CHAPTER XII. ELEMENTS OF POLITICAL REORGANIZATION (1824-1829).
BIBLIOGRAPHIES. - W. E. Foster, References to Presidential Administrations, 20-22; Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History, VII. 346-348; Channing and Hart, Guide, secs. 179-180.
HISTORICAL MAPS. - No. 5, this volume (Epoch Maps, No 10); Scribner's Statistical Atlas, Plates 14, 15; school histories of Channing and Johnston.
GENERAL ACCOUNTS. - H. Von Hoist, Constitutional History, I. 409-458; James Schouler, United States, III. 336-450; Geo. Tucker, United States, III. 409-515.
SPECIAL HISTORIES. - Josiah Quincy, Life of John Quincy Adams, chap. vii.; J. T. Morse, John Quincy Adams, 164-225; W. H. Seward, Life of John Quincy Adams, 137-201; C. Schurz, Henry Clay, I. 203-310; W. G. Sumner, Andrew Jackson, 73-135; E. M. Shepard, Martin Van Buren, 84- 150; H. C. Lodge, Daniel Webster, 129-171; J. L. Bishop, History of American Manufactures, II. 298-332.
CONTEMPORARY ACCOUNTS. - J. Q. Adams, Memoirs, VII., VIII. (chapter xiv.); H. Niles, Weekly Register; T. H. Benton, Thirty Years's View, I. 44-118; Josiah Quincy, Figures of the Past; N. Sargent, Public Men and Events, I. 56-160; Ben Perley Poore, Perley's Reminiscences, 1-87; John Trumbull, Autobiography; J. French, Travels, Mrs. Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans. - Reprints in American History told by Contemporaries, III.
131. POLITICAL METHODS IN 1824.
[Old statesmen gone.]
The United States was in 1825 half a century old, and the primitive political methods of the early republic were disappearing. Most of the group of Revolutionary statesmen were dead; Jefferson and John Adams still survived, and honored each other by renewing their ancient friendship; on July 4, 1826, they too passed away. The stately traditions of the colonial period were gone: since the accession of Jefferson, the Presidents no longer rode in pomp to address Congress at the beginning of each session; and inferior and little-known men crept into Congress.
The constitutions framed during or immediately after the Revolution had been found too narrow, and one after another, most of the States in the Union had adopted a second, or even a third. Each change was marked by a popularization of the government, especially with regard to the suffrage. Immigrants had begun to have a sensible effect upon the community. In 1825 there were ten thousand, and the number more than doubled in five years. These changes were reflected in the management of State politics; the greater the number of voters, the greater the power of organization. Hence there had sprung up in the States a system of political chiefs, of whom Aaron Burr is a type.
[Political proscription.] [Four Years' Tenure Act.]
Three new political devices had now become general among the States. The first was the removal of administrative officers because they did not agree in politics with the party which had elected a governor. This system was in use in Pennsylvania as early as 1790; it was introduced into New York by 1800, and gradually spread into other States. At first it was rather a factional weapon: when the adherents of the Livingstons got into power, they removed the friends of the Clintons; when the Clintonians came in, they turned out the Livingstons. Later, it was a recognized party system. In 1820 Secretary Crawford secured the passage by Congress of an apparently innocent act, by which most of the officers of the national government who collected and disbursed public money were to have terms of four years. The ostensible object was to secure more regular statements of accounts; it was intended and used to drop from the public service subordinates of the Treasury department who were not favorable to Crawford's Presidential aspirations.
The second device appears to have been the invention of Elbridge Gerry, when governor of Massachusetts in 1812, and from him it takes the name of Germander, The Federalists were gaining in the State; the Republican legislature, before it went out, therefore redistricted the State in such fashion that the Republicans with a minority of votes were able to choose twenty-nine senators, against eleven Federalists. No wonder that the "New England Palladium" declared this to be "contrary to republicanism and to justice."