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ASTOR, LENOX AND
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by
LEWIS O. THOMPSON,
Stereotyped and Printed by
In the preparation of this work, the writer has had in view to present in brief and compact form, the leading issues of our political history as a Nation, and place within the reach of every voter the facts, statistics, and important events which are not generally accessible, except to those who have entrance to public libraries, or who have been able to secure a political library of their own. | The reader will find each Administration, from the inauguration of Washington, in 1789, to the present time, treated by itself, and the leading occurrences chronologically grouped. A few preliminary pages are presented to illustrate the origin and growth of government in the colonies, and to set forth by the defects of the Articles of Confederation the necessity for a new Instrument. There will be found, in their proper places, the Cabinets of the Presidents ; the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court; the Speakers of each Congress; the names of all the candidates for the Presidency and Vice-Presidency, with the number of votes, popular and electoral, that each received; the population of the United States every decade; the number of Representatives by ratio; the public debt for each year; the important measures which claimed and divided public attention; the conventions of political parties and the platforms they have adopted; a brief sketch of political parties and their principles; together with such other items as relate to the conduct of public affairs in a great and growing commonwealth. The careful observer will see in the list of distinguished names something more than a barren record. He will see what peculiar training the great men of our country have received in public offices, and what especial posts of trust are most directly in the line of advancement to the chief magistracy. Very useful lessons, too, can be drawn from the annual financial statement, when taken in connection with public enterprise, particular lines of policy on duties and imposts, commerce, trade, war, and public expenditure, and the surplus or debt which each in its turn has produced.
The attentive reader will find, in the platforms of the parties--and we give all that have ever been adopted and voted upon--a condensed history of political opinions, that will well repay his study.
Political discussions being of such frequent occurrence, a book like this which contains so many facts of a political nature, may be used with great advantage by the public disputant, and also enable the voter by the light of past events to correctly estimate the drift and weight of arguments that are presented. It may also serve as a guide to the political student, who desires to make a more extended examination of the rise and progress of parties. Politics, as the science and art of government, is philosophy teaching both by precept and example, and affords a most delightful field of study. It is hoped, therefore, that this Record of public and important acts will supply a demand existing in political literature, and on account of its concise and convenient form approve itself a useful Hand-book for Every Voter.
The writer began, over a year ago, during odd moments, the study of political history for his own information, A first result was the preparation of a "Chart of the Admin. istrations," which was published in the "Whitewater Register,” Wis.,—Mr. Edwin D. Coe, Editor and Proprietor. A second result has been the publication of this Book in its present form.' Thanks are due Mr. Coe for the service his columns have rendered—a debt which this acknowledgment is intended to express, but not discharge.
1. DISCOVERY.–At early dawn, on Friday, Uctober 12th, 1492, Columbus, in search of a northwest passage to the Indies, sailed across land, which he imagincd to be a part of the East Indies. On this account, the natives were called Indians. He found the land to be an island, and called it San Salvador. The great discoverer made four voyages in all. On the third, in 1498, he touched upon the mainland at the mouth of the Orinoco, South America; but died, in 1506, without the knowledge that vast continents had been opened to the world through his genius and perseverance.
II, NAME.-Americus Vespucius, a Florentine monk and friend of Columbus, visited the new land in 1499, and went back to Europe with the first descriptive account of those hitherto unknown regions. It was suggested that the new world should be called America, and this suggestion being favorably received by geographers, the name was generally adopted, and Columbus has been for ever deprived of this just and lasting monument to his greatness.
III. EXPLORATIONS AND SETTLEMENTS. — During the two centuries that followed, the chief natiors of Europe were mostly occupied in making discoveries and plans for settlements. The English, Portugese, French, Spaniards, and Swedes were principally represented.
1605, Port Royal, N. S., was settled by the French.
The Spaniards at the outset made no permanent settlements, but were very active in the work of exploration and conquest. They occupied Florida in 1568. They were mainly turned to Central and Southern America, where the prospect of untold and fabulous wealth, with its immediate possession, seemed most flattering.
IV. THE INTRODUCTION OF SLAVERY.--In 1620, the Captain of a Dutch trading vessel sold twenty negroes to the colonists of Jamestown. Subsequently two circumstances contributed to its growth and spread: first, some seeds of cotton were sown in Virginia in 1621 as an experiment, and found to be adapted to the soil; second, the invention of the cotton-gin by Eli Whitney, at a later period, made the culture of cotton highly profitable, and produced an increasing demand for slaves,
V. SALEM WITCHCRAFT.-A strange delusion wbich spread among the people, broke out in 1692 at Salem with peculiar violence. Many arrests were made, and some twenty persons, including a minister of the Gospel, having been found guilty, were hanged. At the height of this malady, eight persons were under conviction, and the prisons were filled with the accused. But the severity of its punishment soon wrought its cure, and all were released from duress and sentence.
VI. EDOCATION. The New England Colonies took the lead in making liberal provision for the establishment of schools, Free schools were opened in Boston as early as 1635, and this example was extensively followed. A fund of one thousand dollars was set apart in 1637, for the erection of a seminary at Newton, Massachusetts. John Harvard in 1639, left his library a legacy to this school, and about four thousand dollars in money. To honor the donor the college was called Harvard, and the name of the town changed to Cambridge.
In Connecticut, a school for the education of ministers was started at Saybrook in 1700, which was removed to New Haven in 1717, and being liberally aided by Governor Elihu Yale, his name was given to the college.
The College of William and Mary, Virginia, was founded in 1693; Nassau Hall, New Jersey, in 1746; Columbia College, New York, in 1754; and Brown University, Rhode Island, in 1764.
The first printing press was established in 1639 at Cam