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A BRIEF examination of this volume will convey & clearer idea of its contents than any statement could do, yet a few words may be permitted concerning the aim of the authors..
It is for those who are more or less interested in the politics of the United States, but who have neither time nor opportunity for seeking information in various and out-of-the-way places, that this book has been prepared. The main facts in the political history of the federal government from its foundation to the present moment are given under appropriate headings and in alphabetical order. The formation of the Constitution, its growth and interpretation, have been explained. The rise and fall of parties have been recounted. Famous measures, national movements and foreign relations have received full attention. Especial care has been exercised in describing the practical workings of the government in its various branches, and numerous lists of the more prominent officials are furnished. There will also be found accounts of the origin and meaning of political slang expressions, familiar names of persons and localities, famous phrases, and the like.
Most of these facts are scattered in volumes not generally accessible; many of them that circulate chiefly by word of mouth are hard to find explained in print; some are of such recent date that they have been recorded only in the daily press. To find these items gathered together in a single volume of moderate compass has hitherto been impossible.
Liberal use has been made of every source of information in preparing this volume. The facts have been stated with as great accuracy as could be attained by unstinted care and in the briefest manner consistent with complete information. The authors have endeavored to write without bias or partiality in any direction. .
It will be noticed that cross-references have been freely used, without which much space would necessarily have been wasted, and the suggestion may be made that even in the absence of references the reader should turn to topics mentioned in the text for the full view of a subject.
With the hope that this book may help to fill an existing vacancy, it is submitted to the public.
DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN POLITICS.
Abolitionists. — The first society for the abolition of slavery was formed in Pennsylvania in 1774; New York followed in 1785, Rhode Island in 1786, Maryland in 1789, and Connecticut, Virginia and New Jersey before 1792. Among the presidents of the New York society were John Jay and Alexander Hamilton. These societies did nothing except to petition Congress, and were seldom heard of after 1878. Colonization then became a favorite subject, until in 1829 The Genius of Universal Emancipation, a newspaper advocating “immediate” abolition, was published in Baltimore by William Lloyd Garrison, of Massachusetts. Fined for one of his articles, and for non-payment of the fine imprisoned, he soon removed to Boston, where, January 1, 1831, he began the publication of The Liberator. He opposed colonization, refused to recognize the Constitution, which he proclaimed “a covenant with death and an agreement with hell," and declared for “no union with slave-holders.” Public interest was aroused. In 1832 the “New England," and in 1833 the “American " anti-slavery societies were formed on these principles. John Greenleaf Whittier, Wendell Phillips, Benjamin Lundy and others agitated the subject and founded branches in the States, and it became a national topic. The feeling against the abolitionists ran high and riots were frequent. At Alton, Illinois, in 1837, Elijah P. Lovejoy (see that title), an abolition editor, was mobbed and killed, and in 1838, Pennsylvania Hall, in Philadelphia, was burned. In 1838 many of the party desiring to nominate candidates for office, a proceeding to which the “Garrisonians" objected, withdrew. The seceders, who regarded “the Federal Constitution as essentially anti-slavery, and swore with good consciences to uphold it," formed the “American and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society.” It was principally of these that the Liberty party, organized in 1840, was formed. In 1848, the Liberty party, having named no candidates, the abolitionists voted with the Free Soil party, and continued with them until 1856, when they supported the Republicans. Until the war was fairly under way the “Garrisonians" were in favor of allowing the slave-holding States to withdraw peaceably, but when fighting had actually begun, they were among the most ardent supporters of the Union. (See also Brown, John.)
Adams and Clay Republicans.- In 1825, the Federalist party was of no influence - the DemocraticRepublican was the only real party. In it there were two factions, the supporters of President John Quincy Adams and his lieutenant, Henry Clay, known as above; and the followers of Andrew Jackson, known as Jackson Republicans, or Jackson Men (which see). The Adams and Clay Republicans ultimately became Whigs. (See National Republican Party.)
Adams, Charles Francis, was born in Boston, August 18, 1807. He spent much of his boyhood abroad, his father, John Quincy Adams, being at different times United States Minister to Great Britain and to Russia. He was graduated at Harvard and adopted the profession of law. He served in both Houses of the Massachusetts Legislature and was candidate for Vice-President with Van Buren. He served as Representative in the Thirty-sixth Congress, and was reelected to the Thirty-seventh, but was appointed Minister to Great Britain in 1861. He held that position during the Civil War, satisfactorily conducting the many delicate negotiations that arose, notably the Trent affair. He died November 21, 1886. He was a Republican.
Adams, John, was born in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, October 19, 1735; he died at the same place, July 4, 1826. Thomas Jefferson died within a few hours of him. He was graduated at Harvard College,