United States

By 1820 the west had developed the beginnings of many of the cities which have since ruled over the region. Buffalo and Detroit were hardly more than villages until the close of this period. They waited for the rise of steam navigation on the Great Lakes and for the opening of the prairies. Cleveland, also, was but a hamlet during most of the decade; but by 1830 the construction of the canal connecting the Cuyahoga with the Scioto increased its prosperity, and its harbor began to profit by its natural advantages. [Footnote: Whittlesey, Early Hist. of Cleveland, 456; Kennedy, Hist.

In the decade of which we write, more than two-thirds of the present area of the United States was Indian country - a vast wilderness stretching from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Ocean. East of the Mississippi, the pioneers had taken possession of the hardwoods of the Ohio, but over the prairies between them and the Great Lakes the wild flowers and grasses grew rank and undisturbed.

In 1820 the United States had a population of about nine and one- half millions; in 1830, nearly thirteen millions. It was spread out from east to west like a page in the history of society. On the Atlantic seaboard were the centers of American civilization that had grown up in colonial days in close touch with Europe. From this region of commerce and manufacture, the nation, on its march towards the west, changed through successive types of industrial life until in the Rocky Mountains the frontier fur-trader mingled with the Indians.

In the dark period of the commercial crisis of 1819, while Congress was considering the admission of Missouri, the slavery issue flamed out, and revealed with startling distinctness the political significance of the institution, fateful and ominous for the nation, transcending in importance the temporary financial and industrial ills.

To the superficial observer, politics might have seemed never more tranquil than when, in 1820, James Monroe received all but one of the electoral votes for his second term as president of the United States. One New Hampshire elector preferred John Quincy Adams, although he was not a candidate, and this deprived Monroe of ranking with Washington in the unanimity of official approval. But in truth the calm was deceptive. The election of 1820 was an armistice rather than a real test of political forces.

The place of slavery in the westward expansion of the nation was not the only burning question which the American people had to face in the presidency of Monroe. Within a few years after that contest, the problem of the independence of the New World and of the destiny of the United States in the sisterhood of new American republics confronted the administration. Should the political rivalries and wars of Europe to acquire territory be excluded from the western hemisphere?

The transformation by which the slender line of the Indian trail became the trader's trace, and then a road, superseded by the turnpike and canal, and again replaced by the railroad, is typical of the economic development of the United States. As the population of the west increased, its surplus products sought outlets.

As has been shown in the last chapter, the attitude of portions of the south towards strict construction was not inveterate upon measures which promised advantages to that section. But the tariff struggle revealed the spirit which arose when powers were asserted unfavorable to any section. The failure of the tariff bill of 1820 [Footnote: See above, chap. ix.] was followed by other unsuccessful attempts to induce a majority of Congress to revive the subject.

As we have seen, [Footnote: See above, chap. x.] the dissensions in Monroe's cabinet approached the point of rupture by the spring and summer of 1822, when the spectacle was presented of the friends of the secretary of the treasury making war upon the measures of the secretary of war, and even antagonizing the president himself. Crawford's followers gained the name of the "radicals," and declared as their principles, democracy, economy, and reform. [Footnote: Adams, Memoirs, VI., 56; Mass. Hist.

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