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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
trees covering a large extent of country are indiscriminately cut down or are burned, the streams in that section often become devastating torrents in the spring, and then suddenly dry up in hot weather. This condition of things has a direct effect on the cultivation of the soil and on the production of agricultural wealth.
Since 1891 the general government and a number of state governments have turned their attention to the preservation of
SALT RIVER IRRIGATION DAM IN ARIZONA
forests, the planting of trees, the draining of swamps, and the irrigation of desert tracts west of the Rocky Mountains.
The total forest area in the United States at the beginning of 1909 was so extensive that it seemed practically inexhaustible.1 But out of every hundred acres all but three were privately owned, and the demands made on our forests are always increasing. We want fencing and firewood, lumber for building, ties for railways,
1 The total extent of forest, both public and private, was about 600,000,000 acres.
GIFTS FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD
and wood pulp to make into printing paper. Then again, every year fires break out, which destroy hundreds of thousands of acres of standing timber. For these reasons the government authorities say that unless great care is taken our privately owned woods however immense they may seem -- cannot last long.1
To prevent such a deplorable loss, we have now set apart certain districts as National Forests, in order to preserve them and so preserve the streams which rise in them.2 A number of states do the same. Furthermore, nearly every state has appointed one day in the year, called Arbor Day, for tree planting. By these means it is hoped that the work of saving the woods, and in some cases of actually creating them, may in time prove of much benefit to the whole country.
423. What the People save; Wealth of the Country; Gifts for the Public Good. Taking the Republic as a whole, no nation in the world shows greater power for earning and saving money than our own highly favored land. The first three savings banks in America were established in 1816-1817 in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. In 1820 the total deposits in these institutions amounted to but little more than $1,000,000. To-day they reach far more than five thousand times that sum!3 The greater part of this mass of money is the result of years of patient toil by an army of workers who believe in Franklin's advice, "Save and have."
The steady growth of these banks is an index of the general growth in prosperity which is going on to a greater or less extent among all classes. The estimated increase of the real and personal property of the United States from 1880 to 1890 was nearly
1 The United States Forest Service reported ten years ago that the demand for lumber, railway ties, wood pulp, fencing, etc. required the cutting of over 100,000 acres of timber every day in the year. But the demand has grown to many thousands of acres more, and it is still growing.
2 The National Forests west of the Mississippi River now cover about 234,000 square miles, or an area larger than all the New England States, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia combined. East of the Mississippi we are adding National Forests in the White Mountains and at other points along the Atlantic coast.
3 The total deposits in the savings banks of the United States in 1909 were, in round numbers over $3,700,000,000, and in 1916 they were estimated at $5,352,000,000. After we entered the Great War (§ 445) many depositors bought Liberty Bonds or War Savings Stamps.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
50 per cent. The census returns of 1900 showed that the "true valuation," or fair selling price, of the total property of the country on the eve of the beginning of the twentieth century fell only a little short of $100,000,000,000. Ten years later it was roughly estimated by the Census Department at $142,000,000,000. Since then it has been thought by some to be over $200,000,000,000. These figures are so enormous that the only way to get an idea
CARNEGIE INSTITUTE, PITTSBURGH
of what they actually mean is to try to count a single million, then you will see what a task is before you.
It is pleasant to know that side by side with this great accumulation of property there is wise and generous giving. Ex-President Eliot of Harvard University says that no people anywhere have equaled our countrymen in what they have done and are doing for the support of schools, churches, and charities.
Figures prove the truth of this statement. Not reckoning what was contributed to churches, the private citizens of the United States gave, in the course of a single year (1907-1908), nearly half a million dollars for every working day, to help forward
THE "OPEN DOOR" IN CHINA
the cause of education, to establish libraries and art museums, to endow homes for friendless children or for the aged poor, and to build hospitals for the sick and the suffering.1 For many years these gifts have averaged more than $100,000,000 a year.
424. The "Open Door" in China; the Hague Treaty. Between 1898 and 1902 five of the great nations of Europe, with Japan, obtained control of important ports and sections of territory in China. England wished to have all of these made free to the commerce of the world, but the other five nations refused to give their consent. John Hay, then our Secretary of State, saved China from being broken up into fragments and parceled out among the powers of Europe. He too (1900) obtained the great privilege called the "open door." It gave every American the same right to buy or sell goods in China that any citizen of any foreign state possessed.
Next, the Senate accepted the Hague Peace Conference Treaty. By this agreement the United States, with the principal nations of Europe and with Japan, bound themselves to maintain a perpetual Court2 of Arbitration in the city of The Hague, the capital of Holland. The object of the Court is to do away, as far as possible, with war between the nations which signed the treaty.3
425. The Gold Standard Act, 1900; the Panama Canal. When the American government first went into operation the silver dollar was made the chief measure of value (§§ 202, 373, 396, 400).
1 This included John D. Rockefeller's gift of $32,000,000 for the promotion of higher education, Mrs. Russell Sage's gift of $10,000,000 for social service, and Andrew Carnegie's gift of $9,000,000 to the Carnegie Institute, to which he later added another $9,000,000.
Mr. Carnegie's total American benefactions have been estimated at over $300,000,000, and Mr. Rockefeller's, up to 1920, at $500,000,000.
From 1900 to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, the gifts for the public good probably amounted to upwards of $1,500,000,000.
During the war our people contributed immense sums to help great numbers of Belgians and French and their children, who had lost everything, and who would have perished from hunger and cold if we had not sent them food and clothing by shiploads.
2 In the past the United States has settled many serious disputes with other countries by arbitration, that is, by referring the questions to certain persons chosen to consider and decide them. See the Alabama case (§ 374) and the Bering Sea case (§ 406). In the same way the members of the Hague Court have acted on cases brought to them.
3 The Hague Court decided its first case -- between Mexico and the United States -- in our favor.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
In 1900 a great change took place, and, notwithstanding strong opposition, an act was passed which made the gold dollar the standard measure of value. Whatever other money the United States issues must now, in all cases, come up to this standard.
Ever since we came into possession of California there had been talk of digging a canal from ocean to ocean, either across the Isthmus of Panama or by way of Lake Nicaragua. Early
A STEAM SHOVEL AT WORK ON THE PANAMA CANAL
in the present century (1903) we made a treaty with the South American Republic of Colombia for the right of a water way across the isthmus; but later Colombia declined to grant it. The people of the isthmus then declared themselves independent of Colombia and took the name "Republic of Panama." We made a treaty with the new republic by which we secured the use of the Panama Canal Zone, a strip of territory ten miles in width, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific, for which we paid $10,000,000 besides agreeing to pay a yearly rent of $250,000
THE CENSUS OF 1900
more. We next purchased the unfinished French Panama Canal for $40,000,000. We then began digging the new canal. Our trade with the countries and states bordering on the Pacific demanded the completion of the water way at the earliest practicable date (see Map facing p. 380). Still further, our vessels of war needed it in order that they might pass quickly and easily from one side of the United States to the other, instead of having to make the long and dangerous voyage around South America (§ 430.
426. Census of 1900. The twelfth census (1900) returned the total population of the United States at over 76,000,000. This showed a large gain over the population reported by the census of 1890 (§ 397).1 Figures proved that our commerce was keeping pace with our growth in numbers. Since then we have risen to stand at the head of the nations of the world in the magnitude of our foreign trade (see §§ 407, 424).
427. The Pan-American Exposition; the Assassination of President McKinley. The following spring (1901) the Pan-American Exposition2 was opened at Buffalo, New York. It was especially designed to show the progress made by the nations of North, South, and Central America in agriculture, manufactures, and the arts. Furthermore, its object was to unite all the nations of the entire American continent, from Canada to the Argentine Republic, in closer commercial intercourse for their common benefit.
President McKinley visited the Exposition in September and made his last speech on that occasion. He then expressed the hope that the exhibition might tend to bring the United States into broader and freer trade relations with foreign countries.
The next day (September 6), while holding a reception at the Exposition, the President was treacherously shot by a young man who came forward to shake hands with him. The assassin3 was an avowed anarchist (§ 389), whose object was to destroy the government. The wickedness of the crime was only equaled by its folly, for our history had twice before proved, in the case of the
1 A gain of more than 20 per cent.
2 Pan-American Exposition: pan, a Greek word meaning "all."
3 Leon F. Czolgosz, the assassin, was the son of an emigrant from central Europe; he was born in the United States. he was executed at Auburn, New York, in 1901.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
assassination of President Lincoln (§ 358) and of President Garfield (§ 381), that the murder of the chief magistrate of the American Republic cannot overthrow the Republic itself. Mr. McKinley died about a week later, and under the provisions of the Constitution Vice President Roosevelt became President.1
428. A Fourth Great Strike; the Wireless Telegraph; the Pacific Cable; the Louisiana Purchase Exposition; the Portland, Oregon, Exposition. In the following spring (1902) the United Mine Workers of the hard-coal mines of Pennsylvania struck
for an increase of wages and for shorter hours.2 More than 140,000 men quit work. It was the fourth great historic strike (§§ 377, 397, 401). For the first time since the first shovelful of hard coal was dug in Pennsylvania (§ 270), all of these mines were shut down.
The strike lasted a little more than five months. It was finally settled (1902) by both parties pledging themselves to abide for three years by the decisions of a Coal Strike Commission appointed
1 See the Constitution, in the Appendix, p. xiv, Paragraph 5, and compare § 392 on the Presidential Succession Act.
2 The United Mine Workers offered to leave the questions in dispute to the decision of the Arbitration Committee of the National Civic Association (a body composed of men of high standing, representing not only capital and union labor but the interests of the general public as well). But the managers of the coal railways declined to accept the offer on the ground that they considered that the Arbitration Committee did not have a practical knowledge of coal mining.
THE PACIFIC CABLE
by President Roosevelt. The Commission unanimously awarded a moderate increase of wages and some reduction in hours of labor. It furthermore required that future disputes should be settled by arbitration, and that all men engaged in the mines, whether members of the union or independent workers, should be equally protected in their right to labor.
The Commission estimated the cost of the strike to all parties directly concerned in it at nearly $100,000,000. But no figures could show the loss and suffering endured by the public; for throughout the winter millions of people had to choose between doing without fuel or paying enormous prices for it.
Late in the same year (1902) another event of much interest occurred. It will be remembered that Americans laid the first telegraphic cable to Europe (§ 367). They now finished laying one between San Francisco and Hawaii. The line was then carried to Manila, where it connects with one to Hongkong, China. The next Fourth of July President Roosevelt sent a message over this cable around the world.
Meanwhile, President Roosevelt (January 18, 1903) sent his kind wishes to King Edward of England by wireless telegraph (§ 284) from the station at Wellfleet on Cape Cod. This was the first message sent through the air from the United States across the Atlantic. It marked another step forward in that wonderful development of electrical science which began in this country, by Doctor Franklin's experiments, more than a century and a half ago (§ 152). Experiments already referred to (§ 373) seem to show that a wireless telephone is also coming into use to some extent.
On the last day of April (1904) the Louisiana Purchase Exposition was opened at St. Louis. It commemorated that day, when,