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John Bach McMaster

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 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 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 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.

PROSPERITY. - Twelve years had now elapsed since the meeting at New York of the first Congress under the Constitution, and they had been years of great prosperity.

LIFE AT JAMESTOWN. - The colonists who landed at Jamestown in 1607 were all men. While some of them were building a fort, Captain Newport, with Captain John Smith and others, explored the James River and visited the Powhatan, chief of a neighboring tribe of Indians. This done, Newport returned to England (June, 1607) with his three ships, leaving one hundred and five colonists to begin a struggle for life. Bad water, fever, hard labor, the intense heat of an American summer, and the scarcity of food caused such sickness that by September more than half the colonists were dead.

WAR WITH TRIPOLI. - In his first inaugural Jefferson announced a policy of peace, commerce, and friendship with all nations; but unhappily he was not able to carry it out. Under treaties with Algiers, Tripoli, and Tunis, we had paid tribute or made presents to these powers, to prevent them from attacking our ships. In 1800, however, when Adams sent the yearly tribute to Algiers, the ruler of Tripoli demanded a large present, and when it did not come, declared war.

NEW ENGLAND NAMED. - While the London Company was planting its colony on the James River, the Plymouth Company sought to retrieve its failure on the Kennebec (p. 39). In 1614 Captain John Smith, who had returned to England from Jamestown, was sent over with two ships to explore. He made a map of the coast from Maine to Cape Cod, [1] and called the country New England.

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