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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
In time both "clippers" and steamers helped to greatly increase immigration to our shores. The multitudes who came to America by these vessel; made the West grow "by leaps and bounds."
A TWENTIETH-CENTURY OCEAN STEAMER
To-day a single one of these huge steamships, some of which exceed 50,000 tons burden, often brings more than 2000 immigrants.
281. Summary. This period began with a disastrous panic in trade by which great numbers were ruined; it was followed by the establishment by the government of the independent treasury system; then came the vastly increased emigration from Europe to the United States, the establishment of lines of European steamships on the Atlantic, and the building of American "clipper ships." Meanwhile the great Mormon movement to Utah began.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON (WHIG); JOHN TYLER (DEMOCRAT)
282. Harrison and Tyler's Administrations (Ninth and Tenth Presidents, One Term, 1841-1845); how Harrison was elected; his Death. General Harrison,1 "the hero of Tippecanoe" (§ 225), was elected President amidst the wildest excitement. Ever since the election of Jefferson (1800), or for forty years, the Democrats
1 William Henry Harrison was born in Virginia in 1773. His father, Benjamin Harrison, was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. From 1801 to 1813 Harrison was governor of what was then the territory of Indiana. In 181 1 he defeated the Indians in a great battle at Tippecanoe, Indiana (§ 225). During the War of 1812 he was appointed a major general in the regular army. Later, he returned to his farm at North Bend, on the Ohio, near Cincinnati. In 1840 he was elected President (John Tyler, a Democrat of Virginia, Vice President) by the Whig party, by an immense majority over Van Buren, the Democratic candidate.
RISE OF THE MORMONS
had carried the day; now their opponents, the Whigs,1 were victors. Harrison was then living on his farm, in a clearing on the banks of the Ohio.
He was popularly known as "the Log-Cabin candidate." The farmers of the West gathered to his support with a will. They had monster outdoor meetings, and processions miles long, in which a log cabin on wheels was always a conspicuous object, with its live coon fastened on the roof, and its barrel of hard cider standing handy by the open door. The enthusiasm increased more and more as election day drew near. The rousing song of Tippecanoe and Tyler too stirred the blood of all true Whigs, and with shouts of exultation they sent the occupant of the Ohio log cabin to reside in the White House at Washington.
A month later President Harrison died, and the joy of his friends was suddenly changed into mourning. Vice President Tyler, who was practically a Democrat,2 now became President; 3
1 The Whigs (§ 273) wished (1) to have the government carry on the building of canals, roads, and other internal improvements; (2) to protect manufactures by a high tariff; (3) to reëstablish the United States Bank, and part of the Whigs wished to restrict the extension of slavery. The Democrats held that each state should make its own improvements; that free trade was better than protection; that an independent treasury was better than a United States Bank; and that the slavery question should be left to the people of the different states.
2 Tyler was in most respects a Democrat, though he had acted, to some extent, with the Whigs. The Whigs nominated him to the vice presidency in order to secure Southern votes, and thus make sure of electing Harrison.
3 In case of the death of the President, the Constitution provides that the Vice President shall succeed him. See the Constitution, Article 11, Section 1, Paragraph 6; also the Presidential Succession Act (§ 392).
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
and he and the Whig Congress were soon engaged in a series of hopeless political quarrels.
283. The Dorr Rebellion; the Webster-Ashburton Treaty; the Anti-Renters. In Rhode Island the right to vote was confined to persons holding real estate, and to their eldest sons. Newport, where there were many landholders, had six representatives in the state legislature, while Providence, with a population nearly three times as great, had only four. The party in favor of reform finally framed a new constitution, and elected (1842) Thomas W. Dorr for governor. The opposite or state government party, headed by Governor King, denied Dorr's right to hold office. Both sides took up arms, but no blood was shed and nobody was hurt. Dorr was arrested and thrown into prison, but was released a few years later, and lived to see his party successful in the reform they had attempted.
The same year (184 2) Daniel Webster, representing the United States, and Lord Ashburton, representing Great Britain, settled the question of the boundary between Maine and Canada, by an agreement known as the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. The dispute in regard to the true line between the two countries had been very bitter, and the friendly settlement of the controversy was of the greatest advantage to both England and America. Furthermore, this treaty fixed our northern boundary between the Lake of the Woods (Minnesota) and the Rocky Mountains at the 49th parallel. (Map, p. 358.)
At the same time Mr. Webster declared that in future England must understand that our flag would protect American vessels against Great Britain's so-called "right of search" (§§ 226, 233).
In New York the tenants of the Van Rensselaer family, on the Hudson (§ 61), refused to pay rent for their farms, on the ground that the Revolution had swept away the old Dutch methods of letting land. It became necessary to call out a military force to protect the sheriff in his attempts to collect the rents; finally a political party was formed (1843), favoring the anti-renters, as they were called, and a change was made (1846) in the state constitution for their benefit.
THE ELECTRIC TELEGRAPH, 1844
284. The Electric Telegraph, 1844; Dr. Morton's Discovery. Two years later, 1844, travelers from Baltimore to Washington saw a force of men engaged in putting up several lines of copper wire on a row of lofty poles extending between the two cities. It was the first telegraph line erected in the United States, or in the world. After four years of weary waiting, Professor Morse,1 the inventor of the telegraph, had at length got a grant of $30,000 from Congress for the purpose of proving that a message could be sent by electricity a distance of forty miles!
On the morning of May 24, 1844, Professor Morse took his seat at the telegraph instrument placed in the Supreme Court Room in the Capitol. Many of the chief officers of the government were present. The professor pressed the key of the instrument with his finger. In an instant the waiting operator at Baltimore received the message, and it was sent back to the Capitol. Here it is:• -- -- • • • • • -- -- • • • • • -- -- • • • • -- -- • -- -- -- -- • •
W h a t h a t h G o d
• -- -- • -- • -- -- -- • • -- -- -- • • • • • --2
w r o u g h t
In a minute of time these words had traversed a circuit of eighty miles. When they were read in the Court Room a thrill of awe ran through those who reverently listened; it seemed as though the finger of God, not man, had written the message.
Professor Morse's success was complete. He predicted that some day lines of telegraph would not only stretch in all directions over the land, but would be laid at the bottom of the sea between Europe and America. The telegraph accomplished all that he prophesied and more, for in time it not only crossed the Atlantic (1866) (§ 367), but the Pacific as well (1902) (§ 428).
We shall see (§ 373) that more than thirty years later (1876) the telegraph was supplanted, in a measure, by the telephone.
1 Samuel F. B. Morse was born in Charlestown, Massachusetts, 1791; died in New York, 1872. He became an artist, and, in 1830, Professor of the Literature of the Arts of Design in the University of the City of New York. He conceived the idea of the electric telegraph in 1832. Later, his associate, Mr. Alfred Vail of New Jersey, rendered very important services in perfecting the work. See Century Magazine, April, 1888.
2 The characters over the printed letters represent the letters of the telegraphic alphabet, The words are quoted from the Bible; Numbers xxiii. 23.
NOTE: Morse code above has been corrected. "d, r, & o" - as printed in book are not currently correct. We don't know if code has changed over time or if this was typo in 1920.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Meanwhile (1871), at a celebration held in New York in honor of Professor Morse, the original instrument invented by him was exhibited, connected, at that moment, by wire, with every one of the ten thousand instruments then in use in this country. At a signal, a message from the inventor was sent vibrating throughout the United States, and was simultaneously read in every city and in most towns of the republic, from New York to New Orleans, from New Orleans to San Francisco.
Professor Morse died the next year (1872). A little more than twenty years after his death a new form of telegraph was invented by Marconi, an Italian. It sends its messages directly through the air without the use of wires, and so is called the "Wireless Telegraph" (§ 428). It is largely employed by steamships and naval vessels, to communicate with each other or with certain stations on land. It has helped to save many vessels and many lives.
Thought had conquered space; it was to make its next conquest in a wholly different direction. While Professor Morse was building the first telegraph line, Dr. W. T. G. Morton of Boston, acting on the suggestion of Dr. Charles T. Jackson, was endeavoring to produce artificial sleep by the breathing of the vapor of ether. He believed that, if successful, all suffering under the surgeon's knife would be at an end. He did succeed; and the great fact was made known to the world at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston (1846). As the inscription on Dr. Morton's monument truthfully declares: "Before that discovery, surgery was agony; since, science has controlled pain."1
1 Dr. Horace Wells, of Hartford, began to make use (1844) of nitrous oxide gas as an anæsthetic in the extraction of teeth. Between 1820 and 1846 there were invented in this
THE ANNEXATION OF TEXAS
285. Our Third Step in National Expansion, the Annexation of Texas. The great political question of the times was the admission of Texas. Many years before this period Stephen F. Austin, General Sam Houston, and other Americans had settled in that country, -- then a part of Mexico, -- and had finally, by force of arms, made it an independent republic. The republic of Texas now asked to be annexed to the United States. (Map, p. 332.)
A powerful party at the South was anxious to obtain it for the purpose of making a number of new slave states out of it, and thus maintaining their influence in Congress.1 The Anti-Slavery party at the North strongly opposed the annexation;2 but Congress, after much debate, decided to make it. It was our third step in expansion (§§ 215, 238). Thus (March 1, 1845) we obtained a territory so vast that, as Daniel Webster said, a bird could not fly over it in a week, -- a territory large enough to make nearly five countries the size of England, or more than that number of states, each larger than New York. Texas, however, was not admitted to the Union until after the next President came into office (§ 287) (December 29, 1845).
286. Summary. The principal events of the Harrison and Tyler administrations were: (1) the death of the President; followed (2) by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty; (3) the Dorr Rebellion; (4) the opening of the first line of electric telegraph in the United States or the world; (5) the use of ether in surgery; and (6) the annexation of Texas.
country: (1) Blanchard's Eccentric Lathe for turning gunstocks and other irregular forms; (2) McCormick's Reaper and Mower and Hussey's Reaper and Mower; (3) Colt's Revolver; (4) Ericsson's Screw Propeller; (5) Goodyear's Hard Rubber goods; (6) Hoe's Steam Printing Press; (7) Howe's Sewing Machine. The following inventions came from abroad: (1) Knitting Machines; (2) Planing Machines (greatly improved in 1828 by Woodworth); (3) Friction Matches, 1836 (gas had been introduced in 1822); (4) the Steam Fire Engine, 1841, but not brought into practical use until much later; (5) the Daguerreotype and Photograph, 1843; (6) the Diving Dress, 1843. On earlier American inventions, see §§ 205, 220, 252.
1 By the Missouri Compromise (§ 243) slavery could not be extended west of the Mississippi, outside of Missouri, north of 36o 30' (the southern boundary of Missouri). Unless, therefore, the South got more territory annexed southwest of the Mississippi, the North would soon have the chief power in Congress.
2 James Russell Lowell's fine poem, "The Present Crisis," expresses the feeling of the Anti-Slavery party at this time.