TRADE, COMMERCE, AND THE FISHERIES. - The treaty of 1814 did not end our troubles with Great Britain. Our ships were still shut out of her West Indian ports. The fort at Astoria, near the mouth of the Columbia River, had been seized during the war and for a time was not returned as the treaty required. The authorities in Nova Scotia claimed that we no longer had a right to fish in British waters, and seized our fishing vessels or drove them from the fishing grounds. We had no trade treaty with Great Britain. In 1815, therefore, a convention was made regulating trade with Great Britain and her East Indian colonies, but not with her West Indies; [1] in 1817, a very important agreement limited the navies on the Great Lakes; [2] and in 1818 a convention was made defending our fishing rights in British waters. [3]

BANKS AND THE CURRENCY. - But there were also domestic affairs which required attention. When the charter of the Bank of the United States (p. 224) expired in 1811, it was not renewed, for the party in power denied that Congress had authority to charter a bank. A host of banks chartered by the states thereupon sprang up, in hope of getting some of the business formerly done by the national bank and its branches.

In three years' time one hundred and twenty new state banks were created. Each issued bank notes with a promise to exchange them for specie (gold or silver coin) on demand. In 1814, however, nearly all the banks outside of New England "suspended specie payment"; that is, refused to redeem their notes in specie. Persons having gold and silver money then kept it, and the only money left in circulation was the bank notes - which, a few miles away from the place of issue, would not pass at their face value. [4]

Business and travel were seriously interfered with, and in order to provide the people with some kind of money which would pass at the same value everywhere, Congress in 1816 chartered a second Bank of the United States, [5] very much like the first one, for a period of twenty years.

MANUFACTURES AND THE TARIFF. - Before the embargo days, trade and commerce were so profitable, because of the war in Europe, that manufactures were neglected. Almost all manufactored articles - cotton and woolen goods, china, glass, edge tools, and what not - were imported, from Great Britain chiefly.

But the moment our foreign trade was cat off by the embargo, manufactures sprang up, and money hitherto put into ships and commerce was invested in mills and factories. Societies for the encouragement of domestic manufactures were started everywhere. To wear American-made clothes, walk in American-made shoes, write on American-made paper, and use American- made furniture were acts of patriotism which the people publicly pledged themselves to perform. Thus encouraged, manufactories so throve and flourished that by 1810 the value of goods made in our country each year was $173,000,000.

When trade was resumed with Great Britain after the war, her goods were sent over in immense quantities. This hurt our manufacturers, and therefore Congress in 1816 laid a tariff or tax on imported manufactures, for the purpose of keeping the price of foreign goods high and thus protecting home manufactures.

PROSPERITY OF THE COUNTRY. - Despite the injury done by British orders, French decrees, the embargo, non-intercourse, and the war, the country grew more prosperous year by year. Cities were growing, new towns were being planted, rivers were being bridged, colleges, [6] academies, schools, were springing up, several thousand miles of turnpike had been built, and over these good roads better stagecoaches drawn by better horses carried the mail and travelers in quicker time than ever before.

ROUTES TO THE WEST. - Goods for Pittsburg and the West could now leave Philadelphia every day in huge canvas-covered wagons drawn by four or six horses, and were only twenty days on the road. The carrying trade in this way was very great. More than twelve thousand wagons came to Pittsburg each year, bringing goods worth several millions of dollars. From New York wares and merchandise for the West went in sloops up the Hudson to Albany, were wagoned to the falls of the Mohawk, where they were put into "Schenectady boats," which were pushed by poles up the Mohawk to Utica. Thence they went by canal and river to Oswego on Lake Ontario, in sloops to Lewiston on the Niagara River, by wagon to Buffalo, by sloop to Westfield on Lake Erie, by wagon to Chautauqua Lake, and thence by boat down the lake and the Allegheny River to Pittsburg.

THE STEAMBOAT. - The growth of the country and the increase in travel now made the steamboat possible. Before 1807 all attempts to use such boats had failed. [7] But when Fulton in that year ran theClermont from New York to Albany and back, practical steam navigation began. In 1808 a line of steamboats ran up and down the Hudson. In 1809 there was one on the Delaware, another on the Raritan, and a third on Lake Champlain. In 1811 a steamboat went from Pittsburg to New Orleans, and in 1812 there were steam ferryboats between what is now Jersey City and New York, and between Philadelphia and Camden. [8]

By the use of the steamboat and better roads it was possible in 1820 to go from New York to Philadelphia between sunrise and sunset in summer, and from New York to Boston in forty-eight hours, and from Boston to Washington in less than five days.

THE RUSH TO THE WEST. - After the peace in 1815 came a period of hard times. Great Britain kept our ships out of her ports in the West Indies. France, Spain, and Holland did their own trading with their colonies. Demands for our products fell off, trade and commerce declined, thousands of people were thrown out of employment, and another wave of emigration started westward. Nothing like it had ever before been known. People went by tens of thousands, building new towns and villages, clearing the forests, and turning the prairies into farms and gardens. Some went in wagons, some on horseback; great numbers even went on foot, pushing their children and household goods in handcarts, in wheelbarrows, in little box carts on four small wheels made of plank. [9]

Once on the frontier, the pioneer, the "mover," the "newcomer," would secure his plot of land, cut down a few trees, and build a half-faced camp, - a shed with a roof of sapling and bark, and one side open, - and in this he would live till the log cabin was finished.

THE LOG CABIN. - To build a log cabin the settler would fell trees of the proper size, cut them into logs, and with his ax notch them half through at the ends. Laid one on another these logs formed the four sides of the cabin. Openings were left for a door, one window, and a huge fireplace; the cracks between the logs were filled with mud; the roof was of hewn boards, and the chimney of logs smeared on the inside with clay and lined at the bottom with stones. Greased paper did duty for glass in the window. The door swung on wooden hinges and was fastened with a wooden latch on the inside, which was raised from the outside by a leather string passed through a hole in the door. Some cabins had no floor but the earth; in others the floor was of puncheons, or planks split and hewn from trunks of trees and laid with the round side down. [10]

PIONEER LIFE. - If the farm were wooded, the first labor of the settler was to grub up the bushes, cut down the smaller trees, and kill the larger ones by cutting a girdle around each near the roots. When the trees were felled, the neighbors would come and help roll the logs into great piles for burning. From the ashes the settler made potash; for many years potash was one of the important exports of the country.

In the land thus cleared and laid open to the sun the pioneer planted his corn, flax, wheat, and vegetables. The corn he shelled on a gritter, and ground in a handmill, or pounded in a wooden mortar with a wooden pestle, or carried on horseback to some mill perhaps fifteen miles away.

Cooking stoves were not used. Game was roasted by hanging it by a leather string before an open fire. All baking was done in a Dutch oven on the hearth, or in an out oven built, as its name implies, out of doors. [11]

Deerskin in the early days, and later tow linen, woolens, jeans, and linseys, were the chief materials for clothing till store goods became common. [12] The amusements of the pioneers were like those of colonial days - shooting matches, bear hunts, races, militia musters, raisings, log rollings, weddings, corn huskings, and quilting parties.

FIVE NEW STATES. - The first effect of the emigration to the West was such an increase of population there that five new states were admitted in five years. They were Indiana (1816), Mississippi (1817), Illinois (1818), Alabama (1819), Missouri (1821). As Louisiana (1812) and Maine (1820) had also been admitted by 1821, the Union then included twenty-four states (map, p. 279).

POWER OF THE WEST. - A second result of this building of the West was an increase in its political importance. The West in 1815 sent to Congress 8 senators and 28 members of the House; after 1822 it sent 18 senators out of 48, and 47 members of the House out of 213.

TRADE OF THE WEST. - A third result was a straggle for the trade of the West. Favored by the river system, the farmers of the West were able to float their produce, on raft and flatboat, to New Orleans. Before the introduction of the steamboat, navigation up the Mississippi was all but impossible. Flatboats, rafts, barges, broadhorns, with their contents, were therefore sold at New Orleans, and the money brought back to Pittsburg or Wheeling and there used to buy the manufactures sent from the Eastern states. But now a score of steamboats went down and up the Mississippi and the Ohio, stopping at Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Natchez, and a host of smaller towns, loaded with goods obtained at Pittsburg and New Orleans. [13] Commercially the West was independent of the East. The Western trade of New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore was seriously threatened.

THE ERIE CANAL. - So valuable was this trade, and so important to the East, that New York in 1817 began the construction of the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo, and finished it in 1825. [14] The result, as we shall see in a later chapter, was far-reaching.

SLAVERY. - A fourth result of the rush to the West was the rise of the question of slavery beyond the Mississippi.

Before the adoption of the Constitution, as we have seen, slavery was forbidden or was in course of abolition in the five New England states, in Pennsylvania, and in the Northwest Territory. Since the adoption of the Constitution gradual abolition laws had been adopted in New York (1799) and in New Jersey (1804). [15] Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama came into the Union as slave-holding states; and Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (besides Vermont) as free states. So in 1819 the dividing line between the eleven free and the eleven slave states was the south boundary line of Pennsylvania (p. 81) and the Ohio River.

SLAVERY BEYOND THE MISSISSIPPI. - By 1819 so many people had crossed the Mississippi and settled on the west bank and up the Missouri that Congress was asked to make a new territory to be called Arkansas and a new state to be named Missouri.

Whether the new state was to be slave or free was not stated, but the Missourians owned slaves and a settlement of this matter was important for two reasons: (1) there were then eleven slave and eleven free states, and the admission of Missouri would upset this balance in the Senate; (2) her entrance into the Union would probably settle the policy as to slavery in the remainder of the great Louisiana Purchase. The South therefore insisted that Missouri should be a slave-holding state, and the Senate voted to admit her as such. The North insisted that slavery should be abolished in Missouri, and the House of Representatives voted to admit her as a free state. As neither would yield, the question went over to the next session of Congress.

MAINE. - By that time Maine, which belonged to Massachusetts, had obtained leave to frame a constitution, and applied for admission as a free state. This afforded a chance to preserve the balance of states in the Senate, and Congress accordingly passed at the same time two bills, one to admit Maine as a free state, and one to authorize Missouri to make a proslavery constitution.

THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE, 1820. - The second of these bills embodied the Missouri Compromise, or Compromise of 1820, which provided that in all the territory purchased from France in 1803 and lying north of the parallel 36° 30' there never should be slavery, except in Missouri (map p. 279). [16]

This Compromise left a great region from which free states might be made in future, and very little for slave states. We shall see the consequences of this by and by.

EXPLORATION OF THE WEST. - West of Missouri the country was still a wilderness overrun by Indians, and by buffalo and other wild animals. Many believed it to be almost uninhabitable. Pike, who (1806-7) marched across the plains from St. Louis to the neighborhood of Pikes Peak and on to the upper waters of the Rio Grande, and Long, who (1820) followed Pike, brought back dismal accounts of the country. Pike reported that the banks of the Kansas, the Platte, and the Arkansas rivers might "admit of a limited population," but not the plains. Long said the country west of Council Bluffs "is almost wholly unfit for cultivation, and of course uninhabitable by people depending on agriculture," and that beyond the Rockies it was "destined to be the abode of perfect desolation."

THE GREAT AMERICAN DESERT. - This started the belief that in the West was a great desert, and for many years geographers indicated such a desert on their maps. It covered most of what is now Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and parts of Texas, Colorado, and South Dakota. One geographer (1835) declared, "a large part maybe likened to the Great Sahara or African Desert."

THE NORTHWESTERN BOUNDARY. - When Louisiana was purchased in 1803 no boundary was given it on the north or west.

By treaty with Great Britain in 1818, the 49th parallel was made our northern boundary from the Lake of the Woods to the summit of the Rocky Mountains. [17]

THE OREGON COUNTRY. - The country west of the sources of the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains, the region drained by the Columbia, or as it was sometimes called, the Oregon River, was claimed by both Great Britain and the United States. As neither would yield, it was agreed that the Oregon country should be held jointly for a time. [18]

THE SPANISH BOUNDARY. - South of Oregon and west of the mountains lay the possessions of Spain, with which country in 1819 we made a treaty, fixing the western limits of the Louisiana Purchase. We began by claiming as far as the Rio Grande, and asking for Florida. We ended by accepting the line shown on the map, p. 278, and buying Florida. [19]


1. The treaty of peace in 1814 left several issues unsettled; it was therefore followed by a trade treaty with Great Britain, an agreement to limit naval power on the northern lakes, and (1818) a treaty about fisheries in British waters.

2. The suspension of specie payments by the state banks during the war caused such disorder in the currency that a national bank was chartered to regulate it.

3. The embargo, by cutting off importation of British goods, encouraged home manufactures. Heavy importations after the war injured home manufactures, and to help them Congress enacted a protective tariff law.

4. Despite commercial troubles and the war, the people were prosperous. New towns were founded, travel was improved, the steamboat was introduced, and the West grew rapidly.

5. After 1815 a great wave of population poured over the West.

6. Seven new states were admitted between 1812 and 1821.

7. A struggle for the trade of the growing West led to the building of the Erie Canal.

8. A struggle over slavery led to the Missouri Compromise (1820).

9. By treaties with Great Britain and Spain, boundaries of the Louisiana Purchase were established, Florida was purchased, and the Oregon country was held jointly with Great Britain.


[1] A serious quarrel over the West Indian trade now arose and was not settled till 1830. Read McMaster's History of the People of the U. S., Vol. V, pp. 483-487.

[2] The agreement of 1817 provided that each power might have one armed vessel on Lake Ontario, two on the upper lakes, and one on Lake Champlain. Each vessel was to have but one eighteen-pound cannon. All other armed vessels were to be dismantled and no others were to be built or armed. In Europe such a water boundary between two powers would have been guarded by strong fleets and forts and many armed men.

[3] The fishery treaty provides (1) that our citizens may forever catch and dry fish on certain parts of the coasts of Newfoundland and of Labrador; (2) that they may not catch fish within three miles of any other of the coasts of the British dominions in America; (3) that our fishermen may enter the harbors on these other coasts for shelter, or to obtain water, or wood, or to repair damages, "and for no other purpose whatever."

[4] As to the straits to which people were put for small change, read McMaster's History of the People of the U. S., Vol. IV, pp. 297-298.

[5] This bank had branches in the various states, and specie could be had for its notes at any branch. Hence its notes passed at their face value over all the country, and became, like specie, of the same value everywhere. Authority to charter the bank was found in the provision of the Constitution giving Congress power to "regulate the currency."

[6] Thirty-nine of our colleges, theological seminaries, and universities were founded between 1783 and 1820.

[7] For Rumsey and Fitch, see p. 239. William Longstreet in 1790 tried a small model steamboat on the Savannah River; and in 1794 Elijah Ormsbee at Providence and Samuel Morey on Long Island Sound, in 1796 John Fitch on a pond in New York city, in 1797 Morey on the Delaware, in 1802 Oliver Evans at Philadelphia, and in 1804 and 1806 John Stevens at Hoboken, demonstrated that boats could be moved by steam. But none had made the steamboat a practical success.

[8] The state of New York gave Fulton and his partner, Livingston, the sole right to use steamboats on the waters of the state. This monopoly was evaded by using teamboats, on which the machinery that turned the paddle wheel was moved by six or eight horses hitched to a crank and walking round and round in a circle on the deck. Teamboats were used chiefly as ferryboats. Read McMaster's History of the People of the U. S., Vol. IV, pp. 397-407.

[9] Read McMaster's History of the People of the U. S., Vol. IV, pp. 381-394. All the great highways to the West were crowded with bands of emigrants. In nine days 260 wagons bound for the West passed through one New York town. At Easton, in Pennsylvania, on a favorite route from New England (map, p. 194), 511 wagons accompanied by 3066 persons passed in a month. A tollgate keeper on another route reported 2000 families as having passed during nine months. From Alabama, whither people were hurrying to settle on the cotton lands, came reports of a migration quite as large. When the census of 1820 was taken, the returns showed that there were but 75 more people in Delaware in 1820 than there were in 1810. In the city of Charleston there were 24,711 people in 1810 and 24,780 in 1820. In many states along the seaboard the rate of increase of population was less during the census period 1810-20 than it had been before, because of the great numbers who had left for the West.

[10] If the newcomer chose some settlement for his home, the neighbors would gather when the logs were cut, hold a "raising," and build his cabin in the course of one day. Tables, chairs, and other furniture were generally made by the settler with his own hands. Brooms and brushes were of corn husks, and many of his utensils were cut from the trunks of trees. "I know of no scene more primitive," said a Kentucky pioneer, "than such a cabin hearth as that of my mother's. In the morning a buckeye backlog, a hickory forestick, resting on stones, with a johnny cake on a clean ash board, set before the fire to bake; a frying pan with its long handle resting on a splint-bottom chair, and a teakettle swung from a log pole, with myself setting the table, or turning the meat. Then came the blowing of the conch-shell for father in the field, the howling of old Lion, the gathering around the table, the blessing, the dull clatter of pewter spoons on pewter dishes, and the talk about the crops and stock."

[11] For an account of the social conditions in 1820, read McMaster's History of the People of the U. S., Vol. IV, Chap, xxxvii; also Eggleston's Circuit Rider, Cooper's Prairie, and Recollections of Life in Ohio, by W. C. Howells.

[12] A story is told of an early settler who was elected to the territorial legislature of Illinois. Till then he had always worn buckskin clothes, but thinking them unbecoming a lawmaker, he and his sons gathered hazel nuts and bartered them at the crossroads store for a few yards of blue strouding, out of which the women of the settlement made him a coat and pantaloons.

[13] On the Ohio River floated odd craft of many sorts. There were timber rafts from the mountain streams; pirogues built of trunks of trees; broadhorns; huge pointed and covered hulks carrying 50 tons of freight and floating downstream with the current and upstream by means of poles, sails, oars, or ropes; keel boats for upstream work, with long, narrow, pointed bow and stern, roofed, manned with a crew of ten men, and propelled with setting poles; flatboats which went downstream with the pioneer never to come back - flat-bottomed, box-shaped craft manned by a crew of six, kept in the current by oars 30 feet long called "sweeps" and a steering oar 50 feet long at the stern. Those intended to go down the Mississippi were strongly built, roofed over, and known as "Orleans boats." "Kentucky flatboats" for use on the Ohio were half roofed and slighter. Mingled with these were arks, galleys, rafts, and shanty boats of every sort, and floating shops carrying goods, wares, and merchandise to every farmhouse and settlement along the river bank. Now it would be a floating lottery office, where tickets were sold for pork, grain, or produce; now a tinner's establishment, where tinware was sold or mended; now a smithy, where horses and oxen were shod and wagons mended; now a factory for the manufacture of axes, scythes, and edge tools; now a dry- goods shop fitted up just as were such shops in the villages, and filled with all sorts of goods and wares needed by the settlers.

[14] This canal was originally a ditch 4 feet deep, 40 feet wide, and 363 miles long. The chief promoter was De Witt Clinton. The opponents of the canal therefore called it in derision "Clinton's big ditch," and declared that it could never be made a success. But Clinton and his friends carried the canal to completion, and in 1825 a fleet of canal boats left Buffalo, went through the canal, down the Hudson, and out into New York Bay. There fresh water brought from Lake Erie in a keg was poured into the salt water of the Atlantic.

[15] It was once hoped that Southern states also would in time abolish slavery; but as more and more land was devoted to cotton raising in the South, the demand for slave labor there increased. The South came to regard slavery as necessary for her prosperity, and to desire its extension to more territory.

[16] Meantime Arkansas (1819) had been organized as a slave-holding territory. As Missouri had to make a state constitution and submit it to Congress she did not enter the Union till 1821. The Compromise line 36° 30' was part of the south boundary of Missouri and extended to the 100th meridian. Missouri did not have the present northwestern boundary till 1836; compare maps on pp. 279 and 331. On the Compromise read the speech of Senator Rufus King, in Johnston's American Orations, Vol. II, pp. 33- 62; and that of Senator Pinckney, pp. 63-101.

[17] By the treaty with Great Britain in 1783 a line was to be drawn from the Lake of the Woods due west to the Mississippi. This was impossible, but the difficulty was ended by the treaty of 1818. From the northwesternmost point of the Lake of the Woods a line (as the treaty provides) is drawn due south to the 49th parallel. This makes a little knob on our boundary.

[18] We claimed it because in 1792 Captain Gray, in the ship Columbia, discovered the river, entered, and named it after his ship; because in 1805-6 Lewis and Clark explored both its main branches and spent the winter near its mouth; and because in 1811 an American fur-trading post, Astoria, was built on the banks of the Columbia near its mouth. Great Britain claimed a part of it because of explorations under Vancouver (1792), and occupation of various posts by the Hudson's Bay Company. At first Oregon was the country drained by the Columbia River. Through our treaty with Spain, in 1819, part of the 42d parallel was made the southern boundary. In 1824, by treaty with Russia, the country which then owned Alaska, 54° 40' became the northern boundary. The Rocky Mountains were understood to be the eastern limit.

[19] What is called the purchase of Florida consisted in releasing Spain from all liability for damages of many sorts inflicted on our citizens from 1793 to the date of the treaty, and paying them ourselves; the sum was not to exceed $5,000,000.