The Farmers Beyond The Appalachians

The nationalism of Hamilton was undemocratic. The democracy of Jefferson

was, in the beginning, provincial. The historic mission of uniting

nationalism and democracy was in the course of time given to new leaders

from a region beyond the mountains, peopled by men and women from all

sections and free from those state traditions which ran back to the

early days of colonization. The voice of the democratic nationalism

ished in the West was heard when Clay of Kentucky advocated his

American system of protection for industries; when Jackson of Tennessee

condemned nullification in a ringing proclamation that has taken its

place among the great American state papers; and when Lincoln of

Illinois, in a fateful hour, called upon a bewildered people to meet the

supreme test whether this was a nation destined to survive or to perish.

And it will be remembered that Lincoln's party chose for its banner that

earlier device--Republican--which Jefferson had made a sign of power.

The "rail splitter" from Illinois united the nationalism of Hamilton

with the democracy of Jefferson, and his appeal was clothed in the

simple language of the people, not in the sonorous rhetoric which

Webster learned in the schools.


The West and the American Revolution

The excessive attention devoted

by historians to the military operations along the coast has obscured

the role played by the frontier in the American Revolution. The action

of Great Britain in closing western land to easy settlement in 1763 was

more than an incident in precipitating the war for independence.

Americans on the frontier did not forget it; when Indians were employed

by England to defend that land, zeal for the patriot cause set the

interior aflame. It was the members of the western vanguard, like Daniel

Boone, John Sevier, and George Rogers Clark, who first understood the

value of the far-away country under the guns of the English forts, where

the Red Men still wielded the tomahawk and the scalping knife. It was

they who gave the East no rest until their vision was seen by the

leaders on the seaboard who directed the course of national policy. It

was one of their number, a seasoned Indian fighter, George Rogers Clark,

who with aid from Virginia seized Kaskaskia and Vincennes and secured

the whole Northwest to the union while the fate of Washington's army was

still hanging in the balance.

Western Problems at the End of the Revolution

The treaty of peace,

signed with Great Britain in 1783, brought the definite cession of the

coveted territory west to the Mississippi River, but it left unsolved

many problems. In the first place, tribes of resentful Indians in the

Ohio region, even though British support was withdrawn at last, had to

be reckoned with; and it was not until after the establishment of the

federal Constitution that a well-equipped army could be provided to

guarantee peace on the border. In the second place, British garrisons

still occupied forts on Lake Erie pending the execution of the terms of

the treaty of 1783--terms which were not fulfilled until after the

ratification of the Jay treaty twelve years later. In the third place,

Virginia, Connecticut, and Massachusetts had conflicting claims to the

land in the Northwest based on old English charters and Indian treaties.

It was only after a bitter contest that the states reached an agreement

to transfer their rights to the government of the United States,

Virginia executing her deed of cession on March 1, 1784. In the fourth

place, titles to lands bought by individuals remained uncertain in the

absence of official maps and records. To meet this last situation,

Congress instituted a systematic survey of the Ohio country, laying it

out into townships, sections of 640 acres each, and quarter sections. In

every township one section of land was set aside for the support of

public schools.

The Northwest Ordinance

The final problem which had to be solved

before settlement on a large scale could be begun was that of governing

the territory. Pioneers who looked with hungry eyes on the fertile

valley of the Ohio could hardly restrain their impatience. Soldiers of

the Revolution, who had been paid for their services in land warrants

entitling them to make entries in the West, called for action.

Congress answered by passing in 1787 the famous Northwest Ordinance

providing for temporary territorial government to be followed by the

creation of a popular assembly as soon as there were five thousand free

males in any district. Eventual admission to the union on an equal

footing with the original states was promised to the new territories.

Religious freedom was guaranteed. The safeguards of trial by jury,

regular judicial procedure, and habeas corpus were established, in order

that the methods of civilized life might take the place of the

rough-and-ready justice of lynch law. During the course of the debate on

the Ordinance, Congress added the sixth article forbidding slavery and

involuntary servitude.

This Charter of the Northwest, so well planned by the Congress under the

Articles of Confederation, was continued in force by the first Congress

under the Constitution in 1789. The following year its essential

provisions, except the ban on slavery, were applied to the territory

south of the Ohio, ceded by North Carolina to the national government,

and in 1798 to the Mississippi territory, once held by Georgia. Thus it

was settled for all time that "the new colonies were not to be exploited

for the benefit of the parent states (any more than for the benefit of

England) but were to be autonomous and cooerdinate commonwealths." This

outcome, bitterly opposed by some Eastern leaders who feared the triumph

of Western states over the seaboard, completed the legal steps necessary

by way of preparation for the flood of settlers.

The Land Companies, Speculators, and Western Land Tenure

As in the

original settlement of America, so in the opening of the West, great

companies and single proprietors of large grants early figured. In 1787

the Ohio Land Company, a New England concern, acquired a million and a

half acres on the Ohio and began operations by planting the town of

Marietta. A professional land speculator, J.C. Symmes, secured a million

acres lower down where the city of Cincinnati was founded. Other

individuals bought up soldiers' claims and so acquired enormous holdings

for speculative purposes. Indeed, there was such a rush to make fortunes

quickly through the rise in land values that Washington was moved to cry

out against the "rage for speculating in and forestalling of land on the

North West of the Ohio," protesting that "scarce a valuable spot within

any tolerable distance of it is left without a claimant." He therefore

urged Congress to fix a reasonable price for the land, not "too

exorbitant and burdensome for real occupiers, but high enough to

discourage monopolizers."

Congress, however, was not prepared to use the public domain for the

sole purpose of developing a body of small freeholders in the West. It

still looked upon the sale of public lands as an important source of

revenue with which to pay off the public debt; consequently it thought

more of instant income than of ultimate results. It placed no limit on

the amount which could be bought when it fixed the price at $2 an acre

in 1796, and it encouraged the professional land operator by making the

first installment only twenty cents an acre in addition to the small

registration and survey fee. On such terms a speculator with a few

thousand dollars could get possession of an enormous plot of land. If he

was fortunate in disposing of it, he could meet the installments, which

were spread over a period of four years, and make a handsome profit for

himself. Even when the credit or installment feature was abolished in

1821 and the price of the land lowered to a cash price of $1.75 an acre,

the opportunity for large speculative purchases continued to attract

capital to land ventures.

The Development of the Small Freehold

The cheapness of land and the

scarcity of labor, nevertheless, made impossible the triumph of the huge

estate with its semi-servile tenantry. For about $45 a man could get a

farm of 160 acres on the installment plan; another payment of $80 was

due in forty days; but a four-year term was allowed for the discharge of

the balance. With a capital of from two to three hundred dollars a

family could embark on a land venture. If it had good crops, it could

meet the deferred payments. It was, however, a hard battle at best. Many

a man forfeited his land through failure to pay the final installment;

yet in the end, in spite of all the handicaps, the small freehold of a

few hundred acres at most became the typical unit of Western

agriculture, except in the planting states of the Gulf. Even the lands

of the great companies were generally broken up and sold in small lots.

The tendency toward moderate holdings, so favored by Western conditions,

was also promoted by a clause in the Northwest Ordinance declaring that

the land of any person dying intestate--that is, without any will

disposing of it--should be divided equally among his descendants.

Hildreth says of this provision: "It established the important

republican principle, not then introduced into all the states, of the

equal distribution of landed as well as personal property." All these

forces combined made the wide dispersion of wealth, in the early days of

the nineteenth century, an American characteristic, in marked contrast

with the European system of family prestige and vast estates based on

the law of primogeniture.


The People

With government established, federal arms victorious over

the Indians, and the lands surveyed for sale, the way was prepared for

the immigrants. They came with a rush. Young New Englanders, weary of

tilling the stony soil of their native states, poured through New York

and Pennsylvania, some settling on the northern bank of the Ohio but

most of them in the Lake region. Sons and daughters of German farmers in

Pennsylvania and many a redemptioner who had discharged his bond of

servitude pressed out into Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, or beyond. From

the exhausted fields and the clay hills of the Southern states came

pioneers of English and Scotch-Irish descent, the latter in great

numbers. Indeed one historian of high authority has ventured to say that

"the rapid expansion of the United States from a coast strip to a

continental area is largely a Scotch-Irish achievement." While native

Americans of mixed stocks led the way into the West, it was not long

before immigrants direct from Europe, under the stimulus of company

enterprise, began to filter into the new settlements in increasing


The types of people were as various as the nations they represented.

Timothy Flint, who published his entertaining Recollections in 1826,

found the West a strange mixture of all sorts and conditions of people.

Some of them, he relates, had been hunters in the upper world of the

Mississippi, above the falls of St. Anthony. Some had been still farther

north, in Canada. Still others had wandered from the South--the Gulf of

Mexico, the Red River, and the Spanish country. French boatmen and

trappers, Spanish traders from the Southwest, Virginia planters with

their droves of slaves mingled with English, German, and Scotch-Irish

farmers. Hunters, forest rangers, restless bordermen, and squatters,

like the foaming combers of an advancing tide, went first. Then followed

the farmers, masters of the ax and plow, with their wives who shared

every burden and hardship and introduced some of the features of

civilized life. The hunters and rangers passed on to new scenes; the

home makers built for all time.

The Number of Immigrants

There were no official stations on the

frontier to record the number of immigrants who entered the West during

the decades following the American Revolution. But travelers of the time

record that every road was "crowded" with pioneers and their families,

their wagons and cattle; and that they were seldom out of the sound of

the snapping whip of the teamster urging forward his horses or the crack

of the hunter's rifle as he brought down his evening meal. "During the

latter half of 1787," says Coman, "more than nine hundred boats floated

down the Ohio carrying eighteen thousand men, women, and children, and

twelve thousand horses, sheep, and cattle, and six hundred and fifty

wagons." Other lines of travel were also crowded and with the passing

years the flooding tide of home seekers rose higher and higher.

The Western Routes

Four main routes led into the country beyond the

Appalachians. The Genesee road, beginning at Albany, ran almost due west

to the present site of Buffalo on Lake Erie, through a level country. In

the dry season, wagons laden with goods could easily pass along it into

northern Ohio. A second route, through Pittsburgh, was fed by three

eastern branches, one starting at Philadelphia, one at Baltimore, and

another at Alexandria. A third main route wound through the mountains

from Alexandria to Boonesboro in Kentucky and then westward across the

Ohio to St. Louis. A fourth, the most famous of them all, passed through

the Cumberland Gap and by branches extended into the Cumberland valley

and the Kentucky country.

Of these four lines of travel, the Pittsburgh route offered the most

advantages. Pioneers, no matter from what section they came, when once

they were on the headwaters of the Ohio and in possession of a flatboat,

could find a quick and easy passage into all parts of the West and

Southwest. Whether they wanted to settle in Ohio, Kentucky, or western

Tennessee they could find their way down the drifting flood to their

destination or at least to some spot near it. Many people from the South

as well as the Northern and Middle states chose this route; so it came

about that the sons and daughters of Virginia and the Carolinas mingled

with those of New York, Pennsylvania, and New England in the settlement

of the Northwest territory.

The Methods of Travel into the West

Many stories giving exact

descriptions of methods of travel into the West in the early days have

been preserved. The country was hardly opened before visitors from the

Old World and from the Eastern states, impelled by curiosity, made their

way to the very frontier of civilization and wrote books to inform or

amuse the public. One of them, Gilbert Imlay, an English traveler, has

given us an account of the Pittsburgh route as he found it in 1791. "If

a man ... " he writes, "has a family or goods of any sort to remove, his

best way, then, would be to purchase a waggon and team of horses to

carry his property to Redstone Old Fort or to Pittsburgh, according as

he may come from the Northern or Southern states. A good waggon will

cost, at Philadelphia, about L10 ... and the horses about L12 each; they

would cost something more both at Baltimore and Alexandria. The waggon

may be covered with canvass, and if it is the choice of the people, they

may sleep in it of nights with the greatest safety. But if they dislike

that, there are inns of accommodation the whole distance on the

different roads.... The provisions I would purchase in the same manner

[that is, from the farmers along the road]; and by having two or three

camp kettles and stopping every evening when the weather is fine upon

the brink of some rivulet and by kindling a fire they may soon dress

their own food.... This manner of journeying is so far from being

disagreeable that in a fine season it is extremely pleasant." The

immigrant once at Pittsburgh or Wheeling could then buy a flatboat of a

size required for his goods and stock, and drift down the current to his

journey's end.

The Admission of Kentucky and Tennessee

When the eighteenth century

drew to a close, Kentucky had a population larger than Delaware, Rhode

Island, or New Hampshire. Tennessee claimed 60,000 inhabitants. In 1792

Kentucky took her place as a state beside her none too kindly parent,

Virginia. The Eastern Federalists resented her intrusion; but they took

some consolation in the admission of Vermont because the balance of

Eastern power was still retained.

As if to assert their independence of old homes and conservative ideas

the makers of Kentucky's first constitution swept aside the landed

qualification on the suffrage and gave the vote to all free white males.

Four years later, Kentucky's neighbor to the south, Tennessee, followed

this step toward a wider democracy. After encountering fierce opposition

from the Federalists, Tennessee was accepted as the sixteenth state.


The door of the union had hardly opened for Tennessee when

another appeal was made to Congress, this time from the pioneers in

Ohio. The little posts founded at Marietta and Cincinnati had grown into

flourishing centers of trade. The stream of immigrants, flowing down the

river, added daily to their numbers and the growing settlements all

around poured produce into their markets to be exchanged for "store

goods." After the Indians were disposed of in 1794 and the last British

soldier left the frontier forts under the terms of the Jay treaty of

1795, tiny settlements of families appeared on Lake Erie in the "Western

Reserve," a region that had been retained by Connecticut when she

surrendered her other rights in the Northwest.

At the close of the century, Ohio, claiming a population of more than

50,000, grew discontented with its territorial status. Indeed, two years

before the enactment of the Northwest Ordinance, squatters in that

region had been invited by one John Emerson to hold a convention after

the fashion of the men of Hartford, Windsor, and Wethersfield in old

Connecticut and draft a frame of government for themselves. This true

son of New England declared that men "have an undoubted right to pass

into every vacant country and there to form their constitution and that

from the confederation of the whole United States Congress is not

empowered to forbid them." This grand convention was never held because

the heavy hand of the government fell upon the leaders; but the spirit

of John Emerson did not perish. In November, 1802, a convention chosen

by voters, assembled under the authority of Congress at Chillicothe,

drew up a constitution. It went into force after a popular ratification.

The roll of the convention bore such names as Abbot, Baldwin, Cutler,

Huntington, Putnam, and Sargent, and the list of counties from which

they came included Adams, Fairfield, Hamilton, Jefferson, Trumbull, and

Washington, showing that the new America in the West was peopled and led

by the old stock. In 1803 Ohio was admitted to the union.

Indiana and Illinois

As in the neighboring state, the frontier in

Indiana advanced northward from the Ohio, mainly under the leadership,

however, of settlers from the South--restless Kentuckians hoping for

better luck in a newer country and pioneers from the far frontiers of

Virginia and North Carolina. As soon as a tier of counties swinging

upward like the horns of the moon against Ohio on the east and in the

Wabash Valley on the west was fairly settled, a clamor went up for

statehood. Under the authority of an act of Congress in 1816 the

Indianians drafted a constitution and inaugurated their government at

Corydon. "The majority of the members of the convention," we are told by

a local historian, "were frontier farmers who had a general idea of what

they wanted and had sense enough to let their more erudite colleagues

put it into shape."

Two years later, the pioneers of Illinois, also settled upward from the

Ohio, like Indiana, elected their delegates to draft a constitution.

Leadership in the convention, quite properly, was taken by a man born in

New York and reared in Tennessee; and the constitution as finally

drafted "was in its principal provisions a copy of the then existing

constitutions of Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.... Many of the articles

are exact copies in wording although differently arranged and


Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama

Across the Mississippi to the

far south, clearing and planting had gone on with much bustle and

enterprise. The cotton and sugar lands of Louisiana, opened by French

and Spanish settlers, were widened in every direction by planters with

their armies of slaves from the older states. New Orleans, a good market

and a center of culture not despised even by the pioneer, grew apace. In

1810 the population of lower Louisiana was over 75,000. The time had

come, said the leaders of the people, to fulfill the promise made to

France in the treaty of cession; namely, to grant to the inhabitants of

the territory statehood and the rights of American citizens. Federalists

from New England still having a voice in Congress, if somewhat weaker,

still protested in tones of horror. "I am compelled to declare it as my

deliberate opinion," pronounced Josiah Quincy in the House of

Representatives, "that if this bill [to admit Louisiana] passes, the

bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved ... that as it will be the

right of all, so it will be the duty of some [states] to prepare

definitely for a separation; amicably if they can, violently if they

must.... It is a death blow to the Constitution. It may afterwards

linger; but lingering, its fate will, at no very distant period, be

consummated." Federalists from New York like those from New England had

their doubts about the wisdom of admitting Western states; but the party

of Jefferson and Madison, having the necessary majority, granted the

coveted statehood to Louisiana in 1812.

When, a few years later, Mississippi and Alabama knocked at the doors of

the union, the Federalists had so little influence, on account of their

conduct during the second war with England, that spokesmen from the

Southwest met a kindlier reception at Washington. Mississippi, in 1817,

and Alabama, in 1819, took their places among the United States of

America. Both of them, while granting white manhood suffrage, gave their

constitutions the tone of the old East by providing landed

qualifications for the governor and members of the legislature.


Far to the north in the Louisiana purchase, a new

commonwealth was rising to power. It was peopled by immigrants who came

down the Ohio in fleets of boats or crossed the Mississippi from

Kentucky and Tennessee. Thrifty Germans from Pennsylvania, hardy farmers

from Virginia ready to work with their own hands, freemen seeking

freemen's homes, planters with their slaves moving on from worn-out

fields on the seaboard, came together in the widening settlements of the

Missouri country. Peoples from the North and South flowed together,

small farmers and big planters mingling in one community. When their

numbers had reached sixty thousand or more, they precipitated a contest

over their admission to the union, "ringing an alarm bell in the night,"

as Jefferson phrased it. The favorite expedient of compromise with

slavery was brought forth in Congress once more. Maine consequently was

brought into the union without slavery and Missouri with slavery. At the

same time there was drawn westward through the rest of the Louisiana

territory a line separating servitude from slavery.


Land Tenure and Liberty

Over an immense western area there developed

an unbroken system of freehold farms. In the Gulf states and the lower

Mississippi Valley, it is true, the planter with his many slaves even

led in the pioneer movement; but through large sections of Tennessee and

Kentucky, as well as upper Georgia and Alabama, and all throughout the

Northwest territory the small farmer reigned supreme. In this immense

dominion there sprang up a civilization without caste or class--a body

of people all having about the same amount of this world's goods and

deriving their livelihood from one source: the labor of their own hands

on the soil. The Northwest territory alone almost equaled in area all

the original thirteen states combined, except Georgia, and its system of

agricultural economy was unbroken by plantations and feudal estates. "In

the subdivision of the soil and the great equality of condition," as

Webster said on more than one occasion, "lay the true basis, most

certainly, of popular government." There was the undoubted source of

Jacksonian democracy.

The Characteristics of the Western People

Travelers into the

Northwest during the early years of the nineteenth century were agreed

that the people of that region were almost uniformly marked by the

characteristics common to an independent yeomanry. A close observer thus

recorded his impressions: "A spirit of adventurous enterprise, a

willingness to go through any hardship to accomplish an object....

Independence of thought and action. They have felt the influence of

these principles from their childhood. Men who can endure anything; that

have lived almost without restraint, free as the mountain air or as the

deer and the buffalo of their forests, and who know they are Americans

all.... An apparent roughness which some would deem rudeness of

manner.... Where there is perfect equality in a neighborhood of people

who know little about each other's previous history or ancestry but

where each is lord of the soil he cultivates. Where a log cabin is all

that the best of families can expect to have for years and of course can

possess few of the external decorations which have so much influence in

creating a diversity of rank in society. These circumstances have laid

the foundation for that equality of intercourse, simplicity of manners,

want of deference, want of reserve, great readiness to make

acquaintances, freedom of speech, indisposition to brook real or

imaginary insults which one witnesses among people of the West."

This equality, this independence, this rudeness so often described by

the traveler as marking a new country, were all accentuated by the

character of the settlers themselves. Traces of the fierce, unsociable,

eagle-eyed, hard-drinking hunter remained. The settlers who followed the

hunter were, with some exceptions, soldiers of the Revolutionary army,

farmers of the "middling order," and mechanics from the towns,--English,

Scotch-Irish, Germans,--poor in possessions and thrown upon the labor of

their own hands for support. Sons and daughters from well-to-do Eastern

homes sometimes brought softer manners; but the equality of life and the

leveling force of labor in forest and field soon made them one in spirit

with their struggling neighbors. Even the preachers and teachers, who

came when the cabins were raised in the clearings and rude churches and

schoolhouses were built, preached sermons and taught lessons that

savored of the frontier, as any one may know who reads Peter

Cartwright's A Muscular Christian or Eggleston's The Hoosier



The East Alarmed

A people so independent as the Westerners and so

attached to local self-government gave the conservative East many a rude

shock, setting gentlemen in powdered wigs and knee breeches agog with

the idea that terrible things might happen in the Mississippi Valley.

Not without good grounds did Washington fear that "a touch of a feather

would turn" the Western settlers away from the seaboard to the

Spaniards; and seriously did he urge the East not to neglect them, lest

they be "drawn into the arms of, or be dependent upon foreigners."

Taking advantage of the restless spirit in the Southwest, Aaron Burr,

having disgraced himself by killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, laid

wild plans, if not to bring about a secession in that region, at least

to build a state of some kind out of the Spanish dominions adjoining

Louisiana. Frightened at such enterprises and fearing the dominance of

the West, the Federalists, with a few conspicuous exceptions, opposed

equality between the sections. Had their narrow views prevailed, the

West, with its new democracy, would have been held in perpetual tutelage

to the seaboard or perhaps been driven into independence as the thirteen

colonies had been not long before.

Eastern Friends of the West

Fortunately for the nation, there were

many Eastern leaders, particularly from the South, who understood the

West, approved its spirit, and sought to bring the two sections together

by common bonds. Washington kept alive and keen the zeal for Western

advancement which he acquired in his youth as a surveyor. He never grew

tired of urging upon his Eastern friends the importance of the lands

beyond the mountains. He pressed upon the governor of Virginia a project

for a wagon road connecting the seaboard with the Ohio country and was

active in a movement to improve the navigation of the Potomac. He

advocated strengthening the ties of commerce. "Smooth the roads," he

said, "and make easy the way for them, and then see what an influx of

articles will be poured upon us; how amazingly our exports will be

increased by them; and how amply we shall be compensated for any trouble

and expense we may encounter to effect it." Jefferson, too, was

interested in every phase of Western development--the survey of lands,

the exploration of waterways, the opening of trade, and even the

discovery of the bones of prehistoric animals. Robert Fulton, the

inventor of the steamboat, was another man of vision who for many years

pressed upon his countrymen the necessity of uniting East and West by a

canal which would cement the union, raise the value of the public lands,

and extend the principles of confederate and republican government.

The Difficulties of Early Transportation

Means of communication

played an important part in the strategy of all those who sought to

bring together the seaboard and the frontier. The produce of the

West--wheat, corn, bacon, hemp, cattle, and tobacco--was bulky and the

cost of overland transportation was prohibitive. In the Eastern market,

"a cow and her calf were given for a bushel of salt, while a suit of

'store clothes' cost as much as a farm." In such circumstances, the

inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley were forced to ship their produce

over a long route by way of New Orleans and to pay high freight rates

for everything that was brought across the mountains. Scows of from five

to fifty tons were built at the towns along the rivers and piloted down

the stream to the Crescent City. In a few cases small ocean-going

vessels were built to transport goods to the West Indies or to the

Eastern coast towns. Salt, iron, guns, powder, and the absolute

essentials which the pioneers had to buy mainly in Eastern markets were

carried over narrow wagon trails that were almost impassable in the

rainy season.

The National Road

To far-sighted men, like Albert Gallatin, "the

father of internal improvements," the solution of this problem was the

construction of roads and canals. Early in Jefferson's administration,

Congress dedicated a part of the proceeds from the sale of lands to

building highways from the headwaters of the navigable waters emptying

into the Atlantic to the Ohio River and beyond into the Northwest

territory. In 1806, after many misgivings, it authorized a great

national highway binding the East and the West. The Cumberland Road, as

it was called, began in northwestern Maryland, wound through southern

Pennsylvania, crossed the narrow neck of Virginia at Wheeling, and then

shot almost straight across Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, into Missouri.

By 1817, stagecoaches were running between Washington and Wheeling; by

1833 contractors had carried their work to Columbus, Ohio, and by 1852,

to Vandalia, Illinois. Over this ballasted road mail and passenger

coaches could go at high speed, and heavy freight wagons proceed in

safety at a steady pace.

Canals and Steamboats

A second epoch in the economic union of the

East and West was reached with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825,

offering an all-water route from New York City to the Great Lakes and

the Mississippi Valley. Pennsylvania, alarmed by the advantages

conferred on New York by this enterprise, began her system of canals and

portages from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, completing the last link in

1834. In the South, the Chesapeake and Ohio Company, chartered in 1825,

was busy with a project to connect Georgetown and Cumberland when

railways broke in upon the undertaking before it was half finished.

About the same time, Ohio built a canal across the state, affording

water communication between Lake Erie and the Ohio River through a rich

wheat belt. Passengers could now travel by canal boat into the West with

comparative ease and comfort, if not at a rapid speed, and the bulkiest

of freight could be easily handled. Moreover, the rate charged for

carrying goods was cut by the Erie Canal from $32 a ton per hundred

miles to $1. New Orleans was destined to lose her primacy in the

Mississippi Valley.

The diversion of traffic to Eastern markets was also stimulated by

steamboats which appeared on the Ohio about 1810, three years after

Fulton had made his famous trip on the Hudson. It took twenty men to

sail and row a five-ton scow up the river at a speed of from ten to

twenty miles a day. In 1825, Timothy Flint traveled a hundred miles a

day on the new steamer Grecian "against the whole weight of the

Mississippi current." Three years later the round trip from Louisville

to New Orleans was cut to eight days. Heavy produce that once had to

float down to New Orleans could be carried upstream and sent to the East

by way of the canal systems.

Thus the far country was brought near. The timid no longer hesitated at

the thought of the perilous journey. All routes were crowded with

Western immigrants. The forests fell before the ax like grain before the

sickle. Clearings scattered through the woods spread out into a great

mosaic of farms stretching from the Southern Appalachians to Lake

Michigan. The national census of 1830 gave 937,000 inhabitants to Ohio;

343,000 to Indiana; 157,000 to Illinois; 687,000 to Kentucky; and

681,000 to Tennessee.

With the increase in population and the growth of agriculture came

political influence. People who had once petitioned Congress now sent

their own representatives. Men who had hitherto accepted without

protests Presidents from the seaboard expressed a new spirit of dissent

in 1824 by giving only three electoral votes for John Quincy Adams; and

four years later they sent a son of the soil from Tennessee, Andrew

Jackson, to take Washington's chair as chief executive of the

nation--the first of a long line of Presidents from the Mississippi