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United States

In many respects the election of Jackson [1] was an event of as much political importance as was the election of Jefferson. Men hailed it as another great uprising of the people, as another triumph of democracy. They acted as if the country had been delivered from impending evil, and hurried by thousands to Washington to see the hero inaugurated and the era of promised reform opened. [2]

Wherever the early explorers and settlers touched our coast, they found the country sparsely inhabited by a race of men they called Indians. These people, like their descendants now living in the West, were a race with copper-colored skins, straight, jet-black hair, black eyes, beardless faces, and high cheek bones.

POPULATION. - When Harrison was elected in 1840, the population of our country was 17,000,000, spread over twenty-six states and three territories. Of these millions several hundred thousand had come from the Old World. No records of such arrivals were kept before 1820; since that date careful records have been made, and from them it appears that between 1820 and 1840 about 750,000 immigrants came to our shores. They were chiefly from Ireland, England, and Germany. [1]

While English, Dutch, and Swedes were settling on the Atlantic seaboard of North America, the French took possession of the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi. Though the attempt of Cartier to plant a colony on the St. Lawrence failed (p. 30), the French never lost interest in that part of the world, and new attempts were made to plant colonies.

TYLER AND THE WHIGS QUARREL. - When Congress (in May, 1841) first met in Tyler's term, Clay led the Whigs in proposing measures to carry out their party principles. But Tyler vetoed their bill establishing a new national bank. The Whigs then made some changes to suit, as they supposed, his objections, and sent him a bill to charter a Fiscal Corporation; but this also came back with a veto; whereupon his Cabinet officers (all save Daniel Webster, Secretary of State) resigned, and the Whig members of Congress, in an address to the people, read him out of the party.

KING WILLIAM'S WAR. - When James II was driven from his throne (p. 93), he fled to France. His quarrel with King William was taken up by Louis XIV, and in 1689 war began between France and England. The strife thus started in the Old World soon spread to the New, and during eight years the frontier of New England and New York was the scene of French and Indian raids, massacres, and burning towns.

THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1852. - The Compromise of 1850 was thought to be a final settlement of all the troubles that had grown out of slavery. The great leaders of the Whig and Democratic parties solemnly pledged themselves to stand by the compromise, and when the national conventions met in 1852, the two parties in their platforms made equally solemn promises.

THE SITUATION IN 1754. - The French were now in armed possession of the Ohio valley. Their chain of forts bounded the British colonies from Lake Champlain to Fort Duquesne. Unless they were dislodged, all hope of colonial expansion westward was ended. To dislodge them meant war, and the certainty of war led to a serious attempt to unite the colonies.

POPULATION. - In the twenty years which had elapsed since 1840 the population of our country had risen to over 31,000,000. In New York alone there were, in 1860, about as many people as lived in the whole United States in 1789.

The French and Indian War gave the colonists valuable training as soldiers, freed them from the danger of attack by their French neighbors, and so made them less dependent on Great Britain for protection. But the mother country took no account of this, and at once began to do things which in ten years' time drove the colonies into rebellion.

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