(CANADA and the UNITED STATES, 1814-46 – continued)
The United States had been expanding territorially. Vermont in 1791 had become the fourteenth state to join the union of federated states. Kentucky joined in 1792, Tennessee in 1796 and Ohio in 1803.
In 1812, nine years after the purchase from France of territory west of the Mississippi, Louisiana joined the union. Indiana joined in 1816, Mississippi in 1817, Illinois in 1818, Alabama in 1819, Maine in 1820 and Missouri in 1821.
Migrations westward between 1800 and 1820 produced a six-fold increase in non-Indian population in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi and Alabama – from around 386,000 people to 2,216,000. The total population for the United States rose from 5.3 million in 1800 to 9.6 million in 1820, surpassing New Spain (soon to be Mexico) which in 1820 had a population of around 6 million. The U.S. was the most populous power on the continent.
Styles were changing. James Madison (president from 1809 to 1817) was the last United States president to wear his hair in a pony tail. His successor, James Monroe (in office until 1825), was the last president to be seen in knee breeches.
In the United States transportation was improving. In 1800 it took thirty days to reach New York from New Orleans, and in 1830 it took only fifteen days. The world's first journey by steam-powered boat took place in 1807 on the Hudson River from New York to Albany – 150 miles in 32 hours.
In the northeast, water powered flour milling and textile manufacturing was changing over to steam power, the mills employing women and children from the age of seven – a leftover from farming culture, which used child labor extensively. middle-class people were perpetuating their belief in education, thrift, sobriety and hard work. And they were becoming bigger consumers. Republicans – the party of Jefferson – were becoming as interested in commercial enterprise and manufacturing as Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists had been.
Before the 1800s, growers in the southern states had tobacco, rice and indigo as major crops. Tobacco farming and horse breeding spread to Kentucky, and tobacco farming spread also to Tennessee. Sugar was grown in Louisiana, but in Mississippi and Alabama, with their rich soils and warm climate, cotton growing dominated – cotton needing a growing season of 200 frost-free days.
Long-staple cotton was grown along the seacoast, but cotton inland had not been produced for market because removing the sticky seeds from inside each ball of short-staple cotton was too slow to be profitable. In 1793, Eli Whitney, a Yale College graduate in Massachusetts, had developed a machine for a more efficient separating of cottonseeds from cotton fibers. The availability of his cotton gin after 1802 helped growing cotton become the South's greatest industry by 1820.
Arkansas Territory was a part of the boom in cotton growing. Arkansas had 1,617 slaves in 1820. It became a state in 1836, and by 1840 its slave population jumped to 20,000.
The northern and southern states were developing differently. The South was sending its cotton north to factories and for shipment across the Atlantic – mainly to Britain. And growing more cotton and less food, the South was importing food. Northerners were investing profits from their industry in advances in machinery for all kinds of commercial enterprises, including farmers investing in better tools.
People in the southern states were putting their capital into more land and more slaves and into cotton production. Producton of cotton doubled between 1820 and 1830, and the economies of Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee were becoming tied to the boom in cotton growing in the deeper South.
Southern plantation owners had less money to invest and were usually in debt to northern bankers. Many who were not plantation owners were interested in buying land and retiring on a small plantation.
Southerners were investing in slaves rather than labor-saving machinery, and in the South were 52 slaves for every 100 whites. Slavery was not suitable for the small family farms or for manufacturing enterprises of the North, and by 1820 half of the northern states had outlawed slavery. note51
In the US Congress, southerners battled for what they perceived to be their interests against intrusive legislation created by northerners, especially the most wealthy and most industrialized section of the nation, New England. To maximize their political strength, southern states were counting their slaves for representation in the US House of Representatives. The population of southern states, black and white, was 4.5 million. That gave the South 80 House members, against 105 members from other states, and southern politicians worried about being overwhelmed by northern values.
Congress was in the process of making Missouri a state. Southern politicians wanted Missouri to join as a slave state. Northern politicians wanted it to join the Union as a free state. In newspapers, in state legislatures and at mass meetings across the nation the rhetoric flowed.
A compromise was reached: Missouri entered the Union in 1821 as a state that allowed slavery and Maine entered as a state that forbade slavery. And a part of the compromise was that within the territory of the Louisiana Purchase no slavery was to be allowed north of the latitude of Missouri's southern border.
Copyright © 2003-2015 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.