Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Alexander the Coppersmith.—A nickname applied to Hamilton by those that were dissatisfied with the copper cents coined in 1793 at his suggestion as Secretary of the Treasury.

Algerine War.—(See Barbary Pirates.)

Alien and Sedition Laws.—Curing the troubles of this country with France in 1798 there was a considerable portion of the community in sympathy with France, and attacks of the most scurrilous nature were continually made against the President and Congress. This state of things was the occasion for the passage of the above-named bills. The first Alien bill lengthened the period of residence for the purpose of naturalization to fourteeen years. All aliens thereafter to come into the country were to be registered, and the certificate of registration was to be the only proof of residence. Alien enemies could never become citizens. A third bill gave the President power in case of war with a foreign nation or danger of invasion by it, to seize or expel all resident alien citizens of that nation. Another bill, signed by the President June 25th, gave him power to send away any alien whom he might think dangerous to the country; if after being ordered away he were found here he might be imprisoned for three years and could never become a citizen; aliens so imprisoned could be removed from the country by the President's order, and on voluntarily returning be imprisoned at the President's discretion; the act provided for various details concerning the carrying out of its intention, and gave the United States courts cognizance of cases arising thereunder. The action of the law was limited to two years. The Sedition bill was passed in July and declared any one that in any way hindered any officer of the United States in the discharge of his duty, or opposed any of its laws, to be guilty of a high crime and misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of five thousand dollars and maximum imprisonment of five years; further, writing, printing or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing against Congress or the President or aiding therein, was made punishable by a maximum fine of two thousand dollars and maximum imprisonment of two years; but the truth of the matter, if proved, was to be a good defense. This act was to expire March, 1801. The opposition aroused by these bills was enormous, and though the prosecutions under them were very few, they made Adams' administration and the Federal party very unpopular. Hamilton had in vain tried to prevent the party from committing this blunder.

Allegiance.—Every citizen of the United States owes paramount allegiance to the national government. The opinion that he owed allegiance to his State first and to the Union only secondarily, which was bound up in the doctrine of state sovereignty, may be considered as finally negatived by the results of the Civil War. As to foreign states, no one can become a citizen of the United States by naturalization without first renouncing all allegiance to his former governmeut. (See Expatriation; Naturalization.)

All Men are Created Equal.—The second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence begins: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," etc. (see Declaration of Independence). This phrase, either as given above or slightly different, was used in the Declarations of Right contained in many of the State constitutions adopted about 1776. It is sometimes quoted, "All men are born free and equal." That form was used in the constitution adopted by Massachusetts in 1780.

All Quiet Along the Potomac.—This phrase became proverbial during the fall of 1861 and the beginning of 1862. The weather at that time seemed favorable to a campaign, and McClellan's army of about two hundred thousand men was in excellent condition, and yet no advance was undertaken. McClellan's policy, at that period, is sometimes referred to as a policy of "masterly inactivity/'

All We Ask is to Be Let Alone.—-This phrase occurred in the message of Jefferson Davis to the Confederate Congress in March, 1861. He referred to Northern preparations to oppose secession.

Amendment-Mongers.—A name applied to the Anti-Federalists.

Amendments to the Constitution.—Article 5 of the Constitution prescribes the means to be employed in amending that instrument. By the same article the Constitution was made unamendable prior to 1808 on certain points, as follows: So as to prohibit immigration as existing in 1787, or so as to permit the levying of capitation or other direct taxes by Congress except in proportion to the census. The only point remaining to-day which is incapable of amendment is that "no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate." In the manner prescribed in Article 5, fifteen amendments in all have been adopted from time to time. The first Congress, on September 25, 1789, passed twelve amendments, two of which were not ratified. The remaining ten, having been ratified by all the States except Massachusetts, Connecticut and Georgia, were proclaimed in force December 15, 1791. The first six of these comprise what is sometimes known as our Bill of Rights. The eleventh amendment was passed by Congress March 5, 1794, was duly ratified, and was proclaimed in force January 8, 1798. It provided that the federal courts should not entertain suits brought against a. State by individuals. The presidential election of 1800 which was thrown into the House (see Disputed Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections), disclosed some defects in the electoral system as established by Article 2, section 1, clause 3 of the Constitution. To remedy these defects the twelfth amendment was passed by Congress December 12,1803, and declared in force September 25, 1804. It had failed to pass in one Congress and was only carried finally in the House by the Speaker's vote. The vote of the States also was only just sufficient, thirteen ratifying and four—New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Delaware —rejecting it. For sixty years the Constitution remained unaltered, but the condition of things brought about by the Civil War rendered three more amendments necessary. The thirteenth amendment was proposed for the purpose of making emancipation universal in the nation and prohibiting slavery for the future. It passed the Senate in April, 1864, by a vote of thirtyeight to six, but failed to pass the House. The House reconsidered its vote at the next session and passed the amendment by a vote of one hundred and nineteen to fifty-six; it was proposed to the legislatures of the States February 1, 1865. It was declared in force December 18,1865, having been ratified by twenty-seven States out of thirty-six; it was subsequently ratified by four more. Only two states, Delaware and Kentucky, absolutely rejected it. Texas took no action in regard to it and Alabama and Mississippi ratified it conditionally. The fourteenth amendment was intended to aid the work of Reconstruction. It passed Congress in June, 1866, by a vote of thirty-three to eleven in the Senate and one hundred and thirty-eight to thirty-six in the House. It was ratified by thirty out of the thirty-seven States and was proclaimed in force July 28, 1868. Three others subsequently ratified it. Delaware, Maryland and Kentucky rejected it and California failed to act. All the once Confederate States, except Tennessee, rejected it but afterward ratified it in consequence of an act of Congress providing as one condition of their re-admission as States that they should do so. New Jersey and Ohio rescinded their first ratifications, but Congress declared that this did not affect their previous action, and in the end there were enough ratifications without these. The fifteenth amendment was designed to supplement the previous one in relation to the suffrage of negro citizens and make their right to vote unquestionable. It passed Congress February 26, 1869, by a vote of thirty-nine to thirteen in the Senate and one hundred and forty-four to forty-four in the House. It was ratified by twenty-nine of the thirty-seven States and proclaimed in force March 30, 1870; Georgia at first rejected, but afterward ratified it. New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, California and Oregon rejected it, and Tennessee took no action. Ohio, which had at first rejected it, afterward ratified it, and New York rescinded her ratification. Among proposed amendments to the Constitution which have never been adopted may be mentioned a few of the most important. Jefferson suggested an amendment to assure the constitutionality of the Louisiana purchase, but his bargain was universally accepted as valid without such amendment. Tbe same President, and after him Madison, Monroe, Jackson and Polk, urged an amendment authorizing Congress to vote money for internal improvements, the power to do which, not being mentioned in the Constitution, they considered open to question. This right, however, has come to be admitted without an amendment. Just previous to the war various amendments dealing with the question of slavery were proposed. (See Crittenden Compromise.} Amendments have also been urged, some extending the right of suffrage to females and one inserting in the preamble to the Constitution the following words: "Acknowledging Almighty God as the source of all authority and power in civil government, the Lord Jesus Christ as the ruler among the nations, and His will, revealed in the Holy Scriptures, as of supreme authority, in order to constitute a Christian government." For the text of the amendments that have been adopted see Constitution of the United States.

America for Americans.—One of the cries of the American party.

American Cato.—Samuel Adams was so called from supposed resemblance of his character to that of the Roman. Adams was born in Boston 1722 and died in 1802. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

American Fabius.—A name applied to Washington because his generalship during the Revolution resembled that of Fabius, a commander of ancient Rome, who, having troops inferior to the enemy in discipline and equipment, pursued a policy of avoiding pitched battles, of wearying the enemy by long marches and of harassing him at every opportunity.

American Knights.—An organization known as

« ForrigeFortsett »