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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
seen going westward. This movement was a means of growth and a source of wealth to both sections of the country. On the one hand it made food cheaper all through the East; on the other, it made imported goods cheaper throughout the West.
In order to enable the Erie Canal to do more work, the state of New York has spent, it is said, nearly $200,000,000 in enlarging and improving it. Some boats are in use, but if plans prove successful, fleets of barges, each carrying a thousand tons or more of freight, will eventually navigate this great inland waterway, many hundred miles long.
252. Experiments with "Steam Wagons." A few years later a work was begun in Maryland which was destined to have greater results even than the Erie Canal. Fulton had shown the world that the steam engine could be successfully used to propel boats (§ 220); the next question was, Is there any reason why the steam engine cannot be put on wheels, and made to propel itself on land? After many experiments and many failures, George Stephenson invented a "steam wagon," or locomotive, in England, which would draw a train of loaded cars on a track at the rate of ten or fifteen miles an hour. Meanwhile, Oliver Evans and other ingenious American mechanics had been experimenting with "steam wagons" in this country.
253. Breaking Ground for the First Passenger Railway in America. A few years after the completion of the Erie Canal (§ 251) the venerable Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, performed the ceremony of breaking ground for the construction of a railway from Baltimore westward (1828). The road now forms part of the Baltimore and Ohio railway system. Mr. Carroll, then over ninety years of age, was the only person living who had signed the Declaration of American Independence
THE FIRST AMERICAN LOCOMOTIVE
(1776). As he struck the spade into the ground with a firm hand, he said, "I consider this among the most important acts of my life, second only to that of signing the Declaration of Independence, if second even to that."
254. The First American Locomotive, 1830; the Railway opened; the Race. The first locomotive which ran over the new railway in 1830 was built at Baltimore by Peter Cooper, since widely known for his noble gift of the Cooper Institute to New York City. His engine had little resemblance to our modern ones, but it drew a rudely constructed open car filled with passengers. The road at first extended only to Ellicott's Mills, about fourteen miles from Baltimore. The trip was made in somewhat less than an hour. On the return, the train had a race with a spirited
STEAM WINS THE RACE
gray horse hitched to a similar car. The gray did his best; the puffing, wheezing little locomotive did its best likewise. Finally, steam conquered; and a great shout of victory went up from the dozen passengers in the car drawn, by Peter Cooper's diminutive engine. That shout meant that the days of stagecoaches were numbered.
255. Growth of Railways in the United States; Results. The same year six miles of the Charleston and Augusta Railway were opened; a year later (1831) the Mohawk and Hudson Railway began to carry passengers in New York. In ten years the fourteen miles of track in Maryland had multiplied to nearly 3000 miles in different states. These have since increased to over 260,000 miles, or more than eighty-fold. They form a network of transportation which crosses the continent (§ 370). That network binds
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
the nation together with bands of steel. It makes every part of our country quickly, cheaply, and easily accessible to every other part. The men of Jefferson's time who lived to see what the railway accomplished, no longer doubted whether the United States could safely extend beyond the Alleghenies (§ 213). Steam convinced
FIRST STEAM TRAIN (1831) ON THE MOHAWK AND HUDSON RAILWAY, NEW YORK
them that the republic was destined not only to hold the East, but to get possession of the whole of the great West.
256. The Temperance Cause; Drinking Habits in Early Days. Side by side with this wonderful material advance, the country was now beginning to make progress in moral reforms, especially with respect to temperance. One of the great evils of the times was drunkenness. In the early days of our history the use of liquor was almost universal. A majority of the people drank it every day, and some of them drank it pretty nearly all day.
No well-to-do farmer thought he could get in his hay without a good-sized jug of whisky to refresh himself and his men; no house or church was built without plenty of spirits to help get the timbers into place; no bargain was clinched without the aid of liquor; and no gentleman called on another without being asked to take a social glass.
257. The First Successful Temperance Society; what has been done since. The "American Society for the Promotion of Temperance" was formed in Boston (1826), and a number of years later (1840) six men, who knew the evils of the vice of intemperance from their own sad personal experience, met in Baltimore, signed a total abstinence pledge, and founded the "Washingtonian Temperance Society." That movement did immense good, and
restored many drunkards to the manhood they had lost through drink.1 A little more than ten years later (1851) Neal Dow persuaded the state of Maine to enact the first prohibition law. It forbade the manufacture or sale of intoxicating liquors as beverages; but the law never met with more than partial success.
Since that time several other states tried prohibition for longer or shorter periods. North Dakota, Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, and Oklahoma enacted prohibitory measures. In July, 1917, full prohibition was in force in nineteen states and in the District of Columbia. Five more states, making twenty-four in all, had adopted it and had named a date, not far off, when it would become effective.
All the other states in the Union, except three, enacted laws which gave the voters of cities and towns power to forbid the sale of liquor, or of any other intoxicating beverages, within their limits. This power was used in so many cases that more than half the area of the United States (though not the most densely populated part) came under some kind of prohibition. The young man beginning life found that all the best influences were opposed to intemperance, -- once (§ 256) a majority of influences seemed to encourage it.
After we entered the Great War (§ 445) the manufacture and sale of all "intoxicating liquors" as beverages were absolutely prohibited throughout the country by the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (Appendix, p. xxiv). The law was hotly contested, but it went into effect on January 16, 1920.
258. Summary. The presidency of John Quincy Adams was marked by three important events: (1) the completion of the Erie Canal; (2) the building of the first passenger railway in the United States; (3) the first successful attempt at temperance reform.
I The first temperance societies did not insist on total abstinence from all alcoholic drinks, but only from the use of distilled spirits, such as whisky, brandy, and the like.
Later they required -- like the Washingtonians -- a pledge of "total abstinence from all that can intoxicate"; but they still retained the name of temperance societies, though strictly speaking they had become total abstinence societies.