Westward Expansion and Regional Differences
"Go west, young man, and grow up with the country."
Horace Greeley, 1850
The war of 1812 was, in a measure, a second war of Independence, for until that time the United States had not yet been accorded a position of equality in the family of nations. After the treaty ending the war, the United States was never again refused the treatment due an independent nation. Most of the serious difficulties under which the young republic had labored since the Revolution now dropped out of sight. With national union achieved, a balance between liberty and order secured, a trifling national debt, and a virgin continent awaiting the plow, there opened a serene prospect of peace, prosperity, and social progress.
Politically this was an "era of good feeling," as contemporaries called it, and a spirit of unity pervaded the reconstruction measures which followed the peace. Commerce was cementing the American people into a national entity. The privations of the war period had shown the importance of protecting the manufactures of America until they could stand alone against foreign competition. Economic independence, it was urged, was as essential as political; indeed, political independence was hardly a reality without economic self-sufficiency and, as the Revolutionary War had been fought for the one, so now it was proposed to win the other. Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun, Congressional leaders at the time, believed in "protection"- that is, the passage of a tariff which permitted the development of American industry.
It was a propitious moment to raise the customs tariff. The shepherds of Vermont and Ohio wished protection against an influx of English wool; in Kentucky, a new industry of weaving local hemp into cotton bagging was menaced by the Scotch bagging industry; Pittsburgh, already a flourishing center of iron smelting, was eager to fill the demand now adequately supplied by British and Swedish iron. And so, the tariff passed in 1816 imposed rates of duty high enough to give the manufacturers a taste of real protection. In addition, a national system of roads and canals was being warmly advocated by those who pointed out that better transportation would bind the east and west more closely together.
The position of the federal government at this time was greatly strengthened by the declarations of the Supreme Court. The convinced Federalist, John Marshall of Virginia, was made Chief Justice in 1801 and held that office until his death in 1835. The court which had been weak before his administration he transformed into a powerful tribunal, occupying a position as important as that of Congress or the President. In a succession of historic decisions, Marshall never deviated from one cardinal principle - the sovereignty of the federal government.
Not merely a great judge, Marshall was a great constitutional statesman. When he finished his long service, he had decided nearly fifty cases involving clear constitutional issues. Thenceforth, the Constitution, as the courts applied it through out the country, was to be in great degree the Constitution as Marshall interpreted it. Among the most famous of his opinions was rendered in the case of Marbury vs. Madison in 1803 when he decisively established the right of the Supreme Court to review any law of Congress or of a state legislature. Again, in McCuIloch vs. Maryland in 1819, he dealt with the old question of the implied powers of the government under the Constitution. Here he stood boldly in defense of the Hamiltonian theory that the Constitution by implication gives to the government powers in addition to those which it expressly states. By such decisions, Marshall did as much as any leader to make the central government of the American people a living, growing force.
In a quite different sphere, there was clear evidence that national consciousness was stirring, for this period marked the appearance of a truly American literature. Foremost among the writers of this new American school were Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper. Irving's humorous History of New York by Diedrich Knickerbocker, published in 1809, drew its inspiration wholly from the local American scene. Some of Irving's best work, such as the story of Rip Van Winkle, is set in the Hudson Valley of New York and reveals America as a land of legend and romance. Similarly Cooper's talent found expression through indigenous materials. After an attempt at a novel of the conventional English type, he published The Spy, a tale of the Revolution which won immediate popularity. Next came The Pioneers, a vivid prose picture of the simple life of the American frontier. In the series called the Leatherstocking Tales, published between 1823 and 1841, Cooper made the pioneer, Natty Bumppo, and the silent-footed Indian chief, Uncas, permanent figures in world literature. Cooper also wrote tales of the sea, and they too were products of American influences. Another significant event of the literary world was the founding in 1815 of The North American Review. Under its able editor, Jared Sparks, it set a high standard of excellence, drawing enough contributions and support from the young intellectuals of New England to give it an enduring place in the developing culture of the nation.
Another force which did much to shape American life-more probably than any other single factor-was the frontier. Conditions along the entire Atlantic seaboard stimulated migration to the newer regions. The soil of New England hillsides was incapable of producing grain in competition with the cheap and fertile western lands. Soon a steady stream of men and women left their coastal farms and villages to take advantage of the rich lands in the interior. In the south, also, conditions induced migration. People in the back settlements of the Carolinas and Virginia were handicapped by the lack of roads and canals giving access to coastal markets, and they suffered also from the political dominance of the tidewater planters. And so, they too moved across-slowly but steadily-from the Atlantic to the Rockies. This movement profoundly affected the American character-it encouraged individual initiative; it made for political and economic democracy; it roughened manners; it broke down conservatism; it bred a spirit of local self-determination coupled with respect for national authority.
Without pause, the westward stream flowed beyond the first frontier-the Atlantic coast strip - beyond the headwaters of the coastal rivers, and over the Appalachians. By 1800, the Mississippi and Ohio valleys were becoming a great frontier region, "Hi-o, away we go, floating down the river on the O-hi-o," became the song of thousands of emigrants. The tremendous shift of population in the early nineteenth century led to the division of old territories and the drawing of new boundaries with bewildering rapidity. Then, as new states were admitted, the political map was stabilized cast of the Mississippi. Within a half-dozen years, six states were created - Indiana in 1816, Mississippi in 1817, Illinois in 1818, Alabama in 1819, Maine in 1820, and Missouri in 1821. The first frontier had been tied closely to Europe, the second to the coast settlements, but the Mississippi Valley was independent and its people looked west rather than east.
Naturally the frontier settlers were a varied body of men. In the van of emigration marched the hunter and trapper, described by an English traveler named Fordham as "a daring, hardy race of men, who live in miserable cabins.... They are unpolished but hospitable, kind to strangers, honest and trustworthy. They raise a little Indian corn, pumpkins, hogs, and sometimes have a cow or two.... But the rifle is their principal means of support." These men were dexterous with the ax, snare, and fishing line- they blazed the trails, built the first log cabins, and held back the Indians.
As he penetrated the wilderness, the settler became a farmer as well as a hunter. Instead of a cabin, he built a comfortable log house which had glass windows, a good chimney, and partitioned rooms. Instead of using a spring, he dug a well. An industrious man would rapidly clear his land of timber, burning the wood for potash and letting the stumps decay. He grew his own grain, vegetables, and fruit; ranged the woods for venison, wild turkeys, and honey; fished the nearest streams; looked after his cattle and hogs. The more restless bought large tracts of the cheap land and, as land values rose, sold their acres and moved westward, making way for others.
Soon there came -in addition to the farmers - doctors, lawyers, storekeepers, editors, preachers, mechanics, and politicians -all those who form the fabric of a vigorous society. The farmers were the most important. They intended to stay all their lives where they settled and hoped their children would stay after them. They built larger barns than their predecessors and sound brick or frame houses. They brought in improved livestock, plowed the land more skillfully, and sowed more productive seed. Some of them erected flour mills, sawmills, distilleries. They laid out good highways, built churches and schools. So rapidly did the west grow that almost incredible transformations were accomplished in but a few years. In 1830, for instance, Chicago was merely an unpromising trading village with a fort. Long before some of its original settlers died, it was one of the largest and richest cities in the world.
Many different peoples mingled their blood in the new west. Farmers of the upland south were prominent, and from this stock sprang Abraham Lincoln, born in a Kentucky log cabin. Scotch-Irish, Pennsylvania Germans, New Englanders, and men of other origins played their part. By 1830, more than half the people living in America. had been brought up in an environment in which the old world traditions and conventions were absent or very weak. And men in the west were valued not for their family background, for inherited money, or for their years of schooling, but for what they were and could do. Farms could be had for a price well within the reach of any thrifty person, government land after 1820 could be obtained for $1.25 an acre and, after 1862, for merely settling on it. And tools for working the land were easily available too. It was a time when, as the journalist, Horace Greeley said, young men could "go west and grow up with the country." The equality of economic opportunity bred a sense of social and political equality and gave natural leaders a chance to come quickly to the fore. Initiative, courage, individual vigor, and hard sense were indispensable to the good pioneer.
As they went west, the New England settlers carried with them many of the ideals and of the region from which they came. The same was true of the southerners and, in a sense, the whole process of colonizing the west was a race between the two influences. The problem of slavery, which bad thus far received little public attention, suddenly assumed enormous importance "like a fire bell in the night," wrote Jefferson. In the early years of the republic, when the northern states were providing for immediate or gradual emancipation of the slaves, many leaders had supposed that slavery would presently die out everywhere. In 1786, Washington wrote that he devoutly wished some plan might be adopted "by which slavery may be abolished by slow, sure, and imperceptible degrees." And Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and other leading southern statesmen made similar statements. As late as 1808, when the slave trade was abolished, numerous southerners thought that slavery would prove but a temporary evil.
But during the next generation, the south was converted into a section which for the most part was united behind the institution of slavery. This change came about for various reasons. The spirit of philosophical liberalism which flamed high in Revolutionary days gradually became weaker, and a general antagonism between puritanical New England and the slaveholding south became evident. Above all, certain new economic factors made slavery far more profitable than it had been before 1790.
One element in the economic change was the rise of a great cotton-growing industry in the south. Several causes were responsible for this change. Improved types of cotton with better fibers were introduced. Eli Whitney's epochal invention, in 1793, of the "gin" for cleaning the seeds from cotton greatly accelerated production. At the same time, the demand for raw cotton was vastly spurred by the Industrial Revolution which made textile manufacture a large-scale industry. And the opening of new lands in the west after 1812 greatly expanded the area available for cotton cultivation.
Cotton culture moved westward rapidly from the tidewater states, spreading through much of the lower south to the Mississippi River and eventually on to Texas. Another factor which placed slavery on a new basis was sugar growing. The rich, hot lands of southeastern Louisiana proved ideal for growing a profitable sugarcane crop in the late eighteenth century, and by 1830 the state was supplying the nation with about half its sugar supply. This required slaves who were brought from the eastern seaboard. Finally, tobacco culture also spread westward taking slavery with it. Therefore the slaves of the upper south were largely drained off to the lower south and west.
As the free society of the north and the slave society of the south spread westward, it seemed politically expedient to maintain a rough equality between the new states then being established. In 1818, when Illinois was admitted to the Union, ten states permitted slavery and eleven free states prohibited it. When Alabama was admitted as a slave state the balance was restored. Many northerners at once rallied to oppose the entry of Missouri except as a free state, and a storm of protest swept the country. For a time, Congress was at a deadlock. Under the pacific leadership of Henry Clay however, a compromise was arranged. Missouri was admitted as a slave state, but at the same time Maine came in as a free state, and Congress decreed that slavery should be forever excluded from the territory acquired by the Louisiana Purchase north of Missouri's southern boundary. This proved a temporary solution. Jefferson felt that the fire bell in the night had been hushed but for the moment. "This is a reprieve only," he wrote, "not a final sentence. A geographic line, coinciding with a marked principle, moral and political, once conceived and held up to the angry passion of men, will never be obliterated; and every new irritation will mark it deeper and deeper."
Save for a migration into Texas beyond the bounds of the United States, the westward march of the agricultural frontier did not pass Missouri until after 1840. In the meantime, the far west became a field of great activity in the fur trade which was to have a significance in history far beyond the value of the skins which were collected. As in the first days of French exploration in the Mississippi Valley - indeed, as in the first steps of the English and Dutch westward from the Atlantic Coast -the trader was the pathfinder for the settlers. The French and Scotch-Irish "trappers" explored the great rivers and their tributaries and found all the passes of the Rockies and the Sierra Mountains. Through the knowledge they gained of the geography of the western regions, the traders made possible the overland migrations of the forties and the later occupation of the interior. In addition to expanding by westward emigration, the United States in 1819, in return for assuming the claims of American citizens to the amount of $5,000,000, obtained from Spain both Florida and Spain's rights to the Oregon country in the far west.
In 1817, President James Madison had been succeeded by James Monroe who crowned a distinguished public career with a term as President. His two exceptional qualities were his shrewd common sense and strong will and as his successor, John Quincy Adams, put it, he had "a mind sound in its ultimate judgments, and firm in its final conclusions." The event of his administration which has given his name immortality was his enunciation of the so-called Monroe Doctrine.
The three elements of this policy were all, separately well recognized American principles. First, Washington, Jefferson, and Madison had all advised against involvement in "permanent" or "entangling alliances." Then Jefferson had proclaimed the doctrine of the paramount interest of the United States in the fate of the neighboring territory when he protested against the transfer of Louisiana by Spain to any power other than the United States. The third element was the principle of self-determination again expressed by the people of the United States in their sympathy for the inhabitants of the Spanish-American colonies now struggling for independence.
Ever since the English colonies had gained their freedom, the hope of a like liberty had stirred the people of Latin America. Before 1821, Argentina and Chile had established their independence, and in 1822, under the leadership of Jos� de San Martin and Simon Bolivar, several other South American states won independence. By 1824, only small colonies remained to several European nations in the West Indies and on the northern coast of South America. These, together with one or two other British possessions, were the only European colonies remaining in America.
The people of the United States felt a natural and deep interest in what seemed a repetition of their own experience of breaking away from a mastering European government. In 1822, President Monroe, under powerful popular pressure, received authority to recognize the new countries -among them Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Brazil-and soon exchanged ministers with them. This step committed the United States to the principle that these countries were self-sustaining, self-governing, genuinely independent, and entirely separated from their former European connections. They were confidently accepted as equal sister states -part of a free America.
At just this -time, a combination of central European powers, commonly called the Holy Alliance, organized for the purpose of guarding the "legitimate" rulers of Europe against revolution. It adopted the practice of intervening in countries where popular movements threatened the thrones of monarchs, hoping to prevent the spread of revolution into their own dominions. This policy was the very antithesis of the American principle of self-determination. The confidence of the United States in the permanence of the new governments in South America received a severe shock when the alliance turned its attention to Spain and her colonies in the New World. To the United States, this looked like the attempt of several European powers to come in and occupy the territories which had freed themselves from Spain. For years the American government had practiced the policy of aloofness laid down by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, John Adams, and other early statesmen. Its purport was that the United States had no share in European political combinations, was not a party to European wars, and would pursue the policy of developing itself as an American state. From this policy it was an easy transition to the complementary doctrine that European powers ought not interfere in American affairs.
The time seemed to have come in 1823 for action that would head off the threatened invasion of Latin America by third parties in behalf of Spain. On December 2, Monroe delivered to Congress his annual message, several passages of which constitute the original Monroe Doctrine. The principal points in this declaration were, in Monroe's own words: 1) "The American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers," 2) "The political system of the allied powers is essentially different , . . from that of America. . . . We should consider any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety." 3) "With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power we have not interfered 'and shall not interfere." 4) "In the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy to do so."
While the Monroe Doctrine was clarifying American policy in world affairs, domestic interest was centered on the coming presidential campaign. A close contest among five candidates including Andrew Jackson, the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, resulted in the election of the learned, experienced, and statesmanlike but stubbornly intractable John Quincy Adams. A man of extraordinary talents, fine character, and great public spirit, he was handicapped by his icy austerity, brusque manners, and violent prejudices.
During his administration, new party alignments took shape. The followers of Adams assumed the name of National Republicans, later to be replaced by that of Whigs, and the Jacksonians gave a new character to the Democratic Party. Adams governed honestly and efficiently. However, he strove in vain to institute a national system of roads and canals. His administration was one long campaign for the next election, but his coldly intellectual temperament did not win friends, and the election of 1828 was like an earthquake, the Jackson forces so overwhelming Adams and his supporters.
The self-reliant backwoodsmen who had built the commonwealths west of the Alleghenies had written into their constitutions the democratic ideas of the frontier. By 1828, the influence of their philosophy had brought about the enfranchisement of the masses in most of the old states. Since the war of 1812, the west had held the balance of power in the Union. Now the political center of gravity, like the center of population, definitely left the seaboard as the youthful democracy of the west came of age. Aided by supporters in the east, it placed Jackson, the very personification of the spirit of the frontier, in the Chief Executive's chair.
Washington, D. C., at Jackson's inauguration, gave boisterous evidence of the conviction of the people that they had come into possession of the government. Ten thousand visitors from all parts of the country thronged to witness the event. Jackson, a tall, lean figure dressed in black with a hawk-like face under a splendid crest of thick white hair, walked through the crowds and mud up Pennsylvania Avenue, unescorted save by a small company of friends. At the top of the great stone stairway to the east portico of the Capitol, he took the inaugural oath and read his inaugural address. With difficulty he pushed through the shouting masses, all eager to shake his hand. Mounting his horse, be rode to the White House at the head of an informal procession of carriages, farm wagons, and crowds of people of all ages and kinds.
Jackson was, heart and soul, completely with the plain people. He had been born in titter poverty, his father dead before his birth. Reared in hardship, he developed keen sensitiveness and a lifelong sympathy with the oppressed. As a mere ]ad, lie fought in the Revolution in which his two brothers died. At fourteen he was alone in the world. As a frontier lawyer, planter, and merchant, he developed an intense distrust of eastern financial organizations which exercised strong influence overmuch western commerce. Furthermore, Jackson had faith in the common man's capacity for uncommon achievement. Altogether, his creed was simple and enveloping - he believed in the common man and in political equality, in equal economic opportunity, and be had a strong hatred of monopoly and special privilege.
Once in power, Jackson vigorously carried these ideas into practice. He dealt sternly with South Carolina on the question of the protective tariff of 1828. All the benefits of protection appeared to be going to the northern manufacturers, while southern planters bore the burden of higher prices. As tariff schedules rose by successive Congressional acts, the country as a whole grew richer but South Carolina declined in prosperity. The South Carolinians had hoped that Jackson would use his power as President for the modification of the tariff which they had long opposed. This expectation proved vain, for he did not share the southern view of the unconstitutionality of protection. When Congress enacted a new tariff law in 1832, Jackson signed it without hesitation. The people of South Carolina organized the "State Rights Party" which represented those who believed in the principle of nullification -that a delegate convention within a state could adjudge an act of Congress to be unwarranted by the Constitution, that act becoming null and void within the nullifying state. The new state legislature, elected on a platform favoring the nullification idea, adopted an "Ordinance of Nullification" by an overwhelming vote. This measure declared the tariff laws of 1828 and 1832 unconstitutional and void within the state and required all state officials to take an oath to obey the Ordinance. It threatened secession from the Union should Congress pass any law for the employment of force against the state.
In November 1832, Jackson sent seven small naval vessels and a ship-of-war to Charleston with orders to be ready for instant action. On December 10, he issued a resounding proclamation against the nullifiers. South Carolina, the President declared, stood on "the brink of insurrection and treason," and he appealed to the people of the state to reassert their allegiance to that Union for which their ancestors had fought. Like Daniel Webster, a leading statesman of the day, he affirmed that instead of being "a compact between sovereign states," the United States was "a government in which the people of all the states, collectively, are represented."
In the meantime, the question of tariff duties was again before Congress. It soon became clear that only one man could pilot a compromise measure through Congress. This was Senator Henry Clay, the great advocate of protection, whose compromise tariff bill was quickly passed in 1833. By this tariff all duties in excess of 20 per cent of the value of the goods imported were to be reduced by easy stages so that by 1842 the duties on all articles would reach the level of the moderate tariff of 1816.
The nullification leaders had expected the support of other southern states, but these, without exception, denounced South Carolina's course as unwise and unconstitutional. The Ordinance was to go into effect in February, but a public meeting of State Rights leaders in January voted to suspend it pending Congressional action. In March, the South Carolina convention formally rescinded the Ordinance.
Each side marched from the field with colors flying, claiming victory. The administration had committed the federal government unqualifiedly to the principle of the supremacy of the Union but, on the other hand, South Carolina, by a show of resistance, had secured a large number of the demands she sought and proved that a single state could force its will on Congress. The nullification episode had a profound effect on the later development of the state rights theory. The southern leaders saw that nullification was ineffective in practice. Accordingly, during the next thirty years, they placed chief stress upon the right of an aggrieved state to secede from the Union.
While the controversy over nullification was still unsettled, there occurred the stirring struggle of the second Bank of the United States for recharter, an event which strained Jackson's leadership to the utmost. Under Hamilton's guidance, the first Bank of the United States had been established in 1791 and chartered for a twenty year period. While the government held some of the stock, it was not a government bank. Rather, it was a private corporation with profits passing to its stockholders. Although its purpose was to stabilize the currency and stimulate trade, it was resented by those who felt that the government was granting special favors to a few powerful men. When the Bank's charter expired in 1811, it was not renewed by Congress. For the next few years, the banking business was in the hands of state chartered banks which issued currency in amounts beyond their ability to redeem it, thus creating great confusion. It seemed clear that state banks were powerless to provide the country with a uniform currency and in 1816, a second Bank of the United States, similar to the first, was chartered for twenty years.
From its foundation, the second bank was unpopular in the newer parts of the country and with less prosperous people everywhere. It was again maintained that the bank virtually possessed a monopoly over the credit and currency of the country and, in its operation, represented the interests of the wealthy few. On the whole, it was well conducted and rendered valuable service to the nation, but Jackson was elected as a popular champion against it, and he sternly vetoed a bill for its recharter, questioning both its constitutionality and the desirability of its continued existence. If Jackson showed in this veto little knowledge of the principles of banking and finance, he made it unmistakably clear to the "farmers, mechanics, and laborers" that he was unalterably opposed to legislation that would make "the potent more powerful." The veto created a profound sensation. The Washington Globe declared it freed the country from a moneyed monopoly, but other statesmen and bankers were mightily opposed to the course of events. Whether Congress or the President had correctly gaged the will of the people remained to be decided in the impending presidential election,
In the campaign that followed, the issue that occupied the foreground was the bank question, upon which there was a fundamental division of opinion between the merchant, manufacturing, and financial classes on the one hand, and the laboring and agrarian elements on the other between those who feared the new democratic upheaval and those who desired to give Jackson their wholehearted approval. The outcome was an enthusiastic endorsement of "Jacksonism."
Jackson interpreted his re-election as a mandate from the people to crush the bank beyond hope of recovery. His weapon lay at hand in a provision of the bank's charter which authorized the removal of public funds. Late in September 1833, the order went forth that no more government funds should be deposited in the United States Bank and that the money already in its custody be gradually withdrawn in the ordinary course of meeting the expenses of government. As a substitute depository, a careful selection was made of the stronger state banks and stringent restrictions were imposed upon them.
The same energy and directness displayed in Jackson's conduct of domestic affairs characterized his handling of foreign relations. When France suspended payment on certain obligations to the United States, he recommended the seizure of French property and brought her to terms. When Texas revolted against Mexico and appealed to the United States for annexation, he wisely took a waiting attitude. To the end of his second term he retained his vast popularity.
The political factions opposed to Jackson had no hope of success so long as they remained divided and working at cross purposes. In consequence, the experiment was tried of bringing all the dissatisfied elements together under a common party name-Whig. But although they organized after the election campaign of 1832, it was more than a decade before they reconciled the divergent points of view they represented and were able to draw up a platform. In Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, the Whigs possessed two of the ablest and most brilliant statesmen, and it was largely the magnetism of their personalities that solidified the party's membership. In general, people of substance and position were to be found within Whig ranks. In the 1836 election, the Whigs were still too heterogeneous a group to unite upon a single man or upon a common platform. Martin Van Buren, who was supported by Jackson, won the contest. But the period of economic depression which accompanied his term and the picturesque personality of his predecessor obscured his merits. Van Buren's public acts -like the ten-hour day for government workers awakened no enthusiasm, for he lacked the compelling qualities of leadership and the dramatic flair which had attended Jackson's every move. The election of 1840 found the country afflicted with hard times and low wages, and the Democrats were on the defensive.
The Whig candidate for President, William Henry Harrison of Ohio, regarded himself, like Jackson, as a true representative of the democratic west. He had great popular appeal as the hero of the Battle of Tippecanoe in the War of 1812. John Tyler, whose views on state rights and a low tariff were popular in the south, was vice-presidential candidate. The entire Whig campaign was one joyous romp. Giant mass meetings and barbecues were held everywhere; torchlight processions paraded the streets. The women were almost as active as the men. The enthusiasm easily lent itself to song, and "Old Tippecanoe" was on everybody's lips. The outcome was a sweeping Whig victory. But though the Whigs were at one about their candidates, they were divided as to a program of public policy, and they indeed paid the penalty for the noncommittal opportunism which had characterized their campaign. Within a month of his inauguration, sixty-eight-year-old Harrison died, bringing to the presidency Tyler, whose beliefs differed from those of Clay and Webster, still the most influential men in the country. These differences were to lead to an open break before Tyler's term was over, and the President was repudiated by the party which had elected him.
When Andrew Jackson entered the presidency in 1829, a current of unrest and revolt was coursing through the entire western world. While the reform spirit in America had its own sources of support, it was thoroughly in harmony with this current of world development. The democratic upheaval in politics, exemplified by the movement which brought Jackson to the presidency, was merely one phase of the advance of the common people towards larger rights and opportunities. The period of the thirties and forties was characterized by an invigorating faith in the perfectibility of mankind, and there resulted an emancipation of the intellectual and spiritual as well as the material life of the people.
Accompanying the liberal political movement was the beginning of labor organization. By 1836, union membership in the cities of the northern seaboard, mounting to some three hundred thousand, secured the betterment of conditions of employment in many places. In 1835, labor forces in Philadelphia succeeded in establishing their most cherished reform, a ten-hour work day in place of the old "dark to dark" day. This was merely the beginning of similar reforms in other places -New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Ohio, and California, which was admitted to the Union in 1850.
The activity of labor and its zeal for humanitarian reform were indispensable factors in the progressive movements of the time. Its struggle for democracy of education was especially significant. The spread of manhood suffrage led to a new conception of education, for clear-sighted statesmen perceived the danger of universal suffrage if coupled with universal ignorance. The efforts of such men - De Witt Clinton in New York, Abraham Lincoln in Illinois, Horace Mann in Massachusetts -were supported by the vigorous and incessant agitation carried on by organized labor in the cities. Labor leaders demanded free, tax-supported schools open to all children without taint of charity. In 1830, the workingmen of Philadelphia said: "... there can be no real liberty without a wide diffusion of real intelligence ... until means of equal instruction shall be equally secured to all, liberty is but an unmeaning word and equality an empty shadow." Gradually in one state after another, such free instruction was provided by legislative enactment, The public-school system was common throughout the northern part of the country by the 1840's, and the battle for it in other areas continued until won.
The idealism which freed men from most of their ancient fetters awakened women to a realization of their unequal position in society. From colonial times, the unmarried woman in most respects enjoyed the same legal rights as men. But custom required her to marry early, and with matrimony she virtually lost her separate identity in the eyes of the law. Feminine education was limited to a large degree to reading, writing, music, dancing, needlework. Of course, women were not permitted to vote. The awakening of women began with the visit to America of Frances Wright, a Scotswoman of advanced views. Her appearance before audiences to deliver lectures on theology and women's rights shocked the public. Her example, however, soon aroused to action such great figures in the American feminist movement as Lucretia Mott, a Philadelphia Quakeress; Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who braved the contempt of men as well as that of most women while they devoted their energies to antislavery, feminism, and labor welfare. In 1848, a women's rights convention, the first in the history of the world, was held at Seneca Falls, New York. The delegates drew up a declaration demanding equality with the male sex before the law in educational and economic opportunities, and in voting. The feminist leaders were not altogether without friends. Prominent men like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lincoln, and Horace Greeley worked and lectured in their behalf. Although the period was one of agitation rather than accomplishment, definite improvement was achieved. In 1839, Mississippi granted married women the control of their own property, and similar laws were enacted by seven other states within the next decade. In 1820, Emma Willard opened a seminary for girls; in 1837, Mount Holyoke, a woman's institution of college rank was established. Even more venturesome was coeducation in which the lead was taken by three Ohio colleges -Oberlin in 1833, Urbana in 1850, and Antioch in 1853.
The spirit of national self-confidence, as might be expected, was finding utterance in a great outpouring of literature. The decade of the thirties brought a full harvest of American letters. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell began at this time their poetic careers. Emerson preached the doctrine of individualism and the nobility of man in imperishable verse and prose. Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe exemplified the versatility of American thinking by giving literary expression to the somber and supernatural in men's experience. Although most of these men derived their enduring fame from their writings, many of them took an active interest in the humanitarian and political struggles of the age. Whittier was pre-eminently the poet laureate of the antislavery crusade; Longfellow published his Poems on Slavery in 1842; Lowell acted as editor of the Pennsylvania Freeman; George Bancroft was an ardent anti-Bank man; Bryant's brilliant poetic career was coupled with his distinguished editorship of the New York Evening Post from 1829 to 1878.
The trend of the times awakened a new interest in the history of the Republic and marked the beginning of historical scholarship. In the thirties, Jared Sparks, who years before had begun the North American Review, took up the task of editing historical documents, publishing, notably, collections of the writings of Washington and Franklin and the diplomatic correspondence of the Revolution. In 1834, George Bancroft published the first volume of a history of the United States from the earliest discoveries to the adoption of the Constitution. This was the first comprehensive American history based upon a laborious examination of source materials. Before the close of the decade, Bancroft and William Prescott had shown the ability of American scholars to write history with literary distinction.
In day to day living, the welfare of the people was improving visibly in the period between 1825 and 1850. After 1825, the threshing machine began to supplant the flail and the roller, and shortly after, the mower and the reaper were invented. The difficulty of maintaining a united nation in the face of rapid geographical expansion was somewhat eased by the mechanical ingenuity of the people. Railway mileage steadily progressed from the first horse-drawn public carrier of 1830. By 1850, one could travel over the iron highways from Maine to North Carolina, from the Atlantic seaboard to Buffalo on Lake Erie and from the western end of Lake Erie to Chicago or Cincinnati. The electric telegraph, invented in 1835, by S. F. B. Morse was first used in 1844. In 1847, the rotary printing press, devised by Richard Hoe, was put to use. It revolutionized publishing processes and played a major part in giving newspapers their commanding position in American life.
Indicative of the growth of the nation from 1812 to 18S2 was the rise in population which increased from approximately 7,250,000 to over 23,000,000. During this period, the land available for settlement had increased to almost the size of the European continent - from 1,700,000 to almost 3,000,000 square miles. In addition to a flourishing agriculture, varied industries were rapidly developing not only on the eastern seaboard but in the fast-growing cities of the west. The durability of the nation and the vitality of its economy and institutions were established. Still unresolved, however, were the basic conflicts rooted in sectional differences, which within the next decade were destined to flame into Civil War.
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The Era of Good Feelings
As James Madison approached the end of his presidency in 1816, a fellow Virginian and Republican—James Monroe—was elected as his successor. Monroe’s presidency was a continuation of the so-called “Virginia Dynasty,” since all of the presidents between 1801 and 1825 were from Virginia. The fading Federalist Party ran a candidate in the 1816 election for the last time, securing only 34 electoral votes compared to Monroe’s 183 votes. Monroe came to the presidency with a solid political background; he had served as a U.S. senator, he was twice the governor of Virginia, he was President Madison’s Secretary of State, and he had also served a short time as President Madison’s Secretary of War. He fought in the Battle of Trenton during the Revolutionary War at the age of 18.
Monroe was not considered a president with outstanding intellect, nor was he considered a strong leader, but he was regarded as extremely dedicated, levelheaded, and sincere. Jefferson once said that if you turned Monroe’s soul inside out, it would be found spotless. Whatever his limitations, he surrounded himself with promising Republican leaders, including John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State and son of former Federalist President John Adams; William Crawford, Secretary of Treasury; and John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War.
Monroe’s presidency spanned the end of the Revolutionary generation and the emergent age of nationalism. The country was at peace and the economy was thriving when Monroe embarked on a goodwill tour of New England shortly after his inauguration in 1817. He was warmly welcomed everywhere he went—even Boston, which had become a center of wartime dissent for the Federalists during the War of 1812. The Columbian Centinel, a Federalist newspaper in Boston, went so far as to announce that an “Era of Good Feelings” had been ushered in.
This phrase has often been used to describe Monroe’s presidency, but it is, unfortunately, somewhat misleading. The first few years of Monroe’s presidency were blessed with peace, liberty, and progress. However, the prosperity following the War of 1812 collapsed, the Panic of 1819 took hold, and a resurgence of sectionalism erupted.
The Panic of 1819 marked the end of the economic expansion that followed the War of 1812. It featured deflation, depression, bank failures, foreclosures, unemployment, a slump in agriculture and manufacturing, and overcrowded debtors’ prisons. It was the first national economic panic since Washington took office.
Many factors contributed to the Panic of 1819, including a downturn in exports and strong price competition from foreign goods. The falling prices impaired agriculture and manufacturing, triggering widespread unemployment. Another major cause was the risky lending practiced by banks in the west. The Second Bank of the United States tightened their credit lending policies and eventually forced these “wildcat” frontier banks to foreclose mortgages on countless farms and similar high-risk debtors, which resulted in bankruptcies and prisons full of debtors. The Panic of 1819 affected the entire country.
Although the country experienced hard times, little of the blame fell on President Monroe. He was easily elected for a second term in 1820, winning all of the electoral votes but one. Monroe was the only U.S. president to be re-elected after presiding over such a major financial crisis.
Sectional concerns over tariff issues, banking policy, sale of public land, and slavery began to divide the United States into three distinct regions: north, south, and west. While the lines of sectionalism were being drawn, Henry Clay came up with a plan called the “American System” that drew upon the nationalism Americans were still feeling after the War of 1812. Clay’s plan for developing profitable American markets had three main parts: a strong banking system to provide abundant credit, a protective tariff to ensure successful eastern manufacturing, and internal improvements, such as a network of roads and canals. Clay’s American System was meant to build the national economy and bind the country together both economically and politically.
Two parts of Clay’s System were implemented—protective tariffs and the Second Bank of the United States. The third provision, internal improvements such as roads, faced fierce opposition from many within the Republican Party, especially Monroe. They objected on the grounds that the Constitution did not explicitly provide for federal government spending on national developments. President Monroe vetoed any bill that provided funds for roadway- or canal-building projects (the National Road or Cumberland Road being the major exception), leaving it up to the states to provide their own infrastructures.
Before the War of 1812, duties averaged about 12.5 percent, and during the war, Congress doubled all tariffs. In 1816, when the additional revenue from high tariffs was no longer needed to fund the war, a new act kept duties at the same wartime levels. The tariff was a protective measure because the British began dumping cheap goods in the United States, often at a cost far below that of American manufacturers. This protective tariff was the first in United States history—the first of many to come. The British were strangling American industry with their cut-rate goods, and to protect the fledgling industrial sector, Congress kept the tariff rates high.
The tariff issue created clear sectional divisions. Eastern manufacturers, represented by Henry Clay, favored high tariffs that would protect them from foreign competition. Northern constituents, represented by Daniel Webster from New Hampshire, were against the tariff because they feared it would affect their shipping trade and cripple their newly developing manufacturing businesses.
Southerners resented the high prices they had to pay for imports because of the high tariff, and they felt the tariff limited the foreign market for southern goods by inhibiting international exchange. They began a long campaign against the duties, hoping that freer trade would revive the cotton economy. Southerners were represented by John C. Calhoun, who originally supported the tariff but turned against it, claiming that it was enriching New England manufacturers at the cost of the South.
Westerners were split on the tariff issue. The Northwest favored high duties in order to protect its agricultural production, while the Southwest favored low duties for the same reason the Southerners did—they produced cotton.
The national banking policy was another important political issue, although the regional lines were less sharply drawn on this subject than they were on the tariff issue. Northerners voted against a re-charter of the Bank of the United States, while Southerners favored the institution.
Westerners favored the new Bank before the Panic of 1819, which created open opposition to the institution. The Second Bank of the United States stopped allowing payment of debts in paper and instead demanded payment in specie—metallic gold and silver coins—which were in short supply after the War of 1812 due to a large trade deficit with Britain. The hardest hit sector was Western farmers who could not pay their loans to the Bank because they could not obtain the specie that was demanded. The Second Bank of the United States then forced western branches to foreclose on farms with outstanding loans. Westerners began to call for reform and the end of the Bank of the United States.
Land policy in the early nineteenth century was another reason for sectional differences. In 1818, the government sold nearly 3.5 million acres of public land due to a lenient credit policy, which in turn led to falling land prices. Sectional attitudes were clear—the West wanted cheap land, while the North and South felt the public land should be sold for as much as possible. Northerners were afraid that cheap land in the west would draw laborers, leaving the north with a shortage of workers that would force an increase in wages. Southerners were afraid of the competition that might develop when the western lands were settled and planted.
Slavery was the most problematic sectional issue the young nation faced. The leaders of the Constitutional Convention had made many compromises over what politicians at the time called the “peculiar institution”—slavery—in order to get the United States Constitution passed. In 1808, Congress abolished African slave trade without major incident, and by 1819, there were 11 free states and 11 slave states, maintaining a balance in the Union. Most Northerners opposed the institution. In contrast, Southerners wholeheartedly supported and defended slavery, as did most of the West, since many Westerners came from Virginia, Kentucky, and other southern slave states.
While the lines of sectionalism were beginning to be drawn nationally, there remained a few foreign policy issues for the United States to straighten out with Britain and Spain. From 1817 to 1819, the Monroe administration negotiated various foreign policy issues with these two countries. In the Rush-Bagot Agreement of 1817, the United States and Britain agreed to a limited naval presence on the Great Lakes, eventually resulting in the demilitarization of the entire border. The spirit of this agreement gave rise to the tradition of an unfortified border between the United States and Canada.
At the Convention of 1818, the United States and Britain negotiated three important points. The vague northern limit of the Louisiana Purchase was settled along the 49th parallel, from the Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains. The United States was also granted the right to share the Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries. And the third point of agreement was that the Oregon Country would be open to joint occupation by both the British and Americans for 10 years.
During that same year, the Monroe administration recognized increasing problems with Spanish Florida. Seminole Indians frequently came from Florida into American territory to raid border towns, and American criminals and slaves who escaped across the border into Florida could not be recovered. Secretary of War Calhoun authorized General Andrew Jackson to clear the raiding Seminoles from American soil. His order allowed him to pursue the Indians into Spanish territory but did not authorize him to attack any Spanish posts. Jackson, clearly exceeding his instructions, proceeded to push his way through Florida, destroying Seminole settlements, hanging two Indian chiefs, and capturing two Spanish forts.
Spain demanded the return of its territory, reparations, and punishment of Jackson, but did not have the military might to back up their demands. Much of Monroe’s administration believed that Jackson had gone too far, but Secretary of State John Quincy Adams instead took the offensive in the Adams-Onís Treaty. In 1819, during negotiations with the Spanish Minister to Washington, Luis de Onís, Adams bargained for Spain to cede all of Florida for $5 million—which the United States actually paid to Americans who held claims against Spain—in exchange for America’s abandonment of claims to Texas, thus setting the western boundary of the Louisiana Purchase.
The Missouri Compromise
During the early nineteenth century, the sectional lines between the free north and the slave south were being gradually drawn. Slavery began to gain prominence as a national issue, and the South became solidly united behind the institution of slavery as it became more critical to their economic success. By 1819, the United States was comprised of an equal number of free and slave states—11 of each.
In 1812, Louisiana had entered the Union, and the balance of the Louisiana Purchase was organized into the Missouri Territory. As the population trickled westward, many Southerners and their slaves settled the region north and west of St. Louis. In 1819, the settlers petitioned the House of Representatives for admission of the state of Missouri as a slave state, since the population exceeded the required 60,000. Missouri was the first area west of the Mississippi to apply for statehood that was entirely part of the Louisiana Purchase.
Missouri’s petition became another sectional issue and led to the end of the “Era of Good Feelings.” Northerners opposed adding Missouri as a slave state because it would upset the current balance of free and slave states. During the debate over Missouri’s admission, Congressman James Tallmadge of New York introduced an amendment stating that no more slaves could be brought into Missouri and that all slaves born in Missouri after the territory became a state would be freed at the age of 25.
Southerners were extremely concerned about the Missouri emancipation amendment and felt the future of the slave system might depend on it being vetoed. They were aware that the amendment could set a damaging precedent for all of the Louisiana Purchase and any land west of the Mississippi. They also held concerns that if Congress abolished slavery in Missouri, they could attempt to do likewise in all of the southern states.
Population growth in the north had led to a majority for the northern states in the House of Representatives. However, because the Senate had equal representation from each state and there was an equal number of free and slave states, the Senate was split on the issue. The House of Representatives passed the Tallmadge Amendment on a strictly sectional vote, but the Senate rejected it, with some Northern Federalists joining the South to spite the Republicans.
Congress was deadlocked for some time over admission of Missouri as a slave state. The primary issues were political and economic balance. Northerners were concerned that Missouri—and any other new slave states—would be over-represented in Congress based on the Three-Fifths Compromise, which said 60 percent of slaves were counted in determining a state’s delegation to the House of Representatives. A secondary issue that was voiced by Northerner abolitionists was the moral question of slavery. However, the morality of slavery did not influence the solution to the problem at hand.
Henry Clay of Kentucky played a leading role in developing what would be called the “Missouri Compromise.” Missouri was admitted as a slave state, and Maine was separated from Massachusetts and admitted as a free state. This compromise preserved the balance between northern and southern states, as well as free and slave states. In addition, Congress prohibited slavery in all other parts of the Louisianan Purchase north of the line of 36° 30’—the southern boundary of Missouri. This second part of the Compromise was rather ironic, considering Missouri was north of the designated no slavery line.
The Missouri Compromise lasted for 34 years. Both sides had yielded something in the compromise, but both felt they had gained something as well. Northerners were satisfied with the compromise because it kept the balance in the Senate between free and slave states. Southerners felt they won a victory with the Missouri Compromise because at that time most Americans felt it was unlikely that the area north and west of Missouri would ever be settled.
While the controversy had subsided for the time, many Americans were beginning to see the South’s “peculiar institution” as an issue that would eventually have to be confronted. The Missouri Compromise avoided the slavery question, but it did not resolve it.
Despite the growing division over the issue of slavery in America, Chief Justice John Marshall and the Supreme Court worked to reinforce the feelings of nationalism that developed after the War of 1812. Marshall was a Revolutionary War survivor, and his experience led to strong feelings of national loyalty. Although he had six colleagues on the Supreme Court, Marshall’s position as Chief Justice—along with his personality, logic, and forcefulness—resulted in many rulings that reflected his personal view of the Constitution and his belief in a powerful central government.
During Marshall’s 34 years on the bench, many important cases were considered by the Court. Several of the most famous cases involved three major principles: contract rights protection, the supremacy of federal legislation over the laws of the states, and regulation of interstate commerce.
In 1810, the contract rights case of Fletcher v. Peck came before the Supreme Court. Members of the Georgia legislature were bribed in 1795 to sell 35 million acres in Mississippi for a small amount to private speculators. The following year, a new Georgia legislature rescinded the sale. The case was taken to the Supreme Court, and Marshall, speaking for the Court, ruled that the original sale was a legal contract—regardless of whether or not it was fraudulent—and therefore protected by the Constitution. The ruling was historically significant because it protected property rights against popular pressures, and it also clearly asserted the Supreme Court’s right to invalidate state laws that conflicted with the Constitution.
In the case of Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819), the state of New Hampshire tried to alter the college’s charter, which had been granted in 1769 by King George III. A New Hampshire court ruled that Dartmouth was to be changed from a private to a public institution. Dartmouth appealed the case to the Supreme Court, where Marshall ruled that the original charter must stand because it was a contract and could not be altered or canceled without consent of both parties.
The Marshall Court ruled that the Constitution protected contracts against state encroachments. The significance of Marshall’s ruling was far reaching because it effectively safeguarded private corporations from domination by the states’ governments. Unfortunately, the case also set the precedent for giving corporations the ability to skirt governmental controls. Once the states became aware of this dilemma, they generally wrote into charters the ability to make changes so that it was part of the contract.
A case in which the Marshall court upheld the power of the federal court over that of the states was the 1816 case of Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee. The state of Virginia confiscated land owned by a British Loyalist named Denny Martin Fairfax. Virginia granted David Hunter 800 acres of the confiscated lands, and Fairfax brought suit against Hunter for return of the land. The Treaty of Paris (1794) and Jay’s Treaty (1795) seemed to make it clear that Fairfax was the rightful owner of the property, but the Virginia court upheld the grant to Hunter.
The Supreme Court and Justice Marshall overruled the Virginia court, declaring that the land belonged to Fairfax and voided the grant to Hunter. The Court’s ruling rejected “compact theory,” the idea that the states were equally sovereign to the federal government. This ruling was significant because it enforced the rights of the Supreme Court, which held appellate jurisdiction over state courts. Thus, Marshall’s ruling upheld the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) is often considered John Marshall’s single most important interpretation of the Constitution, because it dealt with the division of power between the federal government and the states. The state of Maryland, in order to protect its local banks, placed an annual tax on the Bank of the United States and other “foreign” banks. The Maryland branch of the Bank of the United States refused to pay, and Maryland brought suit against the chief bank employee, called the “head cashier,” John W. McCulloch.
Marshall upheld the constitutionality of the Bank of the United States, using Hamilton’s bank message of 1791 to support his position. He argued that the Bank’s legality was implied in many of the powers specifically granted to Congress. Since the bank was legal, the Maryland tax was unconstitutional, for “the power to tax involves the power to destroy,” which was exactly what many states had in mind with respect to the Bank. The Marshall Court’s ruling in favor of McCulloch used a “loose” interpretation of the Constitution and, with the ruling, strengthened federal authority and the implied powers of Congress.
Two years later in the case of Cohens v. Virginia (1821), Marshall once again defended the power of the federal government. The Cohen brothers were illegally selling lottery tickets in the state of Virginia, and the state authorities tried and convicted them. The brothers appealed to the Supreme Court, and Marshall upheld Virginia’s right to forbid the sale of lottery tickets. The case reaffirmed the Supreme Court’s right to review all state court judgements in cases involving the Constitution or powers of the federal government.
In 1824, Marshall handed down his last great decision in Gibbons v. Ogden, the “steamboat case,” which involved the regulation of interstate commerce. In 1808, Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston pioneered commercial use of the steamboat and held a monopoly of steamboat navigation on the Hudson in New York. In 1815, Aaron Ogden purchased exclusive rights to operate a ferry between New York and New Jersey. When Thomas Gibbons, who held a federal trade license, set up a competing line, Ogden sued him.
The case was presented to the Supreme Court, where Marshall decided in favor of Gibbons, destroying Fulton’s and Livingston’s monopoly and reminding New York that Congress alone controlled interstate commerce. Marshall’s decision once again checked the power of the states and upheld the sovereign power of the federal government.
Many of Marshall’s decisions while on the bench aided the economic development of the United States and created a nationally uniform environment for business. Marshall’s landmark decisions also confirmed the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review and firmly established the Judiciary as the most powerful branch of the federal government. In a broader sense, his decisions acknowledged the idea of judicial limitation on legislative powers and made the Supreme Court a vital part of America’s system of government.
The Monroe Doctrine
At the great European conference, the Congress of Vienna (1814-1815), the monarchs of Europe gathered to return the continent to its status before the French Revolution. The European powers banded together to eradicate democratic movements that threatened their thrones. In 1821, the Holy Alliance—Russia, Austria, Prussia, and France—quashed liberal movements in Italy. Then in 1822, at the Congress of Verona, the alliance decided to put down Spanish rebels, and in 1823, France crossed the Spanish border and restored the Spanish king to absolute authority. Rumors spread quickly that the autocratic alliance would next send armies to the revolted colonies of Spanish South America and restore the king to power there as well.
Britain had profited from the breakup of the Spanish monarchy in South America by developing a thriving commerce with the Spanish republics. In 1823, the British foreign minister, George Canning, sought to join with the United States and renounce any interest in acquiring any South American territory and declare opposition to any French interference with the South American colonies. Secretary of State Adams recognized that while the proposal was flattering, it was not in the best interest of the Untied States. He pointed out that the alliance with Britain would mean abandoning the possibility of someday adding part of South America to the United States. He felt the U.S. should proclaim a unilateral policy against the restoration of Spain’s colonies. Adams told Monroe, “It would be more candid, as well as more dignified, to avow our principles explicitly to Russia and France, than to come in as a cockboat in the wake of the British man-of-war.”
Monroe agreed with the arguments Adams made and decided to include a statement of American policy that reflected those arguments in his seventh annual message to Congress in December of 1823. The “Monroe Doctrine,” as it was later called, had two main points. First, Monroe proclaimed that the era of colonization in the Americas had ended: "The American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any European powers." Europe’s political system was different than that of the New World, and he felt the two should not be mixed. He stated that any attempts by European powers to extend their political system to the Western Hemisphere would be seen as a threat to the nation’s “peace and safety.” The second point Monroe made in his policy statement was that the United States would not interfere with existing European colonies in North or South American and would avoid involvement in European affairs.At the time, since the Monroe Doctrine was not a treaty or a law, it drew little attention either in the United States or abroad. In reality, the U.S. didn’t have the power to enforce this unilateral announcement. However, Monroe and his staff knew that the British Navy, the most powerful in the world, would protect South America so that their markets remained open to British trade. Monroe’s Doctrine gave voice to a spirit of patriotism in the United States and did eventually become one of the cherished principles of American foreign policy.
Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "James Monroe" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 17 Nov. 2012. Web. 10 Mar. 2018. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/us-history/topics/james-monroe/>.