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Q: 1840s northern U.S. culture of innovation ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: 1840s northern U.S. culture of innovation
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: narrative-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 04 Nov 2003 09:18 PST
Expires: 04 Dec 2003 09:18 PST
Question ID: 272519
We are in the process of trying to paint a verbal picture of the
industrialized, innovative north in the pre-Civil War years.
Specifically, we are looking for contemporary celebration in the
popular culture of the American ideals of innovation and exploration
from about 1830 through the 1850s. We'd like quotes from sources like
newspaper editorials, popular ballads and broadsides, talk of folk
heroes like Davy Crockett, and celebrations of "Yankee ingenuity" as
in the connection of the B&O railroad of the East to Chicago for the
first time in 1853. We're looking for references not to anti-slavery
feeling in the north, but to contemporary examples of the northern
ideal that reaches back to the founders, the ideal of exploration and
the pioneering spirit, in scientific and industrial innovation and in
exploration of the West.


Clarification of Question by narrative-ga on 05 Nov 2003 08:58 PST
One area of specific interest to us would be any contemporary
expressions of admiration for Davy Crockett as the quintessential
American frontiersman, embodying its pioneering spirit. We would like
especially to see contemporary eulogies for him in 1836 after his
death at the Alamo.

Request for Question Clarification by czh-ga on 05 Nov 2003 13:16 PST
Hello narrative-ga,

It seems to me that you have two different questions here. Your
clarification stating that you?re especially interested in Davy
Crockett is in conflict with the issues of cultural innovation in the
1840?s in the Northern US. Davy Crockett was born in 1786 in Tennessee
and died in 1836 at the Alamo, in Texas. He served in various military
campaigns and was a politician and gained fame as a ?sharpshooter,
hunter, and yarn spinner.?

Davy Crockett was already dead before the time that your question is
asking us to explore. ?We are looking for contemporary celebration in
the popular culture of the American ideals of innovation and
exploration from about 1830 through the 1850s.?

Please clarify how you would like to proceed. You might want to post a
more detailed separate question about your interest in Davy Crockett
and further clarify this question. Also, what territory do you want
included as the ?northern US?? The more information you can share
about how you will use the research, the more likely we will be able
to provide what you need.

I look forward to  your clarification.

~ czh ~

Clarification of Question by narrative-ga on 06 Nov 2003 20:20 PST
While it's true that Davy Crockett was not a northerner, and he died
before the time period in question, he was quite a sensation in the
north. James Kirk Paulding based a popular play on him, and he seems
to have embodied the spirit of the pioneer/frontiersmen for the
northern (non-slave) states, especially after his heroic death, which
was much-celebrated.

We are certainly interested in Daniel Boone, but we thought, for the
above reasons, that eulogies for Davy Crockett, in the northern
papers, perhaps, would be a way of getting at the world view of
northerners as it related to the spirit of exploration and
self-reliance that seems to have been a major part of northern thought
in that time period.

Another area of interest is the idea, popular at the time, of the
U.S.'s "manifest destiny" to explore and take over the continent.

Hope this all helps.
Thanks again,


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 07 Nov 2003 09:09 PST
Here are some materials that I've found on-line regarding davy
crockett or manifest destiny:

Author: Crockett, Davy, 1786-1836

Title: Life of Col. David Crockett, written by himself. Comprising his
early life, hunting adventures, services under General Jackson in the
Creek War, electioneering speeches, career in Congress, triumphal tour
in the northern states, and services in the Texan war. To which is
added an account of Colonel Crockett's glorious death at the Alamo,
while fighting in defense of Texan independence, by the editor.

Publication date: 1860

Author: Lossing, Benson John, 1813-1891

Title: Our countrymen, or, Brief memoirs of eminent Americans.
Illustrated by one hundred and three portraits, by Lossing and

Publication date: 1855

Author: Bowen, Eli, b. 1824.

Title: Rambles in the path of the steam-horse. An off-hand olla
podrida, embracing a general historical and descriptive view of the
scenery, agricultural and mineral resources, and prominent features of
the travelled route from Baltimore to Harper's Ferry, Cumberland,
Wheeling, Cincinnati, and Louisville. By Ele [!] Bowen.

Publication date: 1855

Author: Williams, Joseph S

Title: Old times in west Tennessee.

Publication date: 1873

Title: Hero tales of the American soldier and sailor as told by the
heroes themselves and their comrades; the unwritten history of
American chivalry.

Publication date: [c1899]

Author: Greeley, Horace, 1811-1872.

Title: Recollections of a busy life; including reminiscences of
American politics and politians, from the opening of the Missouri
contest to the downfall of slavery...

Publication date: 1869

Title: American Institutions--The Monroe Doctrine

Publication Info.: Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial,
industrial progress and resources.

Volume 15, Issue 6, Dec 1853, pp.584-595

China and the Indies; Our Manifest Destiny in the East
Publication Info.: Debow's review, Agricultural, commercial,
industrial progress and resources.

Volume 15, Issue 6, Dec 1853, pp.a541-571

Author: Chapin, E. H. (Edwin Hubbell), 1814-1880.
Title: The American idea, and what grows out of it. An oration,
delivered in the New-York crystal palace, July 4, 1854. By E. H.
Chapin. Published by request.
Publication date: 1854.


Let me know if you would like me to post instructions for accessing
these materials (and thousands of other 19th century US documents) as
an answer to your question.



Clarification of Question by narrative-ga on 10 Nov 2003 07:10 PST
Unfortunately, it seems Davy Crockett has caught everyone's attention,
but he was just part of our question. What we're really interested in
is painting a picture of the spirit of innovation and exploration that
drove the Northern states in the years before the Civil War. Davy
Crockett, if he was talked about as part of that picture, is only a
small part of the answer. Daniel Boone is also of interest, as far as
that goes. While we'd love to see the sources on Crockett, that would
not really be enough. We're also very much interested in newspaper
editorials, popular ballads, speeches, etc. that talk about the other
aspects of exploration and innovation -- the inventions, growing
businesses, railroads being laid, etc. We only mentioned Crockett, and
the other specifics in our question, to point the researchers in a
general direction. Hope this helps. Thanks!


Clarification of Question by narrative-ga on 10 Nov 2003 07:33 PST
A further clarification -- two pieces of information from our own
research would help with the answer to this question. We're looking
for 1 -- how many copies of Davy Crockett's autobiography sold in the
year 1833, when it was published, and in the year 1836, when he died?
Also, what is the original source of John L. O'Sullivan's term
"manifest destiny"? These would be part of what we are looking for.


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 10 Nov 2003 08:26 PST
Hello again narrative-ga,

This question of yours has ventured off in several different
directions, and I must admit, I'm hesitant to try and answer it at
this point, as I don't really know what sorts of information would
best suit your needs.  I imagine my fellow researchers may be in
somewhat the same predicament.

Is there a way you can restate -- and narrow down -- what it is you're
after.  A statement like:  "I'd like five quotes from newspapers or
magazines from the 1840's on ...... [insert topic]"  would really be a
big help.



Clarification of Question by narrative-ga on 10 Nov 2003 09:34 PST
This question only has one basic thrust -- we are looking for
contemporary examples of the antebellum northern worldview, but not as
it related to slavery. We'd like one or two quotes from prominent
newspapers editorializing about the spirit of self-reliance, bold
innovation, etc. that was then driving industrialization in the north,
and also pushing people to "go west." We'd like an example or two from
popular culture (for example, the iconic status of Davy Crockett as
emblemetic of admiration for the pioneer and frontiersman) and we'd
like perhaps songs or advertising slogans or something similar that
articulated the point of view in the urbanized north that the American
ideal was progress -- in settling the rest of the continent, in
creating new inventions, etc. In other words, we are looking for
several examples of a single basic idea. That's about as specific as
we can get. Does that help?

Thanks again,

Subject: Re: 1840s northern U.S. culture of innovation
Answered By: hlabadie-ga on 10 Nov 2003 11:44 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
While neither David Crockett nor the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad are
representative of "the industrialized, innovative north" or "Yankee
ingenuity", they can be seen as having their origins in developments
coming out of the Northern states.


David Crockett was born in Tennessee in 1786, more than 15 years after
Daniel Boone of Bristol, Pennsylvania had first explored the area that
would become, in 1792, the state of Kentucky. Crockett was destined
always to follow in the path that Boone had made. Like Boone, Crockett
became hunter, adventurer, Indian fighter, trailblazer, soldier,
backwoods legend. Like Boone, Crockett would enjoy great celebrity.
Crockett would, like Boone, take pleasure in telling of his exploits
in tales that often had only the slightest resemblance to fact, tales
that eventually would be shaped into an "autobiography" of enormous
popularity. Crockett, unlike Boone, would largely be regarded in his
lifetime as a comic figure, popular for his braggart's manner and
outlandish speech and dress. Boone was almost universally regarded as
heroic in his lifetime. Boone would die an old man, and despite all of
his accomplishments, almost forgotten in Missouri. Crockett would
achieve heroic stature only in death, dying in the siege of the Alamo
in San Antonio.


Daniel Boone's grandfather was a Devonshire immigrant. Boone's parents
evidently were already examples of the American success story by the
time that Daniel was born in Bucks County in 1734. (The proximity to
Pennsbury, the seat of the Penn family, probably explains the Quaker
faith of Boone's parents. His grandfather, was Church of England.) The
family moved shortly after to a farm in Berks County, where Boone
acquired the skills that would take him far later in life. Boone
himself seems to have epitomized the qualities of enterprise and
adventure that came to represent for Europeans and future generations
of Americans the quintessential American character. When he was
nineteen, his family removed south to North Carolina. Boone married
and set up housekeeping in a lonely spot farther inland. Ranging ever
westward in hunting trips, Boone became the agent of a land
speculation company, and explored the eastern portions of Kentucky in
1764, following the route of John Finley. In 1769, with five others,
Boone crossed over into Kentucky and led an expedition lasting more
than six months. In December, they decided to winter and made a
permanent camp. Shortly thereafter, Boone and a companion were taken
by Indians while away hunting. After several days in captivity, the
two escaped and returned to their camp, only to find it ransacked and
deserted. Their four partners were never found. The two men were found
by Boone's brother Squire, who had set out with a friend to look for
them. Boone's remaining partner was killed by Indians not long after,
and Squire's friend decided to return home, leaving the brothers
alone. Eventually, it was decided that Squire should go back to
civilzation and procure supplies, and Daniel remained behind to
maintain their claim upon the land. In his brother's absence, Boone
explored as far as the Ohio River. When they had met again and
explored together even more of the country, they finally left for
their home in 1771.

After an abortive attempt to settle his family and several others in
the territory of Kentucky, during which his eldest son was killed with
five other young men by Indians, Boone led an official surveying team
into the wilderness in 1774.

Boone went on to settle and fortify a small community, afterwards
called Boonesborough, in the forests, and served during the Revolution
mainly as its defender from the Indians who had been allied with the
British. He served also with George Rogers Clark as guide, and
participated in the last major battle against the Indians in that

While always successful in his many explorations into the wild, Boone
was never able to find any permanent success after civilization
arrived in his wake. He suffered many losses to unscrupulous
speculators and in the courts, where his land titles were vacated.
Moving always
westward, in 1798 Boone found employment near St. Louis, then q
Spanish colony, and after under the French in the Louisiana. However,
even this place was lost once the territory was acquired by the United
States, and once again his claims were denied by the courts.

These many disappointments and injustices did not prevent him from
attempting to serve the country in 1812, when, aged 72, he volunteered
to fight against the British invaders. He died in a small cabin in
Missouri in 1820.

Boone became a national icon of the pioneering life when his
"autobiography' was written by John Filson in 1784. Many stories
accreted around his name that Boone himself disavowed. He modestly
deprecated the fame that he had earned, saying that many others had
like histories to tell of themselves. Boone, however, was not averse
to the occasional tall tale when he was the teller.

Museums To Go
The Life & Legend of Daniel Boone

"Many heroic exploits and chivalrous adventures are related to me that
exist only in the regions of fancy.  With me the world has taken great
liberties, and yet I have been but a common man. It is true that I
have suffered many hardships and miraculously escaped many perils, but
others of my companions have experienced the same."

Littell's Living Age
Title: The Living age ... / Volume 10, Issue 113
Publisher: The Living age co. inc. etc. Publication Date: July 11, 1846
City: New York etc. Pages: 626 page images in vol.

"IT does not seem to us many years since we read in the papers an
obituary notice of Daniel Boone, the founder of the state of Kentucky.
Need we say what Kentucky now is? A state as large as Scotland,
fertile and beautiful, and containing not much less than a million of
people. Yet the first white man who set himself down to live in this
grand country, only died at the end of the reign of George III. ; so
rapidly does the world advance in some of its districts. Boone?s
history is interesting, because it realizes almost in our own day some
of those first processes of civilization which, in the elder world,
passed long before history existed."

Daniel Boone

"Other settlers soon followed, for Boone's fort appeared to them like
a city of refuge in any hour of need, and they took comfort from the
thought. Yet that which gave the white people strength and confidence
excited the jealous ire of the savages, and they hovered around this
centre of civilization, this germ of dispossessing power in their
midst, eager for an opportunity to strike an exterminating blow. But
they were timid as well as wary, and when, soon after the arrival of
Boone, Colonel Henderson, the "lord of the manor," came along the
pathway prepared by the Pioneer, with a retinue of men and
pack-horses, forty of his strong followers, well armed and prepared
for battle, the Indians withdrew in dismay, and hastened beyond the
Ohio to tell their brethren there of the thunder-bolt that had fallen
in the centre of their chosen hunting-grounds.

On his arrival Colonel Henderson gave the name of Boonesborough to the
growing fort and its surroundings; and then he proceeded to people the
land and organize a government for Transylvania, as the new State was
to be called. Thousands of acres of that rich land were soon sold to
emigrants; and by the end of April there were four settlements in
Kentucky, named respectively Boonesborough, Harrodsburg, Blue Springs,
and St. Asaphís. To these settlers Henderson sent an invitation to
appoint representatives to meet him at Boonesborough for the purpose
of organizing a proprietary govern- ment. They responded cheerfully,
and on the 23d of May, 1775, the first Legislature in that region
assembled under the shade of a huge elm near the fort."
""That life," says Governor Morehead, in his eloquent address in
commemoration of the first settlement of Kentucky, "is a forcible
example of the powerful influence which a single absorbing passion
exerts over the destiny of an individual. Born with no endowments of
intellect to distinguish him from the crowd of ordinary men, and
possessing no other acquirements than a very common education
bestowed, he was enabled, nevertheless, to maintain, through a long
and useful career, a conspicuous rank among the most distinguished of
his contemporaries; and the testimonials of the public gratitude and
respect with which he was honored after his death were such as are
never awarded by an intelligent people to the undeserving. He came
originally to the wilderness, not to settle and subdue it, but to
gratify an inordinate passion for adventure and discovery, to hunt the
deer and buffalo, to roam through the woods, to admire the beauties of
nature; in a word, to enjoy the lonely pastimes of a hunter's life,
remote from the society of his fellow-men. He had heard with
admiration and delight Finley's description of the country of
Kentucky, and high as were his expectations he found it a second
Paradise. Its lofty forests, its noble rivers, its picturesque
scenery, its beautiful valleys, but, above all, the plentifulness of
beasts of every American kind, these were the attractions that brought
him to it. "He united, in an eminent degree, the qualities of
shrewdness, caution, and courage, with uncommon muscular strength. He
was seldom taken by surprise; he never shrunk from danger, nor cowered
beneath the pressure of exposure and fatigue. In every emergency he
was a safe guide and a wise counselor, because his movements were
conducted with the utmost circumspection; and his judgment and
penetration were proverbially accurate. Powerless to originate plans
on a large scale, no individual among the pioneers could execute with
more efficieny and success the designs of others. It is not assuming
too much to say, that without him, in all probability, the settlements
would not have been upheld, and the conquest of Kentucky might have
been reserved for the emigrants of the nine-teenth century.""

Pioneers Of Kentucky, by Robert F. Coleman: pp. 577-593
Harper's new monthly magazine. / Volume 25, Issue 149
Publication Date: October, 1862

The First American West: The Ohio River Valley, 1750-1820

Welcome to the Filson Historical Society


Clarification of Answer by hlabadie-ga on 10 Nov 2003 11:48 PST

David Crockett unarguably personified the American frontier in the
early 19th Century, both its qualities and its defects. He was a
self-made man, rising from very mean origins and circumstances to
attain first local notoriety and eventually national fame. He had a
successful career as hunter, Indian fighter, soldier, and politician,
being elected from Tennessee as U.S. Representative and regularly
returned to office. Perhaps his greatest success, however, came as a
propagandist for his own legend. Like that of many a politician,
Crockett's record became increasingly magnified with each retelling.
He not only encouraged the transformation of his exploits from fact to
myth, he participated in the process of glorification. In this,
Crockett was again embodying the temperament of the frontier, where
boasts, exaggerations, and self-promotion were part of its pushing
success, a romantic success that carried back East stories of wonder,
daring, and easy riches.

That Crockett excited the popular imagination is beyond any dispute.
His sudden ascendance to political power in Washington from the almost
vagabond existence that he had pursued previously was in itself
remarkable, but the equally sudden appearance of the biographical
sketches of him, filled with examples of his picturesque language and
entertaining opinions, propelled his formerly parochial renown into
the height of broad national celebrity. It is notable that the
beginnings of his fame and his political career coincided. For those
in the North, Crockett was not so much the hero as the curiosity, a
tangible example of a legendary type. It is doubtful that the more
sober members of his audiences believed the improbable stories that he
told about himself, but they enjoyed the telling. Behind all of the
improbability, there was the sense that he was authentic; but there
was always the nagging question if that authenticity were admirable. A
great part of his popularity rested on his good-humored acceptance of
that skepticism. Baiting the skeptic with wild stories seemed to
increase his popularity. As a politician, however, he presented a
rather steadfast devotion to small interests. He was especially
interested in a scheme to distribute public lands to impoverished
Tennesseeans, a plan that was repeatedly defeated through the
opposition of President Jackson. Crockett had opposed the Indian
Removal bill, and this had aroused a persistent enmity in Jackson.
Many in the Whig Party thought that Crockett could be groomed as a
suitable opponent or successor to Jackson. Thus, there was in both
praise and criticism of Crockett something political. (It should be
remembered that the notions of journalistic integrity of the time were
much different than those held today. The truth was not valued more
highly than fiction in reporting.)

Crockett was one in a long line of frontier heroes on a
larger-than-life scale. It probably would be too much to claim that he
consciously set out in emulaton of the public fame of Boone, but it
could very probably be argued that those who managed Crockett's
publicity took a page from Boone's biography when they chose Crockett
as their subject. Crockett himself did not profit from the publicity,
except insofar as it served to put him forward politically. His manner
of death validated his public image, although it must be said that it
did little to incite public ardor for Westward expansion in the North.
It took more than a decade for the Government to take the decision to
go to war with Mexico, a decision that was not universally approved.



"(Tennesseans have elected to Congress) an individual named David
Crockett, who had received no formal education, could read only with
difficulty, had no property, no fixed dwelling, but spent his time
hunting, selling his game for a living, and spending his whole life in
the woods." -- French philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville, on the
problem with letting the lower classes vote."
"Matthew St. Clair Clarke, a rich eastern Whig who works as the Clerk
of the House of Representatives, visits David at his home. He tells
David that the Whig Party is interested in backing Crockett in the
next election. They agree to publish a book of his exploits.

St. Claire Clarke returns home and either writes or commissions
(depending on whose account you believe) "The Life and Adventures of
Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee," by "Anonymous." The book is
later retitled "Sketches and Eccentricities of Colonel David
Crockett," and its authorship is attributed to Whig writer James
Strange French. When the biography is re-published by a larger company
out of New York it becomes immensely popular."

Democracy in America
Alexis deTocqueville

"Many of his judgments can be traced to a fluidity of status in a
democracy. Social status is determined, in a democracy, primarily by
wealth which varies both along traditional economic patterns and with
respect to one's location (for example, would Davy Crockett have been
elected to Congress in Massachusetts-- doubtfully)."

The Nineteenth Century in Print: Periodicals

Sketches and Eccentricities of (ol. David Crockett, of West-Tennessee. New Edition.
"The gentleman, who is the subject of these Sketches, was not much
known beyond the circle of his neighbors and fellow-hunters, till, a
few years ago, when, by one of those strange and erratic concurrences
of circumstances, which sometimes happen in the political system, he
was found in one of the seats of the House of Representa- tives of the
United States."
"...and we have no doubt that he is a very amusing companion, in
societies where the backwoods vernacular, and the anecdotes of the
uncultivated son of nature, are more sought for, and better relished,
than the refined conversation of the scholar, and the instructive
communion of the intelligent and sober. Doubtless, the anecdotes
related of Col. Crockett, and the oddness of his thoughts and
expressions, as they fall from his lips, may not only make the
multitude laugh, but extort a smile from the cast-iron countenance of
the profoundest gravity; but to read them in a volume, is but lenten

Or David Crockett in Western Pennsylvania

"The Alamo at San Antonio fell to the Mexicans on March 6. Boat
captains`commonly relayed newspapers from downriver to the editors
further north,`and it was probably from a steamboater that the
Pittsburgh DAILY GAZETTE`received the following, which it published on
April 14:

New Orleans, March 28 -*

On the fall of the Alamo ... we regret to say that Colonel David
Crockett ... is among the number slain -

"The Beaver WESTERN ARGUS ran the same dispatch on April 20, along
with a New York paper's prediction that the deaths of Travis and
Crockett would create "a feeling ... throughout the country ... which
no power`can repress, no authority can put down.""

A Narrative of the Life of David Crockett of the State of Tennessee
 Reprinted from the 1834 edition published by E. L. Carey and A. Hart, Philadelphia

David Crockett His Life and Adventures
by John S.C. Abbott

History Buff Newspaper Archives

Sarah Tuttle's Scrapbook (1834-1860s)

David "Davy" Crockett

"Disgusted by that time with politics, Crockett bid farewell to
Tennessee and headed for Texas in the fall of 1835. There he was well
received and seemed to enjoy his new environment, for on 9 January
1836 he wrote a daughter back in Tennessee: "I would rather be in my
present situation than to be elected to a seat in Congress for life.""

Legends of the Alamo (from Google's cache)
Deaths of Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie,+1836%22+Alamo&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

"The first published account of Crockett's death was that of Joe,
Travis' slave. On April 11, 1836 Joe reported that "the Honorable Davy
Crockett died like a hero, surrounded by heaps of the enemy slain."
Joe had told his account to George C. Childress of the Nashville
Banner, and soon newspapers all over the country picked up on the
story of the great Davy Crockett killing scores of Mexicans before he
fell at the Alamo. But after Mexican soldiers began to tell their
accounts, doubt emerged as to whether or not Crockett died in combat.

According to the story of an unidentified Mexican soldier, Crockett
and five others had been surrounded and ordered by Mexican General
Castrillon to surrender, who promised them protection. But when they
were brought before Santa Anna, Castrillon was reprimanded and the
prisoners were slain. Colonel Juan N. Almonte told almost the exact
same story in September of 1836, except he stated that the prisoners
were shot, not stabbed as the first account reported. Throughout the
19th Century many Mexican officers recorded the same story, claiming
that Crockett was in fact among the few men that were captured and
later cut down. The controversial diary of Josè Enrique de la Peña,
"With Santa Anna in Texas," also told the story of Crockett being
brought before Santa Anna by Castrillon and his execution that
followed, but many historians today feel that the diary is a fake."


Clarification of Answer by hlabadie-ga on 10 Nov 2003 11:50 PST
Center for American History

"The controversy generated by the manuscript narrative of Lt. Colonel
Josè Enrique de la Peña is strong evidence that historical researchers
in the U.S. are turning more of their attention to the Mexican view of
Texas history. Peña, a Mexican army officer on General Santa Anna's
staff during the unsuccessful campaign to suppress the rebellion in
Texas in 1836, was a participant in the assault on the Alamo. His
memoir of the campaign attracted public notoriety because of his
statement that folk hero David Crockett was executed after the battle
of the Alamo instead of being killed while fighting. The Peña
manuscript, which dates from the late 1830s, was donated to the center
in 1998 by Texas businessmen Charles Tate and Tom Hicks. The dispute
over Peña's description of Crockett's death has attracted most of the
public attention, but the manuscript's research value is in its
detailed description of the Mexican Army's efforts to defeat the
rebels in Texas and its discussion of political and economic
conditions in Mexico during the last half of the 1830s."

Juan Nepomuceno Almonte 1803-1869

"Colonel Almonte's Journal Account of the Siege and Battle of the
Alamo 23 Feb-6 Mar 1836

At the Battle of San Jacinto, Col. Almonte was taken prisoner by the
Texian army on 21 Apr 1836. According to an article in the New York
Herald, his private journal was found on the field and confiscated by
Anson Jones. It was sent to and published by the newspaper in
installments. The Herald reported that the journal was examined by Mr.
Childress in New York City before the journal was published and the
journal was sent on to Washington D.C. to the President. The fate of
the journal is unknown."

The Gamecock of the Wilderness

"THE backwoodsman's fancy roamed over two figures of his own kind:
Davy Crockett, the hunter and backwoods oracle, and Mike Fink, known
in legend as the first flatboatman who dared to take a broadhorn over
the Falls of the Ohio. Fink's frolics and pranks, his feats of
strength, his marksmanship, became themes for endless story-telling.
He had ridden a moose like a horse through wild country. In a canoe on
the Mississippi he had grasped a she-wolf swimming to attack him, and
had held her under water until she drowned. As an Indian stood on a
hill proudly silhouetted against the sky with his scalp lock and
hawk's feather etched clear, Fink-below him and many yards
distantraised his rifle: the Indian leapt high into the air and fell
to the ground. The act was as cruel as deliberate murder, for Fink-as
he intended-had severed the Indian's scalp lock. Many of the tales
exhibited the broad, blind cruelty of the backwoods; yet many of them
insisted that Fink was good. The abstract quality was habitually
attached to shaggy backwoods heroes in later tales."
"Mike Fink embodied the traditional history of the hero, but he never
attained the nation-wide fame of Crockett" nor did he embody so many
aspects of life on the frontier, or slip-as Crockett did-into poetic
legend. Crockett first emerged as a coonskin follower of Jackson; he
later became Jackson's opponent, and was transformed into an oracle
throughout the land, with a position similar to that of Jack Downing.
Squibs and stories were contrived, purporting to reveal discussions
between them-the legendary and the living figure. Crockett's
philosophy was simple: he wanted to save the land from the speculator.
In this early phase he was rather more the settler than the huntsman.
In his autobiography, which seems to have been taken down as he said
it, fragments of old dance and labor songs appeared"Now weed corn,
kiver taters, double shuffle!" He repeated other songs reminiscent of
work in the fields and of old country games--

    We are on our way to Baltimore
    With two behind and two before, Around, around, around we go,
    Where oats, peas, beans, and barley grow,
        In waiting for somebody. (A kiss)

    'Tis thus the farmer sows his seed,
    Folds his arms and takes his ease,
    Stamps his feet and claps his hands,
    Wheels around and thus he stands,
        In waiting for somebody. (A kiss)"

from the Crockett Almanac

"I'll never forget the time he tried to scare my wife Mrs. Davy
Crockett. You see, the critter had tried all sorts of ways to scare
her, but he had no more effect on her than droppen feathers on a barn
floor; so he at last bet me a dozen wild cats that he would appear to
her, an scare her teeth loose, an her toe nails out of joint; so the
varmint one night arter a big freshet took an crept into an old
alligators skin, an met Mrs. Crockett jist as she was taken an
evening's walk. He spread open the mouth of the critter, an made sich
a holler howl that he nearly scared himself out of the skin, but Mrs.
Crockett didn't care any more for that, nor the alligator skin than
she would for a snuff of lightnin, but when Mike got a leetle too
close, and put out his paws with the idea of an embrace, then I tell
you what, her indignation rose a little bit higher than a Mississippi
flood, an she throwed a flash of eye-lightnen upon him that made it
clear daylight for half an hour, but Mike thinkin of the bet an his
fame for courage, still wagged his tail an walked out, when Mrs.
Crocket out with a little teeth pick, and with a single swing of it
sent the hull head and neck flyin fifty feet off, the blade iist
shavin the top of Mike's head, and then seeing what it war, she trowed
down her teeth pick, rolled up her sleeves, an battered poor Fink so
that he fainted away in his alligator skin, an he war so all scaren
mad, when he come too, that he swore he had been chawed up, and
swallered by an alligator."

Memoirs of a Captivity Among the Indians of North America, by John
Dunn Hunter (3rd. ed, 1824)

The North American review. / Volume 33, Issue 72
Date: July 1831

"The Cherokee Case.
1.	Opinion, of the Supreme Court of the United States on an
appiicalion made by the Cherokee Indians for a Writ of Injunction
against the State of Georgia, delivered by Mr. Chief Justice MARSHALL,
at the January Term held at Washington, 1831."
"The proceedings of the Supreme Court of the United States, upon the
application made by the Cherokee ludians for a writ of injunction
against the State of Georgia, excited a deep and general interest
throughout the country. This was naturally to be expected from the
novelty of the case, the dignity of the parties, and the high
importance of the principles in question. The scene wore in some
degree the imposing majesty of those ancient dehates in which the
great father of Roman eloquence sustained before the Senate the rights
of allied and dependent, but still sovereign princes, who had found
themselves compelled to seek for protection and redress from the
justice of the mighty Republic. We may add, that the high and
well-earned reputation of the Counsel retained by the Indians, added
another point of resemblance to the parallel. In proportion to the
interest felt in the subject, was the anxiety to learn the opinion of
the Court, which was given by the Chief Justice, on the last day of
the January term, and was shortly after published in the Cherokee
Phoenix. We propose in the present article to submit to our readers a
few observations upon this opinion ; and shall afterwards examine very
briefly the defence of the policy of the Executive Department of the
Government in regard to the Indians, which is contained in the message
transmitted by the President to the Senate on the 22d of February, in
answer to a call for information on that subject. The opinion of the
Court,ówhich, on account of its great importance, we copy entire, is
as follows."

Popular Literature About Yankee Enterprise and Western Expansion

YANKEE ENERGY (from Robert Merry's Museum, September 1841, p. 95)

"Here, a teenager takes his family from Ohio back to Connecticut via
the canal system."

THE WAR IN FLORIDA (from /Robert Merry's Museum/, February 1842, pp. 56 & 58)

"After a time Osceola, or Powel, as he was sometimes called, was
chosen as their chief. He was partly of Indian, and partly of white
blood--but a man of great courage, skill and energy. When he became
the leader, the war assumed a serious aspect.

I cannot now tell the whole story of the struggle that has been
maintained by the Seminoles for nearly seven years. They have
displayed a degree of courage, patience, perseverance, and patriotism,
scarcely equalled in the annals of history--considering the smallness
of their number, and the mighty force that has been brought against
"Such is the sad story of the Seminoles. They are savages, but they
have shown many traits of character worthy of our respect. We shall
soon possess their lands, but they have cost our country many millions
of dollars, and far more than they are worth."

UNCLE FRANK IN KANSAS, by Francis Woodworth (from Woodworth's Youth's
Cabinet, June 1856, pp. 178-182)


Clarification of Answer by hlabadie-ga on 10 Nov 2003 11:56 PST

H.L. Mencken says in "The American Language" that he had found an
example of the use of "manifest destiny" in Harper's Magazine, Feb.,
1854. Obviously, that is not earlier than O'Sullivan.

John L. O'Sullivan on Manifest Destiny, 1839

"America is destined for better deeds. It is our unparalleled glory
that we have no reminiscences of battle fields, but in defence of
humanity, of the oppressed of all nations, of the rights of
conscience, the rights of personal enfranchisement. Our annals
describe no scenes of horrid carnage, where men were led on by
hundreds of thousands to slay one another, dupes and victims to
emperors, kings, nobles, demons in the human form called heroes. We
have had patriots to defend our homes, our liberties, but no aspirants
to crowns or thrones; nor have the American people ever suffered
themselves to be led on by wicked ambition to depopulate the land, to
spread desolation far and wide, that a human being might be placed on
a seat of supremacy.

We have no interest in the scenes of antiquity, only as lessons of
avoidance of nearly all their examples. The expansive future is our
arena, and for our history. We are entering on its untrodden space,
with the truths of God in our minds, beneficent objects in our hearts,
and with a clear conscience unsullied by the past. We are the nation
of human progress, and who will, what can, set limits to our onward
march? Providence is with us, and no earthly power can."
"In its magnificent domain of space and time, the nation of many
nations is destined to manifest to mankind the excellence of divine
principles; to establish on earth the noblest temple ever dedicated to
the worship of the Most High -- the Sacred and the True. Its floor
shall be a hemisphere -- its roof the firmament of the star-studded
heavens, and its congregation an Union of many Republics, comprising
hundreds of happy millions, calling, owning no man master, but
governed by God's natural and moral law of equality..."

The American Whig review.  Volume 14, Issue 84
Date: Dec 1851
The Dallas Letter

"It is time that we should all, North and South, East and West, come
to an understanding about this much talked-of disunion. And we might
as well know it first as last, that the thing is impossible. Union is
indelibly stamped upon the geographic features of our continent; it is
a part of our political and social being; it is determined for us,
whether we will or no, by our physical and moral constitutions; and,
to express the whole in a phrase vastly popular at this day with those
of Mr. Dallas?s way of thinking, it is our manifest destiny."

The United States Democratic review.  Volume 42, Issue 5
Date: November 1858
The Reopening of Congress - Bold Issues Looming up Before the People

"Our purposes, in the event of such a contingency, are well known to
every European nation, by the negotiations and diplomacy of our
government in the past. It will be for Congress to declare the precise
conditions of a National American Protectorate to be established over
Mexico in case of a continuance of the present state of disintegration
and the difficulties now notoriously obtaining throughout that
republic. The outrages encountered by American citizens already,
within the very shadow of the Capital of the Montezumas, and under the
walls of the city of Mexico, surrendered to riot, rapine, and anarchy,
demand instantaneous redress, while a heavy indemnity must be claimed,
also, for the confiscation and destruction of American property. All
order is banished and all law set at defiance. In the face of such a
state of things, we cannot foresee how an active and energetic policy
can be deferred or obviated by either the Administration or Congress.
The great consequences that may follow the assumption of this attitude
by the United States, we do not propose now to investigate. Present
action is inevitable. It can only give acceleration to the manifest
destiny of this Republic and the realization of the purposes of the
American people."

The United States Democratic review.  Volume 32, Issue 3
Date: Mar 1853
The Monroe Doctrine versus The Clayton and Bulwer Treaty (an expose)

"During the past four years, the Whig Administration has never lost a
public opportunity of protesting against annexation; and through the
whole of that time it has aided and favored the annexation of Central
America to the British Empire. All the world knows and says, that it
is the manifest destiny of our political system to extend itself until
it embraces the entire North American Continent. In order that this
destiny may be peacefully accomplished, without injury to the rights
of any State, the people of the United States have declared that no
European power shall be allowed to colonize North America. This grand
and prudent declaration was intended to be a guaranty of peace and
security for all the re- publics that lie south of the Northern
Confederation. It covered, and, if we may so speak, republicanized the
entire conti- nent?; it gave security to commerce; it encouraged
alliances and unions among free and sympathetic States; it protected
the great roadways from sea to sea ;?roadways not merely of commerce,
but of emigration, by which the grand movements of republican
colonists are directed westward to the shores of the Pacific."

New Englander and Yale review.  Volume 9, Issue 36
Date: November 1851
The Puritan Element in the American Character: pp. 531-544

"No people, not even the proud Roman, ever indulged in livelier
expectations of a magnificent history than our own. This appears to be
not only a prevalent feeling, but a theoretic assumption, on the part
of the American people. It is a sentiment not very clearly defined,
indeed; nor, if we look narrowly into its grounds, do we see it
supported by evidence wholly incapable of impeachment. Nevertheless,
it exists. It has come down from our sires. One would suppose that
theirs was almost a prophetic vision, when they cast themselves so
unhesitatingly on Providence, in helplessness and exposure, with the
intention of founding institutions which a distant posterity, and not
themselves and their immediate descendants, could so well enjoy. They
could but see that years of toil on the wilderness, and of warfare
with both its brute and human tenants were required; that watchings
without and cares within must be inscribed on their door-posts; that
?eternal vigilance? must be ?the price of liberty,? and that whatever
might be the desirable results arrived at, these would be only in the
distant future... Yet, it was an assured hope on the part of those
early seers, and it has come down with gathering inspiration to the
present period. We now talk more than ever of our ?manifest destiny ;?
with what wisdom in some of its applications it would not be easy to

If it were a mere confidence or theory that ours is to be an
unparalleled history, it would he scarcely worthy of notice, how- ever
splendid the illusion. The fabric would soon disappear with the dream
that created it. But instead of that careless leaving of great
interests to fate or fortune, which so naturally results, in other
cases, from an assured expectation, our citizens generally are not
disposed to neglect the means of attainment. American energy is
indomitable. Difficulties do not repress it. Disappointments do not
weaken it. There is no better known charac- teristic of a Yankee,
taking the term in an extended sense, than that if he fails in one
attempt, he makes a second ; and it is ?a foregone conclusion,? that
whenever he earnestly seeks an end he secures it, provided it be
within the bounds of possibility. In battle, in trade, in navigation,
in art, in invention, his career is progressive, and he must go as far
as the farthest."
THE MEXICAN WAR (Support and Opposition in the North)

Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online
Pennsylvania and the Independence of Texas

""The country is already large enough." "Shall the free states yield
to southern threats and annex Texas?" asks Poulson's Advertiser.
According to this journal the Union if further extended to Mexico
would fall in ruins.

Having thus demonstrated the Texas question to be a "monstrous scheme
of iniquity," and shown how doubtful even to the South was the
economic gain of acquiring the region between the Sabine and the Rio
Grande, those who took an impartial view of the situation proceeded
further to point out the danger of a clash between United States
troops and those of Mexico, and the hazards of hostilities with that
country. Not only was a war waged for absolute independence impolitic
and quite premature, but what was more to the point, the contest was a
hopeless one for the "Texians," their only salvation being in the
interference of our government. As confirmatory of this view, the
Philadelphia Gazette [May 6, 1836] printed the week following the
battle of San Jacinto a letter from a faint-hearted member of the
Washington Convention stating that everything was lost unless speedy
assistance was received from the United States."

"All this it little short of remarkable when one recalls how great the
distances were which, at this time, separated the people of
Pennsylvania from the settlers in Texas. The only hypothesis upon
which their interest can be explained is that in the eyes of the
citizens of the northern state, the colonists who had emigrated beyond
the Sabine were justified in taking up arms to redress the wrongs with
which they saw themselves threatened.

Among those who took part in the ill-fated Tampico expedition and who
were shot at Tampico on Monday, December 14, 1835, were three
Pennsylvanians: Arthur H. Clement, aged forty; Thomas Whitaker, aged
thirty; Charles Gross, aged twenty-three. A young man of twenty-five
from Pittsburgh by the name of Fleming died in the hospital. The
Philadelphia papers of April 11, 1836, contained the news of the fall
of the Alamo. Several Pennsylvanians perished at that time. The roll
of honor is as follows: Capt. F. J. Desauque of Philadelphia, who had
been the bearer of an express from General Houston and who, with Capt.
Benj. H. Holland and an ensign, bore a flag of truce to General Urrea;
John Thurston, who is said to have been a clerk in Desauque's store;
William Cummings; William Johnson, of Philadelphia; Williamson, a
serjeant major from the same city; and Browne, Holloway, Smith and

Will There Be War with Mexico?. The American Whig review.  Volume 2,
Issue 3, September 1845

"Entertaining far other views ourselves and wholly persuaded that all
wars are fraught with crime, are dangerous to Liberty, and necessarily
tend to the subversion of those institutions upon which our political
and social fabrics stand...that no war can be justifiable which is
not, in its origin, strictly defensive; we propose ere yet the
trumpets have sounded, and the battle is joined, while, indeed, there
is yet a hope that the battle may not be joined, to call the attention
of our readers to the course pursued by the President of the United
States in this matter."
"All this has been done on the sole responsibility of the President,
without the certainty, and, so far as yet appears, without any great
probability of an immediate and sustained attempt on the part of
Mexico, to invade Texas or annoy the commerce of the United States. In
this point of view, and considered in the light of impartial reason,
the whole movement looks much more like one of aggression than of
defence, more in the nature of a defiance to Mexico, a throwing down
of the gauntlet, than of a reluctant and imperative preparation
against impending attack."


"What right had the United States of America to declare war, or to be
in a state of actual hostility, with the powers of the republic in the

Mexico in the year 1825, belonged to the monarchy of Spain. We as a
nation of Republicans looked on Mexico (as indeed on any other land so
situated) as by that fact, wronged. It was a matter of interest thus
to the good people of this country, that Mexico should be freed from
her connexion with, and bondage to, her parent power ;?and when the
moment came in the good providence of God for this thing to take
place, and the powers of Mexico rose in their strength, and divested
themselves of the tyrannical harness Spain had affixed to her
shoulders, the United States shouted to her in joy, and bade her stand
up as one of the republics of America?the country that was to modify
by her example and teachings, and even make over again, the
governments of the earth.

This Mexican nation, however, had great wealth, both in her bosom, and
on the surface of her soil. She had a province also on her eastern
boundaries, and contiguous to us, rather restless from an early
period, and frequently giving indications in her conduct towards the
central government farther west, that she might at a future day, like
a restless and over-confident child, attempt to break prematurely from
parental restraint, and stand up and do for herself in the world. This
and other circumstances calculated to arouse the spirit of cupidity in
another nation, seemed to catch the eye of some of the baser sort of
the people of the American Union ;? and it is now among the plainest
things that are ever made plain by the succeeding developments of
time, that some in our nation yet living, laid a far off, yet most
cunning plan, to dispoil at a future day this sister republic of?
Mexico, of? one of the best in some respects of all her provinces."

"Our Relations With Mexico," The American Whig Review, Volume 4, Issue 1, July 1846

"After what has already transpired since this war was commenced, after
what has already been done to vindicate the patriotism of our people,
and the glory of our arms, and after the severe chastisement which the
enemy has already received, we think it high time now that the people
should begin to consider seriously of a proper reckoning between
themselves and the guilty authors of the war. If we should wait till
the war may be ended, till those who have got us into it may see fit
to get us out in their own way, we believe the day of reckoning would
never come. Our silence would he construed into consent and entire
acquiescence. We believe the time has already come, when peace should
be made, or sought at least, with Mexico; and the very fact that no
step whatever has been taken, or, so far as we know, contemplated, hy
the Administration, towards an offer or an effort to renew friendly
relations with that Power, since the disasters which have befallen her
arms on the Rio Grande, should be held as a new offence, only less
reprehensible than that of bringing us originally into a needless


Clarification of Answer by hlabadie-ga on 10 Nov 2003 11:57 PST

The B&O was neither an expression of Northern aspirations nor an
example of Yankee Ingenuity, but rather a reaction among the
commercial interests of Baltimore against the success of the Erie
Canal, the brainchild of Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, which
had gone into operation in 1825. It was not even the first railway
proposed in the United States. The inventor John Stevens of New York
set out the practical advantages of steam railroads in a study,
"Documents Tending to Prove the Superior Advantage of Rail-ways and
Steam Carriages
over Canal Navigation," in 1812, and he and his sons had obtained a
charter in 1823 from the Pennsylvania Legislature for a railroad
company that would eventually become the Pennsylvania Railroad,
although the road was not actually built until later. He proposed a
line from Philadelphia to Columbia, and even surveyed the route, but
was unable to raise the capital to begin work. He envisoned that the
railraod would be extended, if contructed, to Pittsburgh, and thence
to Ohio and the Great Lakes. Stevens did construct and test the first
steam powered locomotive in America in 1826.

Stevens had been an early developer of steamboat technology, following
the leads of Fitch and Fulton, both of Pennsylvania. He had
established the first steam ferry in the US, running between Hoboken,
New Jersey, and New York City. His ferry Phoenix carried passengers
across the Delaware from Trenton to Philadelphia beginning in 1809.
(Stevens is also credited with the invention of the screw propellor,
although this invention is also attributed to Swedish born John
Ericsson, the designer of the Monitor.) Stevens had lobbied Governor
Clinton not to build the Erie Canal, arguing that it was inefficient,
that the canals would be impassable in winter, and soon would be


"So many and so important are the advantages which these States would
derive from the general adoption of the proposed steam railways, that
... the necessary surveys [should] be made in all directions, so as to
embrace and unite every section of this extensive empire. It might
then ... be truly said that these States would constitute one family,
intimately connected ... in bonds of indissoluble union."

The B&O was proposed at a meeting in February, 1827. The Maryland
Legislature granted a charter in June of that year. Construction began
with the laying of a cornerstone on July 4, 1828 by the sole surviving
signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll. The first
train consisted of horse-drawn carriages.


"The first meeting for the purpose of forming a rail-road company in
the United States, to connect the waters of the East with the waters
of the West, was held in the city of Baltimore, on the 12th day of
February, 1827. The practicability of the project was left to a
committee who soon after reported at the second meeting, on the 19th,
and a resolution was passed to obtain a charter from the Legislature.
The charter was obtained, and on April 24, 1827, the company was
organized, and the first board of directors elected.

The construction of the road was commenced by laying a corner-stone, July 4, 1828,"
"The venerable Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, then over ninety years
of age, the only survivor of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence, was present on the occasion and laid the corner-stone of
this stupendous fabric, with appropriate ceremonies. It is related
that, on this occasion, after the imposing ceremonies were over, the
venerable patriot made use of the expression to one of his friends
present: " I consider this among the most important acts of my life,
second only to my signing the Declaration of Independence, if even it
be second to that ;'"


"The Baltimore American, May 24, 1830, said:

" A brigade of cars will run three times a day each way from Baltimore
to Ellicott's Mills -- passage 25 cents.

" This morning at nine o'clock, in pursuance with previous
arrangements of the mayor and the members of the two branches of the
City Council, the president, directors, engineer, and officers, of the
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the editors of the different papers of
the city, and a number of strangers, left the depot at the
intersection of the railroad with Pratt Street, on an excursion to
Ellicott's Mills. The procession was headed by the splendid car
Pioneer, in which, together with a number of others, rode the
venerable Charles Carroll, of Carrollton. Although the brigade was of
large dimensions and filled with passengers, it was drawn with great
ease by one horse at a rapid rate."


Stevens Institute of Technology
The Stevens Brother's Railroad
Edwin A. Stevens
Robert L. Stevens

John Fitch, Robert Fulton

The Atlantic monthly. / Volume 2, Issue 11
Date: September 1858
The L:fe of John Fitch, the Inventor of the

"And now that we find the luxury of travelling by water actu- ally
superior to that of staying at home on land, we begin to feel a
budding veneration for the man who first found out that steam could be
substituted, with such marvellous advantage, for helpless dependence
on the wind and miserable tugging at oars and setting-poles. Who was
he? What circumstances conspired to shape his life and project it with
so notable an aim I How did he look, act, think, on all matters of
human concernment? Here comes a book, assuming in its title that one
John Fitch, of whom his generation seems not to have thought enough to
paint his portrait, was the inventor of the steamboat. It professes to
be ?The Life of John Fitch?; but we are sorry to say it is rather a
documentary argument to prove that he was ?the inventor of the
steamboat.? As an argument, it is both needless and needlessly strong.
We already knew to a certainty that nobody could present a better
claim to that honor than John Fitch."
"John Fitch was born in Windsor, Connecticut, in 1743. At the age of
five, while his father was absent from home, courting his stepmother,
he heroically extinguished a fire of blazing flax, which would
otherwise have consumed the house, and while he was smarting from his
burns was cruelly beaten by an elder brother, who misap. prehended the
case of the little boy, very much as the world did that of the man he
became. The domestic discipline he encountered under the paternal roof
was of the severest New England pattern of those days, and between its
theology and its economy he grew out of shape, like a thrifty pumpkin
between two rocks. He loved to learn, but had few books and little
schooling. His taste tended to mechanism, and he was apprenticed to a
stingy clockmaker, who obliged him to work on his farm and kept him
ignorant of his trade. Getting his liberty at last, he set up
brassfounding, on a capital of twenty shillings, and made money at
"On a second expedition down the Ohio, early in 1782, he fell into the
hands of the savages, in the most melodramatic style, was led captive
through the vast forests and swamps to Detroit, had a very
characteristic and remarkable prison-experience under British
authority at Prison Island, was ex- changed, and by a sea-voyage
reached his home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, at the close of the
same year."
" April, 1785, the thought first struck him that steam could
easily make them navigable upwards as well as downwards, he cared no
more for lands. He had noticed the mechanical power of steam, but had
never seen an engine, and did not know that one existed out of his own


"the Atlantic having in fact been crossed by a steamer from
Charleston, S.C., some years before any British steamer had reached
"Soon after this was received, another friendly letter came to us,
from some gentleman in this city?to whom, also, our thanks are
due?requesting the privilege of doing justice to the memory of John
Fitch, whose name had not been mentioned with Fulton?s, as it should
have been, in the same article of our January number."
"?That no uncertainty may exist in the premises, I will recount the
history of the first steam navigation of the ocean. ?The first steam
ship that ever crossed any of the great oceans, was built at the City
of New York. She was called the SAVANNAH; and was launched on the 22d
of August, 1818. In April, 1819, this ship sailed for Savannah, where
she arrived in seven days?having experienced very boisterous weather.
On the 25th of May, 1819, she sailed from Savannah for St.
Petersburgh, in Russia, via. Liverpool, England....and in twenty-five
days she arrived at Liverpool, all well, ?to the astonishment of the
people of that place.? In this run across the Atlantic, the Savannah
worked her engines eighteen days. This ship was commanded by Capt.
Moses Rogers, which gave rise to the assertions in the English papers
of the day, that he was a brother of Commodore Rogers, of the U.S.
Navy; but this was gratuitous?there being no relation between the two.
While at Liverpool, and after leaving for St. Petersburgh, the English
papers indulged very freely in speculations concerning the object of
this vessel. They supposed her voyage was in some way connected with
the ?ambitious views? of the United States.""
"From Liverpool, the Savannah pursued her voyage to St. Peters- burgh;
and returning, approached our coast in the depth of winter. In a
public journal, of the 25th of December, 1819, her return arrival is
thus announced: ?The steam ship Savannah, Capt. Rogers, arrived at
Savannah, in fifty days from St. Petersburgh, (Russia,) via.
Copenhagen, Arundel, and Norway, and thirty-three days from the
offings, all well, and, to use Capt. Rogers? own phrase, ?neither a
screw, bolt, or rope-yarn parted, although she experienced very rough
weather!? After a few days spent at this port, Capt. Rogers proceeded
to the Navy Yard, at Washington, where he arrived on the 16th of
December. One object of this visit to the National Capital, was to
exhibit the Savannah to members of Congress from every part of our

From another letter in the same:

"But perhaps that historical sketch would have been found still more
interesting, as well as more complete and satisfactory, had it
included a notice of the earlier attempts in the art, and given due
credit to the predecessors of Mr. Fulton. I am far from denying to
that ingenious man the merit to which he is entitled, as the first who
succeeded in bringing into useful operation vessels propelled by
steam. But the invention had been made and its practicability
demonstrated long before..."
"Within a few years from the peace of 1783, one John Fitch, a citizen
of Pennsylvania, commenced his experiments on the subject; and in the
year 1786, had so far succeeded as to propel a boat by means of a
steam engine (both constructed by himself) at the mean rate of five
miles an hour. With this vessel of small dimensions, and rude
construction, driven by this imperfect engine, he made repeated trips
on the river Delaware, during the summer of that year, between
Philadelphia and Bordentown; and thus satisfactorily demonstrated the
practicability of his invention. He then obtained from the
Legislatures of Pennsylvania and New York, ?the sole right and
advantage? of navigating the waters of those respective States, ?with
the steamboat by him lately invented.? The Act of the Legislature of
New York was passed in March, 1789, and invested Fitch and his
representatives ?with the exclusive right and privilege of navigating
all kinds of boats propelled by the force of fire or steam, within all
the waters within the territory of this State for the term of twenty


Clarification of Answer by hlabadie-ga on 10 Nov 2003 11:58 PST
The Manufacturer and Bui1der.
Who First Successfully Applied Steam Propelling Vessels.

"In 1793 Fitch went to France, at the solicitation of our consul at
LOrient, Aaron Vail, to build a steamboat. Arriving there at the time
of the revolutionary troubles, he could not obtain any pecuniary
assistance. Depositing his papers and specifications in the hands of
Mr. Vail, he went to England, remaining in London for a time with his
friend Mr. Leslie, formerly of Philadelphia. In 1794 he returned to
the United States, working his passage as a common sailor. He found
his way to East Windsor, now South Windsor, to the house of his
sister, Mrs. Timothy King, and to the house of his daughter Lucy, Mrs.
Kilbourne. After remaining some two years with his sister, he started
off again on his steamboat enterprise. In 1796 he constructed a
steamboat out of a ship?s yawl. The boat was moved by a screw
propeller on a large pond of fresh water in the city of New York,
called the Collect. It was afterwards filled, and embraces the ground
on which stand the tombs and other adjacent buildings. In the spring
of 1798 Fitch built a model steamboat three feet long, at Bardstown,
Ky., which was tried upon a small stream near that town. Sometime
between the 25th of June and the 18th of July, this remarkable man,
broken down with misfortunes, disappointments and discouragements,
committed suicide."
"I have several times since the publication of the above article seen
notices in other papers claiming priority for Morey. The writers
evidently were not aware that Fitch, several years prior to that, was
making regular trips on the Delaware with his steamboat. Captain Morey
was an original thinker and inventor, commencing his experiments with
his little steamer on the Connecticut as early as 1790. After working
three years in perfecting his machinery, he, in the summer of 1794,
propelled a small steamer from Hartford to New York at the rate of
five miles an hour. Chancellor Livingston, Judge Livingston, Edward
Livingston, and John Stevens went with him from New York to Greenwich.
From this time to the time of Fulton?s experiments there were many
steamboats constructed by different individuals; prominent among them
are, Oliver Evans, Nicholas I. Rooseveldt, and John Cox Stevens. To
Stevens is due tIme credit of making the first maritime voyage. He
went with his steamer, the Phoenix, from New York to Philadelphia in
June, 1808. Rooseveldt built the first steamboat, the New Orleans,
that navigated the Ohio and Mississippi, in 1811."
"The next claimant, and one who is very generally accorded the honor
of first practically demonstrating the application of steam for moving
vessels, is Robert Fulton. Only a short time has elapsed (Febuary 26,
1883) since a statue of Robert Fulton was erected in the National Hall
of Statuary in the Capitol by Pennsylvania, in honor of the discovery.
It was not until 1803 that Fulton, with the assistance of Robert R.
Livingston, our minister to France, made his experiment with a
steamboat on the Seine, at Paris, which was not a success. Three years
later, he commenced building the Claremont, at New York, in the
shipyard of Charles Browne. It was not completed until August, 1807.
This boat was a success, but did mlot equal the speed of Fitch?s boat
of 1790 by three miles an hour. Fulton lived in Philadelphia in 1785,
and 1786, the thne Fitch was making his steamboat experiments in that
city, and when he was petitioning Congress for assistance, and the?
States of Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey
for exclusive rights to their waters for steam navigation, and when it
was in July, 1786, that Fitch made a successful public trial of his
skiff steamboat on Ihie Delaware, can it for a moment be doubted that
Fulton, with his inquisitive mind, was not fully aware of Fitch?s


The Erie Canal, and the other interconnecting canals which it inspired
and with which it formed a system of inland waterways, was the means
by which the westward expansion of the United States was begun.
Transport from the Allegheny frontier before the canal was slow and
expensive, nearly impossible for much of the year. The raw materials
that abounded west of the mountains could not be economically shipped
east. Clinton realized that a waterway that connected the Great Lakes
to New York City would turn that port into the commercial and
financial hub of America, through which all of the riches of the
interior would flow out to the world.

The New York State Canals Canal Culture
Canal History
The Erie Canal: A Brief History

"The city will, in the course of time, become the granary of the
world, the emporium of commerce, the seat of manufactures, the focus
of great moneyed operations," said Clinton. "And before the revolution
of a century, the whole island of Manhattan, covered with inhabitants
and replenished with a dense population, will constitute one vast

Chartered in 1817, the canal was completed in 1825 and immediately
began to open up the West to immigration.


"An epoch that will be recorded in the tablets of history, as among
the greatest events of our Nation -- for having in 8 years -- with 8
million of Dollars -- "made the longest Canal -- in the least time --
with the least experience -- for the least money -- and of the
greatest public utility of any other in the world.""
"A work that will constitute a lever of industry, population and
wealth to our Republic -- a pattern for our sister States to imitate,
and an exhibition of the moral force of a free and enlightened People
to the world -- that they can pursue the arts of peace in domestic
improvements, for the objects of their National pride -- and construct
works of public utility for the monuments of their national glory"

The Canal Boat: Nathaniel Hawthorne Travels the Erie Canal

"I was inclined to be poetical about the Grand Canal. In my
imagination, De Witt Clinton was an enchanter, who had waved his magic
wand from the Hudson to Lake Erie, and united them by a watery
highway, crowded with the commerce of two worlds, till then
inaccessible to each other. This simple and mighty conception had
conferred inestimable value on spots which Nature seemed to have
thrown carelessly into the great body of the earth, without foreseeing
that they could ever attain importance."


Colt: Legend&Legacy


Pre-Civil War American Culture
The Birth of American Popular Culture

"After the Revolution, political newspapers expressing the viewpoint
of a particular political faction began to flourish. In the 1830s,
when the development of the steam printing press dramatically cut
printing costs and speeded production, the first mass-circulation
newspapers began to appear. The first penny newspapers, Horatio David
Sheppard's New York Morning Post and Benjamin H. Day's New York Sun,
began publication in 1833.

The Sun, the first American paper to use newsboys to hawk papers on
the street, soon discovered other ways of increasing its circulation.
In the summer of 1835, the Sun announced that British astronomer Sir
John Herschel had made "astronomical discoveries of the most wonderful
description." With a new and powerful telescope, he had discovered
"planets in other solar systems" and, most remarkably, the winged
inhabitants of the moon. As a result of the "Great Moon Hoax," the
Sun's circulation soared from 10,000 to 19,000. The Sun's success
inspired other publishers to use hoaxes and stories of murders,
railroad accidents, cannibalism, and freaks of nature "horror, gore,
and perversity" to build circulation. English novelist Charles Dickens
thought that appropriate names for newspapers would be the New York
Sewer and the New York Stabber."

"Northeastern and Northern Boundary," The North American Review, vol.
33, issue 72 (July 1831).

"The Oregon Treaty," The American Whig Review, Volume 4, Issue 2, August 1846

Making of America

Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy

Webster-Ashburton Treaty
Webster-Ashburton Treaty - The Caroline Case

The Webster-Hayne Debates

Daniel Webster: Dartmouth's Favorite Son




Request for Answer Clarification by narrative-ga on 10 Nov 2003 13:29 PST
While you have done an impressive amount of research on the history of
Crockett and Boone, the railroad and the Erie Canal, what we're
looking for is not so much the invention or innovation's particular
history, as much as the contemporary celebration of it in popular
culture. Although, for example, the B&O railroad might not have been
inspired by "Yankee ingenuity," it was almost certainly celebrated as
such by editorials and speeches of the time. We will certainly
understand if, given the amount of time you have already spent
researching this, you don't want to look for these kinds of sources,
but this was the intent of the question. Thank you for all your hard



Clarification of Answer by hlabadie-ga on 10 Nov 2003 13:53 PST
Did you not see the extensive quotations from the contemporary sources
that cited the entusiastic comments about the B&O, the Erie Canal, the
contributions by Boone, the heroic exploits (if only in myth) of
Crockett, the marvelous reception given the steam inventions of Fitch,
Stevens, Fulton, the controversial expansion programs of the
Government, etc?

The Answer consisted almost entirely of citations to contemporary
journals praising those achievments.


Clarification of Answer by hlabadie-ga on 11 Nov 2003 06:51 PST
The North American review.  Volume 25, Issue 56
Date: July 1827

"In counting the cost of such an enterprise as that which the people
of Baltimore have embarked in, it is but fair in the computation, to
oppose the magnitude of the results to that of the attempt, as the
adventurousness of the latter is proportionally justified by the
benefits of the former. In this view, the zeal exhibited by Baltimore
on this subject, is no more than we should expect from a rational
enterprise. On the one hand her importance will be infinitely
magnified by success; on the other, it is certain that, without some
more practicable and convenient communication with the west, than she
now has, the trade of that quarter, which has heretofore conferred on
her such extraordinary advantages, will be in a great measure grasped
by more enterprising or more fortunate competitors. The necessary
investment of capital, will not, perhaps, be greater than what has
already been profitably bestowed on the numerous turnpike roads, which
she has constructed, into the interior. We find among the directors of
the company incorporated for carrying this scheme into effect, the
names of some of her most conspicuous inhabitants; men who have large
interests at issue, and whose wealth is the accumulation of many years
of industry and commercial sagacity. We have reason to believe that
the greater part of the stock subscribed, is held by persons who have
no purpose of speculation, but who are determined to give the
practicableness of the scheme a cautious and thorough investigation,
and then to prosecute it to a completion, if within the compass of
their means. As a great, national work, we shall feel much interest in
seeing it brought to a successful termination, and shall probably have
occasion to notice hereafter the inquiries which, in the course of the
summer, are to be pusrsued, both at home and abroad, in reference to

After witnessing the many triumphs of science in the present age, we
confess we are more inclined to confide in speculations reasonable in
themselves, and to hope that railroads may add as largely to the
facilities of commerce, as canals have done before them. It is
certain, at least, that if this large enterprise of Baltimore be
brought to a happy issue, its benefits will be of the first
importance, not to that mart alone, but to the general commerce of the
country; and in this latter point of view it highly merits attention
from the government of the union."

The Atlantic monthly.  Volume 2, Issue 13
November 1858
Railway-Engineering in the United States

"Among the larger and more important roads and connected systems in
our country may be named the New York and Erie Railroad,?connecting
the city of New York with Lake Erie at Dunkirk, (and, by the road?s
diverging from its western terminus, with ?all places West and South,?
as the bills say,)?crossing the Shawangunk Mountains through the
valley of the Neversink, up the Delaware, down the Susquehanna, and
through the rich West of the Empire State.

The Pennsylvania Central Road: from Philadelphia through Lancaster to
Harrisburg, on the Susquehauna, up the Juniata and down the western
slope of the Alleghanies, through rock-cut galleries and over
numberless bridges, reaching at last the bluffs where smoky Pittsburg
sees the Ohio start on its noble course.

The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad: from Baltimore, in Maryland, to
Wheeling and Parkersburg, on the Ohio;? crossing the lowlands to the
Washington Junction, thence up the Patapsco, down the Monocacy, to the
Potomac; up to Harper?s Ferry, where the Potomac and the Shenandoah
chafe the rocky base of the romantic little town perched high above;
winding up the North Branch to Cumberland,?the terminus of the
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, and of the great national turnpike to the
West, for which Wills? Creek opened so grand a gate at the narrows,?to
Piedmont the foot and Altamont the summit, through Savage Valley and
Crabtree Gorge, across the glades, from which the water flows east to
the Chesapeake Bay and west to the Gulf of Mexico; down Saltlick
Creek, and up the slopes of Cheat River and Laurel Hill, till rivers
dwindle to creeks, creeks to rills, and fills lose themselves on the
flanks of mountains which bar the passage of everything except the
railroad; thence, through tunnels of rock and tunnels of iron,
descending Tygart?s Valley to the Monongahela, and thence through a
varied but less rugged country to Moundsville, twelve miles below
Wheeling, on the Ohio River."

narrative-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Thank you so much for your intensive research. We found the quote on
Manifest  Destiny especially useful, and the information on industry
and the excitement over it was also exactly what we were looking for.


Subject: Re: 1840s northern U.S. culture of innovation
From: hlabadie-ga on 05 Nov 2003 09:10 PST
I am not sure how Davy Crockett fits into the "northern U.S. culture
of innovation." Crockett was, as we all know, "born on a mountaintop
in Tennessee." It seems that Daniel Boone, a true Northerner (born in
Pennsylvania, and the prototypical pioneer) would be more germane,
even though he was from an earlier generation.

Subject: Re: 1840s northern U.S. culture of innovation
From: hlabadie-ga on 06 Nov 2003 20:47 PST
Well, not everybody in the North was thrilled by Crockett: See:

Sarah Tuttle's Scrapbook (1834-1860s)

There are two rather scathing remarks about him, one apparently deriding his death.

Subject: Re: 1840s northern U.S. culture of innovation
From: hlabadie-ga on 07 Nov 2003 16:09 PST
I suppose that this is closer to what you had in mind:

Or David Crockett in Western Pennsylvania

"The Alamo at San Antonio fell to the Mexicans on March 6. Boat
captains`commonly relayed newspapers from downriver to the editors
further north,`and it was probably from a steamboater that the
Pittsburgh DAILY GAZETTE`received the following, which it published on
April 14:

New Orleans, March 28 -*

On the fall of the Alamo ... we regret to say that Colonel David
Crockett ... is among the number slain -

"The Beaver WESTERN ARGUS ran the same dispatch on April 20, along
with a New York paper's prediction that the deaths of Travis and
Crockett would create "a feeling ... throughout the country ... which
no power can repress, no authority can put down.""


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