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

The Slavery Quarrel

John C. Fremont is one of our national heroes and pioneers. Besides conquering California, he is noted for his explorations, which he had been carrying on for more than five years. His guide and friend was the famous trapper, Kit Carson, whose name is now borne by a prosperous city in Nevada. Once when Fremont crossed the Rocky Mountains, he carved his name on a boulder more than thirteen thousand feet above the sea, on Fremont Peak.

People had long believed that the wide tract of land just east of the Rocky Mountains, which was called the "Great American Desert" on old maps, was entirely barren. But Fremont, the "Pathfinder," discovered that the greater part could be cultivated or used as pasture land.



Fremont had also explored a vast tract of land in northern Mexico, which the United States wished to own. So, when the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, in 1848, it was agreed that Mexico should give up all claim to Texas as far south as the Rio Grande, and also to New Mexico and what was then called Upper California,—including all the land between the Gila River and the parallel of 42,in exchange for fifteen million dollars.

There was, however, soon after this some slight trouble about the boundary, so James Gadsden was sent to sign a new treaty. He bought for the United States another strip of land, south of the Gila River, for ten million dollars (1853). Because he did this, and signed the treaty, that strip of land is known as the "Gadsden Purchase."

The war with Mexico was, according to Northern views, unfair, and it seemed doubly so because Mexico just then was weak and poor. In speaking of it later on, General Grant, who took part in it, said it was "one of the most unjust wars ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation." Many other people did not approve of it, either, and when they heard how much money the war cost, some remarked that if Texas were spelled properly it would read "Taxes."

Meanwhile, the old quarrel about the slavery question raged worse than ever. When President Polk, in 1846, asked for money to pay Mexico, a man named Wilmot proposed that it should be granted only on condition that the territory bought with it should be free soil. This is what is known as the "Wilmot Proviso," and it gave rise to endless disputes, not only in Congress, but all through the country.

The quarrel between the slavery and antislavery parties, which had begun so long before, was to go on much longer, and many eloquent speeches for and against slavery were made in the House during the following years. Among the many able speakers of that time there was John Quincy Adams, who was now over eighty, and was known as the "Old Man Eloquent." Hearing the wrangling over this vexed question, he once said, with great sadness: "Slavery is in all probability the wedge which will split up this Union."

Still, John Quincy Adams did not live long enough to see his words come true, for he died soon after in Congress, crying: "This is the last of earth; I am content" (1848). As he had served his country faithfully for many years as minister, President, and in Congress, he had a public funeral, and Daniel Webster was asked to make a speech about him.

This Daniel Webster is one of the greatest orators of our country. He had already made famous speeches for the laying of the corner stone of the Bunker Hill Monument, and in praise of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Since then, he had spoken in many parts of the country, and he had now reached the highest point of his fame.

As he is one of the great men of our country, it will interest you to hear a few anecdotes about him.