« AnteriorContinuar »
The election of General Jackson to the presidency was
the most important event in the history of the Importance of Jackson's United States between the election of Jefferson
in 1800 and that of Lincoln sixty years later. Madison, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams belonged to the Jeffersonian school of statesmen who, while holding liberal views, yet represented in their education and habits of thought the older and more courtly type of statesmen of which Washington was the most conspicuous example. Jackson, on the contrary, was an indigenous product of the American soil. Vigorous, and absolutely without fear, he was a born leader of men. The Jeffersonian theory aimed rather at the establishment of State democracies, while Jackson's mission was the founding of a national democracy. The succession of Secretaries of State to the chief magistracy was rudely interrupted by the elevation of a man of the people to that office. It will be well to examine with care the condition of the country at an epoch which is so important from a political point of view, and one which was also midway between the downfall of federalism and the abolition of slavery.
The total population of the country had increased from a little over five and a quarter million souls in 1800 to nearly thirteen millions in 1830. The area of the United States
The United States in 1830.
had increased during the same period from eight hundred and fifty thousand to over two million square miles.
Distribution Of the total population, more than two millions
of population. were negro slaves, and about three hundred thousand were free negroes. The white population, therefore, was something over ten and one-half millions. The tendency toward town life becomes fairly apparent during this period, owing to the increasing importance of manufacturing and commercial pursuits. The inhabitants of New York City had increased from sixty thousand in 1800 to two hundred and three thousand in 1830 — the increase in the last decade (1820–30) being eighty thousand. The other large cities were Philadelphia, with one hundred and sixty-seven thousand inhabitants, Baltimore with eighty thousand, and Boston with sixty-one thousand. New Orleans, containing forty-six thousand souls, was the only city of any size south of the Potomac and Ohio Rivers. Charleston, Savannah, Richmond, and Norfolk had not increased in proportion to the total populations of the several States in which they were situated; while, on the other hand, Cincinnati on the northern bank of the Ohio was already a flourishing town of twenty-four thousand inhabitants.
The total population had more than doubled in thirty years, but this increase was unevenly distributed. In
Analysis of 1800, the free inhabitants had been divided be
the population. tween the North and the South in the proportion of twenty-five to thirteen. In 1830, regarding Missouri and all territory to the southward of 36° 30' N. L. and west of the Mississippi as belonging to the South, and preserving to the east of that river the old dividing line, it is found that the proportion of free population in the North to that in the South was about the same as in 1800. But the South had maintained her position only through the acquisition of Louisiana and the Floridas and the rapid settlement of the lands bordering on the Gulf of Mexico. The tendency of slavery to limit population C. A.
the structure of
can be easily ascertained from a study of the figures relating to the original thirteen States. In 1800, the free whites in the North, omitting now those living west of the Alleghanies, had outnumbered those of the South by nearly two to one; in 1830 they outnumbered them by five to one. The introduction of some improvement in transport, or the encouragement of Northern manufactures, or both in combination, might give the free North in a few years a population outnumbering the free population of the Southern slave States all told, five to one, and the fate of slavery would be sealed. The Missouri Compromises postponed the conflict until the introduction of steam gave the people of the North an easy means of transport, and also imparted a great impulse to manufactures. Since 1800 the structure of society had undergone a radical
change. Virginia, dominant in 1800, was of no Changes in
more importance in 1830 than half-a-dozen other society.
States. The race of statesmen who were at the same time philanthropists and philosophers had come to an end. It is indeed lamentable that nearly every means employed by them for the regeneration of Virginia only hastened its decline. Jefferson, by his Act abolishing entails (1776), and Madison and Henry by their disestablishment of the Episcopal Church (1776-1800), contributed to the destruction of the old aristocratic framework; and they substituted nothing in its place. Had they been able to abolish slavery, the history of Virginia would surely have been very different in the years following 1830. They were not able to accomplish that, and Virginia became the great slave-producing State. The South was now led by the representatives of the cotton growers of the region south and south-west of Virginia. Their best. customers, especially after 1811, were the spinners of Western England, and thus there came about a trade alliance, so to speak, in which the affiliations of 1830 were completely reversed. The South now was friendly to Great Britain, and the
Social Conditions, 1830.
people of New England, competing with the British manufacturers, were opposed to their former friends. New England, like Virginia, seemed to be on the decline. The sudden cessation of war throughout the world, in 1815, brought her shipping at once into competition with the shipping of other nations, and her factories were closed by an avalanche of goods sent over from England and sold for whatever prices they would bring. The people emigrated from New England in large numbers and settled in the fertile regions of western New York and of the new States north-west of the Ohio. In other ways a great change had come over New England. The religious monopoly hitherto enjoyed by the Congregational Church was now fast yielding to the liberal tendencies embodied in Unitarianism. A speedy revival of thought was the result of this breaking down of old barriers.
The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 was the beginning of a vast system of improved means of communi
Early canals. cation. This waterway, connecting the Hudson and Lake Ontario, gave the great North-west an outlet to the sea. The cost of transporting a ton of grain from the Great Lakes to the seaboard at once fell from one hundred dollars to ten. The canal paid for itself in a few years, and made New York City the great distributing centre of the United States. The people went mad on the subject of canals. All manner of possible and impossible schemes were at once put into execution. The most remarkable of these later canals was the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, designed to connect the tidewater with the great interior waterways. John Quincy Adams threw the first spadeful of earth, and by his display of physical vigour, enjoyed the only moment of popularity during the course of his unfortunate administration. These canals were worked by horse power, and were most of them failures, for the times demanded the employment of a more rapid agent. The steam-boat had already taken a prominent place as a
means of transport. The monopoly, which Fulton and Living
ston sought to establish of the former's invenEarly steam
tion, had been declared unconstitutional, and
the building and operating of vessels propelled by steam had become free to all. Great advances were made in the building and equipping of these boats. Special types were designed for lake and river, and the use, the reckless use, of the steam-boat became universal. What with canal-boat and steam-boat, one could travel through the settled portions of the country with only slight and occasional recourse to the stage-coach. The steam-boat, however, soon found a rival in the steam locomotive. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, opened in 1830, at
once found imitators in America. In three years' Early rail
time, three hundred and eight miles of railroad
were in operation in the United States. The most notable of the earlier railway enterprises was the Baltimore and Ohio. Begun not long after the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and with the same end in view, the road builders passed the canal diggers at Harper's Ferry. The original road was one hundred and fifty miles long, and is believed to have been the first single railroad of that length to be built. At the outset, these roads were designed to connect towns already in existence. Afterwards the railroad generally was built first, giving the means of settlement to a new section of the country, and then transporting the produce of that region. As a rule these roads were built in the Alimsiest manner, as rapidly as possible, and afterwards improved as fast as financial conditions permitted. In this way, the railroad was the most important agent in the settlement of the newer States. But it was not until after 1850 that this part of its mission was undertaken on a great scale. It is an interesting fact that of the thirty railroads first projected only three, and those three short lines, were designed to be built south of the Potomac. Finally, the use of anthracite coal in