Sunday, March 31, 2013

Day 69, April 5

It was the first time in our nation's history that a President had been assassinated. As cries from citizens rang out, Congress began to think about adding Presidential protection to the list of duties performed by the Secret Service. However, it would take another 36 years and the assassination of two more Presidents -- James A. Garfield (March 4, 1881-September 10, 1881) and William McKinley (1897-1901) -- before the Congress added protection of the President to the list of duties performed by the Secret Service.

Day 64, March 31

Following their discharge, many battalion members helped build flour mills and sawmills in northern California. Some of them were among the first to discover gold at Sutter's Mill. Men from Captain Davis's Company A were largely responsible for opening the first wagon road over the southern route from California to Utah in 1848.

The men of the Mormon Battalion were and are honored for their willingness to fight for the United States as loyal American citizens. Their march of some 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs to California is one of the longest military marches in history. Their participation in the early development of California by building Fort Moore in Los Angeles, building a courthouse in San Diego, and making bricks and building houses in southern California contributed to the growth of the West.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 63, March 30

On December 21, 1846 the battalion encamped on the Gila River. They crossed the Colorado River into California on January 9 and 10, 1847. By January 29, 1847 they were camped at the Mission of San Diego, about five miles from General Kearny's quarters. That evening Colonel Cooke rode to Kearny's encampment and reported the battalion's condition.

On January 30, 1847 Cooke issued orders listing the accomplishments of the Mormon Battalion. "History may be searched in vain for an equal march of infantry. Half of it has been through a wilderness where nothing but savages and wild beasts are found, or deserts where, for lack of water, there is no living creature."

During the rest of their enlistment, some members of the battalion were assigned to garrison duty at either San Diego, San Luis Rey, or Ciudad de los Angeles. Other soldiers were assigned to accompany General Kearny back to Fort Leavenworth.

All soldiers, whether en route to the Salt Lake Valley via Pueblo or still in Los Angeles, were mustered out of the United States Army on July 16, 1847. Eighty-one men chose to reenlist and serve an additional eight months of military duty under Captain Daniel C. Davis in Company A of the Mormon Volunteers. Most of the soldiers traveled to the Salt Lake Valley and were reunited with their pioneering families.

The men of the Mormon Battalion are honored for their willingness to fight for the United States as loyal American citizens. Their march of some 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs to California is one of the longest military marches in history. Their participation in the early development of California by building Fort Moore in Los Angeles, building a courthouse in San Diego, and making bricks and building houses in southern California contributed to the growth of the West.

Following their discharge, many men helped build flour mills and sawmills in northern California. Some of them were among the first to discover gold at Sutter's Mill. Men from Captain Davis's Company A were responsible for opening the first wagon road over the southern route from California to Utah in 1848.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Day 62, March 29

The first division of the Battalion approached Santa Fe on October 9, 1846.  Colonel Alexander Doniphan ordered a one-hundred-gun salute in their honor. At Santa Fe, Smith was relieved of his command by Lt. Colonel Philip St. George Cooke.

Aware of the rugged trail between Santa Fe and California and also aware that one sick detachment had already been sent from the Arkansas River to Fort Pueblo in Colorado, Cooke ordered the remaining women and children (yes, a few women and children accompanied the march)  to go with the sick of the battalion to Pueblo for the winter. Three detachments consisting of 273 people eventually were sent to Pueblo for the winter of 1846-47.

The remaining soldiers, with four wives of officers, left Santa Fe for California on October 19, 1846. They journeyed down the Rio Grande del Norte and eventually crossed the Continental Divide on November 28, 1846. While moving up the San Pedro River in what is now Arizona, their column was attacked by a herd of wild cattle. In the ensuing fight, a number of bulls were killed and two men were wounded.

Following the "Battle of the Bulls," the battalion continued their march toward Tucson, where they anticipated a possible battle with the Mexican soldiers stationed there. At Tucson, the Mexican defenders temporarily abandoned their positions.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day 61, March 28

The battalion marched from Council Bluffs, Iowa, starting on 20 July 1846, arriving on 1 August 1846 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  There, the men were outfitted for their trek to Santa Fe.  Battalion members drew their arms and other supplies, as well as a clothing allowance of forty-two dollars, at the fort.  Since a military uniform was not required, many of the soldiers sent their clothing allowances to their families in the Mormon encampments in Iowa.

The march from Fort Leavenworth was delayed by the sudden illness of Colonel Allen. Capt. Jefferson Hunt was instructed to begin the march to Santa Fe.  He soon received word that Colonel Allen was dead. Allen's death caused confusion regarding who should lead the battalion to Santa Fe. Lt. A.J. Smith arrived from Fort Leavenworth claiming the lead, and he was chosen the commanding officer by the vote of battalion officers.

A Dr. Sanderson accompanied the battalion. With antiquated medicines, Sanderson treated the soldiers, who suffered from heat exhaustion, lack of food, and forced long-distance marches.   Twenty men died later as a result of their service in the battalion.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 60, March 27

After the martydrom of Joseph Smith, church President Brigham Young had planned on moving the Latter-day Saints west, but circumstances worked against the plan, including the lack of money. When the opportunity came for Mormon men to enlist, the Prophet saw several possible advantages.

 First, the money alloted for the men to purchase uniforms could be used to purchase wagons, teams, and other supplies for the Saints' exodus to the west.  In addition, their enlistment would be a public relations victory for the church, demonstrating additional evidence of its loyalty to the United States.

It took a great deal of encouragement, even cajoling, for President Young to convince the men to enlist.  He wrote this:

The President (Polk) wants to do us good and secure our confidence. The outfit of this five hundred men costs us nothing, and their pay will be sufficient to take their families over the mountains. There is war between Mexico and the United States, to whom California must fall a prey, and if we are the first settlers the old citizens cannot have a Hancock or Missouri pretext to mob the Saints. The thing is from above for our own good.[

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 59, March 26

Did you know that the United States had a one time religiously based unit?  I didn't.  Though I am Mormon and knew of the Mormon Battalion,  not until I had done some research, did I realize that it was the only religiously based unit in United States military history.  It served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican-American War.

The battalion was a volunteer unit of over 500 Latter-day Saints men, commanded by regular US army officers. During its service, the battalion made a grueling march nearly 2,000 miles long from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California.

The battalion's march and service was key in helping the US secure much of the American Southwest, including new lands in several Western states, especially the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 of much of southern Arizona. The march also opened a southern wagon route to California. Those who served in the battalion played a vital role in America's expansion in California, Utah, and Arizona.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Day 58, March 25

Lincoln proved himself that day, as he did so many other times.  Though he was sick on the day he delivered the Gettysburg address, he did not allow it to provent him from carrying out his duties.

The president found it in himself to show compassion for not only the fallen men, on both sides, of the Civil War and their families, he also found compassion for a young soldier who was accused of desertion.

When that soldier was sentenced to death, his father went to see Lincoln, begging for him to intervene.  Lincoln did so, staying the young man's execution.  It was not a particularly popular decision, but popularity was not Lincoln's goal.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons why he is widely considered to be America's greatest president.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Day 57, March 24

Edward Everett pontificated for over two hours.  As the main speaker of the day, he was lauded for his lengthy remarks.  President Lincoln spoke for only a few minutes and, in ten sentences, gave what is one of the most well-remembered and oft-repeated speeches of all times.  Perhaps ironically, the president's remarks included the words "The world will little note, nor long remember ..."  

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

"Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

"But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day 56, March 23

The President was not invited to give the main speech of the day.   In fact, he was invited largely as an afterthought.  It was Edward Everett, known for his oratory skills, who was expected to deliver the primary address.  Everett's seldom-read 13,607-word oration began:
"Standing beneath this serene sky, overlooking these broad fields now reposing from the labors of the waning year, the mighty Alleghenies dimly towering before us, the graves of our brethren beneath our feet, it is with hesitation that I raise my poor voice to break the eloquent silence of God and Nature. But the duty to which you have called me must be performed; — grant me, I pray you, your indulgence and your sympathy."[
Two hours later, he ended
"But they, I am sure, will join us in saying, as we bid farewell to the dust of these martyr-heroes, that wheresoever throughout the civilized world the accounts of this great warfare are read, and down to the latest period of recorded time, in the glorious annals of our common country, there will be no brighter page than that which relates the Battles of Gettysburg."[

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 55, March 22

The July 1 - 3, 1863 Battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was one of the bloodiest of the Civil War.

The reburial of Union soldiers from the Gettysburg Battlefield graves began on October 17. The committee for the November 19 Consecration of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg invited President Lincoln to give a few remarks: "It is the desire that, after the Oration, you, as Chief Executive of the nation, formally set apart these grounds to their sacred use by a few appropriate remarks."[6

During the train trip from Washington, D.C., to Gettysburg on November 18, Lincoln remarked to John Hay, his assitant secretary, that he felt weak. On the morning of November 19, Lincoln mentioned to John Nicolay that he was dizzy. In the railroad car the President rode with his secretary, John G. Nicolay, John Hay, the three members of his Cabinet who accompanied him, William Seward, John Usher and Montgomery Blair, several foreign officials and others.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Day 54, March 21

Returning to the Eastern Shore, at fifteen, Douglass became a field hand, and experienced most of the horrifying conditions that plagued slaves. After an aborted escape attempt when he was about eighteen, he was sent back to Baltimore to live with the Auld family, and in early September, 1838, at the age of twenty, Douglass succeeded in escaping from slavery by impersonating a sailor.

Frederick Douglass He went first to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he and his new wife Anna Murray began to raise a family. Whenever he could, he attended abolitionist meetings, and, in October, 1841, after attending an anti-slavery convention on Nantucket Island, Douglass became a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society.

This work led him into public speaking and writing. He even published his own newspaper, The North Star, participated in the first women's rights convention at Seneca Falls, in 1848, and wrote three autobiographies. He was internationally recognized as an abolitionist, a tireless worker for justice and equal  rights, including those of women.

He became a trusted advisor to Abraham Lincoln, United States Marshal for the District of Columbia, Recorder of Deeds for Washington, D.C., and Minister-General to the Republic of Haiti. Frederick Douglass died on 20 February 1895, at his home in Anacostia, Washington, DC.

Frederick Douglass-One of the Great Black Leaders

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Day 53, March 20

Frederick Douglass was born in a slave cabin, in February, 1818, near the town of Easton, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Separated from his mother when only a few weeks old, he was raised by his grandparents. At the age of six, his grandmother took him to the plantation of his master and left him there. Not being told by her that she was going to leave him, Douglass never recovered from what he saw as her abandonment.

When he was eight, he was sent to Baltimore to live as a houseboy with Hugh and Sophia Auld, relatives of his master. It was shortly after his arrival that his new mistress taught him the alphabet. When her husband forbade her to continue her instruction, because it was unlawful to teach slaves how to read, Frederick took it upon himself to learn.

He made the neighborhood boys his teachers, by giving away his food in exchange for lessons in reading and writing. At the age of twelve,  Douglass purchased a copy of The Columbian Orator, a popular schoolbook of time.  Even at that age, Douglass understood the power of words. and determined to learn everything he could.

Frederick Douglass         
Frederick Douglass lived by three philosophies:
  • Believe in yourself.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity.
  • Use the power of spoken and written language to effect positive change for yourself and society.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 52, March 19

During the Reconstruction era leading figures in the suffrage movement unsuccessfully demanded women's right to vote be included in the Fifteenth Amendment.

This position led to a split within the movement in 1867. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Anthony opposed the Reconstruction amendments because they excluded women. Others within the movement, including Lucy Stone and the abolitionist Frederick Douglass, believed that women's suffrage could wait until after black men had won civil and voting rights and saw the 15th Amendment as helping that cause.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 51, March 18

The Fiftheenth Admendment to the Constitution, the third of the Reconstruction amendments, states:
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
The amendment was ratified in 1870.  Though the admendment prohibits denying anyone the right to vote "on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude," it does not include gender.  Not until fifty years later did the Constitution address the right of women to vote with the passing of the Nineteenth Admendment.. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 50, March 17

Though the suffrage movement began in the east, it was in the west where women were first given the right to vote.  Wyoming was the first state to grant women the vote, quickly followed by Utah, Colorado, and Idaho.

Why, when so many women were passionate about suffrage in the east, did women's rights take hold in  western states?  The reasons are varied, but I speculate that in forging a new life in a new land, women were not only needed but valued.  Wives worked alongside their husbands in plowing fields, fighting off Indian raids, and doing whatever was necessary to survive.  There was no "his" work or "her" work; there was simply work.  And more work.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day 49, March 16

In 1896 women had full suffrage in only three states, all of them in the West. Wyoming gave women the vote in 1869, when the state was still a territory. Colorado women won suffrage in an 1893 referendum

Utah adopted suffrage in the 1870s, but it was struck down in the 1880s by Congress in an effort to combat Mormon polygamy by blocking women's right to vote in the mostly Mormon territory. In January 1896, Utah entered the Union as a state and re-introduced full suffrage in its new state constitution.

In other states, many women held partial voting rights--usually for school-related matters, local offices, or bond issues. Except in unusual circumstances, such issues did not generate the same level of interest as presidential and congressional campaigns. This may have explained why women registered to vote in smaller numbers than expected--a fact used by anti-suffragists to support their argument that women were uninterested in voting.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 48, March 15

On June 29, 1848 in Rochester, New York Gerrit Smith was nominated as the Liberty Party's presidential candidate.  At the National Liberty Convention, held June 14–15 in Buffalo, New York, Smith gave the keynote address, including in his speech a demand for "universal suffrage in its broadest sense, females as well as males being entitled to vote."

The delegates approved a passage in their party platform addressing votes for women: "Neither here, nor in any other part of the world, is the right of suffrage allowed to extend beyond one of the sexes. This universal exclusion of woman... argues, conclusively, that, not as yet, is there one nation so far emerged from barbarism, and so far practically Christian, as to permit woman to rise up to the one level of the human family."   At this convention, five votes were placed calling for Lucretia Mott to be Smith's vice-president—the first time in the United States that a woman was nominated for federal executive office.

On July 19–20, 1848, in New York, the Seneca Falls Convention on women's rights was hosted by Lucretia Mott, Mary Ann M'Clintock, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  Over three hundred people attended, including Frederick Douglass, who stood up to speak in favor of women's suffrage. The convention also adopted a Declaration of Sentiments, demanding rights for women so they could properly protect their homes and families.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Day 47, March 14

Women's suffrage in the United States has a long history.  Though Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote, the movement for women's right to vote began decades earlier.

Lydia Taft (1712–1778), a wealthy widow, was allowed to vote in town meetings in Uxbridge, Massachusetts in 1756.   No other women in the colonial era are known to have voted.

In 1776, New Jersey  placed only one restriction on the general suffrage, which was the possession of at least £50 in cash or property (about $7,800  in today's money), with the election laws referring to the voters as "he or she." In 1790, the law was revised to specifically include women, but in 1807 the law was again revised to exclude them, an unconstitutional act since the state constitution specifically made any such change dependent on the general suffrage.

During the early part of the 19th century, the cause for equal suffrage was carried on by only a few individuals. The first of these was Frances Wright, a Scottish woman who came to the country in 1826 and advocated women's suffrage in an extensive series of lectures.

In 1836 Ernestine Rose, a Polish woman, came to the country and carried on a similar campaign so intensely that she obtained a personal hearing before the New York Legislature, though her petition bore only five signatures.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 46, March 13

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were the last surviving members of the original American revolutionaries who had fought the British and helped shape the United States of America. However, while they both believed in freedom and choice, their opinions on how to achieve these ideal took very different paths.   Adams was a firm believer in a strong centralized government, while  Jefferson believed federal government should defer to individual states' rights.

As Adams' vice president, Jefferson was so horrified by what he considered to be Adams' abuse of the presidency--particularly his passage of the restrictive Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798--that he abandoned Adams and Washington for his estate at Monticello.  There, he plotted how to bring his Republican faction back into power in the presidential election of 1800. After an exceptionally bitter campaign, in which both parties engaged in slanderous attacks on each other in print, Jefferson triumphed

After serving two presidential terms (1801-1809), Jefferson and Adams each expressed to third parties their respect for each other and their desire to renew their friendship. Adams was the first to break the silence; he sent Jefferson a letter dated January 1, 1812, in which he wished Jefferson many happy new years to come. Jefferson responded with a note in which he fondly recalled when they fought for the same cause of American freedom. The former enemies went on to resume their friendship.

On July 4, 1826, at the age of 90, Adams lay on his deathbed while the country celebrated Independence Day.. His last words were Thomas Jefferson still survives. He was mistaken: Jefferson had died five hours earlier at Monticello at the age of 82

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 45, March 12

In the presidential campaign of 2012, Democrats attacked Ann Romney, saying that she had never "worked."  I listened in astonishment that anyone could accuse a mother of five boys of never having worked.

Even in 1828, however, attacking a candidate's wife or family was not off limits.  Jackson and his wife were accused of adultery. Rachel, a divorcee,  and Jackson believed her divorce was finalized before their marriage.

The papers were incomplete, however, and she was publicly branded an adulteress by Jackson's political opponents. Mrs. Jackson was humiliated, became ill, and died before the inauguration. Jackson believed these attacks caused his wife's death and said, "May God Almighty forgive her murderers as I know she has.  I never will."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Day 44, March 11

A supporter of Adams named Charles Hammond, in an editorial in the Cincinnati Gazette, wrote “General Jackson’s mother was a COMMON PROSTITUTE brought to this country by British soldiers. She afterwards married a MULATTO MAN, with whom she had several children, of which General JACKSON IS ONE!!!”  (Emphasis by Hammond.)

Jackson’s followers, meanwhile, accused Adams of providing an American girl for the “services” of the Russian czar when Adams served as American ambassador to Russia. They branded Adams  “Pimp to the Coalition."

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Day 43, March 10

Things would get even more heated in 1828, and once again an Adams would be in the middle of it. This time it was John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams, running for president against Andrew Jackson.

One of Adams’s supporters, a Philadelphia printer named John Binns, produced a variety of handbills, known as the Coffin Handbills, which showed six black coffins and accused Jackson of ordering the execution of six of his soldiers for desertion in the War of 1812. The Adams supporters were trying to defeat Jackson by taking his strength as a national war hero and turning it into a weakness.

It gets better ... or worse.  One of the handbills also accused Jackson of being a cannibal, that after massacring over 500 Indians one evening, “the blood thirsty Jackson began again to show his cannibal propensities, by ordering his Bowman to dress a dozen of these Indian bodies for his breakfast ..."

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Day 42, March 9

Burr was never tried for the illegal duel, and all charges against him were eventually dropped. The death of Hamilton, however, ended Burr's political career. President Jefferson dropped him from the ticket for the 1804 presidential election.

After leaving Washington, Burr traveled west seeking new opportunities, both economic and political. His activities eventually led to his arrest on charges of treason in 1807. Although the subsequent trial resulted in acquittal, Burr's western schemes left him with large debts. 

Most of his few influential friends had dropped him. In a final bid for grand opportunities, he left the United States for Europe. He remained overseas until 1812, when he returned to the United States to practice law in New York City..


Friday, March 8, 2013

Day 41, March 8

Burr might have been the president instead of vice president, had it not been for Hamilton's interference. When Burr's term as vice president was almost over, he ran for governor of New York. Hamilton, once again, prevented Burr from winning by opposing his candidacy. Burr retaliated by challenging Hamilton to a duel.

On the morning of July 11, 1804 Burr and Hamilton each fired a shot from a .56 caliber dueling pistol. Burr was unharmed; Hamilton fell to the ground mortally wounded. He died the next day.

Instead of reviving Burr's political career, the duel helped to end it. Burr was charged with murder. After his term as vice president ended, he would never hold elective office again. And his next plot to gain power would end with charges of treason.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 40, March 7

Thomas Jefferson was attacked by ministers who accused him of being an "infidel" and an "unbeliever." A Federalist cartoon depicted him as a drunken anarchist." 

The president of Yale warned that if Jefferson came to power, "we may see our wives and daughters the victims of legal prostitution." A Connecticut newspaper warned that his election would mean "murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced."

Adams supporters also claimed that Jefferson’s election would result in a civil war, that he would free the slaves, and that he was an atheist. As for his supporters, they were “cut-throats who walk in rags and sleep amid filth and vermin.” In other words, Adams’s supporters thought that Jefferson partisans were part of the 47 percent.

Jefferson fans returned the favor in kind. Adams was known in anti-Federalist papers as “His Rotundity.”* The Aurora, a pro-Jefferson Philadelphia paper run by Ben Franklin’s outspoken young grandson, called him “old, querulous, bald, blind, crippled, toothless Adams.”

When Jefferson won the election, the Federalist Party was irreparably weakened.  Around this same time, the long-standing animosity between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton came to a head.

The duel was the final skirmish of a long conflict between Democratic-Republicans and Federalists. The conflict began in 1791 when Burr captured a senate seat from Philip Schulyer, Hamilton's father-in-law, who would have supported Federalist policies. (Hamilton was Secretary of the Treasury at the time.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day 39, March 6

The mudslinging took a turn for the worse when Jefferson paid a journalist to write that John Adams was a mentally unbalanced hermaphrodite. Adams spread the word that a Jefferson victory would mean murder, rape, and robbery in the streets.

The “revolution...of 1776,” Jefferson would later say, had determined the form of America’s government; he believed the election of 1800 would decide its principles. “I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of Man,” he wrote.

Jefferson was not alone in believing that the election of 1800 was crucial. Federalist Alexander Hamilton, who had been George Washington’s secretary of treasury, believed that it was a contest to save the new nation from “the fangs of Jefferson.” Federalists and Republicans appeared to agree on one thing only: that the victor in 1800 would set America’s course for generations to come, perhaps forever

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Day 38, March 5

Jefferson was one of four presidential candidates. Though he hated leaving his hilltop plantation and believed  that gaining the presidency would make him “a constant butt for every shaft of calumny which malice & falsehood could form,” he nevertheless sought the office “with sincere zeal.”

He had been troubled by much that had occurred in incumbent John Adams’ presidency and was convinced that radicals within Adams’ Federalist Party were waging war against what he called the “spirit of 1776”—goals the American people had hoped to attain through the Revolution. He had earlier characterized Federalist rule as a “reign of witches,” insisting that the party was “adverse to liberty” and “calculated to undermine and demolish the republic.”

 If the Federalists prevailed, Jefferson believed, they would destroy the states and create a national government every bit as oppressive as that which Great Britain had  imposed on the colonists before 1776.


Monday, March 4, 2013

Day 37, March 4

I had always thought mudslinging in politics as a fairly modern phenoomenon.  My reading shows that that is far from the truth.  A bitter election occurred as early as 1800.

To understand that election, we need to look at what was happening not only in the infant United States but in the world as well.

Only a quarter of a century after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the first election of the new 19th century was carried out in an  atmosphere of  a people deeply divided over the scope of the government’s authority. (Does this sound familiar?)  But it was the French Revolution that had  brought about a truly polarizing effect.

That revolution, which had begun in 1789 and did not run its course until 1815, deeply divided Americans. Horrified by the violence of the revolution, Conservatives applauded Great Britain’s efforts to stop it. The most conservative Americans, largely Federalists, were in favor of an alliance with London that would restore the ties between America and Britain.

Jeffersonian Republicans, on the other hand, insisted that these radical conservatives wanted to turn back the clock to reinstitute what they had fought against in the War of Independence.

A few weeks before Adams’ inauguration in 1796, France had decreed that it would not permit America to trade with Great Britain. The French Navy soon swept American ships from the seas,  plunging the economy toward depression. When Adams sought to negotiate a settlement, Paris ignored his envoys.







Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day 36, March 3

After crossing the mountains, the expedition decided to split into two groups, wanting to explore different river valleys.  William Clark's group, including York, went down the Yellowstone River until it joined the Missouri.  Clark drew maps and named features of the landscape after members of the group.  A river that flowed into the Yellowstone was named for York.   In 1805, Clark had named a cluster of ilsands in the Missouri "York's Eight Islands."

The two groups reunited on the Missouri on August 12, 1806.  The party depended heavily on York's ability to hunt for food, such as elk and bison. 

The Corps of Discovery had been gone for twenty-eight months.  When they met trading boats heading upriver, they discovered that nearly everyone had given them up for dead.  Crowds greeted the explorers when they reached St. Louis on September 23, 1806.

Dinner parties were held to celebrate the expedition's return in St. Louis, Washington, DC, and other cities.  Everyone praised Lewis and Clark, but all members of the group, including York the slave, were hailed as national heroes.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Day 35, March 2

On November 24, 1805, Lewis and Clark called for a vote on whether they would build a fort for the winter.  Clark recorded the vote in his journal.  York's vote was counted and recorded.  More than 60 years before the Emancipation Proclamation ending slavery in the United States and allowing freed male slaves to vote, York was given a vote in this decision.  Sacagawea's vote was also recorded, more than a hundred years before American women were given the vote. 

The fact that York was a slave and Sacagawea a woman did not matter to the others.  The two had proved themselevs over and over.  The majority of the expedition voted to cross the southern side of the Columbia River and searh for a good fort site.  They built Fort Clatsop, named for the Indians of the region.

York was injured in constructing the fort.  On December 28, Clark recorded, "York was verry unwell from a violent Coald and Strain by Carrying meet from the woods and lifting the heavy logs of the works."  (Spelling original.)

By March, the expeidition was on the move again and paddled their canoes up the Columbia.  By late May, they had enough horses and were anxious to start across the Bitterroots.  The Nez Perce tribe warned them that the mountain trails were buried under several feet of snow, causing the group to have to wait.

Finding food was a priority.  Because he was much respected by the Indians, Yokr was sent on trading missions with them.  Lewis and Clark cut the brass buttons from their military uniforms and sent these as barter.  York and a man named Hugh McNeal traded the buttons and a few other items for three bushels of edible roots and bread made of lily roots.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Day 35, March 1

The expedition encountered more and more dangers the farther west they traveled.  Rattlesnakes and grizzly bears.  River rapids and hailstorms.

By mid-August, Lewis realized that winter would soon be upon them.  He pressed forward and met the Shoshone, who had the horses the expedition needed.  The tribe wanted to move east to hunt bison.

Using sign language, Lewis persuaded the Shoshone chief, Cameahwait, to wait for the rest of the expedition.  He said that the group included a Shoshone woman and a "man who was black and had short curling hair."

The chief agreed, and he and his men also found York to be "big medicine."  Among the Shoshone and other tribes, men who had fought in battle used charcoal on their faces.  As York was all black, he was thought to be a great warrior, more powerful than the white men with whom he traveled.