. It may, perhaps, 
be owned that the Southern movement was not bearing 
much visible fruit. There was just a grain of truth, it 
may be, in Garrison's bitter and exaggerated taunt that the 
Southerners were ready enough to be Abolitionists if they 
were allowed " to assign the guilt of Slavery to a past 
generation, and the duty of emancipation to a future 
generation." Nevertheless, that movement was on the right 






134 A HISTOBY OF THE UNITED STATES 

lines. It was on Southern ground that the battle for the 
peaceful extinction of Slavery ought to have been fought. 
The intervention of the North would probably in any case 
have been resented ; accompanied by a solemn accusation 
of specific personal immorality it was maddeningly provo- 
cative, for it could not but recall to the South the history 
of the issue as it stood between the sections. For the 
North had been the original slave-traders. The African 
Slave Trade had been their particular industry. Boston 
itself, when the new ethical denunciation came, had risen 
to prosperity on the profits of that abominable traffic. 
Further, even in the act of clearing its own borders of 
Slavery, the North had dumped its negroes on the South. 
"What," asked the Southerners, " could exceed the effrontery 
of men who reproach us with grave personal sin in owning 
property which they themselves have sold us and the price 
of which is at this moment in their pockets ? " 

On a South thus angered and smarting under what is 
felt to be undeserved reproach, yet withal somewhat uneasy 
in its conscience, for its public opinion in the main still 
thought Slavery wrong, fell the powerful voice of a great 
Southerner proclaiming it "a positive good." Calhoun's 
defence of the institution on its merits probably did much 
to encourage the South to adopt a more defiant tone in 
place of the old apologies for delay in dealing with a difficult 
problem apologies which sounded over-tame and almost 
humiliating in face of the bold invectives now hurled at the 
slave-owners by Northern writers and speakers. I cannot, 
indeed, find that. Calhoun's specific arguments, forcible as 
they were and they are certainly the most cogent that can 
be used in defence of such a thesis were particularly 
popular, or, in fact, were ever used by any but himself. 
Perhaps there was a well-founded feeling that they proved 
too much. For Calhoun's case was as strong for white 
servitude as for black : it was a defence, not especially of 
Negro Slavery, but of what Mr. Belloc has called "the 
Servile State." More general, in the later Southern 
defences, was the appeal to religious sanctions, which in 
a nation Protestant and mainly Puritan in its traditions 
naturally became an appeal to Bible texts. St. Paul was 
claimed as a supporter of the fugitive slave law on the 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 135 

strength of his dealings of Onesimus. But the favourite 
text was that which condemns Ham (assumed to be the 
ancestor of the Negro race) to be "a servant of servants." 
The Abolitionist text-slingers were not a whit more intelli- 
gent ; indeed, I think it must be admitted that on the whole 
the pro-Slavery men had the best of this absurd form of 
controversy. Apart from isolated texts they had on their 
side the really unquestionable fact that both Old and New 
Testaments describe a civilization based on Slavery, and 
that in neither is there anything like a clear pronounce- 
ment that such a basis is immoral or displeasing to God. 
It is true that in the Gospels are to be found general 
principles or, at any rate, indications of general principles, 
which afterwards, in the hands of the Church, proved 
largely subversive of the servile organization of society; 
but that is a matter of historical, not of Biblical testimony, 
and would, if followed out, have led both Northern and 
Southern controversialists further than either of them 
wanted to go. 

It would, however, be hasty, I think, to affirm that even 
to the very end of these processes a majority of Southerners 
thought with Calhoun that Slavery was " a positive good." 
The furthest, perhaps, that most of them went was the 
proposition that it represented the only relationship in 
which white and black races could safely live together in 
the same community a proposition which was counte- 
nanced by Jefferson and, to a considerable extent at least, 
by Lincoln. To the last the full Jeffersonian view of the 
inherent moral and social evil of Slavery was held by many 
Southerners who were none the less wholeheartedly on the 
side of their own section in the sectional dispute. The 
chief soldier of the South in the war in which that dispute 
culminated both held that view and acted consistently 
upon it. 

On the North the effect of the new propaganda was 
different, but there also it tended to increase the antagonism 
of the sections. The actual Abolitionists of the school of 
Garrison were neither numerous nor popular. Even in 
Boston, where they were strongest, they were often mobbed 
and their meetings broken up. In Illinois, a Northern 
State, one of them, Lovejoy, was murdered by the crowd. 



136 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Such exhibitions of popular anger were not, of course, due 
to any love of Slavery. The Abolitionists were disliked in 
the North, not as enemies of Slavery but as enemies of the 
Union and the Constitution, which they avowedly were. 
But while the extreme doctrine of Garrison and his friends 
met with little acceptance, the renewed agitation of the 
question did bring into prominence the unquestionable fact 
that the great mass of sober Northern opinion thought 
Slavery a wrong, and in any controversy between master and 
slave was inclined to sympathize with the slave. This feeling 
was probably somewhat strengthened by the publication 
in 1852 and the subsequent huge international sale of 
Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The practical effect 
of this book on history is generally exaggerated, partially 
in consequence of the false view which would make of the 
Civil War a crusade against Slavery. But a certain effect 
it undoubtedly had. To such natural sympathy in the 
main, and not, as the South believed, to sectional jealousy 
and deliberate bad faith, must be attributed those " Personal 
Liberty Laws " by which in many Northern States the 
provision of the Constitution guaranteeing the return 
of fugitive slaves was virtually nullified. For some of the 
provisions of those laws an arguable constitutional case 
might be made, particularly for the provision which assured 
a jury trial to the escaped slave. The Negro, it was urged, 
was either a citizen or a piece of property. If he were a 
citizen, the Constitution expressly safeguarded him against 
imprisonment without such a trial. If, on the other hand, 
he were property, then he was property of the value of 
more than $50, and in cases where property of that vajue 
was concerned, a jury was also legally required. If two 
masters laid claim to the same Negro the dispute between 
them would have to be settled by a jury. Why should it 
not be so where a master claimed to own a Negro and the 
Negro claimed to own himself? Nevertheless, the effect, 
and to a great extent the intention, of these laws was to 
defeat the claim of bond fide owners to fugitive slaves, and 
as such they violated at least the spirit of the constitutional 
compact. They therefore afforded a justification for Clay's 
proposal to transfer the power of recovering fugitive slaves 
to the Federal authorities. But they also afforded an even 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 137 

stronger justification for Lincoln's doubt as to whether the 
American Commonwealth could exist permanently half 
slave and half free. 

Finally, among the causes which made a sectional 
struggle the more inevitable must be counted one to which 
allusion has already been made in connection with the 
Presidential Election of 1848 the increasingly patent 
unreality of the existing party system. I have already said 
that a party system can endure only if it becomes unreal, 
and it may be well here to make clear how this is so. 

Fundamental debates in a Commonwealth must be 
settled, or the Commonwealth dies. How, for instance, 
could England have endured if, throughout the eighteenth 
century, the Stuarts had alternately been restored and 
deposed every seven years ? Or, again, suppose a dispute 
so fundamental as that between Collectivism and the philo- 
sophy of private property. How could a nation continue 
to exist if a Collectivist Government spent five years in 
attempting the concentration of all the means of production 
in the hands of the State and an Anti-Collectivist Govern- 
ment spent the next five years in dispersing them again, 
and so on for a generation? American history, being the 
history of a democracy, illustrates this truth with peculiar 
force. The controversy between Jefferson and Hamilton was 
about realities. The Jeffersonians won, and the Federalist 
Party disappeared. The controversy between Jackson 
and the Whigs was originally also real. Jackson won, and 
the Whigs would have shared the fate of the Federalists 
if they stood by their original principles and refused to 
accept the consequences of the Jacksonian Revolution. 
As a fact, however, they did accept these consequences 
and so the party system endured, but at the expense 
of its reality. There was no longer any fundamental 
difference of principle dividing Whigs from Democrats : 
they were divided arbitrarily on passing questions of 
policy, picked up at random and changing from year to 
year. Meanwhile a new reality was dividing the nation 
from top to bottom, but was dividing it in a dangerously 
sectional fashion, and for that reason patriotism as well as 
the requirements of professional politics induced men to 
veil it as much as might be. Yet its presence made the 



138 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

professional play-acting more and more unmeaning and 
intolerable. 

It was this state of things which made possible the 
curious interlude of the " Know-Nothing " movement, which 
cannot be ignored, though it is a kind of digression from 
the main line of historical development. The United States 
had originally been formed by the union of certain seceding 
British colonies, but already, as a sort of neutral ground in 
the New World, their territory had become increasingly the 
meeting-place of streams of emigration from various Euro- 
pean countries. As was natural, a certain amount of mutual 
jealousy and antagonism was making itself apparent as 
between the old colonial population and the newer elements. 
The years following 1847 showed an intensification of the 
problem due to a particular cause. That year saw the 
Black Famine in Ireland and its aggravation by the insane 
pedantry and folly of the British Government. Innumerable 
Irish families, driven from the land of their birth, found a 
refuge within the borders of the Republic. They brought 
with them their native genius for politics, which for the 
first time found free outlet in a democracy. They were 
accustomed to act together and they were soon a formidable 
force. This force was regarded by many as a menace, and 
the sense of menace was greatly increased by the fact that 
these immigrants professed a religious faith which the 
Puritan tradition of the States in which they generally 
settled held in peculiar abhorrence. 

The " Know-Nothings " were a secret society and owed 
that name to the fact that members, when questioned, 
professed to know nothing of the ultimate objects of the 
organization to which they belonged. They proclaimed a 
general hostility to indiscriminate immigration, for which a 
fair enough case might be made, but they concentrated 
their hostility specially on the Irish Catholic element. I 
have never happened upon any explanation of the secrecy 
with which they deliberately surrounded their aims. It 
seems to me, however, that a possible explanation lies on 
the surface. If all they had wanted had been to restrict or 
regulate immigration, it was an object which could be 
avowed as openly as the advocacy of a tariff or of the 
restriction of Slavery in a territory. But if, as their 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 139 

practical operations and the general impression concerning 
their intentions seem to indicate, the real object of those 
who directed the movement was the exclusion from public 
trust of persons professing the Catholic religion, then, of 
course, it was an object which could not be avowed without 
bringing them into open conflict with the Constitution, 
which expressly forbade such differentiation on religious 
grounds. 

Between the jealousy of new immigrants felt by the 
descendants of the original colonists and the religious 
antagonism of Puritan New England to the Catholic 
population growing up within its borders, intensified by 
the absence of any genuine issue of debate between the 
official candidates, the Know-Nothings secured at the, 
Congressional Election of 1854 a quite startling measure of 
success. But such success had no promise oL- permanence. 
The movement lived long enough fc) deal a deathblow to 
the Whig Party, already practically annihilated by the 
Presidential Election of 1852, wherein the Democrats, 
benefiting by the division and confusion of their enemies, 
easily returned their candidate, Franklin Pierce. 

It is now necessary to return to the Compromise of 
1850, hailed at the time as a final settlement of the sectional 
quarrel and accepted as such in the platforms of both the 
regular political parties. That Compromise was made by 
one generation. It was to be administered by another. 
Henry Clay, as has already been noted, lived long enough 
to enjoy his triumph, not long enough to outlive it. Before 
a year was out the grave had closed over Webster. Calhoun 
had already passed away, bequeathing to posterity his last 
hopeless protest against the triumph of all that he most 
feared. Congress was full of new faces. In the Senate 
among the rising men was Seward of New York, a Northern 
Whig, whose speech in opposition to the Fugitive Slave 
clause in Clay's Compromise had given him the leadership 
of the growing Anti- Slavery opinion of the North. He was 
soon to be joined by Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, 
null in judgment, a pedant without clearness of thought or 
vision, but gifted with a copious command of all the 
rhetoric of sectional hate. The place of Calhoun in the 
leadership of the South had been more and more assumed 



140 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

by a soldier who had been forced to change his profession 
by reason of a crippling wound received at Monterey. 
Thenceforward he had achieved an increasing repute in 
politics, an excellent orator, with the sensitive face rather 
of a poet than of a man of affairs, vivid, sincere and careful 
of honour, though often uncertain in temper and judgment : 
Jefferson Davis of Mississippi. But for the moment none 
of these so dominated politics as did the Westerner whom 
Illinois had recently sent to the Senate Stephen Douglas, 
sur named " the Little Giant." 

The physical impression which men seem to have 
received most forcibly concerning Douglas, and which was 
perhaps responsible for his nickname, was the contrast 
between his diminutive stature and the enormous power of 
his voice trained no doubt in addressing the monster 
meetings of the West, where tens of thousands crowded 
everywhere to hear him speak. Along with this went the 
sense of an overwhelming vitality about the man ; he 
seemed tingling with excess of life. His strong, square, 
handsome face bore a striking resemblance to that of 
Napoleon Bounaparte, and there was really something 
Napoleonic in his boldness, his instinctive sense of leader- 
ship, and his power of dominating weaker men. Withal he 
was a Westerner perhaps the most typical and complete 
Westerner in American history, for half of Clay was of 
Washington, and Jackson and Lincoln were too great to be 
purely sectional. He had a Westerner's democratic feeling 
and a Westerner's enthusiasm for the national idea. But, 
especially, he had a peculiarly Western vision which is 
the key to a strangely misunderstood but at bottom very 
consistent political career. 

This man, more than any other, fills American history 
during the decade that intervened between the death of 
Clay and the election of Lincoln. That decade is also full 
of the ever-increasing prominence of the Slavery Question. 
It is natural, therefore, to read Douglas's career in terms 
of that question, and historians, doing so, have been 
bewildered by its apparent inconsistency. Unable to trace 
any connecting principle in his changes of front, they have 
put them down to interested motives, and then equally 
unable to show that he himself had anything to gain from 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 141 

them, have been forced to attribute them to mere caprice. 
The fact is that Douglas cannot be understood along those 
lines at all. To understand him one must remember that 
he was indifferent on the Slavery Question, " did not care," 
as he said, " whether Slavery was voted up or voted down," 
but cared immensely for something else. That something 
else was the Westward expansion of the American nation 
till it should bridge the gulf between the two oceans. The 
thought of all those millions of acres of virgin land, the 
property of the American Commonwealth, crying out for 
the sower and the reaper, rode his imagination as the 
wrongs of the Negro slave rode the imagination of Garrison. 
There is a reality about the comparison which few will 
recognize, for this demagogue, whom men devoted to the 
Slavery issue thought cynical, had about him also some- 
thing of the fanatic. He could forget all else in his one 
enthusiasm. It is the key to his career from the day when 
he entered Congress clamouring for Oregon or war with 
England to the clay when he died appealing for soldiers to 
save the Union in the name of its common inheritance. 
And it is surely not surprising that, for the fulfilment of 
his vision, he was willing to conciliate the slave-owners, 
when one remembers that in earlier days he had been willing 
to conciliate the Mormons. 

Douglas stands out in history, as we now see it, as the 
man who by the Kansas and Nebraska Bill upset the totter- 
ing Compromise of 1850. Why did he so upset it ? Not 
certainly because he wished to reopen the Slavery Question ; 
nothing is less likely, for it was a question in which he 
avowedly felt no interest and the raising of which was 
bound to unsettle his plans. Not from personal ambition ; 
for those who accuse him of having acted as he did for 
private advantage have to admit that in fact he lost by it. 
Why then did he so act ? I think we shall get to the root of 
the matter if we assume that his motive in introducing his 
celebrated Bill was just the avowed motive of that Bill and 
no other. It was to set up territorial governments in 
Kansas and Nebraska. Douglas's mind was full of schemes 
for facilitating the march of American civilization west- 
ward, for piercing the prairies with roads and railways, for 
opening up communications with Oregon and the Pacific 



142 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Slope. Kansas and Nebraska were then the outposts of 
such expansion. Naturally he was eager to develop them, 
to encourage squatters to settle within their borders, and 
for that purpose to give them an assured position and a 
form of stable government. If he could have effected this 
without touching the Slavery Question I think that he 
would gladly have done so. And, as a matter of fact, the 
Nebraska Bill as originally drafted by him was innocent 
of the clause which afterwards caused so much controversy. 
That clause was forced on him by circumstances. 

The greater part of the territory which Douglas pro- 
posed to develop lay within the limits of the Louisiana 
Purchase and north of latitude 36 30'. It^was therefore 
free soil by virtue of the Missouri Compromise. But the 
Southerners now disputed the validity of that Congressional 
enactment, and affirmed their right under the Constitution 
as they interpreted it to take and hold their " property " in 
any territories belonging to the United States. Douglas 
had some reason to fear Southern opposition to his plans 
on other grounds, for the South would naturally have 
preferred that the main road to the Pacific Slope should 
run from Tennessee through Arizona and New Mexico to 
California. If Kansas and Nebraska were declared closed 
against slave property their opposition would be given a 
rallying cry and would certainly harden. Douglas there- 
fore proposed a solution which would at any rate get rid 
of the Slavery debate so far as Congress was concerned, 
and which had also a democratic ring about it acceptable 
to his Western instincts and, as he hoped, to his Western 
following. The new doctrine, called by him that of 
" Popular Sovereignty " and by his critics that of " Squatter 
Sovereignty," amounted to this : that the existing settlers 
in the territories concerned should, in the act of forming 
their territorial governments, decide whether they would 
admit or exclude Slavery. 

It was a plausible doctrine ; but one can only vindicate 
Douglas's motives, as I have endeavoured to do, at the 
expense of his judgment, for his policy had all the con- 
sequences which he most desired to avoid. It produced 
two effects which between them brought the sectional 
quarrel to the point of heat at which Civil War became 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 143 

possible and perhaps inevitable. It threw the new 
territories down as stakes to be scrambled for by the rival 
sections, and it created by reaction a new party, necessarily 
sectional, having for its object the maintenance and 
reinforcement of the Missouri Compromise. It will be 
well to take the two points separately. 

Up to the passing of Kansas and Nebraska Law, 
these territories had been populated exactly as such 
frontier communities had theretofore been populated, by 
immigrants from all the States and from Europe who 
mingled freely, felt no ill-will to each other, and were early 
consolidated by the fact of proximity into a homogeneous 
community. But from the moment of its passage the whole 
situation was altered. It became a political object to both 
sections to get a majority in Kansas. Societies were formed 
in Boston and other Northern cities to finance emigrants 
who proposed to settle there. The South was equally 
active, and, to set off against the disadvantage of a less 
fluid population, had the advantage of the immediate 
proximity of the Slave State of Missouri. Such a contest, 
even if peaceably conducted, was not calculated to promote 
either the reconciliation of the sections or the solidarity 
and stability of the new community. But in a frontier 
community without a settled government, and with a 
population necessarily armed for self-defence, it was not 
likely to be peaceably conducted. Nor was it. For years 
Kansas was the scene of what can only be described as 
spasmodic civil war. The Free Soil settlement of Lawrence 
was, after some bloodshed, seized and burnt by " border 
ruffians," as they were called, from Missouri. The North 
cried out loudly against " Southern outrages," but it is fair 
to say that the outrages were not all on one side. In fact, 
the most amazing crime in the record of Kansas was 
committed by a Northerner, the notorious John Brown. 
This man presents rather a pathological than a historical 
problem. He had considerable military talents, and a 
curious power of persuading men. But he was certainly 
mad. A New England Puritan by extraction, he was 
inflamed on the subject of Slavery by a fanaticism some- 
what similar to that of Garrison. But while Garrison 
blended his Abolitionism with the Quaker dogma of 



144 A HISTORY OP THE UNITED STATES 

Non-Resistance, Brown blended his with the ethics of 
a seventeenth-century Covenanter who thought himself 
divinely commanded to hew the Amalakites in pieces before 
the Lord. In obedience to his peculiar code of morals he not 
only murdered Southern immigrants without provocation, 
but savagely mutilated their bodies. If his act did not 
prove him insane his apology would. In defence of his 
conduct he explained that "disguised as a surveyor" he 
had interviewed his victims and discovered that every one 
of them had " committed murder in his heart." 

The other effect of the Kansas-Nebraska policy was the 
rise of a new party formed for the single purpose of 
opposing it. Anti-Slavery parties had already come into 
being from time to time in the North, and had at different 
tunes exerted a certain influence on elections, but they 
made little headway because they were composed mainly 
of extremists, and their aim appeared to moderate men 
inconsistent with the Constitution. The attack on the 
time-honoured Missouri Compromise rallied such men to 
the opposition, for it appeared to them clearly that theirs 
was now the legal, constitutional, and even conservative 
side, and that the Slave -Power was now making itself 
responsible for a revolutionary change to its own advantage. 
Nor was the change on the whole unjust. The 
programme to which the South committed itself after the 
direction of its policy fell from the hands of Calhoun was 
one which the North could not fail to resent. It involved 
the tearing up of all the compromises so elaborately devised 
and so nicely balanced, and it aimed at making Slavery 
legal certainly in all the new territories and possibly even 
in the Free States. It was, indeed, argued that this did 
not involve any aggravating of the evil of Slavery, if it 
were an evil. The argument will be found very ingeniously 
stated in the book which Jefferson Davis subsequently 
wrote professedly a history of the Southern Confederacy, 
really rather an Apologia pro Vita Sua. Davis argues that 
since the African Slave Trade was prohibited, there could 
be no increase in the number of slaves save by the ordinary 
process of propagation. The opening of Kansas to Slavery 
would not therefore mean that there would be more slaves. 
It would merely mean that men already and in any case 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 145 

slaves would be living in Kansas instead of in Tennessee ; 
and, it is further suggested, that thg taking of a'Negfo slave 
from Tennessee, where Slavery was rooted and normal, to 
Kansas, where it was new and exceptional, would be a 
positive advantage to him as giving him a much better 
chance of emancipation. The argument reads plausibly 
enough, but it is, like so much of Davis' s book, out of touch 
with realities. Plainly it would make all the difference in 
the world whether the practice of, say, the Catholic religion 
were permitted only in Lancashire or were lawful throughout 
England, and that even though there were no conversions, 
and the same Catholics who had previously lived in Lanca- 
shire lived wherever they chose. The former provision 
would imply that the British Government disapproved of 
the Catholic religion, and would tolerate it only where it 
was obliged to do so. The latter would indicate an attitude 
of indifference towards it. Those who disapproved of 
Slavery naturally wished it to remain a sectional thing 
and objected to its being made national. But the primary 
feeling was that it was the South that had broken the 
truce. The Northerners had much justification in saying 
that their opponents, if not the aggressors in the Civil 
War, were at least the aggressors in the controversy of 
which the Civil War was the ultimate outcome. 

Under the impulse of such feelings a party was formed 
which, adopting without, it must be owned, any particular 
appropriateness the old Jeffersonian name of "Republican," 
took the field at the Presidential Election of 1856. Its real 
leader was Seward of New York, but it was thought that 
electioneeririg exigencies would be better served by the 
selection of Captain Fremont of California, who, as a 
wandering discoverer and soldier of fortune, could be made 
a picturesque figure in the public eye. Later, when 
Fremont was entrusted with high military command he 
was discovered to be neither capable nor honest, but in 
1856 he made as effective a figure as any candidate could 
have done, and the results were on the whole encouraging 
to the new party. Buchanan, the Democratic candidate, 
was elected, but the Republicans showed greater strength 
in the Northern States than had been anticipated. The 
Whig Party was at this election finally annihilated. 



146 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

The Republicans might have done even better had the 
decision of the Supreme Court on an issue which made 
clear the full scope of the new Southern claim been known 
just before instead of just after the election. This decision 
was the judgment of Roger Taney, whom we have seen at 
an earlier date as Jackson's Attorney- General and Secretary 
to the Treasury, in the famous Dred Scott case. Dred 
Scott was a Negro slave owned by a doctor of Missouri. 
His master had taken him for a time into the free territory 
of Minnesota, afterwards bringing him back to his original 
State. Dred Scott was presumably not in a position to 
resent either operation, nor is it likely that he desired to do 
so. Later, however, he was induced to bring an action in 
the Federal Courts against his master on the ground that 
by being taken into free territory he had ipso facto ceased 
to be a slave. Whether he was put up to this by the Anti- 
Slavery party, or whether for his voluntary manumission 
after the case was settled seems to suggest that possibility 
the whole case was planned by the Southerners to get a 
decision of the territorial question in their favour, might 
be an interesting subject for inquiry. I can express no 
opinion upon it. The main fact is that Taney, supported 
by a bare majority of the judges, not only decided for the 
master, but laid down two important principles. One was 
that no Negro could be an American citizen or sue in 
the American courts ; the other and more important that 
the Constitution guaranteed the right of the slave-holder 
to his slaves in all United States territories, and that 
Congress had no power to annul this right. The Missouri 
Compromise was therefore declared invalid. 

Much of the Northern outcry against Taney seems to 
me unjust. He was professedly a judge pronouncing on 
the law, and in giving his ruling he used language which 
ems to imply that his ethical judgment, if he had been 
called upon to give it, would have been quite different. 
But, though he was a great lawyer as well as a sincere 
patriot, and though his opinion is therefore entitled to 
respect, especially from a foreigner ignorant of American 
law, it is impossible to feel that his decision was not 
open to criticism on purely legal grounds. It rested upon 
the assertion that property in slaves was " explicitly 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 147 

recognized " by the Constitution. If this were so it would 
seem to follow that since under the Constitution a man's 
property could not be taken from him " without due process 
of law " he could not without such process lose his slaves. 
But was it so ? It is difficult, for a layman at any rate, to 
find in the Constitution any such " explicit recognition." 
The slave is there called a " person " and defined as a 
" person bound to service or labour " while his master is 
spoken of as one " to whom such service or labour may be 
due." This language seems to suggest the relation of 
creditor and debtor rather than that of owner and owned. 
At any rate, the Republicans refused to accept the judgment 
except so far as it determined the individual case of Dred 
Scott, taking up in regard to Taney's decision the position 
which, in accordance with Taney's own counsel, Jackson 
had taken up in regard to the decision which affirmed the 
constitutionality of a bank. 

Douglas impetuously accepted the decision and, for- 
getting the precedent of his own hero Jackson, denounced 
all who challenged it as wicked impugners of lawful 
authority. Yet, in fact, the decision was as fatal to his 
own policy as to that of the Republicans. It really made 
"Popular Sovereignty " a farce, for what was the good of 
leaving the question of Slavery to be settled by the 
territories when the Supreme Court declared that they 
could only lawfully settle it one way ? This obvious point 
was not lost upon the acute intelligence of one man, a 
citizen of Douglas's own State and one of the " moderates " 
who had joined the Republican Party on the Nebraska 
issue. 

Abraham Lincoln was by birth a Southerner and a 
native of Kentucky, a fact which he never forgot and of 
which he was exceedingly proud. After the wandering 
boyhood of a pioneer and a period of manual labour as a 
" rail-splitter" he had settled in Illinois, where he had 
picked up his own education and become a successful 
lawyer. He had sat in the House of Representatives 
as a Whig from 1846 to 1848, the period of the Mexican 
War, during which he had acted with the main body of his 
party, neither defending the whole of the policy which led 
to the war nor opposing it to the extent of refusing 



148 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

supplies for its prosecution. He had voted, as he said, for 
the Wilmot Proviso " as good as fifty times," and had made 
a moderate proposition in relation to Slavery in the district 
of Columbia, for which Garrison's Liberator had pilloried 
him as " the Slave-Hound of Illinois." He had not offered 
himself for re-election in 1848. Though an opponent of 
Slavery on principle, he had accepted the Compromise of 
1850, including its Fugitive Slave Clauses, as a satisfactory 
all-round settlement, and was, by his own account, losing 
interest in politics when the action of Douglas and its 
consequences called into activity a genius which few, if 
any, had suspected. 

A man like Lincoln cannot be adequately described in 
the short space available in such a book as this. His 
externals are well appreciated, his tall figure, his powerful 
ugliness, his awkward strength, his racy humour, his fits 
of temperamental melancholy ; well appreciated also his 
firmness, wisdom and patriotism. But if we wish to grasp 
the peculiar quality which makes him almost unique among 
great men of action, we shall perhaps find the key in the 
fact that his favourite private recreation was working out 
for himself the propositions of Euclid. He had a mind 
not only peculiarly just but singularly logical, one might 
really say singularly mathematical. His reasoning is 
always so good as to make his speeches in contrast to the 
finest rhetorical oratory a constant delight to those who 
have something of the same type of mind. In this he had 
a certain affinity with Jefferson. But while in Jefferson's 
case the tendency has been to class him, in spite of his 
great practical achievements, as a mere theorizer, in 
Lincoln it has been rather to acclaim him as a strong, 
rough, practical man, and to ignore the lucidity of thought 
which was the most marked quality of his mind. 

He was eminently practical; and he was not less but 
more practical for realizing the supreme practical import- 
ance of first principles. According to his first principles 
Slavery was wrong. It was wrong because it was inconsis- 
tent with the doctrines enunciated in the Declaration of 
Independence in which he firmly believed. Really good 
thinking like Lincoln's is necessarily outside time, and 
therefore he was not at all affected by the mere use and 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 149 

wont which had tended to reconcile so many to Slavery. 
Yet he was far from being a fanatical Abolitionist. Because 
Slavery was wrong it did not follow that it should be 
immediately uprooted. But it did follow that whatever 
treatment it received should be based on the assumption 
of its wrongness. An excellent illustration of his attitude 
of mind will be found in the exact point at which he drew 
the line. For the merely sentimental opponent of Slavery, 
the Fugitive Slave Law made a much more moving appeal 
to the imagination than the extension of Slavery in the 
territories. Yet Lincoln accepted the Fugitive Slave Law. 
He supported it because, as he put it, it was " so nominated 
in the bond." It was part of the terms which the Fathers 
of the Republic, disapproving of Slavery, had yet made 
with Slavery. He also, disapproving of Slavery, could 
honour those terms. But it was otherwise in regard to 
the territorial controversy. Douglas openly treated Slavery 
not as an evil difficult to cure, but as a thing merely 
indifferent. Southern statesmen were beginning to echo 
Calhoun's definition of it as "a positive good." On the 
top of this came Taney's decision making the right to own 
slaves a fundamental part of the birthright of an American 
citizen. This was much more important than the most 
drastic Fugitive Slave Law, for it indicated a change in 
first principles. 

This is the true meaning of his famous use of the text 
" a house divided against itself cannot stand," and his 
deduction that the Union could not " permanently exist 
half slave and half free." That it had so existed for eighty 
years he admitted, but it had so existed, he considered, 
because the Government had acted on the first principle 
that Slavery was an evil to be tolerated but curbed, and the 
public mind had " rested in the belief that it was in process 
of ultimate extinction." It was now, as it seemed, proposed 
to abandon that principle and assume it to be good or at 
least indifferent. If that principle were accepted there was 
nothing to prevent the institution being introduced not 
only into the free territories but into the Free States. And 
indeed the reasoning of Taney's judgment, though not 
the judgment itself, really seemed to point to such a 
conclusion. 



150 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Lincoln soon became the leader of the Illinois 
Republicans, and made ready to match himself against 
Douglas when the "Little Giant" should next seek 
re-election. Meanwhile a new development of the Kansas 
affair had split the Democratic Party and ranged Senator 
Douglas and President Buchanan on opposite sides in an 
open quarrel. The majority of the population now settled 
in Kansas was of Northern origin, for the conditions of life 
in the North were much more favourable to emigration 
into new lands than those of the slave-owning States. Had 
a free ballot been taken of the genuine settlers there would 
certainly have been a large majority against Slavery. But 
in the scarcely disguised civil war into which the competi- 
tion for Kansas had developed, the Slave- State party had 
the support of bands of " border ruffians " from the neigh- 
bouring State, who could appear as citizens of Kansas one 
day and return to their homes in Missouri the next. With 
such aid that party succeeded in silencing the voices of the 
Free State men while they held a bogus Convention at 
Lecompton, consisting largely of men who were not really 
inhabitants of Kansas at all, adopted a Slave Constitution, 
and under it applied for admission to the Union. Buchanan, 
who, though a Northerner, was strongly biassed in favour 
of the Slavery party, readily accepted this as a bond fide 
application, and recommended Congress to accede to it. 
Douglas was much better informed as to how things were 
actually going in Kansas, and he felt that if the Lecompton 
Constitution were acknowledged his favourite doctrine of 
Popular Sovereignty would be justly covered with odium 
and contempt. He therefore set himself against the 
President, and his personal followers combined with the 
Republicans to defeat the Lecompton proposition. 

The struggle in Illinois thus became for Douglas a 
struggle for political life or death. At war with the 
President and with a large section of his party, if he could 
not keep a grip on his own State his political career was 
over. Nor did he underrate his Republican opponent; 
indeed, he seems to have had a keener perception of the 
great qualities which were hidden under Lincoln's rough 
and awkward exterior than anyone else at that time 
exhibited. When he heard of his candidature he looked 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 151 

grave. "He is the strongest man of his party," he said, 
" and thoroughly honest. It will take us all our time to 
beat him." 

It did. Douglas was victorious, but only narrowly and 
after a hard-fought contest. The most striking feature of 
that contest was the series of Lincoln-Douglas debates in 
which, by an interesting innovation in electioneering, the 
two candidates for the Senatorship contended face to face 
in the principal political centres of the State. In reading 
these debates one is impressed not only with the ability of 
both combatants, but with their remarkable candour, good 
temper and even magnanimity. It is very seldom, if ever, 
that either displays malice or fails in dignity and courtesy 
to his opponent. When one remembers the white heat 
of political and sectional rivalry at that time when one 
recalls some of Sumner's speeches in the Senate, not to 
mention the public beating which they brought on him it 
must be confessed that the fairness with which the two 
great Illinois champions fought each other was highly to 
the honour of both. 

Where the controversy turned on practical or legal 
matters the combatants were not ill-matched, and both 
scored many telling points. When the general philosophy 
of government came into the question Lincoln's great 
superiority in seriousness and clarity of thought was at 
once apparent. A good example of this will be found in 
their dispute as to the true meaning of the Declaration 
of Independence. Douglas denied that the expression 
" all men " could be meant to include Negroes. It only 
referred to " British subjects in this continent being equal 
to British subjects born and residing in Great Britain." 
Lincoln instantly knocked out his adversary by reading 
the amended version of the Declaration : " We hold these 
truths to be self-evident, that all British subjects who were 
on this Continent eighty-one years ago were created equal 
to all British subjects born and then residing in Great 
Britain." This was more than a clever debating point. 
It was a really crushing exposure of intellectual error. 
The mere use of the words " truths " and " self-evident " 
and their patently ridiculous effect in the Douglas 
version proves conclusively which interpreter was nearest 



152 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

to the mind of Thomas Jefferson. And the sense of his 
superiority is increased when, seizing his opportunity, he 
proceeds to offer a commentary on the Declaration ii* its 
bearing on the Negro Question so incomparably lucid and 
rational that Jefferson himself might have penned it. 

In the following year an incident occurred which is of 
some historical importance, not because, as is sometimes 
vaguely suggested, it did anything whatever towards the 
emancipation of the slaves, but because it certainly increased, 
not unnaturally, the anger and alarm of the South. Old 
John Brown had suspended for a time his programme 
of murder and mutilation in Kansas and returned to New 
England, where he approached a number of wealthy men 
of known Abolitionist sympathies whom he persuaded to 
provide him with money for the purpose of raising a slave 
insurrection. That he should have been able to induce 
men of sanity and repute to support him in so frantic 
and criminal an enterprise says much for the personal 
magnetism which by all accounts was characteristic of 
this extraordinary man. Having obtained his supplies, he 
collected a band of nineteen men, including his own sons, 
with which he proposed to make an attack on the Govern- 
ment arsenal at Harper's Ferry in Virginia, which, when 
captured, he intended to convert into a place of refuge and 
armament for fugitive slaves and a nucleus for the general 
Negro rising which he expected his presence to produce. 
The plan was as mad as its author, yet it is characteristic 
of a peculiar quality of his madness that he conducted the 
actual operations not only with amazing audacity but with 
remarkable skill, and the first part of his programme was 
successfully carried out. The arsenal was surprised, and 
its sleeping and insufficient garrison overpowered. Here, 
however, his success ended. No fugitives joined him, and 
there was not the faintest sign of a slave rising. In fact, 
as Lincoln afterwards said, the Negroes, ignorant as they 
were, seem to have had the sense to see that the thing 
would come to nothing. As soon as Virginia woke up to 
what had happened troops were sent to recapture the 
arsenal. Brown and his men fought bravely, but the issue 
could not be in doubt. Several of Brown's followers and 
all his sons were killed. He himself was wounded, 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 153 

captured, brought to trial and very properly hanged unless 
we take the view that he should rather have been confined 
in an asylum. He died with the heroism of a fanatic. 
Emerson and Longfellow talked some amazing nonsense 
about him which is frequently quoted. Lincoln talked 
some excellent sense which is hardly ever quoted. And 
the Republican party was careful to insert in its platform 
a vigorous denunciation of his Harper's Ferry exploit. 

Both sides now began to prepare for the Presidential 
Election of 1860. The selection of a Republican candidate 
was debated at a large and stormy Convention held in 
Chicago. Seward was the most prominent Republican 
politician, but he had enemies, and for many reasons it 
was thought that his adoption would mean the loss of 
available votes. Chase was the favourite of the Radical 
wing of the party, but it was feared that the selection of a 
man who was thought to lean to Abolitionism would alienate 
the moderates. To secure the West was an important 
element in the electoral problem, and this, together 
with the zealous backing of his own State, within whose 
borders the Convention met, and the fact that he was 
recognized as a " moderate," probably determined the 
choice of Lincoln. It does not appear that any of those 
who chose him knew that they were choosing a great man. 
Some acute observers had doubtless noted the ability he 
displayed in his debates with Douglas, but in the main he 
seems to have been recommended to the Chicago Conven- 
tion, as afterwards to the country, mainly on the strength 
of his humble origin, his skill as a rail-splitter, and his 
alleged ability to bend a poker between his fingers. 

While the Republicans were thus choosing their cham- 
pion, much fiercer quarrels were rending the opposite 
party, whose Convention met at Charleston. The great 
majority of the Northern delegates were for choosing 
Douglas as candidate, and fighting on a programme of 
" popular sovereignty." But the Southerners would not 
hear of either candidate or programme. His attitude on 
the Lecompton business was no longer the only count 
against Douglas. The excellent controversial strategy of 
Lincoln had forced from him during the Illinois debates an 
interpretation of "popular sovereignty" equally offensive 



154 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

to the South. Lincoln had asked him how a territory 
whose inhabitants desired to exclude Slavery could, if the 
Dred Scott decision were to be accepted, lawfully exclude it. 
Douglas had answered that it could for practical purposes 
exclude it by withholding legislation in its support and 
adopting "unfriendly legislation" towards it. Lincoln 
at once pointed out that Douglas was virtually advising 
a -territorial government to nullify a judgment of the 
Supreme Court. The cry was caught up in the South and 
was fatal to Douglas's hopes of support from that section. 

The Charleston Convention, split into two hostile 
sections, broke up without a decision. The Douglas men, 
who were the majority, met at Baltimore, acclaimed him 
as Democratic candidate and adopted his programme. The 
dissentients held another Convention at Charleston and 
adopted Breckinridge with a programme based upon the 
widest interpretation of the Dred Scott judgment. To add 
to the multiplicity of voices the rump of the old Whig 
Party, calling themselves the party of "the Union, the 
Constitution and the Laws," nominated Everett and Bell. 

The split in the Democratic Party helped the Republicans 
in another than the obvious fashion of giving them the 
chance of slipping in over the heads of divided opponents. 
It helped their moral position in the North. It deprived 
the Democrats of their most effective appeal to Union-loving 
men the assertion that their party was national while 
the Republicans were sectional. For Douglas was now 
practically as sectional as Lincoln. As little as Lincoln 
could he command any considerable support south of the 
Potomac. Moreover, the repudiation of Douglas seemed 
to many Northerners to prove that the South was arrogant 
and unreasonable beyond possibility of parley or compro- 
mise. The wildest of her protagonists could not pretend 
that Douglas was a "Black Abolitionist," or that he 
meditated any assault upon the domestic institutions of the 
Southern States. If the Southerners could not work with 
him, with what Northerner, not utterly and unconditionally 
subservient to them, could they work? It seemed to 
many that the choice lay between a vigorous protest now 
and the acceptance of the numerically superior North of a 
permanently inferior position in the Confederation. 



THE SLAVERY QUESTION 155 

In his last electoral campaign the " Little Giant" put 
up a plucky fight against his enemies North and South. 
But he had met his Waterloo. In the whole Union he 
carried but one State and half of another. The South was 
almost solid for Breckinridge. The North and West, from 
New England to California, was as solid for Lincoln. A 
few border ^tates gave their votes for Everett. But, owing 
to the now overwhelming numerical superiority of the Free 
States, the Republicans had in the Electoral College a 
decided majority over all other parties. 

Thus was Abraham Lincoln elected President of the 
United States. But many who voted for him had hardly 
recorded their votes before they became a little afraid of 
the thing they had done. Through the whole continent 
ran the ominous whisper : "What will the South do?" 

And men held their breath, waiting for what was . to 
follow. 



CHAPTER IX 

SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 

IT is a significant fact that the news of Lincoln's election 
which caused so much dismay and searching of heart 
throughout the Southern and Border States was received 
with defiant cheers in Charleston, the chief port of South 
Carolina. Those cheers meant that there was one Southern 
State that was ready to answer on the instant the whispered 
question which was troubling the North, and to answer it 
by no means in a whisper. 

South Carolina occupied a position not exactly parallel 
to that of any other State. Her peculiarity was not merely 
that her citizens held the dogma of State Sovereignty. All 
the States from Virginia southward, at any rate, held that 
dogma in one form or another. But South Carolina held 
it in an extreme form, and habitually acted on it in an 
extreme fashion. It is not historically true to say that she 
learnt her political creed from Calhoun. It would be truer 
to say that he learnt it from her. But it may be that the 
leadership of a man of genius, who could codify and expound 
her thought, and whose bold intellect shrank from no 
conclusion to which his principles led, helped to give a 
peculiar simplicity and completeness to her interpretation 
of the dogma in question. The peculiarity of her attitude 
must be expressed by saying that most Americans had 
two loyalties, while the South Carolinan had only one. 
Whether in the last resort a citizen should prefer loyalty to 
his State or loyalty to the Union was a question concerning 
which man differed from man and State from State. 
There were men, and indeed whole States, for whom the 
conflict was a torturing, personal tragedy, and a tearing of 

156 




SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 157 

the heart in two. But practically all Americans believed 
that some measure of loyalty was due to both connections. 
The South Carolinan did not. All his loyalty was to his 
State. He scarcely pretended to anything like national 
feeling. The Union was at best a useful treaty of alliance 
with foreigners to be preserved only so far as the interests 
of the Palmetto State were advantaged thereby. His repre- 
sentatives in House and Senate, the men he sent to take 
part as electors in the choosing of a President, had rather 
the air of ambassadors than of legislators. They were in 
Congress to fight the battles of their State, and avowed 
quite frankly that if it should ever appear that " the Treaty 
called the Constitution of the United States " (as South 
Carolina afterwards designated it in her Declaration of 
Independence) were working to its disadvantage, they 
would denounce it with as little scruple or heart-burning as 
the Washington Government might denounce a commercial 
treaty with England or Spain. 

South Carolina had been talking freely of secession for 
thirty years. As I have said, she regarded the Union 
simply as a diplomatic arrangement to be maintained while 
it was advantageous, and again and again doubts had been 
expressed as to whether in fact it was advantageous. The 
fiscal question which had been the ostensible cause of the 
Nullification movement in the 'thirties was still considered 
a matter of grievance. As an independent nation, it was 
pointed out, South Carolina would be free to meet England 
on the basis of reciprocal Free Trade, to market her cotton 
in Lancashire to the best advantage, and to receive in 
return a cheap and plentiful supply of British manufactures. 
At any moment since 1832 a good opportunity might have 
led her to attempt to break away. The election of Lincoln 
was to her not so much a grievance as a signal and 
not altogether an unwelcome one. No time was lost in 
discussion, for the State was unanimous. The legislature 
had been in session choosing Presidential electors for in 
South Carolina these were chosen by the legislature and 
not by the people. When the results of the voting in 
Pennsylvania and Indiana made it probable that the 
Republicans would have a majority, the Governor intimated 
that it should continue to sit in order to consider the 



158 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

probable necessity of taking action to save the State. The 
news of Lincoln's election reached Charleston on the 7th 
of November. On the 10th of November the legislature 
unanimously voted for the holding of a specific Convention 
to consider the relations of South Carolina with the United 
States. The Convention met early in December, and before 
the month was out South Carolina had in her own view 
taken her place in the world as an independent nation. 
The Stars and Stripes was hauled down, and the new 
" Palmetto Flag " a palm tree and a single star raised 
over the public buildings throughout the State. 

Many Southerners, including not a few who were inclined 
to Secession as the only course in the face of the Republican 
victory, considered the precipitancy of South Carolina 
unwise and unjustifiable. She should, they thought, 
rather have awaited a conference with the other Southern 
States and the determination of a common policy. But in 
fact there can be little doubt that the audacity of her 
action was a distinct spur to the Secessionist movement. 
It gave it a focus, a point round which to rally. The idea 
of a Southern Confederacy was undoubtedly already in 
the air. But it might have remained long and perhaps 
permanently in the air if no State had been ready at once 
to take the first definite and material step. It was now no 
longer a mere abstract conception or inspiration. The 
nucleus of the thing actually existed in the Republic of 
South Carolina, which every believer in State Sovereignty 
was bound to recognize as a present independent State. 
It acted, so to speak, as a magnet to draw other alarmed 
and discontented States out of the Union. 

The energy of the South Carolinian Secessionists might 
have produced less effect had anything like a corresponding 
energy been displayed by the Government of the United 
States. But when men impatiently looked to Washington 
for counsel and decision they found neither. The conduct 
of President Buchanan moved men at the time to con- 
temptuous impatience, and history has echoed the con- 
temporary verdict. Just one fact may perhaps be urged 
in extenuation : if he was a weak man he was also in a 
weak position. A real and very practical defect, as it seems 
to me, in the Constitution of the United States is the four 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 159 

months' interval between the election of a President and 
his installation. The origin of the practice is obvious 
enough : it is a relic of the fiction of the Electoral College, 
which is supposed to be spending those months in searching 
America for the fittest man to be chief magistrate. But 
now that everyone knows on the morrow of the election of 
the College who is to be President, the effect may easily be 
to leave the immense power and responsibility of the 
American Executive during a critical period in the hands 
of a man who has no longer the moral authority of a 
popular mandate whose policy the people have perhaps 
just rejected. So it was in this case. Buchanan was 
called upon to face a crisis produced by the defeat of his 
own party, followed by the threatened rebellion of the men 
to whom he largely owed his election, and with it what 
moral authority he might be supposed to possess. Had 
Lincoln been able to take command in November he might, 
by a combination of firmness and conciliation, have checked 
the Secessionist movement. Buchanan, perhaps, could do 
little ; but that little he did not do. 

When all fair allowance has been made for the real 
difficulties of his position it must be owned that the 
President cut a pitiable figure. What was wanted was 
a strong lead for the Union sentiment of all the States 
to rally to. What Buchanan gave was the most self- 
confessedly futile manifesto that any American President 
has ever penned. His message to the Congress began by 
lecturing the North for having voted Republican. It went 
on to lecture the people of South Carolina for seceding, and 
to develop in a lawyer-like manner the thesis that they 
had no constitutional right to do so. This was not likely 
to produce much effect in any case, but any effect that it 
might have produced was nullified by the conclusion which 
appeared to be intended to show, in the same legal fashion, 
that, though South Carolina had no constitutional right to 
secede, no one had any constitutional right to prevent her 
from seceding. The whole wound up with a tearful demon- 
stration of the President's own innocence of any responsi- 
bility for the troubles with which he was surrounded. 

It was not surprising if throughout the nation there 
stirred a name and memory, and to many thousands of 



160 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

lips sprang instinctively and simultaneously a single 
sentence : "Oh for one hour of Jackson ! " 

General Scott, who was in supreme command of the 
armed forces of the Union, had, as a young man, received 
Jackson's instructions for " the execution of the laws " in 
South Carolina. He sent a detailed specification of them 
to Buchanan ; but it was of no avail. The great engine of 
democratic personal power which Jackson had created and 
bequeathed to his successors was in trembling and incapable 
hands. With a divided Cabinet for his Secretary of State, 
Cass, was for vigorous action against the rebellious State, 
while his Secretary for War, Floyd, was an almost avowed 
sympathizer with secession and with a President apparently 
unable to make up his own mind, or to keep to one policy 
from hour to hour, it was clear that South Carolina was not 
to be dealt with in Jackson's fashion. Clay's alternative 
method remained to be tried. 

It was a disciple of Clay's, Senator Crittendefi, who 
made the attempt, a Whig and a Kentuckian like his 
master. He proposed a compromise very much in Clay's 
manner, made up for the most part of carefully balanced 
concessions to either section. But its essence lay in its 
proposed settlement of the territorial problem, which con- 
sisted of a Constitutional Amendment whereby territories 
lying south of latitude 36 30' should be open to Slavery, and 
those north of that line closed against it. This was virtually 
the extension of the Missouri Compromise line to the 
Pacific, save that California, already accepted as a Free 
State, was not affected. Crittenden, though strenuously 
supported by Douglas, did not meet with Clay's measure of 
success. The Senate appointed a committee to consider 
the relations of the two sections, and to that committee, on 
which he had a seat, he submitted his plan. But its most 
important clause was negatived by a combination of extremes, 
Davis and the other Southerners from the Cotton States 
combining with the Republicans* to reject it. There is, 
however, some reason to believe that the Southerners would 
have accepted the plan if the Republicans had done so. 
The extreme Republicans, whose representative on the 
committee was Wade of Ohio, would certainly have refused 
it in any case, but the moderates on that side might 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 161 

probably have accepted and carried it had not Lincoln, who 
had been privately consulted, pronounced decidedly against 
it. This fixes upon Lincoln a considerable responsibility 
before history, for it seems probable that if the Crittenden 
Compromise had been carried the Cotton States would 
not have seceded, and South Carolina would have stood 
alone. The refusal, however, is very characteristic of his 
mind. No-one, as his whole public conduct showed, was 
more moderate in counsel and more ready to compromise 
on practical matters than he. Nor does it seem that he 
would have objected strongly to the Crittenden plan 
though he certainly feared that it would lead to filibustering 
in Mexico and Cuba for the purpose of obtaining more 
slave territory if it could have been carried out by 
Congressional action alone. But the Dred Scott judgment 
made it necessary to give it the form of a Constitutional 
Amendment, and a Constitutional Amendment on the lines 
proposed would do what the Fathers of the Republic had 
so carefully refrained from doing make Slavery specifically 
and in so many words part of the American system. This 
was a price which his intellectual temper, so elastic in 
regard to details, but so firm in its insistence on sound first 
principles, was not prepared to pay. 

The rejection of the Crittenden Compromise gave the 
signal for the new and much more formidable secession 
which marked the New Year. Before January was spent 
Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi were, in their own view, 
out of the Union. Louisiana and Texas soon followed 
their example. In Georgia the Unionists put up a much 
stronger fight, led by Alexander Stephens, afterwards Vice- 
President of the Confederacy. But even there they were 
defeated, and the Cotton States now formed a solid phalanx 
openly defying the Government at Washington. 

The motives of this first considerable secession for I 
have pointed out that the case of South Carolina was 
unique are of great importance, for they involve our whole 
view of the character of the war which was to follow. In 
England there is still a pretty general impression that the 
States rose in defence of Slavery. I find a writer so able 
and generally reliable as Mr. Alex. M. Thompson of the 
Clarion giving, in a recent article, as an example of a just 

if 



162 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

war, " the war waged by the Northern States to extinguish 
Slavery." This view is, of course, patently false. The 
Northern States waged no war to extinguish Slavery ; and, 
had they done so, it would not have been a just but a 
flagrantly unjust war. No-one could deny for a moment 
that under the terms of Union the Southern States had 
a right to keep their slaves as long as they chose. If any- 
one thought such a bargain too immoral to be kept, his 
proper place was with Garrison, and his proper programme 
the repudiation of the bargain and the consequent disruption 
of the Union. But the North had clearly no shadow of 
right to coerce the Southerners into remaining in the 
Union and at the same time to deny them the rights 
expressly reserved to them under the Treaty of Union. 
And of such a grossly immoral attempt every fair-minded 
historian must entirely acquit the victorious section. The 
Northerners did not go to war to abolish Slavery. The 
original basis of the Republican party, its platform of 
1860, the resolutions passed by Congress, and the explicit 
declarations of Lincoln, both before and after election, all 
recognize specifically and without reserve the immunity of 
Slavery in the Slave States from all interference by the 
Federal Government. 

American writers are, of course, well acquainted with 
such elementary facts, and, if they would attempt to make 
Slavery the cause of the rebellion, they are compelled to use 
a different but, I think, equally misleading phrase. I find, 
for instance, Professor Rhodes saying that the South went 
to war for " the extension of Slavery." This sounds more 
plausible, because the extension of the geographical area 
over which Slavery should be lawful had been a Southern 
policy, and because the victory of the party organized to 
oppose this policy was in fact the signal for secession. 
But neither will this statement bear examination, for it 
must surely be obvious that the act of secession put a final 
end to any hope of the extension of Slavery. How could 
Georgia and Alabama, outside the Union, effect anything to 
legalize Slavery in the Union territories of Kansas and New 
Mexico ? 

A true statement of the case would, I think, be this 
The South felt itself threatened with a certain peril. 




SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 163 

Against that peril the extension of the slave area had been 
one attempted method of protection. Secession was an 
alternative method. 

The peril was to be found in the increasing numerical 
superiority of the North, which must, it was feared, reduce 
the South to a position of impotence in the Union if once 
the rival section were politically united. Lowell spoke 
much of the truth when he said that the Southern grievance 
was the census of 1860 ; but not the whole truth. It was 
the census of 1860 plus the Presidential Election of 1860, 
and the moral to be drawn from the two combined. The 
census showed that the North was already greatly superior 
in numbers, and that the disproportion was an increasing 
one- The election showed the North combined in support 
of a party necessarily and almost avowedly sectional, and 
returning its candidate triumphantly, although he had 
hardly a vote south of the Mason-Dixon line. To the 
South this seemed to mean that in future, if it was to 
remain in the Union at all, it must be on sufferance. A 
Northerner would always be President, a Northern majority 
would always be supreme in both Houses of Congress, for 
the admission of California, already accomplished, and the 
now certain admission of Kansas as a Free State had 
disturbed the balance in the Senate as well as in the House. 
The South would henceforward be unable to influence in 
any way the policy of the Federal Government. It would 
be enslaved. 

It is true that the South had no immediate grievance. 
The only action of the North of which she had any sort 
of right to complain was the infringement of the spirit of 
the Constitutional compact by the Personal Liberty Laws. 
But these laws there was now a decided disposition to 
amend or repeal a disposition strongly supported by the 
man whom the North had elected as President. It is also 
true that this man would never have lent himself to any 
unfair depression of the Southern part of the Union. This 
last fact, however, the South may be pardoned for not 
knowing. Even those Northerners who had elected Lincoln 
knew little about him except that he was the Republican 
nominee and had been a " rail-splitter." In the South, so 
far as one can judge, all that \yas heard about him was that 



164 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

he was a " Black Abolitionist," which was false, and that in 
appearance he resembled a gorilla, which was, at least by 
comparison, true. 

But, even if Lincoln's fairness of mind and his 
conciliatory disposition towards the South had been fully 
appreciated, it is not clear that the logic of the Secessionist 
case would have been greatly weakened. The essential point 
was that the North, by virtue of its numerical superiority, 
had elected a purely Northern candidate on a purely 
Northern programme. Though both candidate and 
programme were in fact moderate, there was no longer 
any security save the will of the North that such moderation 
would continue. If the conditions remained unaltered, 
there was nothing to prevent the North at a subsequent 
election from making Charles Sumner President with a 
programme conceived in the spirit of John Brown's raid. 
It must be admitted that the policy adopted by the 
dominant North after the Civil War might well appear 
to afford a measure of posthumous justification for these 
fears. 

In the North at first all seemed panic and confusion of 
voices. To many and among them were some of those 
who had been keenest in prosecuting the sectional quarrel 
of which Secession was the outcome it appeared the 
wisest course to accept the situation and acquiesce in the 
peaceable withdrawal of the seceding States. This was the 
position adopted almost unanimously by the Abolitionists, 
and it must be owned that they at least were strictly 
consistent in taking it. "When I called the Union 'a 
League with Death and an Agreement with Hell,' " said 
Garrison, " I did not expect to see Death and Hell secede 
from the Union." Garrison's disciple, Wendell Phillips, 
pronounced the matter one for the Gulf States themselves 
to decide, and declared that you could not raise troops in 
Boston to coerce South Carolina or Florida. The same 
line was taken by men who carried greater weight than did 
the Abolitionists. No writer had rendered more vigorous 
service to the Republican cause in 1860 than Horace 
Greeley of the New York Tribune. His pronouncement in 
that journal on the Southern secessions was embodied in 
the phrase : " Let our erring sisters go." 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 165 

But while some of the strongest opponents of the South 
and of Slavery were disposed to accept the dismemberment 
of the Union almost complacently, there were men of a 
very different type to whom it seemed an outrage to be 
consummated only over their dead bodies. During the 
wretched months of Buchanan's incurable hesitancy the 
name of Jackson had been in every mouth. And at 
the mere sound of that name there was a rally to the 
Union of all who had served under the old warrior in the 
days when he had laid his hand of steel upon the Nullifiers. 
Some of them, moved by that sound and by the memory of 
the dead, broke through the political ties of a quarter of 
a century. Among those in whom that memory overrode 
every other passion were Holt, a Southerner and of late the 
close ally of Davis ; Cass, whom Lowell had pilloried as the 
typical weak-kneed Northerner who suffered himself to be 
made the lackey of the South ; and Taney, who had denied 
that, in the contemplation of the American Constitution, 
the Negro was a man. It was Black, an old Jacksonian, 
who in the moment of peril held the nerveless hands of 
the President firm to the tiller. It was Dix, another such, 
who sent to New Orleans the very Jacksonian order : " If 
any man attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot 
him at sight." 

War is always the result of a conflict of wills. 

The conflict of wills which produced the American Civil 
War had nothing directly to do with Slavery. It was the 
conflict between the will of certain Southern States to 
secede rather than accept the position of a permanent 
minority and the will expressed in Jackson's celebrated 
toast : " Our Union, it must be preserved." It is the 
Unionist position which clearly stands in need of special 
defence, since it proposed the coercion of a recalcitrant 
population. Can such a defence be framed in view of the 
acceptance by most of us of the general principle which has 
of late been called " the self-determination of peoples " ? 

I think it can. One may at once dismiss the common 
illusion for it is often in such cases a genuine illusion, 
though sometimes a piece of hypocrisy which undoubtedly 
had possession of many Northern minds at the time, that 
the Southern people did not really want to secede, but were 



166 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

in some mysterious fashion " intimidated " by a disloyal 
minority. How, in the absence of any special means of 
coercion, one man can " intimidate " two was never 
explained any more than it is explained when the same 
absurd hypothesis is brought forward in relation to Irish 
agrarian and English labour troubles. At any rate in this 
case there is not, and never has been, the slightest justifi- 
cation for doubting that Secessionism was from the first 
a genuine popular movement, that it was enthusiastically 
embraced by hundreds of thousands who no more expected 
ever to own a slave than an English labourer expects to 
own a carriage and pair ; that in this matter the political 
leaders of the States, and Davis in particular, rather lagged 
behind than outran the general movement of opinion ; that 
the Secessionists were in the Cotton States a great majority 
from the first ; that they became later as decided a majority 
in Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee; and that by 
the time the sword was drawn there was behind the 
Confederate Government a unanimity very rare in the 
history of revolutions certainly much greater than existed 
in the colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. To oppose so formidable a mass of local opinion and 
to enforce opposition by the sword was for a democracy a 
grave responsibility. 

Yet it was a responsibility which had to be accepted 
if America was to justify her claim to be a nation. To 
understand this certain further propositions must be 
grasped. 

First, the resistance of the South, though so nearly 
universal, was not strictly national. You cannot compare 
the case with that of Ireland or Poland. The Confederacy 
was never a nation, though, had the war had a different 
conclusion, it might perhaps have become one. It is 
important to remember that the extreme Southern view 
did not profess to regard the South as a nationality. It 
professed to regard South Carolina as one nationality, 
Florida as another, Virginia as another. But this view, 
though it had a strong hold on very noble minds, was at 
bottom a legalism out of touch with reality. It may be 
doubted whether any man felt it in his bones as men feel 
a genuine national sentiment. 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 167 

On the other hand American national sentiment was 
a reality. It had been baptized in blood. It was a reality 
for Southerners as well as for Northerners, for Secessionists 
as well as for Union men. There was probably no American, 
outside South Carolina, who did not feel it as a reality, 
though it might be temporarily obscured and overborne 
by local loyalties, angers, and fears. The President of the 
Confederacy had himself fought under the Stars and 
Stripes, and loved it so well that he could not bear to part 
with it and wished to retain it as the flag of the South. 
Had one generation of excited men, without any cognate 
and definable grievance, moved only by anger at a political 
reverse and the dread of unrealized and dubious evils, the 
right to undo the mighty work of consolidation now so 
nearly accomplished, to throw away at once the inheritance 
of their fathers and the birthright of their children ? Nor 
would they and their children be the only losers : it was 
the great principles on which the American Commonwealth 
was built that seemed to many to be on trial for their life. 
If the Union were broken up, what could men say but that 
Democracy had failed ? The ghost of Hamilton might grin 
from his grave; though his rival had won the laurel, it 
was he who would seem to have proved his case. For the 
first successful secession would not necessarily have been 
the last. The thesis of State Sovereignty established by 
victory in arms which always does in practice establish 
any thesis for good or evil meant the break-up of the 
free and proud American nation into smaller and smaller 
fragments as new disputes arose, until the whole fabric 
planned by the Fathers of the Republic had disappeared. 
It is impossible to put this argument better than in the 
words of Lincoln himself. " Must a government, of necessity, 
be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak 
to maintain its own existence?" That was the issue as 
he saw it, an issue which he was determined should be 
decided in the negative, even at the cost of a long and 
bloody Civil War. 

I have endeavoured to state fairly the nature of the 
conflict of wills which was to produce Civil War, arid to 
explain how each side justified morally its appeal to arms. 
Further than that I do not think it necessary to go. But 



168 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

I will add just this one historical fact which, I think, 
supplies some degree of further justification for the attitude 
of the North that concerning this matter of the Union, 
which was the real question in debate, though not in regard 
to other subsidiary matters which will demand our attention 
in the next chapter, the South was ultimately not only 
conquered but persuaded. There are among the millions 
of Southerners alive to-day few who will admit that their 
fathers fought in an unjust cause, but there are probably 
still fewer, if any at all, who would still wish to secede if 
they had the power. Jefferson Davis himself could, at the 
last, close his record of his own defeat and of the triumph 
of the Union with the words Esto Perpetua. 

Lincoln took the oath as President on March 4, 1861. 
His Inaugural Address breathes the essential spirit of his 
policy firmness in things fundamental, conciliation in 
things dispensable. He reiterated his declaration that he 
had neither right nor inclination to interfere with Slavery 
in the Slave States. He quoted the plank in the Kepublican 
platform which affirmed the right of each State to control 
its own affairs, and vigorously condemned John Brown's 
insane escapade. He declared for an effective Fugitive 
Slave Law, and pledged himself to its faithful execution. He 
expressed his approval of the amendment to the Constitution 
which Congress had just resolved to recommend, forbidding 
the Federal Government ever to interfere with the domestic 
institutions of the several States, "including that of 
persons held to service." But on the question of Secession 
he took firm ground. " I hold that, in contemplation of 
universal law and of the Constitution, the union of these 
States is perpetual. ... It follows from these views 
that no State upon its own mere motion can lawfully 
get out of the Union ; that resolves and ordinances to that 
effect are legally void; and that acts of violence within 
any State or States, against the authority of the United 
States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to 
circumstances." He accepted the obligation which the 
Constitution expressly enjoined on him, to see " that the 
laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States." 
He would use his power " to hold, occupy, and possess the 
property and places belonging toi the Government and to 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 169 

collect the duties and imposts," but beyond that there 
would be no interference or coercion. There could be no 
conflict or bloodshed unless the Secessionists were them- 
selves the aggressors. " In your hands, my dissatisfied 
fellow-countrymen, and not in mine is the momentous issue 
of Civil War. . . . You have no oath registered in heaven 
to destroy the Government, while I have the most solemn 
one to ' preserve, protect and defend it.' " 

He ended with the one piece of rhetoric in the whole 
address rhetoric deliberately framed to stir those emotions 
of loyalty to the national past and future which he knew 
to endure, howsoever overshadowed by anger and misunder- 
standing, even in Southern .breasts. " We are not enemies, 
but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion 
may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. 
The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every 
battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and 
hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the 
chorus of Union, when again touched, as surely they will 
be, by the better angels of our nature." 

But there was not much evidence of the active operation 
of such " better angels " at the moment. Half the Southern 
States had not only seceded, but had already formed 
themselves into a hostile Confederacy. They framed a 
Constitution modelled in essentials on that of the United 
States, but with the important difference that " We the 
deputies of the Sovereign and Independent States " was 
substituted for " We the people of the United States," and 
with certain minor amendments, some of which were 
generally thought even in the North to be improvements. 

They elected Jefferson Davis as President, and as Vice- 
President Alexander Stephens of Georgia, who had been a 
Unionist, but had accepted the contrary verdict of his State. 

The choice was, perhaps, as good as could have been 
made. Davis was in some ways well fitted to represent the 
new Commonwealth before the world. He had a strong 
sense of what befitted his own dignity and that of his office. 
He had a keen eye for what would attract the respect and 
sympathy of foreign nations. It is notable, for instance, 
that in his inaugural address, in setting forth the grounds 
on which secession was to be justified, he made no allusion 



170 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

to the institution of Slavery. There he may be contrasted 
favourably with Stephens, whose unfortunate speech 
declaring Slavery to be the stone which the builders of the old 
Constitution rejected, and which was to become the corner- 
stone of the new Confederacy, was naturally seized upon 
by Northern sympathizers at the time, and has been as 
continually brought forward since by historians and writers 
who wish to emphasize the connection between Slavery and 
the Southern cause. Davis had other qualifications which 
might seem to render him eminently fit to direct the policy 
of a Confederation which must necessarily begin its 
existence by fighting and winning a great and hazardous 
war. He had been a soldier and served with distinction. 
Later he had been, by common consent, one of the best 
War Secretaries that the United States had possessed. It 
was under his administration that both Lee and McClellan, 
later to be arrayed against each other, were sent to the 
Crimea to study modern war at first hand. 

But Davis had faults of temper which often endangered 
and perhaps at last ruined the cause he served. They can 
be best appreciated by reading his own book. There is 
throughout a note of querulousness which weakens one's 
sympathy for the hero of a lost cause. He is always 
explaining how things ought to have happened, how the 
people of Kentucky ought to have been angry with Lincoln 
instead of siding with him, and so on. One understands 
at once how he was bested in democratic diplomacy by his 
rival's lucid realism and unfailing instinct for dealing with 
men as men. One understands also his continual quarrels 
with his generals, though in that department he was from 
the first much better served than was the Government at 
Washington. A sort of nervous irritability, perhaps a part 
of what is called " the artistic temperament," is everywhere 
perceptible. Nowhere does one find a touch of that spirit 
which made Lincoln say, after an almost insolent rebuff 
to his personal and official dignity from McClellan : " Well, 
I will hold his horse for him if he will give us a victory." 

The prize for which both parties were contending 
in the period of diplomatic skirmishing which marks 
the opening months of Lincoln's administration was the 
adherence of those Slave States which had not yet seceded. 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 171 

So far disruptional doctrines had triumphed only in the 
Cotton States. In Virginia Secession had been rejected 
by a very decided majority, and the rejection had been 
confirmed by the result of the subsequent elections for the 
State legislature. The Secessionists had also seen their 
programme defeated in Tennessee, Arkansas, and North 
Carolina, while Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland had as 
yet refused to make any motion towards it. In Texas the 
general feeling was on the whole Secessionist, but the 
Governor was a Unionist, and succeeded for a time in 
preventing definite action. To keep these States loyal, 
while keeping at the same time his pledge to " execute the 
laws," was Lincoln's principal problem in the first days of 
his Presidency. 

His policy turned mainly on two principles. First, the 
South must see that the administration of the laws was really 
impartial, and that the President executed them because he 
had taken an oath to do so ; not because the North wanted 
to trample on the South. This consideration explains 
the extreme rigour with which he enforced the Fugitive 
Slave Law. Here was a law involving a Constitutional 
obligation, which he, with his known views on Slavery, 
could not possibly like executing, which the North certainly 
did not want him to execute, \yhich he could be executing 
only from a sense of obligation under the Constitution. 
Such an example would make it easier for moderate Southern 
opinion to accept the application of a similar strictness to 
the seceding States. 

The second principle was the strict confinement of his 
intervention within the limits presented by his Inaugural. 
This was calculated to bear a double effect. On the one 
hand, it avoided an immediate practical challenge to the 
doctrine of State Sovereignty, strongly held by many in 
the Middle States who were nevertheless opposed to 
Secession. On the other, it tended, if prolonged, to 
render the Southern assumption of the role of " a people 
risen against tyrants " a trifle ridiculous. A freeman 
defying the edicts of the oppressor is a dignified spectacle : 
not so that of a man desperately anxious to defy edicts 
which the oppressor obstinately refuses to issue. It was 
possible for Lincoln to put the rebels in this position 



172 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

because under the American Constitution nine-tenths of the 
laws which practically affected the citizen were State and 
not Federal laws. When people began to talk of protesting 
against tyranny by refusing to allow the tyrant to deliver 
their mails to them, it was obvious how near the comic the 
sublime defiance of the Confederates was treading. There 
were men in the South who fully realized the disconcerting 
effect of the President's moderation. " Unless you baptize 
the Confederacy in blood," said a leading Secessionist of 
Alabama to Jefferson Davis, " Alabama will be back in the 
Union within a month." 

Unfortunately Lincoln's attitude of masterly inactivity 
could not be kept up for so long, for a problem, bequeathed 
him by his predecessor, pressed upon him, demanding 
action, just where action might, as he well knew, mean a 
match dropped in the heart of a powder-magazine. On an 
island in the very harbour of Charleston itself stood Fort 
Sumter, an arsenal held by the Federal Government. 
South Carolina, regarding herself as now an independent 
State, had sent an embassy to Washington to negotiate 
among other things for its surrender and transfer to the 
State authorities. Buchanan had met these emissaries 
and temporized without definitely committing himself. 
He had been on the point of ordering Major Anderson, who 
was in command of the garrison, to evacuate the fort, when 
under pressure from Black, his Secretary of State, he 
changed his mind and sent a United States packet, called 
Star of the West, with reinforcements for Anderson. The 
State authorities at Charleston fired on the ship, which, 
being unarmed, turned tail and returned to Washington 
without fulfilling its mission. The problem was now passed 
on to Lincoln, with this aggravation : that Anderson's troops 
had almost consumed their stores, could get no more from 
Charleston, and, if not supplied, must soon succumb to 
starvation. Lincoln determined to avoid the provocation 
of sending soldiers and arms, but to despatch a ship with 
food and other necessaries for the garrison. This resolution 
was duly notified to the authorities at Charleston. 

Their anger was intense. They had counted on the 
evacuation of the fort, and seem to have considered that 
they held a pledge from Seward, who was now Secretary of 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 173 

State, and whose conduct in the matter seems certainly to 
have been somewhat devious, to that effect. The Stars and 
Stripes waving in their own harbour in defiance of their 
Edict of Secession seemed to them and to all their people a 
daily affront. Now that the President had intimated in the 
clearest possible fashion that he intended it to be permanent, 
they and all the inhabitants of Charleston, and indeed of 
South Carolina, clamoured loudly for the reduction of the 
fortress. In an evil hour Jefferson Davis, though warned 
by his ablest advisers that he was putting his side in the 
wrong, yielded to their pressure. Anderson was offered 
the choice between immediate surrender or the forcible 
reduction of the fortress. True to his military duty, though 
his own sympathies were largely Southern, he refused to 
surrender, and the guns of three other forts, which the 
Confederates had occupied, began the bombardment of 
Sumter. 

It lasted all day, the little fortress replying with great 
spirit, though with insufficient and continually diminishing 
means. It is an astonishing fact that in this, the first 
engagement of the Civil War, though much of the fort 
was wrecked, no life was lost on either side. At length 
Anderson's ammunition was exhausted, and he surrendered 
at discretion. The Stars and Stripes were pulled down and 
the new flag of the Confederacy, called the Stars and Bars, 
waved in its place. 

The effect of the news in the North was electric. Never 
before and never after was it so united. One cry of anger 
went up from twenty million throats. Whitman, in the 
best of his " Drum Taps," has described the spirit in which 
New York received the tidings ; how that great metropolitan 
city, which had in the past been Democrat in its votes and 
half Southern in its political connections "at dead of 
night, at news from the South, incensed, struck with 
clenched fist the pavement." 

It is important to the true comprehension of the motive 
power behind the war to remember what this " news from 
the South " was. It was not the news of the death of 
Uncle Tom or of the hanging of John Brown. It had not 
the remotest connection with Slavery. It was an insult 
offered to the flag. In the view of every Northern man and 



174 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

woman there was but one appropriate answer the sentence 
which Barrere had passed upon the city of Lyons : "'South 
Carolina has fired upon Old Glory : South Carolina is no 
more." 

Lincoln, feeling the tide of the popular will below him 
as a good boatman feels a strong and deep current, issued 
an appeal for 75,000 militia from the still loyal States to 
defend the flag and the Union which it symbolized. The 
North responded with unbounded enthusiasm, and the 
number of volunteers easily exceeded that for which 
the President had asked and Congress provided. In the 
North-West Lincoln found a powerful ally in his old 
antagonist Stephen Douglas. In the dark and perplexing 
months which intervened between the Presidential Election 
and the outbreak of the Civil War, no public man had 
shown so pure and selfless a patriotism. Even during the 
election, when Southern votes were important to him and 
when the threat that the election of the Republican nominee 
would lead to secession was almost the strongest card in his 
hand, he had gone out of his way to declare that no possible 
choice of a President could justify the dismemberment 
of the Republic. When Lincoln was elected, he had 
spoken in several Southern States, urging acquiescence in 
the verdict and loyalty to the Union. He had taken care 
to be present on the platform at his rival's inauguration, 
and, after the affair of Sumter, the two had had a long and 
confidential conversation. Returning to his native West, he 
commenced the last of his campaigns a campaign for no 
personal object but for the raising of soldiers to keep the 
old flag afloat. In that campaign the " Little Giant " spent 
the last of his unquenchable vitality ; and in the midst of 
it he died. 

For the North and West the firing on the Stars and 
Stripes was the decisive issue. For Virginia and to a great 
extent for the other Southern States which had not yet 
seceded it was rather the President's demands for State 
troops to coerce a sister State. The doctrine of State 
Sovereignty was in these States generally held to be a 
fundamental principle of the Constitution and the essential 
condition of their liberties. They had no desire to leave the 
Union BO long as it were understood that it was a union of 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 175 

Sovereign States. But the proposal to use force against 
a recalcitrant State seemed to them to upset the whole 
nature of the compact and reduce them to a position of 
vassalage. This 'attitude explains the second Secession, 
which took Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and 
Arkansas out of the Union. It explains also why the 
moment the sword was drawn the opinion of these States, 
strongly divided up to that very moment, became very 
nearly unanimous. Not all their citizens, even after the 
virtual declaration of war against South Carolina, wanted 
their States to secede, but all, or nearly all, claimed that 
they had the right to secede if they wanted to, and therefore 
all, or nearly all, accepted the decision of their States even 
if it were contrary to their own judgment and preference. 

It is important to understand this attitude, not only 
because it was very general, but because it was the attitude 
of one of the noblest sons the Republic ever bore, who 
yet felt compelled, regretfully but with full certitude that 
he did right, to draw the sword against her. 

Robert Lee was already recognized as one of the most 
capable captains in the service of the United States. When 
it became obvious that General Scott, also a Virginian, but 
a strong Unionist, was too old to undertake the personal 
direction of the approaching campaign, Lee was sounded as 
to his readiness to take his place. He refused, not desiring 
to take part in the coercion of a State, and subsequently, 
when his own State became involved in the quarrel, 
resigned his commission. Later he accepted the chief 
command of the Virginian forces and became the most 
formidable of the rebel commanders. Yet with the 
institution, zeal for which is still so largely thought to have 
been the real motive of the South, he had no sympathy. 
Four years before the Republican triumph, he had, in his 
correspondence, declared Slavery to be " a moral and political 
evil." Nor was he a Secessionist. He deeply regretted 
and so far as he could, without meddling in politics to 
which, in the fashion of good soldiers, he was strongly 
averse opposed the action which his State eventually took. 
But he thought that she had the right to take it if she 
chose, and, the fatal choice having been made, he had no 
option in his own view but to throw in his lot with her arid 



176 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

accept his portion of whatever fate might be in store for 
her armies and her people. 

Virginia now passed an Ordinance of Secession, and 
formed a military alliance with the Southern Confederacy. 
Later she was admitted to membership of that Confederacy, 
and the importance attached to her accession may be judged 
by the fact that the new Government at once transferred 
its seat to her capital, the city of Richmond. The example 
of Virginia was followed by the other Southern States 
already enumerated. 

There remained four Southern States in which the 
issue was undecided. One of them, Delaware, caused no 
appreciable anxiety. She was the smallest State in the 
Union in population, almost the smallest in area, and though 
technically a Slave State, the proportion of negroes within 
her borders was small. It was otherwise with the three 
formidable States which still hung in the" balance, 
Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland. That these were saved 
to the Union was due almost wholly to the far-sighted 
prudence and consummate diplomacy of Abraham Lincoln. 

Missouri was the easiest to hold. Geographically she 
was not really a Southern State at all, and, though she was 
a Slave State by virtue of Clay's Compromise, the institution 
had not there struck such deep roots as in the true South. 
Tne mass of her people were recruited from all the older 
States, North and South, with a considerable contingent 
fresh from Europe. Union feeling was strong among them 
and State feeling comparatively weak. Her Governor, 
indeed, was an ardent Southern sympathizer and returned 
a haughty and defiant reply to Lincoln's request for soldiers. 
But Francis Blair, a prominent and popular citizen, and 
Captain Lyon, who had raised and commanded a Union 
force within her borders, between them carried the State 
against him. He was deposed, a Unionist Governor 
substituted, and Missouri ranged herself definitely with 
the North. 

The case of Maryland was much more critical, for it 
appeared to involve the fate of the Capital. Washington lay 
between Maryland and Virginia, and if Maryland joined 
Virginia in rebellion it could hardly be held. Yet its 
abandonment might entail the most serious political 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 177 

consequences, certainly an enormous encouragement to 
the seceding Confederacy, quite probably its immediate 
recognition by foreign Powers. At first the omens looked 
ugly. The populace of Baltimore, the capital of the State, 
were at this time pronouncedly Southern in their sentiments, 
and the first Massachusetts regiment sent to the relief of 
Washington was hustled and stoned in its streets. The 
soldiers fired on the mob and there were casualties on both 
sides. Immediately afterwards the legislature of Maryland 
protested against the violation of its territory. Lincoln 
acted with admirable sense and caution. He pointed out that 
the Federal armies could not fly, and that therefore to reach 
Washington they must pass over the soil of Maryland ; but 
he made no point of their going through Baltimore, and he 
wisely provided that further contingents should, for a time, 
proceed by water to Annapolis. Meanwhile he strained 
every nerve to reassure and conciliate Maryland with 
complete success. Within a month or two Federal troops 
could be brought to Baltimore without the smallest friction 
or disturbance. Later the loyalty of Maryland was, as we 
shall see, put to a much more critical test and passed it 
triumphantly. 

The President naturally felt a special interest in the 
attitude of his native state, Kentucky. That attitude 
would have perplexed and embarrassed a less discerning 
statesman. Taking her stand on the dogma of State 
Sovereignty Kentucky declared herself " neutral " in the 
impending war between the United and Confederate States, 
and forbade the troops of either party to cross her territory. 
Lincoln could not, of course, recognize the validity of such 
a declaration, but he was careful to avoid any act in open 
violation of it. Sometimes openly and sometimes secretly 
he worked hard to foster, consolidate, and encourage the 
Union party in Kentucky. With his approval and probably 
at his suggestion loyalist levies were voluntarily recruited on 
her soil, drilled and prepared for action. But no Northern 
troops were sent across her frontier. He was undoubtedly 
working for a violation of Kentuckian " neutrality " by the 
other side. Circumstances and geographical conditions 
helped him. The frontier between Kentucky and 
Tennessee was a mere degree of latitude corresponding 



178 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

to no militarily defensible line, nor did any such line 
exist to the south of it capable of covering the capital of 
Tennessee. On the other hand, an excellent possible line 
of defence existed in Southern Kentucky. The Confederate 
commanders were eager to seize it, but the neutrality of 
Kentucky forbade them'. When, however, they saw the hold 
which Lincoln seemed to be acquiring over the counsels of 
the " neutrals," they felt 'they dared not risk further delay. 
Justifying their act by the presence in Kentucky of armed 
bodies of local Unionists, they advanced and occupied the 
critical points of Columbus and Bowling Green, stretching 
their line between them on Kentuckian soil. The act at 
once determined the course of the hesitating State. Torn 
hitherto between loyalty to the Union and loyalty to State 
rights, she now found the two sentiments synchronize. In 
the name of her violated neutrality she declared war on the 
Confederacy and took her place under the Stars and Stripes. 
The line between the two warring confederations of 
States was now definitely fixed, and it only remained to 
try the issue between them by the arbitrament of the 
sword. 

At first the odds might seem very heavy against the 
Confederacy, for its total white population was only about 
five and a half million, while the States arrayed against it 
mustered well over twenty million. But there were certain 
considerations which tended to some extent to equalize the 
contest. 

First there is the point which must always be taken 
into consideration when estimating the chances of war 
the political objective aimed at. The objective of the 
North was the conquest of the South. But the objective of 
the South was not the conquest of the North. It was the 
demonstration that such conquest as the North desired was 
impracticable, or at least so expensive as not to be worth 
pursuing. That the Union, if the States that composed it 
remained united and determined and no other factor were 
introduced, could eventually defeat the Confederacy was 
from the first almost mathematically certain ; and between 
complete defeat and conquest there is no such distinction 
as some have imagined, for a military force which has 
destroyed ail military forces opposed to it can always 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 179 

impose its will unconditionally on the conquered. Bat 
that these States would remain united and determined was 
not certain at all. If the South put up a sufficiently 
energetic fight, there might arise in the dominant section 
a considerable body of opinion which felt that too high a 
price was being paid for the enterprise. Moreover, there 
was always the possibility and often the probability of 
another factor the intervention of some foreign Power in 
favour of the South, as France had intervened in favour of 
the Americans in 1781. Such were the not unlikely 
chances upon which the South was gambling. 

Another factor in favour of the South was preparation. 
South Carolina had begun raising and drilling soldiers for 
a probable war as soon as Lincoln was elected. The other 
Southern States had at various intervals followed her 
example. On the Northern side there had been no 
preparation whatever under the Buchanan regime, and 
Lincoln had not much chance of attempting such preparation 
before the war was upon him. 

Further, it was probably true that, even untrained, the 
mass of Southerners were better fitted for war than the 
mass of Northerners. They were, as a community, agrarian, 
accustomed to an open-air life, proud of their skill in 
riding and shooting. The first levies of the North were 
drawn mostly from the urban population, and consisted 
largely of clerks, artisans, and men of the professional 
class, in whose previous modes of life there was nothing 
calculated to prepare them in any way for the duties of 
a soldier. To this general rule there was, however, an 
important reservation, of which the fighting at Fort 
Donelson and Shiloh afforded an early illustration. In 
dash and hardihood, and what may be called the raw 
materials of soldiership the South, whatever it may have 
had to teach the North, had little to teach the West. 

In the matter of armament the South, though not 
exactly advantageously placed, was at the beginning not so 
badly off as it might well have been. Floyd, at one time 
Buchanan's Secretary for War, was accused, and indeed, 
after he had joined the Secessionists, virtually admitted 
having deliberately distributed the arms of the Federal 
Government to the advantage of the Confederacy. Certainly 



180 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

the outbreak of war found some well-stocked arsenals within 
the grasp of the rebellion. It was not until its later phases 
that the great advantage of the industrial North in facilities 
for the manufacture of armaments made itself apparent. 

But the great advantage which the South possessed, 
and which accounts for the great measure of military 
success which it enjoyed, must be regarded as an accidental 
one. It consisted in the much greater capacity of the 
commanders whom the opening of the war found in 
control of its forces. The North had to search for 
competent generals by a process of trial and error, almost 
every trial being marked by a disaster; nor till the very 
end of the war did she discover the two or three men who 
were equal to their job. The South, on the other hand, 
had from the beginning the good luck to possess in its 
higher command more than one captain whose talents were 
on the highest possible level. 

The Confederate Congress was summoned to meet at 
Richmond on July 20th. A cry went up from the North 
that this event should be prevented by the capture before 
that date of the Confederate capital. The cry was based 
on an insufficient appreciation of the military resources of 
the enemy, but it was so vehement and universal that the 
Government was compelled to yield to it. A considerable 
army had by this time been collected in Washington, 
and under the command of General McDowell it now 
advanced into Virginia, its immediate objective being 
Manasses Junction. The opposing force was under the 
Southern commander Beauregard, a Louisianian of French 
extraction. The other gate of Eastern Virginia, the 
Shenandoah Valley, was held by Joseph Johnstone, who 
, was to be kept engaged by an aged Union general named 
Patterson. Johnstone, however, broke contact and got away 
from Patterson, joining Beauregard behind the line of a 
small river called Bull Run, to which the latter had retired. 
Here McDowell attacked, and the first real battle of the 
Civil War followed. For a time it wavered between the two 
sides, but the arrival in flank of the forces of Johnstone's 
rearguard, which had arrived too late for the opening of 
the battle, threw the Union right wing into confusion. 
Panic spread to the whole army, which, with the exception 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 181 

of a small body of regular troops, flung away its arms and 
fled in panic back to Washington. 

Thus unauspiciously opened the campaign against the 
Confederacy. The impression produced on both sides was 
great. The North set its teeth and determined to wipe out 
the disgrace at the first possible moment. ' The South was 
wild with joy. The too -prevalent impression that the 
:< Yankees " were cowards who could not antf would not 
fight seemed confirmed by the first practical experiment. 
The whole subsequent course of the war showed how false 
was this impression. It has been admitted that the 
Southerners were at first, on the whole, both better fitted 
and better prepared for war than their opponents. But all 
military history shows that what enables soldiers to face 
defeat and abstain from panic in the face of apparent 
disaster is not natural courage, but discipline. Had the 
fight gone the other way the Southern recruits would 
probably have acted exactly as did -the fugitive Northerners. 
Indeed, as it was, at an earlier stage of the battle a panic 
among the Southerners was only averted by the personal 
exertions of Beauregard, whose horse was shot under him, 
and by the good conduct of the Virginian contingent and 
its leader. " Look at Jackson and his Virginians," cried 
out the Southern commander in rallying his men, " standing 
like a stone wall." The great captain thus acclaimed bore 
ever after, through his brief but splendid military career, 
the name of " Stonewall " Jackson. 

Bull Run was fought and won in July. The only other 
important operations of the year consisted in the successful 
clearing, by the Northern commander, McClellan, of 
Western Virginia, where a Unionist population had seceded 
from the Secession. Lincoln, with bold statesmanship, 
recognized uVasa separate State, and thus further consolidated 
the Unionism of the Border. In recognition of this service 
McClellan was appointed, in succession to McDowell, to the 
command of the army of the Potomac, as the force entrusted 
with the invasion of Eastern Virginia was called. 

At the first outbreak of the war English sympathies, 
except perhaps for a part of the travelled and more or less 
cosmopolitan aristocracy which found the Southern gentle- 
man a more socially acceptable type than the Yankee, seem 



182 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

to have been decidedly with the North. Public opinion 
in this country was strong against Slavery, and therefore 
tended to support the Free States in the contest of which 
Slavery was generally believed to be the cause. Later 
this feeling became a little confused. Our people did not 
understand the peculiar historical conditions which bound 
the Northern side, and were puzzled and their enthusiasm 
damped by the President's declaration that he had no 
intention of interfering with Slavery, and still more by the 
resolution whereby Congress specifically limited the objective 
of the war and the preservation of the Union, expressly 
guaranteeing the permanence of Slavery as a domestic 
institution. These things made it easy for the advocates 
of the South to maintain that Slavery had nothing to do 
with the issue as, indeed, directly, it had not. Then came 
Bull Run the sort of Jack-the-Giant-Killer incident which 
always and in a very human fashion excites the admiration 
of sportsmanlike foreigners. One may add to this the fact 
that the intelligent governing class at that time generally 
regarded the Americans, as the Americans regarded us, 
as rivals and potential enemies, and would not have 
been sorry to see one strong power in the New World 
replaced by two weak ones. On the other hand, the British 
Government's very proper proclamation of neutrality as 
between the United States and the Confederacy had been 
somewhat unreasonably criticized in America. 

Yet the general sympathy with the Free as against the 
Slave States might have had a better chance of surviving 
but for the occurrence in November, 1861, of what is called 
the " Trent " dispute. The Confederacy was naturally anxious 
to secure recognition from the Powers of Western Europe, 
and with this object despatched two representatives, Mason 
of Virginia and Slidell of South Carolina, the one accredited 
to the Court of St. James's and the other to the Tuilleries. 
They took passage to Europe in a British ship called the 
Trent. The United States cruiser San Jacinto, commanded 
by Captain Wilkes of the American Navy, overhauled this 
vessel, searched it and seized and carried off the two 
Confederate envoys. 

The act was certainly a breach of international law ; but 
that was almost the smallest part of its irritant effect. In 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 183 

every detail it was calculated to outrage British sentiment. 
It was an affront offered to us on our own traditional 
element the sea. It was also a blow offered to our 
traditional pride as impartial protectors of political exiles 
of all kind. The Times in those days a responsible and 
influential organ of opinion said quite truly that the 
indignation felt here had nothing to do with approval of 
the rebellion; that it would have been just as strong if, 
instead of Mason and Slidell, the victims had been two of 
their own Negro slaves. Indeed, for us there were no longer 
Northern and Southern sympathizers : there were only 
Englishmen indignant at an insult openly offered to the 
Union Jack. Northerners might have understood us better, 
and been less angry at our attitude, if they had remembered 
how they themselves had felt when the guns opened on 
Sumter. 

The evil was aggravated by the triumphant rejoicings 
with which the North celebrated the capture and by the 
complicity of responsible and even official persons in the 
honours showered on Captain Wilkes. Seward, who had 
a wild idea that a foreign quarrel would help to heal 
domestic dissensions, was somewhat disposed to defend the 
capture. But the eminently just mind of Lincoln quickly 
saw that it could not be defended, while his prudence 
perceived the folly of playing the Southern game by forcing 
England to recognize the Confederacy. Mason and Slidell 
were returned, and the incident as a diplomatic incident 
was closed. But it had its part in breeding in these islands 
a certain antagonism to the Government at Washington, 
and thus encouraging the growing tendency to sympathize 
with the South. 

With the opening of the new year the North was 
cheered by a signal and very important success. In the 
course of February Fort Henry and Fort Donelson, essential 
strategic points on the front which the Confederate invaders 
had stretched across Southern Kentucky, were captured 
by General Ulysses Grant, in command of a Western army. 
The Confederate forces were compelled to a general retire- 
ment, sacrificing the defensive line for the sake of which 
they had turned the " neutral " border State into an enemy, 
uncovering the whole of Western Tennessee, including the 



184 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

capital of Nashville, and also yielding the Upper Mississippi. 
The importance of the latter gain -for the Mississippi, once 
mastered, would cut the Confederacy in two was clearly 
apparent to Beauregard, who at once marched northward 
and attacked Grant at Shiloh. The battle was indecisive, 
but in its military effect it was a success for the North. 
Grant was compelled to abandon the ground upon which 
his army stood, but he kept all the fruits of his recent 
campaign. 

Another incident, not only picturesque in itself but of 
great importance in the history of naval war, marks the 
opening months of 1862. After the failure of the first 
attempt to take Richmond by a coup de main the war 
became in its essence a siege of the Confederacy. To give 
it this character, however, one thing was essential the 
control of the sea by the Union forces. The regular United 
States navy unlike the regular army, which was divided 
was fully under the control of the Federal! Government, 
and was able to blockade the Southern ports. Davis had 
attempted to meet this menace by issuing letters of marque 
to privateers ; but this could be little more than an irritant 
to the dominant power. It so happened, however, that 
a discovery had recently been made which was destined to 
revolutionize the whole character of naval war. Experiments 
in the steel-plating of ships had already been made in 
England and in France, but the first war vessel so fitted 
for practical use was produced by the Southern Confederacy 
the celebrated Merrimac. One fine day she steamed into 
Hampton Roads under the guns of the United States fleet 
and proceeded to sink ship after ship, the heavy round shot 
leaping off her like peas. It was a perilous moment, but 
the Union Government had only been a day behind in 
perfecting the same experiment. Next day the Monitor 
arrived on the scene, and the famous duel between the first 
two ironclads ever constructed commenced. Each proved 
invulnerable to the other, for neither side had yet 
constructed pieces capable of piercing protection, but 
the victory was so far with the North that the hope that 
the Confederacy might obtain, by one bold and inventive 
stroke, the mastery of the sea was for the moment at 
an end. 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 185 

Meanwhile all eyes were fixed on McClellan, who was 
busy turning the mob that had fled from Bull Run into an 
army. His work of organization and discipline was by 
common consent admirable ; yet when the time came when 
he might be expected to take the field, that defect in his 
quality as a commander showed itself which was to pursue 
him throughout his campaigns. He was extravagantly 
over-cautious. His unwillingness to fight, combined with 
the energy he put into bringing the army into an efficient 
state and gaining influence over its officers and men, gave 
rise to the wildest rumours and charges. It was suggested 
that he intended to use the force he was forming, not 
against Richmond but against Washington ; to seize 
supreme power by military force and reconcile the warring 
States under the shadow of his sword. It is certain that 
there was no kind of foundation for such suspicions. 
He was a perfectly patriotic and loyal soldier who studied 
his profession diligently. Perhaps he had studied it too 
diligently. He seems to have resolved never to risk an 
engagement unless under conditions which according to 
the text-books should assure victory. Ideal conditions of 
this sort were not likely to occur often in real war, 
especially when waged against such an antagonist as 
Robert Lee. 

McClellan remained in front of the Confederate positions 
throughout the winter and early spring. In reply to urgent 
appeals from Washington he declared the position of the 
enemy to be impregnable, and grossly exaggerated his 
numbers. When at last, at the beginning of March, he 
was induced to move forward, he found that the enemy had 
slipped away, leaving behind, as if in mockery, a large 
number of dummy wooden guns which had helped to 
impress McClellan with the hopelessness of assailing his 
adversaries. 

The wooden guns, however little damage they could do 
to the Federal army, did a good deal of damage to the 
reputation of the Federal commander. Lincoln, though 
pressed to replace him, refused to do so, having no one 
obviously better to put in his room, and knowing that the 
outcry against him was partly political for McClellan was 
a Democrat. The general now undertook the execution of 



186 A HISTOBY OF THE UNITED STATES 

a plan of his own for the reduction of Kichmond. Leaving 
McDowell on the Potomac, he transported the greater part 
of his force by water and effected a landing on the peninsula 
of Yorktown, where some eighty years before Cornwallis 
had surrendered to Washington and Kochambeau. 

The plan was not a bad one, but the general showed the 
same lack of enterprise which had made possible the 
escape of Johnstone. It is probable that if he had struck 
at once at the force opposed to him, he could have destroyed 
it and marched to Bichmond almost unopposed. 

Instead of striking at a vulnerable point he sat down in 
a methodical fashion to besiege Yorktown. While he was 
waiting for the reinforcements he had demanded, the 
garrison got away as Johnstone had done from before 
Manassas, and an attempt to push forward resulted in the 
defeat of his lieutenant, Hooker, at Williamsburg. 

McDowell, who was at Fredericksburg, was ordered 
to join and reinforce McClellan, but the junction was 
never made, for at the moment Jackson took the field and 
effected one of the most brilliant exploits of the war. The 
Union troops in the Shenandoah Valley were much more 
numerous than the force which Jackson had at his disposal , 
but they were scattered at various points, and by a series 
of incalculably rapid movements the Southern captain 
attacked and overwhelmed each in turn. The alarm at 
Washington was great, and McDowell hastened to cut him 
off, only to discover that Jackson had slipped past him and 
was back in his own country. Meanwhile McClellan, left 
without the reinforcements he had expected, was attacked 
by Lee and beaten back in seven days' consecutive fighting 
right to Harrison's Landing, where he could only entrench 
himself and stand on the defensive. Eichmond was as far 
off as ever. 

One piece of good news, however, reached Washington 
at about this time, and once again it came from the West. 
Towards the end of April Farragut, the American admiral, 
captured the city of New Orleans. The event was justly 
thought to be of great importance, for Grant already 
dominated the Upper Mississippi, and if he could join hands 
with a Union force operating from the mouth of the great 
river, the Confederacy would be cut in two. 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 187 

Perhaps the contrast between the good fortune which 
had attended the Federal arms in the West and the failure 
of the campaign in Eastern Virginia was responsible for the 
appointment of a general taken from the Western theatre 
of war to command the army of the Potomac. Lincoln, 
haying supported McClellan as long as he could, was now 
obliged to abandon his cause, and General Pope was 
appointed to supreme command of the campaign in Eastern 
Virginia. 

The change brought no better fortune ; indeed, it was the 
prelude to a disaster worse than any that McClellan had 
suffered. Pope advanced by the route of the original 
invasion, and reached exactly the point where McDowell's 
army had been routed. Here he paused and waited 
While he lay there Jackson made another of his daring 
raids, got between him and Washington and cut his 
communications, while Lee fell upon him and utterly 
destroyed his army in the second battle of Bull Run. 

Lee's victory left him in full possession of the initiative, 
with no effective force immediately before him and with a 
choice of objectives. It was believed by many that he 
would use his opportunity to attack Washington. But he 
wisely refrained from such an attempt. Washington was 
guarded by a strong garrison, and its defences had been 
carefully prepared. To take it would involve at least 
something like a siege, and while he was reducing it the 
North would have the breathing space it needed to rally 
its still unexhausted powers. He proposed to himself an 
alternative, which, if he had been right in his estimate of 
the political factors, would have given him Washington and 
much more, and probably decided the war in favour of the 
Confederacy. He crossed the Potomac and led his army 
into Maryland. 

The stroke was as much political as military in its 
character. Maryland was a Southern State. There was 
a sort of traditional sisterhood between her and Virginia. 
Though she had not seceded, it was thought that her 
sympathies must be with the South. The attack on the 
Union troops in Baltimore at the beginning of the war had 
seemed strong confirmation of this belief. The general 
impression in the South, which the Southern general 



188 A HISTOBY OF THE UNITED STATES 

probably shared, was that Maryland was at heart Secessionist, 
and that a true expression of her will was prevented 
only by force. The natural inference was that when a 
victorious Southern commander appeared within her borders, 
the people would rally to him as one man, Washington 
would be cut off from the North, the President captured, 
the Confederacy recognized by the European Powers, and 
the North would hardly continue the hopeless struggle. 
This idea was embodied in a fierce war-song which had 
recently become popular throughout the Confederate States 
and was caught up by Lee's soldiers on their historic march. 
It began 

" The despot's heel is on thy shore, 
Maryland ! My Maryland ! " 

And it ended 

" She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb ! 
Hurrah I She spurns the Yankee scum 1 
She breathes ! She lives 1 She'll come ! she'll come ! 
Maryland ! My Maryland ! " 

But Maryland did not come. The whole political 
conception which underlay Lee's move was false. It may 
seem curious that those who, when everything seemed to 
be in favour of the North, had stoned Union soldiers in the 
streets of the State capital, should not have moved a finger 
when a great Southern soldier came among them with the 
glamour of victory around him and proclaimed himself their 
liberator. Yet so it proved. The probable explanation 
is that, Maryland lying under the shadow of the capital, 
which was built for the most part on her territory, Lincoln 
could deal with her people directly. And wherever 
he could get men face to face and show the manner of 
man he was, he could persuade. Maryland was familiar 
with "the despot" and did not find his "heel" at all 
intolerable. The image of the horrible hairy Abolitionist 
gloating constantly over the thought of a massacre of 
Southerners by Negroes, which did duty for a portrait of 
Lincoln in the South, was not convincing to Marylanders, 
who knew the man himself and found him a kindly, 
shrewd, and humorous man of the world, with much in 
his person and character that recalled his Southern origin, 
who enforced the law with strict impartiality wherever his 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 189 

power extended, and who, above all, punctiliously returned 
any fugitive slaves that might seek refuge in the District of 
Columbia. 

Lee issued a dignified and persuasive proclamation in 
which he declared that he came among the people of 
Maryland as a friend and liberator. But Maryland showed 
no desire to be liberated. He and his soldiers were 
everywhere coldly received. Hardly a volunteer joined them. 
In many towns Union flags were flaunted in their faces 
a fact upon which is based the fictitious story of Barbara 
Fritchit. 

The political failure of the move led to considerable 
military embarrassments. Lee met with no defeat in arms, 
but his difficulties increased day by day. 

Believing that he would be operating among a friendly 
population he had given less thought than he would 
otherwise have done to the problem of supplies, supposing 
that he could obtain all he needed from the country. That 
problem now became acute, for the Marylanders refused 
to accept the Confederate paper, which was all he had to 
tender in payment, and the fact that he professed to be 
their liberator actually made his position more difficult, for 
he could not without sacrificing a moral asset treat them 
avowedly as an enemy people. He found himself compelled 
to send Jackson back to hold Harper's Ferry lest his 
communications might be endangered. Later he learnt that 
McClellan, who had been restored to the chief command 
after Pope's defeat, was moving to cut off his retreat. He 
hastened back towards his base, and the two armies met by 
Antietam Creek. 

Antietam was not really a Union victory. It was followed 
by the retirement of Lee into Virginia, but it is certain 
that such retirement had been intended by him from the 
beginning was indeed his objective. The objective of 
McClellan was, or should have been, the destruction of the 
Confederate army, and this was not achieved. Yet, as 
marking the end of the Southern commander's undoubted 
failure in Maryland, it offered enough of the appearance of 
a victory to justify in Lincoln's judgment an executive act 
upon which "he had determined some months earlier, but 
which he thought would have a better effect coming after a 



190 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

military success than in time of military weakness and 
peril. 

We have seen that both the President and Congress 
had been careful to insist that the war was not undertaken 
on behalf of the Negroes. Yet the events of the war had 
forced the problem of the Negro into prominence. Fugitive 
slaves from the rebel States took refuge with the Union 
armies, and the question of what should be done with them 
was forced on the Government. Lincoln knew that in this 
matter he must move with the utmost caution. When in 
the early days of the war, Fremont, who had been appointed 
to military commander in Missouri, where he showed an 
utter unfitness, both intellectual and moral, for his place, 
proclaimed on his own responsibility the emancipation of 
the slaves of " disloyal " owners, his headstrong vanity 
would probably have thrown both Missouri and Kentucky 
into the arms of the Confederacy if the -President had not 
promptly disavowed him. Later he disavowed a similar 
proclamation by General Hunter. When a deputation of 
ministers of religion from Chicago urged on him the 
desirability of immediate action against Slavery, he met 
them with a reply the opening passage of which is one of 
the world's masterpieces of irony. When Horace Greeley 
backed the same appeal with his "Prayer of Twenty 
Millions," Lincoln in a brief letter summarized his policy 
with his usual lucidity and force. 

" My paramount object in this struggle is to save the 
Union, and is not either to save or to destroy Slavery. If 
I could save the Union without freeing any slaves, I 
would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and 
leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I 
do about Slavery and the coloured race, I do because I 
believe it helps to save the Union ; and what I forbear, 
I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the 
Union." 

At the time he wrote these words Lincoln had already 
decided on a policy of military emancipation in the rebel 
States. He doubtless wrote them with an eye of the 
possible effects of that policy. He wished the Northern 
Democrats and the Unionists of Border States to under- 
stand that his action was based upon considerations of 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 191 

military expediency and in no way upon his personal 
disapproval of Slavery, of which at the same time he made no 
recantation. On the military ground he had a strong case. 
If, as the South maintained, the slave was simply a piece 
of property, then the slave of a rebel was a piece of enemy 
property and enemy property used or usable for purposes 
of war. To confiscate enemy property which may be of 
military use was a practice as old as war itself. The same 
principle which justified the North in destroying a Southern 
cotton crop or tearing up the Southern railways justified 
the emancipation of Negroes within the bounds of the 
Southern Confederacy. In consonance with this principle 
Lincoln issued on September 22nd a proclamation declaring 
slaves free as from January 1, 1863, in such districts as 
the President should on that date specify as being in 
rebellion against the Federal Government. Thus a chance 
was deliberately left open for any State, or part of a State, 
to save its slaves by submission. At the same time 
Lincoln renewed the strenuous efforts which he had 
already made more than once to induce the Slave States 
which remained in the Union to consent voluntarily to 
some scheme of gradual and compensated emancipation. 

One effect of the Emancipation Proclamation upon which 
Lincoln had calculated was the approval of the civilized 
world and especially of England. This was at that moment 
of the more importance because the growing tendency of 
Englishmen to sympathize with the South, which was largely 
the product of Jackson's daring and picturesque exploits, 
had already produced a series of incidents which nearly 
involved the two nations in war. The chief of these was the 
matter of the Alabama. This cruiser was built and fitted up 
in the dockyards of Liverpool by the British firm of Laird. 
She was intended, as the contractors of course knew, for the 
service of the Confederacy, and, when completed, she took 
to the sea under pretext of a trial trip, in spite^of the protests 
of the representative of the American Republic. The order 
to detain her arrived too late, and she reached a Southern 
port, whence she issued to become a terror to the commerce 
of the United States. That the fitting up of such a vessel, 
if carried out with the complicity of the Government, was 
a gross breach of neutrality is unquestionable. That the 



192 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Government of Lord Russell connived at the escape of the 
Alabama, well knowing her purpose and character, though 
generally believed in America at the time, is most unlikely. 
That the truth was known to the authorities at Liverpool, 
where Southern sympathies were especially strong, is on the 
other 'hand almost certain, and these authorities must be 
held mainly responsible for misleading the Government 
and so preventing compliance with the quite proper 
demands of Adams, the American Ambassador. Finally, 
an International Court found that Great Britain had not 
shown " reasonable care " in fulfilling her obligations, and in 
this verdict a fair-minded student of the facts will acquiesce. 
At a later date we paid to the United States a heavy sum as 
compensation for the depredations of the Alabama. 

Meanwhile, neither Antietam nor the Proclamation 
appeared to bring any luck to the Union armies in the field. 
McClellan showed his customary over-caution in allowing 
Lee to escape unhammered ; once more he was superseded, 
and once more his supersession only replaced inaction by 
disaster. Hooker, attempting an invasion of Yirginia, got 
caught in the tangled forest area called " the Wilderness." 
Jackson rode round him, cutting his communications and 
so forcing him to fight, and Lee beat him soundly at 
Chancellorsville. The battle was, however, won at a heavy 
cost to the Confederacy, for towards the end of the day the 
mistake of a picket caused the death by a Southern bullet 
of the most brilliant, if not the greatest, of Southern 
captains. As to what that loss meant we have the testimony 
of his chief and comrade-in-arms. " If I had had Jackson 
with me," said Lee after Gettysburg, " I should have won a 
complete victory." This, however, belongs to a later period. 
Burnside, succeeding Hooker, met at Lee's hands with an 
even more crushing defeat at Fredericksburg. 

And now, as a result of these Southern successes, began 
to become dangerous that factor on which the South had 
counted from the first the increasing weariness and division 
of the North. I have tried in these pages to put fairly the 
case for the defeated side in the Civil War. But one can 
have a reasonable understanding of and even sympathy with 
the South without having any sympathy to waste on those 
who in the North.were called " Copperheads." A Northerner 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 193 

might, indeed, honestly think the Southern cause just and 
coercion of the seceding States immoral. But if so he 
should have been opposed to such coercion from the first. 
The Confederate case Was in no way morally stronger in 1863 
than it had been in 1861. If, therefore, a man had been 
in favour of coercion in 1861 as practically all Northerners 
were his weakening two years later could not point to 
an unwillingness to do injustice, but only to the operation 
of fear or fatigue as deterrents from action believed to be 
just. ^ Moreover, the ordinary " Copperhead " position was 
so plainly in contradiction of known facts that it must be 
pronounced either imbecile or dishonest. If these men had 
urged the acceptance of disunion as an accomplished fact, 
a case might be made out for them. But they generally 
professed the strongest desire to restore the Union, 
accompanied by vehement professions of the belief that this 
could in some fashion be achieved by " negotiation." The 
folly of such a supposition was patent. The Confederacy was 
in arms for the one specific purpose of separating itself from 
the Union, and so far its appeal to arms had been on the 
whole successful. That it would give up the single object 
for which it was fighting for any other reason than military 
defeat was, on the face of it, quite insanely unlikely ; and, 
as might have been expected, the explicit declarations of 
Davis and all the other Confederate leaders were at this 
time uniformly to the effect that peace could be had by the 
recognition of Southern independence and in no other 
fashion. The "Copperheads," however, seem to have 
suffered from that amazing illusion which we have learnt 
in recent times to associate with the Russian Bolsheviks 
and their admirers in other countries the illusion that if 
one side leaves off fighting the other side will immediately 
do the same, though all the objects for which it ever wanted 
to fight are unachieved. They persisted in maintaining that 
in some mysterious fashion the President's " ambition " was 
standing between the country and a peace based on reunion. 
The same folly was put forward by Greeley, perhaps the 
most consistently wrong-headed of American public men : 
in him it was the more absurd since on the one issue, 
other than that of union or separation, which offered any 
possible material for a compromise, that of Slavery, he 



194 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

was professedly against all compromise, and blamed the 
President for attempting any. 

Little as can be said for the " Copperhead " temper, its 
spread in the Northern States during the second year of 
the war was a serious menace to the Union cause. It 
showed itself in the Congressional elections, when the 
Government's majority was saved only by the loyalty of 
the Border Slave States, whose support Lincoln had been 
at pains to conciliate in the face of so much difficulty and 
misunderstanding. It showed itself in the increased activity 
of pacifist agitators, of whom the notorious Vallandingham 
may be taken as a type. 

Lincoln met the danger in two fashions. He met 
the arguments and appeals of the "Copperheads" with 
unanswerable logic and with that lucidity of thought and 
expression of which he was a master. One pronouncement 
of his is worth quoting, and one wishes that it could have 
been reproduced everywhere at the time of the ridiculous 
Stockholm project. " Suppose refugees from the South 
and peace men of the North get together and frame and 
proclaim a compromise embracing a restoration of the 
Union : in what way can that compromise be used to keep 
Lee's army out of Pennsylvania ? Meade's army can keep 
Lee's out of Pennsylvania, and, I think, can ultimately drive 
it out of existence. But no paper compromise, to which the 
controllers of Lee's army are not agreed, can at all affect 
that army." Reasoning could not be more conclusive ; but 
Lincoln did not stop at reasoning. Now was to be shown 
how powerful an instrument of authority the Jacksonian 
revolution had created in the popular elective Presidency. 
Perhaps no single man ever exercised so much direct 
personal power as did Abraham Lincoln during those four 
years of Civil War. The Habeas Corpus Act was suspended 
by executive decree, and those whose action was thought 
a hindrance to military success were arrested in shoals by 
the orders of Stanton, the new energetic War Secretary, a 
Jacksonian Democrat whom Lincoln had put in the place 
of an incompetent Republican, though he had served under 
Buchanan and supported Breckenridge. The constitutional 
justification of these acts was widely challenged, but the 
people in the main supported the Executive. 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 195 

Lincoln, like Jackson, understood the populace and 
knew just how to appeal to them. " Must I shoot a simple- 
minded boy for deserting, and spare the wily agitator whose 
words induce him to desert ? " Yallandingham himself met 
a measure of justice characteristic of the President's humour 
and almost recalling the jurisprudence of Sir W. S. Gilbert's 
Mikado. Originally condemned to detention in a fortress, 
his sentence was commuted by Lincoln to banishment, and 
he was conducted by the President's orders across the army 
lines and dumped on the Confederacy! He did not stay 
there long. The Southerners had doubtless some reason to be 
grateful to him ; but they cannot possibly have liked him. 
With their own Vallandinghams they had an even shorter way. 

The same sort of war-weariness was perhaps a 
contributory cause of an even more serious episode the 
Draft Riots of New York City. Here, however, a special 
and much more legitimate ground of protest was involved. 
The Confederacy had long before imposed Conscription 
upon the youth of the South. It was imperative that the 
North should do the same, and, though the constitutional 
power of the Federal Government to make such a cajl 
was questioned, its moral right to do so seems to me 
unquestionable, for if the common Government has not the 
right in the last resort to call upon all citizens to defend its 
own existence, it is difficult to see what rights it can possess. 
Unfortunately, Congress associated with this just claim a 
provision for which there was plenty of historical precedent 
but no justification in that democratic theory upon which 
the American Commonwealth was built. It provided that 
a man whose name had been drawn could, if he chose, pay 
a substitute to serve in his stead. This was obviously a 
privilege accorded to mere wealth, odious to the morals of 
the Republic and especially odious to the very democratic 
populace of New York. The drawing of the names was 
there interrupted by violence, and for some days the city 
was virtually in the hands of the insurgents. The popular 
anger was complicated by a long-standing racial feud 
between the Irish and the Negroes, and a good many 
lynchings took place. At last order was restored by the 
police, who used to restore it a violence as savage as that 
of the crowd they were suppressing. 



196 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

We must now turn back to the military operations. 
Lee had once more broken through, and was able to choose 
the point where a sortie might most effectually be made. 
He resolved this time to strike directly at the North itself, 
and crossing a strip of Maryland he invaded Pennsylvania, 
his ultimate objective being probably the great bridge over 
the Susquehanna at Harrisburg, the destruction of which 
would seriously hamper communication between North and 
West. At first he met with no opposition, but a Federal 
army under Meade started in pursuit of him and caught 
him up at Gettysburg. In the battle which followed, as at 
Valmy, each side had its back to its own territory. The 
invader, though inferior in numbers, was obliged by the 
conditions of the struggle to take the offensive. The main 
feature of the fighting was the charge and repulse of 
Pickett's Brigade. Both sides stood appalling losses with 
magnificent steadiness. The Union troops maintained 
their ground in spite of all that Southern valour could do 
to dislodge them. It is generally thought that if Meade 
had followed up his success by a vigorous offensive Lee's 
army might have been destroyed. As things were, having 
failed in its purpose of breaking the ring that held the 
Confederacy, it got back into Virginia unbroken and almost 
unpunished. 

Gettysburg is generally considered as the turning-point 
of the war, though perhaps from a purely military point of 
view more significance ought to be attached to another 
success which almost exactly synchronized with it. The same 
4th of July whereon the North learnt of Lee's failure brought 
news of the capture of Vicksburg by Grant. This meant 
that the whole course of the Mississippi was now in Federal 
hands, and made possible an invasion of the Confederacy 
from the West such as ultimately effected its overthrow. 

Lincoln, whose judgment in such matters was exception- 
ally keen for a civilian, had long had his eye on Grant. 
He had noted his successes and his failures, and he had 
noted especially in him the quality which he could not find 
in McClellan or in Meade a boldness of plan, a readiness 
to take risks, and above all a disposition to press a success 
vigorously home even at a heavy sacrifice. " I can't spare 
that man ; he fights," he had said when some clamoured 




SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 197 

: or Grant's recall after Shiloh. For those who warned him 
that Grant was given to heavy drinking he had an even 
more characteristic reply : " I wish I knew what whisky he 
drinks : I would send a cask to some of the other generals." 

Meade's hesitation after Gettysburg and Grant's 
achievement at Vicksburg between them decided him. 
Grant was now appointed to supreme command of all the 
armies of the Union. 

Ulysses S. Grant stands out in history as one of those 
men to whom a uniform seems to be salvation. As a 
young man he had fought with credit in the Mexican war ; 
later he had left the army, and seemingly gone to the 
dogs. He took to drink. He lost all his employments. 
He became to all appearances an incorrigible waster, a 
rolling stone, a man whom his old friends crossed the road 
to avoid because a meeting with him always meant an 
attempt to borrow money. 

Then came the war, and Grant grasped as such 
broken men often do at the chance of a new start. Not 
without hesitation, he was entrusted with a subordinate 
command in the West, and almost at once he justified 
those who had been ready to give him a trial by his 
brilliant share in the capture of Fort Donelson. From 
that moment he was a new man, repeatedly displaying not 
only the soldierly qualities of iron courage and a thorough 
grasp of the practice of fighting, but moral qualities of a 
high order, a splendid tenacity in disaster and hope deferred, 
and in victory a noble magnanimity towards the conquered. 
One wishes that the story could end there. But it must, 
unfortunately, be added that when at last he laid aside 
his sword he seemed to lay aside all that was best in him 
with it, while the weaknesses of character which were so 
conspicuous in Mr. Ulysses Grant, and which seemed so 
completely bled out of General Grant, made many a 
startling and disastrous reappearance in President Grant. 

Grant arrived at Washington and saw the President for 
the first time. The Western campaign he left in the hands 
of two of his ablest lieutenants Sherman, perhaps in 
truth the greatest soldier that appeared on the Northern 
side, and Thomas, a Virginian Unionist who had left his 
State at the call of his country. There was much work for 



198 A HISTORY OP THE UNITED STATES 

them to do, for while the capture of Vicksburg and its 
consequences gave them the Mississippi, the first attempt to 
invade from that side under Rosecrans had suffered defeat 
in the bloody battle of the Chickamauga. Sherman and 
Thomas resolved to reverse this unfavourable decision and 
attacked at the same crucial point. An action lasting four 
days and full of picturesque episodes gave them the victory 
which was the starting-point of all that followed. To that 
action belongs the strange fight of Look Out Mountain 
fought " above the clouds " by men who could not see the 
wide terrain for the mastery of which they were contending, 
and the marvellous charge of the Westerners up Missionary 
Ridge, one of those cases where soldiers, raised above 
themselves and acting without orders, have achieved a feat 
which their commander had dismissed as impossible. To 
the whole action is given the name of the Battle of 
Chattanooga, and its effect was to give Sherman the base he 
needed from which to strike at the heart of the Confederacy. 

Grant in Virginia was less successful. An examination 
of his campaign will leave the impression that, however 
superior he was to previous Northern commanders in 
energy, as a strategist he was no match for Lee. The 
Southern general, with inferior forces, captured the 
initiative and did what he chose with him, caught him in 
the Wilderness as he had previously caught Hooker, and 
kept him there on ground which gave every advantage to the 
Confederate forces, who knew every inch of it, where Grant's 
superiority in numbers could not be brought fully into play, 
and where his even greater superiority in artillery was 
completely neutralized. At the end of a week's hard 
fighting, Grant had gained no advantage, while the Northern 
losses were appalling as great as the total original numbers 
of the enemy that inflicted them. At Spottsylvania, where 
Grant attempted a flanking movement, the same tactics 
were pursued with the same success, while a final attempt 
of the Northern general at a frontal assault ended in a 
costly defeat. 

In the darkest hour of this campaign Grant had told 
the Government at Washington that he would " fight it out 
on that line if it took all the summer." It was, however, on 
another line that the issue was being fought out and 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 199 

decided against the Confederacy. From Chattanooga 
Sherman moved on Atlanta, the capital of Georgia. Joseph 
Johnstone disputed every step of the advance, making it as 
costly as possible, but wisely refused to risk his numerically 
inferior army in a general engagement. He fell back 
slowly, making a stand here and there, till the Northern 
general stood before Atlanta. 

It was at this moment that the leaders of the 
Confederacy would have acted wisely in proposing terms 
of peace. Their armies were still in being, and could even 
boast conspicuous and recent successes. If the war went 
on it would probably be many months before the end came, 
while the North was bitterly weary of the slaughter and 
would not tolerate the refusal of reasonable settlement. 
Yet, if the war went on, the end could no longer be in 
doubt. Had that golden moment been seized, the seceding 
States might have re-entered the Union almost on their 
own terms. Certainly they could have avoided the 
abasement and humiliation which was to come upon them as 
the consequence of continuing their resistance till surrender 
had to be unconditional. Jt might seem at first that 
Emancipation Proclamation had introduced an additional 
obstacle to accommodation. But this was largely neutralized 
by the fact that every one, including Jefferson Davis 
himself, recognized that Slavery had been effectively destroyed 
by the war and could never be revived, even were the South 
victorious. The acceptance by the Confederacy of a policy 
suggested by Lee, whereby Negroes were to be enlisted as 
soldiers and freed on enlistment, clinched this finally. On 
the other hand, Lincoln let it be clearly understood that if 
the Union could be restored by consent he was prepared to 
advocate the compensation of Southern owners for the loss 
of their slaves. The blame for the failure to take advantage 
of this moment must rest mainly on Davis. It was he who 
refused to listen to any terms save the recognition of 
Southern independence; and this attitude doomed the 
tentative negotiations entered into at Hampton Roads to 
failure. 

Meanwhile, in the North, Lincoln was chosen President 
for a second term. At one time his chances had looked 
gloomy enough. The Democratic Party had astutely chosen 



200 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

General McClellan as its candidate, His personal popularity 
with the troops, and the suggestion that he was an honest 
soldier ill-used by civilian politicians, might well gain him 
much support in the armies, for whose voting special 
provision had been made, while among the civil population 
tie might expect the support of all who, for one reason or 
another, were discontented with the Government. At the 
same time the extreme An ti- Slavery wing of the Republican 
Party, alienated by the diplomacy of the President in 
dealing with the Border States, and by the moderation of 
his views concerning the Negro and his future, put forward 
another displaced general, Fremont. But in the end 
circumstances and the confidence which his statesmanship 
had created combined to give Lincoln something like a 
walk-over. The Democratic Party got into the hands of 
the "Copperheads" at the very moment when facts were 
giving the lie to the " Copperhead " thesis. Its platform 
described the course of the war as " four years of failure," 
and its issue as hopeless, while before the voting began 
even a layman could see that the Confederacy was, from 
the military point of view, on its last legs. The Wai- 
Democrats joined hands with the Republicans, and the 
alliance was sealed by the selection of Andrew Johnson, a 
Jacksonian Democrat from Tennessee, as candidate for the 
Vice-Presidency. The Radical Republicans began to discover 
how strong a hold Lincoln had gained on the public mind 
in the North, and to see that by pressing their candidate 
they would only expose the weakness of their faction. 
Fremont was withdrawn and McClellan easily defeated. A 
curious error has been instantly repeated in print in this 
country to the effect that Lincoln was saved only by the 
votes of the army. There is no shadow of foundation for 
this statement. The proportion of his supporters among 
the soldiers was not much greater than among the civil 
population. But in both it was overwhelming. 

Meanwhile Atlanta had fallen, and Davis had unwisely 
relieved Johnstone of his command. It was now that 
Sherman determined on the bold scheme which mainly 
secured the ultimate victory of the North. Cutting himself 
loose from his base and abandoning all means of communi- 
cation with the North, he advanced into the country of the 



SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR 201 

enemy, living on it and laying it waste as he passed. For 
a month his Government had no news of him. Ultimately 
he reached the sea at Savannah, and was able to tell his 
supporters that he had made a desert in the rear of 
the main Confederate armies. Thence he turned again, 
traversed South Carolina, and appeared, so to speak, on the 
Hank of the main Confederate forces which were holding 
Grant. 

The ethics of Sherman's famous March to the Sea have 
been much debated. He was certainly justified by the 
laws of war in destroying the military resources of the 
Confederacy, and it does not seem that more than this 
was anywhere done by his orders. There was a good deal 
of promiscuous looting by his troops, and still more by 
camp followers and by the Negroes who, somewhat to his 
annoyance, attached themselves to his columns. The march 
through South Carolina was the episode marked by the 
harshest conduct, for officers and men had not forgotten 
Sumter, and regarded the devastation of that State as a 
just measure of patriotic vengeance on the only begetter 
of the rebellion; but the burning of Columbus seems to 
have been an accident, for which at least Sherman himself 
was not responsible. It is fair to him to add that in the 
very few cases less than half a dozen in all where a 
charge of rape or murder can be brought home, the offender 
was punished with death. 

As a military stroke the March to the Sea was decisive. 
One sees its consequences at once in the events of the 
Virginian campaign. Lee had suffered no military defeat ; 
indeed, the balance of military success, so far as concerned 
the army directly opposed to him, was in his favour. 
Sheridan's campaign in the Shenandoah Valley had delighted 
the North as much as Jackson's earlier exploits in the same 
region had delighted the South ; but its direct military 
effect was not great. From the moment, however, of 
Sherman's successful completion of his march, the problem 
of the Southern general becomes wholly different. It is 
no longer whether he can defeat the enemy, but whether 
he can save his army. He determined to abandon Richmond, 
and effect, if possible, a union with Johnstone, who was 
again watching and checking Sherman, 



202 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Did space permit, it would be a noble task to chronicle 
the last wonderful fight of the Lion of the South ; how, 
with an exhausted and continually diminishing army, he 
still proved how much he was to be feared ; how he turned 
on Sheridan and beat him, checked Grant and broke away 
again only to find his path barred by another Union army. 

At Appomatox Court House the end came. The lion 
was trapped and caught at last. There was nothing for 
it but to make the best terms he could for his men. The 
two generals met. Both rose to the nobility of the occasion. 
Lee had never been anything but great, and Grant was 
never so great again. The terms accorded to the vanquished 
were generous and honourable to the utmost limit of the 
victor's authority. " This will have the happiest effect on 
my people," said Lee, in shaking hands with his conqueror. 
They talked a little of old times at West Point, where they 
had studied together, and parted. Lee rode away to his 
men and addressed them : " We have fought through this 
war together. I did my best for you." With these few 
words, worth the whole two volumes of Jefferson Davis's 
rather tiresome apologetics, one of the purest, bravest, and 
most chivalrous figures among those who have followed the 
noble profession of arms rides out of history. 



CHAPTER X 



THE surrender of Lee and his army was not actually the 
end of the war. The army of General Johnstone and some 
smaller Confederate forces were still in being ; but their 
suppression seemed clearly only a matter of time, and 
all men's eyes were already turned to the problem of 
reconstruction, and on no man did the urgency of that 
problem press more ominously than on the President. 

Slavery was dead. This was already admitted in the 
South as well as in the North. Had the Confederacy, by 
some miracle, achieved its independence during the last 
year of the war, it is extremely unlikely that Slavery would 
have endured within its borders. This was the publicly 
expressed opinion of Jefferson Davis even before the adoption 
of Lee's policy of recruiting slaves and liberating them on 
enlistment had completed the work which the Emancipation 
Proclamation of Lincoln had begun. Before the war was over, 
Missouri, where the Slavery problem was a comparatively 
small affair, and Maryland, which had always had a good 
record for humanity and justice in the treatment of its slave 
population, had declared themselves Free States. The new 
Governments organized under Lincoln's superintendence 
in the conquered parts of the Confederacy had followed 
suit. It was a comparatively easy matter to carry the 
celebrated Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution 
declaring Slavery illegal throughout the Union. 

But, as no one knew better than the President, the 
abolition of Slavery was a very different thing from the 
solution of the Negro problem. Six years before his election 
he had used of the problem of Slavery in the South these 

203 



204 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

remarkable words : "I surely will not blame them (the 
Southerners) for not doing what I should not know how 
to do myself. If all earthly power was given I should not 
know what to do as to the existing institution." The words 
now came back upon him with an awful weight which he 
fully appreciated. All earthly power was given direct 
personal power to a degree perhaps unparalleled in history 
and he had to find out what to do. 

His own belief appears always to have been that the 
only permanent solution of the problem was Jefferson's. 
He did not believe that black and white races would 
permanently live side by side on a footing of equality, and 
he loathed with all the loathing of a Kentuckian the thought 
of racial amalgamation. In his proposal to the Border 
States he had suggested repatriation in Africa, and he now 
began to develop a similar project on a larger scale. 

But the urgent problem of the reconstruction of the 
Union could not wait for the completion of so immense a 
task. The seceding States must be got into their proper 
relation with the Federal Government as quickly as possible, 
and Lincoln had clear ideas as to how this should be done. 
The reconstructed Government of Louisiana which he 
organized was a working model of what he proposed to 
do throughout the South. All citizens of the State who 
were prepared to take the oath of allegiance to the Federal 
Government] were to be invited to elect a convention and 
frame a constitution. They were required to annul the 
ordinanceslof Secession,]to|ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, 
and to repudiate the Confederate Debt. The Executive 
would then recognize the State as already restored to its 
proper place within the Union, with the full rights of 
internal self-government which the Constitution guaranteed. 
The freedmen were of course not citizens, and could, 
as such, take no part in these proceedings ; but Lincoln 
recommended, without attempting to dictate, that the 
franchise should be extended to " the very intelligent and 
those who have fought for us during the war." 

Such was Lincoln's policy of reconstruction. He was 
anxious to get as much as possible of that policy in working 
order before Congress should meet. His foresight was 
justified, for as soon as Congress met the policy was 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 205 

challenged by the Radical wing of the Republican Party, 
whose spokesman was Senator Sumner of Massachusetts. 

Charles Sumner has already been mentioned in these 
pages. The time has come when something like a portrait 
of him must be attempted. He was of a type which exists 
in all countries, but for which America has found the exact 
and irreplaceable name. He was a "high-brow." The 
phrase hardly needs explanation ; it corresponds somewhat 
to what the French mean by intellectual, but with an 
additional touch of moral priggishness which exactly suits 
Sumner. It does not, of course, imply that a man can think. 
Sumner was conspicuous even among politicians for his 
ineptitude in this respect. But it implies a pose of 
superiority both as regards culture and as regards what 
a man of that kind calls " idealism " which makes such an 
one peculiarly offensive to his fellow-men. " The Senator 
so conducts himself," said Fessenden, a Republican, and 
to a great extent an ally, "that he has no friends." He 
had a peculiar command of the language of insult and 
vituperation that was all the more infuriating because 
obviously the product not of sudden temper, but of careful 
and scholarly preparation. In all matters requiring 
practical action he was handicapped by an incapacity for 
understanding men; in matters requiring mental lucidity 
by an incapacity for following a line of consecutive 
thought. 

The thesis of which Sumner appeared as the champion 
was about as silly as ever a thesis could be. It was that 
the United States were bound by the doctrine set out in 
the Declaration of Independence to extend the Franchise 
indiscriminately to the Negroes. 

Had Sumner had any sense it might have occurred to 
him that the author of the Declaration of Independence 
might be presumed to have some knowledge of its meaning 
and content. Did Thomas Jefferson think that his doctrines 
involved Negro Suffrage ? So far from desiring that Negroes 
should vote with white men, he did not believe that they 
could even live in the same free community. Yet since 
Sumner 's absurd fallacy has a certain historical importance 
through the influence it exerted on Northern opinion, it 
may be well to point out where it lay. 



206 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

The Declaration of Independence lays down three 
general principles fundamental to Democracy. One is 
that all men are equal in respect of their natural rights. 
The second is that the safeguarding of men's natural rights 
is the object of government. The third that the basis 
of government is contractual its "just powers" being 
derived from the consent of the governed to an implied 
contract. 

The application of the first of these principles to the 
Negro is plain enough. Whatever else he was, the Negro 
was a man, and, as such, had an equal title with other men 
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But neither 
Jefferson nor any other sane thinker ever included the 
electoral suffrage among the natural rights of men. Voting 
is part of the machinery of government in particular 
States. It is, in such communities, an acquired right 
depending according to the philosophy of the Declaration 
of Independence on an implied contract. 

Now if such a contract did really underlie American, as 
all human society, nothing can be more certain than that 
the Negro had neither part nor lot in it. When Douglas 
pretended that the black race was not included in the 
expression " all men " he was talking sophistry, but when 
he said that the American Republic had been made "by 
white men for white men 5 ' he was stating, as Lincoln 
readily acknowledged, an indisputable historical fact. The 
Negro was a man and had the natural rights of a man; 
but he could have no claim to the special privileges of an 
American citizen because he was not and never had been 
an American citizen. He had not come to America as a 
citizen ; no one would ever have dreamed of bringing him 
or even admitting him if it had been supposed that he was 
to be a citizen. He was brought and admitted as a slave. 
The fact that the servile relationship was condemned by 
the democratic creed could not make the actual relationship 
of the two races something wholly other than what it 
plainly was. A parallel might be found in the case of a 
man who, having entered into an intrigue with a woman, 
wholly animal and mercenary in its character, comes under 
the influence of a philosophy which condemns such a 
connection as sinful. He is bound to put an end to the 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 207 

connection. He is bound to act justly and humanely 
towards the woman. But no sane moralist would maintain 
that he was bound to marry the woman that is, to treat 
the illicit relationship as if it were a wholly different lawful 
relationship such as it was never intended to be and never 
could have been. 

Such was the plain sense and logic of the situation. 
To drive such sense into Sumner's lofty but wooden head 
would have been an impossible enterprise, but the mass of 
Northerners could almost certainly have been persuaded to 
a rational policy if a sudden and tragic catastrophe had 
not altered at a critical moment the whole complexion of 
public affairs. 

Lincoln made his last public speech on April 11, 1865, 
mainly in defence of his Reconstruction policy as exemplified 
in the test case of Louisiana. On the following Good Friday 
he summoned his last Cabinet, at which his ideas on the 
subject were still further developed. That Cabinet meeting 
has an additional interest as presenting us with one of the 
best authenticated of those curious happenings which we may 
attribute to coincidence or to something deeper, according 
to our predilections. It is authenticated by the amplest 
testimony that Lincoln told his Cabinet that he expected 
that that day would bring some important piece of public 
news he thought it might be the surrender of Johnstone 
and the last of the Confederate armies and that he gave 
as a reason the fact that he had had a certain dream, which 
had come to him on the night before Gettysburg and on 
the eve of almost every other decisive event in the history 
of the war. Certain it is that Johnstone did not surrender 
that day, but before midnight an event of far graver and 
more fatal purport had changed the destiny of the nation. 
Abraham Lincoln was dead. 

A conspiracy against his life and that of the Northern 
leaders had been formed by a group of exasperated and 
fanatical Southerners who met at the house of a Mrs. 
Suratt in the neighbourhood of Washington. One of the 
conspirators was to kill Seward, who was confined to his 
bed by illness, but on whom an unsuccessful attempt was 
made. Another, it is believed, was instructed to remove 
Grant, but the general unexpectedly left Washington, and 



208 A HISTORY OP THE UNITED STATES 

no direct threat was offered to him. The task of making 
away with the President was assigned to John Wilkes 
Booth, a dissolute and crack-brained actor. Lincoln and 
his wife were present that night at a gala performance of 
a popular English comedy called " Our American Cousin." 
Booth obtained access to the Presidential box and shot his 
victim behind the ear, causing instant loss of consciousness, 
which was followed within a few hours by death. Tho 
assassin leapt from the box on to the stage shouting: 
"Sic semper Tyrannis!" and, though he broke his leg 
in the process, succeeded, presumably by the aid of a 
confederate among the theatre officials, in getting away. 
He was later hunted down, took refuge in a bar, which was 
set on fire, and was shot in attempting to escape. 

The murder of Lincoln was the work of a handful of 
crazy fools. Already the South, in spite of its natural 
prejudices, was beginning to understand that he was its 
best friend. Yet on the South the retribution was to fall. 
It is curious to recall the words which Lincoln himself had 
used in repudiating on behalf of the Republican Party the 
folly of old John Brown, words which are curiously apposite 
to his own fate and its consequences. 

"That affair, in its philosophy," he had said, "corresponds 
to the many attempts related in history at the assassination 
of kings and emperors. An enthusiast broods over the 
oppression of a people till he fancies himself commissioned 
by Heaven to liberate them. He ventures the attempt, 
which ends in little else than his own execution. Orsini's 
attempt on Louis Napoleon and John Brown's attempt 
at Harper's Ferry were, in their philosophy, precisely 
the same. The eagerness to cast blame on Old England 
in the one case and on New England in the other does not 
disprove the sameness of the two things." It may be 
added that the " philosophy " of Booth was also " precisely 
the same" as that of Orsini and Brown, and that the 
"eagerness to cast blame" on the conquered South was 
equally unjustifiable and equally inevitable. 

The anger of the North was terrible, and was intensified 
by the recollection of the late President's pleas for lenity 
and a forgetfulness of the past. " This is their reply to 
magnanimity ! " was the almost universal cry. The wild 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 209 

idea that the responsible heads of the Confederacy were 
privy to the deed found a wide credence which would have 
been impossible in cooler blood. The justifiable but 
unrestrained indignation which Booth's crime provoked 
must be counted as the first of the factors which made 
possible the tragic blunders of the Reconstruction. 

Another factor was the personality of the new President. 
Andrew Johnson occupied a position in some ways analogous 
to that of Tyler a generation earlier. He had been chosen 
Vice- President as a concession to the War Democrats and 
to the Unionists of the Border States whose support had 
been thought necessary to defeat McClellan. With the 
Northern Republicans who now composed the great majority 
of Congress he had no political affinity whatever. Yet at 
the beginning of his term of office he was more popular 
with the Radicals than Lincoln had ever been. He seemed 
to share to the full the violence of the popular mood. His 
declaration that as murder was a crime, so treason was a 
crime, and "must be made odious," was welcomed with 
enthusiasm by the very men who afterwards impeached 
him. Nor, when we blame these men for trafficking with 
perjurers and digging up tainted and worthless evidence 
for the purpose of sustaining against him the preposterous 
charge of complicity in the murder of his predecessor, 
must we forget that he himself, without any evidence at 
all, had under his own hand and seal brought the same 
monstrous accusation against Jefferson Davis. Davis, when 
apprehended, met the affront with a cutting reply. " There 
is one man at least who knows this accusation to be false 
the man who makes it. Whatever else Andrew Johnson 
knows, he knows that I preferred Mr. Lincoln to him." 

It was true. Between Johnson and the chiefs of the 
Confederacy there was a bitterness greater than could be 
found in the heart of any Northerner. To him they were 
the seducers who had caught his beloved South in a net of 
disloyalty and disaster. To them he was a traitor who had 
sold himself to the Yankee oppressor. A social quarrel 
intensified the political one. Johnson, who had been a 
tailor by trade, was the one political representative of the 
"poor whites" of the South. He knew that the great 
slave-owning squires despised him, and he hated them in 



210 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

return. It was only when the issues cut deeper that it 
became apparent that, while he would gladly have hanged 
Jeff Davis and all his Cabinet on a sufficient number of sour 
apple trees (and perhaps he was the one man in the United 
States who really wanted to do so), he was none the less a 
Southerner to the backbone ; it was only when the Negro 
question was raised that the Northern men began to realize, 
what any Southerner or man acquainted with the South 
could have told them, that the attitude of the " poor white " 
towards the Negro was a thousand times more hostile than 
that of the slave-owner. 

Unfortunately, by the same token, the new President 
had not, as Lincoln would have had, the ear of the North. 

Had Lincoln lived he would have approached the task 
of persuading the North to support his policy with manjb 
advantages which his successor necessarily lacked. He 
would have had the full prestige of the undoubted Elect 
of the People so important to an American President, 
especially in a conflict with Congress. He would have had 
the added prestige of the ruler under whose administration 
the Rebellion had been crushed and the Union successfully 
restored. But he would also have had an instinctive 
understanding of the temper of the Northern masses and a 
thorough knowledge of the gradations of opinion and temper 
among the Northern politicians. 

Johnson had none of these qualifications, while his faults 
of temper were a serious hindrance to the success of his 
policy. He was perhaps the purest lover of his country 
among all the survivors of Lincoln : the fact that told so 
heavily against his success, that he had no party, that he 
broke with one political connection in opposing Secession 
and with another in opposing Congressional Reconstruction, 
is itself a sign of the integrity and consistency of his 
patriotism. Also he was on the right side. History, seeing 
how cruelly he was maligned and how abominably he was 
treated, owes him these acknowledgments. But he was not 
a prudent or a tactful man. Too much importance need 
not be attached to the charge of intemperate drinking, which 
is probably true but not particularly serious. If Johnson 
had got drunk every night of his life he would only 
have done what some of the greatest and most successful 






"THE BLACK TERROR" 211 

statesmen in history had done before him. But there was 
an intemperance of character about the man which was more 
disastrous in its consequences than a few superfluous 
whiskies could have been. He was easily drawn into 
acrimonious personal disputes, and when under their 
influence would push a quarrel to all lengths with men 
with whom it was most important in the public interest 
that he should work harmoniously. 

For the extremists, of whom Sumner was a type, were 
still a minority even among the Republican politicians ; nor 
was Northern opinion, even after the murder of Lincoln, 
yet prepared to support their policy. There did, however, 
exist in the minds of quite fair-minded Northerners, in and 
out of Congress, certain not entirely unreasonable doubts, 
which it should have been the President's task as it would 
certainly have been Lincoln's to remove by reason and 
persuasion. He seems to have failed to see that he had 
to do this ; and certainly he altogether failed to do it. 

The fears of such men were twofold. They feared that 
the " rebel " States, if restored immediately to freedom of 
action and to the full enjoyment of their old privileges, 
would use these advantages for the purpose of preparing 
a new secession at some more favourable opportunity. And 
they feared that the emancipated Negro would not be safe 
under a Government which his old masters controlled. 

It may safely be said that both fears were groundless, 
though they were both fears which a reasonable man quite 
intelligibly entertains. Naturally, the South was sore ; no 
community likes having to admit defeat. Also, no doubt, 
the majority of Southerners would have refused to admit 
that they were in the wrong in the contest which was now 
closed; indeed, it was by pressing this peculiarly tactless 
question that Sumner and his friends procured most of 
their evidence of the persistence of " disloyalty " in the 
South. On the other hand, two facts already enforced 
in these pages have to be remembered. The first is that 
the Confederacy was not in the full sense a nation. Its 
defenders felt their defeat as men feel the downfall of a 
political cause to which they are attached, not quite as 
men feel the conquest of their country by foreigners. The 
second is that from the first there had been many who, 



212 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

while admitting the right of secession and therefore, by 
implication, the justice of the Southern cause had yet 
doubted its expediency. It is surely not unnatural to 
suppose that the disastrous issue of the experiment had 
brought a great many round to this point of view. No 
doubt there was still a residue perhaps a large residue 
of quite impenitent " rebels " who were prepared to renew 
the battle if they saw a good chance, but the conditions 
under which the new Southern Governments had come 
into existence offered sufficient security against such men 
controlling them. Irreconcilables of that type would not 
have taken the oath of allegiance, would not have repealed 
the Ordinances of Secession or repudiated the Confederate 
Debt, and, if they had no great objection to abolishing 
Slavery, would probably have made it a point of honour 
not to do it at Northern dictation. What those who were 
now asking for re-admission to their ancient rights in 
the Union had already done or were prepared to do was 
sufficient evidence that moderation and an'accessible temper 
were predominant in their counsels. 

The other fear was even more groundless. There might 
in the South be a certain bitterness against the Northerner ; 
there was none at all against the Negro. Why should there 
be ? During the late troubles the Negro had deserved very 
well of the South. At a time when practically every active 
male of the white population was in the fighting line, when 
a slave insurrection might have brought ruin and disaster 
on every Southern home, not a slave had risen. The great 
majority of the race had gone on working faithfully, though 
the ordinary means of coercion were almost necessarily in 
abeyance. Even when the Northern armies came among 
them, proclaiming their emancipation, many of them 
continued to perform their ordinary duties and to protect 
the property and secrets of their masters. Years afterwards 
the late Dr. Booker Washington could boast that there was 
no known case of one of his race betraying a trust. All 
this was publicly acknowledged by leading Southerners and 
one-time supporters of Slavery like Alexander Stephens, 
who pressed the claims of the Negro to fair and even 

fenerous treatment at the hands of the Southern whites, 
b is certain that these in the main meant well of the black 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 213 

race. It is equally certain that, difficult as the problem 
was, they were more capable of dealing with it than were 
alien theorizers from the North, who had hardly seen a 
Negro save, perhaps, as a waiter at an hotel. 

It is a notable fact that the soldiers who conquered the 
South were at this time practically unanimous in support 
of a policy of reconciliation and confidence. Sherman, to 
whom Johnstone surrendered a few days after Lincoln's 
death, wished to offer terms for the surrender of all the 
Southern forces which would have guaranteed to the seceding 
States the full restoration of internal self-government. 
Grant sent to the President a reassuring report as to 
the temper of the South which Sumner compared to the 
" whitewashing message of Franklin Pierce " in regard to 
Kansas. 

Yet it would be absurd to deny that the cleavage between 
North and^ South, inevitable after a prolonged Civil War, 
required time to heal. One event might indeed have 
ended it almost at once, and that event almost occurred. 
A foreign menace threatening something valued by both 
sections would have done more than a dozen Acts of 
Congress or Amendments to the Constitution. There were 
many to whom this had always appeared the most hopeful 
remedy for the sectionable trouble. Among them was 
Seward, who, having been Lincoln's Secretary of State, 
now held the same post under Johnson. While secession 
was still little more than a threat he had proposed to 
Lincoln the deliberate fomentation of a dispute with some 
foreign power he did not appear to mind which. It 
is thought by some that, after the war, he took up and 
pressed the Alabama claims with the same notion. That 
quarrel, however, would hardly have met the case. The 
ex-Confederates could not be expected to throw themselves 
with enthusiasm into a war with England to punish her 
for providing them with a navy. It was otherwise with 
the trouble which had been brewing in Mexico. 

Napoleon III. had taken advantage of the Civil War to 
violate in a very specific fashion the essential principle of 
the Monroe Doctrine. He had interfered in one of the 
innumerable Mexican revolutions and taken advantage of 
it to place on the throne an emperor of his own choice, 



214 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Maximilian, a cadet of the Hapsburg family, and to support 
his nominee by French bayonets. Here was a challenge 
which the South was even more interested in taking up 
than the North, and, if it had been persisted in, it is 
quite thinkable that an army under the joint leadership of 
Grant and Lee and made up of those who had learnt to 
respect each other on a hundred fields from Bull Eun to 
Spottsylvania might have erased all bitter memories by 
a common campaign on behalf of the liberties of the 
continent. But Louis Napoleon was no fool ; and in this 
matter he acted perhaps with more regard to prudence 
than to honour. He withdrew the French troops, leaving 
Maximilian to his fate, which he promptly met at the 
hands of his own subjects. 

The sectional quarrel remained unappeased, and 
the quarrel between the President and Congress began. 
Congress was not yet Eadical, but it was already 
decidedly, though still respectfully, opposed to Johnson's 
policy. While only a few of its members had yet made 
up their minds as to what ought to be done about 
Eeconstruction, the great majority had a strong professional 
bias which made them feel that the doing or not doing 
of it should be in their hands and not in those of the 
Executive. It was by taking advantage of this prevailing 
sentiment that the Eadicals, though still a minority, 
contrived to get the leadership more and more into their 
own hands. 

Of the Eadicals Sumner was the spokesman most 
conspicuous in the public eye. But not from him came 
either the driving force or the direction which ultimately 
gave them the control of national policy. 

Left to himself, Surnner could never have imposed the 
iron oppression from which it took the South a life-and- 
death wrestle of ten years to shake itself free. At the 
worst he would have been capable of imposing a few paper 
pedantries, such as his foolish Civil Eights Bill, which 
would have been torn up before their ink was dry. The 
will and intelligence which dictated the Eeconstruction 
belonged to a very different man, a man entitled to a 
place not with puzzle-headed pedants or coat-turning 
professionals but with the great tyrants of history. 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 215 

Thaddeus Stevens of Pennsylvania was in almost 
every respect the opposite of his ally, Charles Sumner 
of Massachusetts. Sumner, empty of most things, was 
especially empty of humour. Stevens had abundance of 
humour of a somewhat fierce but very real kind. Some of 
his caustic strokes are as good as anything recorded of 
Talleyrand : notably his reply to an apologist of Johnson 
who urged in the President's defence that he was "a 
selfmade man." "I am delighted to hear it," said Stevens 
grimly ; " it relieves the Creator of a terrible responsibility." 
"With this rather savage wit went courage which could face 
the most enormous of tests ; like Rabelais, like Danton, he 
could jest with death when death was touching him on the 
shoulder. In public life he was not so much careless of 
what he considered conventions as defiantly happy in 
challenging them. It gave him keen delight to outrage at 
once the racial sentiments of the South and the Puritanism of 
the North by compelling the politicians whom he dominated 
and despised to pay public court to his mulatto mistress. 

The inspiring motive of this man was hatred of the 
South. It seems probable that this sentiment had its origin 
in a genuine and honourable detestation of Slavery. 

As a practising lawyer in Pennsylvania he had at 
an earlier period taken a prominent part in defending 
fugitive slaves. But by the time that he stood forward as 
the chief opponent of the Presidential policy of conciliation, 
Slavery had ceased to exist; yet his passion against the 
former slave-owners seemed rather to increase than to 
diminish. I [think it certain, though I cannot produce 
here all the evidence that appears to me to support such 
a conclusion, that it was the negative rather than the 
positive aspect of his policy that attracted him most. 
Sumner might dream of the wondrous future in store for 
the Negro race of whose qualities and needs he knew 
literally nothing under Bostonian tutelage. But I am 
sure that for Stevens the vision dearest to his heart was 
rather that of the proud Southern aristocracy compelled 
to plead for mercy on its knees at the tribunal of its 
hereditary bondsmen. 

Stevens was a great party leader. Not such a leader 
as Jefferson or Jackson had been : a man who sums up and 



216 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

expresses the will of masses of men. Nor yet such a 
leader as later times have accustomed us to ; a man who 
by bribery or intrigue induces his fellow-professionals to 
support him. He was one of those who rule by personal 
dominance. His courage has already been remarked ; 
and he knew how much fearlessness can achieve in a 
profession where most men are peculiarly cowardly. It 
was he who forced the issue between the President and 
Congress and obtained at a stroke a sort of captaincy in the 
struggle by moving in the House of Representatives that the 
consideration of Reconstruction by Congress would precede 
any consideration of the President's message asking for the 
admission of the representatives of the reorganized States. 

By a combination of forceful bullying and skilful 
strategy Stevens compelled the House of Representatives 
to accept his leadership in this matter, but the action of 
Congress on other questions during these early months of 
the contest shows how far it still was from accepting his 
policy. The plan of Reconstruction which the majority 
now favoured is to be found outlined in the Fourteenth 
Constitutional Amendment which, at about this time, it 
recommended for adoption by the States. 

The provisions of this amendment were threefold. 
One, for which a precedent had been afforded by the 
President's own action, declared that the public debt 
incurred by the Federal Government should never be 
repudiated, and also that no State should pay or accept 
responsibility for any debt incurred for the purpose of 
waging war against the Federation. Another, probably 
unwise from the point of view of far-sighted statesmanship 
but more or less in line with the President's policy, provided 
for the exclusion from office of all who, having sworn 
allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, had 
given aid to a rebellion against its Government. The third, 
which was really the crucial one, provided a settlement 
of the franchise question which cannot be regarded as 
extreme or unreasonable. It will be remembered that 
the original Constitutional Compromise had provided for 
the inclusion, in calculating the representation of a State, 
of all "free persons" and of three-fifths of the "other 
persons " that is, of the slaves. By freeing the slaves 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 217 

the representation to which the South was entitled was 
automatically increased by the odd two-fifths of their 
number, and this seemed to Northerners unreasonable, 
unless the freedmen were at the same time enfranchised. 
Congress decided to recommend that the representation of 
the South should be greater or less according to the extent 
to which the Negro population were admitted to the franchise 
or excluded from it. This clause was re-cast more than 
once in order to satisfy a fantastic scruple of Sumner's 
concerning the indecency of mentioning the fact that some 
people were black and others white, a scruple which he 
continued to enforce with his customary appeals to the 
Declaration of Independence, until even his ally Stevens lost 
all patience with him. But in itself it was not, perhaps, 
a bad solution of the difficulty. Had it been allowed to 
stand and work without further interference it is quite 
likely that many Southern States would have been induced 
by the prospect of larger representation to admit hi course 
of time such Negroes as seemed capable of understanding 
the meaning of citizenship in the European sense. Such, 
at any rate, was the opinion of General Lee, as expressed 
in his evidence before the Reconstruction Committee. 

The South was hostile to the proposed settlement 
mainly on account of the second provision. It resented the 
proposed exclusion of its leaders. The sentiment was an 
honourable and chivalrous one, and was well expressed by 
Georgia in her protest against the detention of Jefferson 
Davis : " If he is guilty so are 'we." But the rejection of 
the Amendment by the Southern States had a bad effect in 
the North. It may be convenient here to remark that 
Davis was never tried. He was brought up and .admitted 
to bail (which the incalculable Greeley found for him), 
and the case against him was not further pressed. In 
comparison with almost every other Government that has 
crushed an insurrection, the Government ^ of the United 
States deserves high credit for its magnanimity in dealing 
with the leaders of the Secession. Yet the course actually 
pursued, more in ignorance than in malice so far as the 
majority were concerned, probably caused more suffering 
and bitterness among the vanquished than a hundred 
executions. 



218 A HISTOEY OF THE UNITED STATES 

For the Kadicals were more and more gaining control of 
Congress, now openly at war with the Executive. The 
President had been using his veto freely, and, as many 
even of his own supporters thought, imprudently. The 
Republicans were eager to obtain the two-thirds majority 
in both Houses necessary to carry measures over his veto, 
and to get it even the meticulous Sumner was ready to stoop 
to some pretty discreditable manoeuvres. The President 
had taken the field against Congress and made some 
rather violent stump speeches, which were generally 
thought unworthy of the dignity of the Chief Magistracy. 
Meanwhile alleged " Southern outrages " against Negroes 
were vigorously exploited by the Radicals, whose 
propaganda was helped by a racial riot in New Orleans, 
the responsibility for which it is not easy to determine, but 
the victims of which were mostly persons of colour. The 
net result was that the new Congress, elected in 1866, not 
only gave the necessary two- thirds majority, but was more 
Radical in its complexion and more strictly controlled by 
the Republican machine than the old had been. 

The effect was soon apparent. A Reconstruction Bill 
was passed by the House and sent up to the Senate. It 
provided for the military government of the conquered 
States until they should be reorganized, but was silent 
in regard to the conditions of their re-admission. The 
Republican caucus met to consider amendments, and 
Sumner moved that in , the new Constitutions there should 
be no exclusion from voting on account of colour. This was 
carried against the strong protest of John Sherman, the 
brother of the general and a distinguished Republican 
Senator. But when the Senate met, even he submitted to 
the decision of the caucus, and the Amendment Bill was 
carried by the normal Republican majority. Johnson vetoed 
it, and it was carried by both Houses over his veto. The 
Radicals had now achieved their main object. Congress 
was committed to indiscriminate Negro Suffrage, and the 
President against it ; the controversy was narrowed down 
to that issue. From that moment they had the game in 
their hands. 

The impeachment of Johnson may be regarded as an 
interlude. The main mover in the matter was Stevens. 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 219 

The main instrument Ben Butler a man disgraced alike 
in war and peace, the vilest figure in the politics of that 
time. It was he who, when in command at New Orleans 
(after braver men had captured it), issued the infamous order 
which virtually threatened Southern women who showed 
disrespect for the Federal uniform with rape an order 
which, to the honour of the Northern soldiers, was never 
carried out. He was recalled from his command, but 
his great political " influence " saved him from the public 
disgrace which should have been his portion. Perhaps 
no man, however high his character, can mix long in the 
business of politics and keep his hands quite clean. The 
leniency with which Butler was treated on this occasion 
must always remain an almost solitary stain upon the 
memory of Abraham Lincoln. On the memory of Benjamin 
Butler stains hardly show. At a later stage of the war 
Butler showed such abject cowardice that Grant begged 
that if his political importance required that he should have 
some military command he should be placed somewhere 
where there was no fighting. This time Butler saved 
himself by blackmailing his commanding officer. At the 
conclusion of peace the man went back to politics, a trade 
for which his temperament was better fitted ; and it was he 
who was chosen as the chief impugner of the conduct and 
honour of Andrew Johnson ! 

The immediate cause of the Impeachment was the 
dismissal of Stanton, which Congress considered, wrongly 
as it would appear, a violation of an Act which, after the 
quarrel became an open one, they had framed for the 
express purpose of limiting his prerogative in this direction. 
In his quarrel with Stanton the President seems to have 
had a good case, but he was probably unwise to pursue 
it, and certainly unwise to allow it to involve him in 
a public quarrel with Grant, the one man whose prestige 
in the North might have saved the President's policy. 
The quarrel threw Grant, who was already ambitious 
of the Presidency, into the hands of the Republicans, 
and from that moment he ceased to count as a factor 
making for peace and conciliation. 

Johnson was acquitted, two or three honest Republican 
Senators declaring in his favour, and so depriving the 




220 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

prosecution of the two-thirds majority. Each Senator gave 
a separate opinion in writing. These documents are of 
great historical interest ; Sumner's especially which is of 
inordinate length and intensely characteristic should be 
studied by anyone who thinks that in these pages I have 
given an unfair idea of his character. 

In the meantime far more important work was being 
done in the establishment of Negro rule in the South. 
State after State was "reconstructed" under the terms 
of the Act which had been passed over the President's 
veto. In every case as many white men as possible were 
disfranchised on one pretext or another as " disloyal." In 
every case the whole Negro population was enfranchised. 
Throughout practically the whole area of what had been 
the Confederate States the position of the races was 
reversed. 

So far, in discussing the Slavery Question and all the 
issues which arose out of it, I have left one factor out 
of account the attitude of the slaves themselves. I have 
done so deliberately because up to the point which we have 
now reached that attitude had no effect on history. The 
slaves had no share in the Abolition movement or in the 
formation of the Republican Party. Even from John 
Brown's Raid they held aloof. The President's proclamation 
which freed them, the Acts of Congress which now gave 
them supreme power throughout the South, were not of 
their making or inspiration. In politics the negro was 
still an unknown factor. 

There can be little doubt that under Slavery the 
relations of the two races were for the most part kindly 
and free from rancour, that the master was generally 
humane and the slave faithful. Had it not been so, indeed, 
the effect of the transfer of power to the freedmen must 
have been much more horrible than it actually was. On 
the other hand, it is certain that when some Southern 
apologists said that the slaves did not want their freedom 
they were wrong. Dr. Booker Washington, himself a slave 
till his sixth or seventh year, has given us a picture of the 
vague but very real longing which was at the back of their 
minds which bears the stamp of truth. It is confirmed by 
their strange and picturesque hymnology, in which the 



"THE BLACK TEREOR" 221 

passionate desire to be " free," though generally apparently 
invoked in connection with a future life, is none the 
less indicative of their temper, and in their preoccupation 
with those parts of the Old Testament the history of 
the Exodus, for instance which appeared applicable to 
their own condition. Yet it is clear that they had but 
the vaguest idea of what " freedom " implied. Of what 
" citizenship " implied they had, of course, no idea at all. 

It is very far from my purpose to write contemptuously 
of the Negroes. There is something very beautiful about 
a love of freedom wholly independent of experience and . 
deriving solely from the just instinct of the human soul as 
to what is its due. And if, as some Southerners said, the 
Negro understood by freedom mainly that he need not work, 
there was a truth behind his idea, for the right to be idle if 
and when you choose without reason given or permission 
sought is really what makes the essential difference between 
freedom and slavery. But it is quite another thing when 
we come to a 'complex national and historical product like 
American citizenship. Of all that great European past, 
without the memory of which the word " Republic " has no 
meaning, the Negro knew nothing : with it he had no link. 
A barbaric version of the more barbaric parts of the Bible 
supplied him with his only record of human society. 

Yet Negro Suffrage, though a monstrous anomaly, might 
have done comparatively little practical mischief if the 
Negro and his white neighbour had been left alone to find 
their respective levels. The Negro might have found a 
certain picturesque novelty in the amusement of voting ; 
the white American might have continued to control the 
practical operation of Government. But it was no part of 
the policy of those now in power at Washington to leave 
either black or white alone. " Loyal " Governments were to be 
formed in the South ; and to this end political adventurers 
from the North" carpet-baggers," as they were called - 
went down into the conquered South to organize the Negro 
vote. A certain number of disreputable Southerners, known 
as " scallywags," eagerly took a hand in the game for 
the sake of the spoils. So of course did the smarter and 
more ambitious of the freedmen. And under the control of 
this ill-omened trinity of Carpet-Bagger, Scallywag, and 



222 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Negro adventurer grew up a series of Governments the like 
of which the sun has hardly looked upon before or since. 

The Negro is hardly to be blamed for his share in the 
ghastly business. The whole machinery of politics was 
new to him, new and delightful as a toy, new and even 
more delightful as a means of personal enrichment. That 
it had or was intended to have any other purpose probably 
hardly crossed his mind. His point of view a very natural 
one, after all was well expressed by the aged freedman 
who was found chuckling over a pile of dollar bills, the 
reward of some corrupt vote, and, when questioned, 
observed : " Wai, it's de fifth time I's been bo't and sold, 
but, 'fo de Lord, it's de fust I eber got de money ! " Under 
administrations conducted in this spirit the whole South 
was given up to plunder. The looting went on persistently 
and on a scale almost unthinkable. The public debts 
reached amazing figures, while Negro legislators voted each 
other wads of public money as a kind of parlour game, amid 
peals of hearty African laughter. 

Meanwhile the Governments presided over by Negroes, 
or white courtiers of the Negro and defended by the bayonets 
of an armed black militia, gave no protection to the persons 
or property of the whites. 

Daily insults were offered to what was now the subject 
race. The streets of the proud city of Charleston, where 
ten years before on that fatal November morning the 
Palmetto flag had been raised as the signal of Secession, 
were paraded by mobs of dusky freedmen singing : " De 
bottom rail's on top now, and we's g'wine to keep it dar ! " 
It says much for the essential kindliness of the African race 
that in the lawless condition of affairs there were no 
massacres and deliberate cruelties were rare. On the 
other hand, the animal nature of the Negro was strong, and 
outrages on white women became appallingly frequent and 
were perpetrated with complete impunity. Every white 
family had to live in something like a constant state of 
siege. 

It was not to be expected that ordinary men of European 
origin would long bear such government. And those on 
whom it was imposed were no ordinary men. They were 
men whose manhood had been tried by four awful years of 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 223 

the supreme test, men such as had charged with Pickett 
up the bloody ridge at Gettysburg, and disputed with the 
soldiers of Grant every inch of tangled quagmire in the 
Wilderness. They found a remedy. 

Suddenly, as at a word, there appeared in every part of 
the downtrodden country bands of mysterious horsemen. 
They rode by night, wearing long white garments with hoods 
that hid their faces, and to the terror-stricken Negroes who 
encountered them they declared themselves not without 
symbolic truth the ghosts of the great armies that had 
died in defence of the Confederacy. But superstitious 
terrors were not the only ones that they employed. 

The mighty secret society called the Ku-Klux-Klan was 
justified by the only thing that can justify secret societies 
gross tyranny and the denial of plain human rights. 
The method they employed was the method so often 
employed by oppressed peoples and rarely without success 
the method by which the Irish peasantry recovered their 
land. It was to put fear into the heart of the oppressor. 
Prominent men, both black and white, who were identified 
with the evils which afflicted the State, were warned 
generally by a message signed " K.K.K." to make themselves 
scarce. If they neglected the warning they generally met 
a sudden and bloody end. At the same time the Klan 
unofficially tried and executed those criminals whom the 
official Government refused to suppress. These executions 
had under the circumstances a clear moral justification. 
Unfortunately it had the effect of familiarizing the people 
with the irregular execution of Negroes, and so paved the 
way for those " lynchings " for which, since the proper 
authorities are obviously able and willing to deal adequately 
with such crimes, no such defence can be set up. 

Both sides appealed to Grant, who had been elected 
President on the expiration of Johnson's term in 1868. 

Had he been still the Grant of Appomatox and of the 
healing message to which reference has already been made, 
no man would have been better fitted to mediate between 
the sections and to cover with his protection those who had 
surrendered to his sword. But Grant was now a mere tool 
in the hands of the Republican politicians, and those 
politicians were determined that the atrocious system 



224 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

should be maintained. They had not even the excuse of 
fanaticism. Stevens was dead; he had lived just long 
enough to see his policy established, not long enough to 
see it imperilled. Sumner still lived, but he had quarrelled 
with Grant and lost much of his influence. The men 
who surrounded the President cared little enough for the 
Negro. Their resolution to support African rule in the 
South depended merely upon the calculation that so long 
as it endured the reign of the Republican party and 
consequently their own professional interests were safe. 
A special Act of Congress was passed to put down the 
Ku-Klux-Klan, and the victorious army of the Union was 
again sent South to carry it into execution. But this 
time it found an enemy more invulnerable than Lee had 
been invulnerable because invisible. The whole white 
population was in the conspiracy and kept its secrets. The 
army met with no overt resistance with which it could 
deal, but the silent terrorism went on. The trade of 
" Carpet-bagger " became too dangerous. The ambitious 
Negro was made to feel that the price to be paid for his 
privileges was a high one. Silently State after State was 
wrested from Negro rule. 

Later the Ku-Klux-Klan for such is ever the peril of 
Secret Societies and the great argument against them when 
not demanded by imperative necessity began to abuse 
its power. Reputable people dropped out of it, and traitors 
were found in its ranks- About 1872 it disappeared. But 
its work was done. In the great majority of the Southern 
States the voting power of the Negro was practically 
eliminated. Negroid Governments survived in three only 
South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. For these the 
end came four years later. 

The professional politicians of the North, whose motive 
for supporting the indefensible regime established by the 
Reconstruction Act has already been noted, used, of course, 
the " atrocities " of the Ku-Klux-Klan as electioneering 
material in the North. "Waving the bloody shirt," it was 
called. But the North was getting tired of it, and was 
beginning to see that the condition of things in the conquered 
States was a national disgrace. A Democratic House of 
Representatives had been chosen, and it looked as if the 



"THE BLACK TERROR" 225 

Democrats would carry the next Presidential election. In 
fact they did carry it. But fraudulent returns were sent 
in by the three remaining Negro Governments, and these 
gave the Republicans a majority of one in the Electoral 
College. A Commission of Enquiry was demanded and 
appointed, but it was packed by the Republicans and 
showed itself as little scrupulous as the scoundrels who 
administered the " reconstructed " States. Affecting a 
sudden zeal for State Rights, it declared itself incompetent 
to inquire into the circumstances under which the returns 
were made. It accepted them on the word of the State 
authorities and declared Hayes, the Republican candidate, 
elected. 

It was a gross scandal, but it put an end to a grosser 
one. Some believe that there was a bargain whereby the 
election of Hayes should be acquiesced in peaceably on 
condition that the Negro Governments were not further 
supported. It is equally possible that Hayes felt his 
moral position too weak to continue a policy of oppression 
in the South. At any rate, that policy was not continued. 
Federal support was withdrawn from the remaining Negro 
Governments, and they fell without a blow. The second 
rebellion of the South had succeeded where the first 
had failed. Eleven years after Lee had surrendered to 
Grant at Appomatox, Grant's successor in the Presidency 
surrendered to the ghost of Lee. 

Negro rule was at an end. But the Negro remained, 
and the problem which his existence presented was, and is, 
to-day, further from solution that when Lincoln signed 
the Emancipation Proclamation. The signs of the Black 
Terror are still visible everywhere in the South. They 
are visible in the political solidarity of those Southern 
States and only of those States which underwent the 
hideous ordeal, what American politicians call "the solid 
South." All white men, whatever their opinions, must 
vote together, lest by their division the Negro should again 
creep in and regain his supremacy. They are visible in 
those strict laws of segregation which show how much 
wider is the gulf between the races than it was under 
Slavery when the children of the white slave-owner, in 
Lincoln's words, "romped freely with the little negroes." 

Q 



226 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

They are visible above all in acts of unnatural cruelty 
committed from time to time against members of the 
dreaded race. These things are inexplicable to those who 
do not know the story of the ordeal which the South 
endured, and cannot guess at the secret panic with which 
white men contemplate the thought of its return. 

Well might Jefferson tremble for his country. The 
bill which the first slave-traders ran up is not yet paid. 
Their dreadful legacy remains and may remain for 
generations to come a baffling and tormenting problem 
to every American who has a better head than Sumner's 
and a better heart than Legree's. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE NEW PROBLEMS 

MOST of us were familiar in our youth with a sort of game 
or problem which consisted in taking a number, effecting a 
series of additions, multiplications, subtractions, etc., and 
finally " taking away the number you first thought of." 
Some such process might be taken as representing the later 
history of the Republican Party. 

That party was originally founded to resist the further 
extension of Slavery. That was at first its sole policy and 
objective. And when Slavery disappeared and the Anti- 
Slavery Societies dissolved themselves it might seem that 
the Republican Party should logically have done the same. 
But no political party can long exist, certainly none can 
long hold power, while reposing solely upon devotion to 
a single idea. For one thing, the mere requirements of 
what Lincoln called " national housekeeping " involves an 
accretion of policies apparently unconnected with its 
original doctrine. Thus the Republican Party, relying at 
first wholly upon the votes of the industrial North, which 
was generally in favour of a high tariff, took over from the 
old Whig Party a Protectionist tradition, though obviously 
there is no logical connection between Free Trade and 
Slavery. Also, in any organized party, especially where 
politics are necessarily a profession, there is an even more 
powerful factor working against the original purity of its 
creed in the immense mass of vested interests which it 
creates, especially when it is in power men holding 
positions under it, men hoping for a " career " through its 
triumphs, and the like. It may be taken as certain that no 
political body so constituted will ever voluntarily consent 

22T 



228 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

to dissolve itself, as a merely propagandist body may 
naturally do when its object is achieved. 

For some time, as has been seen, the Republicans 
continued to retain a certain link with their origin by 
appearing mainly as a pro-Negro and anti- Southern party, 
with " Southern outrages " as its electoral stock-in-trade 
and the maintenance of the odious non-American State 
Governments as its programme. The surrender of 1876 put 
an end even to this link. The " bloody shirt " disappeared, 
and with it the last rag of the old Republican garment. 
A formal protest against the use of " intimidation " in 
the " Solid South " continued to figure piously for some 
decades in the quatrennial platform of the party. At 
last even this was dropped, and its place was taken by the 
much more defensible demand that Southern representa- 
tives should be so reduced as to correspond to the numbers 
actually suffered to vote. It is interesting to note that 
if the Republicans had not insisted on supplementing 
the Fourteenth Amendment by the Fifteenth, forbidding 
disqualification on grounds of race or colour, and consequently 
compelling the South to concede in theory the franchise of 
the blacks and then prevent its exercise, instead of formally 
denying it them, this grievance would automatically have 
been met. 

What, then, remained to the Republican Party when 
the " number it first thought of " had been thus taken 
away ? The principal thing that remained was a connection 
already established by its leading politicians with the 
industrial interests of the North-Eastern States and with 
the groups of wealthy men who, in the main, controlled 
and dealt in those interests. It became the party of 
industrial Capitalism as it was rapidly developing in 
the more capitalist and mercantile sections of the 
Union. 

The first effect of this was an appalling increase of 
political corruption. During Grant's second Presidency 
an amazing number of very flagrant scandals were brought 
to light, of which the most notorious were the Erie Railway 
scandal, in which the rising Republican Congressional 
leader, Elaine, was implicated, and the Missouri ^yhisky 
Ring, by which the President himself was not unbesmirched. 






THE NEW PROBLEMS 220 

The cry for clean government became general, and had 
much to do with the election of a Democratic House of 
Representatives in 1874 and the return by a true majority 
vote thought defeated by a trick of a Democratic President 
in 1876. Though the issue was somewhat overshadowed 
in 1880, when Garfield was returned mainly on the tariff 
issue to be assassinated later by a disappointed place- 
hunter named Guiteau and succeeded by Arthur it revived 
in full force in 1884 when the Republican candidate was 
James G. Elaine. 

Elaine was personally typical of the degeneration of the 
Republican Party after the close of the Civil War. He had 
plenty of brains, was a clever speaker and a cleverer 
intriguer. Principles he had none. Of course he had in 
his youth "waved the bloody shirt" vigorously enough, 
was even one of the last to wave it, but at the same time 
he had throughout his political life stood in with the great 
capitalist and financial interests of the North-East and 
that not a little to his personal profit. The exposure of 
one politico-financial transaction of his the Erie Railway 
affair had cost him the Republican nomination in 1876, 
in spite of Inger soil's amazing piece of rhetoric delivered 
on his behalf, wherein the celebrated Secularist orator 
declared that "like an armed warrior, like a plumed 
knight, James G. Elaine strode down the floor of Congress 
and flung his shining lance, full and fair" at those 
miscreants who objected to politicians using their public 
status for private profit. By 1884 it was hoped that the 
scandal had blown over and was forgotten. 

Fortunately, however, the traditions of the country 
were democratic. Democracy is no preservative against 
incidental corruption ; you will have that wherever politics 
are a profession. But it is a very real preservative against 
the secrecy in which, in oligarchical countries like our own, 
such scandals can generally be buried. The Erie scandal 
met Elaine on every side. One of the most damning 
features of the business was a very compromising letter 
of his own which ended with the fatal words : " Please 
burn this letter." As a result of its publication, crowds of 
Democratic voters paraded the streets of several great 
American cities chanting monotonously 



-230 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

" Burn, burn, burn this letter ! 

James G. Elaine. 
Please, please I Burn this letter ! 

James G. Blaine. 
Oh! Do! Burn this letter ! 

James G. Blaine." 

The result was the complete success of the clean govern- 
ment ticket, and the triumphant return of Grover Cleveland, 
the first Democrat to take the oath since the Civil "War, 
and perhaps the strongest and best President since Lincoln. 

Meanwhile, the Republic had found itself threatened 
with another racial problem, which became acute at about 
the time when excitement on both sides regarding the Negro 
was subsiding. Scarcely had the expansion of the United 
States touched the Pacific, when its territories encountered 
a wave of immigration from the thickly populated countries 
on the other side of that ocean. The population which 
now poured into California and Oregon was as alien in 
race and ideals as the Negro, and it was, perhaps, the 
more dangerous because, while the Negro, so far as he 
had not absorbed European culture, was a mere barbarian, 
these people had a very old and elaborate civilization of 
their own, a civilization picturesque and full of attraction 
when seen afar off, but exhibiting, at nearer view, many 
characteristics odious to the traditions, instincts and morals 
of Europe and white America. There was also the economic 
evil really, of course, only an aspect of the conflict of 
types of civilization arising from the fact that these 
immigrants, being used to a lower standard of life, undercut 
and cheapened the labour of the white man. 

Various Acts were passed by Congress from time to 
time for the restriction and exclusion of Chinese and other 
Oriental immigrants, and the trouble, though not even yet 
completely disposed of, was got under a measure of control. 
Sumner lived long enough to oppose the earlier of these 
very sensible laws, and, needless to say, trotted out the 
Declaration of Independence, though in this case the 
application was even more absurd than in that of the Negro. 
The Negro, at any rate, was already resident in America, 
and had been brought there in the first instance without 
his own consent; and this fact, though it did not make 
him a citizen, did create a moral responsibility towards him 



THE NEW PROBLEMS 231 

on the -part of the American Commonwealth. Towards the 
Chinaman it had no responsibility whatever. Doubtless 
he had, as a man, his natural rights to " life, liberty, and 
the pursuit of happiness "-in China. But whoever said 
anything so absurd as that it was one of the natural rights of 
man to Hve in America ? It was, however, less to the increased 
absurdity of his argument than to the less favourable bias 
of his audience that Sumner owed his failure to change 
the course of legislation in this instance. An argument 
only one degree less absurd had done well enough as a 
reason for the enslavement and profanation of the South 
a year or two before. But there was no great party hoping 
to perpetuate its power by the aid of the Chinese, nor was 
there a defeated and unpopular section to be punished for 
its " treason " by being made over to Mongolian masters. 
Indeed, Congress, while rejecting Sumner's argument, 
made a concession to his monomania on the subject of 
Negroes, and a clause was inserted in the Act whereby no 
person " of African descent " should be excluded with the 
curious result that to this day, while a yellow face is a bar 
to the prospective immigrant, a black face is, theoretically 
at any rate, actually a passport. 

The exclusion of the Chinese does but mark the 
beginning of a very important change in the attitude of 
the Republic towards immigration. Up to this time, in spite 
of the apparent exception of the Know-Nothing movement, 
of which the motive seems to have been predominantly 
sectarian, it had been at once the interest and the pride 
of America to encourage immigration on the largest possible 
scale without troubling about its source or character : her 
interest because her undeveloped resources were immense 
and apparently inexhaustible, and what was mainly needed 
was human labour to exploit them ; her pride, because she 
boasted, and with great justice, that her democratic creed 
was a force strong enough to turn any man who accepted 
citizenship, whatever his origin, into an American. ^ But 
in connection with the general claim, which experience 
has, on the whole, justified, there are two important 
reservations. One is that such a conversion is only possible 
if the American idea that is, the doctrine set forth by 
Jefferson when once propounded awakens an adequate 



232 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

response from the man whom it is hoped to assimilate. 
This can generally be predicted of Europeans, since the 
idea is present in the root of their own civilization : it 
derives from Borne. But it can hardly be expected of 
peoples of a wholly alien tradition from which the Koman 
Law and the Gospel of Eousseau are alike remote. This 
consideration lies at the root of the exception of the Negro, 
the exception of the Mongol, and may one day produce the 
exception of the Jew. 

The other reservation is this : that if the immigration 
of diverse peoples proceeds at too rapid a rate, it may 'be 
impossible for absorption to keep pace with it. Nay, 
absorption may be grievously hindered by it. This has 
been shown with great force and clearness by Mr. Zangwill 
under his excellent image of the " Melting Pot." Anyone 
even casually visiting New York, for instance, can see on 
every side the great masses of unmelted foreign material 
and their continual reinforcement from overseas, probably 
delaying continually the process of fusion and New York 
is only typical in this of other great American cities. 

A new tendency to limit immigration and to seek some 
test of its quality has been a marked feature of the last 
quarter of a century. The principle is almost certainly 
sound; the right to act on it, to anyone who accepts 
the doctrine of national self-government, unquestionable. 
Whether the test ultimately imposed by a recent Act passed 
by Congress over President Wilson's veto, that of literacy, 
is a wise one, is another question. Its tendency may well 
be to exclude great masses of the peasantry of the Old 
World, men admirably fitted to develop by their industry 
the resources of America, whose children at least could 
easily be taught to read and write the American language 
and would probably become excellent American citizens. 
On the other hand, it does not exclude the criminal, or at 
any rate the most dangerous type of criminal. It does not 
exclude the submerged population of great European cities, 
the exploitation of whose cheap labour is a menace to the 
American workman's standard of life. And it does not, 
generally speaking, exclude the Jew. 

The problem of the Jew exists in America as elsewhere 
perhaps more formidably than elsewhere. This, of course, 






THE NEW PROBLEMS 

is not because Jews, as such, are worse than other people : 
only idiots are Anti-Semites in that sense. It arises from 
the fact that America, more than any other nation, lives 
by its power of absorb tion, and the Jew has, ever since 
the Roman Empire, been found a singularly unabsorbable 
person. He has an intense nationalism of his own that 
transcends and indeed ignores frontiers, but to the 
nationalism of European peoples he is often consciously 
and almost always subconsciously hostile. In various 
ways he tends to act as a solvent of such nationalism. 
Cosmopolitan finance is one example of such a tendency. 
Another, more morally sympathetic but not much less 
dangerous to nationalism in such a country as America, 
is cosmopolitan revolutionary idealism. The Socialist and 
Anarchist movements of America, divided of course in 
philosophy, but much more akin in temper than in 
European countries, are almost wholly Jewish, both in 
origin and leadership. For this reason, since America's 
entrance into the Great War, these parties, in contrast 
to most of the European Socialist parties, have shown 
themselves violently anti-national and what we now call 
"Bolshevist." 

But organized Socialism is, in America, almost a 
negligible force ; not so organized labour. In no country has 
the Trade Union movement exercised more power, and in 
no country has it fought with bolder weapons. In the 
early struggles between the organized workers and the 
great capitalists, violence and even murder was freely 
resorted to on both sides, for if the word must be applied 
to the vengeance often wreaked by the Labour Unions^ on 
servants of the employer and on traitors to the organiza- 
tion, the same word must be used with a severer moral 
implication of the shooting down of workmen at the orders 
of men like Carnegie, not even by the authorized police 
force or militia of the State, but by privately hired 
assassinators such as the notorious Pinkerton used to 
supply. 

The labour movement in America is not generally 
Collectivism Collectivism is alien to the American temper 
and ideal, which looks rather to a community of free men 
controlling, through personal ownership, their own industry. 



234 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

The demand of American labour has been rather for the 
sharp and efficient punishment of such crimes against 
property as are-involved in conspiracies to create a monopoly 
in some product and the use of great wealth to " squeeze 
out " the small competitor. Such demands found emphatic 
expression in the appearance in the 'nineties of a new 
party calling itself " Populist " and formed by a combina- 
tion between the organized workmen and the farmers of 
the West, who felt themselves more and more throttled by 
the tentacles of the new commercial monopolies which 
were becoming known by the name of " Trusts." In the 
elections of 1892, when Cleveland was returned for a second 
time after an interval of Eepublican rule under Harrison, 
the Populists showed unexpected strength and carried 
several Western States. In 1896 Democrats and Populists 
combined to nominate William Jennings Bryan as their 
candidate, with a programme the main plank of which was 
the free coinage of silver, which, it was thought, would 
weaken the hold of the moneyed interests of the East upon 
the industries of the Continent. The Eastern States, 
however, voted solid for the gold standard, and were joined, 
in the main, by those Southern States which had not been 
"reconstructed" and were consequently not included 
politically in the " Solid South." The West, too, though 
mainly Bryanite, was not unanimous, and McKinley, the 
Republican candidate, was returned. The Democratic 
defeat, however, gave some indication of the tendencies 
which were to produce the Democratic victory of 1916, 
when the West, with the aid of the " Solid South," returned 
a President whom the East had all but unanimously 
rejected. 

McKinley's first term of office saw the outbreak and 
victorious prosecution of a war with Spain, arising partly 
out of American sympathy with an insurrection which had 
broken out in Cuba, and partly out of the belief, now pretty 
conclusively shown to have been unfounded, that the 
American warship Maine, which was blown up in a Spanish 
harbour, had been so destroyed at the secret instigation of 
the Spanish authorities. Its most important result was 
to leave, at its conclusion, both Cuba and the Philippine 
Islands at the disposal of the United States. This practically 






Cl t 7 VI /> r\\* / 



THE NEW PEOBLEMS 235 

synchronized with the highest point reached in this country, 
just before the B.oer War, by that wave of national feeling 
called ^ " Imperialism." America, for a time, seemed to 
catch its infection or share its inspiration, as we may prefer 
to put it. But the tendency was not a permanent one. 
The American Constitution is indeed expressly built for 
expansion, but only where the territory acquired can be 
thoroughly Americanized and ultimately divided into self- 
governing States on the American pattern. To hold 
permanently subject possessions which cannot be so treated 
is alien to its general spirit and intention. Cuba was soon 
abandoned, and though the Philippines were retained, the 
difficulties encountered in their subjection and -the moral 
anomaly involved in being obliged to wage a war of 
conquest against those whom you have professed to liberate, 
acted as a distinct check upon the enthusiasm for such 
experiments. 

After the conclusion of the Spanish war, McKinley was 
elected for a second time ; almost immediately afterwards 
he was murdered by an Anarchist named Colgosc, some- 
times described as a "Pole," but presumably an East 
European Jew. The effect was to produce a third example 
of the unwisdom though in this case the country was 
distinctly the gainer of the habit of using the Vice- 
Presidency merely as an electioneering bait. Theodore 
Koosevelt had been chosen as candidate for that office solely 
to catch what we should here call the " khaki " sentiment, 
he and his " roughriders " having played a distinguished 
and picturesque part in the Cuban campaign. But it soon 
appeared that the new President had ideas of his own which 
were by no means identical with those of the Party Bosses. 
He sought to re-create the moral prestige of the ^Republican 
Party by identifying it with the National idea with which 
its traditions as the War Party in the battle for the Union 
made its identification seem not inappropriate with ^ a 
spirited foreign policy and with the aspiration for expansion 
and world-power. But he also sought to sever its damaging 
connection with those sordid and unpopular plutocratic 
combinations which the nation as a whole justly hated. 
Of great energy and attractive personality, and gifted with 
a strong sense of the picturesque in politics, President 



236 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

Roosevelt opened a vigorous campaign against those Trusts 
which had for so long backed and largely controlled his 
party. The Republican Bosses were angry and dismayed, 
but they dared not risk an open breach with a popular 
and powerful President backed by the whole nation 
irrespective of party. So complete was his victory that not 
only did he enjoy something like a national triumph when 
submitting himself for re-election in 1904, but in 1^)8 was 
virtually able to nominate his successor. 

Mr. Taft, however, though so nominated and professing 
to carry on the Rooseveltian policy, did not carry it on to 
the satisfaction of its originator. The ex-President roundly 
accused his successor of suffering the party to slip back 
again into the pocket of the Trusts, anj. in 1912 offered 
himself once more to the Republican Party as a rival to his 
successor. The Party Convention at San Francisco chose 
Taft by a narrow majority. Something may be allowed 
for the undoubtedly prevalent sentiment against a breach 
of the Washingtonian tradition of a two-terms limit ; but 
the main factor was the hostility of the Bosses and the 
Trusts behind them, and the weapon they used was their 
control of the Negro " pocket boroughs " of the Southern 
States, which were represented in the Convention- in 
proportion to their population of those States, though 
practically no Republican votes were cast there. Colonel 
Roosevelt challenged the decision of the Convention, and 
organized an independent party of his own under the title 
of " Progressive," composed partly of the defeated section 
of the Republicans and partly of all those who fbr one 
reason or another were dissatisfied with existing parties. 
In the contest which followed he justified his position by 
polling far more votes than his Republican rival. But the 
division in the Republican Party permitted the return of 
the Democratic candidate, Dr. Woodrow Wilson. 

The new President was a remarkable man in more ways 
than one. By birth a Southerner, he had early migrated 
to New Jersey. He had a distinguished academic career 
behind him, and had written the best history of his own 
country at present obtainable. He had also held high 
office in his State, and his term had been signalized by the 
vigour with which he had made war on corruption in the 




THE NEW PROBLEMS 237 

public service. During his term of office he was to exhibit 
another set of qualities, the possession of which had perhaps 
been less suspected : an instinct for the trend of the 
national will not unlike that of Jackson, and a far-seeing 
patience and persistence under misrepresentation and abuse 
that recalls Lincoln. 

For Mr. Wilson had been in office but a little over a 
year when Prussia, using Austria as an instrument and 
Serbia as an excuse, forced an aggressive war on the whole 
of Europe. The sympathies of most Americans were with 
the Western Allies, especially with France, for which 
country the United States had always felt a sort of spiritual 
cousinship. England was, as she had always been, less 
trusted, but in this instance, especially when Prussia opened 
the war with a criminal attack upon the little neutral 
nation of Belgium, it was generally conceded that she was 
in the right. Dissentients there were, especially among 
the large German or German-descended population of the 
Middle West, and the Prussian Government spent money 
like water to further a German propaganda in the States. 
But the mass of American opinion was decidedly favourable 
to the cause of those who were at war with the German 
Empire. Yet it was at that time equally decided and much 
more unanimous against American intervention in the 
European quarrel. 

The real nature of this attitude was not grasped in 
England, and the resultant misunderstanding led to 
criticisms and recriminations which everyone now regrets. 
The fact is that the Americans had very good reason for 
disliking the idea of being drawn into the awful whirlpool 
in which Europe seemed to be perishing. It was not 
cowardice that held her back : her sons had done enough 
during the four terrible years of civil conflict in which her 
whole manhood was involved to repel that charge for ever. 
Rather was it a realistic memory of what such war means 
that made the new America eager to keep^the peace as long 
as it might. There was observable, it is true, a certain 
amount of rather silly Pacifist sentiment, especially in 
those circles which the Russians speak of as " Intelli- 
genzia," and Americans as " high-brow." ^It went, as it 
usually goes, though the logical connection is not obvious, 



238 A HISTORY OP THE UNITED STATES 

with teetotalism and similar fads. All these fads were 
peculiarly rampant in the United States in the period 
immediately preceding the war, when half the States went 
" dry," and some cities passed what seems to us quite 
lunatic laws prohibiting cigarette-smoking and creating 
a special female police force of " flirt-catchers." The whole 
thing is part, one may suppose, of the deliquescence of the 
Puritan tradition in morals, and will probably not endure. 
So far as such doctrinaire Pacifism is concerned, it seems 
to have dissolved at the first sound of an American shot. 
But the instinct which made the great body of sensible and 
patriotic Americans, especially in the West, resolved to 
keep out of the war, so long as their own interests and 
honour were not threatened, was of a much more solid and 
respectable kind. Undoubtedly most Americans thought 
that the Allies were in the right; but if every nation 
intervened in every war where it thought one or other side in 
the right, every war must become universal. The Republic 
was not pledged, like this country, to enforce respect for 
Belgian neutrality; she was not, like England, directly 
threatened by the Prussian menace. Indirectly threatened 
she was, for a German victory would certainly have been 
followed by an attempt to realize well-understood German 
ambitions in South America. But most Americans were 
against meeting trouble halfway. 

Such was the temper of the nation. The President 
carefully conformed to it, while at the same time guiding 
and enlightening it. For nearly two years he kept his 
country out of the war. The task was no easy one. He 
was assailed at home at once by the German propagandists, 
who wanted him, in defiance of International Law, to forbid 
the sale of arms and munitions to the Allies, and by Colonel 
Roosevelt, who wished America to declare herself definitely 
on the Allied side. Moreover, Prussia could understand 
no argument but force, and took every sign of the pacific 
disposition of the Government at Washington as an indication 
of cowardice or incapacity to fight. But he was excellently 
served in Berlin by Mr. Gerard, and he held to his course. 
The Lusitania was sunk and many American citizens were 
drowned as a part of the Prussian campaign of indiscrimi- 
nate murder on the high seas ; and the volume of feeling 



THE NEW PROBLEMS 239 

in favour of intervention increased. But the President still 
resisted the pressure put upon him, as Lincoln had so long 
resisted the pressure of those who wished him to use his 
power to declare the slaves free. He succeeded in obtaining 
from Germany some mitigation of her piratical policy, and 
with that he was for a time content. He probably knew 
then, as Mr. Gerard certainly did, that war must come. 
But he also knew that if he struck too early he would 
divide the nation. He waited till the current of opinion had 
time to develop, carefully though unobtrusively directing 
it in such a fashion as to prepare it for eventualities. 
So well did he succeed that when in the spring of 1917 
Prussia proclaimed a revival of her policy of unmitigated 
murder directed not only against belligerents but avowedly 
against neutrals also, he felt the full tide of the general will 
below him. And when at last he declared war it was with 
a united America at his back. 

Such is, in brief, the diplomatic history of the interven- 
tion of the United States in the Great War. Yet there is 
another angle from which it can be viewed, whereby it 
seems not only inevitable but strangely symbolic. The 
same century that saw across the Atlantic the birth of the 
young Republic, saw in the very centre of Europe the rise 
of another new Power. Remote as the two were, and 
unlikely as it must have seemed at the time that they could 
ever cross each other's paths, they were in a strange fashion 
at once parallel and antipodean. Neither has grown in the 
ordinary complex yet unconscious fashion of nations. Both 
were, in a sense, artificial products. Both were founded on 
a creed. And the creeds were exactly and mathematically 
opposed. According to the creed of Thomas Jefferson, 
all men were endowed by their Creator with equal rights. 
According to the creed of Frederick Hohenzollern there 
was no Creator, and no one possessed any rights save the 
right of the strongest. Through more than a century the 
history of the two nations is the development of the two 
ideas. It would have seemed unnatural if the great Atheist 
State, in its final bid for the imposition of its creed on 
all nations, had not found Jefferson's Republic among its 
enemies. That anomaly was not to be. That flag which, 
decked only with thirteen stars representing the original 



240 A HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES 

revolted colonies, had first waved over Washington's raw 
levies, which, as the cluster grew, had disputed on equal 
terms with the Cross of St. George its ancient lordship of 
the sea, which Jackson had kept flying over New Orleans, 
which Scott and Taylor had carried triumphantly to 
Monterey, which on a memorable afternoon had been lowered 
over Sumter, and on a yet more memorable morning 
raised once again over Richmond, which now bore its full 
complement of forty-eight stars, symbolizing great and free 
States stretching from ocean to ocean, appeared for the first 
time on a European battlefield, and received there as its 
new baptism of fire a salute from all the arsenals of Hell. 



INDEX 



ABERDEEN, Lord, Calhoun's reply to, 118 
Abolitionists, Southern, no attempt to 
suppress, 132 ; hold Congress in Baltimore, 
132 ; Northern, different attitudes of, 132 ; 
their hostility to the Union, 133; their 
sectional character, 133 ; Southern Aboli- 
tionism killed by, 133 ; anger of South 
against, 134; unpopularity of, in North, 
135 ; acquiesce in Secession, 164 

Adams, Francis, American Minister in Lon- 
don, 192 ; protests against the sailing of 
the Alabama, 192 

Adams, John, opposed by Democrats for 
Vice-President, 57 ; chosen President by 
Electoral College, 62 ; his character and 
policy, 62-63 ; defeated by Jefferson, 63 ; 
refuses to receive Jefferson at the White 
House, 67 ; fills offices with Federalists, 67 

Adams, John Quincey, leaves Federalist 
Party, 71 ; a candidate for the Presidency, 
92 ; chosen President by House of Repre- 
sentatives, 94 ; appoints Clay Secretary of 
State, 95 ; unpopularity of his govern- 
ment, 96 ; defeated by Jackson, 96 

Alabama secedes from the Union, 161 

Alabama, the, built in Liverpool, 191 ; her 
devastations, 191 ; Great Britain declared 
responsible for, 192 ; compensation paid 
on account of, 192 

Alexander I. of Russia wishes to intervene 
in America, 87 

Aliens Law, 63 

America, discovery of, i ; claimed by Spain, 
3 ; English colonies in, 3 ; European 
intervention in, forbidden by Monroe 
Doctrine, 83. (Set also United States) 

Anderson, Major, in command of Fort 
Sumter, 172 ; surrenders, 173 

Andre, Major, relations of, with Arnold, 
33 ; shot as a spy, 33 

Antietam, Battle of, 189 

Anti-Masonic Party formed, 112 

Anti-Slavery Societies, Conference of, at 
Baltimore, 132 ; dissolve themselves, 227 

Arkansas, only new Slave State possible 
under Missouri Compromise, 86 ; rejects 
Secession, 171 ; secedes, 175 

A-izona acquired from Mexico, 122 ; open 
to Slavery, 126 

Arnold, Benedict, career of, 32 ; treason of, 
33 ; commands in South, 33 

Arthur, President, succeeds Garfield, 229 



Appomatox Court House, 
at, 202 



Atlanta, Georgia, Sherman moves on, ioo 
fate of, 200 

BALTIMORE, Maryland, Congress of Anti- 
Slavery Societies meets in, 132 ; Douglas 
Democrats hold Convention at, 154; 
Union troops stoned in, 177 
' Baltimore, Lord, a Catholic, 4 ; founds 
colony of Maryland, 4 ; his family de- 
posed, 5 

j Bank, United States, creation of, proposed 
by Hamilton, 56 ; opposition to, 56 ; con- 
stitutionality of, disputed, 56 ; Washington 
signs Bill for, 57 ; Supreme Court decides 
in favour of, 57; revived after War of 
1812.. 85; power unpopularity of, 102- 
103 ; Jackson's attitude towards, 103 ; 
corrupt influence of, 103 ; Bill for re- 
charter of, passes Congress, 103 ; vetoed 
by Jackson, 103 ; Whig championship of, 
105 ; elections adverse to, 105 ; Jackson 
removes deposits from, 106 ; its end, 106 

Beaumarchais, instrumental in supplying 
arms to the Colonists, 30 

Beauregard, General, opposed to McDowell 
in Virginia, 180 ; commands at Bull Run, 
1 80 ; rallies Southern troops, 180 ; attacks 
Grant at Shiloh, 184 

Belgium, Prussian invasion of, 237 

Black, Judge, supports the Union, 165 ; 
urges reinforcement of Fort Sumter, 172 

Elaine, James G., implicated in Erie Railway 
scandal, 228 ; character of, 229 ; candi- 
date for Presidency, 229-230 ; defeated 
by Cleveland, 230 

Blair, Francis, saves Missouri for the Union 
176 

Bland, Richard, appeals to "the Law of 
Nature," 16 

Boon, Daniel, 71 

Booth, John Wilkes, assassinates Lincoln, 
208 ; death of, 208 

"Border Ruffians," 143, 150 

Boston, Mass., taxed tea thrown into harbour 
at, 17; evacuated by Colonists, 25 ; aban- 
doned by British troops, 25 ; Slave Trade 
profitable to, 49 ; Hartford Convention 
resolves to meet again at, 82 

"Boston Tea Party," the, 17, 18 

Breckinridge, nominated for Presidency by 
Southern Democrats, 154 ; Southern sup- 
port of, 155 

Lee's surrender Brown, John, character of, 143 ; his murders 
in Kansas, 144 ; his project for a slave 



241 



242 



INDEX 



insurrection, 152 ', captures Harper's Ferry, 
152 ; execution of, 153 ; repudiated by 
Republican Convention, 153 ; Lincoln on, 
153, 208 

Bryan, William J., nominated for Presi- 
dency, 234 ; defeated by McKinley, 234 

Buchanan, James, elected President, 145 ; 
accepts Lecompton Constitution, 150 ; 
quarrels with Douglas, 150; weakness of, 
158-159; his Message to Congress, 159; 
rejects advice of General Scott, 160; his 
divided Cabinet, 160; attempts to rein- 
force Fort Sumter, 172 

Bull Run, first Battle of, 180-181 ; second 
Battle of, 187 

Bunker's Hill, Battle of, 18 

Burgoyne, General, commands British forces 
in Canada, 28; bis plan, 28; his failure 
and surrender, 29 

Burke, Edmund, inconsistency of, 15 

Burnside, General, defeated by Lee at 
Fredericksburg, 192 

Burr, Aaron, 65 ; Democratic candidate for 
the Vice-Presidency, 66 ; ties with Jefferson 
for the Presidency, 66 ; his intrigues with 
Federalists defeated by Hamilton, 66 ; 
elected Vice-President, 66 ; becomes an 
enemy of Jefferson, 67 ; candidate for 
Governorship of New York, 72 ; Hamilton's 
influence again defeats, 73 ; fights and kills 
Hamilton, 73 ; his plans regarding the 
West, 73-74 ; approaches Jackson, 74 ; 
Jackson on, 75 ; arrest and trial of, 75 

Butler, Benjamin, instrumental in the im- 
peachment of Johnson, 219 ; bis character 
and career, 219 



CALHOUN, JOHN CAiDWELfc, superior to Clay 
as an orator, 79 ; in the running lor the 
Presidency, 90; chosen Vice-President, 
97; his connection with the Eaton affair, 
97-98 ; his quarrel with Jackson, 98 ; de- 
tends Nullification, 99; compromises with 
Clay, IOT ; joins coalition against Jackson, 
102 ; his attitude towards the Indians, 107; 
leaves the Whigs, 110; his transforma- 
tion after quarrel with Jackson, in : his 
advocacy of State Rights, 1 1 1 ; his defence 
of Slavery, in, 134; appointed Secretary 
of State, 115; eager for annexation of 
Texas, 116 ; resists clamour for war with 
England, 117; his argument, 117 ; defends 
Slavery in despatch to Lord Aberdeen, 
118; his action condemned by Northern 
Democrats, 118; not favoured for Presi- 
dency, 119; opposes war with Mexico, 
121 ; advocates strictly defensive policy, 
121 ; foresees consequences of large an- 
nexations, 121-122; opposes Compromise 
of 1850. .128; his "Testament," 128; his 
death and epitaph, 128 ; influence of his 
defence of Slavery on Southern opinion, 
134 ; Jefferson Davis succeeds to position 
of, 140 

California acquired from Mexico, 122 ; gold 
discovered in, 123 ; decision of, to exclude 
Slavery, 123 ; Taylor advocates admission 
of, as a Free State, 125 ; admitted under 
Compromise of i85o..i?6 

Canada, a French colony, 9 ; conquered 
by Great Britain, 10 Burgoyne com- 



mands in, 28 ; not disposed to join re- 
bellion, 28; conquest of, hoped for, So; 
rebellion in, in 

Canning, George, opposes European inter- 
vention in America, 87 ; suggests joint 
action by Great Britain and U.S., .88 

Carnegie, Andrew, massacre of workmen by, 
223 

Carolinas, colonization of, 8 ; overrun by 
Cornwallis and Tarleton, 31. (See also 
North and South Carolinas) 

" Carpet-Baggers," 221, 224 

Cass, General, Democratic candidate for 
Presidency, 125 ; Secretary of State under 
Buchanan, 160 ; for vigorous action 
against Secession, 160, 165 

Catholics, reasons of first Stuarts for leniency 
to, 4 ; find a refuge in Maryland, 5 ; 
establish religious equality, 5 ; disp 
sessed of power, 5 ; New England disli 
tolerating, 38; "Know-Nothing" mo\ 
ment directed against, 138-139 

Chancellorsville, Battle of, 192 

Charles I. grants charter of Maryland, 4 

Charles II. grants William Penn charter for 
Pennsylvania, 7 ; grants charter of Caro- 
linas to Hyde family, 8 

Charleston, South Carolina, occupied by 
Cornwallis, 21 ; Democratic Convention 
meets at, 153 ; Breckinridge nominated 
at, 154 ; cheers election of Lincoln, 156; 
Fort Sumter in harbour of, 172 ; Negro 
demonstrations in, 222 

Chatham, William Pitt, Earl of, directs war 
against France, 10 ; denounces emj 
ment of Indians, 28 

Chattanooga, Battle of, 198 

Cherokee Indians, problem ot the, 
Jackson's attitude towards, 107 ; re- 
moved beyond the Mississippi, 107 

Chesapeake, the, duel with the Shannon, 80 

Chickamanga, Battle of, 198 

Chicago, 111., Republican Convention 
at, 153 

Chinese, immigration of, 230 ; Sumner's 
plea for, 230 ; exclusion of, 231 

Civil War. the, not fought over Slavery, 162 ; 
motives of South, 163-164 ; case for 
North stated, 166-167 ; issue of, as 
defined by Lincoln, 167 ; progress of, 180- 
202 

Clay, Henry, leader of " war hawks," 78 ; 
character of, 78-79 ; signs peace with 
Great Britain, 83 ; arranges Missouri 
Compromise, 85 ; a candidate for the 
Presidency, 91 ; deserted by the West, 
95 ; supports Adams, 95 ; Secretary of 
State, 98 ; responsible for Protectionist 
policy, 100 ; seeks a compromise with 
Calhoun, 101 ; supports U.S. Bank, 105 ; 
crushing defeat of, 105 ; the appropriate 
Whig candidate for Presidency, 113; 
passed over for Harrison, 113 ; partial 
retirement of, 125 ; called upon to save 
the Union, 125 ; his last Compromise, 
126-127; death of, 126, 129 ; Crittenden a 
disciple of, 160 

Cleveland, Grover, elected President, 230; 
second election, 234 

Clinton, Democratic candidate for Vice- 
Presidency, 57 



:s war 

"- 




INDEX 



Cobbett, William, on American prosperity, 
37 ; supports Federalists, 59 

Collectivism, alien to the American temper 
223 

Colonies (see English, French, Dutch, Spanish 
Colonies) 

Columbia, South Carolina, burning of, 201 

Columbia, district of, slavery legal in, 126 : 
slave-trade abolished in, 126 

Columbus, Christopher, discovers America, 
i ; American view of, i ; and the Renais- 
sance, 2 

Compromise of 1850, drafted by Clay, 126; 
supported by Webster, 127 ; opposed by 
Calhoun, 128 ; reasons for failure of, 
129 seq. ; administered by a new genera- 
tion, 139 ; Seward's speech on, 139 

Compromises (see Constitution, Crittenden, 
Missouri) 

Confederate Debt, repudiation of, demanded, 
204, 216 

Confederate States, Constitution of, 169 ; 
Davis President of, 169 ; flag of, raised 
over Fort Sumter, 173 ; Kentucky 
declares war on, 178 ; military position 
of, 178-180 ; Congress of, summoned to 
meet at Richmond, 180 ; send Mason 
and Slidell to Europe, 182 ; blockaded 
184; opportunity to make peace offered 
to, 199 ; slavery dead in, 199, 203 

Congress, how elected, 47 ; U.S. Bank 
secures, 103 ; recommends amendments to 
the Constitution protecting slavery, 168 ; 
opposed to policy of President Johnson, 
214 ; committed to Negro Suffrage, 218 

Connecticut, a Puritan colony, 5 ; accepts 
invitation to Hartford Convention, 81 

Conscription, adopted by both sides in 
Civil War, 195 ; form of, imposed in the 
North, 195 ; New York City resists, 195 

Constitution of United States not modelled 
on British, 45 ; essential principles of, 
45-46 ; compromises of, 46-49 ; slavery 
protected by, 49, 162 ; opposition to, 
51; publicly burnt by Garrison, 133; 
described by South Carolina as a " Treaty," 
157 ; in relation to expansion, 234-235 ; 
amendments to, 54, 67, 161, 168, 203, 
216, 228 

Constitution of Confederate States, 169 

Continental Congress, first meets, 19 ; issues 
" Declaration of Colonial Right," 19 ; 
meeting of, forbidden by British Govern- 
ment. 19 ; second meets, 19 ; issues a 
general call to arms, 19 ; resolves on 
separation from Great Britain, 21 ; 
adopts " Declaration of Independence," 
24; moribund, 41; attempt to remodel 
faite, 43 

Convention meets to frame Constitution, 
42 ; Washington presides over, 42 ; 
debates of, 42 ; Jetferson absent from, 
43, 54 ; difficulties confronting, 43 ; 
decisions of, 44-49 

" Copperheads," name given to Northern 
Pacifists, 192 ; their futility, 193 ; Lin- 
coln's policy regarding, 194-195 ; capture 
Democratic Party, 200 
Cornwallis, Lord, invades South Carolina, 
31 ; retreats to Yorktown, 34 ; surrender 
of, 34 



Cotton industry in American colonies, 
ii ; has nothing to gain from Protection, 
85, 98, 157 

Cowpens, Battle of, 32 

Crawford, William, of Georgia, a candidate 
for the Presidency, 91-92 

Creek Indians, descend on South-west, 81 ; 
Jackson overthrows, 82 ; take refuge in 
Florida, 87 ; pursued by Jackson, 87 

Crittenden, Senator, a disciple of Clay, 
1 60 ; proposes his compromise, 160 ; his 
compromise unacceptable to Lincoln, 161 ; 
rejected, 161 

Cuba, Lincoln fears filibustering in, 161 ; 
American sympathy with insurrection in, 
234 ; at disposal of U.S., 234 ; abandoned, 



assassinates McKinley, 235 



Czolgose, 

DA VIE, cavalry leader, 32 ; at Battle of 
Hanging Rock, 32 

Davis, Jefferson, of Mississippi, successor of 
Calhoun, 140 ; on extension of Slavery, 
144-145 ; elected President of the Con- 
federacy, 169 ; his qualifications and 
defects, 169-170 ; an obstacle to peace, 
199 ; believes Slavery dead, 199, 203 ; 
relieves Johnstone of his command, 
200 ; accused of complicity with Lincoln's 
murder, 209 ; his retort on Johnson, 209 ; 
never brought to trial, 217 

" Declaration of Colonial Right," 19 

" Declaration of Independence," drafted 
by Jefferson, 22 ; quoted, 22 ; its implica- 
tions, 23-24 ; Slave Trade condemned 
in original draft, 48-49 ; Slavery in- 
consistent with, 148 ; misinterpreted by 
Douglas, 151 ; misunderstood by Sumner, 
205-207 ; invoked by Sumner in favour 
of Chinese, 232 

De Grasse, in command of French fleet, 

Delaware, acquired from Dutch, 7 ; small 
slave population of, 176 

Democracy, in English colonies, 13, 16 ; 
theory of, 23-24 ; application of, in 
America, 36-37 ; unjust charges against, 
65 ; characteristic of the West. 92 ; 
Jackson's loyalty to, 93 ; its true bearing 
on the Negro problem, 206-207 ; effect 
of, on corruption, 229 

Democratic Party, name ultimately taken 
by followers of Jefferson, 57 ; organiza- 
tion of, under Jackson, 96, 108 ; unwise 
attacks on Harrison by, 113-114 ; refuses 
to come to rescue of Tyler, 115 ; chooses 
Polk as Presidential candidate, 119 ; 
holds Convention at Charleston, 153 ; 
split in, 154; captured by "Copper- 
heads," 200 ; defeated by trickery in 1876, 
225, 22<j ; returns Cleveland, 230 ; unites 
with Populists in support ot Bryan, 
234 ; returns Wilson, 236 

Donalson, Fort, captured by Grant, 183 

Douglas, Stephen, on Slavery, 130, 141 ; 
Senator for Illinois, 140 ; character of, 
140-141 ; motives of, 141-142; introduces 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 142 ; his doctrine 
of " Popular Sovereignty," 142 ; upsets 
Missouri Compromise, 142 ; results of 
his policy, I43-M4 J accepts Dred Scott 



244 



INDEX 



decision, 147 ; rejects Lecompton Constitu- 
tion, 150; his quarrel with Buchanan, 150; 
his contest with Lincoln, 150 ; debates 
with Lincoln, 151-152 ; rejected by the 
South, 153 ; nominated for Presidency, 
154 ; defeat of, 155 ; supports Crittenden 
Compromise, if-o ; his patriotism, 174 ; 
present at Lincoln's inauguration, 174 ; 
his last campaign and death, 174 

Draft Riots in New York, 195 

Dred Scott decision delivered by Taney, 
146 ; its implications, 146-147 ; rejected 
by Republicans, 147 ; accepted by 
Douglas, 147 ; fatal to " Popular Sove- 
reignty," 147 ; necessitates an amend- 
ment to Constitution, 161 

Dutch colonies in America, 7 

EATON, Major, in Jackson's Cabinet, 97 ; 
marriage of, 97;' Calhoun accused" of 
wishing to ruin, 98 

Eaton, Mrs., charges against, 97 ; boycott 
of. 97 ; Jackson takes part of, 97-98 

Electoral College, original theory of, 46 ; 
responsible for choice of Adams, 62 ; 
tie between Jefferson and Burrin, 66 ; 
figment of, destroyed, 96 ; Lincoln's 
majority in, 155 

Emancipation Proclamation, decision to 
issue after Antietam, 189 ; Lincoln's 
defence of, 191 ; effect abroad, 191 

Embargo, imposed by Jefferson, 76; with- 
drawn, 77 

Emerson on John Brown, 153 

England and Spain, 3. (See also Great 
Britain) 

English colonies in America, 3 ; French 
attempt to hem in, 9 ; economic position 
of, 10-12 ; government of, 12-13 ; de- 
mocracy in, 13 ; proposal to tax, 14-15, 
17; attitude of, 16-17; unite, 19; 
declare their independence, 22 ; France 
forms alliance with, 30 ; independence of, 
recognized by Great Britain, 35 ; in- 
ternal revolution in, 36 

" Era of Good Feeling," 86, 90 

Erie Railway scandal, 228, 229 

Erskine, British Minister at Washington, 77 

Everett, nominated as candidate for Presi- 
dency, 154 ; Border States support, 155 

FARRAGUE, Admiral, takes New Orleans, 186 
Federalist, The, established to defend the 
Constitution, 51 ; Hamilton and Madison 
contribute to, 51 

Federalist Party, support a National Bank, 
57 ; sympathies of, with England against 
France, 59 ; pass Alien and Sedition Acts, 
63 ; Burr's intrigues with, 66, 72 ; oppose 
Louisiana Purchase, 70 ; suicide of, 7r 
Fessenden, Senator, on Charles Sumner, 205 
Fifteenth Amendment, effect of, 228 
Filmore, Millard, succeeds Taylor as Presi- 
dent, 125 ; his succession favourable to 
Clay, 126 

Florida, British land in, 82; Jackson 
expels British from, 82 ; acquired by U.S., 
86-87 ; secedes from Union, 161 ; Negro 
government of, makes fraudulent return, 

Floyd, Secretary for War under Buchanan, 






160 ; his sympathy with secession, 160; 
his distribution of the U.S. armament, 179 

Force Bills, demanded by Jackson, 100 ; 
supported by Webster, 101 ; precedence 
for, insisted on, 101 ; signed by Jackson, 
101 ; nullified by South Carolina, 101 

" Forty-Seven-Forty-or-Fight," 117, 120 

Fourteenth Amendment, provisions of, 
216; Southern opposition to, 217 ; Lee's 
views on, 217 

France and England in America, 9 ; War 
with, 9-10 ; hesitates to recognize 
American independence, 29 ; forms alli- 
ance with revolted colonies, 30 ; Jefferson 
Minister to, 42 ; Jefferson's sympathy with, 
59-60 ; badly served by Genet, 60 ; 
anger with, over " X.Y.Z. letters," 63 ; 
acquires Louisiana, 68 ; sells to U.S., 68 ; 
Jackson settles disputes with, 107 ; inter- 
vention of, in Mexico, 213 ; American 
sympathy with, 237 

Franklin, Benjamin, goes to France to 
solicit help for, 29 ; represents Con- 
federation at Peace Congress, 35 ; a 
member of the Convention, 42 ; dislikes 
provision regarding fugitive slaves, 48 

Frederick the Great, his creed contrasted 
with Jefferson's, 239 

Freemasons, origin of, 112 ; death of Morgan 
attributed to, 112; outcry against, 112; 
President Jarkson a, 112 

Free Trade, established between States, 44 ; 
with England, South Carolina's desire for, 
157. (See o/iO Protection) 

Fremont, General, Republican candidate 
for Presidency, 145 ; commands in Mis- 
souri, 190 ; proclamation of, regarding 
slaves repudiated by Lincoln, 190 ; candi- 
date of Radical Republicans for the 
Presidency, 200 ; withdrawn, 200 

French Canadians, antagonized by New 
England intolerance, 38 

French Colonies in America, 9-10 

French Revolution, Jefferson's interest in, 
54 ; American enthusiasm for, 58 ; New 
England shocked at, 58 ; continued 
popularity of, 60; effect of, in Latin 
America. 87 

Fugitive Slaves, their return provided for 
by Constitution, 48 ; provision nullified 
by some Northern States, 127, 136 

Fugitive Slave Law, part of Compromise of 
1850.. 127; accepted by Lincoln, 149, 
1 68 ; Lincoln's strict enforcement of, 
171, 189 

GARFIELD, President, elected, 229 ; mur- 
dered, 229 

Garrison, William Lloyd, founder of Northern 
Abolitionism, 132 ; his view of Slavery, 
133 ; his hostility to the Union, 133 ; 
on Southern Abolitionism, 133 ; on 
Secession, 164 

Gates, General, Burgoyne surrenders to, 29 

Genet, French Minister to U.S., 60 ; his 
reception, 60 ; bis mistakes, 60 

George III. determined on subjection of 
American Colonies, 17 

German mercenaries employed by Great 
Britain, 27, 34 

German population ia U.S., 237 



INDEX 



245 



German propaganda in U.S., 237 

Germany (see Prussia) 

Gerrard, James W., American Ambassador 
at Berlin, 238 ; foresees war, 239 

Gerry, a member of the Convention, 42 

Gettysburg, Battle of, 196 

Ghent, Peace of, 83 

" Good Feeling, Era of," 86, 90 

Grant, Ulysses S., captures Forts Henry 
and Donalson, 183 ; attacked at Shilob, 
184 ; captures Vicksburg, 196 ; appointed 
commander of U.S. forces, 197 ; his 
career and character, 197 ; in Virginia 
198 ; outmanoeuvred by Lee, 198 ; fights 
in the Wilderness, 198 ; Lee surrenders to, 
202 ; his report on temper of the South, 
213 ; quarrel with Johnson, 219 ; elected 
President, 223 ; a tool of the politicians, 
223 ; corruption under, 228 ; implicated 
in Missouri Whisky scandal, 228 

Great Britain imposes taxes on her colonies, 
14 et seq. ; revokes charter of Massa- 
chusetts, 1 8 ; inadequate military action 
of, 19 ; prohibits Continental Congresses, 
19 ; practical reasons for repudiating 
sovereignty of, 20 ; Continental Congress 
resolves on separation from, 21 ; sends 
out expedition under Howe, 27; effect 
of Burgoyne's surrender on, 29 ; loses 
mastery of the sea, 34 ; recognizes inde- 
pendence of the colonies, 35 ; complains 
of non-fulfilment of peace terms, 41 ; 
goes to war with French Revolution, 
59 ; claims right to search American 
ships, 77 ; war with, 79 ; hatred of, con- 
sequent on burning of Washington, 80 ; 
sends fleet to the Gulf of Mexico, 81 ; 
weary of war, 83 ; peace concluded with, 
83 ; separates from Holy Alliance, 87 ; 
proposes joint declaration with U.S., 
88 ; her postulate of naval supremacy 
compared with the Monroe Doctrine, 
88-89 ; Jackson settles disputes with, 
107 ; Jackson's tribute to, 107 ; war 
with, avoided, in ; claims in Oregon, 117 ; 
clamour for war with, 117 ; Calhoun's 
objections to war with, 117; intervenes 
in Texas question, 118 ; Calhoun's 
despatch to, 118; variation of opinion 
in, concerning Civil War, 181-182 ; pro- 
claims neutrality, 182 ; anger in, over 
Trent affair, 183 ; Alabama built in, 192 ; 
declared not to have shown " reasonable 
care," 192 ; pays compensation, 192 ; 
war with no remedy for sectional divisions, 
213 ; less popular in America than 
France, 237 ; allowed to be in the right 
against Prussia, 237 

Greeley, Horace, editor of New York Tribune, 
164 ; on Secession, 164 ; his " Prayer 
of the Twenty Millions," 190 ; Lincoln's 
reply to, 190 ; his inconsistency, 193 ; 
goes bail for Davis, 217 

Grenville, George, proposes Stamp Duty 
for America, 14 

Guiteau, murders President Garfield, 229 

HAMILTON, AIEXANDER, a member of the 
Convention, 42 ; writes for the Federalist. 
51 ; Secretary to the Treasury, 52 ; his 
opinions and policy, 53-54 > W s financial 



successes, 55 ; proposes taking over State 
Debts, 55 ; buys off Southern opposition, 
55 ; proposes creation of National Bank, 
56 ; opposition to, 57 ; defeats Burr's 
intrigues for the Presidency, 66 ; opposes 
Burr's candidature in New York, 73 : 
death of, 73 

Hampton Roads, negotiations at, 199 

Hanging Rock, Battle of, 32 

Harper's Ferry, John Brown captures, 152 ; 
Jackson sent back to hold, 189 

Harrison, General, an imitation Jackson, 
113; his nickname of " Tippercanoe," 
113; elected President, 114; dies soon 
after election, 114 

Harrison, Benjamin, Republican President, 
234 

Haitford Convention, summoned, 81 ; pro- 
ceedings of, 82 ; Jackson on conveners 
of, 100 

Hawkins, Sir John, pioneer of the Slave 
Trade, 12 

Hayes, President, fraudulent election of, 
225 

Henay Fort, captured by Grant, 183 

Henry, Patrick, on Stamp Act, 16 ; opposes 
Constitution, 51 

Holt, a Southerner, supports the Union, 
165 

Holy Alliance proposes to re-subjugate 
Spanish colonies, 87 ; Great Britain 
separated from, 87 

Hooker, General Joseph, defeated at Wil- 
liamsburg, 186 ; trapped in the Wilder- 
ness, 192 ; defeated at Chancellorsville, 
192 

House of Representatives, how elected, 47 ; 
Burr's intrigues in, 66 ; chooses Adams for 
President, 94 ; a Democratic majority 
secured in, 229 

Howe, Lord, commands British expedition 
to America, 27 

ILLITERATES, exclusion of, 232 

Immigration of Irish, 138 ; of Chinese, 230 ; 
change in attitude towards, 231 ; Act 
passed over President Wilson's Veto, 232 

Impeachment of Andrew Johnson, 218 

Imperialism in U.S., 234 

Indians, Penn's Treaty with, 8 ; employed 
by Great Britain, 28 ; effect of, on the 
West, 71. (See also Cherokee, Creek 
Seminole) 

Ingersoll, Robert, defends Elaine, 229 

Irish, immigration of, 138 ; qualities and 
power of, 138 ; " Know-Nothing " agita- 
tion against, 138 ; antagonism to Negroes, 
195. (Sei also Scotch-Irish) 

JACKSON, ANDREW, fights at Hanging Rock, 
32 ; commands Tennessee militia, 74; 
relations with Burr, 74~75 J defeats the 
Creek Indians, 82 ; expels British from 
Florida, 82 ; successful defence of New 
Orleans by, 83 ; pursues Indians into 
Florida, 87 ; conduct in Florida, 87 ; 
appointed Governor, 87 ; nominated for 
Presidency, 92 ; his character, 93-94 5 
passed over for Adams, 94 ; shocked at 
the Adams-Clay bargain, 95 ; attacked 
through his wife, 96 ; elected President 



246 



INDEX 



96 ; his clearance of Government offices, 
96-97 ; coalition against, 97 ; his quarrel 
with Calhoun, 98 ; his toast at the Jeffer- 
son Banquet, 100 ; demands the coercion 
of S. Carolina, 100 ; dislikes Clay-Calhoun 
compromise, 101 ; insists on precedence 
for Force Bill, 101 ; signs Force Bill and 
New Tariff, 101 ; on Nullification and 
Secession, 107 ; his attitude towards 
U.S. Bank, 103 ; vetoes Bill for re-charter, 
103 ; triumphant re-election, 105 ; orders 
removal of Bank deposits, 106 ; censured 
by Senate, 106 ; censure on, expunged, 
107 ; treatment of Cherokees by, 107 ; 
foreign policy of, 107 ; on relations with 
Great Britain, 107 ; Palmerston on, 108 ; 
retirement of, 108 ; results of bis Presi- 
dency, 108-109 ; nominates his successor, 
no; Harrison's candidature an imitation 
of, 113 ; his memory invoked in, 1860. . 
1 60 ; his plans for coercing S. Carolina 
sent to Buchanan, 160 

Jackson, " Stonewall," nickname earned 
at Bull Run, 181 ; campaign in Shenan- 
doah Valley, 186 ; sent back to hold 
Harper's Ferry, 189 ; death of, 192 ; 
Lee's tribute to, 192 

Jackson, replaces Erskine as British repre- 
sentative at Washington, 77 

Jacksonians, rally of, to the Union, 165 

James I., attitude of, towards Catholics, 4 ; 
approves Baltimore's project, 4 

Jefferson, Thomas, delegate to Second Con- 
tinental Congress, 20 ; his character, 20- 
21 ; his political creed, 21 ; drafts 
" Declaration of Independence," 22 ; 
nearly captured by the British, 34 ; 
effects reforms in Virginia, 36 ; his belief 
in religious equality, 36 ; a Deist, 39 ; 
his project for extinguishing Slavery, 41 ; 
Minister to France, 43 ; on Slavery, 50, 
130; returns to America, 54; Secretary 
of State, 54 ; accepts the Constitution, 
54 ; helps to settle taking over of State 
Debts, 55 ; repents of his action, 55 ; 
his view of American neutrality, 59 ; his 
sympathy with France, 60 ; on insur- 
rections, 61 ; drafts Kentucky Resolu- 
tions, 63-64 ; elected President, 64 ; bis 
inauguration, 67 ; his Inaugural Address, 
67 ; refuses to recognize Adams' appoint- 
ments, 68 ; negotiates purchase of Louis- 
iana, 68 ; his diplomacy, 69 ; his 
alleged inconsistency, 69-70 ; orders 
arrest of Burr, 74 ; re-elected, 75 ; atti- 
tude regarding Napoleonic Wars, 76 ; 
places embargo on American trade, 76; 
withdraws embargo, 77 ; favours pro- 
hibition of Slavery in Territories, 85 ; 
character of his government, 90 ; Demo- 
cratic Banquet on his birthday, 100 ; 
his doctrine misrepresented by Sumner, 
205 ; his fears justified, 226 ; his creed 
contrasted with Frederick the Great's, 
239 

Jewish problem in America, 232 ; influence 

in American Socialism, 233 
Johnson, Andrew, elected Vice-President, 
200 ; becomes President, 209 ; accuses 
Davis of complicity in murder of Lincoln, 
209 ; Davis's retort on, 209 ; bitterness 



of, against Confederate leaders, 209 ; 
his difficulties and defects, 210; his 
electioneering campaign, 218 ; vetoes 
Reconstruction Bill, 218 ; impeachment 
of, 218 ; acquittal of, 218 
Johnstone, General Joseph E., in Shenandoah 
Valley, 180 ; joins Beauregard at Bull 
Run, 180 ; eludes McClellan, 186 ; con- 
tests Sherman's advance, 199 ; relieved 
of his command, 200 ; Lee attempts to 
effect a junction with, 201 ; surrenders 
to Sherman, 213 

KANSAS, sectional quarrels in, 143 ; con- 
stitution for, adopted at Lecompton, 150 
Kansas-Nebraska Bill introduced by Douglas, 
141 ; doctrine of " Popular Sovereignty" 
introduced into, 142 ; effect of, in Kansas, 
143 ; Republican Party formed to oppose, 
145 

Kentucky, protest of, against Alien and 
Sedition Laws, 63-64 ; opened to coloniza- 
tion by Boon, 71 ; Lincoln a native of, 
147; proclaims "neutrality" in Civil 
War, 177; Lincoln's diplomatic treat- 
ment of, 177-178 ; her soil violated by 
Confederates, 178 ; declares war on 
Confederacy, 179 
Kentucky Resolutions, 63-64 
" Know-Nothing " party, 138-139 
Ku-Klux-Klan, organization and methods 
of, 223 ; Act passed to put down, 224 ; 
its work done, 224 

LABOUR Unions, 223 ; movement not Col- 
lectivist, 223 ; hostility of, to the Trusts, 
223-224 

Lafayette, the Marquis de, eomes to America, 

Lawrence, Free Soil settlement of, burnt, 
J 43 

Lecompton Constitution framed, 150 ; ac- 
cepted by Buchanan, 150 ; rejected and 
defeated by Douglas, 150 

Lee proposes separation from Great Britain, 
22 

Lee, Robert E., sent by Davis to the Crimea, 
170 ; sounded as to accepting command 
.of Federal forces, 175; refuses, 176; 
resigns bis commission, 176 ; accepts 
Virginian command, 176; on Slavery, 
176 ; opposed to Secession, 176 ; his 
view of State Rights, 176-177; defeats 
McClellan, 186 ; defeats Pope, 187 ; 
invades Maryland, 187 ; his proclamation, 
189 ; fights McClellan at Antietam, 189 ; 
retires into Virginia, 189 ; defeats Hooker 
at Chancellorsville, 192 ; defeats Burn- 
side at Fredericksburg, 192 ; invades 
Pennsylvania, 196 ; defeated at Get- 
tysburg, 196 ; gets back unhammered, 
196 ; outmanoeuvres Grant, 198 ; fights 
in the Wilderness, 198 ; his proposal to 
recruit Negroes, 199 ; effect of Sherman's 
march on, 201 ; attempts to join John- 
stone, 201 ; surrenders to Grant, 202 ; 
his views on Fourteenth Amendment, 217 

Liberator, the, founded by Garrison, 133 ; 
Lincoln denounced by, 148 

Lincoln, Abraham, joins Republican Party, 
147 ; his career and character, 148-149 ; 




INDEX 



247 



his contest with Douglas, 150; debates 
with Douglas, 151 ; chosen candidate 
for the Presidency, 153; elected Presi- 
dent, 155 ; objects to Crittenden Com- 
promise, 161 ; South ignorant of character 
of, 163-164 ; defines issue of Civil War, 
167 ; his Inaugural Address, 168-169 J 
his policy, 171-172 ; sends supplies to 
Foit Sumter, 172 ; calls for soldiers, 174 ; 
returns Mason and Slidell, 183 ; refuses 
to supersede McClellan, 185 ; replaces 
McClellan by Pope, 187; effect of his 
personality on Maryland, 188 ; decides 
to issue Emancipation Proclamation, 189 ; 
his reply to Greeley, 190 ; defends procla- 
mation as a military measure, 191 ; on 
Grant, 196-197; appoints Grant com- 
mander-in-chief, 197 ; prepared to com- 
pensate Southern slave owners, 199 ; re- 
elected, 199 ; opposition of Radicals to, 
200 ; his policy of Reconstruction, 204 ; 
on Negro Suffrage, 204 ; last public speech, 
207 ; assassinated, 208 ; his advantages 
lacked by Johnson, 210 

"Little Giant, the," nickname of Stephen 
Douglas, 140 

Longfellow on John Brown, 153 

Long Island, Battle of, 27 

Look-Out Mountain, Battle of, 198 

Louisiana, a French colony, 9 ; ceded to 
Spain, 10 ; re-ceded to Napoleon, 68 ; 
bought by U.S., 68 ; Burr's plans re- 
garding, 73-74 ; secedes from the Union, 
161 ; Lincoln's plan for reconstruction 
of, 204 ; Negro government of, makes 
fraudulent returns, 225 

Love joy, killed, 135 

Lowell, James Russell, expresses sentiments 
of Anti-War Whigs, 121 ; his satire on 
Taylor's candidature, 124 

Lusitania, the, sunk, 238 

Lyon, Captain, commands Union forces in 
Missouri, 176 



MACAUEAY on Calhoun's dispatch, n8 

McClellan, General, sent to Crimea by Davis, 
170 ; clears West Virginia of Confederates, 
181 ; supersedes McDowell, 181 ; trains 
army of the Potomac, 185 ; his defects, 
185 ; lands on Yorktown peninsula, 
186 ; besieges Yorktown, 186 ; beaten 
by Lee, 186; retires to Harrison's Land- 
ing, 1 86 ; superseded, 187 ; reinstated, 
189 ; fights Lee at Antietam, 189 ; Demo- 
cratic candidate for the Presidency, 200 ; 
defeat of, 200 

McDowell, General, advances into Virginia, 
180 ; defeated at Bull Run, 180-181 ; 
superseded, 181 ; ordered to join Mc- 
Clellan, 186 ; fails to cut off Jackson, 186 

McKinley, William, elected President, 234 ; 
re-elected, 235 ; assassinated, 235 

McLane, Jackson's Secretary to the Treasury, 
104 ; favourable to the U.S. Bank, 104 ; 
transferred to State Department, 106 

Madison, James, a member of the Con- 
vention, 42 ; writes for the Federalist, 
51 ; President, 77 5 bis pacific leanings, 
78 ; war forced on, 79 ; re-elected by 
sectional vote, 79 



Maine, colonized troin New England, 5 ; 
admitted as a State, 86 

Maine, the, blown up, 234 

March to the Sea, Sherman's, 201 

Maryland, founded by Lord Baltimore, 4 ; 
early history of, 5 ; strategic importance 
of, 177 ; menacing attitude of, 177 ; 
Lincoln's success with, 177 ; Lee invades, 
187 ; Southern illusions concerning, 188 ; 
refuses to rise, 188-189 > becomes a Free 
State, 203 

" Maryland I My Maryland J " 188 

Mason-Dixon Line drawn, 7; becomes 
boundary of Slave States, 41 

Mason and Slidell, Confederate envoys to 
Europe, 182 ; seized by Captain Wilkes, 
182 ; English anger over seizure of, 183 ; 
Northern rejoicings over, 183 ; returned 
by Lincoln, 183 

Massachusetts, a Puritan Colony, 5 ; resists 
Tea Tax, 17 ; charter of, revoked, 18 ; 
attempt to coerce, 25 ; Hartford Con- 
vention called by. 81 ; votes for War with 
Mexico, 1 20 ; Webster's influence with, 
127 ; Sumner Senator for, 139 ; troops 
from, stoned in Baltimore, 177 

Maximilian, placed on Mexican throne, 213 ; 
his death, 214 

Mayflower, the, voyage of, 5 

Meade, General, defeats Lee at Gettysburg, 
196 ; permits him to retire unhammercd, 
196 

Metrimac, the, exploits of, 184; duel with 
the Monitor, 184 

Mexican War, outbreak of, 120 ; compared 
to Boer War, 120-121 ; opposition to, 
121 ; successful prosecution of, 122; 
results of, 122-123 

Mexico, Texas secedes from, 115 ; dispute 
with, over Texan boundary, 120; U.S. 
goes to war with, 120 ; Calhoun opposes 
invasion of, 121 ; defeat of, 122 ; peace 
terms dictated to, 122 ; Lincoln fears 
filibustering in, 161 ; Napoleon III. inter- 
feres in, 213 

Mexico City taken, 120 

Ministers, excluded from Congress, 45 

Missionary Ridge, charge up, 198 

Mississippi. Davis Senator lor, 140 ; secedes 
from Union, 161 

Mississippi River, upper, secured by Grant's 
victories, 184 ; whole in Federal control, 
196 

Missouri, disputes regarding admission of, 
85 ; admitted as a Slave State, 86 ; 
settlers from, invade Kansas, 143, 150; 
defeat ^Secessionists in, 176; becomes 
a Free State, 203 

Missouri Compromise effected, 86; terms 
of, 86 ; validity of, disputed, 142 ; vio- 
lated by Kansas-Nebraska Bill, 142 : 
party formed to defend, 143 ; declared 
invalid, 147 

Missouri Whisky Ring, 228 

Monitor, the, duel with the Merrimac, 184 

Monroe, James, a member of the War 
Party, 78; President, 84; declares European 
intervention unfriendly to U.S., 88 ; last 
of the Virginian dynasty, 91 

Monroe Doctrine, propounded, 88 ; keystone 
of American policy, 88-89 application 



248 



INDEX 



to Texas, 118; Napoleon III. violates, 

213 
Monterey, defeat of Mexicans at, 120; 

Davis wounded at, 140 
Morgan, murder of, 112 

NAPOLEON I., obtains Louisiana, 68 ; sells 
to U.S., 68 ; Jefferson's attitude towards, 
76 

Napoleon III., intervenes in Mexico, 213 ; 
withdraws, 214 

Nashville, Tennessee, abandoned by Con- 
federates, 184 

National Debt, establishment of, 55 ; not 
to be repudiated, 216 

" National Republicans," policy of, 84 

Navigation Laws, n, 15 

Navy, U.S., successes of, in War of, 1812.. 
80 ; use of, by North, 184 ; New Orleans 
captured by, 186 

Negroes, brought to America as slaves, 12 ; 
Jefferson's views on, 75 ; Irish antagonism 
to, 195 ; Lee proposes recruitment of, 
199 ; problem of, not settled by emanci- 
pation, 203 ; behaviour of, during Civil 
War, 212 ; Southern feeling towards, 
212-213 ; their desire for freedom, 221 ; 
their political incompetence, 221 ; organi- 
zation of, 221 ; conduct of, 222 ; thrown 
over by the Republican Party, 228 ; 
concession to, in Immigration Law, 231 

Negro Rule, imposed on the South, 220 ; 
effects of, 222 ; resistance offered to, 223 ; 
overthrow of, 224-225 ; results of, 225- 
226 

Negro Slavery (see Slavery) 

Negro Suffrage, Lincoln's proposals regard- 
ing, 204 ; provisions of Fourteenth Amend- 
ment as to, 217 ; Lee on prospects of, 217 ; 
Congress committed to, 218 ; imposed on 
the South, 220 

New Hampshire, colonized foi New England, 

New Jersey, acquisition of, 7 

New Mexico, acquired by U.S., 122 ; open 
to Slavery, 126 

New Orleans, attacked by British, 83 ; 
Jackson successfully defends, 83 ; message 
ot Dix to, 165 ; captured by Farragut, 
186 ; racial riot in, 218 

New York, origin of, 6 ; becomes a British 
possession, 6; the objective of Lord 
Howe, 27 ; votes with the South, 58 ; 
Tammany Hall founded in, 58 ; Burr 
controls Democratic organization of, 66 ; 
runs for Governor of, 72 ; Van Buren 
fears power of Bank in, 104 ; riots against 
Draft in, 195 

New York Tribune, on Secession, 164 

North, the, insignificance of Slavery in, 40 ; 
Slavery abolished in, 40 ; divergence 
between South and, 47 ; balance between 
South and, 47, 85 ; Abolitionists un- 
popular in, 135 ; attitude of, towards 
slave -owning, 136; resents abrogation 
of Missouri Compromise, 144 ; vote of, 
for Lincoln, 155 ; opinions in, regarding 
Secession, 164-165 ; anger of, over Fort 
Sumter, 173 ; effect of Lincoln's assassina- 
tion on, 208-209 ; Johnson out of touch 
with, 210; doubts of, regarding Recon- 



struction, 2 1 1-2 12 ; tired of protecting 

Negro Governments, 224 
North Carolina rejects Secession, 171 ; 

secedes from Union, 175 
North, Lord, consents to coerce Colonies, 

1 8 ; offers terms, 29 ; resignation of, 34 
" Nullification " foreshadowed in Kentucky 

Resolutions, 63-64 ; proclaimed by South 

Carolina, 99 ; defended by Calhoun, 99 ; 

repudiated by Jackson, 100 ; applied to 

Force Bill, 101 ; not discredited in South, 

102 
Nulliflers, attitude of, 98-99 ; miscalculate 

Jackson's temper, 100 ; Jackson proposes 

to coerce, 100 ; Jackson's warning against, 

102 

OHIO, invaded by British, 80 

" Old Hickory," nickname of Andrew Jack- 
son, 93, 113 

Oregon, dispute concerning territory of, 
117; outcry for war over, 117; Calhoun 
on disadvantages of war over, 117 

" PALMETTO Flag " ot South Carolina, 158 
Parliament, claim of, to tax the colonies, 

14 et seq. 

Party System, unreality necessary to a, 137 
Perm, William, founds Pennsylvania, 7 ; 

establishes religious equality, 8 ; his 

treaty with the Indians, 8 ; disapproves 

of Slavery, 12 
Pennsylvania, founded by Perm, 7 ; cleared 

of the French, 10 ; Slavery legal in, 12 ; 

Washington retreats into, 28 ; " Whisky 

Insurrection " in, 61 ; invaded by Lee, 196 
Pensacola, British occupy, 82 ; dislodged 

from, 82 
Perry, Commander, burns British fleet on 

the Lakes, 80 
Personal Liberty Laws passed in certain 

Northern States, 136; disposition to 

repeal, 163 

Personal Rights Bill, Sumner's, 214 
Philadelphia, capital of Pennsylvania, 8 ; 

abandoned by Washington, 28 ; Conven- 
tion meets at, 42 
Phillipine Islands, left at disposal of U.S., 

234 ; annexed, 235 
Phillips, Wendell, on Secession, 164 
Pickett's Brigade, charge of, 196 
Pierce, Franklin, elected President, 139; 

Sumner compares Grant to, 213 
Pinckney, of South Carolina, a member of 

the Convention, 42 
Pinkerton, private assassinators hired by, 

Polk, chosen as Democratic candidate for 
Presidency, 119 ; elected, 120; embarrassed 
over Oregon question, 120; decides for 
war with Mexico, 120 ; asks for supply to 
purchase Mexican territory, 122 

Pope, General, succeeds McClellan, 187; 
defeated at second Battle of Bull Run, 
187 

Populist Party, objects of, 234 ; supports 
Bryan, 234 

President, powers of, 45 ; method of election, 
46 ; effect of Jacksonian Revolution on 
position of, 109 

Progressive Party formed by Roosevelt, 230 



. 

'! 






INDEX 



249 



Protection adopted after War of 1812.. 84 ; 
Cotton States opposed to, 85, 98 ; Re- 
publican Party and tradition of, 227 

Prussia forces -war on Europe, 237 ; attacks 
neutral Belgium, 237; sinks Lusitania, 

238 ; revives campaign of murder at sea, i 

239 ; contrasted with U.S., 239 

Puritan Colonies in America, 5-6 ; dislike i 
of Catholicism in, 38 ; feeling against : 
Irish, 138-139 

QUEBEC, taken by Wolfe, 10 
Quincey, Josiah, protest of against Louisiana 
Purchase, 70 

RADICAL Republicans, Chase favoured by, 
153 ; adopt Fremont as candidate, 200 ; 
oppose Lincoln on Reconstruction, 204 ; j 
Sumner spokesman of, 205 ; still a mi- j 
nority, 21 r ; increased power in Congress, , 
218 ; commit Congress to Negro Suffrage, 
218 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, projects Colony of ! 
Virginia, 3-4 

Randolph, John, draws up declaration of 
neutrality, 59 

Randolph, Peyton, presides at first Conti- i 
nental Congress, 19 ; absent from second, ! 
20 

Reconstruction, Lincoln's views on, 204 ; ! 
Congress takes up, 216 ; Bill passed by ! 
Congress over Johnson's veto, 218. (See ; 
also Negro Rule) 

Religious Equality, established in Maryland, i 
5 ;' in Pennsylvania, 8 ; true theory of, ' 
36-38 ; in American Constitution, 38 

"Republican" original name oi Jefferson's 
party, 57. (See also Democratic Party) 

Republican Party formation of, 145 ; Frd- 
mont Presidential candidate of, 145 ; j 
adopts Lincoln as candidate, 153 ; victory i 
of, 155 ; Johnson out of touch with, | 
209 ; reasons for supporting Negro ' 
rule, 224 ; secures Presidency by a trick, : 
225 ; change in character of, 227-228 ; j 
abandons cause of Negro, 228 ; becomes 
Capitalist party, 228 ; Roosevelt's efforts ! 
to reform, 235 

Revolution oi 1689 transfers government of j 
Maryland to Protestants, 5 ; Hamilton's i 
admiration for, 54 

Revolution, French (see French Revolution) 

Rhode Island, a Puritan Colony, 5 ; pro- 
visional acceptance of invitation to 
Hartford Convention, 81 

Richmond, Virginia, capital of Confederacy 
transferred to, 176 ; Confederate Congress 
to meet at, 180 ; Northern demand for 
capture of, 180 ; abandoned by Lee, 201 

Rocbambeau, co-operates with Washington 
against Cornwallis, 34 

Rockingham Whigs, repeal Stamp Act, 16 ; 
conclude peace, 35 

Roosevelt, Theodore, elected Vice-President , 
235 ; succeeds McKinley, 235 ; his cam- 
paign against Trusts, 235 ; popularity of, 
235 ; denounces his successor, 236 ; 
founds Progressive Party, 236 ; wishes 
U.S. to join Allies, 238 

Rosecrans, General, defeated at Chicka- 
mange, 198 



SANFRAWcisco,KepublicanConventionat,236 

Saratoga, Burgoyne's surrender at, 29 ; 
effect of, 29-3? 

"Scallywags," 221 

Scotch-Irish, immigration of, 8-9 

Secession, contemplated at Hartford Con- 
vention, 8t ; talked of in South Caroli a, 
123 ; of South Carolina, 158 ; of Gulf 
States, 161 ; motives of, 163-164 ; 
><orthern views of, 164 ; Abolitionists 
favour. 164 ; Greeley on, 164 ; Jaok- 
sonians oppose, 165 ; a popular movement, 
1 66 ; Lincoln denies right of, 160 ; Douglas 
resists, 174 ; of Virginia, e'.c., 176 

Sedition Law, 63 

Seminole Indians, Jackson pursues, 87 

Senate, how chosen, 47 ; Whig majority 
in, 106 ; refuses to confirm appointment 
of Tancy, 106 ; censures Tackson, 106 ; 
Censure expunged, 107 ; Northern ma- 
jority in, 163 

Seven Years' War, outbreak of, 9 

Seward, William, Senator, for New York, 
139 ; his speech on Fugitive Slave Law, 
139 ; passed over for Fr6mont, 145 ; 
for Lincoln, 1*3 ; Secretary of State, 
172 ; attempt to assassinate, 207 ; his 
desire for foreign war, 213 

Shannon, the, duel with the Chesapeake, 80 

Shay's Insurrection, 42 ; Jefferson on, 61 

Shenandoah Valley, johnstone in, 180 ; 
Jackson's campaign in, 186 ; Sheridan in, 
201 

Sheridan, General, his campaign in Shenan- 
doah Valley, 201 

Sherman, Senator John, opposes Negro 
Suffrage, 218 

Sherman, General William T., left in com- 
mand in the West, 197 ; wins Battle of 
Chattanooga, 198 ; moves on Atlanta, 
199 ; takes Atlanta, 200 ; his march to the 
sea, 201 ; receives surrender of Johnstone, 
213; his proposed terms of peace, 213 

Slavery, reappears in New World, 3 ; legal 
in all English Colonies, 12 ; difference in 
North and South, 12 ; general disapproval 
of, 40 ; disappears in Northern States, 
40 ; Jefferson's proposals for extinction 
of, 41 ; Constitutional Compromises over, 
48-49 ; opinion on American Fathers 
regarding, 49, 50, 129 ; Jefferson on, 
50 ; excluded from North-West Terri- 
tories, 85 ; Missouri Compromises con- 
cerning, 86; Calhoun's defence of, in, 
118, 134 ; California decides to exclude, 
123 ; Arizona and New Mexico open to, 
126 ; strengthening of, 129 ; decline in 
public reprobation of, 130 ; debates on, 
in Virginian legislature, 131 ; effect of 
economic changes on, 131 ; Garrison's 
view of, 133 ; Scriptural appeals regarding, 
134-135 ; Douglas's attitude towards, 141 ; 
Lincoln's view of, 148-140; Crittenden 
compromise concerning, 160 ; not the 
issue of the Civil War, 162 ; Lincoln's 
pledge regarding, 168 ; not rererrcd to by 
Davi, 169-170 ; Stephens on, 170 ; Lee 
on, 176 ; Lincoln's Emancipation Proclama- 
tion, 189-191 ; destroyed by the War, 
199 ; dead, 203 ; Thirteenth Amendment 
abolishes, 203 




250 



INDEX 



Slave Trade, in hands of Northern Colonists, 
12 ; condemned in first draft of Declara- 
tion of Independence, 49 ; suffered to 
continue for 20 years, 49 ; prohibition of, 
49 ; abolished in District of Columbia, 126 

Slidell (see Mason and Slidell) 

Socialism, character of American, 233 

" Solid South, the," 225, 228, 234 

South, the, staple industries of, based on 
Slavery, 40 ; divergence between North 
and, 47 ; balance between North and, 
47. 85 ; changes of view of Slavery in, 
129-135 ; aggressive policy of, 144-145 ; 
rejects Douglas, 153 ; votes for Breckin- 
ridge, 153 ; motives of Secession of, 163- 
164 ; military capabilities of, 179 ; attitude 
of, after the war, 211-212 ; attitude of, 
towards Negroes, 212 ; Grant on temper of, 
213 ; Negro rule established in, 221-222 ; 
liberation of, 224-225 ; Negro problem in, 
225-226 

South America, colonized by Spain, i ; 
influence of French Revolution on, 87 ; 
freedom of, guaranteed by Monroe Doc- 
trine, 88 ; German ambitions in, 238 

South Carolina, colonization ot, 8 ; " Tories " 
in, 31 ; Cornwallis and Tarlcton in, 31 ; 
dislike of Protection in, 98; nullifies 
Tariff, 99 ; nullifies Force Bill, 101 ; 
Hlk of Secession in, 123 ; election of 
Lincoln cheered in, 156 ; peculiar attitude 
of, 156-157; secedes from the Union, 
158 ; demands surrender of Sumter, 172 ; 
anger against, 173-4 ', Sherman's march 
through, 20 i 

Southern Confederacy, anticipated by Jack- 
son, 102 ; formed, 169. (See also Con- 
federate States.) 

Spain, Columbus sails from, i ; claims 
the New World, 3 ; decline of, 9 ; Louisiana 
transferred to, 10 ; dominated by Napo- 
leon, 68 ; Burr seeks support from, 73 ; 
proposes war with, 74 ; neutral in war of 
1812 . .82 ; U.S. complaints against, 86-87 > 
sells Florida to U.S.," 87 ; war with, 234 

Spanish Colonies, i, 3 ; revolt of, 87 

"Spoils System," the, Jefferson accused of 
originating, 68 ; Jackson inaugurates, 
96 ; effect of, 109 

Spottsylvania, Battle of, 198 

" Squatter Sovereignty," hostile nickname 
for " Popular Sovereignty " (q.v.), 142 

Stamp Act, imposed, 14 ; resistance to, 
15-16 ; repealed, 17 

Stanton, appointed Secretary for War, 
194 ; dismissal of, 219 

Stars and Bars, the flag of the Confederacy, 
173 

Stars and Stripes, the, origin of, 35 ; South 
Carolina hands down, 158 ; affection of 
Davis for, 167; anger at affront to, 
173-^74 ; first appearance of, on European 
battlefields, 239-240 

States, independence of, recognized severally, 
35 ; powers of, under the 'Constitution, 
44 ; representation of, in Congress, 47 

State Sovereignty, question of, left un- 
defined by the Convention, 43 ; doctrine 
of, affirmed by Quincey, 70 ; Hartford 
Convention takes its stand on, 82 ; Cal- 
houn maintains, in ; extreme view of, 



taken by South Carolina, 156-157; Lincoln 
avoids overt challenge to, 171 ; Vir- 
ginia's adherence to, 1 74-175 ; Lee's 
belief in, 175-176; Kentucky's interpreta- 
tion of, 177-178 

Stephens, Alexander H., opposes secession of 
Georgia, 161 ; chosen Vice-President of 
the Confederacy, 169; on Slavery, 170; 
urges claims of Negroes, 212 

Stevens, Thaddeus, dictator of Reconstruc- 
tion policy, 214 ; his character and aims, 
214-216 ; " compels House to accept his 
leadership, 216; mover in Impeachment 
of Johnson, 218 ; death of, 224 * 

Stowe, Mrs. Beecher, 132, 133, 136 

Sumner, Charles, enters Senate, 139 ; his 
speeches and beating, 151 ; spokesman 
of Radicals, 205 ; his character, 205 ; 
misunderstands Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, 205-207 ; censures Grant's 
report, 213 ; not director of Reconstruc- 
tion, 214 ; his scruple about mentioning 
black men, 217; his opinion on the 
Impeachment of Johnson, 220 ; his 
contention regarding Chinese, 230 ; con- 
cession to, 231 

Sumter, cavalry leader, 32 

Sumter Fort, held by Federal Government, 

172 ; attempt to reinforce, 172 ; Lincoln 
sends supplies to, 172; Davis consents to 
bombardment of, 173 ; surrender of, 

173 ; anger at attack on, 173-174 
Supreme Court, independence of, 45 ; pro- 
nounces a National Bank constitutional, 
57 ; Jackson on, 105 ; decides against Dred 
Scott, 146 

Surratt, Mrs., 207 

TAFT, President, succeeds Roosevelt, 136 ; 
denounced by Roosevelt, 236 

Talleyrand and " X.Y.Z. letters," 63 ; 
Jefferson's negotiations with, 69 

Tammany Hall, foundation of, 58 

Taney, Roger, a Catholic, 39 ; Attorney- 
General, 105 ; and Jackson's Veto Message, 
105 : appointed Secretary to the Treasury, 
106 ; Senate refuses to confirm, 106 ; 
his judgment in the Dred Scott case, 
146 ; supports the Union, 165 

" Tariff of Abominations," the, 98 

Tarleton, leader of South Carolina " To:ies," 
31 ; defeated at Cowpens, 31 

Taxation of the Colonies, 14-16 

Taylor, Zachary, defeats Mexicans, 122 ; 
Whig candidate for Presidency, 124 ; 
Lowell's satire on, 124 ; elected, 125 ; 
on California, 125 ; an obstacle to Clay, 
126 ; death of, 126 

Tea Tax, imposed, 17 ; resisted in Boston, 17 

Tennessee, Jackson commands in, 74 ; nomi- 
nates Jackson for Presidency, 92 ; rejects 
Secession, 171 ; secedes, 175 

Territories surrendered to Federal Govern- 
ment, 44 ; Slavery in, 85, 142 et seq., 
1 60 ; Douglas eager for development of, 
141-142 

Texas, secedes from Mexico, 115 ; the 
" Lone Star State," 116 ; seeks admission 
to the Union, nC; Calhoun eager to 
annex, nt>; boundary of, in dispute, 
117; Secessionism in, 171 



INDEX 



251 



Thirteenth Amendment, Slavery abolished 

by, 20? 
Thomas," General, a Virginian Unionist, 97 ; 

associated with Sherman in the West, 97 
" Tippercanoe," nickname of Harrison, 113 
Tobacco industry in American colonies, n 
Townshend, Charles, proposes taxation of j 

Colonies, 17 
Trent, the, Mason and Slidell take passage 

on, 182 ; stopped by Captain Wilkes, 

182 ; anger in England over, 183 
Trusts, unpopularity of, 234 ; Roosevelt 

attacks, 235 
Tyler, Whig candidate for Vice-Presidency, 

113 ; succeeds Harrison as President, 

114 ; differences with Whig leaders, 
114-115 ; appoints Calhoun Secretary 
of State, 115 ; Democrats refuse to accept 
as candidate, 119 

" UNCLE Tom's Cabin," 136 

Union, urgent need for, 41-4.2 ; difficulties 
of, 43 ; achieved, 51 ; Western feeling 
for, 72 ; Jackson's devotion to the, 100-; 
Clay called upon to save the, 125 ; Aboli- 
tionists hostile to the, 133, 136 ; South 
Carolina's view of the, 157 ; Lincoln 
declares perpetual, 168 ; calls for soldiers 
to defend the, 174 

Uni'ed States, Constitution framed for, 
42 ft seq. ; neutrality of, 59 ; enthusiasm 
for France in, 60 ; Louisiana purchased 
by, 68 ; war with Great Britain, 79 ', 
Great Britain makes peace with, 83 ; feeling 
of victory in, 84 ; Florida acquired by, 
87 ; European intervention in America 
declared unfriendly to 83 ; Monroe 
Doctrine essential to, 88-89 ; Jackson's 
importance for, 108 ; claims of, to Oregon, 
117; Texas desires to join, 118 ; dispute 
between Mexico and, 120 ; successful 
in war against Mexico, 122 ; California, etc., 
acquired by, 122 ; secessions from, 158, 
161, 176 ; anger in Great Britain with, 
183 ; protests of, in Alabama case, 192 ; 
compensation paid to, 192 ; Napoleon III. 
avoids conflict with, 214 ; immigration 
problems in, 230-231 ; labour movement 
in 233-234; attitude of, towards European 
War, 237-238 ; declares war, 239 ; con- 
trast between Prussia and, 239 

VALLANDINGHAM, a typical " Copperhead," 
194 ; sent across Confederate lines, 195 _ 



Van Buren, accuses Calhoun of conspiring 
against Eaton, 98 ; fears power of U.S. 
Bank in New York ,104; reports Palmer- 
ston on Jackson, 108 ; President, no; 
avoids war with Great Britain, in 

Vermont, a Puritan Colony, 5 ; refuses 
invitation to Hartford Convention, 81 

Vice-President, how chosen, 46 ; change 
in method of choosing, 67 ; Calhoun, 
97; Tyler, 114; unimportance of, 114; 
Johnson, 200 ; Roosevelt, 235 

Vicksburg, capture of, 196 

Vikings, unimportance of, 2 

Virginia, foundation of, 3-4 ; opposition 
to Stamp Act in, 16 ; sends Jefferson 
to Continental Congress, 20; invaded 
by British forces, 34 ; Jefferson's reforms 
in, 36 et seq. ; fails to adopt his plan 



regarding Slavery, 41 ; slave insurrection 
in, 130 ; legislature of, discusses slavery, . 
130 ; John Brown plans slave rising in, 
152 ; rejects Secession, 171 ; objects to 
coercion of a State, 174-175 ; secedes 
from the Union, 176 ; joins Confederacy, 
176; invaded, 180, 186, 187, 192, 198 

WAR of 1812.. 79-84 ; effect of, 84, 87 

War of Independence, 25-3^ 

War with Spain, 234-235. (See also Civil 

War, Mexican War) 

Washington, City of, site agreed on, 55 ; 
Jefferson inaugurated in, 67 ; burnt by 
British, 80 ; Slave Trade abolished in, 126 ; 
attack on, feared, 187 
Washington, Booker, quoted, 212, 220 
Washington, George, serves in French War, 
10 ; chosen to command American forces, 
25 ; his character and strategy, 26-27 ; 
defeated at Long Island, 27 ; abandons 
Philadelphia, 28 ; defeats Tarleton at 
Cowpens, 31 ; besieges Yorktown, 34 ; 
presides over Convention, 42 ; Presi- 
dent, 51 ; national confidence in, 52 ; 
signs Bill for a National Bank, 57 ; re- 
elected, 57 ; declares U.S. neutral, 59 ; 
suppresses " Whisky Insurrection," 61 j 
condemns Democratic societies, 61 ; de- 
clines a third term, 62 ; bis farewell 
address, 62 

Webster, Daniel, as an actor, 79. 100 ; sup- 
ports Force Bill, 101 ; leagued with Clay 
and Calhoun, 102 ; Secretary of State, 
114 ; supports Compromise of 1850. .127 ; 
death of, 139 

Wellington, proposal to send to America, 83 
West, the, opened up by Daniel Boon, 71 ; 
its governing conditions, 71-72 ; influence 
of, on Clay, 78 ; Slavery in, 85 ; deserts 
Clay lot Jackson. 95 ; Douglas a product 
of, 140-141 ; Douglas appeals to, 174 ; 
military qualities of, 196 
West Virginia, clared by McClellan, 181 ; 

recognized as a State, 181 
Whig Party, name adopted by Coalition 
against Jackson, 105 ; committed to 
defence of Bank, 105"; defeat of, 105; 
appropriateness of name for, 109 ; abandon- 
ment of principles by, 113 ; victory of, 
114 ; Tyler out of sympathy with, 114 ; 
runs Taylor for President, 124 ; dis- 
appearance of, 139, 145 
Whitman, Walt, quoted, 173 
Wilderness, the, Hooker trapped in, 192 ; 

Lee fights Grant in, 19* 
Williamsburg, Hooker defeated at, 186 
Wilkes, Captain, seizes Mason and Slidell, 

1 52 ; compliments to, 183 
Wilmot Proviso, 122 

Wilson, Woodrow, elected President, 236; 
career and character of, 236 ; bis policy 
regarding European War, 238-239 ; sup- 
ported by nation in declaring war, 239 
Wolte, James, takes Quebec, 160 

" X.Y.Z." Letters, 63 

YORKTOWN Peninsula, Cornwallis retires to, 

34 ; McClellan lands on, 186 
Yorktown, surrenders. 34 ; McClellan besieges, 

186 



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A history of the United 
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E 
178 
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