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- The United States of America Part I - 50/54 -


old." It also called attention to the fact that this republic, which was so boldly proclaiming the severance of the Western world, was bounded on the north by the possessions of the king of England and on the south by those of the king of Spain--a pretty situation for the self-appointed protector of the two Americas!

The Monroe doctrine, or "policy" as it should be called, spoke the sentiment of nationality engendered by the late war and augmented until it had assumed the cry of "America for Americans!" The acquisition of Louisiana and the Floridas, the absence of political parties, and the appreciation of republican blessings were the prime causes. The announcement marked the climax of unionism for the time. The sectional fears aroused by the slavery issue in Missouri three years before had been quieted by a compromise and were now forgotten in a national alliance against foreign menace. The announcement inaugurated a period of isolation for the United States, during which she could gain strength to meet her European rivals on equal ground instead of becoming a tool for them. Never again would she be caught in an entangling alliance such as that with France in 1778.

If American national feeling had diminished after the announcement, the doctrine of American individuality and of American destiny would have waned and disappeared. That the policy has been expanded until it covers nearly every phase of foreign relationship in the New World, that a simple announcement which grew out of a condition has been made into an expression of American paramount interest, that it has become a national fetich although unrecognised as a part of international law,--all this is a fresh indication of the steady growth of national sentiment and activity.

Just in the full flush of the announcement, a more zealous race with a more fiery temperament than the Americans might have gone too far. The temptation was presented most attractively. The South Americans, the antipodals of the North Americans, saw in the Monroe announcement a protection from European interference. Several of the republics planned a congress at the central city of Panama, "to settle a general system of American policy in relation to Europe, leaving to each section of the country a perfect liberty of independent self-government." They hoped for a gathering of "the powers of America" to offset the powers of Europe. An alliance against an Alliance was the thought. Among the objects to be considered was "the manner in which all the colonization of European powers on the American continent shall be resisted, and their interference in the present contest between Spain and her former colonies prevented." Since this was simply a re-statement of the Monroe doctrine, it was presumed that the United States would take a leading part; but because the abolition of slavery was another point to be considered, the pro-slavery element in Congress overruled the wish of President Adams to take part in the meeting. It was also feared that a participation might involve the United States in the prevailing war between Spain and the South American republics.

The interesting but profitless field of speculation might be exhausted in imagining the result if the United States had thus linked herself to the Spanish Americas in an American alliance. The problem of securing the trade of those republics, which has occupied the attention of many statesmen since that day, might have yielded to this solution; but that any permanent alliance could have been made between peoples of antagonistic temperament and varying ideals of self-government is far from likely. Many times since then the growing American spirit has demanded that Uncle Sam should become the policeman of America; but the narrow escape in this instance from incurring such an undesirable task leads to the hope that it will never be assumed.

Leadership in the "let us alone" policy was taken by the United States as the result of her geographic isolation, as well as her centrality of location. She was nearest to the new republics and had most to lose. Eliminating Canada as a British possession and Brazil with an enervating climate and Latin leadership, the United States was the only power whose size and resources entitled her to speak with authority on the question of European interference. The Monroe doctrine was primarily intracontinental and for immediate self-preservation; secondarily it was extracontinental and for ultimate self-preservation. England, the only European New World power remaining of the six whose discoveries originally entitled them to that distinction, was equally interested in the preservation of Canada and the freedom of trade which the independence of the Spanish-American republics made possible. She rejected the Holy Alliance to support the Monroe doctrine. Without British co-operation it is doubtful whether the stand could have been maintained and the Holy Alliance held in check. This cooperation brought about a speedy _rapprochement_ between the two recent enemies. It was hastened by the diplomatic skill of Gallatin in arranging for a joint occupation of the region west of the Rocky Mountains commonly known as the Oregon country. By the treaties of 1818 and 1827, final decision was delayed until increasing population should aid in deciding ownership.

Nationality had been breeding constantly in directions aside from foreign policy, protective tariffs, and internal improvements. A literary independence was manifesting itself, although in a crude form. The sneers of Britain that the Americans were dependent upon Europe for their literature, although indignantly denied, were largely true. American publishers had been long accustomed to reprint English works, upon which, in the absence of an international copyright law, they paid no royalties. Byron, Wordsworth, Scott, Coleridge, Keats, Moore, Hallam, Maria Edgeworth, and Miss Austen were made available to American readers in this way. In any parlour a young woman would be found who could sing _Bonnie Doon_ or recite from _The Lady of the Lake_. A review of _Don Juan_ appeared in a magazine published in central Kentucky within six weeks after it was first printed in England. Democracy and nature were the subjects mostly adopted by these English writers, and they appealed quite naturally to New World readers. As Lowell, at a later time, said of the Americans of this period:

"They stole Englishmen's books and thought Englishmen's thoughts; With English salt on her tail, our wild Eagle was caught."

[Illustration: WASHINGTON IRVING. From the etching by Jacques Reich.]

So dependent were the States, that a publisher who dared to bring out a native work did so at a financial peril. The first edition of Trumbull's _Poems_ lost one thousand dollars. Morse's Geography, text-books, and the classics were the only remunerative publications. But soon after the War of 1812, evidences of a change were manifest. The attention of American writers heretofore had been occupied largely with the rights of man and other political theories borrowed from the Old World. Democracy had now adjusted itself to the conditions of the New World and had become practical. Wild-eyed theory had given way to plain fact. Economic questions, begotten of the new domestic conditions, were beginning to occupy public attention. Abstract political rights became secondary to the price and production of cotton, the encouragement of manufactures, the invention of machinery, means of transportation, the employment of emigrants, and the economic value of the slavery system. In 1819, Irving refused a remunerative offer to contribute to the _London Quarterly_, because it had been unremitting in its abuse of his countrymen. He preferred to patronise a home publication.

This declaration of literary independence was indicative of the times. Between the close of the war and the end of Jackson's second administration, probably one hundred and fifty periodicals, entirely separate from the newspapers, were established in the United States. About one-third of them was of a religious character, and as many more devoted to some kind of philanthropic purpose, like temperance, African colonisation, and missionary work. Their nature may be indicated by such titles as _The New York Mirror_, _The Casket_, _The Evangelical Guardian_, _The Portico_, _The Lady Book_, _The Boston Pearl_, _The Cincinnati Mirror_, and _The Family Lyceum_. Many of these lived only a year or two, yet they show a desire among the people for a native literature, however crude and sentimental it might be. During this period also came the evanescent "Annual," a species of vapid literature borrowed from Germany through England. Upon the centre-table, near the case of stuffed birds, you could find _The Token_ or _The Pearl_. Perhaps the giver had preferred _The Casket_ or _The Western Souvenir_. Symptoms of a more advanced regard were denoted by the choice of the _Remember Me_.

The largest number of these ephemeral periodicals appeared in New York, and the next largest in Philadelphia. Boston ranked third. Philadelphia, the home of Franklin, of Hopkinson, and of Rittenhouse, had been the literary head of America before the War of 1812. So long as the Ohio River remained the natural highway to the West, her literary products found a market which no competitor could take away. But with the development of other ways, and especially with the opening of the Erie Canal, New York and Boston gradually won these laurels from her.

Indeed, the West began to supply its own wants. Of these transitory publications, no less than seventeen were established west of the Alleghenies. As early as 1803, a literary magazine had been founded at Lexington, Kentucky, the seat of the Transylvania University and the centre of culture for the Ohio valley. Even villages aspired to be "the Athens of the West." Mt. Pleasant and Oxford in the State of Ohio vied with Rogersville, Tennessee, and Vandalia, Illinois, in establishing literary magazines and fostering literary pursuits.

All this marks simply a stage in the development of American literature, as it shows a step in the growth of American nationality. Permanent literature awaited better printing facilities, larger patronage of letters, improved postal accommodations, the growth of cities, and more leisure and more refinement. Prophecies of a true national awakening are to be sought not alone in the Monroe doctrine, the tariff and bank issues, and the spread of internal improvements,--political events which commonly eclipse the intellectual aspects of nationality; but also in the Unitarian revolt of 1815, led by Channing, which loosed New England from the stiffening bonds of Calvinism, the Quaker schism in the Middle States, and the birth of the Campbellites in the West. The goodness of man was beginning to attract more attention than the total depravity of man. The _North American Review_ was founded in 1815. Four years later, Irving published the _Sketch-Book_. Bryant's first volume of poems, treating generally of local themes, appeared in 1820. During the ensuing ten years Cooper gave out eleven novels, the scenes of which were laid almost exclusively in America. Only the world-reform movement of 1830 was needed to develop fully an American literature.

Although not so immediately connected with the people, this story must not lose sight of another function of the government of the States which was steadily making for their unification. The Federal Judiciary, the one branch of the national frame which the Republicans in their twenty years of national control had not been able to curb or get possession of, was following the bias which John Marshall's first decisions gave to it. Abuses in the Legislative and Executive branches could be corrected by an appeal to the ballot. Substantial proof of the efficacy of this corrective was to be found in the Alien and Sedition laws, according to the Republicans. They claimed to have appealed to the people in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions, and the people had cast the offending party from power. But the Judiciary was entrenched in life tenure and not susceptible to this remedy. It was a constant regret to Jefferson to the end of his life that the corrective measures taken by him and his party against the national courts had not included an amendment changing the life tenure of the


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