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PERIOD V. 1789-1861. NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
4. The charter, and the laws enacted under it, by which Rhode Island had been governed for nearly two centuries,1 had become obnoxious to the masses of the people, who were deprived of the right of suffrage. An attempt to form a new constitution resulted in the division of the people into two parties, each having in view essentially the same objects. One -- the Suffrage party -- attempted to introduce the desired reforms without regard to the existing laws, and, in 1842, elected as governor Thomas Wilson Dorr, who had taken the lead in the demand for reform. The other -- called the Law and Order party -- wished to accomplish their purpose under the sanction of the established authorities. The Suffrage party attempting to carry their point by force, the authority of the United States was invoked to sustain "law and order." Dorr was taken prisoner, tried, convicted of treason, and condemned to imprisonment for life. In the mean time, the constitution under which the state is now governed was adopted. Dorr was subsequently released and reinstated in his civil rights by the legislature.
5. During this administration, disturbances in New York, known as the anti-rent difficulties, menaced the peace of the community. Many, who held lands under lease from the large-landed proprietors,2 in 1844, combined to resist by force of arms the officers sent to collect the rent, killed some of them, and mobbed their fellow tenants who had yielded to the demands of the patroons. These disturbances, beginning in Rensselaer County, extended into others, where land was held under like tenure. They were quelled, two years later, by the governor's calling out the military to assist the civil authority.
6. In the year 1844, an electro-magnetic telegraph, the invention of Samuel Finley Breese Morse, was first put in operation between Baltimore and Washington.
7. On the 1st of March, 1845, the president signed a resolution of Congress, permitting, on certain conditions,3 the
1 See p. 51, ¶¶ 1, 3. 2 See p. 53, ¶ 3.
3 To this resolution there were three conditions: The first was, that Texas should adopt a constitution, and lay it before Congress on or before the 1st day of January, 1846; second, that all mines, minerals, fortifications, arms, navy, &c., should be ceded to the United States; third, that new states might hereafter be formed out of said territory.
QUESTIONS. -- 4. Give an account of the difficulties in Rhode Island. 5. Give an account of the anti-rent difficulties in New York. 6. When and where was an electro-magnetic telegraph put in operation? Whose invention was it? 7. When and how was Texas annexed to the United States?
CHAPTER VIII. HARRISON'S ADMINISTRATION.
annexation of Texas to the United States. Texas accepted the conditions of annexation the next 4th of July, and became one of the United States the next December.
The permanent occupancy of Texas may be dated front the year 1715, when the Spaniards, alarmed at the vigorous movements of the French in Louisiana,1 established several posts and missions in Texas.2 San Antonio3 is one of the oldest towns. Before the purchase of Florida,4 Texas was claimed by Spain as a part of Mexico, and by the United States as a part of Louisiana.5 The United States yielded her. claim to Spain as a part of the price paid for Florida. In 1821, Mexico, including Texas, declared herself independent of Spain. The new government adopted a liberal system of colonization, and a strong tide of emigration set towards Texas from the United States.
8. After a succession of revolutions in Mexico, Santa Anna became president of that distracted country, under a constitution modelled after that of the United States. But in 1835 he abolished the constitution, and the Texans refused to submit to his authority. Santa Anna attempted to subdue them. They resisted, and at Gonzales (October 2) repulsed their invaders. Before the close of the year they took from the Mexicans the strong fort of Goliad, and the citadel of San Antonio, called the Alamo, where one thousand Mexicans were unable to withstand the assault of half their number of Texans.
9. The next year Santa Anna invaded Texas with a numerous army. He retook Goliad and the Alamo, and put their brave garrisons to the sword, even murdering the captured sick and wounded. The Texans, March 2, declared themselves independent of Mexico, and organized a government. General Samuel Houston was in command of the Texan army, which numbered less than eight hundred men. Managing to divide the Mexican force, he at length gave battle, April 21, at the San Jacinto, to an advanced division commanded by Santa Anna in person. The Texans gained a complete victory, capturing and slaying more than double their own number. Among the prisoners was Santa Anna, who, to purchase his liberty, ordered the invading army to retire beyond the Rio Grande, and acknowledged the independence of Texas. Mexico, although refusing to confirm this act of Santa Anna, made no vigorous effort for the conquest of the province. Texas now sought annexation to the United States; but the proposition was not favorably
1 See p. 80. ¶ 1.
2 As early as 1690 the Spaniards established forts and missions in Texas, but they were soon abandoned. 3 Called, also, Bexar, and San Antonio do Bexar. 4 See p. 192, ¶ 6.
5 In 1685, La Salle (see p. 67, ¶ 3), with a colony destined for the month of the Mississippi, landed by mistake at Matagorda Bay. Though the colony was soon broken up by the Indians, the French claimed the country as long as they held Louisiana.
QUESTIONS. -- When and by whom was Texas first permanently occupied? Before the purchase of Florida, by what nations was Texas claimed? How did Spain acquire the claim of the United States? What happened in 1821? What is said of emigration from the United States? Why did the Texans revolt against Mexico? What did Santa Anna attempt? What is said of conflicts at Gonzales, Goliad, and the Alamo? 9. What did Santa Anna do the next year? When did the Texans declare themselves independent of Mexico? Give an account of the battle of San Jacinto. Result of this battle?
PERIOD V. 1789-1861. NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
entertained by the latter country. In 1844, however, President Tyler proposed annexation, by a treaty which the Senate refused to ratify.
10. The question of annexation went before the people in the presidential contest of 1844, and the Democratic candidate, James Knox Polk, of Tennessee, who favored the measure, was elected president, over the Whig candidate, Henry Clay, who opposed it. George Mifflin Dallas, of Pennsylvania, was elected vice-president, on the same ticket with Mr. Polk.
Finding the measure thus indorsed by the people, Tyler pressed forward the work of annexation, which was consummated among the last acts of his administration.
11. Annexation was advocated and opposed chiefly with reference to its supposed influence upon the institution of slavery. Anti-slavery men opposed it on the ground that as Texas was slave territory, to annex that country would extend the area of slavery. On the other hand, leading statesmen of the south did not hesitate to avow themselves in favor of it, as necessary to the security of that institution.
12. In the free states there had for years been forming, against the extension of slavery, a strong sentiment, which had found expression in the organization, on that issue, of a party called the Liberty Party. The bold stand taken by southern statesmen in favor of annexing Texas, as a slavery measure, served to swell the ranks of this party at the north.
13. On the last day of his administration Tyler signed a bill for the admission of Florida and Iowa to the Union. The former became a state on the passage of the act, the latter not till the next year.
Florida1 became a territory soon after its acquisition from Spain. Iowa,2 successively a part of Missouri, Michigan, and Wisconsin 3 Territories, was erected into a separate territory in 1838, with an area much more extended than that of the state. The act of admission gave the state its present boundaries. The first permanent settlement was made at Burlington, in 1833, by emigrants from Illinois. Dubuque was settled later the same year.4
1 See p. 192, ¶ 6; p. 170, ¶ 2, and note 2; p. 162, ¶ 15, and note 5; p. 147, ¶ 13, and note 1.
2 It gets its name from that of a tribe of Indians, and signifies the drowsy ones.
3 See p. 200, ¶ 15; p. 190, ¶ 2; p. 218, ¶ 3.
4 In 1788, Julien Dubuque, a French Canadian, built a small fort at Dubuque, where he carried on the mining of lead, and trade with the Indians, for more than twenty years.
QUESTIONS. -- What steps were taken for the annexation of Texas to the United states, and the result? 10. How did the question of annexation enter into the next presidential election, and who were elected president and vice-president? How did the result of this election affect annexation? 11. With reference to what was annexation advocated and opposed? On what ground did anti-slavery men oppose it? On what ground did southern statesmen favor it? 12. What can you tell of the rise of the Liberty Party? What served to swell the ranks of this party at the north? 13. When did Florida and Iowa become states of the Union? -- What is said of Florida? Give an account of the early history of Iowa.
CHAPTER X. POLK'S ADMINISTRATION.
POLK'S ADMINISTRATION.1 1845-1849.
I. FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE ADMINISTRATION TO THE DECLARATION OF WAR WITH MEXICO. -- 1. When Mr. Polk became the chief magistrate, both the United States and Great Britain claimed the region called Oregon, extending from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, and north from Mexico2 (parallel 42o) to parallel 54o 40'. The adjustment of these rival claims had long been a subject of negotiation, and now threatened to disturb the peaceful relations of the two countries. In 1846, however, a treaty was agreed upon, which established the present boundary between the possessions of the United States and Great Britain, from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific. The name of Oregon3 was retained by the portion of the territory that fell to the United States.
2. The coast of Oregon was visited by several of the early navigators,4 and, after ages of neglect, interest in that region was again revived by Captain Robert Gray, who entered the Columbia in 1792, giving to the river the name of his ship. During Jefferson's presidency, the United States sent an expedition across the continent, under Captain Lewis and Lieutenant Clark, which, in 1804-5, traced the Missouri to its source, and descended the Columbia to the Pacific. On this expedition and that of Captain Gray, as well as on the purchase from Spain of her
1 See Appendix, p. 21. 2 see p. 166, ¶ 3, note 4.
3 By some it is supposed that the name Oregon was invented by Captain Jonathan Carver, who explored this region (1766-8); but according to others, it is derived from the Spanish oregano, wild marjoram which grows in abundance on the Pacific coast.
4 See p. 14, ¶ 5, and p. 16, ¶ 2.
QUESTIONS. -- 1. What nations claimed Oregon at the beginning of Polk's administration? Extent of Oregon? What is said of these rival claims? When was a treaty agreed upon, and what did it establish? 2. What is said of the coast of Oregon? How was interest in that region revived? What is said of the expedition of Lewis and Clark? On what was the claim of the United States to Oregon based?
PERIOD V. 1789-1861. NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
rights in that territory,1 the claim of the United States was based. The English founded their claim upon the operations of British fur companies within the territory subsequent to the explorations of Lewis and Clark. The first settlement in Oregon was begun near the mouth of the Columbia, in 1811, by the American Fur Company, and named Astoria, from John Jacob Astor, of New York, the leading member of the company.
3. The annexation of Texas2 led to a war with Mexico.
Texas had maintained her independence for nine years, and had been recognized as an independent power by several European nations, as well as by the United States. Yet Mexico claimed that province, and declared that its annexation to the United States would be considered an act of war. Accordingly, on the passage of the resolution of annexation,3 Mexico broke off diplomatic relations with the government at Washington. Moreover, the western boundary of Texas was in dispute. Texas claimed, and the United States assumed, that the Rio Grande separated that state from Mexico. Mexico, on the other hand, contended that the region between the Rio Grande and the Nueces had never been a part of her revolted province.
4. When the rupture between the two countries became imminent, General Taylor3 received orders from Washington to advance into Texas, to protect that state from invasion. Accordingly, in August, 1845, he encamped with a detachment of the regular army, at Corpus Christi.4
While affairs were in this position, the United States sent a minister to Mexico authorized to arrange the subjects in dispute; but he was refused a hearing.
5. Early the next year, Taylor was ordered to move to the Rio Grande. Having established a depot of supplies at Point Isabel, be took position opposite Matamoras, and erected a fort, afterwards named Fort Brown.5 Learning that the Mexicans were preparing to cross at points higher up the river, be sent Captain Thornton, with sixty-three dragoons, to reconnoitre. This party was surprised, April 26, and after a loss of sixteen men, was compelled to surrender. This was the first fight of the war.
1 See p. 192, ¶ 6. 2 See p. 205, ¶ 7. 3 See p. 197, ¶ 6, and notes 2, 3.
4 Body of Crist. 5 See p. 210, ¶ 7, and note 4.
QUESTIONS. -- On what did the English found their claim? What is said of the first settlement in Oregon? 3. What led to a war with Mexico? -- How long had Texas maintained her independence? What is said of her recognition as an independent power? What did Mexico claim, and what declare? What was done by Mexico on the passage of the resolution of annexation? What dispute was there in reference to the western boundary of Texas? 4. What course was taken by the United States when a rupture became imminent? Where did Taylor encamp? -- What as now done to arrange the subjects in dispute? 5. What order was given to Taylor, and what was done by this general? Give an account of the first fight of the war.
CHAPTER X. POLK'S ADMINISTRATION.
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