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LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Brooklyn (1883). This bridge was the first one of the kind began by the leading city of America. Up to that time the only means of communication across the river was by lines of ferryboats. The cost of the work was $15,000,000, -- an amount double that of the entire annual expense of carrying on the government of the United States in the first years of Washington's presidency. It took fourteen years to finish the structure, which has a total length of over a mile. Since then four more great bridges have been built across the East River, connecting New York with Long Island (§ 408).
THE EAST RIVER SUSPENSION BRIDGE
In addition to these colossal structures, fourteen tunnels have recently been completed, at a cost of about $70,000,000, under the East and North or Hudson rivers. They connect the city with Long Island and New Jersey. Through them fast electric trains loaded with passengers are constantly passing in both directions. New York is now practically about as accessible as though it was on the mainland instead of on the island of Manhattan.
Still another evidence of the prosperity of the country was the reduction of postage (1883) on letters, weighing not more than
THE "NEW SOUTH"
half an ounce, from three cents to two. Two years afterward (1885), the weight of a letter which might be sent at this low rate was increased to a full ounce. For two cents we can now send a thick letter to any part of the United States or our island possessions, thus covering a distance, from New York to Manila, of over 11,000 miles.
The same year (1885) Congress passed the Alien Contract Labor Act. Its object was to protect American workmen against the importation of foreign workmen (§ 280). The act prohibited any company or other persons from bringing foreigners into the United States under contract to perform labor here. The only exceptions made by this law were in the case of those who were brought over to do housework or other domestic service, and skilled workmen who should be needed here to help establish some new trade or industry.
383. The New Orleans Cotton Centennial Exhibition; the "New South." Shortly after the close of the American Revolution (1784) eight bags of cotton were exported from Charleston, South Carolina, to England (§ 205). It was the first shipment of the kind ever made from the United States. In time this country came to supply nearly all the cotton used in Great Britain and Europe, and the value of the crop grew to be so great that it was a common saying at the South, "Cotton is king."
An exhibition was opened (1884) at New Orleans to mark the hundredth anniversary of the first export of that product. This city and Galveston have since become the two largest cotton ports in America. The real importance of that Centennial Exhibition lay in the fact of its showing that the South had so entirely changed that it could rightfully be called the "New South."
384. The Progress made by New Orleans an Illustration of what the "New South" is doing. Take New Orleans itself as an illustration. Before the war it had but a single important line of railway entering the city; now it has six great lines.
Before the war it was almost wholly a commercial city, and its manufactures practically counted for nothing. To-day, thanks in large measure to Captain Eads' great work (§ 378), its commerce
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
has gained enormously. Its manufactures too are rapidly increasing; it now makes great quantities of goods which it formerly bought.
385. The South no longer a purely Agricultural Country; its Manufactures; its Prosperity; the "Freedmen"; Education. The change that has taken place in New Orleans shows us what has been going on throughout the South. When the war broke out it was almost purely an agricultural country; since then many thousand new manufacturing and mining enterprises have been started, including the production of cotton-seed oil,1 and many thousands of miles of railway have been built. Such cities as the great cotton port of Galveston, with such manufacturing centers as Chattanooga, Augusta, Atlanta, and Birmingham, are "hives of industry." Their commerce, their cotton mills, iron mills, and other important works have become rivals of those in the North or West. They possess the great advantage of having their supplies of raw material -- their cotton, iron, lumber -- at the very doors of their factories and mills, with unlimited quantities of coal for fuel, and, in some cases, immense water power2 besides.
But this is not all. A new spirit shows itself in the South. Free labor is accomplishing double what slave labor did. In 1860 the South produced less than 5,000,000 bales of cotton; now it
1 Before the war the seed was thrown away or burned as useless. Now many millions of dollars are invested in its production. The oil is used for salad oil, for making soap, and for many other purposes.
2 Augusta, Spartanburg, and Columbus have great water power.
sometimes produces over 16,000,000; the white man does a part of the work; the negro does the rest. The "freedmen" share in this prosperity; when the war broke out they could not call even themselves their own; to-day they are taxed for several hundred million dollars' worth of property, which they have fairly made and just as fairly enjoy.
In education the progress has been equally great.1 Common schools have multiplied all through the South, -- they are free to black and white alike, though the schools are separate, -- and the negro has not only many thousand teachers of his own race, but great numbers of white teachers besides. If he cannot get on now, the fault will be mainly his own.
386. Summary. The principal events of the Garfield and Arthur administrations were (1) the assassination of President Garfield, followed by Vice President Arthur's succession; (2) the Civil Service Reform Act; (3) the Alien Contract Labor Act, intended to protect American workmen against the importation of foreign workmen.
During Arthur's presidency the general prosperity. of the country was shown by the completion of the East River Suspension Bridge (followed many years later by three other great bridges and by fourteen tunnels). His administration was also marked by the reduction in the rate of letter postage, and by the immense growth and prosperity of the "New South."
GROVER CLEVELAND (DEMOCRAT)
387. Cleveland's Administration (Twenty-second President, One Term, 1885-1889). The Republican party had held control of the government ever since the election of Abraham Lincoln; Grover
1 In 1882 Paul Tulane, of Princeton, New Jersey, but for more than half a century a resident of New Orleans, left over $1,000,000 to found a university for the education of white youth in that city. Vanderbilt University of Nashville, Tennessee, is another example of the same kind. In 1866 George Peabody of Danvers, Massachusetts (the London banker), gave a sum of money, which he later increased to $3,500,000, for the promotion of education at the South. In 1882 John F. Slater of Norwich, Connecticut, gave $1,000,000 for the education of the "freedmen" at the South. To-day the southern states are spending very large sums on common and high-school education.
LEADING FACTS OF AMERICAN HISTORY
Cleveland1 was the first Democratic President that had been inaugurated since Buchanan -- more than a quarter of a century before (§ 310).
388. The "Knights of Labor"; the "Black List" and the "Boycott"; the "American Federation of Labor"; the Departments of Labor and of Agriculture. For a number of years a large part of the laboring men of the country had been members of a society or union known as the "Knights of Labor" (1869). The purpose of the society was to secure for its members the power of united action in all matters that concerned their interest.
In this, as in every country, there had been at times serious disputes between employers and workmen; one object of the "Knights of Labor" was to get such disputes settled in a way satisfactory to both parties. Where this could not be done, the labor union might order its members to quit work until they either got the terms they asked, or were compelled to accept those offered by the employers. In some instances, when the union men struck, they refused to allow men who were not "Knights of Labor" to take their places, and used force to prevent them.
The employers, on the other hand, formed combinations to protect their own interests. In some cases they kept a "black list" on which they recorded the names of those laboring men who were thought to be unreasonable in their demands for higher pay or shorter hours, or whose influence over the other men was believed to be injurious. Such men often found it impossible to get work.
1 Grover Cleveland was born in Caldwell, New Jersey, in 1837; died, 1908. His father soon after moved to New York state, and Grover began the study of law in Buffalo, at the age of eighteen. In 1881 he was elected mayor of that city, and the year following he became governor of New York. In 1884 Mr. Cleveland was elected President (Thomas A. Hendricks of Indiana, Vice President) by the Democrats, over James G. Blaine of Maine and John A. Logan of Illinois, the Republican candidates. Many "Independent Republicans," or "Mugwumps," as they were called, voted for Mr. Cleveland.
THE YEAR OF STRIKES
The "Knights," however, were not without their weapon. They could refuse to have any dealings with an employer who used the black list and furthermore, they could, and did, use their influence to prevent others from having any dealings with him. This was called "boycotting."1 It is difficult to say whether the "black list" or the "boycott" came first, but in President Cleveland's administration both were extensively used, and both caused immense loss without apparently gaining any very decided advantage for either side.
More recently the "American Federation of Labor" was organized (1886). It is a combination of many different labor unions. Its object is to promote the welfare of the great body of workingmen in the United States. It is one of the largest and strongest organizations of the kind in the world.
The growing influence of organized labor induced Congress to create the National Labor Bureau (1884), later included in the Department of Commerce and Labor2 (1903) and now in the Department of Labor (1913). The Bureau collects and publishes important facts respecting the condition, rate of wages, and general progress of the laboring classes of the country. Both Departments are ably managed, and make frequent reports which are of great value not only to those who sell or hire labor, but to the whole community besides.
Meanwhile (1889) Congress made the Department of Agriculture one of the leading offices of the government. This Department has charge of all matters which are of interest to the farming population. It has proved itself very helpful to that great army of workers who till the soil and who furnish the people of this country with their "daily bread."
389. The Year of Strikes; the Chicago Anarchists. The year (1886) in which the "American Federation of Labor" was organized (§ 388) may be called the year of labor strikes. They began very
1 The word "boycott" came from the name of Captain Boycott, an English farmer and land agent in Ireland. In 1880 he became so much disliked that the people of the district where he lived refused to work for, buy from, sell to, or have any dealings whatever with him.
2 The Department of Commerce and Labor was established to promote foreign and domestic commerce, mining, manufacturing and shipping industries, and the labor and transportation interests of the United states. In 1913 Labor was made a separate Department.