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They favored tariff for revenue
only, the single gold standard, a bank currency under governmental
supervision, international arbitration, and the maintenance of the
independence and authority of the Supreme Court.

Mr. Bryan threw all his energies into the canvass and displayed
wonderful industry and vigor. He made whirlwind tours through the
country, speaking several times a day and in the evening, and won many
converts. Had the election taken place a few weeks earlier than the
regular date, it is quite probable he would have won. Mr. McKinley made
no speech-making tours, but talked many times to the crowds who called
upon him at his home in Canton, Ohio. The official vote in November was
as follows:

McKinley and Hobart, Republican, 7,101,401 popular votes; 271 electoral
votes.

Bryan and Sewall, Democrat and Populist, 6,470,656 popular votes; 176
electoral votes.

Levering and Johnson, Prohibition, 132,007 popular votes.

Palmer and Buckner, National Democrat, 133,148 popular votes.

Matchett and Maguire, Socialist-Labor, 36,274 popular votes.

Bentley and Southgate, Free Silver Prohibition, 13,969 popular votes.

Despite the political upheavals that periodically occur throughout our
country, it steadily advances in prosperity, progress and growth. Its
resources were limitless, and the settlement of the vast fertile areas
in the West and Northwest went on at an extraordinary rate. In no
section was this so strikingly the fact as in the Northwest. So great
indeed was the growth in that respect that the subject warrants the
special chapter that follows.

[Illustration: CORNER AT TOP OF STAIRWAY NEW CONGRESSIONAL LIBRARY,
WASHINGTON, D.C.]




CHAPTER XXIII.

ADMINISTRATION OF CLEVELAND (SECOND-CONCLUDED), 1893-1897.

THE GREAT NORTHWEST.

BY ALBERT SHAW, PH.D.,

_Editor "Review of Reviews," formerly editor of "Minneapolis Tribune."_

Settling the Northwest--The Face of the Country Transformed--Clearing
Away the Forests and its Effects--Tree-planting on the Prairies--Pioneer
Life in the Seventies--The Granary of the World--The Northwestern
Farmer--Transportation and Other Industries--Business Cities and
Centres--United Public Action and its Influence--The Indian
Question--Other Elements of Population--Society and General Culture.


"Northwest" is a shifting, uncertain designation. The term has been used
to cover the whole stretch of country from Pittsburg to Puget Sound,
north of the Ohio River and the thirty-seventh parallel of latitude.
Popularly it signified the old Northwestern Territory--including Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin--until about the time of the
Civil War. In the decade following the war, Illinois and Iowa were
largely in the minds of men who spoke of the Northwest. From 1870 to
1880, Iowa, Kansas, northern Missouri, and Nebraska constituted the most
stirring and favored region--the Northwest _par excellence_. But the
past decade has witnessed a remarkable development in the Dakotas; and
Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and Montana, with Iowa and Nebraska,
are perhaps the States most familiarly comprised in the idea of the
Northwest. These States are really in the heart of the continent--midway
between oceans; and perhaps by common consent the term Northwest will, a
decade hence, have moved on and taken firm possession of Oregon,
Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming, while ultimately Alaska may succeed to
the designation.

[Illustration: ALBERT SHAW.]

But for the present the Northwest is the great arable wedge lying
between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and between the Missouri
River and the Rocky Mountains. It is a region that is pretty clearly
defined upon a map showing physical characteristics. For the most part,
it is a region of great natural fertility, of regular north-temperate
climate, of moderate but sufficient rainfall, of scant forests and great
prairie expanses, and of high average altitude without mountains. In a
word, it is a region that was adapted by nature to the cultivation of
the cereals and leading crops of the temperate zone without arduous and
time-consuming processes for subduing the wilderness and redeeming the
soil.


SETTLING THE NORTHWEST.

This "New Northwest," in civilization and in all its significant
characteristics, is the creature of the vast impulse that the successful
termination of the war gave the nation. No other extensive area was ever
settled under similar conditions. The homestead laws, the new American
system of railroad building, and the unprecedented demand for staple
food products in the industrial centres at home and abroad, peopled the
prairies as if by magic. Until 1870, fixing the date very roughly,
transportation facilities followed colonization. The railroads were
built to serve and stimulate a traffic that already existed. The
pioneers had done a generation's work before the iron road overtook
them. In the past two decades all has been changed. The railroads have
been the pioneers and colonizers. They have invaded the solitary
wilderness, and the population has followed. Much of the land has
belonged to the roads, through subsidy grants, but the greater part of
the mileage has been laid without the encouragement of land subsidies or
other bonuses, by railway corporations that were willing to look to the
future for their reward.

It would be almost impossible to over-estimate the significance of this
method of colonization. Within a few years it has transformed the
buffalo ranges into the world's most extensive fields of wheat and corn.
A region comprising northern and western Minnesota and the two Dakotas,
which contributed practically nothing to the country's wheat supply
twelve or fifteen years ago, has, by this system of railroad
colonization, reached an annual production of 100,000,000 bushels of
wheat alone--about one-fourth of the crop of the entire country. In like
manner, parts of western Iowa, Nebraska, and Kansas, that produced no
corn before 1875 or 1880, are now the centre of corn-raising, and yield
many hundreds of millions of bushels annually. These regions enter as
totally new factors into the world's supply of foods and raw materials.
A great area of this new territory might be defined that was inhabited
in 1870 by less than a million people, in 1880 by more than three
millions, and in 1899 by from eight to ten millions.

[Illustration: A DISPUTE OVER A BRAND.]

Let us imagine a man from the East who has visited the Northwestern
States and Territories at some time between the years 1870 and 1875, and
who retains a strong impression of what he saw, but who has not been
west of Chicago since that time, until, in the World's Fair year, he
determines upon a new exploration of Iowa, Nebraska, the Datokas,
Minnesota, and Wisconsin. However well informed he had tried to keep
himself through written descriptions and statistical records of Western
progress, he would see what nothing but the evidence of his own eyes
could have made him believe to be possible. Iowa in 1870 was already
producing a large crop of cereals, and was inhabited by a thriving,
though very new, farming population. But the aspect of the country was
bare and uninviting, except in the vicinity of the older communities on
the Mississippi River. As one advanced across the State the farm-houses
were very small, and looked like isolated dry-goods boxes; there were
few well-built barns or farm buildings; and the struggling young
cottonwood and soft-maple saplings planted in close groves about the
tiny houses were so slight an obstruction to the sweep of vision across
the open prairie that they only seemed to emphasize the monotonous
stretches of fertile, but uninteresting, plain. Now the landscape is
wholly transformed. A railroad ride in June through the best parts of
Iowa reminds one of a ride through some of the pleasantest farming
districts of England. The primitive "claim shanties" of thirty years ago
have given place to commodious farm-houses flanked by great barns and
hay-ricks, and the well-appointed structures of a prosperous
agriculture. In the rich, deep meadows herds of fine-blooded cattle are
grazing. What was once a blank, dreary landscape is now garden-like and
inviting. The poor little saplings of the earlier days, which seemed to
be apologizing to the robust corn-stalks in the neighboring fields, have
grown on that deep soil into great, spreading trees. One can easily
imagine, as he looks off in every direction and notes a wooded horizon,
that he is--as in Ohio, Indiana, or Kentucky--in a farming region which
has been cleared out of primeval forests. There are many towns I might
mention which twenty-five years ago, with their new, wooden shanties
scattered over the bare face of the prairie, seemed the hottest place on
earth as the summer sun beat upon their unshaded streets and roofs, and
seemed the coldest places on earth when the fierce blizzards of winter
swept unchecked across the prairie expanses. To-day the density of shade
in those towns is deemed of positive detriment to health, and for
several years past there has been a systematic thinning out and trimming
up of the great, clustering elms. Trees of from six to ten feet in girth
are found everywhere by the hundreds of thousands. Each farm-house is
sheltered from winter winds by its own dense groves. Many of the farmers
are able from the surplus growth of wood upon their estates to provide
themselves with a large and regular supply of fuel. If I have dwelt at
some length upon this picture of the transformation of the bleak,
grain-producing Iowa prairies of thirty years ago into the dairy and
live-stock farms of to-day, with their fragrant meadows and ample
groves, it is because the picture is one which reveals so much as to the
nature and meaning of Northwestern progress.


CLEARING AWAY THE FORESTS AND ITS EFFECTS.

Not a little has been written regarding the rapid destruction of the
vast white-pine forests with which nature has covered large districts of
Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. It is true that this denudation has
progressed at a rate with which nothing of a like character in the
history of the world is comparable.



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