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The Struggle for Missouri   By: (1846-1929)

The Struggle for Missouri by John McElroy

First Page:

THE STRUGGLE FOR MISSOURI

BY JOHN McELROY

States are not great except as men may make them, Men are not great, except they do and dare. Eugene F. Ware.

WASHINGTON, D. C:

THE NATIONAL TRIBUNE CO.

1909

DEDICATED

TO THE UNION MEN OF MISSOURI

THE STRUGGLE FOR MISSOURI.

[Illustration: 003 The Struggle for Missouri.]

3

CHAPTER I. A SALIENT BASTION FOR THE SLAVERY EMPIRE.

WHATEVER else may be said of Southern statesmen, of the elder school, they certainly had an imperial breadth of view. They took in the whole continent in a way that their Northern colleagues were slow in doing. It cannot be said just when they began to plan for a separate Government which would have Slavery as its cornerstone, would dominate the Continent and ultimately absorb Cuba, Mexico and Central America as far as the Isthmus of Panama.

Undoubtedly it was in the minds of a large number of them from the organization of the Government, which they regarded as merely a temporary expedient an alliance with the Northern States until the South was strong enough to "assume among the Powers of the Earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them."

4

They achieved a great strategic victory when in 1818 they drew the boundaries of the State of Missouri.

The Ordinance of 1787 dedicated to Freedom all of the immense territory which became the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The wonderful growth of these in population, wealth and political influence alarmed the Slave Power keenly sensitive, as bad causes always are, to anything which may possibly threaten, and it proceeded to erect in the State of Missouri a strong barrier to the forward march of the Free Soil idea.

When the time for the separation came, the Northern fragment of the Republic would find itself almost cut in two by the northward projection of Virginia to within 100 miles of Lake Erie. It would be again nearly cut in two by the projection of the northeast corner of Missouri to within 200 miles of Lake Michigan.

In those days substantially all travel and commerce was along the lines of the rivers. For the country between the Alleghany Mountains and the Mississippi the Ohio River was the great artery. Into it empty the Alleghany, Monongahela, Muskingum, the Kanawhas, Big Sandy, Scioto, the Miamis, Licking, Kentucky, Green, Wabash, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, each draining great valleys, and bringing with its volume of waters a proportionate quota of travel and commerce. The Illinois River also entered the Mississippi from the east with the commerce of a great and fruitful region.

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West of the Mississippi the mighty Missouri was the almost sole highway for thousands of miles.

The State was made unusually large 68,735 square miles, where the previous rule for States had been about 40,000 square miles stretching it so as to cover the mouths of the Ohio and the Illinois, and to lie on both sides of the great Missouri for 200 miles. A glance at the map will show how complete this maneuver seemed to be. Iowa and Minnesota were then unbroken and unvisited stretches of prairie and forest, railroads were only dreamed of by mechanical visionaries, and no man in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky or Tennessee could send a load of produce to market without Missouri's permission; he could make no considerable journey without traversing her highways, while all of the imperial area west of the Mississippi was made, it seemed, forever distinctly tributary to her.

New Orleans was then the sole mart of the West, for the Erie Canal had not been dug to convert the Great, Lakes into a colossal commercial highway.

Out of a country possessing the unusual combination of surpassing agricultural fertility with the most extraordinary mineral wealth they carved a State larger in area than England and Wales and more than one fourth the size of France or Germany... Continue reading book >>




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