(Firefox or Netscape recommended)
Web links for your personal research
About the Declaration of Independence - Articles of Confederation - The Constitution and more (national archives) :
Ratification of the Constitution http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/United_States_Government/Ratification
Lewis and Clark - Dred Scott - http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/education/
Causes of the Civil War (Class prep., US style) : ../L3_extra_aids/US_style_preps/L3.US.assign.1.html
Library of Congress
Founding Fathers - ... : http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/ammemhome.html
A More Perfect Union:
40 Documents that Shaped America, 1776 - 1882
2- Snake R.
3- Missouri R.
4- Mississippi R.
5- Ohio R.
6- Cape cod
7 - Long Island
8- Chesapeake Bay
9 - Cumberland Gap
11 - Red R.
12- Canadian R.
13 - Arkansas R.
14 - North Platte R.
15 - South Platte R.
16 - Rio Grande
17 - Pecos R.
18 - Gila R.
19 - Hoover Dam; Lake Mead
20 - Grand Canyon
21- Glen Canyon Dam; Lake Powell
22 - Colorado R.
23- Great Salt Lake
24- Green R.
25- South Pass
1619 John Rolfe brings African slaves to Jamestown to harvest tobacco along with indentured whites. In 1614 Indian chief Powhatan had signed a formal treaty with the settlers and sealed the deal in traditional fashion by marrying his daughter Pocahontas to John Rolfe, one of the English colonists most prominent residents.
1620 The Mayflower arrives at Cape Cod
1776 Declaration of Independence
1777 - THE ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION 1777 (March 1, 1781/ March 4, 1789)
The first Constitution of the United States was the Articles of Confederation, but right from the start it was obvious that they could not work and keep the new nation united. Why?1) There was no chief executive, no president of the U.S. There was a "Committee of States" made up of one delegate from each state. (13) This committee existed only during the intervals between the sessions of the Congress. This committee could in the absence of Congress perform routine governmental functions only.
2) There was no real judicial department. There was no court to handle disputes between the states.
3) A majority of 9 votes was required to pass important laws.
4) Congress could requisition taxes from the States but could not force the collection of taxes.
5) Congress could not enlist troops. It could not draft men, only requisition them into the armed forces.
6) The members of Congress were paid by the states and a state could recall any delegate at any time. It's obvious then that the first, essential function of the delegates was to protect and advance the interests of their own states and cooperate for the welfare of the United States when possible and when it coincided with their states' interests.
7) Congress was not given real power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce. Each state set its own import duties and soon each state tried to protect its own internal trade by levying tariffs against goods from other states. Trade agreements between the United States and a foreign nation were nearly impossible. As a consequence, inter-state trade—internal trade across state borders—was very low.
8) Congress was not given the exclusive power to issue paper money. The paper money situation soon became chaotic.
10) Amending the Articles of Confederation required the unanimous vote of the 13 states, which was difficult to obtain.
The Articles of Confederation would become effective only when ratified by all of the 13 states . All states ratified them quickly except Maryland who held out until March 1781. Why?1787 Northwest Ordinance prohibits slavery north of the Ohio River (Northwest Territories)
Many large states at the time had claims to western lands, across the Alleghenies and into the Mississippi River valley. Maryland was a small state and was afraid of union with so many large states.... So Maryland ratified the Articles of Confederation only when the larger states relinquished their claims to western lands. This attitude had very important consequences in that it induced the states to cede their western lands to the United States. The acquisition of these lands by the central government set the stage for the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. It opened the settlement of the West under federal control and avoided later conflicts between the first 13 states.
1793 Fugitive slave law
The Bill of Rights is the name given to the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. When the Constitution was submitted to the state legislatures for ratification, many of its opponents claimed that the Constitution did not include a bill of rights because the document was an aristocratic scheme to remove the rights of Americans. Supporters, known as Federalists, assured Americans that a Bill of Rights would be added by the first Congress.
After the Constitution was ratified, the first Congress met. Most of the delegates agreed that a Bill of Rights was needed and most of them believed that the same rights should be enumerated. The task of drafting the Bill of Rights fell to James Madison, who based his work on George Mason's earlier work, Virginia Declaration of Rights. It had been decided earlier that the Bill of Rights would be added to the Constitution as amendments (the list of rights was not included in the text of the Constitution because it was feared that changing the document's text would necessitate the rather painful process of re-ratifying the Constitution).
The Bill of Rights includes rights such as freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly. It also includes a clause assuring the American people that the bill of rights should not be interpreted as a list of all rights belonging to Americans, but rather a list of the most important rights.
Twelve amendments were originally proposed in 1789, but two failed to pass. The ten passed on December 15, 1791 became what is now known as the Bill of Rights. The eleventh was ratified in 1992 as the 27th amendment to the constitution; it restricts the ability of Congress to raise its own pay. The twelfth is theoretically still pending, but unlikely to ever pass (it deals with setting the size of Congress).
The Bill of Rights passed the House easily. When it was sent to the Senate, an amendment was removed that forbade states from interfering with the rights of the people. Since records of the meetings of the Senate are not available to the public, no one can say for sure why this amendment was removed. The fourteenth amendment, passed in 1868, has been widely interpreted by courts to do exactly that. The other amendment regulated the size of the House.
The amendments making up the Bill of Rights are:
• Amendment One - Freedom of speech, religion, peaceable assembly 
• Amendment Two - Right to keep and bear arms. 
• Amendment Three - Protection from quartering of troops. 
• Amendment Four - Protection from unreasonable search and seizure.
• Amendment Five - Due process, double jeopardy, self-incrimination, takings.
• Amendment Six - Trial by jury and other rights of the accused.
• Amendment Seven- Civil trial by jury.
• Amendment Eight - Prohibition of excessive bail, cruel punishment.
• Amendment Nine - Declares that other rights not listed may be protected.
• Amendment Ten - Grants residual power to the states and to the people.
The following text is a transcription of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any cri minal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
1820 The Missouri CompromiseSee this link
Missouri was to enter the Union (= the United States) as a full state but the question was to know whether it would enter the Union as a free state or as a slave state: no political solution could be found until Henry Clay arranged a compromise: Missouri would be admitted as a slave state. Maine would be cut loose from Massachusetts as a free state, and Congress decreed that slavery would be excluded north of the parallel 36° 30'. The Missouri Compromise excluded slavery from Louisiana Purchase lands.1828 Nullification theory
When Congress raised the duties even higher in 1828 with the so-called "Tariff of Abominations," South Carolina's Legislature published the "South Carolina Exposition and Protest," or South Carolina Doctrine, protesting the tariff as unconstitutional and advancing the theory of nullification. The Exposition declared that a sovereign State had the right to determine through a convention whether an act of Congress was unconstitutional and whether it constituted such a dangerous violation "as to justify the interposition of the State to protect its rights." If so, the convention would then decide in what manner the act ought to be declared null and void within the limits of the State, and the declaration would be obligatory on her own citizens, as well as the national government. U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun was the (secret) author of the nullification theory. The Union, he argued, was a compact or league between sovereign States.1833 - Compromise of 1833 (Compromise Tariff)
- The Compromise of 1850 (also called the Omnibus Bill) - September 20,
1850 - The Fugitive
Slave Act of 1850
Also called the Omnibus bill, the compromise of 1850, pushed by Kentucky's Henry Clay and Illinois's Stephen A. Douglas, provided for the admission of California as a free state, the establishment of territorial governments in New Mexico and Utah which was free to choose slavery or not, reduction of Texas to its present state boundaries, slave trade banned in DC.
Free states were obliged to arrest runaway slaves and return them to their home states, as stated in the 1850 Fugitive Slave Act. Many Northerners opposed it and organized "the underground railroad" to help fugitive slaves to reach Canada and freedom.1851-52 Publication of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
In early September 1850 the essential bills passed: admission of California; a more stringent fugitive slave law; organization of New Mexico and Utah as territories free to legislate on slavery and to enter the Union with or without slavery when sufficiently populous; curbing of the slave trade in Washington; adjustment of the Texas boundary; assumption of the Texas debt. The Compromise of 1850 did not repeal the Missouri Compromise; the 1820 enactment dealt with the Louisiana purchase land, the 1850 law exclusively with the territory acquired from Mexico. The act had some disappointing consequences. The Fugitive Slave Law failed to bring sectional peace; the free state of California added a surprising element to the argument over sectional balance when it sent pro-slavery men to the Senate; and the slave trade continued to flourish in the District. .. Once more the Union was preserved by the same spirit of compromise that created it; but for the last time. Source: Morison, Samuel Eliot, Henry Steele Commager, William E. Leuchtenburg. A Concise History of the American Republic. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, pp. 248-49.
1857 Dred Scott Decision
In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act repealed the Missouri Compromise and put forward the idea that the settlers of each territory, not the Missouri Compromise nor the Congress should determine the future status of slavery in each new state to be created out of each territory. This was the famous principle now called popular sovereignty which had been enunciated four years earlier in the Compromise of 1850. From the beginning of the republic the law had operated on the assumption that the federal government controlled the territories, that it would dictate the organization of government, and that self-rule would come gradually.
A new political organization, the Republican party, was founded by opponents of the bill.
1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act - (encarta)
Saturday 5 October 2002
If the Ostend Manifesto severely damaged Pierce's popularity, the Kansas-Nebraska Act destroyed it. Senator Douglas introduced the bill, proposing the creation of the Kansas and Nebraska territories between the Missouri River and the Continental Divide. In each territory the slavery issue was to be decided by vote of the residents. Because both territories lay north of parallel 36° 30', this was an exception to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which barred the creation of new slavery states north of that line. Douglas told Congress that the organization of these territories was essential to a major national objective, the construction of a transcontinental railroad. Southerners in Congress began maneuvering when the bill was introduced. If they supported Douglas, they would be giving up their long-held dream of a southern route for the transcontinental railroad. In return they demanded that the bill include an outright repeal of the Missouri Compromise. Since the Southerners belonged to the Democratic Party and Douglas was also a Democrat, it was up to the Democratic president to provide leadership. Democratic President Pierce was no friend of the compromise because of his belief that any federal restriction on slavery was unconstitutional. He not only yielded to Southern demands, he wrote the repeal clause himself, declaring that the Missouri Compromise was ‚"inoperative and void."
The repeal clause brought a storm of protest from Northerners in Congress, but once more Pierce helped bring his party into line. In May 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska bill became law. To make certain that Kansas would vote for slavery, people from Missouri, a slavery state, streamed into Kansas to pack the ballot boxes in favor of a proslavery legislature. The proslavery forces won, but the North countered with the New England Emigrant Aid Company, which sent Northern settlers into Kansas to help organize a rival free-soil (antislavery) government. The two Kansas governments occupied separate capitals, those favoring slavery at Lecompton and the free-soilers at Topeka, and both appealed to Washington for recognition. Pierce recognized the Lecompton group, over the bitter opposition of many congressmen who charged that it was elected through fraud, and condemned the Topeka group as rebels. Meanwhile, bands from both sides made armed raids on each other in a virtual civil war that was known as the Border War, or Bleeding Kansas. The conflict was a recurring nightmare throughout Pierce's administration.
Chief Justice Taney and a majority of the Supreme Court declared that Congress had no power to exclude slavery from the territories. The Supreme Court denied citizenship to U.S. Blacks. The ruling made slavery legal in all the territories, thereby adding fuel to the sectional controversy and pushing the nation along the road to civil war. The decision was a clear victory for the slaveholding South.1860 The first state to secede was South Carolina on Dec. 20, 1860
1861 Lincoln is inaugurated (March 4, 1861)
1861 Fort Sumter (April 12, 1861)
Beginning of the Civil War1877 Compromise of 1877
Meeting in Washington on 26 February 1877, southern Democrats informally agreed not to prevent Congress from deciding the disputed presidential election of 1876 in favor of Rutherford HAVES. This was in return for Republican assurances to withdraw the last US troops occupying the South and to give a southern Democrat control of most patronage as postmaster general. The deal greatly increased the prospect of a Hayes victory, ended northern commitment to RECONSTRUCTION, and enabled white Democrats to complete the South's political REDEMPTION.(Purvis)
The movement that eventually turned to politics to have slavery abolished in the United States. "By the mid-1830s, a number of abolitionists had offered constitutional interpretations that justified stronger federal action against slavery"(Knupfer 162). "To southerners, the most immediate danger from this antislavery constitutionalism was its erosion of the fugitive slave clause, which they regarded as the cornerstone of a national compact on slavery" (Knupfer 163)."
More information available here
American SystemHenry CLAY'S program to stimulate national economic development was known by this term. Under Clay's system, Congress would foster manufacturing by protective tariffs, ensure the stable currency necessary for interstate business transactions through a national bank, and link farmers to urban and overseas markets by funding INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS [public works projects like roads, bridges, canals] from western land sales. Clay's goal was to have each region of the US serve as an ever-expanding domestic market for the others' goods, so that northern industrial centers might buy foodstuffs and cotton from westerners and southerners, who in turn would buy northern manufactures. (Purvis 14)
Fears of the dissolution of the Union (Knupfer 17)
The period before the Civil War
Balance of power between the North and the South / sectional balance / sectional equilibriumThis was a basic principle organizing American politics in Congress until the Civil War. The Missouri Compromise is an example of this basic rule: Missouri was created as a slave state and Maine was cut off from Massachusetts as a free state to keep the balance.
Sectional Tension had been continually rising throughout the 1800's in America. The vast differences of Southern and Northern living had been made even greater with the North adopting a general favoring of abolition. The laws being passed for the country now had more implications over sectional tension. The power of Congress and Senate was split between Northern abolitionists and Southern slave and plantation owners. The basic idea for stability was a balance of power in Congress and the Senate. However, for this balance to happen, America needed an equal number of slave and non-slave states.
CompromiseA compromise is the settlement of a conflict through mutual concessions. Other definitions offer variations on this one, modifying certain terms-using diplomatic adjustment in place of sterile settlement, for instance. Some definitions stray from description to prescription, conflating compromise with consensus or amputating the quality of mutuality by sermonizing about making compromises "with reality." Compromise is not consensus, and reality never makes compromises but only demands concessions. To avoid the common confusion of compromise with other forms of conflict resolution, we need to delineate its component elements-conflict, concession, mutuality, and settlement-and explain their unique relationship to one another. (Knupfer 5)
Separation of powersThe three powers—the legislative, the executive, the judiciary—are separated.
A system of checks and balancesEach power partly controls the others. For example the President (the executive) can veto a bill passed in Congress (legislative), and Congress can overide the President's veto if a 2/3 majority is in favor of the bill.The President may veto the bill: he sends it back to the house in which it originated. If EACH house then passes the bill by a 2/3rds vote taken by roll-call it becomes law. This is OVERRIDING a veto. E.g. NIXON refused to approve such measures as the Clean Water Act of 1972, which was passed over his veto. If not the bill is dead.
Bicameralismtwo (bi-) houses/chambers (lat. camera) (House of Representatives and the Senate)
"We the people"the people, all American citizens, the American nation, so that the Constitution binds all American citizens and secession is unacceptable.
"a more perfect union"A more perfect union than under the Articles of Confederation. Many questions remain unsolved.
A shaky foundation for a perpetual union (Knupfer 39)A union of states, so that power and sovereignty reside in the states who agree to form a more perfect union, not in the federal state thus created. States implicitly have the right to secede.
But at the same time a more perfect union to create a nation making secession even more unacceptable.
Absence of consensus on whether the USA was a nation of states or of citizens (Knupfer 60)
Weaknesses of the constitutional union resting on shaky consensus and compromises (Knupfer 22)
Constitutional unionism (Knupfer 3)a belief system encompassing the theory, ethics, operation, and structure of a constitutional system as it was perceived by those who framed and implemented it. Constitutional unionism assumed that the Union was neither automatically self-perpetuating nor completely supreme over the states. The Union was limited by the Constitution; its legitimacy and therefore its perpetuity rested on consensus-the "mutual affections" of its citizens who, short of outright revolution, could gather constitutional majorities (presumably a number equivalent to three-fourths of the states) to end the Union at any time. Therefore, constitutional unionists did not accept the legitimacy of secession or nullification; they could accept the idea of federal supremacy within the sphere marked out by the Constitution and established by congressional, administrative, and judicial precedent over long stretches of time. The ambivalent and apparently contradictory character of constitutional unionist thought was an understandable outgrowth of the pragmatic outlook common to denizens of the political center. And it could have predictable consequences, for when faced with sectional crises that exposed the inherent conflicts between states and nation, freeman and slaveholder-conflicts that were incorporated into the compromises of the Constitution-constitutional unionists preferred old formulas to new institutions or ideas for advising a troubled country. (Knupfer 3)“The Chains of the Constitution” Foundations of American Constitutionalism Chapter I: The Lessons of History Copyleft 2000 http://www.cassiodorus.com.
... we can now derive the four principles of American constitutionalism from Madison ...:
1) The People are the source of sovereignty
2) The People may delegate, but not alienate their sovereignty
3) The People have the right to reform Government
4) The People are by nature equally free and independent with certain inalienable rights
Disunionism (Knupfer 75)
Federal and state relations (conflicts about) (Knupfer 56)"the emergence of a party system … divided the community between advocates of states' rights and supporters of a stronger federal government … (Knupfer 57)
FederalismSharing of power between national and state governments. Example: Roads--Federal buildings; Interstates; States build state highways, local governments build residential streets.
Federalist papersFederalist papers - http://www.gradesaver.com/ClassicNotes/Titles/federalist/about.html
[Accessed September 20, 2002].
ClassicNote on The Federalist Papers: Background on the Federalist Papers:
The Federalist Papers were written in support of the ratification of the Constitution. While modern day readers might not see, the Constitution was a revolutionary step. In Philadelphia, the delegates rebelled against the existing Articles of Confederation and looked to the states, not the existing government, for ratification and approval of the new government. Because of the revolutionary nature of the new constitution, arguments were necessary to rationalize the response to the new emergencies. After the convention, therefore, Tench Coxe became the coordinator in Philadelphia for those who supported the constitution while George Mason became the coordinator for New York for those who opposed it. Hundreds and hundreds of letters were written regarding the constitution, "Cato" and "The Federal Farmer" attacked while "Caeser" replied. Both George Washington and Ben Franklin, probably the two most influential men in the country, supported the Constitution.
Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York were the states critical to the success or failure of the Constitution. Of these four states, New York by far was the state where the success of the constitution was in the most doubt. The state's delegation did not approve the draft in Philadelphia because two of its three delegates left during the protest and abandoned Alexander Hamilton without a vote. Governor Clinton, the leading figure in New York politics, opposed the new government and New York had become an independent nation under the Articles of Confederation, making itself rich through tariffs on trade with its neighboring states.
Quickly, Alexander Hamilton decided that a massive propaganda campaign was necessary in New York, much more than in any other states. This new plan entailed a saturation theory, a sustained barrage of arguments appearing in newspapers four times a week. Because of the massive amounts of work, he decided that he needed two co-authors to help him write under the pseudonym of "publius." Although he originally had asked others to assist him in the project but luckily for him and future generations, James Madison, a Virginia citizen, was available because the Continental Congress was sitting in New York during that period. John Jay was also asked because of his vast foreign diplomatic service. Unfortunately, John Jay was injured shortly after the project commenced and was able to only complete six different papers. That left Hamilton and Madison to finish the rest, a task they were able to complete only because they relied heavily on notes they had used in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia earlier. Eventually, the books were published not only serially in different newspapers in New York (four out of five of the major newspapers of the time) as well as republished in book form near the end of the run. Unfortunately, the ratification vote in New York failed and New Yorkers only were able to ratify the constitution after Delaware was the ninth state that approved ratification and would have rendered New York as a sole state looking in at a union. James Madison, however, took the published books to assist in the ratification debate in Virginia and the papers survived for a far greater purpose than merely propaganda. The Federalist Papers are the single greatest interpretive source of the Constitution of the United States, the best insight and explanation of what the Founding Fathers purpose was in the passage of the document that governs the United States of America.
Philosophically, The Federalist Papers should also be considered in the context in which they were written. The revolutionary era was characterized by a quest for security from foreign nations, for peace in America, and for individual freedom. These values, it was hoped, could be achieved by united action. And whereas earlier plans of union were largely motivated by a desire for security and peace, those of the period under consideration as the appearance of the freedom motive. That motive came to the fore during the colonists' struggle with England and was recognized by the Articles of Confederation. In the arguments in Philadelphia and the subsequent Federalist Papers this same motive held force and arguments of unity and security, while seeming almost absurd to readers familiar with the power of the modern United States, were sincere concerns and problems.A clause in the Constitution—even if the words "slave" or "slavery" do not appear in it, that stated that runaway slaves had to be arrested and sent back to their masters if caught in the free states. This clause was seen by Southerners as proof of the Northerners' agreement to follow the compromise tradition and respect their minority rights. With the rise of abolitionism in the 1830s and later, this clause became a source of extreme sectional tensions in Congress.
Great CompromiseThere were mainly two forces at work in the Constitutional Convention. The delegates from the larger states favored a system based on population, and therefore advocated a strong legislature directly responsible to the citizens. The delegates from smaller states wanted a system based on the equality of states regardless of population or wealth. They did not want a national government to have power over the people.
A compromise was then the solution. It was called the Great Compromise. Accordingly the legislative power was divided into two houses. The House of Representatives would be based on population; the Senate would represent the states.
Hence, the formation of the House of Representatives and the Senate under the Constitution 'has been -called The Great Compromise. Source: American History Social Studies Baron Educational Series, p. 52
Interests (conflicting interests)
Juxtaposition of freedom and slavery (Knupfer 19)Such a juxtapositon led to the "intractable problem of slavery in a republic" (Knupfer 85).
Locke, Johnthe consent of the governed
the right and duty of people to overthrow tyrannical governments to secure peace
limited sovereignty of governments
Madisonian constitutional heritage (Knupfer x)Madison put forward a series of principles at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention (1787)Limiting Majority Controlin order to create the American Constitutional Republic.
Creating Checks and Balances
Establishing a Federal System
These principles form the foundation of Madisonian pluralism which made it possible to different minority groups to "form a better union".
See also American constitutionalism
Saturday 5 October 2002
The Mexican War had ushered in the era of manifest destiny, a belief that territorial expansion of the United States was inevitable. Pierce shared in this American expansionist fever. He was eager to annex Hawaii and to acquire Alaska. However, he meant first to purchase Cuba from Spain and to acquire additional territory from Mexico. Cuba had long been regarded by the Southern states as a natural addition to their territory, and Mexican land was needed to make possible a planned transcontinental southern railway. Both projects would aid the slave states and were thus bound to bring about a resumption of the slavery controversy.
ManumissionTo free from slavery; a synonym for emancipation (setting a slave free)
Mass politicsIn the 1830's, the emergence of the party system, the suffrage being granted to all white males under Andrew Jackson's presidency created a new political trend. Politics was no longer the exclusive sphere of an elite. More and more Americans got involved into politics especially when the extension of slavery or the tariff were the issues of the day.
Minority rights and majority rule (Knupfer 2)In a democracy, majority rule is ... the rule. It is worht noting however that it was considered by its framers that one of the functions of the Constitution was to protect the rights of minorities—in other words southern planters and slave owners—against the rule of the majority—the rest of the Union. This principle is still valid today, the Constitution and especially the first ten Amendments (the Bill of Rights) protecting individual freedoms. Over the centuries, the Constitution has thus protected more and more persons and minorities' rights (the Wasp colonial elite, all white males, all males, then women, Indians, Afro Americans and other ethnic minorities, endangered species, ...).
Missouri line (see Missouri Compromise),"... the pledge of free soil north of thirty-six thirty" (Knupfer 171)The foundation of the compromise tradition that developed after the ratification of the Constitution (1787-90) and lasted until the Civil War and possibly after Reconstruction (Compromise of 1877). The compromise tradition was the result of the patriotism of a new generation of American politicians who turned to the Constitution as the founding text of the Union—an attitude sometimes called "constitutional catechism" (Knupfer 78) and who constructed the Constitution—its interpretation.
Such a strategy relied on compromise as its main principle in the wake of "the great compromise" and implied mutual moderation, mutual concessions, mutual respect, conciliation, forbearance, reciprocity, civility, mutual affection, ("fraternal affection" as G. Washington put it in his Farewell Address,1796), intersectional comity especially between North and South to overcome sectional conflicts.
Even if it was more and more difficult to resort to a strategy of compromise and mutual concessions after the territorial acquisitions of the Mexican Cession (1848, Guadalupe Hidalgo Treaty) on account of the slavery extension issue and deadlocks in Congress (legislative paralysis) over the Missouri line (see Missouri Compromise), the rhetoric and rituals of the compromise tradition survived until the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 and until the Civil War.
Nature of the Union (Knupfer x)An endless and vexed issue in American politics. What is the source of sovereignty ? States? The people? The federal government? How are federal and states powers to be distributed?Calhoun, John C(aldwell) (1782 - 1850) US statesman; vice president (1824-32), a champion of the southern states and a defender of slavery.
His famous Nullification theory claimed the rights of states to nullify congressional laws that they considered unconstitutional. He encouraged the annexation of Texas to provide another slaveholding state and to strengthen the power of the South.
Ordered liberty (Knupfer10)See this link. The Constitution tried to balance the tranquillity of American society and the individual freedom of citizens.)
Saturday 5 October 2002
In the same year , Pierre Soule, Pierce's diplomatic representative to Spain, tried unsuccessfully to purchase Cuba from Spain. This purchase had become desperately important to the South, because Cuba had slaves and uprisings had taken place there. The South feared that to avoid a successful slave revolution, such as the one François Dominique Toussaint Louverture had led in Haiti, Spain might free the Cuban slaves. Whether or not Soule shared this fear, he made a high-handed move that turned out to be an appalling blunder. He met at Ostend (Oostende), Belgium, with James Buchanan, who was diplomatic representative to Britain, and John Y. Mason, the diplomatic representative to France. They drafted a document known as the Ostend Manifesto, which declared that if Spain refused to sell Cuba to the United States, the United States would seize the island as its only defense against the threat of slave revolution or slave emancipation in Cuba. The document caused an uproar both at home and abroad, and Pierce was forced to disclaim it. However, the bungled diplomacy put an end to all hope of acquiring Cuba.
PAs early as the 1820s, American politics became more and more dominated by parties instead of being the business of statesmen who like Clay, allegedly worked in the tradition of the Founding Fathers, i.e. compromise, mutual affection, concessions, for the common good. Allegiance to one's party (partyism) tended to replace unionism. Also, party strife sometimes replaced sectionalism. A major issue for national parties (the Whigs, the Democrats) was to avoid sectionalism within their parties. The issue of slavery finally split the Democratic party with many northern Democrats leaving the party to join the Republican party (1854).
The first party system (post Revolution period) included the Federalist Party and the Republican Democratic Party (anti-federalists, Jeffersonians)
The Federalist Partydisappeared after the War of 1812 (1812-14) as New England, where most Federalists were, had not supported the war effort and even refused to go to war with England.
The Republican Democratic Party (anti-federalists, Jeffersonians)Thomas Jefferson founded the Democratic Party in 1792 as a congressional caucus to fight for the Bill of Rights and against the elitist Federalist Party. In 1798, the "party of the common man" was officially named the Democratic-Republican Party and in 1800 elected Jefferson as the first Democratic President of the United States. Jefferson served two distinguished terms and was followed by James Madison in 1808. Madison strengthened America's armed forces -- helping reaffirm American independence by defeating the British in the War of 1812. James Monroe was elected president in 1816 and led the nation through a time commonly known as "The Era of Good Feeling" in which Democratic-Republicans served with little opposition. The election of John Quincy Adams in 1824 was highly contested and led to a four-way split among Democratic-Republicans. A result of the split was the emergence of Andrew Jackson as a national leader. The war hero, generally considered -- along with Jefferson -- one of the founding fathers of the Democratic Party, organized his supporters to a degree unprecedented in American history. The Jacksonian Democrats created the national convention process, the party platform, and reunified the Democratic Party with Jackson's victories in 1828 and 1832. The Party held its first National Convention in 1832 and nominated President Jackson for his second term. In 1844, the National Convention simplified the Party's name to the Democratic Party. Source http://www.democrats.org/about/history.html
The Second Party System (1820s-1860s) included the Democratic Party and the Whigs.
The (Jacksonian) (Republican) Democratic Party (the continuation of the above Republican Democratic Party)see abovehttp://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAwhig.htm
The Whig Party was established in 1834 by politicians opposed to the "executive tyranny of Andrew Jackson. The party was named after to the Whig Party in the House of Commons that at the time was advocating democratic reforms in Britain. In 1840 the party's presidential candidate, was William Henry Harrison. He defeated Martin Van Buren of the Democratic Party by 1,275,017 votes to 1,128,702. However, four years later, the decision by the anti-slavery Liberty Party to put up a candidate, James Birney (62,300), split the vote and enabled James Polk [a Democrat] (1,337,243) to defeat Henry Clay (1,299,068). [Henry Clay was the most prestigious leader of the Whig Party.]The Whig Party returned to power in 1848 when Zachary Taylor (1,360,101) defeated Lewis Cass (1,220,544) and Martin Van Buren (291,263). The party disintegrated following its refusal to take a stand on slavery issue. In 1852 the war hero Winfield Scott was nominated as its candidate. The party was badly divided with Southerners deeply suspicious of Scott's views on slavery. Franklin Pierce won 1,601,474 votes against Scott's 1,386,578. Most Whigs joined the newly created Republican Party in 1854.
Third party system (1850's to the present)`
The Democratic Party (the continuation of the Republican Democratic Party and later Jacksonian Democratic Party) and the Republican PartyThe Whigs were the party of the wealthy. The Democrats were the spiritual heirs of Jefferson and his agrarian values: simplicity, frugality, virtue. In 1854, dissatisfied with their party's stance on the issue of slavery, northern Democrats, and former Whigs founded the Republican Party. The same year , the disorganized remnants of the [Free-Soil] party were absorbed into the newly formed Republican Party, which carried the Free-Soil idea of opposing the expansion of slavery one step further by condemning slavery as a moral evil as well.
Other partiesThe Free-soil movement
The Free-soil movement appeared in the mid to late 1840s (Knupfer 167).
At a time of mounting crisis, both parties in 1848 [for the election of 1848] turned to men with military backgrounds... The Democrats named Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan, an ardent expansionist, veteran of 1812, and Jackson's Secretary of War. The Whigs nominated General Zachary Taylor, hero of the Mexican War. A third party, the Free-soil, was formed by a coalition of three elements-the abolitionist Liberty party, 'conscience' or anti-slavery Whigs, and Northern Democrats alienated by Polk's policies on patronage, the tariff, or rivers and harbors. 'Free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men' was the slogan. Van Buren, convinced that only slavery restriction could save the Union, accepted the Free-Soil presidential nomination, with the 'conscience' Whig, Charles Francis Adams, as his running mate. Among the former Democrats who rallied to the Free-soil standard was David Wilmot. Source: Morison, Samuel Eliot, Henry Steele Commager, William E. Leuchtenburg. A Concise History of the American Republic. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, p. 246.http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USASfreesoil.htm
In August 1848 at Buffalo, New York, a meeting of anti-slavery members of the Whig Party and the Liberty Party established the Free-Soil Party. The new party opposed the extension of slavery into the western territories. The main slogan of the party was "free soil, free speech, free labor, and free men". In the 1848 presidential election, Martin Van Buren, the party's candidate, polled 10 per cent of the vote. He split the traditional Democratic support and enabled the Whig candidate, Zachary Taylor, to win.
By 1852 the Free-Soil Party had 12 congressmen but in presidential election, John P. Hale won over 5 per cent of the vote. Two years later, remaining members joined the Republican Party.
Liberty PartyU.S. political party formed by a splinter group of abolitionists. It was created by A. Tappan and T. Weld in opposition to W. L. Garrison, who scorned political action as a futile way to end slavery. At its first party convention in 1840, J. Birney was nominated for U.S. president. By 1844 the party had influenced undecided legislators in many local elections to adopt antislavery stands. In 1848 it dissolved when many of its members joined the Barnburners (see Hunkers and Barnburners) to form the Free Soil Party.
accessed Sat. 19 Oct. 2002
PatriotismSee mutualityThe Republican experiment succeeded and fostered patriotism.
PluralismFrom "glossaire"A condition marked by the multiplicity of religions, ethnic groups, autonomous regions, or functional units within a single state; or a doctrine that holds such a multiplicity to be a good thing. .... The hard questions posed by political pluralism mostly have to do with its limits. It isn't only a multiplication of groups but also of loyalties that pluralism legitimizes. ..... None the less, they are likely to defend some significant commonalities: a single public language or a civic education for all children or a 'civil religion' with its own holidays and ceremonies. Political pluralism also refers to the existence of legal opposition parties or competing interest groups in a unitary state, where what is pluralized is not culture or religion but political opinions and conceptions of material interest. The ruling group, whatever its character, concedes that its ideas about how to govern are not the only legitimate ideas and that its understanding of the common good must incorporate some subset of more particular understandings. M. WALZ. The Oxford Companion to Philosophy, © Oxford University Press 1995 < Xrefer.com
Politics of conscienceA new form of politics that emerged with the rise of abolitionism after the 1830s. It "deplored compromise as an unacceptable sacrifice of moral principles" (Knupfer 164) and eroded the compromise tradition.A principle that stated that the question of slavery should be left to the decision of the territorial settlers themselves (see Wilmot proviso, Compromise of 1850, Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854)
Preservation of the UnionOne of the major obsessions of patriots in the times of the Early Republic and later (Abraham Lincoln). Ant.: nullification, secession
Public good (Knupfer 10)Sacrifice self-interest for the public good were the motives of the heirs to the founding Fathers and Constitution framers.
RepublicA form of government in which the people select representatives to govern them and make laws.
Republican experimentSee "glossaire"
Republicanism in the United States (wikipedia)The authors of the U.S. Constitution intentionally chose what they called a republic for several reasons. For one, it is impractical to collect votes from every citizen on every political issue. In theory, representatives would be more well-informed and less emotional than the general populace. Furthermore, a republic can be contrived to protect against the "tyranny of the majority." The Federalist Papers outline the idea that pure democracy is actually quite dangerous, because it allows a majority to infringe upon the rights of a minority. By forming what they called a Republic, in which representatives are chosen in many different ways (the President, House, Senate, and state officials are all elected differently), it is more difficult for a majority to control enough of the government to infringe upon a minority.
See republicanism in glossary.
SecessionThe fact for a state to secede from the Union
SectionalismAn exaggerated devotion to the interests of a region, here. Often refers to the oppositions between North and South. (Syn. sectional antagonism)
SlaveryAlso called the peculiar institution
Spirit of accommodationPart of the heritage of the Founding Fathers and the Constitution framers who had reached compromises to create the Union through concessions. See mutuality
Spoils SystemRewarding people who help candidates get elected with jobs
The system was first used by Andrew Jackson when elected president.
1829-1837 ANDREW JACKSON (nicknamed "Old Hickory") was president; he was to become famous for the "spoils system." His main idea: the common people should have a hand in government.
States' rightsThe idea that individual states could limit the power of the federal government. Often opposed to federalism. Originally, this was Thomas Jefferson's theory.
J. C. Calhoun defended the theory of states' rights on the grounds that it was delegates from the original 13 states, NOT from "the people", who had framed the Constitution. Therefore the legitimacy and sovereignty of the United States depended on the consent of each and every state in the Union.
Federalists on the contrary considered that such legitimacy and sovereignty originated in the American people as stated in the first sentence of the Constitution ("We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union"). The people formed one nation indivisble under God, speaking one national language codified by Noah Webster.
Accessed 6 January 2003
Andrew Jackson: Part Two - Debate
Jackson's presidency (1829-37) encompassed the guts of the "states' rights" debate, which was the central argument in the years running up to the Civil War. The doctrine of states' rights simply implied that the individual states had authority in matters not relegated to the federal government. One giant of a man, South Carolina's John Calhoun, was the central figure in the issue, as well as the corollary, "nullification," the latter having to do with the assumption that states may not choose to enforce federal law.
Statesmanship[Statesmanship: the art of being a good leader or politician, a good statesman]
Henry Clay especially believed that statesmanship would preserve the policy of compromise inherited from the early days of the Republic and save the nation from the dangers of sectionalism and party politics.
TariffsAnother compromise achieved for framing the Constitution was over economic matters. The southern states with their export of tobacco and naval stores led the agricultural interests in demanding that a two-thirds vote be required to pass laws regulating foreign commerce, the. Their principal fear was that there might be an export tax. The northern states with a strong commercial interest wished to have import taxes levied to stimulate the growth of manufacture, so they opposed the two-thirds vote requirement. The agricultural interests were placated by two provisions: export taxes were made illegal, and Congress could pass no law interfering with the importation of slaves until 1808, except for a tax, which was never levied, of $10 per head. In return for these two concessions the commercial states of the north were favored by a provision permitting import taxes, tariffs, to be levied by a simple majority vote.Territory
Source: American History Social Studies Baron Educational Series, p. 52
The issue of tariff (The Tariff of Abominations, 1828), led to another compromise in 1833.The three stages of settlement of the vast open lands of the American northern continent wereThree-fifths Compromise1) Indian occupation [wilderness]
2) the arrival of white fur traders, then squatters or settlers and pioneers in a territory (for example the Oregon Territory)
3) access to statehood
This pattern had been organized by Jefferson under his Land Ordinance and then the Northwest Ordinance.The Land Ordinance of 1785 was modified again into the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 . It ruled that the formation of a new state in the Northwest Territory required a population of 60,000. It stipulated again that the western lands would move toward full, independent statehood within the Union. Every new state would enter the Union on an equal footing with the original thirteen. It also prohibited slavery in the area.Obviously, it was the Founding Fathers' aim to avoid the extension of slavery in the West. It firmly established the principle of congressional power over slavery in a territory. This principle was finally abolished in the name of "popular sovereignty".
With the exception of Texas & California all the western states were admitted to the Union in accordance with this ordinance.• Population for representation purposes determined by adding a state's free population and 3/5ths of the slave population.
• A compromise settled the question of the representation of slaves during the framing of the Constitution (Philadelphia, 1787). It was the three fifths compromise: five slaves equaled 3 free persons for representation and taxation. As for the slave trade, Congress was not to change anything until 1808, when Senate prohibited further importation of slaves. As for the Native Americans they were simply referred to as "the foreign nations."
in U.S. history, major political party active in the period 1834-54 that espoused a program of national development but foundered on the rising tide of sectional antagonism. The Whig Party was formally organized in 1834, bringing together a loose coalition of groups united in their opposition to what party members viewed as the executive tyranny of “King Andrew” Jackson. They borrowed the name Whig from the British party opposed to royal prerogatives. Jackson had shattered the National Republican Party with his victories in 1828 and 1832. His war against the Second Bank of the United States and his opposition to nullification in South Carolina, however, allowed Henry Clay to bring fiscal conservatives and southern states' rights proponents together in a coalition with those who still believed in the National Republican program of a protective tariff and federally financed internal improvements. Members of the Anti-Masonic Movement (q.v.) merged with the Whigs after the demise of the Anti-Masonic Party in the mid-1830s. Allied almost exclusively by their common dislike of Jackson and his policies—and later by their hunger for office—the Whigs never developed a definitive party program. In 1836 they ran three presidential candidates (Daniel Webster, Hugh L. White, and William Henry Harrison) to appeal to the East, South, and West, respectively, attempting to throw the election into the House of Representatives. In 1840 they abandoned the sectional approach to nominate the military hero William Henry Harrison. The subsequent contest was devoid of issues, Harrison winning on the basis of incessant electioneering by his supporters in the “log cabin” campaign. After capturing both the White House and Congress in 1840, the Whigs were poised to become the nation's dominant party and to enact Henry Clay's nationalistic program. Harrison died within a month of his inauguration, however, and his successor, John Tyler, proceeded to veto major Whig legislation—including re-creation of the Bank of the United States. Clay, the nominee in 1844, lost the election when he misgauged the popularity of expansionism and opposed the annexation of Texas. By the late 1840s the Whig coalition was beginning to unravel as factions of “Conscience” (antislavery) Whigs and “Cotton” (proslavery) Whigs emerged. In 1848 the party returned to its winning formula by running a military hero—this time Zachary Taylor—for president. But the Compromise of 1850, fashioned by Henry Clay and signed into law by Millard Fillmore (who succeeded to the presidency on Taylor's death in 1850), fatally estranged the Conscience Whigs from their party. Again turning to a former general, the Whigs in 1852 nominated Gen. Winfield Scott. The North and South had become so polarized over the slavery issue that the Whigs were no longer able to make a broad national appeal on the basis of “unalterable attachment to the Constitution and the Union.” Scott collected just 42 electoral votes as many southern Whigs flocked to the banner of the states' rights oriented Democratic Party. By 1854 most northern Whigs had joined the newly formed Republican Party. To the extent that the party continued to exist, it commanded support only in the border states and from conservatives who refused to take sides in the sectional conflict. Many of the last remaining Whigs found a niche in the Know-Nothing Party during the second half of the 1850s and then backed the Constitutional Union Party as the country split apart in 1860.
To cite this page: "Whig Party" Encyclopædia Britannica <http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=78803> [Accessed September 28, 2002].
Saturday 5 October 2002
Wilmot Proviso, amendment attached to an appropriations bill adopted in 1846 by the U.S. House of Representatives, proposed by David Wilmot, a Democratic representative from Pennsylvania. At the conclusion of the Mexican War, President James Knox Polk requested from Congress the sum of $2 million in order to indemnify the Mexican government for territory annexed by the U.S. The Wilmot Proviso moved to exclude slavery from the acquired territory and was approved by the House on August 8, 1846. The U.S. Senate adjourned without considering the measure and, following a second approval by the House on February 1, 1847, the bill was rewritten by the Senate to exclude the amendment. [It did not pass the Senate] Because it brought into sharp focus the differences then existing on the slavery question, the proviso was the subject of widespread controversy that resulted in increased hostility between the northern and southern states. The principle of the amendment became the basic policy of both the Free-Soil Party and the Republican Party.
John C. Calhoun ... foresaw that the acquisition of new territory [as a result of the war with Mexico 1846-1848] would bring the question of slavery expansion into the open. The man who opened the door was an obscure Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania, David Wilmot. On 8 August 1846, about twelve weeks after the war began, the President asked Congress for a secret appropriation of $2 million as a down payment to bribe Santa Anna into ceding California. Wilmot proposed an amendment to the $2 million bill that in any territory so acquired 'neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist,' a phrase copied from the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. ... The Wilmot proviso did not pass. Source: Morison, Samuel Eliot, Henry Steele Commager, William E. Leuchtenburg. A Concise History of the American Republic. New York: Oxford University Press, 1983, pp. 245-46.
accessed 6 January 2002
Sectional Tension had been continually rising throughout the 1800's in America. The vast differences of Southern and Northern living had been made even greater with the North adopting a general favoring of abolition. The laws being passed for the country now had more implications over sectional tension. The power of congress and senate was split between Northern abolitionists and Southern slave and plantation owners. The basic idea for stability was a balance of power in congress and the senate. However, for this balance to happen, America needed an equal number of slave and non-slave states.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 provided for a balance of power among the states, and for a while, order was kept. However, while the two sides were balanced, the sectional differences only grew. America as a country was growing as well, and with more and more people heading west to live, new states throughout the Oregon, New Mexico, and Texas territories would soon be founded. The real question was what to do with these states.
The first action to be taken was the Wilmot Proviso in 1846. The Wilmot Proviso was an amendment proposed by a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania named David Wilmot. Wilmot's amendment stated that "as an express and fundamental condition to the acquisition of any territory from the Republic of Mexico that neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime, whereof the party shall first be duly convicted"
Southerners found the Wilmot Proviso particularly insulting. Nevertheless, it passed the House, where northern congressmen outnumbered southern. But it was defeated in the Senate, where southerners held the balance. (Garraty, 325) In response to the Wilmot Proviso, southern Senator John C. Calhoun introduced resolutions in 1846 that were far more favorable to the South. Calhoun argued that only states had the right to choose their stance on slavery. From this position it was only a step (soon taken) to demanding that Congress guarantee the right of slave owners to bring slaves into the territories and establish federal slave codes in the territories (Garraty, 325).
The Wilmot Proviso would be eliminated in the senate, while Calhoun's proposal would most likely have been defeated in the House. Thus, nothing was accomplished. The most successful resolution on the state slavery issue was advocated by Senator Lewis Cass of Michigan. Cass proposed that the federal government would make no mention of slavery to the new territories. These new states would settle the slavery issue on their own, having local legislature make the call. Cass's "popular sovereignty" had the superficial merit of appearing more democratic. Its virtue for the members of Congress, however, was that it allowed them to escape the responsibility of deciding the question themselves (Garraty 325).
However, the problem only grew as the western territories became more populated. It was only a matter of time before these territories became states, and a decision on whether they were to be admitted as a slave or free states hung in the balance. Also, the South was demanding stricter enforcement of the fugitive slave laws, citing that the North was illegally harboring slaves without returning them to their rightful owners. All these issues contributed to the compromise of 1850.
"... dual allegiance to state and nation" (Knupfer 79)
"... the apparent inadequacy of the political system to reconcile principles and interests through compromise." (Knupfer 159)
"[during the 1840s] With the rise of mass politics and the spread of sectional interpretations of the Constitution already apparent in the 1830s, compromise began to lose its older emphasis on conciliation, mutuality, and moderation." (Knupfer 161)
On July 22, 1850, Henry Clay rose from his seat in the Senate to make a final plea for his comprehensive settlement of the rancorous dispute over the status of slavery in the United States:
Who are the greatest of parties in that greatest of all compromises—the Constitution of the United States? There were no technical parties to that instrument; but in deliberating upon what was best for the country, and perceiving that there were great and conflicting interests pervading all its parts, they compromised and settled them by ample concession, and in the spirit of true patriotic amity. They adjusted these conflicting opinions, and the Constitution, under which we sit at this moment, is the work of their hands—a great, memorable, magnificent compromise, which indicates to us the course of duty when differences arise which can only be settled by the spirit of mutual concession.
Gentlemen must give way a little. It does not become a republican to say, "I will not submit to this," or "I will have that,"—his great duty is to regard the general good and suffer the majority to govern. Hezekiah Niles
I have, senators, believed from the first that the agitation of the subject of slavery would, if not prevented by some timely and effective measure, end in disunion. Entertaining this opinion, I have, on all proper occasions, endeavored to call the attention of both the two great parties which divided the country to adopt some measure to prevent so great a disaster, but without success. The agitation has been permitted to proceed with almost no attempt to resist it, until it has reached a point when it can no longer be disguised or denied that the Union is in danger. You have thus had forced upon you the greatest and gravest question that can ever come under your consideration: How can the Union be preserved? To give a satisfactory answer to this mighty question, it is indispensable to have an accurate and thorough knowledge of the nature and the character of the cause by which the Union is endangered. Without such knowledge it is impossible to pronounce with any certainty, by what measure it can be saved; just as it would be impossible for a physician to pronounce in the case of some dangerous disease, with any certainty, by what remedy the patient could be saved, without similar knowledge of the nature and character of the cause which produce it. The first question, then, presented for consideration in the investigation I propose to make in order to obtain such knowledge is: What is it that has endangered the Union? To this question there can be but one answer,--that the immediate cause is the almost universal discontent which pervades all the States composing the Southern section of the Union. This widely extended discontent is not of recent origin. It commenced with the agitation of the slavery question and has been increasing ever since. The next question, going one step further back, is: What has caused this widely diffused and almost universal discontent?
Saturday 5 October 2002
A Short Summary of Noah Webster's Life
Noah Webster was born on October 16, 1758, in the West Division of Hartford. Noah's was an average colonial family. His father farmed and worked as a weaver. His mother worked at home. Noah and his two brothers, Charles and Abraham, helped their father with the farm work. Noah's sisters, Mercy and Jerusha, worked with their mother to keep house and to make food and clothing for the family. Few people went to college, but Noah loved to learn so his parents let him go to Yale, Connecticut's only college. He left for New Haven in 1774, when he was 16. Noah's years at Yale coincided with the Revolutionary War. Because New Haven had food shortages during this time, many of Noah's classes were held in Glastonbury. Noah graduated in 1778. He wanted to study law, but his parents could not afford to give him more money for school. So, in order to earn a living, Noah taught school in Glastonbury, Hartford and West Hartford. Later he studied law. Noah did not like American schools. Sometimes 70 children of all ages were crammed into one-room schoolhouses with no desks, poor books, and untrained teachers. Their books came from England. Noah thought that Americans should learn from American books, so in 1783, Noah wrote his own textbook: A Grammatical Institute of the English Language. Most people called it the "Blue-backed Speller" because of its blue cover. For 100 years, Noah's book taught children how to read, spell, and pronounce words. It was the most popular American book of its time. Ben Franklin used Noah's book to teach his granddaughter to read. In 1789, Noah married Rebecca Greenleaf. They had eight children. Noah carried raisins and candies in his pockets for the children to enjoy. The Websters lived in New Haven, then moved to Amherst, MA. There, Noah helped to start Amherst College. Later the family moved back to New Haven. When Noah was 43, he started writing the first American dictionary. He did this because Americans in different parts of the country spelled, pronounced and used words differently. He thought that all Americans should speak the same way. He also thought that Americans should not speak and spell just like the English. Noah used American spellings like "color" instead of the English "colour" and "music" instead " of "musick". He also added American words that weren't in English dictionaries like "skunk" and "squash". It took him over 27 years to write his book. When finished in 1828, at the age of 70, Noah's dictionary had 70,000 words in it.
Noah did many things in his life. He worked for copyright laws, wrote textbooks, Americanized the English language, and edited magazines. When Noah Webster died in 1843 he was considered an American hero.
Saturday 5 October 2002
Senate Years of Service: 1827-1829; 1829-1837; 1837-1841; 1845-1850 Party: Adams; Anti-Jackson; Whig; Whig
WEBSTER, Daniel, a Representative from New Hampshire and a Representative and a Senator from Massachusetts; born in Salisbury, N.H., January 18, 1782; attended district schools and Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, N.H.; graduated from Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., in 1801; principal of an academy at Fryeburg, Maine, in 1802; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1805 and commenced practice in Boscawen, near Salisbury, N.H.; moved to Portsmouth, N.H., in 1807 and continued the practice of law; elected as a Federalist from New Hampshire to the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Congresses (March 4, 1813-March 3, 1817); not a candidate for reelection in 1816 to the Fifteenth Congress; moved to Boston, Mass., in 1816; achieved national fame as counsel representing Dartmouth College before the United States Supreme Court in the Dartmouth College case 1816-1819; delegate to the Massachusetts State constitutional convention in 1820; elected from Massachusetts to the Eighteenth, Nineteenth, and Twentieth Congresses and served from March 4, 1823, to May 30, 1827; chairman, Committee on the Judiciary (Eighteenth and Nineteenth Congresses); elected June 8, 1827 to the United States Senate for the term beginning March 4, 1827; reelected as a Whig in 1833 and 1839 and served until his resignation, effective February 22, 1841; chairman, Committee on Finance (Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses); Webster’s reply to Senator Robert Y. Hayne of South Carolina in January 1830 in opposition to the principles of Nullification won him nation-wide fame, as did his widely-circulated ‘7th of March’ speech in 1850, in which he argued for excluding slavery from the territories; unsuccessful Whig candidate for president in 1836; appointed Secretary of State by President William Henry Harrison and again by President John Tyler and served from 1841 to 1843; again elected as a Whig to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1845, to July 22, 1850, when he resigned; appointed Secretary of State by President Millard Fillmore and served from July 22, 1850, until his death in Marshfield, Mass., October 24, 1852; interment in the Winslow Cemetery.
Saturday 5 October 2002
March 18, 1782 in South Carolina, Calhoun was born, and educated at Yale College. From 1808 to 1810 an economic recession hit the United States and Calhoun realized that British policies were ruining the economy. He served in South Carolina's legislature and was elected to the United States House of Representatives serving three terms. In 1812, Calhoun and Henry Clay, two famous "warhawks", who preferred war to the "putrescent pool of ignominous peace", convinced the House to declare war on Great Britain. Calhoun was secretary of war under President James Monroe from 1817 to 1825 and ran for president in the 1824 election along with four others, John Q. Adams, Henry Clay, Crawford, and Andrew Jackson. However, Calhoun withdrew from the race, due to Jackson's support, and ran for vice president unopposed. Calhoun was vice president of the United States in 1824 under John Quincy Adams and was re-elected in 1828 under Andrew Jackson. Jackson was for the Tariff of 1828 and caused Calhoun to be opposed to Jackson, which led to Calhoun's resignation in 1832. Because he could not do anything about Jackson's views toward tariffs, which benifitted only industrial North and hurt slaveholding South, John C. Calhoun became the only vice president to resign. Calhoun wrote an essay about this conflict, "The South Carolina Exposition and Protest", in which he asserted nullification of federal laws, and in 1832 the South Carolina legislature did just that. The next year in the Senate Calhoun and Daniel Webster opposed each other over slavery and states' rights in a famous debate. In 1844 President John Tyler appointed Calhoun secretary of state. In later years he was reelected to the Senate, where he supported the Texas Annexation and defeated the Wilmot Proviso. John Caldwell Calhoun died in Washington, D.C. on March 31, 1850 and was buried in St. Phillips Churchyard in Charleston. In 1957, United States Senators honored Calhoun as one of the five greatest senators of all time.
Note : John C. Calhoun furthered the nullification doctrine in his South Carolina Exposition and Protest, published and distributed by the South Carolina legislature (without Calhoun’s name on it) in 1829. Writing in response to Southern bitterness over the Tariff of 1828 (“Tariff of Abominations”), Calhoun took the position that state “interposition” could block enforcement of a federal law. The state would be obliged to obey only if the law were made an amendment to the Constitution by three-fourths of the states. The “concurrent majority”—i.e., the people of a state having veto power over federal actions—would protect minority rights from the possible tyranny of the numerical majority. Britannica.
Note: "Nullification eventually became a reality in the South, albeit only for a brief time. In the summer of 1831, Calhoun publicly announced his support for nullification in his Fort Hill Letter (Freehling, 155,225) with the realization that any hopes he had of assuming the Presidency were then gone." http://members.aol.com/taftmatney/calhoun.html. Accessed Sept. 28, 2008.
Saturday 5 October 2002
Henry Clay began his political career in 1803 when he was elected to the Kentucky General Assembly. In that body his Jeffersonian views were pitted against the conservative federalist one of Humphrey Marshall, a fact which resulted in a somewhat comic opera duel. In 1806 Clay was employed to defend Aaron Burr, a ticklish task which he abandoned when he was appointed to the United States Senate that year at the very young age of twenty-nine years. On January 11, 1808, he was chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives, and in January 1810 he was returned to the U.S. Senate. However, in August of that year he was elected once again to the House of Representatives and served as speaker in the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth Congresses. Clay’s was to be a major voice in the troubled years in American-British relations from 1808-1814. He served as commissioner to the joint American-British peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium in 1814. Back home after 1815, Henry Clay became involved in nearly every national issue. He opposed the Adams-D’Onis Treaty, and supported the independence of the Latin American republics. The issues, however, which thrust him into the political limelight were theMissouri Compromise, the banking issues, opposition to Andrew Jackson, and promotion of his American System. No doubt the most important of these was the negotiation of the Missouri Compromise which was fundamental in maintaining American unity, providing some kind of workable sectional policy regarding slavery expansion, and some kind of western policy. At heart Henry Clay favored the gradual abolition of slavery as demonstrated in his strong support of the American Colonization Society attempt. There burned deeply in the Clay psyche a yearning to be President of the United States. He made his first gamble for this office in 1824 with only a remote chance of winning. In 1832 he once again attempted to be elected president. He suffered his most disappointing loss for the office in 1844. At the moment Henry Clay lay dying in Washington, he must have looked back upon his career as lawyer, state representative, United States Senator, Congressman, Speaker of the House, a peace commissioner, Secretary of State, on the Missouri Compromise, the compromise tariff bill revision in 1833, his American System, the Texas question, and the Compromise of 1850, his greatest victory.
Through the bitter raw political years in American history, Henry Clay prevailed. Even in the face of great family tragedy, he prevailed. Contemporaries branded him with numerous political epithets, but these he survived. Few American politicians could claim so many victories, or engage in so many gambles, and still claim an exalted place in political history. Perhaps Henry Clay’s greatest honor was the post mortem one he received when a great majority of American historians honored him as having been one of the greatest United States Senators. The name of Henry Clay was stamped deeply on the American political scene during his lifetime. But perhaps his true greatness has emerged since in the overflowing stream of impressive monographs and biographies of his life and achievements. In his image is reflected that of a young republic undergoing the trials and tribulations of becoming a mature, powerful nation.
State Nullification "TARIFF OF ABOMINATIONS"
(Sources: Davisdon, Gienapp, Heyrman, Lytle and Stoff's Nation of Nations, A Narrative History of the American Republic, Alfred A. Knopf, c1991; and Alfred H. Kelly & Winfred A. Harbison, The American Constitution, Its Origins and Development, Fourth Edition, W.W. Norton & Co., Inc. c1970.)
Congress had raised duties in 1816 and again in 1824. The tariff of 1824 included high duties on imported agricultural goods such as hemp, wheat and liquor to protect western farmers; imported textiles to protect New England interests; and iron to protect mining and forging industries of Pennsylvania. South Carolina had been particularly hard hit by the depression of 1819. The tariffs increased the prices of their imported goods by as much as 50 percent. South Carolina asserted that the tariffs were unfair as a tax on Southern agriculture for the benefit of Northern industry.
When Congress raised the duties even higher in 1828 with the so-called "Tariff of Abominations," South Carolina's Legislature published the "South Carolina Exposition and Protest," or South Carolina Doctrine, protesting the tariff as unconstitutional and advancing thetheory of nullification. The Exposition declared that a sovereign State had the right to determine through a convention whether an act of Congress was unconstitutional and whether it constituted such a dangerous violation "as to justify the interposition of the State to protect its rights." If so, the convention would then decide in what manner the act ought to be declared null and void within the limits of the State, and the declaration would be obligatory on her own citizens, as well as the national government.
U.S. Vice President John C. Calhoun was the (secret) author of the nullification theory. The Union, he argued, was a compact or league between sovereign States. Sovereignty by its very nature was indivisible and absolute. Ultimate sovereignty could not be inherent in both the federal and State governments. The American colonies had always existed as distinct political communities, which became free, independent and sovereign states at the revolution. The Articles of Confederation had recognized that separate sovereignty. The Constitution of the United States had also been drafted by delegates acting and voting as states and the compact had been ratified by the separate states, each acting as a sovereign entity. Although the various States had delegated a portion of their functions to the federal government, they had not surrendered their ultimate sovereignty, which was by nature indivisible. The Constitution was not supreme law, but a contract or agreement between sovereign states that set up a federal government to perform certain functions for the contracting parties. As such, the States possessed the final authority to interpret the Constitution. The central government could not pretend to sovereignty. There was no such thing as an American nation. The "people" were a political fiction, which under central government had come to mean the collective popular majority. The numerical majority would become tyrannical and disregard the Constitution in order to destroy minority rights. The only safeguard for minority rights was State sovereignty and nullification.
Nullification was "simply a declaration on the part of the principal, made in due form, that an act of the agent transcending his power is null and void." (The American Constitution at 309.) The central government was not a separate sovereignty, but simply an agent of the several States. Thus the people of each State, acting in special conventions, had the right to nullify federal law that exceeded the powers granted to Congress through the Constitution. If a popular convention declared a law unconstitutional, it would become null and void in a State. Congress could then either yield and repeal the law or propose a constitutional amendment expressly giving it the power in question. If the amendment was ratified by three-fourths of the States and added to the Constitution, the nullifying State could then either accept the decision or exercise its ultimate right as a sovereign state and secede from the Union. When Senator Robert Hayne of South Carolina explained Calhoun's theory on the floor of the Senate, Senator Daniel Webster of Massachusetts replied that the Union was not a compact of sovereign states.
When Congress passed another tariff in 1832, moderating some of the duties of the prior act but continuing the protective system, South Carolina's legislature called for the election of delegates to a popular convention on November 10 to decide whether the State would nullify the new tariff according to Calhoun's formula. The convention overwhelmingly adopted an ordinance of nullification drawn by Chacellor William Harper by a vote of 136 to 26. The ordinance declared the tariffs of 1828 and 1832 "unauthorized by the Constitution" and "null, void, and no law, nor binding upon this State, its officers or its citizens" after February 1, 1833. The convention also established legal penalties for any State or federal officer who attempted to collect the tariff duties. It declared that in no case at law or equity in the courts of the State could the validity of the ordinance or implementing legislation be questioned and that no appeal could be taken to the Supreme Court of the United States. The legislature further enacted a replevin act authorizing the owner of imported goods that were seized by customs officials for nonpayment of duties to recover them (or twice their value) from customs officials. The law also authorized the governor to call out the militia to enforce the laws of the State. The nullifiers declared that any effort of the federal government to employ naval or military force to coerce the State, close its ports, destroy or harass its commerce, or enforce the tariff acts, would impel the people of South Carolina to secede from the Union and organize a separate independent government.
In November 1832, President Andrew Jackson sent seven small naval vessels and a man-of-war to Charleston with orders to be ready for instant action. In December, 1832, he issued a "Proclamation On Nullification" to the people of South Carolina written by Secretary of State Livingston, stating that the Union was perpetual, and under the Constitution, there was no right of secession. The United States was a nation and not a league and secession was revolutionary and would destroy the nation. The power to annual a law of the United States, assumed by one State, Jackson stated, was "incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great object for which it was formed," (Robert Kelley's The Shaping of the American Past, Fifth Edition, Prentice Hall, c1990, pg 266.) The proclamation ended in a strong plea and threat:
Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent [the execution of the laws] deceived you; they could not have been deceived themselves... Their object is disunion. But be not deceived by names. Disunion by armed force is treason. Are you really ready to incur its guilt? If you are, on the heads of the instigators of the act be the dreadful consequences; on their heads be the dishonor, but on yours may fall the punishment. On your unhappy State will inevitably fall all the evils of the conflict you force upon the Government of your country... I adjure you ... to retrace your steps. (Source: Essay by Hal Morris based mainly on: Robert V. Remini's, The Life of Andrew Jackson for The American Revolution.)Jackson claimed he could have 100,000 men on the side of the Union in a matter of weeks. The South Carolina legislature authorized its Governor to call a draft, and appropriated $200,000 for arms. On the 16th of January  , Jackson requested that Congress take steps that would "solemnly proclaim that the Constitution and the laws are supreme and the Union indissoluble." (The American Constitution at 313.) He also sent to Congress the "Force Bill" (often called the "Bloody Bill"), reaffirming the President's powers to call up State militias, the army and navy to quell any insurrection and granted greater powers to use the courts to enforce collection of duties. The bill asserted the supreme sovereignty of the national government and its right to enforce its statutes directly upon individuals by force, if necessary. The Force Act passed in the Senate 32-1, with nearly all the nullifiers having walked out to avoid casting any vote and in March, the House passed the Force Act 149-48. On March 1, the Senate passed a Compromise Tariff. The nullifiers reassembled their popular convention on March 11 and repealed the nullifying ordinance, then proceeded to nullify the Force Act. (Jackson chose to ignore the latter.) .