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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Wise action saved us from what might have been the destruction of many great industries employing many workmen.
431. Admission of Oklahoma; Three Important Laws; Cruise of Our Fleet; Japan; Presidential Election (1908). During 1907 Congress admitted the state of Oklahoma (§ 394) -- rich above all others in oil wells. It was formed by uniting Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory. This made a total of forty-six states.
copyright, Underwood & Underwood
OUR FLEET LEAVING HAMPTON ROADS ON ITS VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
"Good-by and good luck,"--President Roosevelt's last words to Admiral Evans, commander of the fleet.
Congress also passed three other bills of great importance. They were the Railway Rate Bill, -- intended to give greater power to the Interstate Commerce Act (§ 392), -- the Pure Food and Drugs Bill, and the Meat Inspection Bill. The object of the two last-mentioned laws was to protect the health of the people and, at the same time, to encourage all dealers to offer for sale the best and most wholesome foods.
Near the close of the year (1907) a fleet of twenty of our vessels of war (§ 395), including sixteen first-class battle ships, left Hampton
Roads, Virginia, on a voyage to San Francisco and Seattle. The fleet carried 15,000 men. It passed down, along the eastern coast of South America, and, going through the dangerous Strait of Magellan, reached San Francisco in May (1908) (see Map facing p. 380). Visits were paid to the northern Pacific coast and to Hawaii, Manila, Japan, China, and Australia. The fleet then passed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean, and, before leaving for home, furnished relief to the earthquake sufferers in southern Italy (1909). The total distance covered was estimated at about 40,000 miles. Never before in the history of the world had so large a fleet undertaken so long a voyage. It showed many nations our power upon the Pacific, and it was good for them and for us that they did see it. One such effect appeared when the Japanese minister at Washington and our Secretary of State pledged themselves to endeavor to maintain peace in the Pacific between America and Japan and to follow the policy of the late Secretary Hay (§ 424) in doing justice to the rights of China.
Meanwhile the Democratic party had nominated William J. Bryan for the presidency and the Republican party had nominated and elected William H. Taft.
432. Summary. President Roosevelt originated the important movement which declared that the soil, forests, mines, quarries, and streams of the nation should be used for the good of the whole people, and should be safeguarded against waste and destruction.
Side by side with this great undertaking, the American people were endeavoring to make improvements in saving health, time, and life. Their resolute and helpful spirit was likewise shown in the way they met such calamities as the earthquake and fire at San Francisco.
Other noteworthy events were the admission of the State of Oklahoma, the passage of the Railway Rate Bill dealing with commerce between the states, and the enactment of laws to secure pure-food supplies and pure drugs and medicines.
Finally, one of the most interesting occurrences of Mr. Roosevelt's presidency was the brilliant success of the voyage of the fleet of twenty United States war ships round the world.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
WILLIAM H. TAFT (REPUBLICAN)1
433. Taft's Administration (Twenty-eighth. President, 1909-1913; how we made a Remarkable Discovery. Mr. Taft had been President but little more than a month when an event of great interest occurred. Commander Robert E. Peary, an officer in the United States navy, since created a Rear Admiral, set out very early in the spring, from the shore of the Arctic Ocean, on an exploring expedition northward across the ice (see Map on opposite page). Toward the end of the first week in April he succeeded in getting to a point far beyond that which any previous explorer had attained. No land was in sight; nothing, in fact, but a seemingly endless expanse of frozen sea.
Pushing on, he came to a place which the brave navigators of many nations had tried in vain to reach for a hundred years. It looked to them, and to the world, as though Nature had barred out all advance in that direction and was resolved to keep the secret of that desolate region to herself. Commander Peary believed that he had won the great victory. He felt sure that he had actually reached the North Pole. If his reckonings were free from error, -- and they have been accepted by high authorities, -- then he stood, at last, where no civilized man ever stood before.
There, on a heap of ice, at the very top of the globe, he planted the Stars and Stripes, and so marked, with the American
1 William H. Taft was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1857. He graduated at Yale University, and in 1883 began the practice of law in his native city. In 1892 he was appointed a judge in the United States Circuit Courts. In 1901 he was appointed the first civil governor of the Philippines. In 1904 he became Secretary of War in President Roosevelt's Cabinet In 1908 he was elected President,
flag, what we may rightfully consider the most interesting and noteworthy geographical discovery of modern times.1
434. The Payne Tariff. In the course of the following summer (1909) Congress passed a new tariff law (§ 406). President Taft stated that he was convinced that it reduced the duties on several hundred classes of imported goods. Many people, however, both Democrats and Republicans, felt dissatisfied with the result and called for greater and more extended reductions. Congress passed several bills securing some of these reductions, that on wool and woolen goods being the most important, but the President considered it his duty to veto them.
435. Population; Food Supply; Wealth; Transportation and Communication; Panama Canal. In taking the national census of 1910 the Government employed no less than 70,000 enumerators to count the people living under the protection of the American flag and owing allegiance to it. The enumerators found that the population of the continental United States was nearly 92,000,000, and that including all our island possessions it was over 100,000,000 (see Table of Population in the Appendix, p. xl). America not only feeds these millions from her own soil, -- and feeds them well, too, -- but our farmers are able, besides, to export. great quantities of food to other countries (§ 407).
Furthermore, estimates made by the Census Department showed that the wealth of the Republic had increased, even more rapidly than its population. To realize what this means we must consider the total value of our cities, towns, farms, mines, forests, and quarries; next of our mills and factories; then of our railways,
1 On December 14, 1911, Commander Amundsen, a Norwegian explorer, discovered the South Pole.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
canals, telegraph and telephone lines, electric-light and electric power plants, together with all other public-service corporations. Finally, we must count the money deposited in our National Banks and Trust Companies, and add to it $5,000,000,000, and more, of the people's earnings held by Savings Banks (including the Government Postal Savings Banks, established in 1911). Having done this, we shall realize that America then stood at the head of the richest nations of the world.1
In this connection we see, too, that while our numbers and our wealth have grown vastly greater, our means for rapid transportation and communication have also gained in very marked degree.
In addition to the progress we have made in extending steam railways (§ 255) and telegraph and telephone lines (§ 284), we have built many thousand miles of electric railways (§ 373). These electric roads form a vast network of cheap and convenient transit for the inhabitants of cities, towns, and farming districts.
Besides the lines of steam cars and electric cars owned and operated by companies, our people possess an immense number of private cars or automobiles. These vehicles, aside from their use for pleasure riding, enable an increasing number of men to carry on their business in cities, while they have their homes in the country.
On the other hand, if we go into the country, we find that many farmers are taking advantage of these convenient machines. The tiller of the soil who owns a "gasoline horse" is able to carry his light produce to market, a score of miles away from his farm, and he can also use that "horse" to do certain kinds of farm work. If he prefers a larger and more powerful machine, he can seed, cultivate, and harrow the soil, and he can also haul heavy loads of grain long distances.2 He does this as easily as city
1 Estimates rated the wealth of Germany in 1910 at $60,000,000,000, that of France at $65,000,000,000, that of the British Isles at $80,000,000,000, and that of the United States at $142,000,000,000; in 1912 the Census Bureau at Washington estimated our wealth at over $187,000,000,000. Since then some authorities consider that it has risen to a much higher figure -- $220,000,000,000 (unofficial estimate in 1917). See World Almanac for 1920, p. 508.
2 Automobile machines are now employed, to a considerable extent, for plowing, mowing, thrashing, and doing other kinds of heavy farm work. Some large landowners in the West practically keep no horses, but only machines. The total number of automobiles registered in the United States in 1915 was 2,000,000; the present number is estimated at over 6,000,000.
teamsters drive their auto-trucks, piled high with boxes and bales, from steamship docks to warehouses.
The steam locomotive, which made its first trip (in this country) nearly a hundred years ago, revolutionized the transportation of passengers and freight (§ 254). To-day electric cars and automobiles are accomplishing a second revolution.1 In time their work may show results as great as that of steam. Even now we must thank automobiles for the good roads they have induced us to build and for the Lincoln and Dixie Highways.2
In this connection attention should be called to the fact that the completion of the Panama Canal3 from ocean to ocean (§ 425)
ELECTRIC TRAIN IN THE ROCKIES
(see Map facing p. 380, also p. 407) opens up new sea routes. It is admitted by public men everywhere that these routes cannot fail to have very important effects on the trade and commerce of the United States and of other great nations of the world.
1 The use of electricity for propelling trains on steam railways has made considerable progress. Such trains are in operation through the Hoosac and other tunnels, and also between New York City and New Haven, Connecticut. In recent years the use of these motors has been greatly extended, especially through the Rocky Mountains.
2 The great Lincoln Highway, now in large measure completed, extends from the Atlantic to the Pacific -- connecting New York City with San Francisco; while the great Dixie Highway, when completed, will connect New Orleans, and other important cities of the South, with Chicago and other leading cities of the North.
3 The Panama Canal with its approaches is 50 miles long; it can be used by the largest vessels. The artificial lake, created by the Gatun Dam on the Chagres River, is over 24 miles in length, and the Culebra Cut, through the Culebra Hills, is 9 miles long. The total cost of the canal was estimated at about $400,000,000.