Writing Assignment For U.S History To 1877

For this assignment, you need to use Chapters 8, 9, & 10 in Shi & Mayer.  Choose two documents from each chapter that have some common theme or idea, and explain what that theme or idea is, using the six documents to support your arugment.  Remember, you are not looking for a theme from chapter 8 and another from chapter 10, but one theme/idea present in six documents from all three chapters. Answer must be of 350-600 words.

Don’t use any other sources other than the documents in Shi & Mayer.  Your answer should be rooted in the documents; they are your evidence to prove whatever points you are making in your effort to answer the questions.  This is not a summary; focus on answering the assignment question.


Opportunity plus improvements equaled growth, and growth, to most Ameri- cans, meant progress and prosperity. As the nation grew physically, it encom- passed more people who ingeniously and energetically pursued individual and national improvements. Many of these people cultivated more and more land. Agriculture, however, blossomed not just because additional farmers worked on extensive homesteads; it flourished because other Americans, native born and immigrant, created better tools with which to work. Inventors devised mechani- cal aids, from the cotton gin that transformed the South to the mechanical seed- ers and reapers that, in the Old Northwest, helped turn sustenance farming into commercial agriculture.

The farmers then needed greater markets and ways to get their goods to them. Furthermore, those farmers became markets for other goods they could not easily or profitably produce. Well aware of the farmers’ situation, Americans took a great interest in internal improvements-whether financed by the national or

state governments. While citizens wrangled over the type and sponsorship of improvements, their

federal and local governments proceeded to build roadways and waterways. The National Road was the premier example of the former, and the latter included the numerous canals that gouged through the states, connecting rivers and lakes, cities and shipping terminals. Yet these did not represent the greatest innovations in transportation. People had long used the power supplied by air, earth, and water, but in harnessing the power created by a combination of those elements-steam

power-they revolutionized the ways by which people traveled. Steamships began to ply the country’s rivers, lakes, and shorelines, and heralded the beginning of the end for the great ocean sailing ships. Steam-powered locomotives, engines on wheels that moved on tracks, also energized the movement of people and products.





“Indian Summer.” The moon had rather passed the meridian of her grandeur. We glided down the river, meeting no other ripple of the water than that formed by the propulsion of our boat. Leisurely we moved along, gazing all day on the grandeur and beauty of the wild scenery around us.

Now and then a large catfish rose to the surface of the water, in pursuit of a shoal of fry, which, starting simultaneously from the liquid element, like so many silvery arrows, produced a shower of light, while the pursuer with open jaws seized the stragglers, and, with a splash of his tail, disappeared from our view ….

Nature, in her varied arrangements, seems to have felt a partiality towards this portion of our country. As the traveller ascends or descends the Ohio, he cannot help remarking that alternately, nearly the whole length of the river, the margin, on one side, is bounded by lofty hills and a rolling sur- face, while on the other, extensive plains of the rich- est alluvial land are seen as far as the eye can command the view. Islands of varied size and form rise here and there from the bosom of the water, and the winding course of the stream frequently brings you to places where the idea of being on a river of great length changes to that of floating on a lake of moderate extent. Some of these islands are of consid- erable size and value; while others, small and insig- nificant, seem as if intended for contrast, and as serving to enhance the general interest of the scen- ery. These little islands are frequently overflowed during great freshets or floods, and receive at their heads prodigious heaps of drifted timber. We foresaw with great concern the alterations that cultivation would soon produce along those delightful banks.

As night came, … [t)he tinkling of bells told us that the cattle which bore them were gently roving from valley to valley in search of food, or return- ing to their distant homes. The hooting of the Great Owl, or the muffled noise of its wings as it sailed smoothly over the stream, were matters of interest to us; so was the sound of the boatman’s horn, as it came winding more and more softly from afar. When daylight returned, many songsters burst forth with echoing notes, more and more mellow to the listening ear. Here and there the lonely cabin of

a squatter struck the eye, giving note of commen. ing civilization. The crossing of the stream by deer foretold how soon the hills would be coverc with snow.

Many sluggish flat-boats we overtook ar. passed: some laden with produce from the differe-· head-waters of the small rivers that pour the tributary streams into the Ohio; others, of le dimensions, crowded with emigrants from distar parts, in search of a new home. Purer pleasure never felt; nor have you, reader, I ween, unle· indeed you have felt the like, and in such company

The margins of the shores and of the river wer at this season amply supplied with game. A Wi:_ Turkey, a Grouse, or a Blue-winged Teal, could procured in a few moments; and we fared well, fo~ whenever we pleased, we landed, struck up _ fire, and provided as we were with the necessar utensils, procured a good repast.

Several of these happy days passed, and K = neared our home, when, one evening, not far fror:. Pigeon Creek (a small stream which runs into tht Ohio, from the State of Indiana), a loud and strange noise was heard, so like the yells oflndian warfare that we pulled at our oars, and made for the oppo- site side as fast and as quietly as possible. The sounc. increased, we imagined we heard cries of “mur- der;” and as we knew that some depredations hac lately been committed in the country by dissatisfie,- parties of Aborigines, we felt for a while extreme!· uncomfortable. Ere long, however, our mind became more calmed, and we plainly discoverec that the singular uproar was produced by ar enthusiastic set of Methodists, who had wanderec thus far out of the common way, for the purpose o holding one of their annual camp meetings, unde~ the shade of a beech forest. Without meeting witr. any other interruption, we reached Henderson distant from Shippingport by water about tw hundred miles.

When I think of these times, and call back t, my mind the grandeur and beauty of those almos• uninhabited shores; when I picture to myself the dense and lofty summits of the forest, that every- where spread along the hills, and overhung the margins of the stream, unmolested by the axe of

ler; when I kr ·igation of th1

s worthy Virg – ·.- Aborigines a

-t herds of ell

-:g for themseh rings, have ceai

grand porti1 _ ;n a state of n~

th villages, fa1 :nmers and ma

e woods are fa ,, and the fire

~-boats are glidi _ ..:: of the majesti

-oot and to prm rplus populatic destruction of

•en place in the , wonder, and,

:arcely believe it -hether these ch orse, I shall not ·ay my conclus that there an

the time when .• as not been bee: -complish such a

ur COOPERS [V, more Cooper) h ,-,etent for the tas use the changes

uch rapidity, a




“Indian Summer.” The moon had rather passed the meridian of her grandeur. We glided down the river, meeting no other ripple of the water than that formed by the propulsion of our boat. Leisurely we moved along, gazing all day on the grandeur and beauty of the wild scenery around us.

Now and then a large catfish rose to the surface of the water, in pursuit of a shoal of fry, which, starting simultaneously from the liquid element, like so many silvery arrows, produced a shower of light, while the pursuer with open jaws seized the stragglers, and, with a splash of his tail, disappeared from our view ….

Nature, in her varied arrangements, seems to have felt a partiality towards this portion of our country. As the traveller ascends or descends the Ohio, he cannot help remarking that alternately, nearly the whole length of the river, the margin, on one side, is bounded by lofty hills and a rolling sur- face, while on the other, extensive plains of the rich- est alluvial land are seen as far as the eye can command the view. Islands of varied size and form rise here and there from the bosom of the water, and the winding course of the stream frequently brings you to places where the idea of being on a river of great length changes to that of floating on a lake of moderate extent. Some of these islands are of consid- erable size and value; while others, small and insig- nificant, seem as if intended for contrast, and as serving to enhance the general interest of the scen- ery. These little islands are frequently overflowed during great freshets or floods, and receive at their heads prodigious heaps of drifted timber. We foresaw with great concern the alterations that cultivation would soon produce along those delightful banks.

As night came, … [t]he tinkling of bells told us that the cattle which bore them were gently roving from valley to valley in search of food, or return- ing to their distant homes. The hooting of the Great Owl, or the muffled noise of its wings as it sailed

smoothly over the stream, were matters of interest to us; so was the sound of the boatman’s horn, as it came winding more and more softly from afar. When daylight returned, many songsters burst forth with echoing notes, more and more mellow to the listening ear. Here and there the lonely cabin of

a squatter struck the eye, giving note of commenc- ing civilization. The crossing of the stream by a deer foretold how soon the hills would be covered with snow.

Many sluggish flat-boats we overtook and passed: some laden with produce from the different head-waters of the small rivers that pour their tributary streams into the Ohio; others, of less dimensions, crowded with emigrants from distant parts, in search of a new home. Purer pleasures I never felt; nor have you, reader, I ween, unless indeed you have felt the like, and in such company.

The margins of the shores and of the river were at this season amply supplied with game. A Wild Turkey, a Grouse, or a Blue-winged Teal, could be procured in a few moments; and we fared well, for, whenever we pleased, we landed, struck up a fire, and provided as we were with the necessary utensils, procured a good repast.

Several of these happy days passed, and we neared our home, when, one evening, not far from Pigeon Creek (a small stream which runs into the Ohio, from the State oflndiana), a loud and strange noise was heard, so like the yells of Indian warfare, that we pulled at our oars, and made for the oppo- site side as fast and as quietly as possible. The sounds increased, we imagined we heard cries of “mur- der;” and as we knew that some depredations had lately been committed in the country by dissatisfied parties of Aborigines, we felt for a while extremely uncomfortable. Ere long, however, our minds became more calmed, and we plainly discovered that the singular uproar was produced by an enthusiastic set of Methodists, who had wandered thus far out of the common way, for the purpose of holding one of their annual camp meetings, under the shade of a beech forest. Without meeting with any other interruption, we reached Henderson, distant from Shippingport by water about two

hundred miles. When I think of these times, and call back to

my mind the grandeur and beauty of those almost uninhabited shores; when I picture to myself the dense and lofty summits of the forest, that every- where spread along the hills, and overhung the margins of the stream, unmolested by the axe of

the settler; when I know I safe navigation of that ri1

of many worthy Virginia: ger any Aborigines are tc the vast herds of elks, once pastured on these making for themselves salt-springs, have ceased all this grand portion being in a state of natur, ered with villages, farm of hammers and mach that the woods are fast by day, and the fire b steam-boats are gliding: length of the majestic take root and to prospe! the surplus population in the destruction of th civilization into its remember that these e all taken place in the I pause, wonder, and, al can scarcely believe it

Whether these cha the worse, I shall not P! ever way my conclusio regret that there are accounts of the state of from the time when o This has not been beca to accomplish such an and our CooPERS [vVa Fenimore Cooper] ha,· competent for the task. because the changes with such rapidity, a



:he settler; when I know how dearly purchased the ;afe navigation of that river has been by the blood f many worthy Virginians; when I see that no lon-

=er any Aborigines are to be found there, and that ·ie vast herds of elks, deer and buffaloes which nee pastured on these hills and in these valleys, aking for themselves great roads to the several

;.alt-springs, have ceased to exist; when I reflect that this grand portion of our Union, instead of

.~ing in a state of nature, is now more or less cov- red with villages, farms, and towns, where the din ~- hammers and machinery is constantly heard;

·-:at the woods are fast disappearing under the axe _ ·,· day, and the fire by night, that hundreds of -earn-boats are gliding to and fro, over the whole .rngth of the majestic river, forcing commerce to

-e root and to prosper at every spot; when I see -:e surplus population of Europe coming to assist -: the destruction of the forest, and transplanting

.::·dlization into its darkest recesses;-when I -=member that these extraordinary changes have

• taken place in the short period of twenty years, :-ause, wonder, and, although I know all to be fact, n scarcely believe its reality.

Whether these changes are for the better or for .e worse, I shall not pretend to say; but in what- er way my conclusions may incline, I feel with gret that there are on record no satisfactory ·.:ounts of the state of that portion of the country,

m the time when our people first settled in it. ~-:;s has not been because no one in America is able

accomplish such an undertaking. Our IRVINGS dour COOPERS [Washington Irving and James :iimore Cooper] have proved themselves fully ::npetent for the task. It has more probably been cause the changes have succeeded each other .di such rapidity, as almost to rival the move-

JOHN JAMES AUDUBON: The Ohio (1830s) 211

ments of their pen. However, it is not too late yet; and I sincerely hope that either or both of them will ere long furnish the generations to come with those delightful descriptions which they are so well qual- ified to give, of the original state of a country that has been so rapidly forced to change her form and attire under the influence of increasing population. Yes; I hope to read, ere I close my earthly career, accounts from those delightful writers of the prog- ress of civilization in our western country. They will speak of the CLARKS, the CROGHANS, the BOONS [including George Rogers Clark, his brother William Clark, William Croghan and his son George, and Daniel Boone, all of whom were important to Kentucky’s history], and many other men of great and daring enterprise. They will ana- lyze, as it were, into each component part, the country as it once existed, and will render the pic- ture, as it ought to be, immortal.


1. How does Audubon juxtapose wilderness and civilization in this piece? Did he see equilibrium between them at that time?

2. What part did the Ohio River play in fostering both nature and development?

3. What does his comparison of the noise engen- dered by a Methodist camp meeting to the war yells of Native Americans reveal about his per- ceptions of the frontier ‘s peoples?

4. Why does he think that the great authors of the age should describe the country as it was when the first settlers spread out through it? Why does he believe that “picture” ought to be immortal?





FROM The Factory System of

Yankeedoodledum (1845)

As America grew, the market for news grew, and those wanting and reading the news included the growing working class. The number of newspapers increased dramatically, especially in the new urban areas. The New York Herald, which began production in 1840, replacing the Morning Herald, was one of the new papers and it, like others, reported on events from around the country if it thought the informa- tion would get people to buy and read it.

Americans were keenly interested in the developing factory system, and Lowell, Massachusetts, was the site of many of the mechanical, business, and social innova- tions that marked the system. The Boston Associates had erected numerous cotton mills in Lowell starting in 1822. These manufacturers also built boardinghouses and provided educational and recreational opportunities for their workers, of which most were single young women. At least that was the case at first. Over the years other manufacturers opened factories elsewhere and competition for workers and markets as well as technical innovations altered the factory system. A system that many people initially hailed as offering more humane working conditions than other labor came to be seen as increasingly exploitive. People increasingly asked how and how long laborers should work.

From “The Factory System of Yankeedoodledum,” New York Herald, April 24, 1845, issue 112. Available from 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, Gale. [Editorial insertions appear in square brackets-Ed.]

The Factory System of Yankeedoodledum

Report of the Committee on the Ten Hour System

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

by Mr. John Quincy Adams Thayer, and eight hun- dred and fifty others, “peaceable, industrious, hard working men and women of Lowell.” The petition- ers declare that they are confined “from thirteen to fourteen hours per day in unhealthy apartments,” and are thereby “beatening [sic], through pain, disease, and privation, down to a premature grave.” They therefore ask the Legislature “to pass a law providing that ten hours shall constitute a day’s work,” and that no corporation or private citizen “shall be allowed, except in cases of emergency to employ one set of hands more than ten hours per day.”

House of Representatives March 12, 1845

* * * The first petition which was referred to your Com- mittee came from the city of Lowell, and was signed

The second petition came from the town of Fall River and is signed by John Gregory and four hun- dred and eighty-eight others. These petitioners ask


for the passage of a la day’s work in all cc Legislature.”

The third petition and five hundred othe precisely the same wor1

The fourth petiti, signed by James Carle The petitioners ask · making ten hours a d agreement is entered i1

The whole numbc petitions is 2,139, of~ A very large proporti are females-Nearly o tioners are females. TI signed exclusively by r

On the 13th of Fe! session to hear the peti ell. Six of the female ar ers were present, and !

The first petitionei Hemingway. She had months in the Lowe Middlesex, and nine n porations. Her emplo) the piece. The Hamiltc fabrics. The Middlesex work in the Middlesex Her wages average frm complained of the hou and the time for meal! season, the work is co and continued till 7 o’ for breakfast and three ner. During the eight n hour is allowed for dir considered not to be small lamps and 61 lar in which she worke required. These lamp in the morning. Abe and 12 children (ben work in the room wit dren enjoyed about a



WILLIAM SCHAULER: rnoM The Factory System ofYankeedoodledum (1845) 213

the passage of a law to constitute “ten hours a ‘s work in all corporations created by the islature.” The third petition signed by Samuel W. Clark . five hundred others, citizens of Andover, is in : isely the same words as the one from Fall River. The fourth petition is from Lowell, and is 1ed by James Carle and three hundred others. : petitioners ask for the enactment of a law king ten hours a day’s work, where no specific eement is entered into between the parties. The whole number of names on the several itions is 2,139, of which 1,151 are from Lowell. rery large proportion of the Lowell petitioners females-Nearly one half of the Andover peti-

ners are females. The petition from Fall River is ned exclusively by males.

* * * On the 13th of February the Committee held a

.sion to hear the petitioners from the city of Low-

. Six of the female and three of the male petition- ; were present, and gave in their testimony. The first petitioner who testified was Eliza R.

:mingway. She had worked two years and nine )nths in the Lowell Factories; two years in the iddlesex, and nine months in the Hamilton Cor- ,rations. Her employment is weaving-works by e piece. The Hamilton Mill manufactures cotton xics. The Middlesex woolen fabrics. She is now at )rk in the Middlesex Mills, and attends one loom. er wages average from $16 to $23 a month . . .. She ,mplained of the hours for labor being too many, id the time for meals too limited. In the summer ason, the work is commenced at 6 o’clock, A.M id continued till 7 o’clock P.M., with half an hour r breakfast and three quarters of an hour for din- ~r. During the eight months of the year but half an )Ur is allowed for dinner. The air in the room she msidered not to be wholesome. There were 293 nall lamps and 61 large lamps lighted in the room L which she worked, when evening work is :quired. These lamps are also lighted sometimes L the morning. About 130 females, 11 males, nd 12 children (between the ages of 11 and 14) mk in the room with her. She thought the chil- ren enjoyed about as good health as children gen-

erally do. The children work but 9 months out of 12. The other 3 months they must attend school. Thinks that there is no day when there are less than six of the females out of the mill from sickness. Has known as many as thirty. She, herself, is out quite often on account of sickness. There was more sick- ness in the summer than in the winter months; though in the summer lamps are not lighted. She thought there was a general desire among the females to work but ten hours, regardless of pay. Most of the girls are from the country who work in the Lowell Mills. The average time which they remain there is about three years. She knew one girl who had worked there 14 years. Her health was poor when she left. Miss Hemingway said her health was better where she now worked than it was when she worked on the Hamilton Corporation.

* * *

A large number come to Lowell to make money to aid their parents who are poor. She knew of many cases where married women came to Lowell and worked in the mills to assist their husbands to pay for their farms. The moral character of the opera- tives is good. There was only one American female in the room with her who could not write her name.

Miss Sarah G. Bagley said she had worked in the Lowell Mills eight years and a half-six years and half on the Hamilton Corporation, and two years on the Middlesex. She is a weaver, and works by the piece. She worked in the mills three years before her health began to fail. She is a native of New Hampshire, and went home 6 weeks during the summer. Last year she was out of the mill a third of the time. She thinks the health of the oper- atives is not so good as the health of females who do housework or millinery business. The chief evil, so far as health is concerned, is the shortness of time allowed for meals.-The next evil is the length of time employed-not giving them time to culti- vate their minds. She spoke of the high moral and intellectual character of the girls. That many were engaged as teachers in the Sunday schools. That many attended the lectures of the Lowell Institute, and she thought, if more time was allowed, that more lectures would be given and more girls attend. She thought that the girls generally were favorable




to the ten hour system. She had presented a peti- tion, same as the one before the committee, to 132 girls, most of whom said that they would prefer to work but ten hours. In a pecuniary point of view it would be better, as their health would be improved. They would have more time for sewing. Their intel- lectual, moral, and religious habits would also be benefitted by the change.

Miss Bagley said, in addition to her labor in the mills, she had kept evening school duri ng the win- ter months, for four years, and thought this extra labor must have injured her health .

,.. ,.. ,..

Miss Elizabeth Rowe has worked in Lowell 16 months, all the time on the Lawrence Corporation; came from Maine; she is a weaver; works by the piece; runs four looms. “My health,” she says, “has been very good indeed since I worked there; aver- aged th ree dollars a week since I have been there besides my board; have heard very little about the hours of labor being too long.” She consented to have her name put on the petition because Miss Phill ips asked her to. She would prefer to work only ten hours. Between 50 and 60 work in the room with her. Her room is better ventilated and more hea lthy than most others. Girls who wish to attend lectures can go out before the bell rings; any over- seer lets them go; also Saturdays they go out before the bell rings. It was her wish to attend four looms. She has a sister who has worked in the mill seven years. Her health is very good. Don’t know that she has ever been out on account of sickness. The gen- eral health of the operatives is good. Have never spoken to my employers about the work being too hard, or the hours too long. Don’t know any one who has been hastened to a premature grave by fac- tory labor. I never attended any of the lectures in Lowell on the ten hour system. Nearly all the female operatives in Lowell work by the piece; and of the petitioners who appeared before the Com- m it tee, Miss Hemmingway, Miss Bagley, Miss Payne, and Miss Rowe work by the piece, and Miss Clark and Miss Phillips by the week.

Mr. Gill ian Gale, a member of the City Coun- cil, and who keeps a provision store, testified that

the short time allowed for meals he thought the greatest evil. He spoke high ly of the character of the operatives and of the agents; also of the board- ing houses and the public schools. He had two chil- dren in the mills who enjoyed good health. The mills are kept as clean and as well vent iled [sic] as it is possible for them to be.

Mr. Herman Abbott had worked on the Law- rence Corporation 13 years-never heard much complaint among the girls about the long hours; never heard the subject spoken of in the mills- does not th ink it would be satisfactory to the girls to work only ten hours, if their wages were to be reduced in proportion. Forty-two girls work in the room with him. The girls often get back to the gate before the bell rings.

Mr. John Quincy Adams Thayer has lived in Lowell four years, “works at physical labor in the summer season, and mental labor in the winter.” Has worked in the big machine shop 24 months, off and on; never worked in a cotton or woolen mill; thinks that the mechanics in the machine shop are not so healthy as in other shops, nor so intelligent as the other classes in Lowell. He drafted the peti- tion; has heard many complain of the long hours.

Mr. S.P. Adams, a member of the House from Lowell, said he worked in the machine shop, and the men were as intelligent as any other class, and enjoyed as good health as any persons who work in-doors; the air in the shop is as good as in any shop; about 350 hands work there, about half a dozen of whom are what is called ten hour men; they all would be ten hour men if they could get as good pay.

The only witnesses whom the committee exam- ined, whose names were not on the petition, were Mr. Adams and Mr. Isaac Cooper, a member of the House from Lowell, and who has worked as an overseer in the Lawrence cotton mills for nine years; his evidence was very full; he gave it as his opinion that the girls in the mills enjoy the best health , for the reason that they rise early, go to bed early, and have their meals regular. In h is room there are 60 girls, and since 1837, has known of only one girl who went home from Lowell and died. He does not find that those who stay the longest in the mill grow sickly and weak. The rooms are heated by

steam pipes, and thi regulated by a ther all the mills . The he 69 degrees.

During our sho many facts , which w to state in this repo

Hours of Lab

From Mr. Clar Corporation, we obt time which the mill

Begin work-From o’clock. From 1st Se as they can see.

Breakfast-From 1st before going to wo March, at 7½ o’clocl;’ tember, at seven o’d 31st October, at 7½ o

Dinner-Through th ~fay to 31st August, r

eptember to 30th A

Quit Work-From ~ o’clock. From 1st Se dark. From 20th Se o’clock. From 20th ~

Lamps are never lig above is the time w Lowell, with a slig shop; and it makes t out the year, of ru hours and ten minu1

There are fou r d observed as holid are never put in m declared, usually in giving Day, and C day more than is us other place in Ne”· shows the average out the year, in the I



WILLIAM SCHAULER: FROM The Factory System ofYankeedoodledum (1845) 215

steam pipes, and the temperature of the rooms is regulated by a thermometer. It is so, he believes, in all the mills. The heat of the room varies from 62 to 69 degrees.

During our short stay in Lowell, we gathered many facts, which we deem of sufficient importance to state in this report; and first, in relation to the

Hours of Labor

From Mr. Clark, the agent of the Merrimack Corporation, we obtained the following table of the time which the mills run during the year:-

Begin work-From 1st May to 31st August, at 5 o’clock. From 1st September to 30th April, as soon as they can see.

Breakfast-From 1st November to 28th February, before going to work. From 1st March to 31st March, at 7½ o’clock. From 1st April to 10th Sep- tember, at seven o’clock. From 20th September to 31st October, at 7½ o’clock. Return in half an hour.

Dinner-Through the year at 12½ o’clock. From 1st May to 31st August, return in 45 minutes. From 1st September to 30th April, return in 30 minutes.

Quit Work-From 1st May to 31st August, at 7 o’clock. From 1st September to 19th September, at dark. From 20th September to 19th March, at 7½ o’clock. From 20th March to 30th April, at dark.

Lamps are never lighted on Saturday evenings. The above is the time which is kept in all the mills in Lowell, with a slight difference in the machine shop; and it makes the average daily time, through- out the year, of running the mills, to be twelve hours and ten minutes.

There are four days in the year in which are observed as holidays, and on which the mills are never put in motion. These are Fast Day [state declared, usually in April), Fourth ofJuly, Thanks- giving Day, and Christmas Day. These make one day more than is usually devoted to pastime in any other place in New England. The following table shows the average hours of work per day, through- out the year, in the Lowell Mills:-

Hours. Min. Hours. Min. January ……. 11 21 July …………… 12 45 February …. 12 August ……… 12 45 March ……… 11 52 September … 12 23 April ……….. 13 31 October.. …… 12 10 May …………. 12 45 November.. .. 11 56 June …………. 12 45 December …. 11 24

* * *

In Lowell, but very few (in some mills none at all) enter into the factories under the age of fifteen. None under that age can be admitted, unless they bring a certificate from the school teacher, that he or she has attended school at least three months dur- ing the preceding twelve; Nine tenths of the factory population in Lowell come from the country. They are farmers’ daughters. Many of them come over a hundred miles to enter the mills. Their education has been attended to in the district schools, which are dotted like diamonds over every square mile of New England. Their moral and religious characters have been formed by pious parents, under the pater- nal roof. Their bodies have been developed and their constitutions made strong by the pure air, wholesome food, and youthful exercise.

After an absence of a few years, having laid by a few hundred dollars, they depart for their homes, get married, settle down in life, and become the heads offamilies.-Such, we believe, in truth, to be a correct statement of the Lowell operatives, and of the hours of labor.

* * *

Your Committee have not been able to give the petitioners from the other towns in this State a hearing. We believed that the whole case was cov- ered by the petition from Lowell, and to that peti- tion we have given our undivided attention, and we have come to the conclusion unanimously, that leg- islation is not necessary at the present time, and for the following reasons:-

lst. That a law limiting the hours of labor, if enacted at all, should be of a general nature. That it should apply to individuals or copartnerships as well as to corporations. Because, if it is wrong to labor more than ten hours in a corporation, it is also




wrong when applied to individual employers, and your committee are not aware that more complaint can justly be made against incorporated companies in regard to the hours of labor, than can be against individuals or copartnerships. But it will be said in reply to this, that corporations are the creatures of the Legislature; and, therefore, the Legislature can control them in this, as in other matter. This to a certain extent is true, but your committee go farther than this, and say, that not only are corporations subject to the control of the Legislature but individ- uals are also, and if it should ever appear that the public morals, the physical condition, or the social well-being of society were endangered, from this cause or from any cause, then it would be in the power and it would be the duty of the Legislature to interpose its prerogative to avert the evil.

2d. Your committee believe that the factory sys- tem, as it is called, is not more injurious to health than any other kinds of indoor labor. That a law which would compel all of the factories in Massa- chusetts to run their machinery but 10 hours out of the 24, while those in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and other States in the Union, were not restricted at all, the effect would be to close the gate of every mill in the State. It would be the same as closing our mills one day every week, and although Massachusetts capital, enterprise and industry are willing to compete on fair terms with the same at other States, and, if needs be, with European nations, yet it is easy to perceive that we could not compete with our sister States, much less with foreign countries, if a restriction of this nature was put upon our manufactories.

3d. It would be impossible to legislate to restrict the hours of labor, without affecting very materially the question of wages; and that is a matter which experience has taught us can be much better regu- lated by the parties themselves than by the Legisla- ture. Labor in Massachusetts is a very different commodity from what it is in foreign countries. Here labor is on an equality with capital, and indeed con- trols it, and so it ever will be while free education and free institutions exist. And although we may find fault, and say that labor works too many hours, and labor is too severely tasked, yet if we attempt by legis-

lation to enter within its orbit, and interfere with its plans, we will be told to keep clear and mind our own business. Labor is intelligent enough to make its own bargains, and look out for its own interests without any interference from us; and your Committee want no better proof to convince them that Massachusetts men and Massachusetts women, are equal to this, and will take care of themselves better than we can take care of them, than we had from intelligent and virtuous men and women who appeared in support of this petition, before the Committee.

4th. The Committee do not wish to be under- stood as conveying the impression, that there are no abuses in the present system of labor; we think there are abuses; we think that many improvements may be made, and we believe will be made, by which labor will not be severely tasked as it now is. We think that it would be better if the hours for labor were less-if more time was allowed for meals, if more attention was paid to ventilation and pure air in our manufac- tories and work shops, and many other matters. We acknowledge all this, but we say this remedy is not with us. We look for it in the progressive improve- ment in art and science, in a higher education of man’s destiny, in a less love for money, and a more ardent love for social happiness and intellectual supe- riority. Your Committee, therefore, while they agree with the petitioners in their desire to lessen the bur- dens imposed upon labor, differ only as to the means by which these burdens are sought to be removed



1. What appear to have been the usual working hours and conditions for factory workers i Massachusetts?

2. Were women as likely as men to petition fc better working conditions?

3. What did the petitioners want? 4. Why did the petitioners note the intellectu

and moral character of factory operatives? 5. How did some witnesses rebut the petitioner

evidence? Why did some people oppose ti: reform proposed?


Busin grant expen most , artisa, the fir’ erally strong becau also r, be/on, ern cit Poor h Ameri them. Shear Germal ano, i i Klinge

From \\j Land of NY:Co

Anna Maria K

loved parents and Out of filial and

form you about my .. ong and trying jour nd sound after all, an ell …. Now I want t .at is that on the sam ent into service for a



with its our own ~ its own without

:tee want chusetts I to this, i we can gent and support

e under- re are no ink there

maybe ich labor b.ink that e less-if attention aanufac- tters. We dy is not improve- cation of d a more ual supe- 1ey agree the bur- e means oved


working 1rkers in

:ition for

tellectual ~es? titioners’ pose the



FROM Letters Home to Germany (1849-50s)

Businessmen and families in need of laborers and servants often turned to immi- grants. They could generally pay such workers less than they did native sons and expend less worry about “protecting” them than they did native daughters. Although most of the immigrants could offer only unskilled or semiskilled labor, there were artisans as well as professionals among them. Of the two major immigrant groups in the first half of the nineteenth century, the Germans, despite language problems, gen- erally found greater acceptance than the Irish, mainly because there was already a strong German presence in America from the earlier colonial migrations and because they were often better educated and financially prepared. Germans were also religiously diverse; although there were some Catholics and Jews, the majority belonged to Protestant sects. Furthermore, while many Germans settled in the east- ern cities, many more moved west to establish new farms and communities there. Poor harvests, too-small farms, and mechanized industry drove many Germans to America, where, once settled, they wrote home to entice friends and family to join them. Anna Maria Klinger came from a poor, winegrowingfamily in Wiirttemberg. She arrived in America in 1849 and immediately found work with the family of a German-American pharmacist. She soon married another immigrant, Franz Sch- ano, who had deserted from the Bavarian army. They, in turn, helped five other Klingers emigrate during the 1850s.

From Walter D. Kamphoefner, Wolfgang Helbich, and Ulrike Sommer, eds., News from the Land of Freedom: German Immigrants Write Home, translated by Susan Carter Vogel (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991), pp. 534, 536-39. Originally published as Deutsche Aus- wanderer schreiben aus der Neuen Welt 1830-1930 (Munchen: Verlag C. H. Beck, 1988). Reprinted by permission of Walter Kamphoefner and Wolfgang Helbich . [Editorial inser- tions appear in square brackets-Ed.]


Anna Maria Klinger

New Jork, March 18, 1849 Beloved parents and brothers and sisters,

Out of filial and sisterly love I feel obliged to inform you about my well-being in America. After a long and trying journey I arrived in New Jork safe and sound after all, and until now I have been quite well. … Now I want to tell you about my situation, that is that on the same day I arrived in New Jork, I went into service for a German family. I am content

with my wages for now, compared to Germany, I make 4 dollars a month in our money [10] guilders, if you can speak English then it’s considerably bet- ter, since the English pay a good wage, a servant gets 7 to 10 dollars a month, but if you can’t speak or understand English you can’t ask for so much pay. But I hope that things will get better, for it’s always like that, no one really likes it at first, and espe- cially if you are so lonely and forlorn in a foreign land like I am, no friends or relatives around …. The dear Lord is my shield and refuge …. I keep




thinking you are fearful and worried about me because you have not received a letter for so long, first of all, we were at sea for one hundred and 5 days, 7 weeks we were docked at Bli.imuth [Plym- outh] before our ship was done. You probably read in the letter I wrote to the mayor about the bad luck we had. From England to America things went well, we still had one big storm, but we suffered no more misfortune, there were 200 and 60 passengers on the ship. My journey from Stuttgart to Antwerben went well, I met up with those 3 girls who were also going from Stuttgart to America in Maintz, but they’d already met up with companions on the way, they started behaving so badly on the journey already, and at sea there were two tailor boys with those girls, I got annoyed because I couldn’t stand such loose behavior, one of them went to Viladelfe [Philadelphia] and another in New Jork ….

The city of New Jork is the largest in America, it is so big you can’t walk around it in one day, the religious institutions are like in Germany, there are 182 churches here, but belonging to different reli- gions. Here you can find people from all corners of the world, there are about 4,000 German residents alone [actually, there were between fifty and sixty thousand]. I will be able to write more in the future when I have been here longer. But I do want to tell you this [that so many deserters] from the army have arrived here .. .. Gottlieb [her brother] should give my best to his cook where he was when I left, she only needs to come to America, it’s very good for girls who have to work in service. I haven’t regretted it yet. Write me, too, about what’s hap- pening in Stuttgart. Dear parents, my next letter will make you happier. …

Anna Maria Schano, nee Klinger

[New York, probably mid-1850] [Beginning of letter missing] I’ve saved up to now in the time we’ve been married some 40 dollars in cash, not counting my clothes. Dear parents and brothers and sisters, I certainly don’t want to tell you what to do, do what you want, for some like it here and some don’t, but the only ones who don’t

like it here had it good in Germany, but I also think you would like it here since you never had anything good in Germany. I’m certainly glad not to be over there, and only those who don’t want to work don’t like it here, since in America you have to work if you want to amount to anything, you mustn’t feel ashamed, that’s just how you amount to something, and so I want to tell you again to do what you want, since it can seem too trying on the journey and in America as well, and then you heap the most bitter reproaches on those who talked you into coming, since it all depends on whether you have good luck, just like in Germany. Dear parents, you wrote me that Daniel wants to come to America and doesn’t have any money, that is certainly a problem. Now I want to give you my opinion, I’ve often thought about what could be done, I thought 1st ifhe could borrow the money over there, then when he has saved enough over here then he could send it back over, like a lot of people do, and secondly, I thought we would like to pay for him to come over, but right now we can’t since it costs 28 dollars a person and I also want to tell you since my husband wrote to you, the money we want to send you, whether you want to use it to have one or two come over here or if you want to spend it on yourselves, you just have to let us know so we have an idea how much you still need, and you’ll have to see to it that you have some more money, too, since we can’t pay it all. [ … ] Things in Daniel’s Profesion are not the best, he shouldn’t count on that, it would be better if he were a tailor or shoemaker, but it doesn’t matter, a lot of people don’t work in their Profesion and learn others or other businesses, since you don’t have to pay to learn a trade in America. Dear parents and brothers and sisters, if one of you comes over here and comes to stay with us we will certainly take care of you, since we are now well known, and you needn’t be so afraid of America, when you come to America, just imagine you were moving to Stutt- gart, that ‘s how many Germans you can see here.

And as far as the Americans are concerned, whites and blacks, they won’t harm you, since the blacks are very happy when you don’t do anything to them, the only thing is the problem with the lan- guage. It’s not as easy to learn as you think, even

now I don’t know here who don’t e~ you start off wod learn in one year, Germans. Dear p I’d like to be with get the picture of also be so happy I’ve often been wi Germany, but wh still I am happy in• We would have L along with this lei have much mone•

The Iris. them w, buried, These Ir Americ, on deca, ers in hij

From The 281-84,33


Irish emigrants of th were generally poor, expenses on landing I push their way into t employment as was b and capacity: though store for too many of would have endured



k lg er ‘ ·t

if ~l I g,

er g,


‘ t

I It




f e

JOHN FRANCIS MAGUIRE: FRO M The Irish in America (1867) 219

now I don’t know much, and there are many people here who don’t even learn it in 6 to 8 years, but if you start off working for Americans then you can learn in one year as much as in 10 years living with Germans. Dear parents and brothers and sisters, I’d like to be with you, you will surely be pleased to get the picture of us, to see me again, and I would also be so happy to see you again. In my dreams I’ve often been with you and also in my old job in Germany, but when I woke up, it wasn’t true, but still I am happy in any case that I am in America … . We would have liked to have sent a few dollars along with this letter but at the moment we don’t have much money, since I can well imagine you

could use it now, but things go slowly the first few years, you have to take care of yourself, since the motto in America is help yourself. …


1. What does Klinger reveal about the process of emigration/immigration?

2. How does she promote America to her relatives in Germany?

3. What does she believe to be the key(s) to doing well in America?


FROM The Irish in America (1867)

The Irish were weighed down by many woes in the nineteenth century; prime among them were British dominion and the famine caused by the potato rot. The weight buried many at home and squeezed others out to find freedom and food abroad. These Irish immigrants, who by 1860 composed the largest foreign-born group in America, faced perhaps the greatest prejudice. John Francis Maguire, looking back on decades of Irish migration, tried to explain why to both Irish and American read- ers in his book, The Irish in America.

From Th e Irish in A merica, 4th ed. (New York: D. & J. Sadlier, 1867), pp. 21 5-19, 240, 252 , 281-84, 333-37.

* * * Irish emigrants of the peasant and labouring class were generally poor, and after defraying their first expenses on landing had little left to enable them to push their way into the country in search of such employment as was best suited to their knowledge and capacity: though had they known what was in store for too many of them and their children, they would have endured the severest privation and

braved any hardship, in order to free themselves from the fatal spell in which the fascination of a city life has meshed the souls of so many of their race. Either they brought little money with them, and were therefore unable to go on; or that little was plundered from them by those whose trade it was to prey upon the inexperience or credulity of the new-comer. Therefore, to them, the poor or the plundered Irish emigrants, the first and pressing




necessity was employment; and so splendid seemed the result of that employment, even the rudest and most laborious kind, as compared with what they were able to earn in the old country, that it at once predisposed them in favour of a city life …. Then there were old friends and former companions or acquaintances to be met with at every street-corner; and there was news to give, and news to receive- too often, perhaps, in the liquor-store or dram-shop kept by a countryman-probably ‘a neighbour’s child,’ or ‘a decent boy from the next ploughland.’ Then ‘the chapel was handy,’ and ‘a Christian wouldn’t be overtaken for want of a priest;’ then there was ‘the schooling convenient for the chil- dren, poor things,’-so the glorious chance was lost; and the simple, innocent countryman, to whom the trees of the virgin forest were nodding their branches in friendly invitation, and the blooming prairie expanded its fruitful bosom in vain, became the denizen of a city, for which he was unqualified by training, by habit, and by associa- tion. Possibly it was the mother’s courage that failed her as she glanced at the flock of little ones who clustered around her, or timidly clung to her skirts, and she thought of the new dangers and fur- ther perils that awaited them; and it was her mater- nal influence that was flung into the trembling balance against the country and in favour of the city. Or employment was readily found for one of the girls, or one or two of the boys, and things looked so hopeful in the fine place that all thoughts of the fresh, breezy, healthful plain or hill-side were shut out at that supreme moment of the emigrant’s destiny; though many a time after did he and they long for one breath of pure air, as they languished in the stifling heat of a summer in a tenement house. Or the pioneer of the family-most likely a young girl-had found good employment, and, with the fruits of her honest toil, had gradually brought out brothers and sisters, father and mother, for whose companionship her heart ever yearned; and possibly her affection was stronger than her prudence, or she knew nothing of the West and its limitless resources. Or sickness, that had fol- lowed the emigrant ‘s family across the ocean, fas- tened upon some member of the group as they

touched the soil for which they had so ardently prayed, and though the fever or the cholera did not destroy a precious life, it did the almost as precious opportunity of a better future! the spring of that energy which was sufficient to break asunder the ties and habits of previous years-sufficient for flight from home and country-was broken, and those who faced America in high hope were thenceforth added to the teeming population of a city-to which class, it might be painful to speculate.

* * *

This headlong rushing into the great cities has the necessary effect of unduly adding to their popula- tion, thereby overtaxing their resources, however large or even extraordinary these resources may be, and of rudely disturbing the balance of supply and demand. The hands-the men, women, and children-thus become too many for the work to be done, as the work becomes too little for the hands willing and able to do it. What is worse, there are too many mouths for the bread of indepen- dence; and thus the bread of charity has to supple- ment the bread which is purchased with the sweat of the brow. Happy would it be for the poor in the towns of America, as elsewhere, if the bread of charity were the only bread with which the bread of independence is supplemented. But there is also the bread of degradation, and the bread of crime. And when the moral principle is blunted by abject misery, or weakened by disappointments and pri- vation, there is but a narrow barrier between pov- erty and crime; and this, too frequently, is soon passed. For such labour as is thus recklessly poured into the great towns there is constant peril. It is true, there are seasons when there is a glut of work, when the demand exceeds the supply-when some gigan- tic industry or some sudden necessity clamours for additional hands; but there are also, and more frequently, seasons when work is slack, seasons of little employment , seasons of utter paralysis and stagnation. Cities are liable to occasional depres- sions of trade, resulting from over production, or the successful rivalry of foreign nations, or even portions of the same country; or there are smash- ings of banks, and commercial panics , and peri-

ods of severity tion of which v the stre

The digious of arri,· certain every s Castle world p but thes the very demand inhabita

As i ulation, is year!) or luxu grand of the

tenemen dwell m astoundi and evil, upon .. . .

It is not should go ments it be had, tions, in al is no Stat~ from hani

I day-labou betaking



JOHN FRANCIS MAGUIRE: FROM The Irish in America (1867) 221

ods of general mistrust. Or, owing to the intense severity of certain seasons, there is a total cessa- tion of employments of particular kinds, by which vast numbers of people are flung idle on the streets ….

The evil of overcrowding is magnified to a pro- digious extent in New York, which, being the port of arrival-the Gate of the New World-receives a certain addition to its population from almost every ship-load of emigrants that passes through Castle Garden. There is scarcely any city in the world possessing greater resources than New York, but these resources have long since been strained to the very uttermost to meet the yearly increasing demands created by this continuous accession to its inhabitants; …

As in all cities growing in wealth and in pop- ulation, the dwelling accommodation of the poor is yearly sacrificed to the increasing necessities or luxury of the rich. While spacious streets and grand mansions are on the increase, the portions of the city in which the working classes once found an economical residence, are being steadily encroached upon-just as the artisan and labour- ing population of the City of London are driven from their homes by the inexorable march of city improvements, and streets and courts and alleys are swallowed up by a great thoroughfare or a gigantic railway terminus ….

As stated on official authority, there are 16,000 tenement houses in New York, and in these there dwell more than half a million of people! This astounding fact is of itself so suggestive of misery and evil, that it scarcely requires to be enlarged upon ….

* * *

It is not at all necessary that an Irish immigrant should go West, whatever and how great the induce- ments it offers to the enterprising. There is land to be had, under certain circumstances and condi- tions, in almost every State in the Union. And there is no State in which the Irish peasant who is living from hand to mouth in one of the great cities as a day-labourer, may not improve his condition by betaking himself to his natural and legitimate

avocation-the cultivation of the soil. Nor is the vast region of the South unfavourable to the labo- rious and energetic Irishman. On the contrary, there is no portion of the American continent in which he would receive a more cordial welcome, or meet with more favourable terms. This would not have been so before the war, or the abolition of slavery, and the upset of the land system which was based upon the compulsory labour of the negro …. The policy of the South is to increase and strengthen the white population, so as not to be, as the South yet is, too much dependent on the negro; and the planter who, ten years ago, would not sever a single acre from his estate of 2,000, or 10,000, or 20,000 acres, will now readily divide, if not all, at least a considerable portion of it, into saleable quantities, to suit the convenience of purchasers ….

* * *

Were I asked to say what I believed to be the most serious obstacle to the advancement of the Irish in America, I would unhesitatingly answer-Drink; meaning thereby the excessive use, or abuse, of that which, when taken in excess, intoxicates, deprives man of his reason, interferes with his industry, injures his health, damages his position, compro- mises his respectability, renders him unfit for the successful exercise of his trade, profession, or employment-which leads to quarrel, turbulence, violence, crime. I believe this fatal tendency to excessive indulgence to be the main cause of all the evils and miseries and disappointments that have strewed the great cities of America with those wrecks oflrish honour, Irish virtue, and Irish prom- ise, which every lover of Ireland has had, one time or other, bitter cause to deplore. Differences of race and religion are but as a feather’s weight in the bal- ance; indeed these differences tend rather to add interest to the steady and self-respecting citizen. Were this belief, as to the tendency of the Irish to excess in the use of stimulants, based on the testi- mony of Americans, who might probably be some- what prejudiced, and therefore inclined to judge unfavourably, or pronounce unsparingly, I should not venture to record it; but it was impressed upon




me by Irishmen of every rank, class, and condition of life, wherever I went, North or South, East or West. It was openly deplored, or it was reluctantly admitted. I rarely heard an Irishman say that his country or his religion was an effectual barrier to his progress in the United States ….

The question here naturally arises,-do the Irish drink more than the people of any other nationality in America? The result of my observa- tion and inquiries leads me to the conviction that they do not. How then comes it that the habit, if common to all is so pernicious to them? There are many and various reasons why this is so. In the first place, they are strangers, and, as such, more subject to observation and criticism than the natives of the country. They are, also, as a rule, of a faith different to that of the majority of the American people; and the fact that they are so does not render the observation less keen, nor does it render the criti- cism more gentle. Then, be it constitution, or temperament, or whatever else, excess seems to be more injurious to them than to others. They are genial, open-hearted, generous, and social in their tendencies; they love company, court excite- ment, and delight in affording pleasure or gratifi- cation to their friends. And not only are their very virtues leagued against them, but the pre- vailing custom of the country is a perpetual chal- lenge to indulgence.

This prevailing custom or habit springs more from a spirit of kindness than from a craving for sensual gratification. Invitations to drink are uni- versal, as to rank and station, time and place, hour and circumstance; they literally rain upon you. The Americans are perhaps about the most thoroughly wide-awake people in the world, yet they must have an ‘eye-opener’ in the morning. To prepare for meals, you are requested to fortify your stomach and stimulate your digestive powers with an ‘appe- tizer.’ To get along in the day, you are invited to acccept the assistance of a ‘pony.’ If you are startled at the mention of ‘a drink,’ you find it difficult to refuse ‘at least a nip.’ And who but the most morose-and the Irishman is all geniality-can resist the influence of ‘a smile?’ Now a ‘cocktail,’ now a ‘cobler’-here a ‘julep,’ there a ‘smasher;’ or

if you shrink from the potency of the ‘Bourbon,’ you surely are not afraid of ‘a single glass of lager beer!’ To the generous, company-loving Irishman there is something like treason to friendship and death to good-fellowship in refusing these kindly- meant invitations; but woe to the impulsive Irish- man who becomes the victim of this custom of the country! The Americans drink, the Germans drink, the Scotch drink, the English drink-all drink with more or less injury to their health or cir- cumstances; but whatever the injury to these, or any of these, it is far greater to the mercurial and light-hearted Irish than to races of hard head and lethargic temperament. …

It must be admitted that, in some cities of America-by no means in all, or anything like all- the Irish element figures unenviably in the police records, and before the inferior tribunals; and that in these cities the committals are more numerous than they should be in proportion to the numerical strength of the Irish population …. The deadly crimes-the secret poisonings, the deliberate mur- ders, the deep-laid frauds, the cunningly-masked treachery, the dark villany, the spider-like prepara- tion for the destruction of the unwary victim-these are not common to the Irish. Rows, riots, turbu- lence, acts of personal violence perpetrated in pas- sion, are what are principally recorded of them in the newspapers; and in nine cases out of ten, these offences against the peace and order of the com- munity, and which so deeply prejudice the pub- lic mind, not only against the perpetrators, but, what is far worse, against the irrace and country, are attributable to one cause, and one cause alone-drink . …

* *

… Whatever estimate Americans may form of their Irish fellow-citizens, be that estimate favour- able or unfavourable, there is but one opinion as to the moral character oflrish women. Their repu- tation for purity does not rest on the boastful assertions of those who either regard all matters concerning their race or country from a favourable point of view, or who, to gratify a natural feeling, would wilfully exaggerate, or possibly misstate a

fact: it is uni strong prejudic countries in w exists; and when and religion in dices are certai deeply rooted. 1 against this dou~ not powerful em tion, indeed adi the women of tha I . h . l ns emigrant gj plined, awkwar9 with all the rui training; but sh~ rapidly acquires I an improved com with people of c~

the contagion o~ wealth and luxu is principally am mass of the Irish this one noble c service her meril fied of the genuiJ, can family will ti” is there no lockir. is left in her char tempered, difficul ‘turbulent’-espec at, or her faith ii cheerful and labo

An instance occurred not long the great Western the house of a Pro high-spirited Iris! plary conduct, ar charged the dutie: mother to a youn was bringing up w girl was Kate wh, their progress in many other peop; torment, and that minded preacher



JOHN FRANCIS MAGUIRE: FROM The Irish in America (1867) 223

fact: it is universally admitted …. Prejudices, strong prejudices, there are in the States, as in all countries in which diversity of race and religion exists; and where this diversity comprehends race and religion in the same individuals, these preju- dices are certain to be the stronger and the more deeply rooted. The Irish Catholic has to contend against this double prejudice, which nevertheless is not powerful enough to interfere with the convic- tion, indeed admission, as to the moral character of the women of that country and that faith. The poor Irish emigrant girl may possibly be rude, undisci- plined, awkward- just arrived in a strange land, with all the rugged simplicity of her peasant’s training; but she is good and honest. Nor, as she rapidly acquires the refinement inseparable from an improved condition oflife, and daily association with people of cultivated manners, does she catch the contagion of the vices of the great centres of wealth and luxury. Whatever her position,-and it is principally amongst the humble walks of life the mass of the Irish are still to be found,-she maintains this one noble characteristic: purity. In domestic service her merit is fully recognised. Once satis- fied of the genuineness of her character, an Ameri- can family will trust in her implicitly; and not only is there no locking up against her, but everything is left in her charge. Occasionally she may be hot tempered, difficult to be managed, perhaps a little ‘turbulent’-especially when her country is sneered at, or her faith is wantonly ridiculed; but she is cheerful and laborious, virtuous and faithful.

An instance of very legitimate ‘turbulence’ occurred not long since in one of the most rising of the great Western cities. There lived, as a ‘help,’ in the house of a Protestant family, an intelligent and high-spirited Irish girl, remarkable for her exem- plary conduct, and the zeal with which she dis- charged the duties of her position. Kate acted as a mother to a young brother and sister, whom she was bringing up with the greatest care; and a happy girl was Kate when she received good tidings of their progress in knowledge and piety. Kate, like many other people in the world, had her special torment, and that special torment was a playful- minded preacher who visited at the house, and

who looked upon ‘Bridget’-he would call her Bridget-as a fair butt for the exercise of his pleas- ant wit, of which he was justly proud. It was Kate’s duty to attend table; and no sooner did she make her appearance in the dining-room, than the play- ful preacher commenced his usual fun, which would be somewhat in this fashion: ‘Well, Bridget, my girl! when did you pray last to the Virgin Mary? Tell me, Bridget, when were you with Father Pat? What did you give him, Bridget? What did the old fellow ask for the absolution this time? Now, I guess it was ten cents for the small sins, and $1 for the thumpers! Come now, Bridget, tell me what penance did that priest of yours give you?’ Thus would the agreeable jester pelt the poor Irish girl with his generous pleasantries, to the amusement of the thoughtless, but to the serious annoyance of the fair-minded, who did not like to see her feel- ings so wantonly wounded. The mistress of the house mildly remonstrated with her servant’s lively tormentor, though she did not herself admire ‘Bridget’s’ form of prayer, and was willing to regard ‘Father Pat’s’ absolution as a matter of bargain and sale. But the wit should have his way. ‘Bridget’ was a handsome girl, and the rogue liked to see the fire kindle in her grey eye, and the hot blood mantle over her fair round cheek; and then the laughter of his admirers was such delightful incense to his van- ity, as peal after peal told how successfully the incorrigible wag ‘roasted Bridget.’ On one memo- rable day, however, his love of the humorous car- ried him just too far. A large company was assembled round the hospitable table of the mis- tress of the house. The preacher was present, and was brimming over with merriment. Kate entered the room, bearing a large tureen of steaming soup in her hands. ‘Ho, ho, Bridget!-how are you, Bridget? Well, Bridget, what did you pay Father Pat for absolution this time? Come to me, Bridget, and I will give you as many dollars as will set you all straight with the old fellow for the next six months, and settle your account with purgatory too. Now, Bridget, tell us how many cents for each sin?’ The girl had just reached the preacher as he finished his

little joke; and if he wished to see the Irish eye flash out its light, and the Irish blood burn in the cheek,




he had an excellent opportunity for enjoying that treat. It was Bridget’s turn to be playful. Stopping next to his chair, and looking him steadily in his face, while she grasped the tureen of r ich green-pea soup more firmly in her hands, she said: ‘Now, sir, I often asked you to leave me alone, and not mind me, and not to insult me or my religion, what no rea l gentleman would do to a poor girl; and now, sir, as you want to know what I pay for absolu- tion, here’s my answer!’ and, suiting the action to the word, she flung the hot steaming liquid over the face, neck, breast- entire person- of the playful preacher! … The sentiment- the gener- ous American sentiment-was in Kate’s favour, as she m ight have perceived in the manner of the guests. For the poor preacher, it may be said that the soup ‘spoiled his dinner’ for that day. He did not make his appearance again for some time; but when he did, it was as an altered and much- improved gentleman, who appeared to have lost all interest in the religious peculiarities of Kate, whom, strange to say, he never more called by the name of Bridget. The warm bath, so vigorously

administered, had done him much sernc;:- said, ‘a power of good.’

* * *


1. How was Maguire’s book a comment~ American culture in general as well as Irish element within it in pa rticular?

2. In combating prejudice against the Iris:: Maguire perpetuate or even promote biases?

3. What does this piece reveal about gender class as well as ethnic relations and att ituci the mid-nineteenth century?

4. What did the author believe most injured : interests and advancement in America? D11… say this was a problem of perception or prac:

5. Could this piece be used as a source on ref ideas and movements as well as on imm1~ tion? Explain.


FROM Imminent Dangers to the Free Institutions

of the United States (1835)

In another chapter of his book, John Maguire (seep. 219) related the history of the Know-Nothing movement of the mid-1850s. He noted how adherents combined reli- gious bigotry with nationalistic prejudice, all to the detriment of the Irish immi- grant. He was quick to point out, however, that “there was nothing new in this Know-Nothingism. It was as old as the time of the Revolution, being Native Ameri- canism under another name. Its animating spirit was hostility to the stranger- insane jealousy of the foreigner. ” While the elaborate organization and political power of the American (Know-Nothing) Party was a new development, Maguire had it right: this kind of intolerance was nothing new. Nativism grew as immigration increased. By the 1830s Americans fearful of possible immigrant power and cu ltural

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SAMUEL F. B. MORSE: FRO M Imminent Dangers to the Free Institutions (1835) 225

effects, including politicians and reformers, delivered impassioned arguments against unrestricted immigration. Prominent among them was Samuel F. B. Morse. Although he made a career of painting-an artist of some repute, he was chosen to paint a portrait of Lafayette for the city of New York in 1825-Morse achieved last- ing renown for inventing the telegraph. He was not the only one working on the con- cept, but his invention was the first to show itself practicable. With congressional support, Morse was able to build a line from Washington to Baltimore, and on May 24, 1844, he sent a passage from the Bible, “What hath God wrought,” over the wire. Raised in a deeply religious Protestant home, Morse developed a strong antago- nism against Catholicism, which became marked during his European tour in the early 1830s-the same tour that gave him some of the foundational ideas for the tele- graph. On his return to a changing America he went public with his concerns and found a ready audience.

From Imminent Dangers to the Free Institutions of the United States through Foreign Immi- gration … (1835; New York: Arno Press, 1969), pp. 6-15.

* * * Our country, in the position it has given to for- eigners who have made it their home, has pursued a course in relation to them, totally different from that of any other country in the world. This course, while it is liberal without example, subjects our institutions to peculiar dangers. In all other coun- tries the foreigner, to whatever privileges he may be entitled by becoming a subject, can never be placed in a situation to be politically dangerous, for he has no share in the government of the country . . ..

. . . The writer believes, that since the time of the American Revolution, which gave the princi- ples of Democratic liberty a home, those principles have never been in greater jeopardy than at the present moment. To his reasons for thus believing, he invites the unimpassioned investigation of every American citizen. If there is danger, let it arouse to defence. If it is a false alarm, let such explanations be given of most suspicious appearances as shall safely allay it. It is no party question, and the attempt to make it one, should be at once suspected. It concerns all of every party.

There is danger of re-action from Europe; and it is the part of common prudence to look for it, and to provide against it. The great political truth has recently been promulged at the capital of one of the

— · ·-

principal courts of Europe, at Vienna, and by one of the profoundest scholars of Germany, (Frederick Schlegel, a devoted Roman Catholic, and one of the Austrian Cabinet,) the great truth, clearly and unanswerably proved, that the political revolutions to which European governments have been so long subjected, from the popular desires for liberty, are the natural effects of the Protestant Reformation. That Protestantism favours Republicanism, while Papery as naturally supports Monarchical power. In these lectures , … there is a most important allu- sion to this country; and as it demonstrates one of the principal connecting points between Euro- pean and American politics, and is the key to many of the mysterious doings that are in opera- tion against American institutions under our own eyes, let Americans treasure it well in their memo- ries. This is the passage:-“THE GREAT NURSERY of these destructive principles, (the principles of Democracy,) the GREAT REVOLUTIONARY SCHOOL for FRANCE and THE REST OF EUROPE, is NORTH AMERICA!” Yes, (I address Democratic Americans,) the influence of this Republican government, of your democratic system, is vitally felt by Austria. She confesses it. It is proscribed by the Austrian Cabinet. This country is designated directly to all her people, and to her allied despots, as the great plague spot of the world , the poisoned fountain




whence flow all the deadly evils which threaten their own existence …. Is it wonderful after such an avowal in regard to America, that she should do something to rid herself and the world of such a tremendous evil? … But how shall she attack us? She cannot send her armies, they would be useless. She has told us by the mouth of her Counsellor of Legation, that Popery, while it is the natural antag- onist to Protestantism, is opposed in its whole character to Republican liberty, and is the promoter and supporter of arbitrary power. How fitted then is Popery for her purpose! This she can send with- out alarming our fears, or, at least, only the fears of those “miserable,” “intolerant fanatics,” and “pious bigots,” who affect to see danger to the liberties of the country in the mere introduction of a religious system opposed to their own, and whose cry of dan- ger, be it ever so loud, will only be regarded as the result of “sectarian fear,” and the plot ridiculed as a “qu ixotic dream.” But is there any thing so irratio- nal in such a scheme? Is it not the most natural and obvious act for Austria to do, with her views of the influence of Popery upon the form of government, its influence to pull down Republicanism, and build up monarchy; I say, is it not her most obvious act to send Papery to this country if it is not here, or give it a fresh and vigorous impulse if it is already here? At any rate she is doing it. She has set herself to work with all her activity to disseminate throughout the country the Popish religion. Imme- diately after the delivery of Schlegel’s lectures, which was in the year 1828, a great society was formed in the Austrian capital, in Vienna, in 1829. The late Emperor, and Prince Metternich, and the Crown Prince, (now Emperor,) and all the civil and ecclesiastical officers of the empire, with the princes of Savoy and Piedmont, uniting in it, and calling it after the name of a canonized King, St. Leopold. This society is formed for a great and express purpose …. “of promoting the greater activity of Catholic missions in America;” these are the words of their own reports. Yes; these Foreign despots are suddenly stirred up to combine and promote the greater activity of Popery in this country; and this, too, just after they had been convinced of the

truth, or, more properly speaking, had their mem- ories quickened with it, that Papery is utter opposed to Republican liberty. These are the fac in the case. Americans, explain them in yo~· own way. If any choose to stretch their charity _ far as to believe that these crowned gentlem-:- have combined in this Society solely for religi purposes; that they have organized a Society · collect moneys to be spent in this country, a- have sent Jesuits as their almoners, and sh ~ loads of Roman Catholic emigrants, and for ~ – sole purpose of converting us to the religio Popery, and without any political design, er Judreus Apella, non ego.

* * * Let us examine the operations Society, for it is hard at work all around u here in this country, from one end to the oth our very doors, in this city …. Its emissari here. And who are these emissaries? The JESUITS. This society of men, after exerting · tyranny for upwards of 200 years, at ~e became so formidable to the world, threa-_ the entire subversion of all social order, tha· . the Pope, whose devoted subjects they ar must be, by the vow of their society, was com_ to dissolve them. They had not been supp: .. however, for 50 years, before the waning in- . of Popery and Despotism required their _ labours, to resist the spreading light of Dem liberty, and the Pope, (Pius VII,) simulta- with the formation of the Holy Alliance, _ .. the order of the Jesuits in all their power. do Americans need to be told what Jesu ,,_- any are ignorant, let them inform them: their history without delay; no time is to their workings are before you in every dav they are a secret society, a sort of Mason – with superadded features of most revo!: _ ousness, and a thousand times more d They are not confined to one class in soc. are not merely priests, or priests of one creed, they are merchants, and lawyer_ tors, and men of any profession, and no . ~



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SAMUEL F. B. MORSE: FROM Imminent Dangers to the Free Institutions (1835) 227

having no outward badge, (in this country,) by which to be recognised; they are about in all your society. They can assume any character, that of angels of light, or ministers of darkness, to accom- plish their one great end, the service upon which they are sent, whatever that service may be. “They are all educated men, prepared, and sworn to start at any moment, in any direction, and for any ser- vice, commanded by the general of their order, bound to no family, community, or country, by the ordinary ties which bind men; and sold for life to the cause of the Roman Pontiff.”

* * *

Is there no danger to the Democracy of the country from such formidable foes arrayed against it? Is Metternich its friend? Is the Pope its friend? Are his official documents, now daily put forth, Democratic in their character?

0 there is no danger to the Democracy; for those most devoted to the Pope, the Roman Catho- lics, especially the Irish Catholics, are all on the side of Democracy. Yes; to be sure they are on the side of Democracy. They are just where I should look for them. Judas Iscariot joined with the true disciples. Jesuits are not fools. They would not startle our slumbering fears, by bolting out their monarchi- cal designs directly in our teeth, and by joining the opposing ranks, except so Jar as to cover their designs. This is a Democratic country, and the Democratic party is and ever must be the strongest party, unless ruined by traitors and Jesuits in the camp. Yes; it is in the ranks of Democracy I should expect to find them, and for no good purpose be assured. Every measure of Democratic policy in the least exciting will be pushed to ultraism, so soon as it is introduced for discussion. Let every real Democrat guard against this common Jesuitical artifice of tyrants, an artifice which there is much evidence to believe is practising against them at this moment, an artifice which if not heeded will surely be the ruin of Democracy: it is founded on the well-known principle that “extremes meet.” The writer has seen it pass under his own eyes in Europe, in more than one instance. When in despotic governments popu-

lar discontent, arising from the intolerable oppres- sions of the tyrants of the people, has manifested itself by popular outbreakings, to such a degree as to endanger the throne, and the people seemed pre- pared to shove their masters from their horses, and are likely to mount, and seize the reins themselves; then, the popular movement, unmanageable any longer by resistance, is pushed to the extreme. The passions of the ignorant and vicious are excited to outrage by pretended friends of the people. Anar- chy ensues; and then the mass of the people, who are always lovers of order and quiet, unite at once in support of the strong arm of force for protec- tion; and despotism, perhaps, in another, but pre- concerted shape, resumes its iron reign. Italy and Germany are furnishing examples every day. If an illustration is wanted on a larger scale, look at France in her late Republican revolution, and in her present relapse into despotism.

* * *

That Jesuits are at work upon the passions of the American community, managing in various ways to gain control, must be evident to all. They who have learned from history the general mode of pro- ceeding of this crafty set of men, could easily infer that they were here, even were it not otherwise confirmed by unquestionable evidence in their correspondence with their foreign masters in Aus- tria. There are some, perhaps, who are under the impression that the order of Jesuits is a purely reli- gious Society for the dissemination of the Roman Catholic religion; and therefore comes within the protection of our laws, and must be tolerated. There cannot be a greater mistake. It was from the beginning a political organization, an absolute Monarchy masked by religion. It has been aptly styled “tyranny by religion.” . . .

* * *

.. . It becomes important to inquire, then, what are the principal materials in our society with which Jesuits can accomplish the political designs of the Foreign Despots embodied in the Leopold Foundation. And here let me make the passing




remark, that there has been a great deal of mawkish sensitiveness on the subject of introducing any thing concerning religion into political discus- sions. This sensitiveness, as it is not merely foolish, arising from ignorance of the true line which sep- arates political and theological matters, but also exposes the political interests of the country to manifest danger, I am glad to see is giving way to a proper feeling on the subject. Church and State must be for ever separated, but it is the height of folly to suppose, that in political discussions, Reli- gion especially, the political character of any and every religious creed may not be publicly discussed. The absurdity of such a position is too manifest to dwell a moment upon it. And in considering the materials in our society adapted to the purposes of hostile attack upon our Institutions, we must of necessity notice the Roman Catholic religion. It is this form of religion that is most implicated in the conspiracy against our liberties. It is in this sect that the Jesuits are organized. It is this sect that is proclaimed by one of its own most brilliant and profound literary men to be hostile in its very nature to republican liberty; and it is the active extension of this sect that Austria is endeavouring to promote throughout this Republic. And Americans will not be cowed into silence by the cries of persecution, intolerance, bigotry, fanaticism, and such puerile catchwords, perpetually uttered against those who speak or write ever so calmly against the dangers of Popery. I can say, once for all, that no such outcry weighs a feather with me, nor does it weigh a feather with the mass of the American people. They have good sense enough to discriminate, especially in a subject of such vital importance to their safety, between words and things. I am not tenacious of words, except for convenience sake, the better to be understood, but if detestation ofJesuitism and tyr- anny, whether in a civil or ecclesiastical shape, is in future to be called intolerance, be it so; only let it be generally understood, and I will then glory in intol- erance. When that which is now esteemed virtue, is to be known by general consent only by the name vice, why I will not be singular, but glory in vice, since the word is used to embody the essential qua/-

ities of virtue. I will just add, that those who are fond of employing these epithets, forget that by constantly, loosely, and indiscriminately using therr they cease to convey any meaning, or to excite ar: emotions but those of disgust towards those “. use them.

To return to the subject; it is in the Rom Catholic ranks that we are principally to look the materials to be employed by the Jesuits, an – what condition do we find this sect at present in\. country? We find it spreading itself into every n and corner of the land; churches, chapels, colle~- nunneries and convents, are springing up as i; magic every where; an activity hitherto unkn among the Roman Catholics pervades all tt ranks, and yet whence the means for all t efforts? Except here and there funds or favour • lected from an inconsistent Protestant, (so c probably because born in a Protestant country is flattered or wheedled by some Jesuit artifi- give his aid to their cause,) the greatest part pecuniary means for all these works are abroad. They are the contributions of his M the Emperor of Austria, of Prince Mettern1 – the late Charles X., and the other Despot • bined in the Leopold Society. And who a:-,. members of the Roman Catholic comm – What proportion are natives of this land, nu:-, under our own institutions, and well verse – nature of American liberty? Is it not notorio~ the greater part are Foreigners from the · Catholic countries of Europe. Emigration late years been specially promoted among th. of Foreigners, and they have been in the pro of three to one of all other emigrants arri our shores; they are from Ireland, Ge Poland, and Belgium. From about the peri • formation of the Leopold Society, Catholic<‘ tion increased in an amazing degree. Col Emigrants, selected, perhaps, with a view t particular places, (for, be it remembered, e ·- tion of this country is as perfectly known a and Rome as in any part of our own coun been constantly arriving. The principal e are from Ireland and Germany. We have la



ose who are so 1rget that by so ely using them, )r to excite any irds those who

in the Roman ally to look for : Jesuits, and in .t present in our into every nook iapels, colleges, ;ing up as if by 1erto unknown vades all their 1s for all these s or favours col- ,tant, (so called nt country, who esuit artifice to atest part of the vorks are from s of his Majesty ! Metternich, of r Despots com- nd who are the ic communion? s land, nurtured rell versed in the :it notorious that rom the various nigration has of among this class n the proportion ants arriving on land, Germany, the period of the Catholic emigra- gree. Colonies of 1 a view to occupy 1bered, every par- known at Vienna ‘In country,) have mcipal emigrants re have lately been

SAMUEL F. B. MORSE: FROM Imminent Dangers to the Free Institutions (1835) 229

told by the captain of a lately arrived Austrian vessel, which , by the by, brought 70 emigrants from Ant- werp! that a desire is suddenly manifested among the poorer class of the Belgian population, to emi- grate to America. They are mostly, if not all, Roman Catholics, be it remarked, for Belgium is a Catholic country, and Austrian vessels are bringing them here. Whatever the cause of all this movement abroad to send to this country their poorer classes, the fact is certain, the class of emigrants is known, and the instrument, Austria, is seen in it-the same power that directs the Leopold Foundation.

,. ,. ,.

I have shown what are the Foreign materials imported into the country, with which the Jesuits can work to accomplish their designs. Let us exam- ine this point a little more minutely. These materi- als are the varieties of Foreigners of the same Creed, the Roman Catholic, over all of whom the Bishops or Vicars General hold, as a matter of course, eccle- siastical rule; and we well know what is the nature of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical rule,-it is the double refined spirit of despotism, which , after arrogating to itself the prerogatives of Deity, and so claiming to bind or loose the soul eternally, makes it, in the comparison, but a mere trifle to exercise absolute sway in all that relates to the body. The notorious ignorance in which the great mass of these emigrants have been all their lives sunk, until their minds are dead, makes them but senseless machines; they obey orders mechanically, for it is the habit of their education, in the despotic coun- tries of their birth. And can it be for a moment sup- posed by any one that by the act of coming to this country, and being naturalized, their darkened intellects can suddenly be illuminated to discern the nice boundary where their ecclesiastical obedi- ence to their priests ends, and their civil indepen- dence of them begins? The very supposition is absurd. They obey their priests as demigods, from the habit of their whole lives; they have been taught from infancy that their priests are infalli- ble in the greatest matters, and can they, by mere importation to this country, be suddenly imbued

with the knowledge that in civil matters their priests may err, and that they are not in these also their infallible guides? Who will teach them this? Will their priests? Let common sense answer this question. Must not the priests, as a matter almost of certainty, control the opinions of their ignorant flock in civil as well as religious matters? and do they not do it?

Mr. Jefferson, with that deep sagacity and fore- sight which distinguished him as a politician, fore- saw, predicted, and issued his warning, on the great danger to the country of this introduction of for- eigners. He doubted its policy, even when the advan- tages seemed to be greatest. He says, “The present desire of America, (in 1781,) is to produce rapid population by as great importations of foreigners as possible. But is this founded in policy?”

,. * “Are there no inconveniences to be thrown into the scale against the advantage expected from a mul- tiplication of numbers by the importation of for- eigners? It is for the happiness of those united in society to harmonize as much as possible in mat- ters which they must of necessity transact together.”

* ,. ,.

What was dimly seen by the prophetic eye of Jef- ferson, is actually passing under our own eyes. Already have foreigners increased in the country to such a degree, that they justly give us alarm. They feel themselves so strong, as to organize themselves even as foreigners into foreign bands, and this for the purpose of influencing our elections …. That they are men who having professed to become Americans, by accepting our terms of naturaliza- tion, do yet, in direct contradiction to their profes- sions, clan together as a separate interest, and retain their foreign appellation; that it is with such a separate foreign interest, organizing in the midst of us, that Jesuits in the pay of foreign powers are tampering; that it is this foreign corps of religion- ists that Americans of both parties have been for years in the habit of basely and traitorously encourag- ing to erect into an umpire of our political divisions,




thus virtually surrendering the government into the hands of Despotic powers. In view of these facts, which every day’s experience proves to be facts, is it not time, high time, that a true Ameri- can spirit were roused to resist this alarming inroad of foreign influence upon our institutions, to avert dangers to which we have hitherto shut our eyes, and which if not remedied, and that immediately, will inevitably change the whole character of our government. I repeat what I first said, this is no party question, it concerns native Americans of all parties.

,.. ,.. ,..


1. Why did Morse believe that the massive immi- gration from Europe was part of a vast conspir- acy against the United States?

2. Did he see this conspiracy as primarily reli- gious or political in its means and its ends?

3. Was his conspiracy theory logical and his evi- dence supportable? In other words, did he prove his case?

4. Did he acknowledge and argue against hi: opponents or did he simply disparage them a: he believed they disparaged nativists?

5. Was he against all immigrants?




As the revolutionary generation was dying off, transitional figures, such as James Monroe and John Quincy Adams, who had entered adulthood during the Revolu- tion, applauded their predecessors even as they set about changing the setting, tempo, and temper of the republic. New generations of Americans reflected and acted on such issues as national history, honor, and improvement.

The developing nation had altered much, in form if not in substance. Ameri- cans had extended their country’s borders, and within those borders they argued over and then implemented internal improvements, such as roads and the development of waterways, to foster prosperity and power. While most, if not all, Americans looked at these transportation networks primarily as commercial neces- sities, a few leaders also saw them as contributing to the nation’s security-they could thus move the military more efficiently to meet threats posed by Indian tribes and foreign nations. As Native American resistance grew, so too did the response of the United States: the Seminoles and Andrew Jackson illustrated the dynamics of this aggression. The nation was also intent on containing British imperial posses- sions to the north in Canada and pushing Spain off the continent altogether.

Territorial and economic growth stimulated the growth of American nation- alism. As the Federalist Party disappeared and Republicans adopted and adapted some of its ideas and projects-including a national bank-as their own, some Americans could hope that political partisanship was a thing of the past. That quickly proved to be wishful thinking, for one party could not accommodate all beliefs or all political players. Schisms developed within the party as its leaders jockeyed for power, and the intense rivalry and deal making that marked the election of Adams to the presidency in 1824 split the party. Andrew Jackson stormed out of its ranks and helped create the new Democratic Party, and then went on to win the election of 1828.

Schisms also developed between sections of the country. There arose new North-South issues that were related to or exacerbated by the rise of the West.





The question of Missouri statehood awakened people to the fact that the states

had not surmounted all the domestic dangers to their union. The result was that

even as citizens celebrated the nation’s power, they started to worry about

national dissolution.

Sectional sentiments challenged nationalism, but the latter remained strong among the American people. Nationalism also prevailed due to the ideolo-

gies and actions of the country’s leaders in the executive and judicial branches.

Adams and Monroe secured the United States as a continental power and

endeavored to extend it as a hemispheric one. Although the United States was

not a leading world power, Adams and Monroe were determined to maintain its

national honor and autonomy. John Marshall, the Chief Justice of the Supreme

Court, was just as determined to preserve the power of the national government

from encroachments by the states.

f ~



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FROM Report of Florida Expedition (1818)

What became known as the First Seminole War began at the end of 1817 when American forces and Native Americans clashed as each tried to secure their inter- ests in the area where Florida and the southwestern tip of Georgia meet. Each attacked the other. Then, after the Native Americans killed most of a group (which included some soldiers’ wives) traveling up the Apalachicola River to get to Fort Scott across the Georgia border, Secretary of War John C. Calhoun ordered General Andrew Jackson to campaign against the Seminoles. Calhoun authorized Jackson to pursue the Seminoles into Spanish territory but did not give him orders to attack Spanish-held posts in the process. Jackson asked for President James Monroe’s per- mission to seize such posts to secure the area. Supposedly, according to Jackson, he received word-though cryptically and through unofficial channels-to do so. He seized St. Mark’s on April 7 and then moved on to take Pensacola on May 24.

From John Spencer Bassett, ed., Correspondence of Andrew Jackson, vol. 2 (1927; reprint , New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1969), pp. 365-68. [Editorial insertions appear in square brackets-Ed.]

To Secretary Calhoun.

FORT GADSDEN [at the ruins of the “Negro Fort,” which Jackson had ordered destroyed in 1816, on the Apalachicola River], May 5, 1818. Sir. I returned to this post with my Army on the

evening of the 2d instant, and embrace an early opportunity of furnishing you a detailed report of my operations to the east of the Apalachacola river. … This has been principally a war of move- ments; The Enemy cut off from their strong holds, or deceived in the promised foreign aid have uniformly avoided a general engagement. Their resistance has generally been feeble, and in the partial rencounters into which they seem to have been involuntarily forced; The Regulars, Volun- teers, and militia under my command realised my expectations; Every privation, fatigue, and expo- sure was encountered with the spirit of soldiers, and danger was met with a degree of fortitude calculated to strengthen the confidence I had reposed in them.

On the commencement of my operations I was strongly impressed with a belief that this Indian War had been excited by some unprincipled For- eign, or private agents. The outlaws of the old red stick party [a group of Creek warriors who had fought to restore the traditional Creek way oflife in 1813-1814 and who had fought American forces over land] had been too severely convinced, and the Seminoles were too weak in numbers to believe, that they could possibly alone maintain a war with even partial success against the United States. Firmly convinced therefore that succor had been promised from some quarter, or that they had been deluded into a belief that America dare not violate the neutrality of spain by penetrating to their Towns, I early determined to ascertain these facts, and so direct my movements as to undeceive the Indians. After the destruction of the Meka- sukian [Mikasuki or Miccosukee] villages I marched direct for St Marks: The correspondence between myself and the Spanish Commandant in which I demanded the occupancy of that Fortress




with an American Garrison, accompanies this. It had been reported to me direct from the Governor of Pensacola that the Indians and Negroes [those included runaway slaves and Black Seminoles) unfriendly to the United States, had demanded of the commandant of st Marks a supply of ammuni- tion, munitions of war etc, threatning in the event of a non compliance to take possession of the Fort. The Spanish Commandant acknowledged the defenceless state of his fortress and his inability to defend it: and the Governor of Pensacola expressed similar apprehensions. The Spanish Agents through- out the Floridas had uniformly disavowed having any connection with the Indians, and acknowl- edged the obligations of his catholic Majesty under existing treaties to restrain their outrages against the citisens of the United States. Indeed they declaired that the Seminole Indians were viewed as alike hostile to the spanish government, and that the will remained, though the power was wanting to inflict merited chastisement on this lawless Tribe. It was therefore to be supposed that the American Army impelled by the immutable laws of self defence to penetrate the territory of his Catholic Majesty, to fight his battles, and even to relieve from a cruel bondage some of his own subjects, would have been received as allies, hailed as deliv- erers, and every facility afforded to them to termi- nate speedily and successfully this savage war. Fort St Marks could not be maintained by the Spanish force garrisoning it. The Indians and Negroes viewed it as an asylum if driven from their Towns, and were preparing to occupy it in this event. It was necessary to anticipate their move- ments, independant of the position being deemed essential as a depot on which the success of my future operations measur[ab]ly depended. In the spirit of Friendship therefore I demanded its sur- render to the Army of the u states until! the close of the seminole war. The Spanish Commandant required time to reflect, it was granted; a negotia- tion ensued, and an effort made to protract it to an unreasonable length. In the conversation between my Aid de camp Lt Gadsden and the Spanish Com- mandant circumstances transpired convicting him of a disposition to favour the Indians, and of having

taken an active part in aiding and abetting them in this war. I hesitated therefore no longer, and as I could not be received in friendship, I entered the Fort by violence. Two light companies of the 7th Regt Infantry and one of the 4th under the com- mand of Major Twigs was ordered to advance, lower the spanish colors, and hoist the star spangled ban- ner on the ramparts of Fort St Marks. The order was executed promptly, no resistance attempted on the part of the Spanish garrison.

The duplicity of the Spanish Commandant of St Marks in professing friendship towards the United States while he was actually aiding and supplying her savage enemies; Throwing open the gates of his garrison to their free access, Appropriating the King’s stores to their use, issuing amunition and munition of war to them, and knowingly purchas- ing of them property plundered from the Citisens of the U States is clearly evinced by the documents accompanying my correspondence.

In Fort St Marks as an inmate in the family of the Spanish Commandant an Englishman by the name of Abuthnot was found. Unable satisfactorily to explain the objects of his visiting this country, and their being a combination of circumstances to justify a suspicion that his views were not honest, he was ordered in close confinement. The capture of his Schooner near the mouth ofSuwaney river by my aid de camp Mr Gadsden, and the papers found on board unvailed his corrupt transactions as well as those of a Capt Armbrister, late of the British Colonial marine Corps, taken as a prisoner near Bowlegs Town [town of King Bowlegs on Suwanee River]. These Individuals were tried under my orders by a special Court of select officers, legally convicted as exciters of this savage and negro War, legally condemned, and most justly punished for their iniquities. The proceedings of the Court martial in this case, with the volume of Testimony justifying their condemnation, presents scenes of wickedness, corruption, and barbarity at which the heart sickens and in which in this enlightened age it ought not scarcely to be believed that a christian nation would have participated, and yet the British government is involved in the agency. If Arbuthnot and Armbrister are not convicted as the Authorised

Agents of Grea but that that Ge assumed charc measures whic negroes and In, the U States. I unprincipled v hanged and Re will prove an av vince the Gover ubjects that cer

uncristian wret and excite a Inc savage war.

… It has be1 the U States hav( are kept advised ments; that they nition and mun collecting in laq warriors in that .ately been mad( -etlers fell by th1

These staten ment to the We hey prove corre

an American fo ing to his deser eave strong gan

den, and Fort ! become necess~ duty to state it , long as Spain ha he treaties by w erve the Indian he U States, no : ern frontier wit! along the Sea S .-\rmy retires fro again raised, anc murder with wh



ANDREW JACKSON: rnoM Report of Florida Expedition (1818) 235

of Great Britain there is no room to doubt .,t that Government had a knowledge of their

~ed character, and was well advised of the _res which they had adopted to excite the

s and Indians in East Florida to war against : States. I hope the execution of these two · .ncipled villains [Alexander Arbuthnot was . .:d and Robert Ambrister shot on 29 April]

:ove an awful! example to the world, and con- • the Government of Great Britain as well as her . ,:ts that certain, if slow retribution awaits those

• 0 tian wretches who by false promises delude

.. xcite a Indian tribe to all the horrid deeds of

=e war. . It has been stated that the Indians at war with

– -tates have free access into Pensacola; That they ept advised from that quarter of all our move-

··; that they are supplied from thence with amu- !l and munitions of war, and that they are now cting in large bodies to the amount of 4 or 500

–nors in that city; That inroads from thence have : ·· been made on the alabama, in one of which 18

rs fell by the tomahawk. ~ese statements compel! me to make a move-

to the West of the Apalachacola and should -prove correct Pensacola must be occupied with -\merican force, The Governor treated accord-

= to his deserts or as policy may dictate. I shall ·e strong garrisons in Fort St Marks, Fort Gads-

– and Fort Scott, and in Pensacola should it .• ome necessary to possess it. It becomes my __ ,- to state it as my confirmed opinion, that so

g as Spain has not the power, or will to enforce :: treaties by which she is solemnly bound to pre- :e the Indians within her territory at peace with U States, no security can be given to our South-

•• frontier without occupying a cordon of Posts ng the Sea Shore. The moment the American

-,~y retires from Florida, The War hatchet will be :-ain raised, and the same scenes of indiscriminate

-..1rder with which our frontier setlers have been

visited, will be repeated. So long as the Indians within the territory of spain are exposed to the delusions of false prophets, and the poison of foreign intrigue; so long as they can receive amu- nition, munitions of war etc from pretended Trad- ers, or Spanish commandants it will be impossible to restrain their outrages. The burning of their Towns, the destroying of their stock and provi- sions will produce but temporary embarrass- ments, resupplied by spanish authorities they may concentrate, or disperse at will, and keep up a last- ing predatory warfare against the Frontiers of the U States, as expensive as harrassing to her Troops. The Savages therefore must be made dependant on us, and cannot be kept at peace without [being] persuaded of the certainty of chastisement being inflicted on the commission of the first offence.

I trust therefore that the measures which have been persued will meet with the approbation of the President of the U States. They have been adopted in pursuance of your instructions, under a firm conviction that they alone were calculated to ensure “Peace and security to the southern frontier of Georgia.” …


1. Why did Jackson believe he was justified in attacking Spanish fortifications?

2. Why did he believe that the responses of Span- ish officials to his demands warranted his sub- sequent actions?

3. How does he explain the actions taken against two British subjects, Arbuthnot and Ambrister, found in the area?

4. What does this report reveal about Jackson as a military commander, instrument of U.S. policy, and, perhaps, representative of American public sentiment?





FROM Observations on Jackson

and the Spanish Florida Situation (1818-19)

When President James Monroe made John Quincy Adams his secretary of state, Adams had long been engaged in diplomacy to good effect for his country: he had been part of the commission that negotiated the Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812, and he had represented the United States in the Netherlands, Prussia, Rus- sia, and Great Britain. Adams had also served in the Senate, the legislative branch with the duty to advise the president on treaties and ambassadors. His heritage, education, and experience molded his perceptions and policies to the point that he generally-the issue of slavery would later test him on this-put nation before sec- tion or state. He believed that the United States should have dominion over the North American continent and labored to that end. As secretary of state he negoti- ated the Convention of 1818 with the British, establishing, among other things, boundary and fishing rights as well as the Transcontinental Treaty of 1819 with Spain (also called the Adams-Onis Treaty). Adams was also a major influence in the creation of what has become known as the Monroe Doctrine. He was able to expand American property and power because of a growing American population, econ- omy, and militarism. The last was seen in the actions of, and popular reactions to (especially in the South and West), General Andrew Jackson’s campaign against the Seminoles.

From Allan Nevins, ed., The Diary of John Quincy Adams, 1794-1845 (1928; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951), pp. 196-201. [Editorial insertions appear in square brackets-Ed.]

* * * May. 4. [1818] – The President sent me word this

morning that he had returned from his short tour to Virginia. When I called at his house, I found there Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Crowninshield: Mr. Crawford came in shortly afterwards. The dispatches from General Jackson were just received, containing the account of his progress in the war against the Seminole Indians, and his having taken the Spanish fort of St. Mark’s, in Florida, where they had taken refuge. They hung some of the Indian prisoners, as it appears, without due regard to humanity. A Scotchman by the name of Arbuthnot

was found among them, and Jackson appears half inclined to take his life . Crawford some time ago proposed to send Jackson an order to give no quar- ter to any white man found with the Indians. I objected to it then, and this day avowed that I was not prepared for such a mode of warfare.

* * *

June 9.-We spent the evening at the French Min- ister Hyde de Neuville’s, a small musical party. Mr. Bagot [British minister Sir Charles Bagot] spoke to me of certain publications in the news- papers, mentioning the execution by sentences of



,pear,,. : time ;._ _

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS: FROM Observations on Jackson and the Spanish … (1818-19) 237

urt-martial, under the orders of General Jack- n, of two Englishmen, named Arbuthnot and rnbrister, taken with the Seminole Indians in

war. These publications say that the evidence =ainst them proved the greatest perfidy on the :i.rt of the British Government. Mr. Ba got was very ;ich hurt by this charge of perfidy, for which he d there was not the slightest foundation. June 18.-The President spoke of the taking of

_nsacola by General Jackson, contrary to his -ders, and, as it is now reported, by storm. This, -_d other events in this Indian war, makes many 5culties for the Administration.

* * * 10.-Had an interview at the office with Hyde

_ .Jeuville, the French Minister-all upon our =airs with Spain. He says that Spain will cede the

ridas to the United States, and let the lands go : the indemnities due to our citizens, and he -ged that we should take the Sabine for the west-

boundary, which I told him was impossible. He sed this subject very strenuously for more than hour. As to Onis’s [Spanish minister Luis de

.1s y Gonzales] note of invective against General -kson, which I told him as a good friend to Onis

_ Jhould advise him to take back, he said I need answer it for a month or two, perhaps not at all,

n the meantime we could come to an arrange- nt of the other differences. July 15.-Attended the Cabinet meeting at the

-esident’s, from noon till five o’clock. The subject deliberation was General Jackson’s late transac- ns in Florida, particularly the taking of Pensac-

The President and all the members of the inet, except myself, are of opinion that Jackson

– ed not only without, but against, his instruc- : that he has committed war upon Spain,

:ch cannot be justified, and in which, if not avowed by the Administration, they will be mdoned by the country. My opinion is that ..:re was no real, though an apparent, violation of

instructions: that his proceedings were justi- . by the necessity of the case, and by the mis-

‘1duct of the Spanish commanding officers in rida. The question is embarrassing and compli-

cated, not only as involving that of an actual war with Spain, but that of the Executive power to authorize hostilities without a declaration of war by Congress. There is no doubt that defensive acts of hostility may be authorized by the Executive; but Jackson was authorized to cross the Spanish line in pursuit of the Indian enemy … .

Calhoun, the Secretary at War, generally of sound, judicious, and comprehensive mind, seems in this case to be personally offended with the idea that Jackson has set at nought the instructions of the Department. The President supposes there might be cases which would have justified Jackson’s measures, but that he has not made out his case.

July 16.-Second cabinet meeting at the Presi- dent’s, and the question of the course to be pur- sued with relation to General Jackson’s proceedings in Florida recurred. As the opinion is unanimously against Jackson excepting mine, my range of argu- ment now is only upon the degree to which his acts are to be disavowed. It was urged that the public dissatisfaction at the taking of Pensacola is so great that the Administration must immediately and publicly disclaim having given any authority for it, and publish all the instructions given to him to throw the blame entirely upon him.

July 17.-Cabinet meeting at the President’s- the discussion continued upon the answer to be given to Onis, and the restoration of Florida to Spain. The weakness and palsy of my right hand make it impossible for me to report this discussion, in which I continue to oppose the unanimous opinions of the President, the Secretary of the Treasury Crawford, the Secretary of War Calhoun, and the Attorney- General Wirt. I have thought that the whole conduct of General Jackson was justifiable under his orders, although he certainly had none to take any Spanish fort. My principle is that everything he did was defensive; that as such it was neither war against Spain nor violation of the Constitution.

July 21.-A Cabinet meeting, at which the sec- ond draft of my letter to Mr. Onis was read and finally fixed. Mr. Wirt read what he called a second edition of his article for the National Intelligencer. I strenuously re-urged my objections, especially to a paragraph declaring that the President thought he




had no constitutional power to have authorized General Jackson to take Pensacola …. I finally gave up the debate, acquiescing in the determination which had been taken. The Administration were placed in a dilemma from which it is impossible for them to escape censure by some, and factious crimi- nation by many. If they avow and approve Jackson’s conduct, they incur the double responsibility of hav- ing commenced a war against Spain, and of warring in violation of the Constitution without the author- ity of Congress. If they disavow him, they must give offence to all his friends, encounter the shock of his popularity, and have the appearance of truckling to Spain. For all this I should be prepared. But the mis- chief of this determination lies deeper: 1. It is weak- ness, and confession of weakness. 2. The disclaimer of power in the Executive is of dangerous example and of evil consequences. 3. There is injustice to the officer in disavowing him, when in principle he is strictly justifiable … .

Calhoun says he has heard that the court- martial at first acquitted the two Englishmen, but that Jackson sent the case back to them. He says, also, that last winter there was a company formed in Tennessee, who sent Jackson’s nephew to Pensacola and purchased Florida lands, and that Jackson himself is reported to be interested in the speculation. I hope not.

* * * January 23. [1819]-As I was going to the Presi- dent’s, General Jackson and his suite were going out. The President called him and Colonel Butler back, and introduced them to me. The General arrived this morning from his residence at Nash- ville, Tennessee, and had already called at my office. Among the rumors which have been circulated by the cabal now intriguing in Congress against Jackson, it has been very industriously whispered that Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison had declared themselves in very strong terms against him. I had mentioned this report a few days since to the Presi- dent, who told me that he was convinced there was no foundation for it. This morning he showed me in confidence a letter he had just received from Mr. Jefferson. It not only expresses full satisfac-

tion with the course pursued by the Administra- tion, but mentions my letters of 12th March last to Onis, and of 28th November to Erving, in terms which it would not become me to repeat. He advises that they, with others of my letters to Onis, should be translated into French and communi- cated to every Government in Europe, as a thor- ough vindication of the conduct and policy of this Government.

* * *

February 3.-General Jackson came to my house this morning, and I showed him the boundary line which has been offered to the Spanish Minister, and that which we proposed to offer upon Melish’s map. He said there were many individuals who would take exception to our receding so far from the boundary of the Rio del Norte, which we claim, as the Sabine, and the enemies of the Administra- tion would certainly make a handle of it to assail them: but the possession of the Floridas was of so great importance to the southern frontier of the United States, and so essential even to their safety, that the vast majority of the nation would be satis- fied with the western boundary as we propose, if we obtain the Floridas. He showed me on the map the operations of the British force during the late war, and remarked that while the mouths of the Florida rivers should be accessible to a foreign naval force there would be no security for the United States.

He also entered into conversation upon the subject of discussion now pending in the House of Representatives on his proceedings in the late Sem- inole War, upon that which is preparing in the Senate under the auspices of Mr. Forsyth, of Geor- gia, and upon the general order given by Jackson in 1817, which was considered as setting at defiance the War Department. He imputed the whole to Mr. Crawford ‘s resentments against him on account of his having at the last Presidential election sup- ported Mr. Monroe against him; said there was not a single officer in the army known to have been at that time in favor of Monroe whom Crawford had not since insulted: that Mr. Monroe was of an open, fair, unsuspecting character, amiable in the highest degree, and would not believe human


nature capable while holding a – practising againJ

I told Jacksor any of the discu word which led feeling against h might be, Crawfo~ egation of Georg insult and the g; principle had corr- 1817. Crawford, he principle, and car ford was now can election, and actu ing a coalition w roe’s Administrat1

That Crawford as Jackson has · improbable. He ha himself so much · conduct is govern as the immediate Sil~ his hopes depend _ uccess, or at least t,

tration, is perfectly interests of the co of which belongs to – incidental to the Tr give an able financier talents: but Crawfor, He is just, and barely the business of his o;::

and as their success ‘ and influence, and ti: disgrace, of the Se personal views cen Administration in its haps unconscious of~ be impelled to throw bring upon the Depar.. feeling of public dissa




JOH N Q U IN CY A D A MS: FR OM Observations on Jackson and the Spanish . .. (1818-19) 239

capable of the baseness which Crawford, ~aiding a confidential office under him, was IBg against him. d Jackson that Mr. Crawford had never in

·he discussions on the Seminole War said a ·hich led me to suppose he had any hostile

; against him. He replied that, however that e, Crawford was now setting the whole del- of Georgia against him, and by intentional

and the grossest violation of all military ·rle had compelled him to issue the order of Crawford, he said, was a man restrained by no pie, and capable of any baseness … . Craw- ·as now canvassing for the next Presidential n, and actually wrote a letter to Clay propos- coalition with him to overthrow Mr. Mon-

.:..dministration. – at Crawford has written such a letter to Clay

·kson has informed, is to the last degree able. He has too much discretion to have put

::f so much in Clay’s power. But that all his _ct is governed by his views to the Presidency, = rmmediate successor to Mr. Monroe, and that

pes depend upon a result unfavorable to the _ss, or at least to the popularity of the Adminis- n, is perfectly clear. The important and critical

-‘Sts of the country are those the management ·ch belongs to the Department of State. Those ntal to the Treasury are in a state which would

an able financier an opportunity to display his ··: but Crawford has no talents as a financier. mst, and barely, equal to the current routine of usiness of his office. His talent is intrigue. And

in the foreign affairs that the success or fail- f the Administration will be most conspicuous,

their success would promote the reputation .nfluence, and their failure would lead to the

=-:ace, of the Secretary of State, Crawford’s nal views centre in the ill success of the

-:i.inistration in its foreign relations; and, per- . unconscious of his own motives, he will always :npelled to throw obstacles in its way, and to

~g upon the Department of State especially any ng of public dissatisfaction that he can.

* * *

Feb. 22.-Mr. Onis came at eleven, with Mr. Stough- ton, one of the persons attached to his Legation. The two copies of the treaty made out at his house were ready: none of ours were entirely fini shed. We exchanged the original full powers on both sides, which I believe to be the correct course on the con- clusion of treaties, though at Ghent, and on the conclusion of the Convention of 3d July, 1815, the originals were only exhibited and copies exchanged. I had one of the copies of the treaty, and Mr. Onis the other. I read the English side, which he collated, and he the Spanish side, which I collated. We then signed and sealed both copies on both sides-I first on the English and he first on the Spanish side ….

The acquisition of the Floridas has long been an object of earnest desire to this country. The acknowledgment of a definite line of boundary to the South Sea forms a great epoch in our history. The first proposal of it in this negotiation was my own, and I trust it is now secured beyond the reach of revocation. It was not even among our claims by the Treaty of Independence with Great Britain. It was not among our pretensions under the purchase of Louisiana-for that gave us only the range of the Mississippi and its waters. I first introduced it in the written proposal of 31st October last, after hav- ing discussed it verbally both with Onis and De Neuville . It is the only peculiar and appropriate right acquired by this treaty in the event of its ratification.

* * *


1. Why did Jackson’s actions create difficulties for Monroe’s administration?

2. Did Adams approve or disapprove of Jackson’s actions? Why?

3. Does it appear that Jackson’s actions helped or hindered Adams in his negotiations with Spain?

4. Did Adams have to worry about domestic poli- tics when implementing his foreign policy? Explain.





Reflections on the Missouri Question (1820)

The nation wrestled not only with matters of state but with matters within the states as well. The question of Missouri’s admittance to the union had “excited feelings & raised difficulties, of an internal nature, which did not exist before.” Actually the difficulties-those concerning the extension of slavery, the corresponding expansion of slaveholder power, and the respective rights of the people, states, and Congress- were not totally new, but while they had been subdued in the “Era of Good Feelings,” they now burst forth in greater vigor and viciousness. The debate began in early 1819 when there were enough people in the territory around and including the town of St. Louis to constitute a new state. Considering how the nation had celebrated the admittance of each new state up to this time as a confirmation of America’s power and prosperity, there should not have been a problem. One developed, however, when Representative James Tallmadge Jr. of New York proposed that Congress make a pro- hibition on the future importation of slaves into the area and introduce a system of gradual manumission as a condition of admission. Slaveowners in Missouri and elsewhere countered by arguing that Congress did not have the right to so restrict a state’s power and an individual’s right to control his property. John Quincy Adams, because of personal inclination as well as his professional responsibility to advise the president, observed and commented on the “Missouri question” as Congress and country debated the issue for over a year.

From Allan Nevins, ed., The Diary of John Quincy Adams, 1794-1845 (1928; New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951), pp. 225-32. [Editorial insertions appear in square brackets-Ed.]

* * * Jan. 24.- I walked with R. M. Johnson to the

Senate chamber and heard Mr. Pinkney close his Missouri speech. There was a great crowd of audi- tors. Many ladies, among whom several seated on the floor of the Senate. His eloquence was said to be less overpowering than it had been last Friday. His language is good, his fluency without interruption or hesitation, his manner impressive, but his argu- ment weak, from the inherent weakness of his cause.

Feb. 11.-I went up to the Capitol and heard Mr. King in the Senate, upon what is called the Missouri question. He had been speaking perhaps

an hour before I went in, and I heard him about an hour. His manner is dignified, grave, earnest, but not rapid or vehement. There was nothing new in his argument, but he unravelled with ingenious and subtle analysis many of the sophistical tissues of the slave-holders. He laid down the position of the natural liberty of man, and its incompatibility with slavery in any shape. He also questioned the Constitutional right of the President and Senate to make the Louisiana Treaty; but he did not dwell upon those points, nor draw the consequences from them which I should think important in speaking to that subject. He spoke, however, with great power, and the great slaveholders in the House

gnawed I heard h Mr. Cal souriqu holders with era matory, timidity. human was ther, of this q By what eloquent There i sense on ardent

genius c ofsuppo nicating question rage upol now is th such am upon ear

Feb. Capitol, sor of the: young m promise. i the time the most ever hea walked, a Marshall! fancy an ner wast, manner

was a sho doubt th Union wo eracies. I



.-ork: _q_uare

~ard him about a-: ..-ave, earnest, b · nothing new · –

:ct with ingenim~· sophistical tissue, ,-n the position o .ts incompatibilit- -o questioned the ent and Senate tc he did not dwe[

·onsequences from !Ortant in speaking wever, with great

ders in the House

JOHN Q U INCY ADAMS: FROM Reflections on the Missouri Question (1820) 241

.: their lips and clenched their fists as they aim … . We attended an evening party at ‘houn’s, and heard of nothing but the Mis-

~uestion and Mr. King’s speeches. The slave- -5 cannot hear of them without being seized :ramps. They call them seditious and inflam-

-. when their greatest real defect is their -..,._ Never since human sentiments and

conduct were influenced by human speech ere a theme for eloquence like the free side

_ question now before Congress of this Union. .at fatality does it happen that all the most ent orators of the body are on its slavish side?

.: is a great mass of cool judgment and plain .. on the side of freedom and humanity, but the

–· spirits and passions are on the side of ion. Oh, if but one man could arise with a

– ~ J capable of comprehending, a heart capable -?porting, and an utterance capable of commu- … :~ng those eternal truths that belong to this · •ion, to lay bare in all its nakedness that out- – upon the goodness of God, human slavery,

the time, and this is the occasion, upon which a man would perform the duties of an angel earth!

Feb. 13.-Attended the divine service at the : _tol, and heard Mr. Edward Everett, the Profes- – ~f the Greek language at Harvard University, a _.:::ig man of shining talents and of illustrious mise. His text was from I Cor. vii. 29: “Brethren,

ime is short,” and it was without comparison most splendid composition as a sermon that I

:::r heard delivered . . . . Mr. Clay, with whom I ·ed, after the service, to call upon Chief-Justice

_rshall, told me that although Everett had a fine :icy and a chaste style of composition, his man-

. !’ was too theatrical, and he liked Mr. Holley’s nner better. Clay started, however, immediately to the Mis- ri question, yet in debate before both Houses of

– ngress, and , alluding to a strange scene at Rich- – ond, Virginia , last Wednesday evening, said it ~ as a shocking thing to think of, but he had not a .:oubt that within five years from this time the .-nion would be divided into three distinct confed- _:acies. I did not incline to discuss the subject with

him. We found Judges Livingston and Story with the ChiefJustice.

,. ,. ,.

February 23.-A. Livermore and W. Plumer, Junr, members of the House of Representatives from New Hampshire, called upon me, and, conversing on the Missouri slave question, which at this time agitates Congress and the Nation, asked my opin- ion of the propriety of agreeing to a compromise. The division in Congress and the nation is nearly equal on both sides. The argument on the free side is, the moral and political duty of preventing the extension of slavery in the immense country from the Mississippi River to the South Sea. The argu- ment on the slave side is, that Congress have no power by the Constitution to prohibit slavery in any State, and, the zealots say, not in any Territory. The proposed compromise is to admit Missouri, and hereafter Arkansas , as States, without any restric- tion upon them regarding slavery, but to prohibit the future introduction of slaves in all Territo- ries of the United States north of 36° 30′ latitude. I told these gentlemen that my opinion was , the question could be settled no otherwise than by a compromise.

Feb. 24.-I had some conversation with Calhoun on the slave question pending in Congress. He said he did not think it would produce a dissolution of the Union, but, if it should, the South would be from necessity compelled to form an alliance, offensive and defensive, with Great Britain.

I said that would be returning to the colonial state.

He said, yes, pretty much, but it would be forced upon them. I asked him whether he thought, if by the effect of this alliance, offensive and defensive, the population of the North should be cut off from its natural outlet upon the ocean, it would fall back upon its rocks bound hand and foot, to starve, or whether it would not retain its powers of locomo- tion to move southward by land. Then, he said, they would find it necessary to make their communities all military. I pressed the conversation no further: but if the dissolution of the Union should result from the slave question, it is as obvious as anything




that can be foreseen of futurity, that it must shortly afterwards be followed by the universal emancipa- tion of the slaves. A more remote but perhaps not less certain consequence would be the extirpation of the African race on this continent, by the gradu- ally bleaching process of intermixture, where the white portion is already so predominant, and by the destructive progress of emancipation, which, like all great religious and political reformations, is terrible in its means though happy and glorious in its end. Slavery is the great and foul stain upon the North American Union, and it is a contemplation worthy of the most exalted soul whether its total abolition is or is not practicable: if practicable, by what it may be effected, and if a choice of means be within the scope of the object, what means would accomplish it at the smallest cost of human suffer- ing. A dissolution, at least temporary, of the Union, as now constituted, would be certainly necessary …. The Union might then be reorganized on the fun- damental principle of emancipation. This object is vast in its compass, awful in its prospects, sublime and beautiful in its issue.

* * * Washington, March 2, 1820.-The compromise of the slave question was this day completed in Con- gress. The Senate have carried their whole point, barely consenting to the formality of separating the bill for the admission of the State of Maine into the Union from that for authorizing the people of the Territory of Missouri to form a State Gov- ernment. The condition that slavery should be prohibited by their Constitution, which the House of Representatives had inserted, they have aban- doned. Missouri and Arkansas will be slave States, but to the Missouri bill a section is annexed, prohib- iting slavery in the remaining part of the Louisiana cession north oflatitude 36° 30′. This compromise, as it is called, was finally carried this evening by a vote of ninety to eighty-seven in the House of Rep- resentatives, after successive days and almost nights of stormy debate.

March 3.-When I came this day to my office, I found there a note requesting me to call at one

o’clock at the President’s house. It was then one, and I immediately went over. He expected that the two bills, for the admission of Maine, and to enable Missouri to make a Constitution, would have been brought to him for his signature, and he had summoned all the members of the Adminis- tration to ask their opinions in writing, to be depos- ited in the Department of State, upon two questions: 1, Whether Congress had a Constitutional right to prohibit slavery in a Territory: and 2, Whether the eighth section of the Missouri bill (which inter- dicts slavery forever in the Territory north of thirty- six and a half latitude) was applicable only to the Territorial State, or could extend to it after it should become a State.

As to the first question, it was unanimously agreed that Congress have the power to prohibit slavery in the Territories .. . . I had no doubt of the right of Congress to interdict slavery in the Terri- tories, and urged that the power contained in the term “dispose of” included the authority to do everything that could be done with it as mere prop- erty, and that the additional words, authorizing needful rules and regulations respecting it, must have reference to persons connected with it, or could have no meaning at all. As to the force of the term needful, I observed, it was relative, and must always be supposed to have reference to some end. Needful to what end? Needful in the Constitution of the United States to any of the ends for which that compact was formed. Those ends are declared in its preamble: to establish justice, for example. What can be more needful for the establishment of justice than the interdiction of slavery where it does not exist? …

After this meeting, I walked home with Cal- houn, who said that the principles which I had avowed were just and noble: but that in the South- ern country, whenever they were mentioned, they were always understood as applying only to white men. Domestic labor was confined to the blacks, and such was the prejudice, that if he, who was the most popular man in his district, were to keep a white servant in his house, his character and repu- tation would be irretrievably ruined.

I said that servitude and of slavery: but excellent conse, of labor-not, · had often held · facturing and It was only mac No white pers the best guar It produced a not only did inequalities, b

the same lig sentiment-n: dominion for

more false a.



JOHN QUINCY ADAMS: FR O M Reflections on the Missouri Question (1820) 243

aid that this confounding of the ideas of .mde and labor was one of the bad effects

‘”avery: but he thought it attended with many dent consequences. It did not apply to all kinds ;,bor-not, for example, to farming. He himself

ften held the plough: so had his father. Manu- ~ring and mechanical labor was not degrading.

only manual labor-the proper work of slaves. -hite person could descend to that. And it was est guarantee to equality among the whites.

··..-oduced an unvarying level among them. It : only did not excite, but did not even admit of

ualities, by which one white man could domi- a~ over another. : told Calhoun I could not see things in

ame light. It is, in truth, all perverted · ·1ment-mistaking labor for slavery and • .inion for freedom. The discussion of this souri question has betrayed the secret of

~:r souls. In the abstract they admit that slav- 1s an evil, they disclaim all participation in introduction of it, and cast it all upon the

ulders of our old Grandam Britain. But when bed to the quick upon it, they show at the bot-

‘”‘! of their souls pride and vainglory in their dition of masterdom. They fancy themselves re generous and noble-hearted than the plain

.emen who labor for subsistence. They look –·n upon the simplicity of a Yankee’s manners, cause he has no habits of overbearing like irs and cannot treat negroes like dogs. It is ong the evils of slavery that it taints the very rces of moral principle. It establishes false

amates of virtue and vice: for what can be ore false and heartless than this doctrine which

makes the first and holiest rights of humanity to depend upon the color of the skin? .. .

I have favored this Missouri compromise, believing it to be all that could be effected under the present Constitution, and from extreme unwilling- ness to put the Union at hazard. But perhaps it would have been a wiser as well as a bolder course to have persisted in the restriction upon Missouri, till it should have terminated in a convention of the States to revise and amend the Constitution. This would have produced a new Union of thirteen or fourteen States unpolluted with slavery, with a great and glorious object to effect, namely, that of rallying to their standard the other States by the universal emancipation of their slaves. If the Union must be dissolved, slavery is precisely the question upon which it ought to break. For the present, how- ever, this contest i[s] laid asleep.

* * *


1. Why did the question of Missouri statehood provoke such a crisis? What were the moral and constitutional issues involved?

2. What appeared to have the most weight with the politicians? Does this issue appear to have affected the nature of the compromise?

3. What was Adams’s position on the problem and the compromise?

4. Do these entries reveal Adams to be a believer in strict or loose construction of the Constitu- tion? What do they reveal about Monroe?





FROM Appeal to the Coloured Citizens

of the World (1829)

The Missouri Compromise of 1820 paved the way for the admission of Missouri as a slave state in 1821, but by the end of the decade a growing number of reformers started to campaign against further compromises with slavery. David Walker was one of the most radical of those activists. Walker had been born out of slavery to a free black woman in North Carolina, but he saw and felt the effects of slavery and discrimination in his travels. He eventually settled in Boston where he had a small used-clothing shop and where he contributed to and distributed Freedom’s Jour- nal, a newspaper started by African Americans in New York City in 1827. Walker also lectured to Boston audiences promoting abolition and denouncing the coloni- zation of free blacks to Africa. Ultimately he decided that he needed to reach larger audiences and, in particular, that he needed to reach the slaves of the South. He published the first edition of his Appeal in the fall of 1829 and then added material to a second and finally a third edition (excerpted here) that was published in June 1830, shortly before he died. Some sailors who bought his clothing goods and then traded them in the South smuggled the Appeal into southern ports (pages were sewn into their clothes). The Appeal energized antislavery activists, although most deplored its call to slaves to take extreme, even violent, measures. It enraged pro- slavery advocates and contributed to the passage of more repressive slave laws in many southern states.

From David Walker’s Appeal . .. To the Coloured Citizens of the World (Boston: David Walker, 1830), pp. 9-10, 15-17, 19-20. [Editorial insertions appear in square brackets-Ed.]

Article I.

Our Wretchedness in Consequence of Slavery.

My beloved brethren:-The Indians of North and of South America-the Greeks-the Irish, sub- jected under the king of Great Britain-the Jews, that ancient people of the Lord-the inhabitants of the islands of the sea-in fine, all the inhabitants of the earth, (except however, the sons of Africa)

are called men, and of course are, and ought to be free. But we, (coloured people) and our children are brutes!! and of course are, and ought to be SLAVES to the American people and their children forever! ! to dig their mines and work their farms; and thus go on enriching them, from one genera- tion to another with our blood and our tears!! ! !

I promised in a preceding page to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the most incredulous, that we, (coloured people of these United States of America) are the most wretched, degraded and abject set of

beings that ever that the white A wretched state more cruel (the tian people,) t people whom it

Now I appe ticularly to the .• cease not to dee

wretchedness children. Not, i ident, a Govern or an Attorney colour, who ho one who sits in .. his wretched Republic! ! .. .

The sufferin::, were somewha· theirs, were as I do most stren

from their wiv parents, mother from their hu of the country were heathens, Master made · Christian Ame ties? Have you us under you, ac us in telling us ;: that we are not Americans, I a you deny these ” by saying, that were not men. words?-have t..” Greeks, and I~



DA vrn WALKER: FROM Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1829) 245

=,s that ever lived since the world began, and e white Americans having reduced us to the

_ned state of slavery, treat us in that condition -rue/ (they being an enlightened and Chris-

?eople,) than any heathen nation did any : .e whom it had reduced to our condition ….

* * * ow I appeal to heaven and to earth, and par- ly to the American people themselves, who

not to declare that our condition is not hard, -hat we are comparatively satisfied to rest in ::hedness and misery, under them and their -ren. Not, indeed, to show me a coloured Pres- . a Governor, a Legislator, a Senator, a Mayor,

~ _-\ttorney at the Bar. – But to show me a man of -.ir, who holds the low office of a Constable, or ·ho sits in a Juror Box, even on a case of one of ;retched brethren, throughout this great

. .:blic! ! …

* * * Toe sufferings of the Helots among the Spartans, » somewhat severe, it is true, but to say that

, were as severe as ours among the Americans, most strenuously deny-for instance, can any

-~ show me an article on a page of ancient his- which specifies, that, the Spartans chained,

.;. handcuffed the Helots, and dragged them their wives and children, children from their

ents, mothers from their suckling babes, wives their husbands, driving them from one end

ne country to the other? Notice the Spartans e heathens, who lived long before our Divine ter made his appearance in the flesh. Can

~-ristian Americans deny these barbarous cruel- ; Have you not, Americans, having subjected ·nder you, added to these miseries, by insulting

:n telling us to our face, because we are helpless, ·• we are not of the human family? I ask you, O!

ericans, I ask you, in the name of the Lord, can ~ deny these charges? Some perhaps may deny,

aying, that they never thought or said that we -re not men. But do not actions speak louder than rds?-have they not made provisions for the

·eeks, and Irish? Nations who have never done

the least thing for them, while we, who have enriched their country with our blood and tears-have dug up gold and silver for them and their children, from generation to generation, and are in more miseries than any other people under heaven, are not seen, but by comparatively, a handful of the American people? …

I have been for years troubling the pages of his- torians, to find out what our fathers have done to the white Christians of America, to merit such con- dign punishment as they have inflicted on them, and do continue to inflict on us their children. But I must aver, that my researches have hitherto been to no effect. I have therefore, come to the immove- able conclusion, that they (Americans) have, and do continue to punish us for nothing else, but for enriching them and their country. For I cannot conceive of anything else. Nor will I ever believe otherwise, until the Lord shall convince me.

The world knows, that slavery as it existed among the Romans, (which was the primary cause of their destruction) was, comparatively speaking, no more than a cypher, when compared with ours under the Americans. Indeed I should not have noticed the Roman slaves, had not the very learned and penetrating Mr. Jefferson said, “when a master was murdered, all his slaves in the same house, or within hearing, were condemned to death” (in Notes on the State of Virginia “Query XIV”.]-Here let me ask Mr. Jefferson, (but he is gone to answer at the bar of God, for the deeds done in his body while living,) I therefore ask the whole American people, had I not rather die, or be put to death, than to be a slave to any tyrant, who takes not only my own, but my wife and children’s lives by the inches? Yea, would I meet death with avidity far! far! ! in preference to such servile submission to the mur- derous hands of tyrants ….

* * *

… Every body who has read history, knows, that as soon as a slave among the Romans obtained his freedom, he could rise to the greatest eminence in the State, and there was no law instituted to hin- der a slave from buying his freedom. Have not the Americans instituted laws to hinder us from




obtaining our freedom? Do any deny this charge? Read the laws of Virginia, North Carolina, &c. Fur- ther: have not the Americans instituted laws to prohibit a man of colour from obtaining and hold- ing any office whatever, under the government of the United States of America? Now, Mr. Jefferson tells us, that our condition is not so hard, as the slaves were under the Romans! ! ! ! ! !

It is time for me to bring this article to a close. But before I close it, I must observe to my brethren that at the close of the first Revolution in this country, with Great Britain, there were but thirteen States in the Union, now there are twenty-four, most of which are slave-holding States, and the whites are drag- ging us around in chains and in handcuffs, to their new States and Territories to work their mines and farms, to enrich them and their children-and mil- lions of them believing firmly that we being a little darker than they, were made by our Creator to be an inheritance to them and their children for ever-the same as a parcel of brutes.

Are we MEN! !-I ask you, 0 my brethren! are we MEN? Did our Creator make us to be slaves to dust and ashes like ourselves? Are they not dying worms as well as we? Have they not to make their appearance before the tribunal of Heaven, to answer for the deeds done in the body, as well as we? …

Article II.

Our Wretchedness in Consequence of Ignorance.

Ignorance and treachery one against the other-a grovelling servile and abject submission to the lash of tyrants, we see plainly, my brethren, are not the natural elements of the blacks, as the Americans try to make us believe; but these are misfortunes which God has suffered our fathers to be enveloped in for many ages, no doubt in conse- quence of their disobedience to their Maker, and which do, indeed, reign at this time among us, almost to the destruction of all other principles: for I must truly say, that ignorance, the mother of

treachery and deceit, gnaws into our very vitals. Ignorance, as it now exists among us , produces a state of things, Oh my Lord! too horrible to present to the world. Any man who is curious to see the full force of ignorance developed among the coloured people of the United States of America, has only to go into the southern and western states of this con- federacy, where, if he is not a tyrant, but has the feelings of a human being, who can feel for a fellow creature, he may see enough to make his very heart bleed! He may see there, a son take his mother, who bore almost the pains of death to give him birth, and by the command of a tyrant, strip her as naked as she came into the world, and apply the cow-hide to her, until she falls a victim to death in the road! He may see a husband take his dear wife, not unfrequently in a pregnant state, and perhaps far advanced, and beat her for an unmerciful wretch, until his infant falls a lifeless lump at her feet! Can the Americans escape God Almighty? If they do, can he be to us a God of Justice? God is just, and I know it-for he has convinced me to my satisfac- tion-I cannot doubt him. My observer may see fathers beating their sons, mothers their daughters, and children their parents, all to pacify the pas- sions of unrelenting tyrants. He may also, see them telling news and lies, making mischief one upon another. These are some of the productions of igno- rance, which he will see practised among my dear brethren, who are held in unjust slavery and wretch- edness, by avaricious and unmerciful tyrants, to whom, and their hellish deeds, I would suffer my life to be taken before I would submit. And when my curious observer comes to take notice of those who are said to be free, (which assertion I deny) and who are making some frivolous pretentions to common sense, he will see that branch of igno- rance among the slaves assuming a more cun- ning and deceitful course of procedure.-He may see some of my brethren in league with tyrants, selling their own brethren into hell upon earth, not dissimilar to the exhibitions in Africa, but in a more secret, servile and abject manner …. My observer may see some of those ignorant and treacherous creatures (coloured people) sneaking about in the large cities, endeavouring to find out all strange

coloured peo reside, asking tain whether t at the same t1 and always w perhaps, that a thousand st information c been and are a adelphia, and league with t) tion of their d, acquire from miserable bret

… Oh! colou ask you, in th have we, in co1 the spirit of m adopted that o you, then, wha all the world, w oppressors, as 1 can, Oh! how and our childre were made by 1 them and thein but say that the] in the country, t of money, and U their avaricious slaves to them Mr. Jefferson bu XIV”], “I advan that the blacks, or made distinc inferior to the ~ body and min4 history, then, Ol the races of anl excuse an effort MAN as distinct hope you will t~ verse-its widest you do or not, n



DA YID WALKER: FROM Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World (1829) 247

-ed people, where they work and where they asking them questions, and trying to ascer- ether they are runaways or not, telling them,

-ame time, that they always have been, are, -\·ays will be, friends to their brethren; and,

, that they themselves are absconders, and _Jand such treacherous lies to get the better

ation of the more ignorant! ! ! There have md are at this day in Boston, New-York, Phil-

ia, and Baltimore, coloured men, who are in -~ with tyrants, and who receive a great por-

; their daily bread, of the moneys which they -e from the blood and tears of their more

* * * h! coloured people of these United States, I u, in the name of that God who made us,

~ ·re, in consequence of oppression, nearly lost pirit of man, and, in no very trifling degree,

• ;ed that of brutes? Do you answer, no?-I ask ~en, what set of men can you point me to, in

-e world, who are so abjectly employed by their essors, as we are by our natural enemies? How Oh! how can those enemies but say that we ur children are not of the HUMAN FAMILY, but

e made by our Creator to be an inheritance to and theirs for ever? How can the slaveholders

ay that they can bribe the best coloured person -e country, to sell his brethren for a trifling sum

-:.oney, and take that atrocity to confirm them in :: avaricious opinion, that we were made to be es to them and their children? How could

– ‘efferson but say [in Notes on Virginia, “Query -~1, “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only,

he blacks, whether originally a distinct race, ade distinct by time and circumstances, are

rior to the whites in the endowments both of .::.·· and mind?” . . . “Will not a lover of natural

ry, then, one who views the gradations in all • races of animals with the eye of philosophy,

e an effort to keep those in the department of ,_; as distinct as nature has formed them?”-! : e you will try to find out the meaning of this e-its widest sense and all its bearings: whether

~ do or not, remember the whites do. This very

verse, brethren, having emanated from Mr. Jeffer- son, a much greater philosopher the world never afforded, has in truth injured us more, and has been as great a barrier to our emancipation as any thing that has ever been advanced against us. I hope you will not let it pass unnoticed. He goes on further, and says: “This unfortunate difference of colour, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obsta- cle to the emancipation of these people. Many of their advocates, while they wish to vindicate the liberty of human nature are anxious also to pre- serve its dignity and beauty. Some of these, embar- rassed by the question, ‘What further is to be done with them? ‘ join themselves in opposition with those who are actuated by sordid avarice only.” Now I ask you candidly, my suffering brethren in time, who are candidates for the eternal worlds, how could Mr. Jefferson but have given the world these remarks respecting us, when we are so sub- missive to them, and so much servile deceit prevail among ourselves-when we so meanly submit to their murderous lashes, to which neither the Indi- ans nor any other people under Heaven would sub- mit? No, they would die to a man, before they would suffer such things from men who are no better than themselves, and perhaps not so good. Yes, how can our friends but be embarrassed, as Mr. Jefferson says, by the question, “What further is to be done with these people?” For while they are working for our emancipation, we are, by our treachery, wickedness and deceit, working against ourselves and our children-helping ours, and the enemies of God, to keep us and our dear little chil- dren in their infernal chains of slavery! ! ! Indeed, our friends cannot but relapse and join themselves “with those who are actuated by sordid avarice only ! ! ! !” For my own part, I am glad Mr. Jeffer- son has advanced his positions for your sake; for you will either have to contradict or confirm him by your own actions, and not by what our friends have said or done for us; for those things are other men’s labours, and do not satisfy the Americans, who are waiting for us to prove to them ourselves, that we are MEN, before they will be willing to admit the fact; for I pledge you my sacred word of honour, that Mr. Jefferson’s remarks respecting us,




have sunk deep into the hearts of millions of the whites, and never will be removed this side of eternity.-For how can they, when we are confirm- ing him every day, by our groveling submissions and treachery? I aver, that when I look over these United States of America, and the world, and see the igno- rant deceptions and consequent wretchedness of my brethren, I am brought oftimes solemnly to a stand, and in the midst of my reflections I exclaim to my God, “Lord didst thou make us to be slaves to our brethren, the whites?” But when I reflect that God is just, and that millions of my wretched breth- ren would meet death with glory-yea, more, would plunge into the very mouths of cannons and be torn into particles as minute as the atoms which com- pose the elements of the earth, in preference to a mean submission to the lash of tyrants, I am with streaming eyes, compelled to shrink back into noth- ingness before my Maker, and exclaim again, thy will be done, 0 Lord God Almighty.

Men of colour, who are also of sense, for you particularly is my APPEAL designed. Our more ignorant brethren are not able to penetrate its value. I call upon you therefore to cast your eyes upon the wretchedness of your brethren, and to do your utmost to enlighten them-go to work and enlighten your brethren! …

There is a great work for you to do, as trifling as some of you may think of it. You have to prove to the Americans and the world, that we are MEN, and not brutes, as we have been represented, and by mil- lions treated. Remember, to let the aim of your labours among your brethren, and particularly the youths, be the dissemination of education and reli- gion. It is lamentable, that many of our children go to school, from four until they are eight or ten, and sometimes fifteen years of age, and leave school knowing but a little more about the grammar of their language than a horse does about handling a musket-and not a few of them are really so igno- rant, that they are unable to answer a person cor- rectly, general questions in geography, and to hear them read, would only be to disgust a man who has a taste for reading; which, to do well, as trifling as it may appear to some, (to the ignorant in particular) is

a great part of learning. Some few of them, may make out to scribble tolerably well, over a half sheet of paper, which I believe has hitherto been a power- ful obstacle in our way, to keep us from acquiring knowledge. An ignorant father, who knows no more than what nature has taught him, together with what little he acquires by the senses of hearing and seeing, finding his son able to write a neat hand, sets it down for granted that he has as good learning as any body; the young, ignorant gump, hearing his father or mother, who perhaps may be ten times more igno- rant, in point ofliterature, than himself, extolling his learning, struts about, in the full assurance, that his attainments in literature are sufficient to take him through the world, when, in fact, he has scarcely any learning at all! ! ! !

I promiscuously fell in conversation once, with an elderly coloured man on the topics of edu- cation, and of the great prevalency of ignorance among us: Said he, “I know that our people are very ignorant but my son has a good education: I spent a great deal of money on his education: he can write as well as any white man, and I assure you that no one can fool him,” &c. Said I, what else can your son do, besides writing a good hand? Can he post a set of books in a mercantile manner? Can he write a neat piece of composition in prose or in verse? To these interrogations he answered in the negative. Said I, did your son learn, while he was at school, the width and depth of English Gram- mar? To which he also replied in the negative, tell- ing me his son did not learn those things. Your son, said I, then, has hardly any learning at all-he is almost as ignorant, and more so, than many of those who never went to school one day in all their lives. My friend got a little put out, and so walking off, said that his son could write as well as any white man. Most of the coloured people, when they speak of the education of one among us who can write a neat hand, and who perhaps knows noth- ing but to scribble and puff pretty fair on a small scrap of paper, immaterial whether his words are grammatical, or spelt correctly, or not; if it only looks beautiful, they say he has as good an educa- tion as any white man-he can write as well as any

white mat ing, this, r son see I knowledg, who are m an ignorar that the Le and permi seek after on my hat to the feet humblysu1 neither de, my life-fa this countr their sandy


I }

a ii r


p u

si st 1v. d1 te M d,

Fr br



man, &c. The poor, ignorant creature, hear- -.is, he is ashamed, forever after, to let any per- ce him humbling himself to another for

dge but going about trying to deceive those _.:e more ignorant than himself, he at last falls – ~rant victim to death in wretchedness. I pray

e Lord may undeceive my ignorant brethren, :–ermit them to throw away pretensions, and .;..1:er the substance of learning. I would crawl

— hands and knees through mud and mire, e feet of a learned man, where I would sit and .Y supplicate him to instil into me, that which

-er devils nor tyrants could remove, only with ··e-for coloured people to acquire learning in :ountry, makes tyrants quake and tremble on 5andy foundation.

* * *

FROM McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) 249


1. How did Walker use religious beliefs and lan- guage to appeal to both oppressed and oppres- sors?

2. How does he compare the present to the past? Was his use of history effective in making his argument?

3. Walker was not only angry with white Ameri- cans who maintained slavery but also with some black Americans. Why?

4. Walker disputes Thomas Jefferson’s assumptions about African Americans but he also says, “I am glad Mr. Jefferson has advanced his positions for your sake.” Why?

5. Why did Walker speak of learning while pro- claiming for abolition and equality?

FROM McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

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