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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Ground was broken for the Erie Canal


[Sidenote:

"Era of good feeling"]

In June, President Monroe undertook a three months' personal inspection of the military posts of the country. Passing through New York, Boston and Portland, and crossing New Hampshire and Vermont to Ogdensburg, he took a boat to Sackett's Harbor and Niagara. From there he went to Buffalo and Detroit, and returned to Washington. Everywhere the people greeted him by thousands. Monroe on this occasion wore the three-cornered hat, scarlet-bordered blue coat and buff breeches of the American Revolutionary army. The "Boston Journal" called the times the "Era of Good Feeling," and the expression has passed into American history as a characteristic of Monroe's entire administration.

[Sidenote: Western prairies settled]

It was an era notable for the extraordinary growth of the Western States. Settlers were encouraged to buy government land on the instalment plan, and the States refrained from levying taxes on these lands until years after the settlers had received their title deeds. Endless processions of prairie wagons passed through New York and Pennsylvania. On one turnpike alone, 16,000 vehicles paid toll during the year. Pittsburg at this time had a population of 7,000 persons. The log cabin was the house of all, with its rough chimney, its greased paper in a single window, its door with latch and string, a plank floor and single room, corn husk brooms and

its Dutch oven. In the newly broken ground corn and wheat were planted, which, when harvested, were thrashed with the flail and winnowed with a sheet. Little settlements sprang up here and there on the rolling prairie, with store-taverns, blacksmith shops and mills. This a thousand times repeated was seen in western New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

[Sidenote: Steam navigation]

[Sidenote: The Erie Canal]

[Sidenote: "Thanatopsis"]

During the same year the newly organized territory of Mississippi, formed from a division of Alabama, was admitted as the twentieth State to the Union. The first line of steam propelled ocean packets was organized to run between New York and Liverpool. In the western frontier town of St. Louis the first steamboat made its appearance. On July 4, ground was broken for the Erie Canal, which was to connect the city of New York with the great inland waters. On the strength of this progressive achievement De Witt Clinton became a candidate for the governorship of New York. Among other notable events of this year were the foundation of the New York State Library, Gallaudet's foundation of the first school for the deaf and dumb at Hartford, and the establishment of the earliest theological seminaries of the Episcopal Church in America, as well as of the first Unitarian Divinity School at Harvard. William Cullen Bryant, barely come of age, published his master work, "Thanatopsis," in the "North American Review."

[Sidenote: Stenography]

[Sidenote: German liberalism]

[Sidenote: The Wartburg festival]

[Sidenote: European courts alarmed]

[Sidenote: Advances in scholarship]

[Sidenote: African missionary work]

In other parts of the world, likewise, the return of peace was followed by a general advance in culture and civilization. Shortly after the re-establishment of the American National Bank, Canada followed suit with government banks at Montreal and Quebec. Hanka, in Bohemia, claimed to have discovered the famous


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