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He also served as secretary of war at the
same time, and, as the treasury was empty, pledged his private means for
the defense of New Orleans. Monroe was of plain, simple manners, of
excellent judgment and of the highest integrity. While his career did
not stamp him as a man of genius, yet it proved him to be that which in
his situation is better--an absolutely "safe" man to trust with the
highest office in the gift of the American people. Under Monroe the
United States made greater advancement than during any previous decade.

Everything united to make his administration successful. The Federal
party having disappeared, its members either stopped voting or joined
the Republicans. Since, therefore, everybody seemed to be agreed in his
political views, the period is often referred to as "the era of good
feeling," a condition altogether too ideal to continue long.


TARIFF LEGISLATION.

Shortly after Monroe's inauguration he made a tour through the country,
visiting the principal cities, and contributing by his pleasing manner
greatly to his popularity. The manufactures of the country were in a low
state because of the cheapness of labor in Great Britain, which enabled
the manufacturers there to send and sell goods for less prices than the
cost of their manufacture in this country. Congress met the difficulty
by imposing a tax upon manufactured goods brought hither, and thereby
gave our people a chance to make and sell the same at a profit. The
controversy between the advocates of free trade and protection has been
one of the leading questions almost from the first, and there has never
been and probably never will be full accord upon it.


THE SEMINOLE WAR.

Perhaps the most important event in the early part of Monroe's
administration was the Seminole war. Those Indians occupied Florida, and
could hide themselves in the swampy everglades and defy pursuit. Many
runaway slaves found safe refuge there, intermarried with the Seminoles,
and made their homes among them. They were not always fairly treated by
the whites, and committed many outrages on the settlers in Georgia and
Alabama. When the Creeks, who insisted they had been cheated out of
their lands, joined them, General Gaines was sent to subdue the savages.
He failed, and was caught in such a dangerous situation that General
Jackson hastily raised a force and marched to his assistance.

Since Florida belonged to Spain, Jackson was instructed by our
government not to enter the country except in pursuit of the enemy. "Old
Hickory" was not the man to allow himself to be hampered by such orders,
and, entering Florida in March, 1818, he took possession the following
month of the Spanish post of St. Mark's, at the head of Appalachee Bay.
Several Seminoles were captured, and, proof being obtained that they
were the leaders in a massacre of some settlers a short time before,
Jackson hanged every one of them.

Advancing into the interior, he captured two British subjects, Robert C.
Ambrister, an Englishman, and Alexander Arbuthnot, a Scotchman. There
seemed to be no doubt that the latter had been guilty of inciting the
Indians to commit their outrages, and both were tried by court-martial,
which sentenced Arbuthnot to be hanged and Ambrister to receive fifty
lashes and undergo a year's imprisonment. Jackson set aside the verdict,
and shot the Englishman and hanged the Scotchman. He then marched
against Pensacola, the capital of the province, drove out the Spanish
authorities, captured Barrancas, whose troops and officials were sent to
Havana.

[Illustration: AN INDIAN'S DECLARATION OF WAR.]

Jackson carried things with such a high hand that Spain protested, and
Congress had to order an investigation. The report censured Jackson; but
Congress passed a resolution acquitting him of all blame, and he became
more popular than ever.

Spain was not strong enough to expel the Americans, and she agreed to a
treaty, in October, 1820, by which East and West Florida were ceded to
the United States, the latter paying Spain $5,000,000. The Sabine River,
instead of the Rio Grande, was made the dividing line between the
territories of the respective governments west of the Mississippi.
Jackson was the first governor of Florida, and, as may be supposed, he
had a stormy time, but he straightened out matters with the same iron
resolution that marked everything he did.


STATES ADMITTED--THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE.

A number of States were admitted to the Union while Monroe was
President. The first was Mississippi, in 1817. The territory was claimed
by Georgia, which gave it to the United States in 1802. Illinois was
admitted in 1818, being the third of the five States formed from the old
Northwest Territory. Alabama became a State in 1819, and had been a part
of the territory claimed by Georgia. Maine was admitted in 1820, and, as
has been shown, was for a long time a part of Massachusetts, and
Missouri became a State in 1821.

The strife over the admission of the last-named State was so angry that
more than one person saw the shadow of the tremendous civil war that was
to darken the country and deluge it in blood forty years later. The
invention of the cotton gin in 1793 had made cotton the leading industry
of the South and given an enormous importance to slavery. The soil and
the climate and economic conditions caused it to flourish in the South,
and the lack of such conditions made it languish and die out in the
North.

Missouri applied for admission in March, 1818, but it was so late in the
session that Congress took no action. At the following session a bill
was introduced containing a provision that forbade slavery in the
proposed new State. The debate was bitter and prolonged, accompanied by
threats of disunion, but a compromise was reached on the 28th of
February, 1821, when the agreement was made that slavery was to be
permitted in Missouri, but forever prohibited in all other parts of the
Union, north and west of the northern limits of Arkansas, 36 30', which
is the southern boundary of Missouri. The State was admitted August
21st, increasing the number to twenty-four. The census showed that in
1820 the population of the United States was 9,633,822. The State of New
York contained the most people (1,372,111); Virginia next (1,065,116);
and Pennsylvania almost as many (1,047,507).


PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1820.

It was in the autumn of 1820, during the excitement over the admission
of Missouri, that the presidential election occurred. The result is not
likely ever to be repeated in the history of our country. There was no
candidate against Monroe, who would have received every electoral vote,
but for the action of one member, who declared that no man had the right
to share that honor with Washington. He therefore cast his single vote
for Adams of Massachusetts. For Vice-President, Daniel D. Tompkins,
Republican, received 218; Richard Stockton, of New Jersey, 8; Daniel
Rodney, of Delaware, 4; Robert G. Harper, of Maryland, and Richard
Rush, of Pennsylvania, 1 vote each. Monroe and Tompkins were therefore
re-elected.


THE MONROE DOCTRINE.

South America has long been the land of revolutions. In 1821, there was
a general revolt against Spain in favor of independence. Great sympathy
was felt for them in this country, and, in March, 1822, Congress passed
a bill recognizing the embryo republics as sovereign nations. In the
following year President Monroe sent a message to Congress in which he
declared that for the future the American continent was not to be
considered as territory for colonization by any foreign power. This
consecration of the whole Western Hemisphere to free institutions
constitutes the MONROE DOCTRINE, one of the most precious and jealously
guarded rights of the American nation. The memorable document which
bears the President's name was written by John Quincy Adams, his
secretary of State.

America could never forget Lafayette, who had given his services without
pay in our struggle for independence, who shed his blood for us, and who
was the intimate and trusted friend of Washington. He was now an old
man, and, anxious to visit the country he loved so well, he crossed the
ocean and landed in New York, in August, 1824. He had no thought that
his coming would cause any stir, and was overwhelmed by the honors shown
him everywhere. Fort Lafayette saluted him as he sailed up New York Bay,
and processions, parades, addresses, feastings, and every possible
attention were given to him throughout his year's visit, during which he
was emphatically the "nation's guest." Nor did the country confine
itself to mere honors. He had been treated badly in France and was poor.
Congress made him a present of $200,000 in money, and sent him home in
the frigate _Brandywine_, named in his honor, for it was at the battle
of the Brandywine that Lafayette was severely wounded.

An important invention introduced into this country from England in 1822
was lighting by gas, which soon became universal, to be succeeded in
later years by electricity. Steamboat navigation was common and travel
by that means easy. On land we were still confined to horseback and
stages, but there was great improvement in the roads, through the aid of
Congress and the different States.


COMPLETION OF THE ERIE CANAL.

The Erie Canal, connecting Buffalo and Albany, was begun on the 4th of
July, 1817, its most persistent advocate being Governor De Witt Clinton.
It was costly, and the majority believed it would never pay expenses.
They dubbed it "De Witt Clinton's Ditch," and ridiculed the possibility
that it would prove of public benefit. In October, 1825, it was opened
for public traffic. It is 363 miles long, having the greatest extent of
any canal in the world. It passes through a wonderfully fertile region,
which at that time was little more than a wilderness. Immediately towns
and villages sprang into existence along its banks. Merchandise could
now be carried cheaply from the teeming West, through the Great Lakes,
the Erie Canal, and the Hudson River, to New York City and the Atlantic.
Its original cost was $7,600,000, and its earnings were so enormous that
in many single years they amounted to half that sum.



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