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Originally appearing in Volume V27, Page 701 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BANKS AND BANKING: United States; and JACKSON, ANDREW.) 171. All the political conflicts of Jackson's terms of office were close and bitter. Loose in his ideas before 1829, Jackson showed a steady tendency to adopt the strictest construction of the powers of the Federal government, except in such official perquisites as the offices. He grew into strong opposition to all traces of the " American system," and vetoed opposition bills for internal improvements unsparingly; and to the his feeling of dislike to all forms of protection is as "Amerkan evident, though he took more care not to make it System." too public. There are many reasons for believing that his drift was the work of a strong school of leaders—Martin Van Buren, Thomas H. Benton, Edward Livingston, Roger B. Taney, Levi Woodbury, Lewis Cass, W. L. Marcy and others—who developed the policy of the party, and controlled it until the great changes of parties about 185o took their power from them. At all events, some persistent influence made the Democratic party of 1830–185o the most consistent and successful party which had thus far appeared in the United States. 172. Calhoun (q.v.) and Jackson were of the same stock—Scottish-Irish—much alike in appearance and charac- teristicsr the former representing the trained and edu- Jaccksonaand kson. cated logic of the -race, the latter its instincts and passions. Jackson was led to break off his friendly relations with The Land System. The Whig Party. Calhoun in 183o, and he had been led to do so more easily because of the appearance of the doctrine of nullification (q.v.), which was generally attributed, correctly enough, to the authorship of Calhoun. Asserting, as the Republican party of 1798 had done, the sovereign powers of each state, Calhoun held that, as a means of avoiding secession and violent struggle upon every occasion of the passage of an act of Congress which should seem unconstitutional to any state, the state might properly suspend or " nullify " the operation of the law within its jurisdiction, in order to protect its citizens against oppression. The passage of the Tariff Act of 1832, which organized and systematized the protective system, forced the Calhoun party into action. ,A state convention in South Carolina (q.v.) on the 24th of November 1832 declared the Tariff Act null, and made ready to enforce the declaration. 173. But the time was past when the power of a single state could withdraw it from the Union. The president issued a proclamation, warning the people of South Carolina against any attempt to carry out the ordinance of nullification; he ordered a naval force to take possession of Charleston harbour to collect the duties under the act; he called upon Congress for additional executive powers, and Congress passed what nullifiers called the " bloody bill," putting the land and naval forces at the disposal of the president for the collection of duties against " unlawful combinations "; and he is said to have announced, privately and profanely, his intention of making Calhoun the first victim of any open conflict. Affairs looked so threatening that an unofficial meeting of " leading nullifiers " agreed to suspend the operation of the ordinance until Congress should adjourn; whence it derived the right to suspend has never been stated. 174. The president had already asked Congress to reduce the duties; and many Democratic members of Congress, who had yielded to the popular clamour for protection, were very glad to use " the crisis " as an excuse for now voting against it. A compromise Tariff Act, scaling down all duties over 20% by one-tenth of the excess every two years until 1842, when the remaining excess over 20% should be dropped, was introduced by Clay and became law. Calhoun and his followers claimed this as all that the nullification ordinance had aimed at; and the ordinance was formally repealed. But nullification had received its death-blow; even those Southern leaders who maintained the right of secession refused to recognize the right of a state to remain in the Union while nullifying its laws; and, when protection was reintroduced by the tariff of 1842, nullification was hardly thought of. 175. All the internal conditions of the United States were completely altered by the introduction of railways. For twenty The years past the Americans had been pushing in every Locomotive. direction which offered a hope of the means of recon- ciling vast territory With enormous population. Stephenson's invention of the locomotive came just in time, and Jackson's two terms of office marked the outburst of modern American life. The miles of railway were 23 in 1830, 1098 in 1835, some 2800 in 184o, and thereafter they about doubled every five years until ,86o. 176. A railway map of 1840 shows a fragmentary system, designed mainly to fill the gaps left by the means of communica-RaUways tion in use in 183o. One or two short lines run back of 1840, into the country from Savannah and Charleston; another runs north along the coast from Wilmington to Baltimore; several lines connect New York with Washington and other points; and short lines elsewhere mark the openings which needed to be filled at once—a number in New England and the Middle states, three in Ohio and Michigan, and three in Louisiana. Year after year new inventions came in to increase 4nthrache. and aid this development. The anthracite coal of the Middle states had been known since 1790, but no means had been devised to put the refractory agent to work. It was now successfully applied to railways (1836), Iron, and to the manufacture of iron (1837). Hitherto wood had been the best fuel for iron-making; now the states which relied on wood were driven out of competition,and production was restricted to the states in which nature had placed coal alongside of iron. Steam navigation across the Atlantic was established in 1838. The telegraph OceanNavicame next, S. F. B. Morse's line being erected in gallon. The 1844. The spread of the railway system brought Telegraph. with it, as a natural development, the rise of the American system of express companies, whose first phases of individual enterprise appeared in 1839. No similar period in American history is so extraordinary for material development as the decade 183o-184o. At its beginning the country was an over-grown type of colonial life; at its end American life had been shifted to entirely new lines, which it has since followed. Modern American history had burst in with the explosiveness of an Arctic summer. 177. The steamboat had aided Western development, but the railway aided it far more. Cities and states grew as if the oxygen of their surroundings had been suddenly Western increased. The steamboat influenced the railway, settlement. and the railway gave the steamboat new powers. Vacant places in the states east of the Mississippi were filling up; the long lines of emigrant waggons gave way to the new and better methods of transport; and new grades of land were made accessible. Chicago was but a frontier fort in 1832; within a half-dozen years it was a flourishing town, with eight steamers connecting it with Buffalo, and dawning ideas of its future development of railway connexions. The maps change from decade to decade, as mapmakers hasten to insert new cities which have sprung up. Two new states,Admission Arkansas and Michigan, were admitted (1836 and of Arkansas 1837). The population of Ohio grew from 9oo,000 Mat'd ichigan. to 1,500,000, that of Michigan from 32,000 to 212,000, and that of the country from 13,000,000 to 17,000,000, between 183o and 1840. 178. With the change of material surroundings and possibilities came a steady amelioration of social conditions and a development of social ideals. Such features of the social past as imprisonment for debt and the cruel indiffer- conditions. ence of old methods of dealing with crime began to disappear; the time was past when a state could use an abandoned copper mine as its state prison, as Connecticut had formerly done (see SIMSBURY, Connecticut). The domestic use of gas and anthracite coal, the introduction of expensive aqueducts for pure water, and the changing life of the people forced changes in the interior and exterior of American dwellings. Wood was still the common building material; imitations of Greek architecture still retained their vogue; but the interiors were models of comfort in comparison with the houses even of 181o. In the " new " regions this was not yet the case, and here social restraints were still so few that society seemed to be reduced almost to its primitive elements. Western steamers reeked with gambling, swindling, duelling and every variety of vice. Public law was almost suspended in some regions; and organized associations of counterfeiters and horse-thieves terrorized whole sections of country. But this state of affairs was altogether temporary, as well as limited in its area; the older and more densely settled states had been well prepared for the change and had never lost command of the social forces, and the process of settling down went on, even in the newer states, with far more rapidity than could reasonably have been expected. Those who took part in the movements of population in 183o-1840 had been trained under the rigid forms of the previous American life; and these soon re-asserted themselves. The rebound was over before 1847, and the Western states were then as well prepared to receive and digest the great immigration which followed as the older states would have been in 1830. 179. A distinct American literature dates from this period. Most of the publications in the United States were still cheap reprints of foreign works; but native productions Literature. no longer followed foreign models with servility. Between 1830 and 1840 Whittier, Longfellow, Holmes, Poe, Hawthorne, Emerson, Bancroft and Prescott joined the advance-guard of American writers—Bryant, Dana, Halleck, Drake, Nullification. Tariff of 1833. Irving and Cooper; and even those writers who had already made their place in literature showed the influence of new conditions by their growing tendency to look less to foreign models and methods. (See AMERICAN LITERATURE.) Popular education was improved. The new states had from the first endeavoured to secure the best possible system of common schools. The attempt came naturally from the political instincts of the class from which the migration came; but the system which resulted was to be of incalculable service during the years to come. Their absolute democracy and their universal use of the English common language have made the common schools most School successful machines for converting the raw material System. of immigration into American citizens. This supreme benefit is the basis of the system and the reason for its existence and development, but its incidental advantage of educating the people has been beyond calculation. It was an odd symptom of the general change that American newspapers took a new form during these ten years. The old " blanket-sheet " newspaper, cumbrous to handle and slow in all its ways, met its first rival in the type of newspaper which appeared first in New York City, in the Sun, the Herald and the Tribune (1833, 1835 and 1841). Swift and energetic in gathering news, and fearless, sometimes reckless, in stating it, they brought into American life, with very much that is evil, a great preponderance of good. 1So. The chaos into which a part of American society had been thrown had a marked effect on the financial institutions Land Sales. of the country, which went to pieces before it for a time. It had not been meant to make the public lands of the United States a source of revenue so much as a source of development. The sales had touched their high-water mark during the speculative year 1819, when receipts from them had amounted to $3,274,000; in other years they seldom went above $2,000,000. When the railway set the stream of migration moving faster than ever, and cities began to grow like mush-rooms, it was natural that speculation in land should feel the effects. Sales rose to $3,200,000 in 1831, to $4,000,000 Speculation.. in 1833, to $5,000,000 in 1834, to $15,000,000 in 1835, and to $25,000,000 in 1836. In 1835 the president announced to Congress that the public debt was extinguished, and that some way of dealing with the surplus should be found. Calhoun's proposal, that after the year 1836 any surplus in excess of $5,000,000 should be divided among the states as a loan, was adopted, as regards the surplus (almost $37,000,000) of that year; and some $28,000,000—still carried on the books of the treasury as unavailable funds—were actually distributed before the crisis of 1837 put an end to the surplus and to the policy. The states had already taken a hand in the general speculation by beginning works of public improvement. Foreign, particularly English, capital was abundant; and states which had been accustomed to think a dozen times over a tax of a hundred thousand dollars now began to negotiate loans of millions of dollars and to appropriate the proceeds to the digging of canals and the construction of railways. Their enterprises were badly conceived and badly managed, and only added to the confusion when the crash came. If the Federal government and the states felt that they were rich, the imaginations of individuals ran riot. Every one wanted to buy; prices rose, and every one was growing richer on paper. The assessed value of real estate in New York City in 1832 was $104,000,000; in 1836 it had grown to $253,000,000. In Mobile the assessed value rose from $r,000,000 to $27,000,000. Fictitious values were the rule. 181. When Jackson in 1833 ordered the government revenues to be deposited elsewhere than in the Bank of the United States, there was no government agent to receive them. The secretary of the treasury selected banks at various points in which the revenue should be deposited by the collecting officers; but these banks were organized under charters from their states, as were all banks except that of the United States. The theory of the dominant party denied the constitutional power of Congress to charter a bank, and tho states had not yet learned how todeal with such institutions. Their grants of bank charters had been based on ignorance, intrigue, favouritism or corruption, and the banks were utterly unregulated. The Democratic feeling was that the privilege of forming banking corpora-corporations should be open to all citizens, and it Lions. soon became so. Moreover, it was not until after the crash that New York began the system of compelling such deposits as would really secure circulation, which was long afterward further developed into the present national bank system. In most of the states banks could be freely organized with or without tangible capital, and their notes could be sent to the West for the purchase of government lands, which needed to be held but a month or two to gain a handsome profit. (See BANKS AND BANKING: United States.) " Wild-cat banks " sprang up all over the country; and the " pet banks," as those chosen for the deposit of government revenues were called, went into speculation as eagerly as the banks which hardly pretended to have capital. 182. The Democratic theory denied the power of Congress to make anything but gold or silver coin legal tender. There have been " paper-money heresies " in the party; but there was none such among the new school of The "specie Gincu/ar." Democratic leaders which came in in 1829; they were " hard-money men." In July 1836 Jackson's secretary of the treasury ordered land agents to take nothing in payment for lands except gold or silver. In the following spring the full effects of the order became evident; they fell on the administration of Van Buren,. Jackson's successor.' Van Buren had been Jackson's secretary of state, the representative man of the new Democratic school, and, in the opinion of the opposition, the evil genius of the Jackson administration; and it seemed to the Whigs poetic justice that he should bear the weight of his predecessor's errors. The " specie circular " turned the tide of paper back to the East, and when it was presented for payment most of the banks suspended specie payment with hardly a struggle. There was no longer a thought of buying; every one wanted to sell; and prices ran down with a rapidity even more startling than that with which they had risen. Failures, to an extent and on a scale unprecedented in the United States, made up the " panic of 1837." Many of the 1837 of states had left their bonds in the hands of their agents, and, on the failure of the latter, found that the bonds had been hypothecated or disposed of, so that the states got no return from them except a debt which was to them enormous. Saddled suddenly with such a burden, and unable even to pay interest, some of the states Rtioneudia. - " repudiated " their obligations; and repudiation was made successful by the fact that a state could not be sued by its creditors except by its own consent. Even the Federal government felt the strain, for its revenues were locked up in suspended banks. A little more than a year after Congress had authorized the distribution of its surplus revenues among the states Van Buren was forced to call it into special session to provide some relief for the government itself. 183. Van Buren held manfully to the strictest construction of the powers of the Federal government. He insisted that the panic would best right itself without government sun-interference, and, after a four years' struggle, he treasury succeeded in making the " sub-treasury scheme " Scheme. law (184o). It cut off all connexion of the government with banks, putting collecting and disbursing officers under bonds to hold money safely and to transfer it under orders from the treasury, and restricting payments to or by the United States to gold and silver coin. Its passage had been preceded by another commercial crisis (1839), more limited in its field, but more discouraging to the people. It is true that Jackson, in dealing with the finances, had " simply smashed things," leaving his successor to repair damages; but it is far from certain that this was not the best way available at the time. The wisest scheme of . financial reform would have had small chance In the election of 1836 Van Buren received 17o electoral votes, W. H. Harrison (Whig) 73, Hugh L. White 26, Daniel Webster 14 and W. P. Mangum 11. News-papers. of success with the land-jobbers in Congress, and Van Buren's firmness found the way out of the chaos. 184. Van Buren's firmness was unpopular, and the Whig party now adopted methods which were popular if somewhat Election demagogical. It nominated William H. Harrison of 1840. in 184o; it contrasted his homely frontier virtues with Van Buren's " ostentatious indifference to the misfortunes of the people " and with the supposed luxury of his life in the White House; and, after the first of the modern " campaigns " of mass meetings and processions, Harrison was elected, receiving 234 electoral votes and Van Buren only 6o. He died on the 4th of April 1841, only a month after his inauguration, and the vice-president, John Tyler, became president. Tyler was of the extreme Calhoun school, which had shown some disposition to grant to Van Buren a support which it had refused to Jackson; and the Whigs had nominated Tyler to retain his faction with them. Now he was the nominal leader of the party, while his politics were opposite to theirs, and the real leader of the party, Clay, was ready to force a quarrel upon him. The quarrel took place; the Whig majority in Congress was not large enough to pass any measures over Tyler's veto; and the first two years of his administration were passed in barren conflict with his party. The " sub-treasury " law was repealed (1841); the tariff of 1842 introduced a modified protection; and there the Whigs were forced to stop. Their dissensions made Democratic success comparatively easy, and Tyler had the support of a Democratic House behind him during the last two years of his term. 185. The success of the Democratic machinery, and the reflex of its temporary check in 184o, with the influences brought to bear on it by the returning Calhoun faction, were such as to take the control of the party out of the hands of the leaders who had formed it. They had had high regard fol. political principle, even though they were willing to use doubtful methods for its propagation; these methods had now brought out new men, who looked mainly to success, and to close connexion with the controlling political element of the South as the easiest means of attaining success. When the Democratic convention of 1844 met it was expected to renominate Van Buren. A majority of the delegates had been sent there for that purpose, but many of them would have been glad to be prevented from doing so. They allowed a resolution to be passed making a two-thirds vote necessary for nomination; Van Buren was unable to command so many votes; and, when his name was withdrawn, James K. Polk was nominated. The Whigs nominated Clay. 186. The beginning of the abolitionist movement in the United States, the establishment of the Liberator (1831), Abolition/stand of the American Anti-Slavery Society (1833), movement. and the subsequent divisions in it, are dealt with elsewhere (see GARRISON, WILLIAM LLOYD). Up to that time " abolition " had meant gradual abolition; it was a wish rather than a purpose. Garrison called for immediate abolition. The basis of the American system was in the reserved rights of the states, and slavery rested on their will, which was not likely to be changed. But the cry was kept up. The mission of the Abolitionists was to force the people to think of the question; and, in spite of riots, assaults and persecution of every kind, they fulfilled it manfully. In truth, slavery was more and more out of harmony with the new economic conditions which were taking complete control of the North and West, but had hardly been felt in the South. Thus the two sections, North and South, were more and more disposed to take opposite views of everything in which slavery was involved, and it had a faculty of involving itself in almost everything. The status of slavery in the Territories had been settled in 182o; that of slavery in the states had been settled by the Constitution; but even in minor questions the intrusive element had to be reckoned with. The Abolitionists sent their documents through the mails, and the South wished the Federal government to interfere and stop the practice. The Abolitionists persisted in petitioning Congress for the passage of various measures which Congress regarded as utterly unconstitutional; and the disposition of Congress to denyor regulate the right of petition in such matters (see ADAMS, JOHN QUINCY) excited the indignation of Northern men who had no sympathy with abolition. But the first occasion on which the views of the two sections came into flat contrast was on the question of the annexation of Texas. 187. The United States had had a vague claim to Texas until 1819, when the claim was surrendered to Spain in part compensation for Florida. On the revolt of Mexico Texas became a part of that republic. It was colonized by Texas. Americans, mainly southerners and slave-holders, seceded from Mexico in 1835, and defeated the Mexican armies and established its independence in the following year. Southern politicians desired its annexation to the United States for many reasons. Its people were kindred to them; its soil would widen the area of slavery; and its territory, it was hoped, could be divided into several states, to reinforce the Southern column in the Senate. People in the North were either indifferent or hostile to the proposal; Van Buren had declared against it, and his action was a reason for his defeat in the Democratic convention. On the other hand, there were indications that the joint occupation of the Oregon country could not Oregon. last much longer. American immigration into it had begun, while the Hudson's Bay Company, the British tenant of the soil, was the natural enemy of immigration. To carry the sentiment of both sections, the two points were coupled; and the Democratic convention declared for the reannexation of Texas and the reoccupation of Oregon. 188. One of the cardinal methods of the political Abolitionists was to nominate candidates of their own against a doubtful friend, even though this secured the election of an open enemy. Clay's efforts to guard his condemna- P8 erty tion of the Texas annexation project were just enough to push the Liberty party (q.v.), the political Abolitionists, into voting for candidates of their own in New York; on a close vote their loss was enough to throw the electoral votes of that state to Polk, and its votes decided the result. Ejection Polk was elected (November 1844) ;1 and Texas of 1844. was annexed to the United States in the following Admission spring. At the next meeting of Congress (1845) of Texas. Texas was admitted as a state. 189. West of Texas the northern prolongation of Mexico ran right athwart the westward movement of American population; and, though the movement had not yet reached the barrier, the Polk administration desired further acquisitions from Mexico. The western boundary of Texas was undefined; a strip of territory claimed by Texas was settled exclusively by Mexicans; but the Polk administration directed General Zachary Taylor, the American commander in Texas, to cross the Nueces river and seize the disputed territory. Collisions with Mexican troops followed; they were beaten in the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, and were chased across the Rio Grande. Taylor followed and took the city of Monterey. 190. On the news of the first bloodshed Congress declared war against Mexico, over the opposition of the Whigs. A land and naval force took possession of California, and a land expedition occupied New Mexico, so that the war with Mexko. authority of Mexico over all the soil north of her present boundaries was abruptly terminated (1846). At the opening of 1847 Taylor fought the last battle in northern Mexico (Buena Vista), defeating the Mexicans, and General Winfield Scott, with a new army, landed at Vera Cruz for a march upon the city of Mexico. Scott's march was marked by one successful battle after another, usually against heavy odds; and in September he took the capital city and held it until peace was made (1848) by the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Among the peace. terms of peace was the cession of the present Cali- fornia, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, the consideration being a payment of $15,000,000 by the United States and the assumption of some $3,000,000 of debts due by Mexico to American citizens. With a subsequent rectification of frontier (1853) by the Gadsden Treaty (see GADSDEN, JAMES), this cession 1 Polk received 170 electoral votes and Clay 105. Tariff of 1842. added some 5oo,00o sq. m. w the area of the United States; Texas itself made up a large additional area. The settlement of the north-east and north-west boundaries (see MAINE and OREGON) by the Webster-Ashburton and Buchanan-Pakenham treaties(1842, 1846) with the Texas and Mexican cessions, gave the United States the complete territorial form retained until the annexation of Alaska in 1867. 191. In the new territory slavery had been forbidden under Mexican law; and its annexation brought up the question of Slavery in its status under American law. He who remembers the New the historical fact that slavery had never been more Territory• than a custom, ultimately recognized and protected by state law, will not have much difficulty in deciding about the propriety of forcing such a custom by law upon any part of a territory. But, if slavery was to be excluded from the new territory, the states which should ultimately be formed out of it would enter as free states, and the influence of the South in the Senate would be decreased. For the first time the South appears as a distinct imperium in imperio in the territorial difficulties which began in 1848. 192. The first appearance of these difficulties brought out in the Democratic party a solution which was so closely in line ".Squatter with the prejudices of the party, and apparently so Sove- likely to meet all the wishes of the South, that it reignty." bade fair to carry the party through the crisis without the loss of its Southern vote. This was " squatter sovereignty," the notion that it would be best for Congress to leave the people of each Territory to settle the question of the existence of slavery for themselves. The broader and democratic ground for the party would have been that which it at first seemed likely to take—the " Wilmot Proviso," a condition Wilmot proposed to be added to the act authorizing acquisi- Provlso. tions of territory, providing that slavery should be forbidden in all territory to be acquired under the act (see
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