Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

Two Presidents

The period of Taft's administration was marked by a number of important events. In 1909 Peary reached the long-sought North Pole, thus adding one more item to the list of American achievements. Our triumph in aviation was clearly demonstrated when, during the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the discovery of the Hudson River, Wright's airplane circled around the Statue of Liberty. At the close of Taft's term of office, the sixteenth amendment was added to the constitution. This amendment gives Congress power to collect a tax on incomes. Three months later, in Wilson's administration, the seventeenth amendment took from the state legislatures the right to elect senators and gave it to the people.

To help and encourage our people to save money and cultivate thrift habits, the United States Postal Savings Bank was begun. Under this system a sum of money, one dollar or more, can be deposited in any of our post offices. This money can be drawn out at pleasure, just as from a savings bank, and as long as it remains in the government's care, it draws interest for the depositor.

Peary in the far North


For some time the most important political parties had been the Republicans (which cartoonists represented by an elephant) and the Democrats (represented by a donkey). A new political party, the Progressives (represented by a bull-moose), now began to clamor for changes in our government. The leaders of this new party urged that the people should have the right to propose laws themselves. They wanted the people, also, to have the right to accept or reject any law made by Congress and to replace any official who did not prove satisfactory. These three rights are called the initiative, the referendum, and the recall. These questions caused much agitation, and an attempt was made to assassinate Roosevelt, the leader of the Progressive Party. The excitement continued at fever heat until the election decided that Wilson, the Democratic candidate, should be our next President.

Woodrow Wilson's first term began in 1913. During his administration a Secretary of Labor was added to the Cabinet—making ten members in all—and the eight-hour day was more widely adopted in industry. Labor was also greatly benefited by a new law, called the Clayton Act, that gave more freedom to labor unions. One of the most important pieces of legislation passed during this period was an act to regulate our money and banking system. It is known as the Federal Reserve Act and provides for twelve Federal Reserve Banks. These banks can give credit to other banks and can expand or contract currency when necessary. Every national bank must be a member of the Federal Reserve Bank in its district.



At this time affairs in Mexico were demanding American attention. American sailors, landing in Mexico, had been arrested and, although they were released, Wilson demanded an apology. This was refused by the Mexican president, Huerta. This matter was no sooner settled by arbitration than the Mexican bandit, Villa, began to make raids into Texas. Troops were sent to guard the border and protect American lives. Villa was not captured, but his raids were stopped.

Panama Canal


In 1914, just two weeks before the World War broke out in Europe, the Panama Canal was opened with impressive ceremonies. A Panama Exposition was held at San Francisco in honor of the event. The sea trip from New York to San Francisco is shortened nearly eight thousand miles and vessels can pass from ocean to ocean in about nine hours. This canal has helped greatly to unite the various republics north and south of the canal and to strengthen the friendship that is promoted by the Pan-American Union.