United states history


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Horace 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 State...

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...

Education, 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.

Source: 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.

Rev. 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.

Source: John M. Blum, The National Experience, (New York, 1985), p. 313.

Lowell, 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.

Source: Stanley I. Kutler, Looking for America: The People's History, Vol. I, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979), pp. 260 262.

Listed 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 necessity.
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 immorality.
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.
Source: Stanley I. Kutler, Looking for America: The People's History, Vol. I, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979), pp. 265 266.


20 Largest Cities: 1840 20 Largest Cities: 1860

1. New York, NY 312,700 1. New York, NY 813,000

2. Philadelphia, PA 220,400 2. Philadelphia, PA 565,529

3. Baltimore, MD 102,300 3. Brooklyn, NY 266,660

4. New Orleans, LA 102,190 4. Baltimore, MD 212,418

5. Boston, MA 93,380 5. Boston, MA 177,840

6. Cincinnati, OH 46,338 6. New Orleans, LA 168,675

7. Brooklyn, NY 36,230 7. Cincinnati, OH 161,044

8. Albany, NY 33,721 8. St. Louis, MO 160,773

9. Charleston, S.C. 29,261 9. Chicago, IL 109,260

10. Washington, D.C. 23,364 10. Buffalo, NY 81,130

11. Providence, RI 23,171 11. Newark, NJ 71,940

12. Louisville, KY 21,210 12. Louisville, KY 68,033

13. Pittsburgh, PA 21,115 13. Albany, NY 62,367

14. Lowell, MA 20,796 14. Washington, D.C. 61,122

15. Rochester, NY 20,191 15. San Francisco, CA 56,802

16. Richmond, VA 20,153 16. Providence, RI 50,666

17. Troy, NY 19,334 17. Pittsburgh, PA 49,221

18. Buffalo, NY 18,213 18. Rochester, NY 48,204

19. Newark, NJ 17,290 19. Detroit, MI 45,619

20. Portland, ME 15,218 20. Milwaukee, WI 45,246
Cities not on the 1840 list are highlighted.

Sarah 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.
Sarah Grimke: 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.

Angelina Grimke: 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?
Source: Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, (New York, 1970), p. 48.

Reprinted below is the Declaration of Principles which emerged from the first Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848.

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 occupied...

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 dead.

He has taken from her all right in property, even to the wages she earns...

He has monopolized nearly all the profitable employment, and from those she is permitted to follow, she receives but a scanty remuneration.

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.
Sources: Eleanor Flexner, Century of Struggle: The Woman's Rights Movement in the United States, (New York, 1970), p. 75; John M. Blum, The National Experience, (New York, 1985), 260.

Terms for Week 3
Eli Whitney
Haitian Revolution
Toussaint L’Overture
Texas and Slavery
John C. Fremont

William Lloyd Garrison
Frederick Douglass

Seminole Indian Wars
Nat Turner
The Republican Party
William Walker and Filibustering
The American (Know-Nothing) Party
Gag Bill of 1837
Compromise of 1850
John C. Calhoun
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Bridget “Biddy” Mason
personal liberty laws
Stephen A. Douglas
Kansas Nebraska Act, 1854
"Bleeding Kansas"
Dred Scott Decision, 1857
John Brown

Whites and Blacks in the Total Southern Population

State Total Pop. % White % Black Slave % Free Blacks
South Carolina 703,708 42 57 1

Mississippi 791,278 45 55 *

Louisiana 708,002 50 47 3

Alabama 964,201 55 44 1

Florida 140,424 55 44 1

Georgia 1,057,286 56 44 *

Virginia 1,596,318 56 39 5

Texas 604,215 64 33 3

North Carolina 992,622 70 30 *

Arkansas 435,450 74 26 *

Tennessee 1,109,801 74 25 1

Maryland 687,049 75 13 12

Kentucky 1,155,684 80 20 *

Delaware 112,216 81 2 17

Missouri 1,182,012 90 10 *


UNITED STATES 31,443,321 86 13 1
Composition of Southern White Society: Nonslaveholders 78.1%

Slaveholders 21.9%

* Free Blacks comprised less than 1% of the state's total population.
Source: Eighth Census of the United States, 1860, Population by Age, Sex, Race and Agriculture of the United States.

George Fitzhugh, a 19th century defender of slavery argued that it was a positive good and in fact advocated the enslavement of white workers in the North to improve their condition. Theodore Weld, however, was an uncompromising abolitionist who wanted to end slavery because it brutalized slaves and made their owners callous to human suffering. Their views are described below.
Fitzhugh: The negro slaves of the South are the happiest, and, in some sense, the freest people in the world. The children and the aged and infirm work not at all, and yet have all the comforts and necessaries [sic] of life provided for them. They enjoy liberty, because they are oppressed neither by care nor labor. The women do little hard work, and are protected from the despotism of their husbands by their masters. The negro men and stout boys work, on the average, in good weather, not more than nine hours a day....Besides, they have their Sabbaths and holidays. White men, with so much of license and liberty, would die of ennui; but negroes luxuriate in corporeal and mental repose. With their faces upturned to the sum, they can sleep at any hour; and quiet sleep is the greatest of human enjoyments....The free laborer must work or starve. He is more of a slave than the negro, because he works longer and harder for less allowance than the slave, and has no holiday, because the cares of life with him begin when its labors end. He has no liberty, and not a single right.
Weld: The slaves in the United States are treated with barbarous inhumanity...they are overworked, underfed, wretchedly clad and lodged, and have insufficient sleep...they are often made to wear round their necks iron collars armed with prongs, to drag heavy chains and weights at their feed while working in the field...they are often kept confined in the stocks day and night for weeks together, made to wear gags in their mouths for hours or days, have some of their front teeth torn out or broken off, that they may be easily detected when they run away...they are frequently flogged with terrible severity, have red pepper rubbed into their lacerated flesh, and hot brine, spirits of turpentine, etc., poured over the gashes to increase the torture...they are often stripped naked, their backs and limbs cut with knives, bruised and mangled by scores and hundreds of blows with the paddle, and terribly torn by the claws of cats, drawn over them by their tormentors.
Source: George Fitzhugh, Cannibals All, (New York, 1857); Theodore Dwight Weld, Slavery As It Is, (Boston, 1839).

While Abolitionist usually captured the public's attention with their denunciations of slavery, the vast majority of Northerners were ambivalent toward the institution. Ebenezer Kellogg, a 28 year old professor of languages at Williams College in Massachusetts, visited Charleston, South Carolina in 1817 and provided these impressions.
The character and situation of the black population of this country is one of the most interesting subjects of observation to strangers who visit it. Their number is such as might entitle them to be regarded as the first portion of the population, and the whites only as a kind of agents for them, performing a very important part in the interior economy of this mixed society, but a part subservient rather than superior to the blacks... [But] the negroes are servants and others masters. I saw only house servants, and those employed in the labours of the town, of the field servants I can say little. Of house servants every family, however small must have at least three, a cook, a chamber maid, and a waiting servant. Every small child must have a nurse till it is several years old. In larger and wealthier families there must be a coachman, a laundress, seamstress, besides assistants in these departments... You will readily believe that where so many are employed their labour cannot be very severe; and this is commonly true. The domestics of a New Englandman, do twice or thrice the work of the same number here.

...As to clothing, that does not in this climate very much affect their comfort. They are usually decent for labouring people... Yet they sometimes suffer from cold. They seem more sensible to cold than we are... Little attention is however paid to their comfort in this particular. I have seen the servants in a cold evening seated on mats in the hall before the door of the sitting room. They are obliged to spend hours there or in the back part of the room itself, where it would be unpardonable for them to sit down.

Of their treatment as respect discipline, I saw little. I often heard them scolded without reason. They were frequently blamed when the justification was obvious to every bystander. The worst form in which they are wronged...is when they are talked about in their own presence... It has the effect to harden them to the value of a good name, and to blight the first risings of anything like affection or respect. When they are blamed, however unjustly they never answer, never attempt to justify themselves, even when a single word would completely do. I have never seen them whipped though I have heard their cries while under the lash. They must, many of them be whipped if they are to be servants.

A great number from the black population belong to several churches here. The Episcopal churches are said to contain a great number of colored people... The blacks pay nothing toward the support of the churches. They sit on benches or stand along the aisles, or have part of the gallery. These unhappy people are brought to a land that while it enslaves their bodies...saves their souls [sic] from the slavery of sin, and opens to them the glorious door of hope, which is the highest blessing of the happiest portion of the world.

Source: Stanley I. Kutler, Looking for America: The People's History, Vol. I, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1979), pp. 327 329.

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