صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

ident Fillmore communicated information to the effect that Texas was preparing to assert jurisdiction over the disputed part, and indicated his determination to resist such attempt by force. He suggested, however, that the difference might be settled by an indemnity to the state for the surrender of its claim. This, in fact, was one of the features of the compromise, and the efforts of Fillmore were now joined to those of Clay and others who were striving for the proposed adjustment. The various measures which went to make it up were embodied in separate bills which were passed one after another by both the Senate and House, in most cases by a decisive majority. The votes in opposition were cast by the radicals both North and South, and in several cases the result was attained by refusals of opponents to vote at all. Six senators and twenty-seven representatives from slave states voted for the California bill; three senators and thirty-one representatives from free states for the fugitive-slave bill; and six senators and three representatives from slave states for the bill to abolish the slave-trade in the District of Columbia. On the whole, the determining vote for the compromise came from the Ohio Valley states, together with Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. For the rest, the voting followed in the main the lines of sectional interest.1

The actual compromise included so many details 1 Cf. Rhodes, United States, I., 181-185.

that it is hard to know just where and to what degree the two sides gave way. The new fugitiveslave law, with its more drastic penalties for aid and rescue, and its "summary process" of taking testimony, was balanced by the provision for the restriction on the slave - trade in the District of Columbia. Texas accepted a diminution of the. boundaries claimed in 1836, leaving Santa Fe" in New Mexico. A division of that territory into a northern half, Utah, and a southern, New Mexico, at the line of 370 seemed an indirect method of asserting the old principle of the compromise line. The crux of the compromise was the territorial clause of the New Mexico and Utah acts, which read as follows: Provided that, when ready for statehood, "the said Territory . . . shall be admitted into the Union, with or without slavery, as their Constitution may prescribe at the time of admission."

Was disunion, absolute and permanent, the only alternative of compromise? The question may now be lightly dismissed; but in 1850 it was more pressing and important. It is no easy matter to look back from the stand-point of present conditions and see the struggle of that year in its true perspective. But as one recalls the evident indisposition of the North to resist secession in 1861, the willingness to "let the erring sisters depart in peace" that disappeared only when Fort Sumter was attacked 1—and this after the fugitive-slave law and 1 Hart, Am. Hist. Told by Contemps., IV., 186.

the contest over Kansas had done their work towards quickening the animosity of the fast diverging sections—it does not seem so difficult to believe that peaceful and successful secession in 1850 would have been entirely possible. The compromise, however, both saved the bond and lighted the fire the heat of which was to weld the Union.

The expansion impulse, in spite of the weakening influence of sectional divergence, had accomplished its ends. The boundary of the United States rested at length on the shore of the Pacific, and the territory thus won was given legal status and organized governments. The movement led to occasion of great political discord, and undoubtedly served to emphasize the threatening diversity of interest between North and South. The real causes, however, of the discord were older and deeper, and it would have come without the annexation of Texas or the Mexican War; for neither of these was the necessary antecedent of the struggle for Kansas, the sectional party organization of 1856, the Republican victory of i860, and the secession which followed. It is well for the Union and for American interests that the quarrel between the sections did not develop so rapidly as to prevent or seriously to delay the last great wave of westward extension.

CHAPTER XXI
CRITICAL ESSAY ON AUTHORITIES

BIBLIOGRAPHICAL AIDS

IN finding his way through the great mass of historical literature relative to the period covered by this volume, the student will obtain especially useful assistance from three works. J. N. Lamed, The Literature of American History, a Bibliographical Guide (1902), is written on the co-operative plan by about forty specialists, the materials being subdivided into classified lists and each title accompanied by a brief critical evaluation; those of greatest importance for the westward-extension movement will be found grouped under "Period of the Slavery Question '' and'' Midcontinental and Pacific Regions.'' Channing and Hart, Guide to the Study of American History (1896), is of special value to teachers and advanced students: chapters xxi. and xxii. contain a list of specific references in which are included those belonging to the period of 18411850. Justin Winsor, Narrative and Critical History of America (8 vols., 1886-1889), though it deals with only a few of the more important aspects of the history of the United States under the Constitution, is still very useful for the field of this book, especially vol. VII., chaps, v.-vii., and Appendix (first part). Worthy of mention also are William E. Poster, References to the History of Presidential Administrations, 178Q-1885 (1885); Edwin E. Sparks, Topical Reference Lists in American History, etc. (1893), an<i *ne references appended to the chapters in Woodrow Wilson, A History of the American People (5 vols., 1902). The best guide to the publications of the United States government is the Table of and Annotated Index to the Congressional Series of United States Public Documents (1902), prepared in the office of the superintendent of documents. A general indication of the nature of the unpublished material in possession of the national government will be found in Van Tyne and Leland, Guide to the Archives of the Government of the United States in Washington (1904). For investigation that leads into periodicals, W. F. Poole, An Index to Periodical Literature (several editions), is indispensable.

GENERAL SECONDARY WORKS

Foremost among the elaborate works covering the period are Hermann E. von Hoist, Constitutional and Political History of the United States (translated from the German by Lalor, Mason, and Shorey, 8 vols., 1876-1892), and James Schouler, History of the United States of America under the Constitution (6 vols., 1899). Both these histories are valuable, but in the ethical rather than the true historical vein, and neither shows insight into the real motives of the South in joining issue with the North as to slavery. Bryant and Gay, A Popular History of the United States (4 vols., 1876-1881), is subject to the same criticism, and is, moreover, ill - proportioned and of small value to the investigator. Woodrow Wilson, A History of the American People (5 vols., 1905), gives a brief general survey of the westward movement, which, while not always accurate in detail, is illuminating in many of its generalizations and rational in its exposition. In this, as in other periods of United States history, the student will find useful Alexander Johnston's summarized descriptions and explanations in John J. Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science (3 vols., 1890), reprinted separately, edited by J. A. Woodburn (2 vols., 1905). For the series of presidential elections, a good treatment, though not entirely free from prejudice, is Edward Stanwood, A History of the Presidency (1898).

« السابقةمتابعة »