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History of the United States by Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard
» PART V. SECTIONAL CONFLICT AND RECONSTRUCTION
» CHAPTER XIII

«·CHAPTER XIII · The Industrial Revolution·»


THE RISE OF THE INDUSTRIAL SYSTEM

If Jefferson could have lived to see the Stars and Stripes planted on the Pacific Coast, the broad empire of Texas added to the planting states, and the valley of the Willamette waving with wheat sown by farmers from New England, he would have been more than fortified in his faith that the future of America lay in agriculture. Even a stanch old Federalist like Gouverneur Morris or Josiah Quincy would have mournfully conceded both the prophecy and the claim. Manifest destiny never seemed more clearly written in the stars.

As the farmers from the Northwest and planters from the Southwest poured in upon the floor of Congress, the party of Jefferson, christened anew by Jackson, grew stronger year by year. Opponents there were, no doubt, disgruntled critics and Whigs by conviction; but in 1852 Franklin Pierce, the Democratic candidate for President, carried every state in the union except Massachusetts, Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee. This victory, a triumph under ordinary circumstances, was all the more significant in that Pierce was pitted against a hero of the Mexican War, General Scott, whom the Whigs, hoping to win by rousing the martial ardor of the voters, had nominated. On looking at the election returns, the new President calmly assured the planters that “the general principle of reduction of duties with a view to revenue may now be regarded as the settled policy of the country.” With equal confidence, he waved aside those agitators who devoted themselves “to the supposed interests of the relatively few Africans in the United States.” Like a watchman in the night he called to the country: “All’s well.”

The party of Hamilton and Clay lay in the dust.


«·CHAPTER XIII · The Industrial Revolution·»