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Frederick Jackson Turner

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The transformation by which the slender line of the Indian trail became the trader's trace, and then a road, superseded by the turnpike and canal, and again replaced by the railroad, is typical of the economic development of the United States.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.

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