John Bach McMaster

OUR BOUNDARIES. - By the treaty of 1783 our country was bounded on the north by a line (very much as at present) from the mouth of the St. Croix River in Maine to the Lake of the Woods; on the west by the Mississippi River; and on the south by the parallel of 31° north latitude from the Mississippi to the Apalachicola, and then by the present south boundary of Georgia to the sea. [1]

THE WEST. - In 1860 the great West bore little resemblance to its present appearance. The only states wholly or partly west of the Mississippi River were Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas. Louisiana, Texas, California, and Oregon. Kansas territory extended from Missouri to the Rocky Mountains. Nebraska territory included the region from Kansas to the British possessions, and from Minnesota and Iowa to the Rocky Mountains.

The New World, of which our country is the most important part, was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. When that great man set sail from Spain on his voyage of discovery, he was seeking not only unknown lands, but a new way to eastern Asia. Such a new way was badly needed.

THE STATES. - When Washington became President, the thirteen original states of the Union [1] were in many respects very unlike the same states in our day. In some the executive was called president; in others governor. In some he had a veto; in others he had not. In some there was no senate. To be a voter in those days a man had to have an estate worth a certain sum of money, [2] or a specified annual income, or own a certain number of acres. [3]

THE NATIONAL LABOR PARTY. - The changed industrial conditions of the period 1860-80 affected politics, and after 1868 the questions which divided parties became more and more industrial and financial. The rise of the national labor party and its demands shows this very strongly. Ever since 1829 the workingman had been in politics in some of the states, and had secured many reforms. But no national labor congress was held till 1865, after which like congresses were held each year till 1870, when a national convention was called to form a "National Labor-Reform Party."

THE ATLANTIC COAST LINE EXPLORED. - Columbus having shown the way, English, Spanish, and Portuguese explorers followed. Some came in search of China or the Spice Islands; some were in quest of gold and pearls. The result was the exploration of the Atlantic coast line from Labrador to the end of South America.

FIRST ACTS OF CONGRESS. - During Washington's first term of office as President (1789-93), the time of Congress was largely taken up with the passage of laws necessary to put the new government in operation, and to carry out the plan of the Constitution.

THE CUBAN REBELLION. - In February, 1895, the Cubans, for the sixth time in fifty years, rose in rebellion against Spain, and attempted to form a republic. These proceedings concerned us for several reasons. American trade with Cuba was interrupted; American money invested in Cuban mines, railroads, and plantations might be lost; our ports were used by the Cubans in fitting out military expeditions which our government was forced to stop at great expense; the cruelty with which the war was waged aroused indignation.

THE FRENCH IN SOUTH CAROLINA. - After the failure in Canada twenty years passed away before the French again attempted to colonize. Then (1562) Admiral Coligny (co-leen'ye), the leader of the Huguenots, or Protestants of France, sought to plant a colony in America for his persecuted countrymen, and sent forth an expedition under Ribaut (ree-bo'). These Frenchmen reached the coast of Florida, and turning northward came to a haven which they called Port Royal. Here they built a fort in what is now South Carolina. Leaving thirty men to hold it, Ribaut sailed for France.

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