Page:Henry Adams' History of the United States Vol. 3.djvu/29

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1805.
17
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENT.

at New Orleans. That he should dread war was natural, for he was responsible for the safety of the settlements on the Indian frontier, and he knew that in case of sudden war the capture of these posts was certain, and the massacre of their occupants more than probable. New Orleans was an immediate and incessant danger, and hardly a spot between New Orleans and Mackinaw was safe.

Anxiety caused by these perils had probably much to do with the bent of the President's mind toward internal improvements and democratic rather than Virginia principles. In 1803 the United States government became owner of a territory which dwarfed the States themselves, and which at its most important point contained a foreign population governed by military methods. Old political theories had been thrown aside both in the purchase and in the organization of this New World; their observance in its administration was impossible. The Louisiana purchase not only required a military system of government for itself, but also reacted on the other national territory, and through it on the States in their relations to Washington. New England was thrown to the verge of the political system; but New York and Pennsylvania, Georgia and Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky found many new interests which they wanted the central government to assist, and Virginia, holding the power and patronage of the central government, had every inducement to satisfy these demands.