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for Chapter 2
OF VOTING RIGHTS
THE LOG CABIN
AN INDIAN VIEW
OF TEARS: ONE STATE'S APOLOGY
SETTLEMENT ON THE FRONTIER
OF FRONTIER ILLINOIS
TERMS OF SALE, 1785‑1820
OF JULY ON THE OVERLAND TRAIL
TO THE UNITED STATES, 1820‑1860
CHINA: THE ORIGINS OF CHINESE AMERICA
FINNEY ON THE OBLIGATION OF THE CHURCH
THOREAU, "CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE"
ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
SISTERS ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
for Week 2
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Female Moral Reform Society
Lowell, Massachusetts, 1823
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Sarah and Angelina Grimke
Women's Rights Convention
Rev. Charles Finney
The Spoils System
Monroe Doctrine, proposed in the President's annual message
to Congress on December 2, 1823, was the first major assertion
of American foreign policy. Part of the document is presented
the wars of the European powers in matters relating to themselves
we have never taken any part, nor does it comport with our policy
so to do. It is only when our rights are invaded or seriously
menaced that we resent injuries or make preparation for our
defense. With the movements in this hemisphere we are
of necessity more immediately connected, and by causes which
must be obvious to all enlightened and impartial observers.
The political system of the allied powers is essentially different
in this respect from that of America... We owe it, therefore,
to candor and to the amicable relations existing between the
United States and those powers to declare that we should consider
any attempt on their part to extend their system to any portion
of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety.
With the existing colonies or dependencies of any European power
we have not interfered and shall not interfere. But with
the governments who have declared their independence and maintained
it, and whose independence we have, on great consideration and
on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition
for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling in any other
manner their destiny, by any European power in any other light
than as the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward
the United States.
President James Monroe's Message to Congress, December 2, 1823.
EXTENSION OF VOTING RIGHTS
passages below reflect the transformation of the American political
system as a consequence of the expansion of voting rights.
In the first vignette James Kent, a conservative delegate to
the 1821 New York state constitutional convention which extended
voting rights to all white males, argues in vain for preserving
property requirements. The chart shows the dramatic increase
in the number and percentages of Americans voting in presidential
elections between 1824 and 1844.
By the report before us, we propose to annihilate, at one stroke,
all those property distinctions and to bow before the idol of
universal suffrage. That extreme democratic principle,
when applied to the legislative and executive departments of
the government, has been regarded with terror, by the wise men
of every age, because in every European republic, ancient and
modern, in which
has been tried, it has terminated disastrously, and been productive
of corruption, injustice, violence, and tyranny...
The apprehended danger from the experiment of universal suffrage
applied to the whole legislative department, is no dream of
the imagination. It is too mighty an excitement for the
moral constitution of men to endure. The tendency of universal
suffrage is to jeopardize the rights of property and the principles
of liberty. There is a constant tendency...in the poor
to covet a share in the plunder of the rich; in the debtor to
relax or avoid the obligation of contracts; in the majority
to tyrannize over the minority, and trample down their rights;
in the indolent and profligate to cast the whole burdens of
society upon the industrious and the virtuous; and there is
a tendency in ambitious and wicked men to inflame those combustible
Presidential Voting, 1824 - 1844
% cast ballots
*There were no political parties in 1824.
Two group, led respectively by Andrew Jackson and by John Quincy
Adams and Henry Clay emerged shortly after. The Jackson
partisans become the Democrats. The anti‑Jackson
factions became the Whig party in 1834.
Richard Current, American History: A Survey, (New York:
Knopf, 1961), p. 256; Stephan Thernstrom, A History of the
American People, Vol. I, (New York, 1989), p. 327.
LOG CABIN CANDIDATE
1840 presidential contest between General William Henry Harrison,
the Whig candidate, and President Martin Van Buren, the Democratic
standard bearer, heralded a new era in American politics with
emphasis on symbols rather than substance, political slogans,
image manipulation, and "negative campaign" ads.
The following vignette describes the campaign.
The Whigs cloaked their champion in familiar heroic garb as
an Indian fighter and victorious general in the War of 1812...
But almost immediately they grafted a new and very different
kind of symbol onto the campaign, the Log Cabin. On December
11, 1839, a newspaper correspondent printed his own facetious
answer to a...question about how to "get rid of Harrison."
The reporter (himself a Democrat) printed this answer, "Give
him a barrel of hard cider, and settle a pension of two thousand
a year on him, and....he will sit the remainder of his days
in his log cabin."
This was the opening the Whigs had been waiting for. The
Democrats had won elections by presenting themselves as the
party of...the common man, while condemning the Whigs as aristocrats
and friends of wealth and privilege. Now the Whigs could
turn the tables. In early January 1840, the New York
Daily Whig replied that only "pampered office-holders"
who "sneer at the idea of making a poor man president"
would consider "log cabin candidate" a term with
which to "reproach" General Harrison. Within
a week, other Whig papers joined in. The editor of the
Whig paper in Galena, Illinois, told his readers that "Gen.
Harrison is sneered at by the Eastern office-holders' pimps,
as the 'Log cabin' candidate." But those who live
in log cabins "have a way of taking care of themselves
when insulted, which has sometimes surprised folks."
On January 20, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, rally took the next
step in the transformation of the Whig campaign. The Whig
managers openly presented Harrison to the rally as "The
Log-Cabin Candidate." They prepared a huge transparency
of what was purportedly [Harrison's] log cabin (his original
"cabin" had long since been expanded into an impressive
sixteen room house) and placed it next to a barrel of cider
and a woodpile. Borrowing from Davy Crockett, [the Whig
Congressman from Tennessee] they pinned a coonskin cap on the
Recasting Harrison as a homespun farmer...also meant recasting
Van Buren as the...opposite. The Whigs ridiculed the president
as a foppish, effeminate dandy, given to extravagant, aristocratic
tastes. Davy Crockett portrayed Van Buren as so "laced
up in corsets, such as women wear... [that] it would be difficult
to say from his personal appearance whether he was a man or
woman, but for his large red and gray whiskers."
Pennsylvania Congressman Charles Ogle described the Van Buren
White House "as splendid as that of the Caesars, and as
richly adorned as the proudest Asiatic mansion."
"The landscaping...was designed to resemble an Amazon's
bosom, with a miniature knoll on its apex, to denote the nipple."
Ogle ridiculed the four mirrors Van Buren purchased for the
White House as a cost of $2,400. "What would frugal
and honest Hoosiers think of a democratic peacock, in full court
costume, strutting by the hour before golden-framed mirrors,
nine feet high and four feet wide?
R. Jackson Wilson, The Pursuit of
(Belmont, California, 1990), pp. 342-345.
DESTINY: TWO VIEWS
the 1830s and 1840s, a period of rapid territorial expansion,
American nationalists spoke of the nation's divinely inspired
mission to control most of the North American continent.
Not surprisingly many Americans such as those writing in the
Democratic Review, July 1845, embraced the concept with
religious zeal. William Ellery Channing, in an 1837 letter
to Henry Clay, however expressed the doubts of many Americans
about the inevitability of American expansion.
Democratic Review: Texas has been absorbed into the
Union in the inevitable fulfillment of the general law which
is rolling our population westward... It was disintegrated
from Mexico in the natural course of events, by a process perfectly
legitimate on its own part, blameless on our... [Its]
incorporation into the Union was not only inevitable, but the
most natural, right and proper thing in the world...
will, probably, next fall away from... Mexico... Imbecile and
distracted, Mexico never can exert any real governmental authority
over such a country. The Anglo‑Saxon foot is already
on its borders. Already the advance guard of the irresistible
army of Anglo‑Saxon emigration has begun to pour down
upon it, armed with the plough and the rifle and marking its
trail with schools and colleges, courts and representative halls,
mills and meeting houses. A population will soon be in
actual occupation of California, over which it will be idle
for Mexico to dream of dominion... All this without agency
of our government, without responsibility of our people‑in
the natural flow of events, the spontaneous working of principles,
and the adaptation of the tendencies and wants of the human
race to the elemental circumstances in the midst of which they
find themselves placed.
Channing: Did this country know itself, or were it disposed
to profit by self‑knowledge, it would feel the necessity
of laying an immediate curb on its passion for extended territory...
We are a restless people, prone to encroachment, impatient of
the ordinary laws of progress... We boast of our rapid
growth, forgetting that, throughout nature, noble growths are
It is full time that we should lay on ourselves serious, resolute
restraint. Possessed of a domain, vast enough for the
growth of ages, it is time for us to stop in the career of acquisition
and conquest. Already endangered by our greatness, we
cannot advance without imminent peril to our institutions, union,
prosperity, virtue, and peace...
It is sometimes said, that nations are swayed by laws, as unfailing
as those which govern matter; that they have their destinies;
that their character and position carry them forward irresistibly
to their goal;... that...the Indians have melted before the
white man, and the mixed, disgraced race of Mexico must melt
before the Anglo‑Saxon. Away with this vile sophistry!
There is no necessity to crime. There is no fate to justify
rapacious nations, any more than to justify gamblers and robbers,
in plunder. We boast of the progress of society, and this
progress consists in the substitution of reason and moral principle
for the sway of brute force... We talk of accomplishing our
destiny. So did the late conqueror of Europe [Napoleon];
and destiny consigned him to a lonely rock in the ocean, the
prey of an ambition which destroyed no peace but his own.
John M. Blum, The National Experience, (New York, 1985),
INDIAN REMOVAL ACT
passage below is from the Indian Removal Act of 1830 which authorized
President Andrew Jackson to move Indians residing east of the
Mississippi to lands in the West. The Indian Removal Act
set the stage for the Trail of Tears.
An Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians
residing in any of the states or territories, and for their
removal west of the river Mississippi. Be it enacted by
the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America, in Congress assembled.
That it shall and may be lawful for the President of the United
States to cause so much of any territory belonging to the United
States, west of the river Mississippi, not included in any state
or organized territory, and to which the Indian title has been
extinguished, as he may judge necessary, to be divided unto
a suitable number of districts, for the reception of such tribes
or nations of Indians as may choose to exchange the lands where
they now reside, and remover there; and to cause each of said
districts to be so described by natural or artificial marks,
as to be easily distinguished for every other...
And be it further enacted,
That in the making of any such exchange or exchanges, it shall
and may be lawful for the President solemnly to assure the tribe
or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States
will forever secure and guaranty to them, and their heirs or
successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they
prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant
to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided always,
That such lands shall revert to the United States, if the Indians
become extinct, or abandon the same.
And be it further enacted,
That it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such
tribe or nation to be protected, at their new resident, against
all interruption or disturbance from any other tribe or nation
of Indians, or from any other person or persons whatever...
Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green, eds., The Cherokee Removal:
A Brief History with Documents (Boston, 1995), pp. 116-17.
REMOVAL: AN INDIAN VIEW
the brief passage below Speckled Snake, a Cherokee, describes
his response to the proposal to remove his people to Indian
Brothers! We have heard the talk of our great father;
it is very kind. He says he loves his red children.
Brothers! When the white man first came to these shores,
the Muscogees gave him land, and kindled him a fire to make
him comfortable; and when the pale faces of the south made war
on him, their young men drew the tomahawk, and protected his
head from the scalping knife. But when the white man had warmed
himself before the Indian's fire, and filled himself with the
Indian's hominy, he became very large; he stopped not for the
mountain tops, and his feet covered the plains and the valleys.
His hands grasped the eastern and the western sea. Then
he became our great father. He loved his red children;
but said, "You must move a little farther, lest I should,
by accident, tread on you." With one foot he pushed
the red man over the Oconee, and with the other he trampled
down the graves of his fathers.
But our great father still loved his red children, and he soon
made them another talk. He said much; but it all meant
nothing, but "move a little farther; you are too near me."
I have heard a great many talks from our great father, and they
all begun and ended the same.
Brothers! When he made us a talk on a former occasion,
he said, "Get a little farther; go beyond the Oconee and
the Okmulgee; there is a pleasant country." He also said,
"It shall be yours forever." Now he says, "The
land you live on is not yours; go beyond the Mississippi; there
is game; there you may remain while the grass grows or the water
runs." Brothers! Will not our great father
come there also? He loves his red children, and his tongue
is not forked.
Wayne Moquin, ed., Great Documents in American Indian History,
(New York, 1973), pp. 149-150.
OF TEARS: ONE STATE'S APOLOGY
following vignette appeared as part of a 1992 Oregonian
article on the apology of the state of Georgia for its role
in Indian Removal 160 years earlier.
More than 160 years after Georgia officials ignored a direct
order from the U.S. Supreme Court to stop actions leading up
to the infamous Trail of Tears, the state is admitting it made
a mistake. Officials on Wednesday will formally pardon
tow missionaries jailed when the fought the state's seizure
of Cherokee Indian land. "This is one of many injustices
done, but it's something that we could do something about,"
said Marsha Bailey, spokeswoman for the state Board of Pardons
and Paroles. "It was a miscarriage of justice."
The pardon says it "acts to remove a stain on the history
of criminal justice in Georgia" land acknowledges the state
usurped Cherokee sovereignty and ignored the Supreme Court.
legislator and Cherokee descendant called the pardon a sign
that Georgia finally realizes the scope of its mistreatment
of the Cherokee. "If we ever had political prisoners
in this state or this nation, these two were the best examples,"
said state Rep. Bill Dover, chief executive of the Georgia Tribe
of Eastern Cherokee. "It's been a sore place in the
side of the Indian people for all these generations that these
two wonderful Christian gentlemen were sent to prison because
they believe in God and they believed in the Cherokee Nation,"
Samuel Austin Worcester and Elihu Butler were sentenced to four
years in jail in 1831 for residing in the Cherokee Nation without
a license. A law was enacted to try to stop the two from
protesting the state's seizure of Cherokee land in northwest
Georgia. Until 1828, the Cherokee Nation was considered
a sovereign foreign country, with its land off limits to settlers.
But in 1829, gold was discovered in Dahlonega and Georgia seized
much of the land and abolished Cherokee sovereignty. Worcester
and Butler, who lived at the Cherokee capital of New Echota,
attracted national attention to the American Indians' cause.
To muzzle them, the state required all white men living on Cherokee
land to obtain a state license. Worcester and Butler refused
and were convicted of "high misdemeanor." The
missionaries appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1832,
Chief Justice John Marshall declared Georgia had no constitutional
right to extend any state laws over the Cherokee, including
seizing their land, and must release the missionaries.
But Georgia ignored the ruling. The missionaries spend
16 months doing hard labor as part of a chain gang, Dover said.
They were released in time to join the Trail of Tears, when
Georgia forced up to 17,000 Cherokees to move west. Thousands
died of cold and starvation during the march, but the missionaries
made it to Oklahoma and continued their work among Cherokee
The state repealed its Cherokee laws in 1979, but until now
never formally admitted the actions were wrong, said Dover.
The Portland Oregonian, November 23, 1992.
MIGRATION: SETTLEMENT ON THE FRONTIER
passages below, a poem extolling the attractions of frontier
Illinois in the 1820s, and a frontier farmer's description of
community life at the edge of settlement in 1836, explain the
both the lure of the frontier and the impact of the migratory
tendencies of Americans on attitudes toward the land and patterns
of social organization.
OF FRONTIER ILLINOIS
Come all you good farmers that on your plow depend,
Come listen to a story, come listen to a friend:
Oh, leave your fields of childhood, you enterprising boys:
Come travel west and settle on the plains of Illinois.
Illinois, it is as fine country as ever has been seen,
If old Adam had traveled over that, perhaps he would say the
"All in the garden of Eden, when I was but a boy,
There was nothing I could compare with the plains of Illinois."
Perhaps you have a few acres that near your friends' adjoin,
Your family is growing large, for them you must provide,
Come, leave your friends of childhood, you enterprising boys,
Come travel west and settle on the plains of Illinois.
I have spoken of the moveable part of the community, and unfortunately
for the western country, it constitutes too great a proportion
of the whole community. Next to hunting, Indian wars,
and the wonderful exuberance of Kentucky, the favorite topic
is new countries. They talk of them. They are attached
to the associations connected with such conversations.
They have a fatal effect upon their exertions. They have
not motive, in consonance with these feelings, to build "for
posterity and the immortal gods." They only make
such improvements as they can leave without reluctance and without
loss. I have
every where noted the operation of this impediment in the way
of those permanent and noble improvements which grow out of
a love for that appropriated spot where we are born, and where
we expect to die. Scarcely has a family fixed itself,
and enclosed a plantation with the universal fence‑‑split
rails‑‑reared a suitable number of log buildings,
in short achieved the first rough improvements, that appertain
to the most absolute necessity than the assembled family about
the winter fire begin to talk about the prevailing events,‑‑some
country that has become the rage, as a point of immigration.
They offer their farm for sale, and move away.
Stephan Thernstrom, A History of the American People,
Vol. I, (New York, 1989), pp. 300, 309.
LANDS: TERMS OF SALE, 1785‑1820
various public land laws encouraged settlement of the American
frontier and provided the major source of revenue to the United
States treasury prior to the Civil War. Listed below are
the most important land laws enacted between 1785 and 1820 which
promoted westward expansion.
Ordinance of 1785. Allowed a minimum purchase
of 640 acres and set a minimum price of $ 1 an acre. Made
no provision for credit.
Act of 1796. Raised the minimum price to $2 an
acre but allowed a year's credit on half of the amount due.
Act of 1800. Reduced the minimum purchase from 640 to
320 acres and extended credit to four years, with a down payment
of one fourth of the whole amount and three later installments.
Act of 1804 Further reduced the minimum purchase to
160 acres. (Now a man with as little as $80 on hand could obtain
a farm from the government, although he would still owe $240
to be paid within four years.)
Act of 1820. Reduced the minimum purchase still further,
to 80 acres, and the minimum price to $1.25 an acre, but abolished
the credit system.
Most public lands were sold at auctions and much of it sold
for more than the minimum price.
MIGRATION TO 1840
following table shows the growth of the population of the states
between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.
The date of admission to the Union is listed next to the state.
Richard Current, American History: A Survey, (New York:
Knopf, 1961), p. 219; John M. Blum, The
National Experience: A History of the
(New York, Harcourt Brace, 1989), p.189.
brief description of a frontier farm in southwest Ohio in 1830
by British writer Frances Trollope provides a glimpse into early
19th Century agricultural life and illustrates the independence
and self-sufficiency that necessarily comes with settlement
in isolated settings.
visited the farm which interested us particularly from its wild
and lonely situation, and from the entire dependence of the
inhabitants upon their own resources. It was a partial
clearing in the very heart of the forest. The house was
built on the side of a hill, so steep that a high ladder was
necessary to enter the front door, while the back one opened
against the hill side: at the foot of this sudden eminence ran
a clear stream, whose bed had been deepened into a little reservoir,
just opposite the house. A noble field of Indian corn
stretched away into the forest on one side, and a few half‑cleared
acres, with a shed or two upon them, occupied the other, giving
accommodation to cows, horses, pigs, and chickens innumerable.
Immediately before the house was a small potato‑garden,
with a few peach and apple trees. The house was built
of logs, and consisted of two rooms, besides a little shanty
or lean-to, that was used as a kitchen. Both rooms were
comfortably furnished with good beds, drawers, etc. The
farmer's wife, and a young woman who looked like her sister,
were spinning, and three little children were playing about.
The woman told me that they spun and wove all the cotton and
woolen garments of the family, and knit all the stockings; her
husband, though not a shoemaker by trade, made all the shoes.
She manufactured all the soap and candies they used, and prepared
her sugar from the sugar‑trees on their farm. All
she wanted with money, she said, was to buy coffee, tea, and
whiskey, and she could 'get enough any day by sending a batch
of butter and chicken to market.' They used no wheat,
nor sold any of their corn, which, though it appeared a very
large quantity, was not more than they required to make their
bread and cakes of various kinds, and to feed all their live
stock during the winter. She did not look in health, and
said they had all had ague [fever] in 'the fall'; but she seemed
contented and proud of her independence; though it was in somewhat
mournful accent that she said: 'Tis strange to us to see company.
set a hundred times, I expect the sun may rise and before I
shall see another human that does not belong to the
Frances Trollope, Domestic Manners of the Americans reprinted
in Pauline Maier, Inventing America: A History of the United
States, vol. 1. ( New York, 2003), p. 377.
FOURTH OF JULY ON THE OVERLAND TRAIL
Fourth of July in 19th Century America was a time of widespread
celebration. Even as wagon trains traveled west on Overland
Trail to Oregon and California, travelers took time off to celebrate.
The following vignette comes from the diary of William Swain,
a 27-year-old farmer from western New York who, like thousands
of others in 1849, was headed to the California gold fields
to strike it rich.
[At sunrise a salute of thirteen guns was fired.] We lay
in bed late this morning and after a late breakfast set about
getting fuel for cooking our celebration dinner.
Our celebration of the day was very good, much better than I
anticipated. We had previously invited Mr. Sexton of the
Plymouth company...to deliver an address, and we had appointed
Mr. Pratt to read the Declaration of Independence. We
had one of the tents pitched at a short distance from the camp,
in which was placed a table with seats for the officers of the
day and the orators. The table was spread with a blanket.
At twelve o'clock we formed a procession and walked to the stand
to the tune of 'The Star Spangled Banner.' The President
of the day called the meeting to order. We listened to a prayer
by Rev. Mr. Hobart, then remarks and the reading of the Declaration
of Independence by Mr. Pratt, and then the address by Mr. Sexton.
We then listened to 'Hail Columbia.' This celebration
was very pleasing, especially the address, which was well delivered
and good enough for any assembly at home.
We then marched to the 'hall,' which was formed by running the
wagons in two rows close enough together for the wagon covers
to reach from one to the other, thus forming a fine hall roofed
by the covers and a comfortable place for the dinner table,
which was set down the center.
Dinner consisted of ham, beans, boiled and baked, biscuits,
john cake, apple pie, sweet cake, rice pudding, pickles, vinegar,
pepper sauce and mustard coffee, sugar, and milk. All enjoyed
After dinner the toasting commenced. The boys had raked
and scraped together all the brandy they' could, and they toasted,
hurrayed, and drank till reason was out and brandy was in.
I stayed till the five regular toasts were drunk; and then,
being disgusted with their conduct, I went to our tent in which
I enjoyed myself better than those who were drinking, carousing,
and hallooing all around the camp.
J. S. Holliday, The World Rushed In:
Gold Rush Experience
(New York, 1981), pp. 167-168.
IMMIGRATION TO THE UNITED STATES,
Country of Origin
Total Number of Immigrants
of Immigrants By Country of Origin
France, Switzerland &
Lewis Todd and Merle Curti, Rise of the American Nation,
(New York, 1982), p. 286; John M. Blum, The National Experience,
(New York, 1985), p. 313.
FROM CHINA: THE ORIGINS OF CHINESE AMERICA
the passage below historian Shih-shan Henry Tsai describes the
push factors that prompted Chinese emigration to the United
States beginning in the 1840s.
Almost all of the Chinese who emigrated to the United States
in the nineteenth century were natives of Kwangtung, a southern
Chinese province of about eighty thousand square miles, approximately
the area of the state of Oregon. In this hilly province
only 16% of the land was cultivated as late as 1955, and, in
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, much of this cultivated
land was used to grow such commercial crops as fruit, sugarcane,
indigo, and tobacco instead of rice, the staple food of the
Chinese. Consequently, the common folk suffered from the
ever-rising price of rice. This situation was further
aggravated by the increase in population throughout the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries.... In 1787 the population of Kwangtung
numbered 16 million; by 1850 it had increased to 28 million.
But during the 1850s and 1860s Kwangtung was devastated by the
Taipings and the Triad-led rebels. Fighting also broke
out between Punti (Cantonese speaking) and Hakka (Guest Settlers)
people in the region southwest of the Pearl River Delta.
These conflicts resulted in political disorder, social chaos,
and economic dislocations. The Hsin-ning hsien-chih
(Gazetteer of the Hsin-ning district) graphically described
the situation. "The fields in the four directions
were choked with weeds. Small families found it difficult
to make a living and often drowned their girl babies because
of the impossibility of looking after them." Emigration
was very much in evidence.
The largest portion of the Chinese in America come from Kwangtung's
most populous prefecture, Kwangchou, which contains the city
of Canton, and from the colony of Macao. The Cantonese
were more venturesome than most Chinese because of their early
contact with foreigners, and because British Hong Kong served
as a steppingstone for their adventures. Emigrant ships
that carried Chinese to California seldom sailed directly from
any other port in China. More than nine-tenths of the
Chinese emigrants embarked from San Francisco at Hong Kong.
The emigrants traveled in junks, lorchas, or rafts over the
waterways of the Pearl River Delta from their native villages
to Hong Kong. The officials at Canton normally did not
interfere with their countrymen going to Hong Kong, nor did
the British authorities try to detain them.
Chinese emigrants obtained the money to pay their passage in
various ways. Some had saved money, others sold their
property, including land or hogs, to secure passage. Some
borrowed money from friends and relatives. Some pledged
their families as security for the loan. They came at
their own option, and when the arrived in California they were
free to go where they pleased and to engage in any occupation
Shih-shan Henry Tsai, China
and the Overseas Chinese in the United States, 1868-1911
(Fayetteville,1983), pp. 14, 16.
following is Nelson Chia-chi Ho's description of Portland's
Chinese community in the 19th Century.
The Chinese have been in Portland almost since its beginning
and have grown up with the city. Direct trade between
Portland and China began in 1851, when the brig Emma Preston
became the first vessel from Oregon to sail to Canton, China...
In the spring of 1857 [additional] Chinese arrived on the steamer
They became cooks in restaurants, or private homes, obtained
employment in laundries or worked as gardeners and servants
for wealthy Portland residents...
By the mid-1870s, the Chinese had become the largest ethnic
group in Portland.... In 1890, with a population of 5,184 in
a city of 46,385, Portland's Chinatown was a well-established
part of the city. In the late 1880s Chinatown stretched
along S.W. Second Avenue from Pine Street to Taylor Street and
into some adjacent areas. The center of the community
was at the intersection of Second Avenue and Alder Street.
The buildings people occupied were mainly of solid brick, built
by whites initially, but on long leases to the Chinese at enormous
rates. The bottom story of each building usually served
as a business of some sort. Store windows displayed a
variety of foods, including dried shark's fins, aged eggs, geese
and ducks (live or preserved in oil), fruits and confections.
The drug stores carried an assortment of products; dried reptiles,
preserved snakes, elk horn, ginseng, peppermint, licorice, and
a large inventory of medicinal herbs. Others conducted
business on the sidewalks with vegetables stalls, fruit stands,
and chicken coops. Laundry vendors with poles and baskets
squeezed through the maze of activities. Here pipes were
smoked and the mother tongue was spoken.
The upper floors frequently had wrought-iron balconies with
moon-like windows. These were the crowded living quarters
where some 20 persons could sleep in a 12-by-20 foot room in
bunks stacked from floor to ceiling...
The Chinese did not erect temples in Portland's Chinatown, but
had a common meeting place known as the Chinese Joss House,
which was in the upper floor of a building on Second Avenue.
Many whites...resented the presence of the Chinese....on one
occasion a [Chinese man] was once used to demonstrate the power
of electricity. This drew a large crowd, which greatly
enjoyed the sight of a Chinese being electrically shocked...
Before 1906, in the absence of consular representatives, the
residents of Portland's Chinatown enjoyed a measure of civil
autonomy. The merchant class soon became the ruling elite.
Because commercial success was so closely tied to social acceptance
in America, this elite enjoyed good relations with public officials.
The president of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association
was popularly deemed as the "Mayor of Chinatown,"
and was the semi-official representative of the Chinese government.
Finally, on October 2, 1906, in recognition of Portland's large
Chinese population and the importance of this city's trade with
China, Moy Back Hin, a Chinese millionaire in Portland, was
name the consul for...Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana,
with headquarters in Portland. The consul was the fourth
to be appointed to represent the Chinese government in the United
States. The other three were in San Francisco, Boston,
and New York.
Nelson Chia-chi Ho, Portland's Chinatown: The History of
An Urban Ethnic District, (Portland, 1981), pp. 9-17.
CHARLES FINNEY ON THE OBLIGATION OF THE CHURCH
Charles Finney, a New York City Presbyterian minister who moved
in the 1830s and later was President of Oberlin College from
1851 to 1866, was one of the nation's leading revivalists.
He was also an advocate of reform and encouraged the Church
to lead that effort. In this 1835 lecture he explains
the relationship between revivalism and reform.
There should be great and deep repentings on the part of ministers.
We, my brethren, must humble ourselves before God. It
will not do for us to suppose that it is enough to call on the
people to repent. We must repent, we must take the lead
in repentance, and then call on the church to follow.
The church must take right ground in regard to politics. Do
not suppose, now, that I am going to preach a political sermon,
or that I wish to have you join and get up a Christian party
in politics....But the time has come that Christians must vote
for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics, or the
Lord will curse them.
...And if [every man] will give his vote only for honest men,
the country will be obliged to have upright rulers. All
parties will be compelled to put up honest men as candidates...As
on the subjects of slavery and temperance, so on this subject,
the church must act right, or the country will be ruined...
The church must take the right ground on the subject of slavery...
Christians can no more take neutral ground on this subject...than
they can take neutral ground on the subject of sanctification
of the Sabbath. It is a great national sin...
There are those in the churches who are standing aloof from
the subject of moral reform, and who are as much afraid to have
anything said in the pulpit against lewdness, as if a thousand
devils had got up into the pulpit. On this subject, the
church need not expect to be permitted to take neutral ground.
In the providence of God, it is up for discussion. The
evils have been exhibited; the call has been made for reform
And what is to reform mankind but the truth? And who shall
present the truth if not the church and the ministry?
Away with the idea, that Christians can remain neutral, and
yet enjoy the approbation and blessing of God.
Richard N. Current and John A. Garraty, ed., Words that Made
American History, Vol. I, (Boston: Little, Brown and Co.,
1965), pp. 386‑387, 392.
DAVID THOREAU, "CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE"
David Thoreau wrote "Civil Disobedience" after spending
a night in a Massachusetts jail for refusing to pay his taxes
in protest of the Mexican War and slavery. He calls on
others to resist governmental policies which they feel are unjust.
Here are excerpts from his influential essay.
I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which
governs least," and I should like to see it acted up to
more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally
amounts to this, which also I believe: "That government
is best which governs not at all:" and when men are prepared
for it, that will be the kind of government which they will
have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most
governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes,
inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against
a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve
to prevail, may also at last be brought against a standing government.
The standing army is only an arm of the standing government.
The government itself, which is only the mode which the people
have chosen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused
and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness
the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals
using the standing government as their tool; for in the outset,
the people would not have consented to this measure.
This American government--what is it but a tradition, though
a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity,
but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has
not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single
man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the
people themselves; and, if ever they should use it in earnest
as a real one against each other, it will surely split.
But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must
have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din,
to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments
show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose
on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent,
we must all allow yet this government never of itself furthered
any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of
its way. It does not keep the country free. It
does not settle the West. It does not educate.
The character inherent in the American people has done all that
has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more,
if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For
government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in
letting one another alone...
But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who
call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no
government, but at once a better government. Let
every man make known what kind of government would command his
respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it....
Roger Babusci and others, Literature: The American Experience,
(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: 1989), p. 290.
MANN ON PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Mann, Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education for
12 years beginning in 1837, was the nation's leading proponent
of taxpayer‑supported public schools. In his 1849
report of the Board of Education to the state legislature, he
describes why public education should be supported.
As the child is father to the man, so may the training of the
schoolroom expand into the institutions and fortunes of the
According to the European theory, men are divided into classes,—some
to toil and earn, others to seize and enjoy. According
to the Massachusetts theory, all are to have an equal chance
for earning, and equal security in the enjoyment of what they
earn. The latter tends to equality of condition; the former
to the grossest inequalities.
Now, surely, nothing but Universal Education can counterwork
this tendency to the domination of capital and the servility
of labor. If one class possesses all the wealth and the
education, while the residue of society is ignorant and poor,
it matters not by what name the relation between them may be
called; the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile
dependents and subjects of the former. But if education
be equably diffused, it will draw property after it, by the
strongest of all attractions; for such a thing never did happen,
and never can happen, as that an intelligent and practical body
of men should be permanently poor...
then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great
equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the
social machinery... It gives each man the independence
and the means, by which he can resist the selfishness of other
men. It does better than to disarm the poor of their hostility
towards the rich; it prevents being poor...
But the beneficent power of education would not be exhausted,
even though it should peaceably abolish all the miseries that
spring from the coexistence, side by side, of enormous wealth
and squalid want. It has a higher function. Beyond
the power of diffusing old wealth, it has the prerogative of
creating new. It is a thousand times more lucrative than
fraud; and adds a thousand fold more to a nation's resources
than the most successful conquests. Knaves and robbers
can obtain only what was before possessed by others. But
education creates or develops new treasures...never before possessed
or dreamed of by any one...
For the creation of wealth, then, for the existence of a wealthy
people, and a wealthy nation, intelligence is the grand condition.
The number of improvers will increase, as the intellectual constituency,
if I may so call it, increases. Let this development precede,
and contributions, numberless, and of inestimable value, will
be sure to follow.
Massachusetts Board of Education, Twelfth Annual Report.
(Boston, 1849), 42-43, 55, 57, 59-60, 67-68, reprinted in Richard
W. Leopold, Arthur S. Link and Stanley Corbin, eds., Problems
in American History (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: 1966), p. 307-308.
William G. Brownlow, a leader of the American (Know‑Nothing)
Party advanced his fears of Roman Catholicism in an 1856 election
pamphlet, Americanism Contrasted
with Foreignism, Romanism, and Bogus Democracy
Popery is a system of mere human policy; altogether of Foreign
origin; Foreign in its support; importing Foreign vassals and
paupers by multiplied thousands; and sending into every State
and Territory in this Union, a most baneful Foreign and anti‑Republican
influence. Its... Pope, his Bishops and Priests, are politicians...
Associated with them for the purpose...of securing the Catholic
vote, are the worst class of American politicians, designing
demagogues, selfish office‑seekers, and bad men... These
politicians know that Popery, as a system is in the hands of
a Foreign despotism... But corrupt and ambitious politicians
in this country, are willing to act the part of traitors to
our laws and Constitution, for the sake of profitable offices;
and they are willing to sacrifice the Protestant Religion, on
the ancient and profligate altar of Rome, if they may but rise
to distinction on its ruins!...
Every Roman Catholic in the known world is under the absolute
control of the Catholic Priesthood... And it is this faculty
of concentration, this political influence, this power of the
Priesthood to control the Catholic community, and cause a vast
multitude of ignorant foreigners to vote as a unit, and thus
control the will of the American people, that had engendered
this opposition to the Catholic Church. It is this aggressive
policy and corrupting tendency of the Romish Church; this
organized and concentrated political power of a distinct class
of men; foreign by birth; inferior in intelligence and virtue
to the American people... which have called forth the opposition...
to the Catholic Church.
John M. Blum, The National Experience, (New York, 1985),
Massachusetts, was the first planned industrial city in the
United States and was the center of the Textile industry.
The first mill employees were primarily girls from the surrounding
communities. Here is a letter from "Susan" published
in 1844 in the Lowell Offering which describes one woman's
experiences in the mills.
I went into the mill to work a few days after I wrote you.
It looked very pleasant at first, the rooms were so light, spacious,
and clear, their girls so pretty and neatly dressed, and the
machines so brightly polished or nicely painted. The plants
in the windows, or on the overseer's bench....gave a pleasant
aspect to things....
Well, I went into the mill, and was put to learn with a very
patient girl‑‑a clever old maid. I should
be willing to be one myself if I could be as good as she is....
They set me to threading shuttles, and tying weaver's knots,
and such things, and now I have improved so that I can take
care of one loom. I could take care of two if I only had
eyes in the back part of my head, but I have not got used to
"looking two ways of a Sunday" yet.
At first the hours seemed very long, but I was so interested
in learning that I endured it very well; and when I went out
at night, the sound of the mill was in my ears, as of crickets,
frogs, all mingled together in strange discord. After
that it seemed as though cotton‑wool was in my ears, but
now I do not mind at all. You know that people learn to
sleep with the thunder of Niagara in their ears, and a cotton
mill is no worse, though you wonder that we do not have to hold
our breath in such noise.
It makes my feet ache and swell to stand so much, but I suppose
I shall get accustomed to that too. The girls generally
wear old shoes about their work, and you know nothing is easier;
but they almost all say that when they have worked here a year
or two they have to procure shores a size or tow larger than
befog the came. The right hand, which is the one used
in stopping and starting the loom, becomes larger than the left;
but in other respects the factory is not detrimental to a young
girl's appearance.... Though the number of men is small
in proportion there are many marriages here, and a great deal
of courting. I will tell you of this last sometime.
We go in at five o'clock; at seven we come out to breakfast;
at half‑ past seven we return to our work, and stay until
half‑past twelve. At one, or quarter‑past
one four months in the year, we return to our work, and stay
until seven at night. Then the evening is all our own,
which is more than some laboring girls can say, who think nothing
is more tedious than a factory life.
You ask if the girls are contented here: I ask you, if you know
of any one who is perfectly contented.... The girls here
are not contented; and there is no disadvantage in their situation
which they do not perceive as quickly, and lament as loudly,
as the sternest opponents of the factory system do. They
would scorn to say they were contented, if asked the question;
for it would compromise their Yankee spirit...and love of "freedom
and equality." Yet, withal, they are cheerful.
I never saw a happier set of beings.... If you see one
of them with a very long face...it is because she has heard
bad news from home, or because her beau has vexed her.
Stanley I. Kutler, Looking for
The People's History,
Vol. I, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979), pp. 260‑262.
REGULATIONS IN LOWELL
below are some of the regulation observed by employees of the
Hamilton Manufacturing Company, Lowell, Massachusetts.
The overseers are to be always in their rooms at the starting
of the mill, and not absent unnecessarily during working hours.
They are to see that all those employed in their rooms, are
in their places in due season, and keep a correct account of
their time and work. They may grant leave of absence to
those employed under them, when they have spare hands to supply
their places, and not otherwise, except in cases of absolute
All persons in the employ of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company,
are to observe the regulations of the room where they are employed.
They are not to be absent from their work without the consent
of the overseer, except in cases of sickness, and then they
have to send him word of the cause of their absence.
They are to board in one of the houses of the company and give
information at the counting room, where they board, when they
begin, or, whenever the change their boarding place; and are
to observe the regulations of their boarding house.
Those intending to leave the employment of the company, are
to give at least two weeks' notice thereof to their overseer.
All persons entering into the employment of the company, are
considered engaged for twelve months, and those who leave sooner,
or do not comply with all these regulations, will not be entitled
to a regular discharge
The company will not employ any one who is habitually absent
from public worship on the Sabbath, or known to be guilty of
A physician will attend once in every month at the counting‑room,
to vaccinate all who may need it, free of expense.
Any one who shall take from the mills or yard, any yarn, cloth
or other article belonging to the company, will be considered
guilty of stealing and be liable to prosecution.
Payment will be made monthly, including board and wages.
The accounts will be made up to the last Saturday but one in
every month, and paid in the course of the following week.
These regulations are considered part of the contract, with
which all persons entering into the employment of the Hamilton
Manufacturing Company engage to comply.
Stanley I. Kutler, Looking for
The People's History,
Vol. I, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979), pp. 265‑266.
AMERICAN URBANIZATION TO 1860
20 Largest Cities
20 Largest Cities
New York, NY
New York, NY
New Orleans, LA
New Orleans, LA
St. Louis, MO
San Francisco, CA
Cities not on the 1840 list are in italics.
GRIMKE SISTERS ON THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN
and Angelina Grimke, two prominent Pennsylvania abolitionists,
began in the 1830s to compare the political disabilities of
the slaves with the discrimination directed against women.
In the two passages below each sisters discuss the problem of
discrimination and what activists must do.
In contemplating the great moral reformations of the day, and
the part which they [women] are bound to take in them, instead
of puzzling themselves with the harassing, because unnecessary
inquiry, how far they may go without overstepping the bounds
of propriety, which separate male and female duties, they will
only inquire, "Lord what wilt thou have me do?"
They will be enabled to see the simple truth, that God has made
no distinction between men and women as moral beings....
To me it is perfectly clear that whatsoever it is morally right
for a man to do, it is morally right for a woman to do.
It is said, woman has a mighty weapon in secret prayer; she
has, I acknowledge, in common with man: but the woman
who prays in sincerity for the regeneration of this guilty world,
will accompany her prayers by her labors. A friend of mine remarked:
"I was sitting in my chamber, weeping over the miseries
of the slave, and putting up my prayers for his deliverance
from bondage, when in the midst of my meditations it occurred
to me that my tears, unaided by effort, could never melt the
chain of the slave. I must be up and doing."
She is now an active abolitionist‑‑her prayers and
her works go hand in hand.
We cannot push Abolitionism forward with all our might until
we take up the stumbling block out of the road.... You
may depend upon it, tho' to meet this question may appear to
be turning out of our road, that it is not. IT IS NOT:
we must meet it and meet it now.... Why, my dear brothers can
you not see the deep laid scheme of the clergy against us lecturers?
...If we surrender the right to speak in public this year,
we must surrender the right to petition next year, and the right
to write the year after, and so on. What then can woman
do for the slave, when she herself is under the feet of man
and shamed into silence?
Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle:
The Woman's Rights Movement in the United
(New York, 1970), p. 48.
below is the Declaration of Principles which emerged from the
first Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for
one portion of the family of man to assume among the people
of the earth a position different from that they have hitherto
We hold these truths to be self‑evident: that all men
and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their
Creator with certain inalienable rights: that among these
are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...
The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and
usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct
object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.
To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable rights
to the elective franchise.
He has compelled her to submit to laws, in the formation of
which she had no voice...
He has made her, if married, in the eyes of the law civilly
He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages
He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employment, and
from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty
He closes against her all the avenues to wealth and distinction,
which he considers most honorable to himself...
He has denied her the facilities for obtaining a thorough education‑all
colleges being closed against her...
He has created a false public sentiment, by giving to the world
different code of morals for men and women, by which moral delinquencies
which exclude women from society, are not only tolerated but
deemed of little account in man...
He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her
confidence in her own power, to lessen her self‑respect,
and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.
In entering upon the great work before us, we anticipate no
small amount of misconception, misrepresentation and ridicule;
but we shall use every instrumentality within our power to effect
our object. We shall employ agents, circulate tracts,
petition the State and national legislatures, and endeavor to
enlist the pulpit and the press on our behalf. We hope
this Convention will be followed by a series of Conventions
embracing every part of the country.
Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle:
The Woman's Rights Movement in the United
(New York, 1970), p. 75; John M. Blum, The National Experience,
(New York, 1985), 260.