Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/United States of America
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, a Federal republic, composed of 48 States, the District of Columbia, the District of Alaska, the territories of Hawaii and Porto Rico, the Philippine Islands, Guam, Tutuila, the Panama Canal Zone, and the Virgin Islands; chiefly occupying the temperate portions of North America from lat. 24° 20′ to 49° N., and lon. 66° 48′ to 124° 32′ W.
Boundary.—The United States is bounded on the N. by British North America, the boundary line running through the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the S. of Vancouver's Island, but to the N. of the island of San Juan, striking the mainland at the 49th parallel and running along that parallel to the Lake of the Woods, and thence by a devious route through the Great Lakes and along the Laurentian water-shed to the St. John's and St. Croix rivers and Fundy Bay. The land boundary is a clearing 80 feet wide, with iron mile posts 4 feet high painted white. The E. and W. boundaries are formed by the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans respectively, the S. boundary by the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande del Norte up to the 32d parallel, and a broken line drawn between the 31st and 33d parallels to the Pacific separating the United States from Mexico. These boundaries do not include Alaska. The ocean shore lines are as follows: North Atlantic coast, including bays, islands, etc., 6,150 miles; South Atlantic coast, 6,209; Mexican Gulf coast, 5,744; Pacific coast, 3,251—total, 21,354. The land, lake, and river boundary toward Canada is 3,700 miles, and the similar one toward Mexico, 2,105 miles; making the total ocean, land, lake, and river boundary, 11,075 miles. Excluding Alaska the greatest Continental extent E. and W. is 3,100 miles and N. and S., 1,780 miles.
Area.—The tables shown on pages 81 and 82 give the area of the continental territory by States and Territories.
|State or Territory||Date of Act of
|States Without Previous Territorial Organization Admitted:|
|States With Previous Territorial Organization Admitted:|
|Total exclusive of Alaska and Hawaii||3,026,789|
|Total including Alaska and Hawaii||3,624,122|
Authorities differ somewhat on some of these dates and areas: the above are from Census reports.
NONCONTIGUOUS TERRITORY OF THE UNITED STATES: DATES OF ACQUISITION AND ORGANIZATION, AND POPULATION AND AREA
Topography.—The two great mountain systems of the United States are the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains. The former extend from the mouth of the St. Lawrence to the mouth of the Mississippi—a distance of 1,300 miles—and at the S. bend inland, leaving the wide and rich seaboard of Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. This maritime region includes all the older States, and its inhabitants still amount to one-third of the whole. As far S. as the Hudson river it is hilly; thence, as far as the Alleghenies extend, its surface is divided between a plain and a mountain slope, the base of which appears to have been the shore of an ancient sea. The most fertile part of this slope is between Long Island and the Potomac. The coast to the Mississippi is sandy throughout; from Long Island to North Carolina it is marshy only close to the sea, but farther S. the seaward half of the plain is covered with swamps. The Appalachians form the watershed between the rivers draining into the Atlantic and the tributaries to the Mississippi, though some of the former may be said to rise on the inland side of the mountains, and to force a passage through them to the sea. The principal rivers falling into the Atlantic are the Penobscot, Kennebec, Merrimac, Connecticut, Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, Potomac, Rappahannock, James, Roanoke, Pedee, Santee, Savannah, and Altamaha. The Chattahoochee and the Flint river joining form the Appalachicola; the Alabama and Tombigbee, the Mobile; these drain into the Gulf of Mexico E. of the Mississippi.
The great central plains and prairies between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains are drained almost entirely by the Mississippi and its affluents, chief of which are the Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, and Red river. The only other river of great importance flowing into the Gulf of Mexico is the great boundary river, the Rio Grande del Norte. The streams flowing N. are trifling, the principal being the Red river of the North, which flows into Lake Winnipeg. Almost the whole of the Mississippi basin consists of open, rolling prairies, while, on the other hand, almost all the country between the Appalachians and the Atlantic was originally more or less thickly wooded. Between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Alps, called Sierra Nevada, in California and Cascade Range farther N., lies a rainless region, mostly S. of lat. 45° N., with an average elevation of 5,000 feet above the ocean, great part of it communicating, not with the sea, but draining into salt lakes and marshes. Except where irrigated, this plateau is utterly unproductive. To the N. it is drained by the Columbia, with its tributary the Snake river, which forces its way through the Sierras to the Pacific; while in the S. portion the Colorado and its affluents, after flowing through frightful cañons 3,000 to 5,000 feet below the surface of the plateau for some 600 miles, forms a delta at the head of the Gulf of California. The Great Cañon of the Colorado is more than 300 miles long. Between the Sierras and the ocean stretches the comparatively narrow but rich and beautiful sea-coast known as the Pacific Slope, drained by the Columbia, the Klamath, the Sacramento, and the San Joaquin, along with numerous smaller streams. The “Great Divide,” or watershed, is in Montana and Wyoming, whence flow the Missouri, Columbia, and Colorado. In this wild region Congress set apart in February, 1872, the Yellowstone National Park, a tract 62 by 54 miles in extent (3,312 sq. miles) in the N. W. of Wyoming. The region, while mostly unfit for agriculture and mining, contains more natural marvels than can be found elsewhere. There are hot springs with their basins incrusted with calcareous spar, steam jets, geysers, mud volcanoes, waterfalls, caves with stalactites and stalagmites, eroded columns, statues, castles, cathedrals, etc., and a large lake swarming with fish. The valley of the Upper Yellowstone abounds in these wonders. Further details of the topography of the country will be found in the articles on the several States and Territories.
Climate.—The vast area of the United States necessarily exhibits a great variety of climate. New York has the summer of Copenhagen and the winter of Rome, the minimum range of the mercury being 5° in winter, and the maximum 98° in summer. The States bordering on Canada exceed both of these extremes, but throughout the Middle States, lat. 37°-41°, the climate is agreeable and often delightful throughout most of the year. The main peculiarity of the North American seasons is the almost total absence of spring. Mason and Dixon's Line, with its W. extension along the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri, has a historical interest, but is also of climatic importance in the geography of the cis-Missouri States. N. of it, sleighs are in frequent use during winter; S. of it, they are seen rarely. To the N. the productions are those of the temperate zone, and the States were always free; to the S., the country becomes more and more tropical as one advances. From meridians 98° to 100° the climate is still variable from year to year, seasons of rain and plenty being followed by others in which drought is the forerunner of scarcity. But the planting of forest trees and the cultivation of the soil, at first by irrigation, has largely increased the amount of rainfall. Along the Pacific seaboard, especially in California, the climate resembles that of S. Europe. The isothermal lines, roughly stated, show a mean temperature of 72° for Florida, the Gulf Shores, and Arizona; of from 52° to 60° for S. of Pennsylvania, Virginia, the N. border of the Carolinas, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, S. of Utah and Nevada, and the greater part of California; from 44° to 52° for Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, northern Illinois, Nebraska, Oregon and Washington; and from 36° to 44° for Maine, parts of New Hampshire and Vermont, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the whole crest of the Rocky Mountains, and parts of Oregon and California along the Sierras. The annual rainfall ranges from 56 to 64 inches in the S. of Florida and along the N. W. Pacific coast; 44 to 56 inches over the New Enland coast and the greater part of the Southern States, while in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, etc., it is 32-44 inches. In Texas, Indian Territory, eastern Kansas and Nebraska, Dakota and Minnesota, and western California, it is 20-32 inches, while in the tract between 98° and 118° it ranges from 18 to 4 inches. Malarial diseases prevail in the lowlands of most of the Southern States, as also in the new and marshy portions of the Western States below lat. 40° N. Consumption and chest diseases prevail in New England and in the Middle States. Minnesota, Colorado, California, Arkansas, Georgia, and Florida are favorite resorts for persons with weak lungs. On the whole, the climate of the United States may be called healthy, malarious and deadly spots being very few; while certain districts, especially of Florida, the central plains, and the Pacific coast, are among the most salubrious in the world.
Geology and Mineralogy.—Geologically as well as geographically the United States is divided into two great sections by the Rocky Mountains, along whose whole extent, in a wide belt from N. to S., Cretaceous formations predominate, with occasional stretches of Carboniferous strata. Tertiary formations embrace almost the whole of the basin between the Rocky Mountains and the Coast Range, broken by igneous rocks in Washington and in Oregon, and by Metamorphic strata along the Sierras; in the E. section Tertiary formations stretch along the coast from the Rio Grande almost to the Hudson. Metamorphic, igneous, and Devonian rocks prevail in New England, and along the shores of the Great Lakes the Middle Devonian or Old Red Sandstone. Older Palæozoic groups occur in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Tennessee, and run side by side with Metamorphic strata along the Appalachians, while a large proportion of the interior is occupied by great Carboniferous deposits. Anthracite coal occurs in the basins of Pennsylvania, which embrace about 472 square miles, and extend to a depth of from 60 to 100 feet. The Eastern coal fields embrace an area of over 69,000 square miles; the interior, 132,000 square miles; the Gulf, 2,100; the Northern, 88,590; the Rocky Mountain, 37,000, and the Pacific coast, 1,900. (See Coal). The ores of iron abound in the States, and include all known ores. The ore beds most largely worked are in Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama, Wisconsin, New York, Tennessee, Virginia, and New Jersey. Copper ore is found chiefly in Arizona, Michigan, Montana, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, California, Tennessee, Alaska, Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma; lead ores (galena) in Missouri, Idaho, Utah, etc., quicksilver in California and Nevada. Gold and silver are widely distributed, 24 States and Territories reporting them; but California, Colorado, Nevada, Montana, Arizona, South Dakota, and Utah produce the larger part; Nevada alone about one-half. Nevada, Utah, and Arizona yield more silver than gold.
Flora and Fauna.—The indigenous plants of the United States are estimated at about 5,000 species, California alone producing at least 2,500. The potato, the tobacco plant, and maize, now so familiar in Europe, have all been introduced from the United States or Mexico. The United States is especially rich in valuable timber trees, of which no less than 120 species, growing in sufficient quantities to be of commercial importance, attain a height of 100 feet and upward. Of these 12 species reach an altitude of 200 feet, and 5 or 6 exceed 300 feet. Hickory, magnolia, liquidamber, sassafras, and sequoia trees (to which species belong the giant trees of California), found only in a fossil state in the Old World, abound in the United States, as well as palmetto, tulip tree, cypress, cottonwood, live oak, and other oaks, and a number of trees more or less closely resembling the common species of western Europe, to which the same names have been given.
Agriculture and Live Stock.—For the aggregate acreage, production, and values of the principal agricultural crops, see Agriculture, the several State and Territorial articles, and the individual crop articles. For the production and manufacture of Cotton see article thereon. Manufactures in respect to product constitute the leading industry of the United States, and their importance is increasing more rapidly than that of agriculture. The manufacturing section is situated mainly in the North Atlantic States, spreading with diminishing importance W., following closely the distribution of the urban population. About half of the manufactured product comes from the nine States included in the North Atlantic group, and about one-third from the North Central States.
Manufactures.—The following table presents a summary of the manufacturing interests of the United States in 1899, 1904, 1909 and 1914:
|Food and kindred products||1899||41,247||301,868||$1,782,863,000||$2,199,204,000||$416,341,000|
|Iron and steel and their products||1899||14,082||745,235||1,000,949,000||1,819,478,000||818,529,000|
|Lumber and its manufactures||1899||34,954||671,696||480,930,000||1,007,532,000||526,602,000|
|Leather and its finished products||1899||5,625||248,626||396,633,000||582,048,000||185,415,000|
|Paper and printing||1899||26,627||298,744||214,566,000||607,907,000||393,341,000|
|Liquors and beverages||1899||5,740||55,120||93,815,000||382,898,000||289,083,000|
|Chemicals and allied products||1899||8,928||196,538||451,457,000||761,691,000||310,234,000|
|Stone, clay, and glass products||1899||11,524||231,716||85,137,000||270,650,000||185,513,000|
|Metals and metal products, other than iron and steel||1899||5,041||161,463||$472,515,000||$690,974,000||$218,459,000|
|Vehicles for land transportation||1899||7,338||133,663||153,254,000||277,485,000||124,231,000|
|Railroad repair shops||1899||1,400||180,620||113,809,000||227,485,000||113,676,000|
Commerce.—The subjoined table is a summary of the foreign trade of the United States in the year ending June 30, 1920:
Ending June 30, 1920
|Free of duty:|
|Crude materials for use in manufacturing||1,912,403,056||56.16|
|Foodstuffs in crude condition, and food animals||547,376,705||16.07|
|Foodstuffs partly or wholly manufactured||65,895,555||1.94|
|Manufactures for further use in manufacturing||518,921,062||15.24|
|Manufactures ready for consumption||331,090,664||9.72|
|Total free of duty||3,405,449,794||100.00|
|Crude materials for use in manufacturing||229,241,565||12.50|
|Foodstuffs in crude condition, and food animals||75,063,040||4.09|
|Foodstuffs partly or wholly manufactured||825,440,909||45.04|
|Manufactures for further use in manufacturing||281,792,221||15.37|
|Manufactures ready for consumption||414,035,025||22.59|
|Free and dutiable:|
|Crude materials for use in manufacturing||2,141,644,621||40.89|
|Foodstuffs in crude condition, and food animals||622,439,745||11.88|
|Foodstuffs partly or wholly manufactured||891,336,464||17.02|
|Manufactures for further use in manufacturing||800,713,283||15.28|
|Manufactures ready for consumption||745,125,689||14.22|
|Total Imports of merchandise||5,238,621,668||100.00|
|Per cent. free||. . . . . . . .||65.01|
|Duties collected from customs||322,902,649||. . . . .|
|Average ad valorem rate of duty, based on import for consumption||. . . . . . . .||6.31|
|Remaining in warehouse at the end of the month||. . . . . . . .||. . . . .|
|Crude materials for use in manufacturing||1,968,118,442||24.75|
|Foodstuffs in crude condition, and food animals||626,577,003||7.88|
|Foodstuffs partly or wholly manufactured||1,514,616,127||19.05|
|Manufactures for further use in manufacturing||991,920,623||12.48|
|Manufactures ready for consumption||2,835,999,005||35.67|
|Foreign||160,610,553||. . . . .|
|Total exports||8,111,039,733||. . . . .|
|Excess of exports||2,872,418,065||. . . . .|
|In American vessels||1,836,026,959||39.01|
|In foreign vessels||2,870,930,209||60.99|
|Total (except in land vehicles)||4,706,957,168||100.00|
|In American vessels||3,235,879,022||45.14|
|In foreign vessels||3,932,588,373||54.86|
|Total (except in land vehicles)||7,168,467,395||100.00|
|GOLD AND SILVER|
|Imports||150,540,200||. . . . .|
|Exports||466,592,606||. . . . .|
|Imports||102,899,506||. . . . .|
|Exports||179,037,260||. . . . .|
|TONNAGE OF VESSELS||Net Tons|
Railroads.—The following table gives the railway mileage of the United States on Jan. 1, 1919:
|District of Columbia||53.57|
|Dec. 31, 1918||262,201.54|
|Dec. 31, 1917||263,928.65|
|Dec. 31, 1916||264,232.01|
|June 30, 1916||264,024.77|
|June 30, 1915||262,358.97|
Canals.—The principal canals in the United States, the year of opening, and their total length, are as follows:
|Name of Canal, and State||Year||Miles|
|Cape Cod Ship Canal, Mass.||1914||13|
|Erie, and Branches, N. Y.||1825||340.4|
|Delaware and Raritan, N. J.||1834||44|
|Schuylkill Navigation Co., Pa.||1825||86.96|
|Chesapeake and Ohio, Md.||1850||184.5|
|Illinois and Michigan, Ill.||1848||95|
|Chicago Drainage and Ship Canal, Ill.||1900||38.6|
|Illinois and Mississippi, Ill.||1907||75|
|Galveston and Brazos, Tex.||....||36|
|Monongahela Canal, Pa.||1879||128|
|Ohio Canal, Pa.||1885||968.5|
|Illinois Canal, Ill.||1889||223|
|Fox Canal, Wis.||1856||176|
|Cumberland Canal, Tenn. and Ky.||1905||326|
|Black Warrior, Ala.||1895||362|
|Coosa Canal, Ala.||1890||165|
|Trinity River, Texas||1909||330|
|Brazos River, Texas||1915||425|
Religion and Education.—There is no State or officially recognized religion in the United States. Every form of religious belief is tolerated by National and State laws, but no sectarian distinctions are permitted to be considered in public legislation, the prevailing sentiment of the country being that each sect or denomination must maintain itself without any public aid. The Roman Catholic is the most powerful religious body. Its membership as reported represents the entire Roman Catholic population as compared with the communicant members of other denominations. It is derived from various sources spread widely over the country. In the Northeastern States it is made up largely of Irish and French-Canadian stock, while further W. along the shores of the Great Lakes the Roman Catholics are chiefly French Canadians by birth or extraction. The Methodist and Baptist denominations are strongest in the Southern States; the Presbyterian in the Middle and Southern States and the upper Mississippi valley; the Episcopalian in the Northeastern States; and the Congregational mostly in New England. The educational establishment is treated very fully under titles that will readily suggest themselves to the reader, covering the public or common schools, the secondary, and the advanced and professional institutions.
Banking and Insurance.—The progress and results of banking legislation, from the earliest period to the latest Act of Congress bearing thereon, are set forth under Bank, Banks in the United States, each title showing the latest official statistics available. Under the title of Insurance will be found mention of the kinds in operation, with an approximate view of present conditions.
Revenue and Expenditure.—The following table shows the receipts and disbursements of the Government for the fiscal year 1921:
COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF RECEIPTS AND DISBURSEMENTS
|Income and profits tax||1,628,203,930.54|
|Panama Canal tolls, etc.||3,701,642.85|
|Excess of ordinary receipts over ordinary disbursements||$459,504,944.43|
|Excess of ordinary disbursements over ordinary receipts||. . . . . . . . . . . . . .|
|Liberty bonds and Victory notes||35,075.00|
|Certificates of indebtedness||4,613,223,450.00|
|Postal Savings bonds||72,800.00|
|Deposits for retirement of National bank notes and Federal Reserve bank notes (acts of July 14, 1890, and Dec. 23, 1913)||7,548,147.50|
|Grand total receipts||7,600,541,410.16|
|Checks and warrants paid (less balances repaid, etc.)||1,950,396,545.30|
|Interest on public debt paid||478,418,864.44|
|Panama Canal: Checks paid (less balances repaid, etc.)||6,028,931.76|
|Purchase of obligations of foreign Governments||57,201,633.53|
|Purchase of Federal farm loan bonds:|
|Bonds, interest-bearing notes, and certificates retired||4,937,738,624.14|
|National bank notes and Federal Reserve bank notes retired (acts of July 14, 1890, and Dec. 23, 1913)||7,538,741.00|
|Grand total disbursements||$7,453,291,698.19|
Debt.—The following is the official statement of the public debt Dec. 31, 1920:
|Total gross debt, Nov. 30, 1920||$24,175,156,244.14|
|Public-debt receipts, Dec. 1 to 31, 1920||$1,412,328,847.46|
|Public-debt disbursements, Dec. 1 to 31, 1920||1,600,418,856.99|
|Decrease in fractional currency outstanding||4,842,066.45|
|Decrease for period||192,932,075.98|
|Total gross debt, Dec. 31, 1920||$23,982,224,168.16|
Note.—Total gross debt before deduction of the balance held by the Treasurer free of current obligations, and without any deduction on account of obligations of foreign Governments or other investments, was as follows:
|Consols of 1930||$599,724,050.00|
|Loan of 1925||118,489,900.00|
|Panama's of 1916-1936||48,954,180.00|
|Panama's of 1918-1938||25,947,400.00|
|Panama's of 1961||50,000,000.00|
|Postal Savings Bonds||11,612,160.00|
|First Liberty Loan||1,952,368,450.00|
|Second Liberty Loan||3,323,137,800.00|
|Third Liberty Loan||3,646,868,400.00|
|Fourth Liberty Loan||6,363,733,163.00|
|Victory Liberty Loan||$4,225,970,755.00|
|War Savings Securities (net cash receipts)||760,953,780.53|
|Total interest-bearing debt||23,749,539,988.53|
|Debt on which interest has ceased||7,441,490.26|
|Total gross debt||$23,982,224,168.16|
Pensions.—The number of pensioners on the roll at the end of the fiscal year 1920 was 592,190, The number of Civil War pensioners was 243,520, or a decrease of 27,871 during the year. There were 290,100 Civil War widows on the pension rolls. Of the War of 1812, there were on June 30, 1920, 71 surviving widows, and of the war with Mexico, 148 survivors and 2,432 widows. The pensioners of the Spanish-American War numbered 30,432. The total amount disbursed for pensions throughout the year was $213,295,314,
Post Office.—The revenue of the postal service for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1919, amounted to $436,239,126. The Act of Congress passed on November 7, 1917, increasing the postage rates, expired by limitation on June 30, 1919. The expenditure for the year was $362,497,635. In 1919 and 1920 mail service by aeroplane was developed to a point of practical value. Service was maintained between New York and Chicago, and other large cities. There were in 1919 565,509 depositors in the postal savings banks, with deposits of $167,323,260.
Population.—The population of the United States from 1790 to 1890 was as follows:
The following table shows the population by States, compiled from the census reports for 1900, 1910, and 1920:
See also Census.
|POPULATION OF THE UNITED STATES, BY STATES: 1920, 1910, AND 1900|
|District of Columbia||437,571||331,069||278,718||106,502||32.2||52,351||18.8|
Government.—The form of government
of the United States is based on the
Constitution of Sept. 17, 1787, to which
10 amendments were added Dec. 15, 1791;
an 11th amendment, Jan. 8, 1798; a 12th
ement, Sept. 25, 1804; a 13th
amendment, Dec. 18, 1865; a 14th amendment,
July 28, 1868; a 15th amendment
March 30, 1870; a 16th amendment, Feb.
13, 1913; a 17th amendment, May 31,
1913; an 18th amendment, Jan. 16, 1920,
a 19th amendment, Aug. 26, 1920. By
the Constitution the government of the
nation is intrusted to three separate
authorities, the Executive, the Legislative,
and the Judiciary. The executive
power is vested in a President, who holds
his office during the term of four years,
and is elected, together with a
Vice-President chosen for the same term, in
the mode prescribed as follows: “Each
State shall appoint, in such manner as
the Legislature thereof may direct, a
number of electors, equal to the whole
number of senators and representatives
to which the State may be entitled in the
Congress; but no senator or representative,
or person holding an office of trust
or profit under the United States, shall
be appointed an elector.” The Constitution
enacts that “the Congress may
determine the time of choosing the electors,
and the day on which they shall give
their votes, which day shall be the same
throughout the United States”; and
further, that “no person except a natural-born
citizen, or a citizen of the United
States at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution, shall be eligible to the office
of President; neither shall any person be
eligible to that office who shall not have
attained the age of 35 years, and been 14
years a resident within the United
States.” The President is commander-in-chief
of the army and navy and of the
militia in the service of the Union. He
has the power of a veto on all laws
passed by Congress; but, notwithstanding
his veto, any bill may become a law
on its being afterward passed by each
House of Congress by a two-thirds vote.
The Vice-President is ex officio President
of the Senate. The presidential succession
is fixed by chapter 4 of the acts of
the 49th Congress, 1st session. In case
of the removal, death, resignation, or
inability of both the President and
Vice-President, then the Secretary of State
shall act as President till the disability
of the President or Vice-President is
removed or a President is elected. If there
be no Secretary of State, then the Secretary
of the Treasury will act; and the
remainder of the order of succession is:
Secretary of War, Attorney-General,
Postmaster-General, Secretary of the
Navy, and Secretary of the Interior (the
office of Secretary of Agriculture was
created after the passage of the act.
The acting President must, on taking
office, convene Congress, if not at the
time in session, in extraordinary session,
giving 20 days' notice. This act applies
only to such Cabinet officers as shall have
been appointed by the advice and
consent of the Senate and are eligible under
the Constitution to the presidency.
Following is a list of the Presidents,
Vice-Presidents, and Cabinet officers since the
inauguration of the Government:
|PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES|
|6||John Quincy Adams||March||4,||1825|
|8||Martin Van Buren||March||4,||1837|
|9||William H. Harrison||March||5,||1841|
|11||James K. Polk||March||4,||1845|
|18||Ulysses S. Grant||March||4,||1869|
|Ulysses S. Grant||March||4,||1873|
|19||Rutherford B. Hayes||March||5,||1877|
|20||James A. Garfield||March||4,||1881|
|21||Chester A. Arthur||Sept.||20,||1881|
|27||William H. Taft||March||4,||1909|
|29||Warren G. Harding||March||4,||1921|
|VICE-PRESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES|
|William H. Crawford||April||10,||1812|
|6||Daniel D. Tompkins||March||4,||1817|
|Daniel D. Tompkins||March||5,||1821|
|7||John C. Calhoun||March||4,||1825|
|John C. Calhoun||March||4,||1829|
|Hugh L. White||Dec.||28,||1832|
|8||Martin Van Buren||March||4,||1833|
|9||Richard M. Johnson||March||4,||1837|
|Samuel L. Southard||April||6,||1841|
|Willie P. Mangum||May||31,||1842|
|11||George M. Dallas||March||4,||1845|
|13||William R. King||July||11,||1850|
|William R. King||March||4,||1853|
|David R. Atchison||April||18,||1853|
|Jesse D. Bright||Dec.||5,||1854|
|14||John C. Breckenridge||March||4,||1857|
|Lafayette S. Foster||April||15,||1865|
|Benjamin F. Wade||March||2,||1867|
|Thomas W. Ferry||Nov.||22.||1875|
|19||William A. Wheeler||March||5,||1877|
|20||Chester A. Arthur||March||4,||1881|
|Thomas F. Bayard||Oct.||10,||1881|
|George F. Edmunds||March||3,||1883|
|21||Thomas A. Hendricks||March||4,||1885|
|22||Levi P. Morton||March||4,||1889|
|24||Garret A. Hobart||March||4,||1897|
|26||Charles W. Fairbanks||March||4,||1905|
|27||James S. Sherman||March||4,||1909|
|28||Thomas R. Marshall||March||4,||1913|
|Thomas R. Marshall||March||4,||1917|
|SECRETARIES OF STATE|
|John Quincy Adams||Mass.||1817|
|Martin Van Buren||N. Y.||1829|
|Hugh S. Legaré||S. C.||1843|
|Abel P. Upshur||Va.||1843|
|John C. Calhoun||S. C.||1844|
|John M. Clayton||Del.||1849|
|William L. Marcy||N. Y.||1853|
|Jeremiah S. Black||Pa.||1860|
|William H. Seward||N. Y.||1861|
|William H. Seward||N. Y.||1865|
|Elihu B. Washburne||Ill.||1869|
|Hamilton Fish||N. Y.||1869|
|William M. Evarts||N. Y.||1877|
|James G. Blaine||Me.||1881|
|F. T. Frelinghuysen||N. J.||1881|
|Thomas F. Bayard||Del.||1885|
|James G. Blaine||Me.||1889|
|John W. Foster||Ind.||1892|
|Walter Q. Gresham||Ill.||1893|
|William R. Day||Ohio||1897|
|Elihu Root||N. Y.||1905|
|Robert Bacon||N. Y.||1909|
|Philander C. Knox||Pa.||1909|
|William J. Bryan||Neb.||1913|
|Robert Lansing||N. Y.||1915|
|Bainbridge Colby||N. J.||1921|
|Charles B. Hughes||N. Y.||1921|
|SECRETARIES OF THE TREASURY|
|Alexander Hamilton||N. Y.||1789|
|George W. Campbell||Tenn.||1814|
|Alexander J. Dallas||Pa.||1814|
|William H. Crawford||Ga.||1816|
|William H. Crawford||Ga.||1817|
|Samuel D. Ingham||Pa.||1829|
|William J. Duane||Pa.||1833|
|Roger B. Taney||Md.||1833|
|Levi Woodbury||N. H.||1834|
|Levi Woodbury||N. H.||1837|
|John C. Spencer||N. Y.||1843|
|George M. Bibb||Ky.||1844|
|Robert J. Walker||Miss.||1845|
|William M. Meredith||Pa.||1849|
|Philip F. Thomas||Md.||I860|
|John A. Dix||N. Y.||1861|
|Salmon P. Chase||Ohio||1861|
|George S. Boutwell||Mass.||1869|
|Wm. A. Richardson||Mass.||1873|
|Benjamin H. Bristow||Ky.||1874|
|Lot M. Morrill||Me.||1876|
|Charles J. Folger||N. Y.||1881|
|Walter Q. Gresham||Ind.||1884|
|Daniel Manning||N. Y.||1885|
|Charles S. Fairchild||N. Y.||1887|
|John G. Carlisle||Ky.||1893|
|Lyman J. Gage||Ill.||1897|
|Leslie M. Shaw||Iowa||1902|
|George B. Cortelyou||N. Y.||1907|
|William G. McAdoo||N. Y.||1913|
|David P. Houston||Mo.||1920|
|Andrew W. Mellon||Pa.||1921|
|SECRETARIES OF WAR|
|John Armstrong||N. Y.||1813|
|William H. Crowford||Ga.||1815|
|Geo. Graham (ad in.)||Va.||1817|
|John C. Calhoun||S. C.||1817|
|Peter B. Porter||N. Y.||1828|
|John H. Eaton||Tenn.||1829|
|Benjamin F. Butler||N. Y.||1837|
|Joel R. Poinzett||S. C.||1837|
|John C. Spencer||N. Y.||1841|
|James M. Porter||Pa.||1843|
|William L. Marcy||N. Y.||1845|
|George W. Crawford||Ga.||1849|
|Charles M. Conrad||La.||1850|
|John B. Floyd||Va.||1857|
|Edwin M. Stanton||Ohio||1862|
|Edwin M. Stanton||Ohio||1865|
|U. S. Grant (ad in.)||Ill.||1867|
|Lorenzo Thomas (ad in.)||D. C.||1868|
|John M. Schofied||N. Y.||1868|
|John A. Rawlins||Ill.||1869|
|William T. Sherman||Ohio||1869|
|William W. Belknap||Iowa||1869|
|James Donald Cameron||Pa.||1876|
|George W. McCrary||Iowa||1877|
|Robert T. Lincoln||Ill.||1881|
|Robert T. Lincoln||Ill.||1881|
|William C. Endicott||Mass.||1885|
|Stephen B. Elkins||W. Va.||1891|
|Daniel S. Lamont||N. Y.||189S|
|Russell A. Alger||Mich.||1897|
|Elihu Root||N. Y.||1899|
|William H. Taft||Ohio||1904|
|Luke E. Wright||Tenn.||1908|
|Jacob M. Dickinson||Tenn.||1909|
|Henry L. Stimson||Ill.||1911|
|Lindley M. Garrison||N. J.||1913|
|Newton D. Baker||Ohio||1916|
|John W. Weeks||Mass.||1921|
|SECRETARIES OF THE INTERIOR|
|James A. Pearce||Md.||1850|
|Thos. M. T. McKernon||Pa.||1850|
|Alexander H. H. Stuart||Va.||1850|
|Caleb B. Smith||Ind.||1861|
|John P. Usher||Ind.||1863|
|John P. Usher||Ind.||1865|
|Orville H. Browning||Ill.||1866|
|Jacob D. Cox||Ohio||1869|
|Samuel J. Kirkwood||Iowa||1881|
|Henry M. Teller||Col.||1882|
|Lucius Q. Lamar||Miss.||1885|
|William F. Vilas||Wis.||1888|
|John W. Noble||Mo.||1889|
|David R. Francis||Mo.||1896|
|Cornelius N. Bliss||N. Y.||1897|
|Ethan A. Hitchcock||Mo.||1899|
|James R. Garfield||Ohio||1907|
|Richard A. Ballinger||Wash||1908|
|Walter L. Fisher||Ill.||1911|
|Franklin K. Lane||Cal.||1913|
|John B. Payne||Va.||1920|
|Albert B. Fall||N. M.||1921|
|SECRETARIES OF THE NAVY|
|Paul Hamilton||S. C.||1809|
|B. W. Crowninshield||Mass.||1814|
|B. W. Crowninshield||Mass.||1817|
|Smith Thompson||N. Y.||1818|
|Samuel L. Southard||N. J.||1823|
|Samuel L. Southard||N. J.||1825|
|John Branch||N. C.||1829|
|Levi Woodbury||N. H.||1831|
|Mahlon Dickerson||N. J.||1834|
|Mahlon Dickenson||N. J.||1837|
|James K. Paulding||N. Y.||1838|
|George E. Badger||N. C.||1841|
|George E. Badger||N. C.||1841|
|Abel P. Upshur||Va.||1841|
|Thomas W. Gilmer||Va.||1844|
|John Y. Mason||Va.||1844|
|John Y. Mason||Va.||1846|
|William B. Preston||Va.||1849|
|William A. Graham||N. C.||1850|
|John P. Kennedy||Md.||1852|
|James C. Dobbin||N. C.||1853|
|Adolph E. Borie||Pa.||1869|
|George M. Robeson||N. J.||1869|
|Richard W. Thompson||Ind.||1877|
|Nathan Goff, Jr.||W. V.||1881|
|William H. Hunt||La.||1881|
|William E. Chandler||N. H.||1882|
|William C. Whitney||N. Y.||1885|
|Benjamin F. Tracy||N. Y.||1885|
|Hilary A. Herbert||Ala.||1893|
|John D. Long||Mass.||1897|
|William H. Moody||Mass.||1902|
|Charles J. Bonaparte||Md.||1905|
|Victor H. Metcalf||Cal.||1907|
|Truman H. Newberry||Mich.||1908|
|George von L. Meyer||Mass.||1909|
|Josephus Daniels||N. C.||1913|
|Edwin C. Denby||Mich.||1921|
|SECRETARIES OF AGRICULTURE|
|Norman J. Colman||Mo.||1889|
|Jeremiah M. Rusk||Wis.||1889|
|J. Sterling Morton||Neb.||1893|
|David F. Houston||Mo.||1913|
|Edward T. Meredith||Iowa||1920|
|Henry C. Wallace||Iowa||1921|
|Return J. Meigs, Jr.||Ohio||1814|
|Return J. Meigs, Jr.||Ohio||1817|
|William T. Barry||Ky.||1829|
|John M. Niles||Conn.||1840|
|Francis Granger||N. Y.||1841|
|Francis Granger||N. Y.||1841|
|Charles A. Wickliffe||Ky.||1841|
|Nathan K. Hall||N. Y.||1850|
|Samuel D. Hubbard||Conn.||1852|
|Aaron V. Brown||Tenn.||1857|
|Alexander W. Randall||Wis.||1866|
|John A. J. Creswell||Md.||1869|
|James W. Marshall||Va.||1874|
|James N. Tyner||Ind.||1876|
|David McK. Key||Tenn.||1877|
|Thomas L. James||N. Y.||1881|
|Timothy O. Howe||Wis.||1881|
|Walter Q. Gresham||Ind.||1883|
|William F. Vilas||Wis.||1886|
|Don M. Dickinson||Mich.||1888|
|Wilson S. Bissell||N. Y.||1893|
|William L. Wilson||W. Va.||1895|
|James A. Gary||Md.||1897|
|Charles Emory Smith||Pa.||1898|
|Henry C. Payne||Wis.||1901|
|Robert J. Winne||Pa.||1904|
|George B. Cortelyou||N. Y.||1905|
|George von L. Meyer||Mass.||1907|
|Frank H. Hitchcock||Mass.||1909|
|Albert S. Burleson||Tex.||1913|
|Will H. Hays||Ind.||1921|
The Postmaster-General was not considered a Cabinet officer until 1829.
|Caesar A. Rodney||Del.||1807|
|Caesar A. Rodney||Del.||1809|
|John McP. Berrien||Ga.||1829|
|Roger B. Taney||Md.||1831|
|Henry D. Gilpin||Pa.||1840|
|John J. Crittenden||Ky.||1841|
|John J. Crittenden||Ky.||1841|
|Hugh S. Legaré||S. C.||1841|
|John Y. Mason||Va.||1845|
|John J. Crittenden||Ky.||1850|
|Jeremiah S. Black||Pa.||1857|
|Edward M. Stanton||Ohio||1860|
|Titian J. Coffey (ad in.)||Pa.||1863|
|William M. Evarts||N. Y.||1868|
|Ebenezer R. Hoar||Mass.||1869|
|Amos T. Ackerman||Ga.||1870|
|George H. Williams||Ore.||1871|
|Edward Pierrepont||N. Y.||1875|
|Benjamin H. Brewster||Pa.||1881|
|Augustus H. Garland||Ark.||1885|
|William H. H. Miller||Ind.||1889|
|John W. Griggs||N. J.||1897|
|Philander C. Knox||Pa.||1901|
|William H. Moody||Mass.||1904|
|Charles J. Bonaparte||Md.||1907|
|George W. Wickersham||N. Y.||1909|
|James C. McReynolds||Tenn.||1913|
|Thomas W. Gregory||Tex.||1914|
|A. M. Palmer||Penn.||1919|
|H. M. Daugherty||Ohio||1921|
|SECRETARIES OF COMMERCE AND LABOR|
|George B. Cortelyou||N. Y.||1903|
|Victor H. Metcalf||Cal.||1904|
|Oscar S. Straus||N. Y.||1907|
|SECRETARIES OF COMMERCE|
|W. C. Redfield||N. Y.||1913|
|J. W. Alexander||Mo.||1919|
|SECRETARIES OF LABOR|
|William B. Wilson||Pa.||1913|
|James J. Davis||Pa.||1921|
The Congress.—The whole legislative power is vested by the Constitution in a Congress, consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives. The Senate consists of two members from each State, chosen by the State Legislatures for six years. Senators must be not less than 30 years of age; must have been citizens of the United States for nine years; and be residents in the State from which they are chosen. Besides its legislative capacity the Senate is invested with the power of confirming or rejecting all appointments to office made by the President, and its members constitute a High Court of Impeachment. The judgment in the latter case extends only to the removal from office and disqualification. Representatives have the sole power of impeachment. The House of Representatives is composed of members elected every second year, by the vote of all citizens over the age of 21 of the several States of the Union, who are qualified in accordance with the laws of their respective States. By the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, neither race nor color affects the right of citizens. The franchise is not absolutely universal; residence for at least one year in most States (in Michigan and Maine three months) is necessary; in some States the payment of taxes, in others registration.
History.—The territories now occupied by the United States of America, though they were probably visited on their N. E. coast by Norse navigators about the year 1000, continued in the sole possession of numerous tribes of Indians till the rediscovery of America by Columbus in 1492. In 1498 an English expedition, under the command of Sebastian Cabot, explored the E. coast of America, from Labrador to Virginia, and perhaps to Florida. In 1513 Juan Ponce de Leon landed near St. Augustine, Fla. In 1520 some Spanish vessels from San Domingo were driven upon the coast of Carolina. In 1521, by the conquests of Cortez and his followers, Mexico, including Texas, New Mexico and California, became a province of Spain. In 1539-1542 Ferdinand de Soto led a Spanish expedition from the coast of Florida across Alabama, and discovered the Mississippi river. In 1584-1585 Sir Walter Raleigh sent two expeditions to the coast of North Carolina and attempted to form settlements on Roanoke island. A Spanish settlement was made at St. Augustine, Fla., in 1565; Jamestown, Va., was settled in 1607; New York, then called New Netherlands, in 1613; Plymouth, Mass., in 1620. A large part of the country on the Great Lakes and on the Mississippi was explored by La Salle in 1682; and settlements were made by the French.
The first effort at a union of colonies was in 1643, when the settlements in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut formed a confederacy for mutual defense against the French, Dutch, and Indians under the title of “The United Colonies of New England.” In 1761 the enforcement of the Navigation Act against illegal traders, by general search warrants, caused a strong excitement against the English Government, especially in Boston. The British admiralty enforced the law; and many vessels were seized, and the colonial trade with the West Indies was annihilated. In 1765 the passing of an act of Parliament for collecting a colonial revenue by stamps caused general indignation, and led to riots. Patrick Henry, in the Virginia Assembly, denied the right of Parliament to tax America, and eloquently asserted the dogma, “No taxation without representation.” The first impulse was to unite against a common danger; and the first Colonial Congress of 29 delegates, representing nine colonies, made a statement of grievances and a declaration of rights. In 1766 the Stamp Act was repealed, but the principle of colonial taxation was not abandoned. In 1773 the duties were repealed, excepting 3d. a pound on tea.
It was now a question of principle, and from N. to S. it was determined that this tax should not be paid. Some cargoes were stored in damp warehouses and spoiled; some sent back, and in Boston a mob disguised as Indians threw it into the harbor. England then determined to enforce the Government of the crown and Parliament over the colonies, and a fleet with 10,000 troops was sent to America, which led to the battle of Lexington, and the beginning of the Revolutionary War, April 19, 1775. The news that the British troops had been compelled to beat a hasty retreat summoned 20,000 men to the vicinity of Boston. A Congress of the colonies assembled at Philadelphia, and appointed George Washington Commander-in-Chief of an army of 20,000 men. The battle of Bunker Hill was fought at Charlestown, June 17, 1775, between 1,500 Americans, who had hastily intrenched themselves, and 2,000 British soldiers. When the Americans had exhausted their ammunition they were ordered to retreat; but as they had only lost 115 killed, 305 wounded, and 32 prisoners, while the loss on the British side was at least 1,054, the encounter had all the moral effect of a victory. After a winter of great privations the British were compelled to evacuate Boston, carrying away in their fleet to Halifax 1,500 loyal families. An army of 55,000 men, including 17,000 German mercenaries (Hessians), was sent under the command of Sir William Howe to put down this “wicked rebellion.”
On June 7, 1776, Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, offered a resolution in Congress, declaring that the united colonies are, and ought to be, free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved. This resolution was adopted by the votes of 9 out of 13 colonies, and brought about the celebrated “Declaration of Independence,” which on July 4, 1776, received the assent of the delegates of the colonies. They adopted the general title of the “United States of America,” with a population of about 2,500,000. From the battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775, to the surrender of Yorktown, Oct. 19, 1781, in 24 engagements, including the surrender of two armies, the British losses in the field were not less than 25,000 men, while those of the Americans were about 8,000.
After the peace, concluded Sept. 3, 1783, the independence of the United States was acknowledged by foreign powers, and in 1787 the present Constitution was ratified. George Washington and John Adams, standing at the head of the Federalist party, were elected President and Vice-President of the United States. The War of 1812 grew out of the fact that England declined to put a stop to the abuse of impressing American citizens into the British navy, the attention of Congress having been called to 6,000 instances in 1811. In 1814 the Federalists of New England held a convention at Hartford in opposition to the war and the administration of President Madison, and threatened a secession of the New England States, as having to defend themselves as it was. The war was terminated by the treaty of Ghent, Dec. 24, 1814, though the English suffered a disastrous defeat at New Orleans, Jan. 8, 1815, nearly a month after peace had been concluded between England and America.
At the period of the Revolution slavery existed in all the States except Massachusetts, but it had gradually been abolished in the Northern and Middle States, except Delaware, and excluded from the new States between the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers by the terms on which the territory had been surrendered by Virginia to the Union. The two sections had already entered on a struggle to maintain the balance of power against each other. After an exciting contest in 1820 Missouri was admitted with a resolution (the “Missouri Compromise”) that in future no slave State should exist N. of the parallel of lat. 36° 30′ N. In 1826 two of the founders of the republic, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, died on July 4, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. In 1732 an Indian war, called the Black Hawk War, broke out in Wisconsin; but the passing of a high protective tariff act by Congress caused a more serious trouble. The State of South Carolina declared the act unconstitutional.
A collision seemed imminent, when the affair was settled by a compromise bill, introduced by Henry Clay, providing for a gradual reduction of duties till 1843, when they should not exceed 20 per cent., ad valorem. In 1835 the Seminole War broke out in Florida, and a tribe of Indians, insignificant in numbers, under the crafty leadership of Osceola, kept up hostilities for years at a cost to the United States of several thousand men, and some $50,000,000.
In 1837 Martin Van Buren succeeded General Jackson in the presidency. His term was a stormy one, from the great financial crisis of 1837, which followed a period of currency expansion and wild speculation. All the banks suspended payment, and the great commercial cities threatened insurrection. In 1840 Gen. William H. Harrison was elected President, but died in 1841, a month after his inauguration. He was succeeded by John Tyler, during whose administration the N. E. boundary question, which nearly occasioned a war with England, was settled by Daniel Webster, Secretary of State, and Lord Ashburton, In 1845 Texas was formally annexed to the United States, and James K. Polk, of Tennessee, succeeded Mr. Tyler in the presidency. M. Almonte, the Mexican minister at Washington, protested against the annexation of Texas as an act of warlike aggression, which brought about the Mexican War in 1846.
In 1847 the Mexicans were defeated by General Taylor at Buena Vista; Vera Cruz was taken by storm, and General Scott won the great battle of Cerro Gordo. In 1848 peace was signed, and by the treaty of Guadaloupe the United States obtained the cession of New Mexico and Upper California, the United States paying Mexico $15,000,000, and assuming the payment of the claims of American citizens against Mexico. In 1849 General Taylor, the “Rough and Ready” victor of Buena Vista, became President, with Millard Fillmore as Vice-President. In September of the same year California adopted a constitution which prohibited slavery. The election of Franklin Pierce in 1852 against General Scott was a triumph of the Democratic States' Rights and Southern party. A brutal assault on Charles Sumner, United States Senator from Massachusetts, by Preston Brooks, in consequence of a violent speech on Southern men and institutions, increased the excitement of both sections. In 1856 the Republicans, composed of the Northern Free-soil and Abolition parties, nominated John C. Fremont for the presidency, but James Buchanan, the Democratic candidate, received the election, with John C. Breckenridge as Vice-President. In Oct., 1859, John Brown, known in Kansas as “Ossawatomie Brown,” who planned and led an expedition for freeing the negroes in Virginia, was captured, and executed Dec. 2, by the authorities of Virginia.
In 1860 the Southern delegates withdrew from the convention at Charleston, and two Democratic candidates were nominated, Stephen A. Douglas and John C. Breckinridge. The Republicans nominated Abraham Lincoln, and at the election of November, 1860, Mr. Lincoln received every Northern vote in the electoral college, except three of New Jersey, 180 votes. The South lost no time in acting on what her statesmen had declared would be the signal of their withdrawal from the Union. Four years of civil war ended in their being compelled to remain in it. In 1864 Mr. Lincoln was re-elected, and on March 4, 1865, commenced his second term, with Andrew Johnson as Vice-President. On April 14, 1865, while the North was rejoicing over the capture of Richmond and the surrender of the Confederate armies, the President was assassinated at a theater in Washington by John Wilkes Booth. The assassin was pursued and killed, and several of his accomplices were tried and executed. Andrew Johnson became President. Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, fled after the surrender of Richmond; he was captured in Georgia, and released without trial in 1867.
An amendment to the Constitution, forever abolishing slavery in the States and Territories of the Union, was declared ratified by two-thirds of the States, Dec. 18, 1865. The vast change in the organization of the republic made by this new fundamental law was completed by the 14th and 15th Amendments, passed in 1868 and 1870, which gave to the former slaves all the rights and privileges of citizenship. The seceded States were readmitted to the Union on condition of their adhesion to the Constitution as thus amended. Owing to the reconstruction policy after the Civil War differences arose between President Johnson and the Republican leaders in both houses of Congress. This antagonism finally led to the resolution of the House of Representatives, passed Feb. 24, 1868, to impeach the President “of high crimes and misdemeanors.” President Johnson, however, was acquitted, as the prosecution lacked one vote of the two-thirds vote necessary for conviction. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was elected President in 1868, and inaugurated March 4, 1869, with Schuyler Colfax as Vice-President. He was re-elected, in 1872, with Henry Wilson as Vice-President. The Geneva Court of Arbitration gave its decree in the “Alabama” controversy in favor of the United States in 1872, while the San Juan Boundary dispute with Great Britain was settled in favor of the United States by the Emperor of Germany in the same year. The outrages of a secret organization known as the Ku-Klux-Klan, in the Southern States, necessitated the passing of an act in 1871 giving cognizance of such offenses to the United States courts.
The year 1876, memorable in the annals of the republic as the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, was celebrated by a great Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia. The presidential election of the same year was so closely contested that Congress appointed a special tribunal, selected from the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the justices of the Supreme Court, to examine the election returns. The decision was in favor of Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican candidate, who was declared to have been elected President, and inaugurated March 5, 1877. In 1879 specie payments were resumed throughout the United States, after a suspension of 17 years. In 1880 the Republican National Convention at Chicago nominated Gen. James A. Garfield, of Ohio, and Chester A. Arthur, of New York, for President and Vice-President. The Democratic National Convention was held in Cincinnati, O., and Gen. Winfield S. Hancock and William H. English, of Indiana, were selected as candidates. The result of the election was in favor of the Republicans. General Garfield was inaugurated, March 4, 1881. On July 2, 1881, he was shot by a disappointed office seeker, Charles J. Guiteau, and after more than two months of suffering died from the effects of the wound at Elberon, N. J., Sept. 19, 1881. His loss was lamented by the whole nation. He was succeeded by Vice-President Chester A. Arthur, who served the remainder of the term.
In 1884 the Democratic party
nominated Grover Cleveland and Thomas A.
Hendricks for the presidency and
vice-presidency, while the Republicans put
up James G. Blaine and John A. Logan.
The election resulted in the choice of
Grover Cleveland and Thomas A.
Hendricks, who were inaugurated March 4,
1885. The death of General Grant on July
23, 1885, was a notable event, and one that
profoundly moved the whole nation. Mr.
Hendricks died Nov. 25, 1885, and John
Sherman, by virtue of his election as
president pro tem. of the Senate,
became his successor. Mr. Cleveland's
administration was in the main uneventful,
though the country was disturbed
by widespread and obstinate conflicts
between labor and capital. The silver coinage
question, the reform of the civil
service, the Mormon question, the labor
problem, and the Pan-Electric
controversy were the issues of the hour.
The presidential campaign of 1888 had
the tariff question for its main issue. Mr.
Cleveland was renominated by the
Democracy, with Allan G. Thurman for
Vice-President, and Benjamin Harrison,
of Indiana, grandson of the ninth President
of the United States, and Levi P.
Morton, for Vice-President, were
nominated by the Republicans. The latter
were elected, the electoral vote standing
233 to 168. In 1889 four new States were
added to the Union, namely, Montana,
North Dakota, South Dakota, and
tington, and the Territory of Oklahoma
was carved out of the Indian Territory.
In 1890 Wyoming and Idaho were
admitted to statehood.
In 1892 Mr. Harrison was renominated by the Republicans for President, and Whitelaw Reid, of New York, for Vice-President. The Democrats nominated Mr. Cleveland for President, and Adlai E. Stevenson, of Illinois, for Vice-President. Cleveland and Stevenson were elected by an electoral vote of 277 for the ticket, against 145 for Harrison and Reid, and 22 for Weaver, the candidate of the People's party. The year 1893 was memorable for the monetary depression and hard times throughout the United States, and, to some extent, all over the world. Many thousands of men were out of employment; many financial institutions and business enterprises failed. Almost every form of security depreciated. A great railway strike, accompanied by great destruction of property and some loss of life, occurred on roads centering in Chicago; and others of less magnitude elsewhere. An army of unemployed men made a demonstration by marching across the country, subsisting on popular charity as they went, to the city of Washington, where they hoped to influence legislation by Congress, and action by the executive, to relieve the unemployed. This condition of things was popularly attributed to the administration, and to the Democratic tariff bill that had not yet been substituted for the McKinley bill, but was sure to be passed. As a consequence, in the State and Congressional elections of 1894 the Republicans obtained sweeping victories, and came into power in Congress. The administration was otherwise marked by its maintenance of friendly relations with Spain against the belligerent urgency of a large anti-Spanish party, friendly to Cuban independence; by the extension of the Civil Service; and by the Arbitration Treaty of 1897.
The presidential campaign of 1896 was
an unusually exciting one, with seven
tickets in the field: Republican, William
McKinley and Garret A. Hobart;
Democratic, William J. Bryan and Arthur
Sewall; People's, William J. Bryan and
Thomas E. Watson; Prohibition
Levering and Hale Johnson; National
Democratic, John M. Palmer and Simon
B. Buckner; Social Labor, Charles H.
Matchett and Matthew Maguire; and
National (Free-Silver Prohibition), Charles
E. Bentley and James H. Southgate. In
the election the Republican candidates
received 7,104,779 popular and 271 electoral
votes, and the fused Democratic and
Peoples' candidates 6,502,925 popular and
176 electoral votes. This campaign was
characterized by a remarkable revolt in
the Democratic party and a fusion of that
party with the Populist. See Bryan,
The great event of this administration was the war successfully waged by the United States against Spain in 1898; the freeing of Cuba from Spanish dominion; the acquisition by the United States, as a result of the war, of Porto Rico, the Philippine Islands, and Guam, and, by treaty, of Hawaii and the Samoan island of Tutuila; and the formation of a considerable party, known as Anti-Expansionists and Anti-Imperialists. The details of the war are given under Cuba; Manila Bay; Philippine Islands; Porto Rico; Santiago; Spanish-American War; and the various names of persons and places that became prominent in the war.
In the presidential campaign of 1900 there were eight tickets in the field: Republican, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt; Democratic, William J. Bryan and Adlai E. Stevenson; Prohibition, John G. Woolley and Henry B. Metcalf; Middle-of-the-Road or Anti-Fusion Peoples', Wharton Barker and Ignatius Donnelly; Social Democratic, Eugene V. Debs and Job Harriman; Social Labor, Joseph F. Malloney and Valentine Remmel; United Christian, J. F. R. Leonard and John G. Woolley; and Union Reform, Seth H. Ellis and Samuel T. Nicholas. The election gave the Republican candidates 7,208,224 popular and 292 electoral votes, and the Democratic candidates, 6,358,789 popular and 155 electoral votes. On Sept. 6, 1901, while attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, N. Y., President McKinley was shot twice by Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist, and died from his injuries on the 14th. Immediately thereafter Vice-President Roosevelt took the oath of office as President. In February-March, 1902, Prince Henry of Prussia, brother of the Emperor of Germany and an admiral in the German navy, visited the United States. In 1904 the Republican ticket, led by President McKinley's Vice-President, Mr. Roosevelt, was triumphantly elected with a popular majority of 2,500,000.
The administration of President Roosevelt was marked by the passage of many important measures through Congress. The Federal Government, under the guidance of the President, was especially active against combinations in restraint of trade, discriminations by railroads and the payment by them of rebates to favored shippers. As the result of an investigation carried on by various Government commissions, suits were brought against the Northern Securities Co., a holding company for the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific railroads, and this combination was declared illegal and was dissolved by the Supreme Court in 1904. The beef trust was prosecuted and declared illegal in the following year. During the 59th Congress, many important measures were passed along the lines indicated above. These included a bill for the regulation of railways, a rigid meat inspection law, and a pure food bill. Other measures provided for the establishment of the Bureau of Immigration, the restriction of Japanese immigration, and the passage of the Aldrich-Vreeland Act, making provision for a monetary commission.
The great fire and earthquake in San Francisco occurred in April, 1906. In the year previous, through the good offices of President Roosevelt, the meeting of the Russian and Japanese peace commissioners, at Portsmouth, N. H., resulted in a treaty of peace between the two countries, on September 5, 1905. The United States was obliged to intervene in Cuba owing to an insurrection in that country, and a provisional government was established on September 29, 1906. A customs treaty with Santo Domingo was ratified in 1907. Threatened friction with Japan over conditions in the Orient, especially in China, was averted by an agreement between Elihu Root, Secretary of State, and the Japanese Minister. This agreement provided for the continuance of the “open door” in China, and pledged both governments to consultation before these policies should be changed.
The President's aggressive attitude in favor of reform measures brought about sharp opposition, especially in the Senate, on the part of the leaders of the conservative element. This resulted in the ignoring by Congress of many of the policies advocated by the President.
President Roosevelt had plainly indicated that he favored William H. Taft, Secretary of War, as his successor. As a result of this support and the popular approval of Taft, he was easily nominated in the Republican National Convention. The Democrats nominated William J. Bryan for president and J. W. Kern of Indiana for vice-president. In the voting, Taft was elected by a popular vote of 7,690,006 to 6,409,106 for Bryan. Taft received 321 electoral votes, with 162 for Bryan.
The first action of Congress under the administration of President Taft, was the revision of the tariff. Long consideration resulted in the passage, on August 5, 1909, of the Payne-Aldrich Law, which was approved by the President in spite of strong opposition.
A notable change in the rules of the House of Representatives was brought about in 1910 through a coalition of Democrats and insurgent Republicans. This resulted in depriving the Speaker of some of his most important powers. During this session of Congress, the most important measures were those for the establishment of a Commerce Court, for a postal savings bank system, the Mann “White Slave” Act, and a measure providing for limitation on contributions to campaign funds.
The progressive element of the Republican party had become greatly dissatisfied with President Taft's alleged reactionary stand on important measures, and this feeling was intensified when Theodore Roosevelt returned from a trip to Africa on March 10, 1910, and expressed himself strongly dissatisfied with President Taft's administration. As a result of these conditions, the Democrats in the election of 1910, carried the House of Representatives by a majority of 66 and increased their membership in the Senate. President Taft in 1911 attempted to bring about the passage of the Reciprocity Treaty with Canada. Congress, in special session, passed the bill on July 22. It was, however, rejected by Canada. Largely as a result of a scandal in the election of senators, a constitutional amendment providing for their direct election was submitted to the people in 1912 and was ratified in 1913. In the same year the States ratified the 16th amendment to the Constitution which was submitted in 1911, granting authority to Congress to enact income tax laws. During the session of the 61st Congress, acts were passed for the government of the Panama Canal Zone, and provided for the exemption from tolls of American ships engaged in coastwise trade. An act providing for civil government of Alaska; acts providing for New Mexico and Arizona as separate States; a measure creating the Department of Commerce; and an immigration law containing a literacy test, which, however, was vetoed by the President, were also passed.
Foreign relations during these years had many important phases. The forces of occupation were withdrawn from Cuba in 1909. In the same year long-standing differences with Venezuela were peacefully settled.
In 1910 Philander C. Knox, Secretary of State, proposed to various nations the establishment of a permanent court of arbitration at The Hague. At the same time treaties of arbitration were negotiated with the principal European countries. Many of these were signed in 1911. The conditions in Mexico from 1910 to 1913 provided difficult problems for President Taft. Large forces of American soldiers were detailed to control the border during the Madero revolution and following. While the administration was opposed to intervention, it sought to protect American interests and lives. In March, 1912, an embargo was placed on the shipment of arms across the border to Mexico. President Taft declined to recognize the government of President Huerta, which succeeded that of Madero in February, 1913.
There were three prominent Republican candidates for the Presidency in 1912. These were President Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, and Senator La Follette of Wisconsin. Mr. Roosevelt did not enter the campaign until Senator La Follette was withdrawn. Preferential primaries for presidential candidates were used in many States for the first time prior to the convention. At the National Convention held in Chicago, the contested seats were decided chiefly in favor of Taft delegates. Roosevelt supporters declared the decisions wrongly made and the greater part of them declined to take part in the balloting. President Taft was recommended on the first ballot and James S. Sherman was nominated for the vice-presidency. In the Democratic party there were also several strong candidates. These included Champ Clark, the Speaker of the House; Judson Harmon, Governor of Ohio; Woodrow Wilson, Governor of New Jersey; and Oscar W. Underwood, member of Congress from Alabama. At the convention held in Baltimore, there was a strong contest between the Conservatives, led by Alton B. Parker of New York, and the Progressives, led by William J. Bryan. Forty-six ballots were required for the nomination, and Woodrow Wilson was nominated on this ballot, largely through the personal support of Bryan. Thomas R. Marshall of Indiana was nominated for the vice-presidency.
Following the nomination of President Taft, President Roosevelt left the Republican party and organized another, called the Progressive party. In August, 1912, delegates of this party met in Chicago and nominated Theodore Roosevelt for president, and Hiram W. Johnson of California for vice-president. The campaign was one of the bitterest ever waged in the history of the country. In the election on November 12, Woodrow Wilson received 6,286,214 popular votes; Theodore Roosevelt, 4,126,020; William H. Taft, 3,483,922. Thus the split in the Republican party resulted in the election of Wilson. A remarkable feature of the voting was the increase in the strength of the Socialist party. This party nearly doubled its vote in 1908. The electoral vote was 435 for Wilson, 88 for Roosevelt, and 8 for Taft. The Democrats also secured the control of the House by a large majority, and of the Senate by 7 votes.
Shortly after his inauguration, President Wilson called Congress in special session to revise the tariff. He revived the custom of Washington and Adams and delivered his message to Congress in person. A new tariff act was at once drafted and was passed on October 3, 1913. The bill, in general, greatly reduced the duties, and the loss of revenue was made up by an income tax law which was made a part of the tariff law. Congress at this session also considered the problem of currency reform. This resulted in the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank.
Foreign relations occupied the greater part of the attention of President Wilson during 1913. The President followed President Taft's action in refusing to recognize General Huerta as president, chiefly on account of the belief that he had connived in the murder of Madero. Relations with Japan also became serious as the result of the passage by the legislature of California of laws prohibiting the ownership of land by aliens who could not be naturalized. The Japanese Government made a strong protest and William J. Bryan, Secretary of State, went to California in an effort to secure a change in the State Legislature. In this he failed. An agreement was arrived at, however, between the United States and Japan, by the terms of which Japan promised to restrict the immigration to the United States. The republic of China was recognized on May 2, 1913. Conditions in Nicaragua resulted in the establishment of a practical American protectorate in that country. On December, 1913, the President delivered a special message on the Mexican situation in which he declared that he saw no reason to “alter our policy of watchful waiting.” A bill was passed by Congress providing for an emergency army of 240,000 men.
Congress passed many important measures, including the Interstate Trade Commission Bill on December 8, 1914, and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act on October 8, 1914. Largely through the efforts of the President, the Panama Canal Tolls Measure was repealed by Congress, as the result of protest made by Great Britain that its terms violated the Hay-Pauncefote Treaty.
Early in 1914 the Mexican situation grew more acute. The President lifted the embargo on the shipment of arms into Mexico, and large amounts of munitions were purchased by revolutionists against Huerta. On April 9, a number of American marines were arrested at Tampico by an officer of Huerta. Their surrender and an apology were demanded by Rear-Admiral Mayo, who also insisted on a salute of the United States flag. Huerta refused to yield to this demand, and on April 20 the President requested authority of Congress to employ the forces of the United States to exact reparation. There followed the bombardment and occupation of Vera Cruz, with a loss of 18 American marines. Americans were warned to leave Mexico. While plans were being made for actual hostilities. President Wilson accepted the offer of Argentina, Brazil and Chile to arbitrate the question at issue. The commissioners of these countries met at Niagara Falls. While they were in session, Huerta, having been defeated, resigned, and the government was relinquished to Carranza. The United States forces were withdrawn from Vera Cruz in November, 1914. A treaty was negotiated with Colombia by which the United States agreed to pay $25,000,000 to that country for the loss of Panama. This treaty was not ratified by the Senate. Eighteen peace and arbitration treaties were negotiated during this year.
United States in the World War.—The policy which was proclaimed by the United States at the outset of the World War was one of strict neutrality. For nearly three years, this attitude was officially maintained, often under circumstances of great difficulty. Both the Entente and the Central Powers, in their effort to gain a real or fancied advantage, violated the letter and spirit of international law, to the prejudice of our undoubted rights. The State Department was constantly busied with correspondence addressed to Great Britain and Germany, calling them to account for these violations, and demanding that the offending practices be abandoned. It was realized, however, that both of the warring powers were under great strain, and the diplomatic representations of this country were marked by patience and self-restraint. But from the beginning there was a difference between the injuries we suffered from the belligerents. Only property losses were incurred from the encroachments of Great Britain, as in the case of the British blockade regulations and the blacklist, while Germany's infractions of the law of nations involved the loss of American lives. Financial losses could have been made good at the end of the war; the loss of life was irreparable.
Apart from these direct grievances, the tide of popular feeling ran strongly against Germany, because of the violation of Belgian neutrality and the atrocities that marked her conduct of the war. This sentiment was heightened by the propaganda that had its center in the German Embassy at Washington and the ever increasing obstruction, arson and outrage in American plants, in the effort to hinder supplies from being shipped overseas. Moreover the utterances of responsible German statesmen as to German aims in the war created the impression that she was seeking the hegemony not only of Europe and Asia but of the world, and that if successful in Europe, the United States might be the next object of attack. It began to be felt that the cause of the Entente was the cause of freedom and of civilization.
That impression became a conviction, when the news came of the sinking of the “Lusitania,” May 7, 1915. The details of that tragedy are narrated elsewhere (see Lusitania) and need only the barest mention here. This great ocean liner was torpedoed without warning off the Old Head of Kinsale on her journey from New York to Liverpool. She carried 1,257 passengers and a crew of 702. She sank in twenty-three minutes, carrying down 1,150, of whom 124 were Americans, including many women and children.
The nation was stunned by the shock. Then came a tremendous outburst of rage and grief, and for a while the country was perilously near the verge of war. It was not the first time that American lives had been lost through submarine operations. One American citizen had perished when the British liner, “Falaba,” had been torpedoed and sunk March 28, 1914, off Milford, England. Two others had been killed when the American ship “Gulflight” was attacked off the Scilly Islands, May 1, 1915. These casualties, however, had been explained by the German Government as due to a mistake in the “Gulflight” ease, while the “Falaba”, it was charged, had tried to escape after having been summoned to stop. Reparation had been promised for the attack on the former. These instances had aroused American indignation, but the feeling occasioned by them was nothing compared to the horror evoked by the wholesale massacre of the “Lusitania's” passengers and crew.
A series of three notes was despatched to the German Government, the first bearing the date of May 13, 1915, declaring that the United States Government expected disavowal, reparation and immediate measures to prevent the repetition of the outrage. The reply of the German Foreign Secretary, Von Jagow, dated May 28, declared that the “Lusitania” was an auxiliary cruiser, that it had guns concealed beneath its decks, that it was transporting Canadian troops and munitions of war, and that the rapidity with which it sank was due to the explosion of the munitions carried. Further correspondence was invited. A second American note, despatched June 9, denied that the Lusitania had carried troops or was armed for offense, and asserted that “whatever be the other facts regarding the ‘Lusitania,’ the principal fact is that a great steamer, primarily and chiefly a conveyance for passengers and carrying more than a thousand souls that had no part or lot in the conduct of the war was torpedoed and sunk without so much as a challenge or a warning, and that men, women and children were sent to their death in circumstances unparalleled in modern warfare.” The note called upon the German Government to adopt such principles in its submarine warfare as should safeguard American lives and American ships. The answer to this note was evasive and unsatisfactory. It elicited from the American Government a third and sharper note, which concluded with the phrase that “repetition by the commanders of German naval vessels of acts in contravention of American rights must be regarded by the Government of the United States as deliberately unfriendly.” The last phrase was a diplomatic way of saying that war would follow.
Pending the interchange of these notes, the German Ambassador, Von Bernstorff, had offered on behalf of his Government to cease submarine warfare, provided that the United States secured certain concessions for Germany from England and should guarantee that vessels coming from American ports should carry no contraband of war. The United States Government refused thus to purchase immunity for its citizens.
The correspondence secured no satisfaction for the “Lusitania” massacre, and even during its continuance, similar attacks were made on the “Nebraskan,” May 25, the “Orduna,” July 9, while on Aug. 19, two American citizens were drowned in the sinking of the British steamer “Arabic.” On Sept. 1, 1915, however, Count von Bernstorff informed Secretary Lansing that passenger liners would not thenceforth be sunk by German submarines without warning and without taking measures to assure the safety of non-combatants, on condition that the steamers would not try to escape or offer resistance. A message of the same tenor was received from Von Jagow on Sept. 21. On Oct. 5, the sinking of the “Arabic” was disavowed by Von Berstorff in the name of his Government, which expressed regret, promised indemnity, and declared that orders had been issued to submarines that were so rigorous that the recurrence of such incidents was considered impossible.
The protests of the United States against lawless submarine attacks were not confined to Germany alone. The Italian liner “Ancona” was destroyed by an Austrian submarine in the Mediterranean Sea, Nov. 7, 1915. Of 507 persons on board, 308 were lost, of whom 9 were Americans. The submarine shelled the helpless passengers, as they were trying to get away in the lifeboats. Correspondence ensued with the Austrian Government, which finally, on Dec. 29, announced that the commander of the submarine had been punished, and promised, with some reservations, to indemnify the families of the victims.
Another item in the account with Austria was an attack by an Austrian submarine, Dec. 5, 1915, on the American oil steamer “Petrolite,” off the coast of Tripoli. A sailor was wounded, and the submarine still kept on firing, even after the “Petrolite” had swung broadside to, so that the submarine commander could see her name printed on her side and the American flag flying at her mast. Stores were also taken from the vessel before she was allowed to proceed. Representations made by this Government were met by a flat denial of the facts. An attack was made on the British passenger liner “Persia” by a submarine in the Mediterranean southeast of Crete, Dec. 30, 1915. 335 lives were lost, including two Americans, of whom one was an American consul on his way to his post at Aden. The wake of the torpedo that destroyed the ship was clearly seen, but as the submarine itself was not visible, Germany, Austria, and Turkey denied responsibility.
The winter of 1915-1916 was comparatively quiet, but with the coming of spring there was a revival of submarine outrages. March 1, 1916, the French liner “Patria” with Americans on board was attacked without warning, but escaped. On March 9, a Norwegian ship, the “Silius” was sunk in Havre Roads, and one American in the crew was injured. The Dutch steamer “Tubantia” was torpedoed on the night of March 15, 1916, in the North Sea. Americans were on board but were saved. On March 18, the “Berwindvale” with four Americans on board was torpedoed off Bantry, Ireland, but no lives were lost.
A wanton attack, and one that provoked a new crisis, was that on the French Channel steamer “Sussex” on its way from Folkestone to Dieppe, March 24, 1916. Eighty passengers, including some Americans were killed or wounded. This flagrant case brought this country to the very edge of hostilities. The German authorities declared that the “Sussex” must have struck a British mine. It was admitted that a long, black steamer was torpedoed in the Channel by one of their submarines, but it was declared that it was a British warship or mine layer. Irrefutable proofs were furnished by this Government of the falsity of these statements. On April 18, Secretary Lansing despatched a note to the German Government, which expressed regret that that Government did not understand the gravity of the situation resulting not only from the “Sussex” attack, but from the whole German method of submarine warfare. The note recalled Germany's promise to respect passenger ships, and asserted that the commanders of her submarines had violated that promise, with the result that the list of Americans who had thus lost their lives had been steadily lengthening until it had now reached 100. The patience of the United States Government was adverted to, and the note went on to say that it had now “become painfully evident that the position that the American Government took at the very outset had been justified, namely, that the use of submarines for the destruction of an enemy's commerce was, of necessity, because of the very character of the vessels employed and the very methods of attack which their employment of course involved, utterly incompatible with the principles of humanity, the long-established and incontrovertible rights of neutrals and the sacred immunities of non-combatants.” At the end of the note, Germany is warned that if it was still her purpose to persist in prosecuting relentless and indiscriminate warfare, the American Government would have no choice but to sever diplomatic relations.
The German reply, though delayed until May 4, showed that the Imperial Government was beginning to recognize that American patience had nearly reached the breaking point. It still protested that many of the offenses charged against her commanders were due to mistakes, such as occurred in all wars, and it was also contended that the German submarine warfare was only a response to British violations of international law that virtually condemned millions of women and children to starvation. But a pregnant concession was made in the following announcement: “German naval forces have received this order: In accordance with the general principles of visit and search and the destruction of vessels recognized by international law, such vessels, both within and without the area declared a naval war zone, shall not be sunk without warning and without saving human lives, unless the ship attempt to escape or offer resistance.” A loophole for escape from this categorical promise was left, however, in the expression of hope that the United States Government would forthwith secure from the British Government a stricter observance of the rules of international law and the statement that “should steps taken by the United States not obtain the object it deserves, to have the laws of humanity followed by all the belligerent nations, the German Government would then be facing a new situation, in which it must reserve to itself complete liberty of decision.”
In its reply, taking cognizance of the German promise, the United States Government was careful to disclaim any obligation to offer a quid pro quo for the concession. “In order to avoid any possible misunderstanding,” the note declares, “the Government of the United States notifies the Imperial Government that it cannot for a moment entertain, much less discuss, a suggestion that respect by German naval authorities for the rights of citizens of the United States upon the high seas should in any way or in the slightest degree be made contingent upon the conduct of any other Government affecting the rights of neutrals and non-combatants. Responsibility in such matters is single, not joint; absolute, not relative.”
For a time after this promise was given, it was generally respected, and it began to seem as if actual participation by America in the war might be avoided. Although from British sources came the statement that by Oct. 1, 15 vessels had been sunk without the warning that Germany had explicitly promised to give, the American State Department had no satisfactory evidence to support the statement.
On July 9, 1916, the German submarine “Deutschland,” a commercial vessel entered the port of Norfolk and proceeded to Baltimore. No attempt was made by this Government to discriminate between it and any other commercial ship in the matter of port facilities. This led to a remonstrance on the part of the Allied nations, directed to all neutral nations, but primarily directed at the United States with the “Deutschland” incident in view. The Entente view was that the peculiar characteristics of submarines are such that they ought not to be allowed the same port privileges as other merchant vessels. Among these characteristics were the ability to dive, by which they could avoid control and identification, so that their character as neutral or belligerent, as naval or merchant vessel, could not be ascertained. The United States, however, refused to accept this reasoning as a rule of action.
Much less peaceful was the visit of the German war submarine, the “U-53,” which unannounced entered Newport harbor, Oct. 7, 1916, and after delivering mail for the German Embassy, departed after a few hours' stay. Within the next two days, the “U-53” had sunk in swift succession one Dutch, one Norwegian and three British ships, within sight of the American coast. Legal warning was given in each case, and the crews permitted to escape, some of the latter being picked up by American destroyers in the vicinity. The bringing of the submarine war to this side of the ocean created considerable excitement, and the question was raised whether the action of the submarine did not constitute a blockade of the American coast and an infringement upon American rights. The matter, however, was permitted to stay in abeyance.
On Oct. 30 the British ship “Marina” was torpedoed while on her way to this country and six Americans of fifty who were on board were killed. Then came an attack upon the American steamer “Chemung” and that on the steamer “Russian” with a loss of 17 American lives. No adequate explanation was forthcoming.
While the two countries were by these occurrences being brought nearer the brink of war, efforts were being made by the President of the United States to find some common grounds on which, peace might be secured, or negotiations at least opened, between the Entente and the Central Powers. The occasion was offered by the German announcement on Dec. 12, 1916, that the Imperial Government was ready to enter into peace negotiations. The terms were couched, however, so much in the spirit of a victor magnanimously offering peace to the vanquished that they were emphatically, almost curtly, refused by all the Allied nations. Despite this refusal, the time (Dec. 18), seemed auspicious for the President of the greatest of the neutrals to act as mediator, although he stated that the plan had been conceived long before the issuance of Germany's offer. What the President sought to obtain was a concrete statement of terms, on which negotiations might be initiated. The crux of his note was contained in the passage: “The leaders of the several belligerents have stated those objects (i. e. of the war), in general terms. But stated in general terms, they seem the same on both sides. Never yet have the authoritative spokesmen on either side avowed the precise objects which would, if attained, satisfy them and their people that the war had been fought out. The world has been left to conjecture what definite results, what actual guarantees, what political or territorial changes or readjustments, what stage of military success even, would bring the war to an end.”
The President's views found an echo in the United States Senate, which passed a resolution approving it. The note also created a profound sensation in the nations at war. By the peoples of the Central Powers it was in the main approved, largely because of the favorable military situation in which at the moment they found themselves. By the Allies, however, much of whose territory was occupied by German forces, the note was received without enthusiasm and in some quarters with thinly veiled resentment. The Allies, however, seized the occasion to present to the world a detailed statement of the principal aims they had in view in the war they were waging. Those aims are narrated in full in another place (see World War). To this statement, the German Government made rejoinder on Jan. 11, in a note which scouted the demands of the Entente, declared that Germany had made a sincere attempt to open negotiations for peace and placed all blame for the war's continuance upon the shoulders of their enemies. The net result of the President's effort was nil.
A significant episode in connection with the speech was a statement issued by Secretary Lansing on Dec. 20, two days later. He stated that the note had been prompted by the fact that “we ourselves are drawing nearer the verge of war.” This official statement created great alarm, so great indeed that the Secretary felt impelled later in the same day to explain away the indiscreet utterance. His efforts were only effectual in part, however, and uneasiness persisted. It was felt that more was going on behind the veil of diplomatic exchanges than had hitherto been suspected.
Undeterred by the failure of his first effort, the President again, on Jan. 22, took upon himself the rôle of mediator. This time it was in the form of an address before the Senate. The avowed object of the speech was to specify the conditions under which the United States might conceivably join a league to enforce peace throughout the world, but the real reason for its delivery was to bring the conflict then in being to an end. The effect of the speech, which in the main was admirable in spirit and form, was measurably diminished by the phrase “peace without victory,” which aroused keen resentment among the Allied nations and met with marked disapproval on the part of a large body of influential opinion in America.
At this juncture came the announcement of Germany's determination to embark on ruthless submarine warfare—a most momentous announcement that spelled the doom of the German cause. It burst upon the neutral world with stunning effect. On Jan. 31, 1917, Von Bernstorff handed the text of the German note on submarine warfare to the American Secretary of State. At the same time an identical note was delivered to all the neutral governments. It stated that beginning on the following day, Feb. 1, all merchant ships bound to or from allied ports, found in a prohibited zone, would be sunk without warning. This revoked the promise that had been made to the United States in the “Sussex” case. The prohibited zone included the waters bordering France, England and Holland, and certain sections of the Mediterranean. The one exception allowed to the United States was that once a week she could despatch a ship to Falmouth, England, and have one sail from Falmouth to the United States, provided that the ship bore certain markings, followed a specified route and carried no contraband. The justification for the step was given in the statement that since the attempt to come to an understanding with the Entente Powers had been answered by them by the announcement of an intensified continuation of the war, the Imperial Government was compelled to continue the struggle for existence by the full employment of all weapons that lay in its power.
At the same hour that the note was handed to the neutral powers, the German Chancellor, Von Bethmann-Hollweg, in the Reichstag, amplified the substance of the note, explaining why he had previously opposed ruthless submarine war and the steps by which he in common with the German military authorities had come to determine upon its prosecution, and declared in conclusion that “in now deciding to employ the best and sharpest weapon, we are guided solely by a sober consideration of all the circumstances that come into question, and by a firm determination to help our people out of the distress and disgrace which our enemies contemplate for them.”
The sensation produced by this determination was prodigious. It deepened the conviction that when the Secretary of State had let slip the statement, previously referred to, about this country's being “near the verge of war,” he must have had some intimation, either from Ambassador Gerard in Berlin or from the chancelleries of the Allied nations, that ruthless warfare was contemplated. For some days following the delivery of the submarine note, the country was in a fever of excitement. No intimation was given as to what the President would do, although it was known, on Feb. 2, that he had reached a decision of some kind. On that date, he conferred with the Cabinet, and late in the afternoon consulted with a number of senators at the Capitol. Early on Feb. 3, he announced that he would on that day address both houses of Congress. Before he made the address, however, he informed Secretary of State Lansing that he had determined to break off diplomatic relations with Germany. At two o'clock that afternoon, he appeared before the joint gathering of Congress. Floors and galleries were packed with members and spectators, in a tense attitude of repressed excitement and expectation. The address lasted half an hour, and was listened to with the most profound attention.
The President reviewed the details of the “Sussex” case that had ended with the assurance of the German Government that it would not henceforth sink merchant ships without warning and without taking precautions for the safety of their passengers and crews. He recalled that this Government had threatened to break off diplomatic relations unless such promise should be given. That promise had now been broken, and the only course left that was consistent with the honor and dignity of the United States was to make good its threat. The President had therefore directed the Secretary of State to announce to the German Ambassador that all diplomatic relations between the two Governments were severed, to hand him his passports, and at the same time to recall the American Ambassador from Berlin.
In concluding, the President expressed the hope that, despite Germany's declaration, she would not actually embark upon ruthless submarine warfare, and stated that only actual overt acts on her part would make him believe it. If, however, this hope should prove unfounded, and if American ships and American lives should be destroyed by such acts on the part of her submarine commanders, in contravention of international law and the dictates of humanity, the President stated that he would again take the liberty of coming before Congress to ask of it authority to take whatever measures might be necessary to protect our seamen and our people in the prosecution of their legitimate errands on the high seas.
The speech received the immediate and hearty indorsement of the American people, regardless of party. It was felt that no other course could possibly be followed without the loss of national self-respect. There was no delusion as to what was implied in the breaking off of diplomatic relations. Almost invariably in modern times, such an act had been the prelude to war, and in the state of popular feeling there was little reason to think that this would prove an exception. But as between war and national degradation the nation had decided on its course.
Now that the decision had been actually reached there was no delaying or hesitation. In fact, at the precise moment that the President began his address, the German Ambassador received his passports from Secretary Lansing. Steps were instantly taken to receive a guarantee of safe conduct out of the country, and this was granted by Great Britain and France within forty-eight hours. The Scandinavian-American liner, “Frederick VIII.,” was placed at his disposal; and on this vessel, accompanied by his suite and many German consuls and propagandists, he left the port of New York, Feb. 14, 1917.
It was a regrettable fact that similar courtesy was not extended to Ambassador Gerard at Berlin. In defiance of all the amenities that usually attend such departures, he was kept in the German capital for an indefensible length of time by something closely resembling force.
The official instructions from the United States Government did not reach Ambassador Gerard until Feb. 5, and immediately upon their receipt he asked the German Foreign Office for his passports. At the same time, he committed American interests to the legations of Spain and Holland. But although he was promised his passports they were not forthcoming, and he was subjected to a host of annoyances. His mail was withheld, his telephone service cut off and his telegrams were not sent. He was unable to communicate with United States consuls in Germany, and in fact, if not in name, was a prisoner, kept under constant surveillance. During this period, repeated attempts were made by the German authorities to secure a reaffirmation of the old treaty between the United States and Prussia, whose terms, it was thought, would safeguard the German ships in American ports. This, however, was emphatically refused by Mr. Gerard, as it was later by the American Government, when overtures were made to it directly. The Ambassador finally succeeded in leaving the German capital on Feb. 10, and reached the Swiss frontier the following afternoon. While the German Government had contemplated the possibility of diplomatic relations being severed with America, as the result of its pronouncement regarding ruthless warfare, there was no doubt that it had cherished hope that such a step would not be taken. On Feb. 12, Secretary Lansing gave out a memorandum that had been presented to him by Dr. Paul Ritter, the Swiss Minister to this country, in whose care Von Bernstorff had left German interests. The memorandum intimated that the submarine order might be modified in favor of the United States, providing that the commercial blockade against England were not thereby affected. The American Government refused to discuss the matter, unless and until the German Government renewed the assurance given in the Sussex case, and acted upon that assurance. Chagrined at its failure, the German Government reiterated that unrestricted war against all vessels in the barred zones was under full swing and would under no circumstances be abandoned.
Coincident with the breaking off of diplomatic relations, was the extensive sabotage carried out by the crews of German ships interned in the harbors of this country. There were 91 of such ships, totaling 594,696 gross tons. Of these, 31 were in New York harbor, their value estimated at $29,000,000. During the three days from Jan. 31, to Feb. 2, parts of the engines of the ships were either destroyed or removed, so that in the event of their seizure by this Government they would be unavailable for cargo or passenger purposes for months. The precision and thoroughness with which this work was done indicated that it was the result of orders from the German Embassy or Government. Under international law, this could not be prevented, as long as war had not been declared, and the captains and crews were left in undisturbed possession of their vessels, the Government contenting itself with the establishment of armed guards on the piers at which the ships were moored, to prevent any attempt that might be made to sink them and thus obstruct navigation.
Other military precautions were taken. The public were forbidden access to navy yards and government buildings. Arsenals, bridges, subway entrances, aqueducts, reservoirs and government plants were placed under strict guard. The Panama Canal was carefully watched. The erection of a new fort was begun at Rockaway Point, in order to strengthen the defense of New York harbor. Legislative action was also taken looking toward preparedness. The House, on Feb. 12, passed the largest Naval Appropriation bill in the history of the nation, carrying over $368,000,000. The President was authorized to commandeer shipyards and munition plants in case of war or national emergency.
Almost immediately after the diplomatic break with Germany, the United States Government addressed a note to the other neutral nations, advising them of the act and the reasons that prompted it, and expressing the hope that they would see their way clear to taking similar action. None, however, went that far, though protests varying in force were sent by all of them to Germany.
Ruthless submarine warfare had been carried on with vigor for nearly four weeks, when, on Feb. 26, President Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress, and asked that he be given authority to supply guns and ammunition to American merchant ships, and employ any other instrumentalities that might be necessary to protect American citizens and interests on the high seas. He cited two recent cases in which American ships, the “Housatonic” and the “Lyman M. Law,” had been sunk, and pointed out that the submarines were acting as an embargo on American trade. Even while he was proceeding to the Capitol to deliver his address, news came of another sinking to be added to the list, that of the Cunard liner “Laconia,” in which American lives were lost. Immediately after the President's appeal, a bill was introduced in the House embodying most of his suggestions and, after a debate in which partisanship played no part, was passed, March 1. In the Senate, however, the bill failed to pass, although an overwhelming majority was in favor of it. A determined filibuster was organized by a small group, who, under the rules of the Senate, were able to prolong debate until the bill died automatically at the ending of the session on March 4.
The President appealed to the country, and the almost overwhelming response convinced him of the depth of the indignation that had been aroused by the action of the recalcitrant group of senators. On March 9, he issued a proclamation calling Congress to meet in special session on April 16. No purpose was specified, though it was intimated that the President wanted the support of Congress in any action he might find necessary to take for the public defense. At the same time a statement was issued from the White House that the President was convinced of his right to direct the arming of merchant ships by Presidential proclamation. This he did on March 12. On that date all members of the diplomatic corps in Washington were informed by Secretary Lansing that, in view of the course of the German Government in sinking ships without warning, the Government of the United States had determined to place upon all American merchant vessels, whose course lay through the barred zone, armed guards for the protection of vessels and lives. In the short space that intervened between the issuance of the proclamation and the actual declaration of war, the position of the United States was that of armed neutrality.
The indorsement of the President's action by the country at large was made the more emphatic because of a sensational episode growing out of the correspondence of the German Foreign Secretary with the German Minister to Mexico. A letter was published March 1 that was dated Jan. 19, 1917, and signed by Zimmermann, German Foreign Secretary. It told the German Minister, Von Eckhardt, that Germany intended on Feb. 1 to begin unrestricted submarine warfare, and that this might endanger relations with the United States. In that event, Von Eckhardt was directed to propose to Mexico that she and Germany make war and make peace together. Germany was to furnish financial support to Mexico, and the latter was to recover her “lost territory” in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The “details” of this program were to be left to Von Eckhardt. As if this large order were not enough, he was also to suggest that the President of Mexico communicate this plan to Japan and seek to secure the latter's adherence.
While the ingenuousness of the plan was not without its elements of humor, the publication of the letter hardened the determination of the United States to pursue the course it was treading, even if it should lead to war. The revelation of diplomatic clumsiness was particularly disconcerting to Germany and the pro-German elements in this country. The letter was denounced in some quarters as a patent forgery, but on March 3, Zimmermann himself acknowledged that it was genuine and sought to defend it. Mexico made haste to deny any implication in the matter and Japan denounced it as a “monstrous plot” that, if proposed to the Japanese Government, would not be entertained for an instant. These disclaimers, which in the case of Japan at any rate was unnecessary, were accepted by our Government, and interest in the matter was soon lost in the greater events that followed.
For the American Government had at last decided on war as the only solution consistent with American dignity and honor. Its patience had been exhausted and its people goaded to the utmost. The sinkings grew in volume, and it was evident that Germany had thrown discretion to the winds and was daring the American people to meet the issue. On March 2, the American steamship, “Algonquin,” on its way from New York to London, was attacked by a submarine without warning and sunk, the crew being rescued later, after 27 hours in open boats. On March 18 three ships bearing the American flag were sunk off the English coast by submarines. These were the “City of Memphis,” the “Illinois” and the “Vigilancia.” Fifteen of the crew of the latter were lost.
On the day after this news was received many measures were taken by this Government that foreshadowed the coming conflict. Orders were given to speed up work on warships under construction; two classes of midshipmen were ordered to be graduated ahead of time; the eight-hour day for Government naval work was suspended, arrangements were made for the issue of bonds for naval purposes. A long Cabinet session was held, at which it was decided that Congress should be called in session at an earlier date than that previously announced. On March 21 the President issued a call for Congress to meet on April 2, “to receive a communication by the Executive on grave questions of national policy which should immediately be taken under consideration.” No one doubted that this sentence could be compressed into a single word—war.
The Sixty-fifth Congress convened in special session at noon on April 2. The President, escorted by a squadron of cavalry, reached the Capitol in the evening. At about 8.40, he began his address, after having been greeted with a tremendous ovation. He spoke for 36 minutes and was listened to with breathless attention. He recited the offenses of Germany against this Government, and recommended Congress to declare “the recent course of the Imperial German Government to be in fact nothing less than war against the Government and people of the United States” and that Congress “formally accept the status of belligerent that had thus been thrust upon it.” A notable passage of the speech was that in which he defined the issue as one between autocracy and democracy. “The world must be made safe for democracy. Its peace must be planted upon the tested foundations of political liberty. We have no selfish ends to serve. We desire no conquest, no dominion. We seek no indemnities for ourselves, no material compensations for the sacrifices we shall freely make. We are but one of the champions of the rights of mankind.”
At the conclusion of the President's address, he was wildly cheered, the whole audience rising to its feet and waving flags. Immediately after the President's withdrawal, both Houses assembled in separate session, and bills were introduced embodying the President's recommendations. On April 4, by a vote of 82 to 6, the war resolution was passed by the Senate. On April 6 it was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 373 to 50. At 1.18 p. m., it was signed by the President, thus making the United States and Germany officially at war. Simultaneously the President issued an address to the American people, announcing the existence of a state of war and prescribing rules for the behavior and treatment of enemy aliens.
The text of the Declaration of War was as follows:
Whereas, the Imperial German Government has committed repeated acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America; therefore be it
Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the state of war between the United States and the Imperial German Government, which has thus been thrust upon the United States, is hereby formally declared; and
That the President be and he is hereby, authorized and directed to employ the entire naval and military forces of the United States and the resources of the Government to carry on war against the Imperial German Government; and to bring the conflict to a successful termination all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States.
The declaration was received by the nation without any outburst of hysterical excitement. Its coming had been too apparent to have in it any element of surprise. But except in some pacifist quarters, it was received with the heartiest approval and a whole-souled determination to bend every effort toward securing victory. It had been feared that riots would be instigated by some of the 10,000,000 citizens of Teutonic birth and sympathies, but although there were some minor disorders, less than 100 arrests in all were made. The Socialist party alone expressed formal opposition to the war, and lost a considerable part of its following in consequence. Rarely has a nation facing a great conflict been so united in spirit and purpose. It is true that the great body of the people failed to realize the great part that America was to take in the war. It was generally expected that our participation would be limited to the navy and to the furnishing of money, munitions and food. That we should be called upon to raise an army of 5,000,000 men, of whom more than 2,000,000 would be actually carried overseas was probably believed by none. But even if it had been, there would have been no softening of the national purpose to prosecute the war to a successful termination.
By the nations of the Entente, the decision of the United States was received with the greatest relief and enthusiasm. They saw certain victory in the accession of so formidable an ally. By the neutral nations also, who had so many causes for grievance against Germany, the declaration was in general approved, though from motives of discretion their expressions were restrained. Some of them, however, deemed the action regrettable, because they had pinned their hopes to America's mediation in securing the world's peace.
Germany received the news with blended feelings. In many influential quarters there was a frank acknowledgment of the seriousness of the step that placed the richest and most powerful nation in the world on the side of her enemies. Others ridiculed the military power of this country, and predicted that our opposition would prove negligible. It was urged that redoubled efforts be made to crush the forces of the Entente, before America's help could be made available. It was freely prophesied that the submarines would prevent any American transport from landing troops in France. And even if this hope failed and American troops were brought into action, it was declared that they could never sustain the onset of German veterans.
Although there had been much complaint of the country's unpreparedness for war, prior to the declaration, there was no legitimate ground for criticism of the energy and resolution with which all departments of the Government began to function, immediately after the state of war became a fact. The instant the news was flashed from Washington, port officials everywhere, accompanied by detachments of Federal troops, seized all German ships that were lying in American Harbors. There were 91 of these in all. With the exception of a German gunboat at Manila, that was blown up by its officers, all were taken possession of without serious incident. The crews were interned at stations on shore, and Government machinists were put at work repairing the damaged machinery of the vessels.
The radio system throughout the United States was also taken under Government control. Every wireless station, not only on this continent, but also in all our island possessions, was seized on April 6, in conformity with the order of President Wilson. Those that might be useful were retained in operation, but others were dismantled and suppressed. All amateur wireless plants were forbidden to function.
Barred zones were established about the entire coast line of the United States, varying in width from two to ten miles. Vessels were forbidden to enter ports at night, and their ingress and egress in the daytime were conformed to strict rules that were enforced by an extensive coast patrol.
Hand in hand with these defensive measures, went energetic preparation for offense. Even prior to the declaration of war, orders had been issued March 25-26, for the mobilization of 37 units—regiments and battalions—of the National Guard, for the purpose ostensibly of policing threatened points but really to get ready for war. The 22,000 men who had been on border duty near Mexico, though they were due to be mustered out, were retained in the service. By April 1, more than 60,000 of the entire National Guard of 150,000 men were under arms, and the mobilization had outrun the equipment that was ready for them.
In the Navy, also, work was rushed with all possible speed. An executive order was issued, March 26, increasing the enlisted naval strength to 87,000 men. Ensigns were rushed from Annapolis three months before graduation. The marine corps was increased to 17,000 men. Retired officers were called back for bureau work, so that younger men might be released for active service. By June 6, American warships had arrived off the coast of France. Naval bases were established on both the French and English coasts as stations for American destroyers, co-operating with the Allied navies against German submarines. In addition, over 200 merchantmen had been provided with guns and crews to work them before the end of August.
Army work was necessarily slower, because of the magnitude of the demands of this arm of the service. The regular army had been recruited to its full authorized strength of 300,000 men by August 9. By August 5, the National Guard regiments had also swelled to their full strength of 300,000 men. The aggregate fighting strength of the two bodies was 650,000 men, many of whom had been well drilled, but most of whom had seen no actual fighting. And much of what these knew had to be promptly unlearned, in order to conform to the new tactics and strategy developed by the war.
By this time, the conviction had dawned upon the nation and its leaders that military operations must be participated in by American troops on a vastly greater scale than had been anticipated at the beginning. At first it had been thought possible to increase the armies to the required size by voluntary enlistments. But it soon became evident that other methods must be adopted, if America's intervention was to be prompt and effective.
Conscription had an unpleasant sound to American ears, but its necessity be- came so apparent that the Selective Draft Act, when it was approved on May 18, met with general approbation. The first application of the act resulted in the registration of over 9,500,000 young men on June 5, and the subsequent calling into service from this number of 687,000 on July 20. So energetically was the work carried on that by the end of August the men were streaming into the cantonments and army posts that had been selected as training grounds. Thirty-two great cantonments in various parts of the country were planned and built in record time, and great numbers of officers were being trained at Plattsburg and similar camps established for that purpose.
The legislative branch of the government made movements on so great a scale possible by liberal appropriations. Partisanship was laid aside, and both parties stood loyally behind the Executive in all action looking toward a successful prosecution of the war. On June 15 an appropriation bill carrying over $3,000,000,000 for army and navy purposes was signed by the President, and a little over a month later an appropriation of $640,000,000 was made for the aviation service. It was estimated by Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo on July 24, that $5,000,000,000, in addition to what had been already authorized, would be necessary to finance the war up to June 30, 1918. Taxation and the issue of bonds on an unprecedented scale were foreshadowed by this announcement, but the sacrifice was cheerfully made. The first Liberty Loan which called for two billion dollars was oversubscribed by more than a billion. The campaign for the loan opened May 2, and closed June 15, and its raising was attended by a spirit of enthusiasm and patriotism that showed how deeply the nation was stirred.
The enormously important economic feature of national defense was not overlooked. It was realized that this was a war of resources and that the nation that could hold out for “the last quarter of an hour” would win. A nation-wide system of activities was organized that enlisted the ablest business minds of the country in the Council of National Defense, which had as its official nucleus the members of the Cabinet. The Council was sub-divided into a number of committees, each headed by a recognized expert, and their work went on under the control and supervision of the various Government departments. Herbert C. Hoover, who had demonstrated his executive ability by his work in connection with the Belgian Relief Commission, was made the head of the Food Board, whose work was to mobilize the agricultural resources of the country, stimulate economy and production, prevent waste and assure an adequate food supply not only for civilians but for the army and navy, as well as to supplement the failing resources of the Allied nations. The operation of the railroads was put under the control of a railway beard, in order to prevent freight congestion and send goods by the quickest and shortest routes. A committee on raw materials saw to it that the Government secured the requisite amount of copper, steel and other products. The Federal Shipping Board was authorized to build a fleet of wooden cargo ships, 1,000 in number and from 3,000 to 5,000 tons burden. These, it was figured, would make up largely for the damage done to shipping by the submarines, and keep up a steady stream of supplies to Europe.
Important acts passed by Congress strengthened the hands of the Executive. The Espionage Act dealt with internal foes, with especial bearing on the activities of resident enemy aliens. Death or imprisonment was provided for convicted spies. Penalties were appended for any interference with commerce carried on with the Allied nations. More rigid restrictions were put on passports. The use of search warrants was extended. The Embargo Act provided for a system of licensing the transfer of commodities abroad, and was designed to prevent supplies being shipped to neutral ports which might get into the hands of Germany, either through deliberate design or through the natural channels of trade. The act was resented by neutrals, who feared that their legitimate needs might go unsupplied, but it was warmly welcomed by the Allies, who saw in this tightening of the blockade against Germany an effective means of shortening the war.
While the cause of the Allies was being strengthened by the accession of the United States, it was being weakened by the threatened collapse of Russia. That nation, whose great work in the early years of the war had done so much toward barring Germany's path to conquest, was threatening to withdraw from the conflict. The breakdown of the entire Eastern front was foreshadowed. The Czar had been overthrown, disintegrating forces were everywhere at work, and the former empire was in a welter of chaos and confusion. The serious results to the Allied cause of Russia's defection were apparent. The Central Powers, relieved of the necessity of fighting on two fronts, could concentrate on one. Rumania, deprived of Russia's support, would fall an easy prey to the German armies. A million men could be hurried across Germany to be hurled against the hard-pressed Allies in the west. Austria would be able to give her undivided attention to Italy. The war would be prolonged indefinitely, and immensely greater demands would be made on American blood and treasure than had been anticipated.
To prevent this calamity, it was thought advisable by the United States Government that a commission be sent to Russia to assure her of this country's sympathy and support, to urge her adherence to the cause of the Entente, and to promise help in developing her resources and re-establishing her transportation system, that had utterly broken down. The Commission was headed by Elihu Root, former Secretary of State, and comprised naval and military officials, practical railway men and representative citizens. It reached Petrograd June 13, 1917, and was received with respect, and in some quarters with cordiality. The aims of the Commission had been previously communicated to the Russian Government then in power by President Wilson. The work of the Commission was carried on with great energy and ability, and by July 10 Mr. Root was so encouraged that he declared that it had accomplished what it had gone to Russia to do and that it had found “no organic or incurable malady in the Russian democracy.” This same view was held by him when the Commission returned to the United States and made its report to Washington on Aug. 12. Events, however, showed that he had been too optimistic. Russia passed from democracy to Bolshevism and withdrew from the war. Still, the Root Commission had a real value in deferring, if it could not prevent, the Russian collapse.
Military preparations went on with increased energy as the signs of Russian weakening multiplied. On Aug. 14, President Wilson sent to the Senate for confirmation the names of 37 major-generals and 147 brigadier-generals, whom he had appointed as officers in the National Army. Radical changes were made in army organization to embody the lessons learned by the Allies in three years of war. The ratio of artillery strength to infantry was greatly increased. It was ordered that there should be three regiments of field artillery to every four regiments of infantry, instead of the former ratio of three to nine. The machine-gun arm was also materially enlarged. The one regiment of cavalry, that was previously a unit in every division, was abolished, as cavalry had been shown to be a comparatively unimportant factor in the war, except in the Far East. Many new services were provided for, such as gas and flame service, forestry regiments, trench, mortar, anti-aircraft and chemical units demanded by the exigencies of this greatest of all wars.
A notable episode and one that symbolized to the world the actual entry of America into active warfare was the arrival in Europe, June 8, 1917, of Major-General John J. Pershing, who had been chosen as Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces abroad. He was accompanied by his staff of 53 officers and 146 men. He received an enthusiastic greeting in London and a thrilling welcome in France, he was looked upon as the leader of a coming army of 20th Century Crusaders. He visited the tomb of Napoleon and laid a wreath on the tomb of Lafayette. Long conferences were held with the military authorities regarding American participation in the conflict. It was announced that General Pershing would determine where the American expedition should be sent, and that his decision would be final. He was to be an independent commander, in absolute control of his own forces, but co-operating with the British and the French. This arrangement continued in force until, as will be narrated later, General, afterward Marshal, Ferdinand Foch was made Generalissimo of the Allied forces, March 28, 1918.
The first units of the United States army that were to fight abroad reached a French port on June 26 and 27. They had been despatched in compliance with a Presidential order of May 18. They received a magnificent welcome from enormous crowds while bands played the “Star Spangled Banner” and the “Marseillaise.” The detachment was under the command of Major-General William L. Sibert. They and the troops that soon began to follow in an ever increasing stream were placed in French camps behind the firing line, where they were given intensive training by war veterans of the French and British armies. After this training was completed, they were placed in the trenches on comparatively quiet sectors near Toul and in Lorraine. The Germans soon learned of their presence, and subjected them to artillery fire, gas attacks and bombs dropped from airplanes. The Americans, in conjunction with the French, took part in trench raids and minor operations, and soon a growing casualty list gave warning of the sacrifice of life that was to be demanded of America before victory could be achieved.
The pressing need of shipping to transfer men and supplies to France was met in several ways. By Jan. 29, 1918, it was announced that the damage done by the crews to the seized German ships had been repaired, thus making available a tonnage of over 600,000. By an agreement with Japan and some of the neutral nations, 400,000 more tons were added to the total. On March 14, the United States and Great Britain announced their intention of seizing over 600,000 tons of Dutch shipping that was lying in their harbors, making compensation for them at the end of the war, in the meantime supplying food and fuel to Holland. This action was protested by the Dutch Government, though it was strictly in accordance with the principles of international law, and was duly carried out.
It was stated in Washington on Nov. 7, 1917, that the army at that time was 1,800,000 strong. A movement was set on foot to classify the 9,000,000 registrants under the first draft, putting into Class I those who were unmarried or without dependents, and making them the first ones subject to the nation's call. It was believed that by this method, 2,000,000 more men would be made almost immediately available for service.
Notable among the non-military events shortly following the advent of America as a combatant had been the Pope's appeal for peace. This was made public in this country on Aug. 16, 1917. The letter was couched in a benevolent form, and was received with respect because of the position held by the author and the lofty sentiments that inspired it. Pope Benedict, after deploring the horrors of the conflict, suggested as a basis of settlement a decrease of armaments, the freedom of the seas, no indemnity, the evacuation of Belgium, and the restitution of the German colonies. While the appeal was addressed to all the belligerents, the answer of the Entente was embodied in a reply to the letter made by President Wilson on Aug. 27. He pointed out that the Pontiff's proposal practically involved a return to the status quo ante. This, in view of Germany's unrepentance and continuing ambition, would only give that Government time for a recuperation of its strength and renewal of the attack upon civilization. He declared that “we cannot take the word of the present rulers of Germany as a guarantee of anything that will endure unless explicitly supported by such conclusive evidence of the will and purpose of the German people themselves as the other peoples of the world would be justified in accepting.”
The answer was approved heartily by all the nations of the Entente. By the German Government and press it was bitterly denounced as an attempt to drive a wedge between the Government and the people. The replies of the German Powers to the Pope, while sympathetic, were non-committal, and the intervention had no result.
The alertness of the American Secret Service, which had previously caused Germany such discomfiture by the publication of the Zimmermann note, was illustrated anew on Sept. 8, 1917, by the giving to the world of certain telegrams that had been sent in cipher to the Berlin Foreign Office by the German Chargé d'Affaires at Buenos Aires, Argentina. As a demonstration of perfidy and heartlessness, it created an immense sensation. It was dated May 19, 1917, and read:
“This Government has now released German and Austrian ships on which hitherto a guard had been placed. In consequence of the settlement of the Monte (Protegido) case there has been a great change in public feeling. Government will in future only clear Argentine ships as far as Las Palmas. I beg that the small steamers ‘Oran’ and ‘Guazo,’ 31st of January, 300 tons, which are now nearing Bordeaux with a view to change the flag, may be spared if possible or else sunk without a trace being left (spurlos versenkt). Luxburg.”
Other despatches described the Argentine Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs as a “notorious ass and Anglophile.” But it was the “spurlos versenkt” cipher, recommending the butchery if necessary of helpless crews so that their fate might never be known, that stirred the world with indignation. In Argentina the feeling was exceedingly bitter and German shops were wrecked and newspaper offices burned. Luxburg was promptly given his passports by the Argentine Government.
America was chiefly concerned, however, by the fact that the Swedish Legation at Buenos Aires had allowed itself to be used for the transmission of the despatches. This was regarded as a serious breach of neutrality. The Swedish people themselves severely criticised their Government in the matter. The Swedish Government, on Sept. 15, announced that no further messages of any sort would be forwarded for Germany from any point. The German Government on Sept. 17 expressed “keen regret” for the embarrassment that had been caused Sweden by the incident.
On Dec. 7, 1917, the United States declared war on Austria-Hungary. The resolution declaring that a state of war existed between the two countries was passed in the Senate by a unanimous vote and in the House by 363 to 1, the single negative vote being cast by a New York Socialist member. The joint resolution, after declaring that the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Government had committed repeated acts of war against the Government and the people of the United States of America, followed closely in its phrasing the declaration against Germany. The action was largely formal, for it merely stated what had been actually the fact for months, and involved no special changes in our naval or military preparations. As regards internal relations, the same policy was adopted toward resident Austrian aliens and their property and ships as had previously been pursued toward Germans.
The question naturally arose why war was not declared at the same time on Turkey and Bulgaria, who were Allies of Austria and Germany. Several reasons for the omission were given semi-officially by Government spokesmen. It was stated that Turkish citizens and interests in the United States were so few as to be negligible, and that on the other hand American citizens were numerous in Turkey and had considerable business interests and property that might be endangered by a war declaration. Moreover, the staunchness of Turkey's fidelity to the cause of the Central Powers was questioned, and it was thought that she might be induced to conclude a separate peace. In Bulgaria's case it was pointed out that her interest in the war was largely local, and that in defiance of Germany's command she had refused to break off diplomatic relations with this country. Whatever action the Government might take in the matter was after all academic. Germany was the real enemy, and if she were conquered, her allies would be compelled also to submit.
Perhaps the most important statement of war aims in the whole course of the conflict was that made by President Wilson in a memorable address to Congress, Jan. 8, 1918. It was in this that he stated the famous “Fourteen Points” about which discussion ranged from then until and after the close of the war. They are of such historic importance that they are here subjoined in full:
“The program of the world's peace, therefore, is our program, and that program, the only possible program, as we see it, is this:
I. Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind, but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view.
II. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
III. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance.
IV. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety.
V. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the Government whose title is to be determined.
VI. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest co-operation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good-will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy.
VII. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired.
VIII. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all.
IX. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality.
X. The peoples of Austria-Hungary whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity of autonomous development.
XI. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated, occupied territories restored, Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea, and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality, and international guarantees of the political and economic independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into.
XII. The Turkish portions of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees.
XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant.
XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial Integrity to great and small states alike.
A reply to this statement of principles, that in the view of the United States must serve as the only possible basis of peace, was made by the German Chancellor, Von Hertling, in the Reichstag on Jan. 24, 1918. The speech was evasive on many points. He flatly refused to consider the cession of Alsace-Lorraine. He accepted the President's views in regard to secret diplomatic agreements. The question of disarmament he agreed was discussable. He favored the freedom of the seas with the elimination of the naval bases of England at Gibraltar, Malta and other points. Belgium, he declared, was regarded by Germany as “a pawn”—an unfortunate expression that he afterward strove lamely to explain away—and the question could be settled at the Peace Conference. Other questions, he alleged, concerned Germany's allies and could only be settled after consultation with them.
On behalf of Austria-Hungary, Count Czernin on the same day answered the President's speech, in an address before the Austrian Parliament. His tone was more friendly and his concessions more unreserved than those of the German Chancellor, but he went no further than his ally in definite promises, except in the case of Poland.
On Feb. 11, President Wilson again addressed Congress in what was practically a reply to Von Hertling and Czernin. He declared that the method proposed by the former was that of the discredited Congress of Vienna, and that the German Chancellor in his thought was living in a world that was past and gone. Czernin, the President agreed, saw more clearly, and doubtless would have gone further yet in the way of concession, had he not been bound to silence by the interests of his allies.
Once more the President sought to state in more compact form—in four points this time instead of 14—what he regarded as the fundamental conditions of durable peace.
First—That each part of the final settlement must be based upon the essential justice of that particular case and upon such adjustments as are most likely to bring a peace that will be permanent.
Second—That peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in the game, even the great game, now forever discredited, of the balances of power; but that
Third—Every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims among rival states; and,
Fourth.—That all well-defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded them without introducing new or perpetuating old elements of discord and antagonism, that would be likely in time to break the peace of Europe and consequently of the world.
Whatever expectation might have been entertained that this restatement of principles would elicit a reply that would bring peace appreciably nearer, was doomed to disappointment. The iniquitous treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Russia had put that country definitely out of war, and had released vast forces that could now be used in a savage onslaught on the western front. The German war party was in the saddle, and felt that it had a chance to dictate peace instead of negotiating it. Enormous preparations were made for the great drive at the opening of the Spring campaign, that Germany confidently expected would bring a victorious end to the war, and all thought of further peace parleys was abandoned.
Though the loss of American lives at this stage had not reached considerable proportions, America was feeling the economic strain caused by the necessity of having to send food and fuel to the Allies. An order was issued by Fuel Administrator Garfield on Jan. 16, 1918, providing for a series of “heatless” days in all parts of the country east of the Mississippi river from Jan. 18 to 22 inclusive and on each following Monday from Jan. 28 to March 25 inclusive. This did not apply to private dwellings, but to manufacturing plants, business offices, theaters, and the like, with certain stated exceptions. The order was criticized in some quarters as needless, but it had the endorsement of the President and was generally obeyed.
The tremendous demands upon the railroads in the matter of transporting troops and supplies led to a condition of congestion and paralysis that caused the Government on Dec. 26, 1917, to assume full control of all the railroad systems in the country. This represented 260,000 miles and a property investment of $17,500,000,000 while 1,600,000 employes were required for operation. Steps were at once taken by the Government to unify competing lines into one general system to prevent reduplications, to supply equipment that might be lacking, and to bill all freight by the shortest and quickest routes. The control of the vast system was vested in Secretary of the Treasury McAdoo. The property rights of stockholders were to be protected. The action was generally approved by the country as a measure imperatively necessary for the prosecution of the war.
Criticism was not lacking, however, of some features of the work of the Administration. A severe attack was made on the conduct of the War Department by Senator Chamberlain, Chairman of the Military Committee of the Senate, who declared in a public speech that the military establishment had broken down and that there was inefficiency in every Government bureau and department. His Committee the next day introduced into the Senate a bill to create a Minister of Munitions and to establish a special War Cabinet of three, which should have complete charge of war operations.
The charges were promptly denied by Secretary Baker, who was also warmly defended by the President. The Secretary at his own request was given an opportunity to appear before the Senate Military Committee on Jan. 28 and reply to the criticisms leveled at his department. He admitted that there had been delays, mistakes and false starts, but asserted that these were only the inevitable accompaniments of work prosecuted on such a colossal scale, and that in general the accomplishments of the Administration deserved praise rather than rebuke. He explained the delay in furnishing rifles and ordnance, and to the charges of hospital neglect, replied that in an army of over a million men only eighty complaints had been made of neglect or abuse. All defects and shortcomings, he declared, were being remedied as rapidly as possible.
Whatever may have been the merits of the case, the criticism resulted in a quickening of Government effort and a thorough reorganization of the War Department. An order was issued by Secretary Baker on Feb. 10, 1918, directing the establishment of five divisions of the General Staff as follows:
1. An Executive Division under an executive assistant to the Chief of Staff.
2. A War Plans Division under a Director.
3. A Purchase and Supply Division under a Director.
4. A Storage and Traffic Division under a Director.
5. An Army Operations Division under a Director.
The authority of the Chief of Staff was emphasized, and it was believed that this concentration of authority would result in greatly increased efficiency. The new organization began functioning at once, and the results speedily became apparent in the more rapid movement of troops and supplies to France.
A serious disaster to the naval arm of the service occurred Feb. 5, 1918, when the British steamship, “Tuscania,” which was engaged as a transport in carrying United States troops to France, was torpedoed by a German submarine. The attack took place off the north coast of Ireland. There were 2,179 American soldiers on board, and of these nearly two hundred lost their lives.
The vital problem of financing the war for ourselves and in large part for our Allies continued to be met by the issue of loans. The second Liberty Loan closed on Oct. 27, 1917, and amounted to $4,617,532,300. As the amount asked for was three billions, this represented an oversubscription of 54 per cent. The total of subscribers was 9,400,000. This number of buyers, vast as it was, was exceeded by those for the third loan which closed on May 4, 1918, with a subscription of over four billions, a billion more than was requested. On this occasion the buyers exceeded 17,000,000. The results were exceedingly gratifying, not only because of the amounts secured, but because of the popular determination to win the war evinced by the widespread distribution of the loan.
The treaties of Germany with dispirited Russia at Brest-Litovsk and with vanquished Rumania at Bucharest had revealed anew the cynicism of the German Government, and the threat that was held out to all the free peoples of the world, if the war should result in final German triumph. President Wilson, in an address on the treaties delivered at Baltimore, April 6, 1918, reviewed the events that led up to and followed them, and gave utterance to the “Force to the utmost” phrase which stirred the nation like a clarion call.
“Germany has once more said that force and force alone shall decide whether justice and peace shall reign in the affairs of men, whether right as America conceives it or dominion as she conceives it shall determine the destinies of mankind. There is therefore but one response possible for us: Force, force to the utmost, force without stint or limit, the righteous and triumphant force which shall make right the law of the world and cast every selfish dominion down in the dust.”
The real baptism of fire for the American troops in France was now beginning. Hitherto there had been scattered and comparatively small actions, which had, however, demonstrated American pluck and mettle. American army engineers working on the British railways near Gouzeaucourt, on Nov. 30, 1917, had been caught in the swirl of an unexpected German attack. They had dropped their picks and shovels, grasped rifles wherever they could find them, and fought side by side with the British repelling the assault. The French communique rendered “warm praise to the coolness, courage and discipline of these improvised combatants.”
The first action of note, although still only a minor operation, in which Americans took part was the affair at Seicheprey in the Toul sector, April 20, 1918. A force of Germans numbering about 1,500, of whom a considerable portion were shock troops, launched itself against the American trenches on a one-mile front. The attack had been preceded by a heavy bombardment. Gas as well as shells were used. The force of the attack carried the Germans into the first line of defense and the village of Seicheprey. There was fierce hand to hand fighting, but that same day the Americans regained most of the captured ground and the following morning completed the work and re-established their lines. Our losses were between 200 and 300 while the enemy's losses were much heavier.
Ten days later the Americans were called upon to repel another heavy assault at Villers-Bretonneux. After a heavy bombardment at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, a wave of the enemy swept forward, but was repelled after intense hand to hand fighting and retreated, leaving their dead and wounded behind them.
Nor should the courage be overlooked of about three hundred engineers who “held the gap” with Carey. It was just after the beginning of the great German drive that began on March 21, swept everything before it for the first few days, and threatened an overwhelming disaster to the Allied arms. The road to Amiens lay open through a breach that had opened up between the British 3d and 5th armies. Gen. Sandeman Carey was commissioned to hold the gap and he did it with a nondescript army made up of laborers, telegraph linemen and any others whom he could get together. The 300 American engineers joined in, and for days against desperate odds held the breach, until it could be closed definitely by the arrival of regular troops.
In the meantime, a momentous action had been taken—so momentous in fact that in all probability it decided the fate of the war. This was the appointment of General Ferdinand Foch to be Generalissimo of the Allied armies. The Allies had been hampered throughout the conflict by the various armies representing the Entente being under the control of their own generals. This led inevitably to diversity of plan and action, as distinguished from the Germans who were a unit. No matter how greatly the need of harmony among the Allies was recognized, it was impossible to secure it in fact. The English were moved by the supreme desire to bar the way to the Channel ports. The French desired to protect Paris at any cost. Each nation had a certain reluctance to send re-enforcements to the other, for fear that their own special interests might be weakened by the action. In case of a difference in views on strategy or tactics, there was no supreme power that could decide the question.
The need of unity became especially apparent a week after the beginning of the great German drive of March 21, 1918. During that week, the Germans had met with enormous successes, gaining a vast area of territory and many thousands of prisoners. It was the blackest week in the entire war for the Allied cause. There was no further hesitation. On March 28 General Pershing called upon General Foch who on that same date had been made Generalissimo, and placed at his disposal all the American troops and resources.
“I came to say to you,” General Pershing said, “that the American people would hold it a great honor for our troops, were they engaged in the present battle. There is at this moment no other question than that of fighting. Infantry, artillery, aviation—all that we have are yours, to dispose of as you will.”
The offer was accepted gratefully by the War Council and the following statement was issued:
“The American troops will fight side by side with the British and French troops, and the Star-Spangled Banner will float beside the French and English flags in the plains of Picardy.”
By the time arrangements had been completed to utilize our troops, there were nearly 800,000 American soldiers in France, and they were coming across the seas in an apparently unending stream at the rate of 300,000 a month. America's weight was about to be thrown in the scales with decisive effect.
A deft and finished piece of work was the capture of the strongly held and fortified town of Cantigny N. W. of Montdidier. On May 28 the Americans, in conjunction with French artillery and tanks, attacked on a front of one and a quarter miles. They took the town in the first forward sweep and captured 200 prisoners besides inflicting severe losses on the enemy in killed and wounded. Repeated counter-attacks were made by the Germans in heavy force, but all were repelled.
Three days later the Americans distinguished themselves at Château-Thierry, a town that later was to become forever memorable because of the luster there shed on American arms. Units of the American Marine Corps, armed with machine guns, beat back an attack by heavy German forces on the town. They repulsed the Germans and took many prisoners, losing none of their own men as prisoners. Two more determined German attacks were beaten back a short time later on the Marne. On June 6 the Americans penetrated to a depth of two miles and took possession of the high ground N. W. of Château-Thierry. In a five-hour fight, they captured Bouresches and Torcy. Far bitterer was the fight that followed for the possession of Belleau Wood, where marines and regular soldiers won imperishable fame. The wood was densely forested, was defended by artillery and machine-gun nests and was held by the crack divisions of the German army. But the Americans pressed doggedly forward, gaining ground foot by foot, and at last in a headlong charge swept the remnants of the enemy forces from the wood, capturing hundreds of prisoners, while the ground was carpeted with German dead.
On July 1, at Vaux, the Americans, acting alone, captured the town in forty minutes, taking 500 prisoners. On July 4, in a great attack at Hamel, Independence Day was celebrated by the Americans in conjunction with the Australians by a victory that netted 1,500 prisoners. The resistance was determined, but the Americans advanced to the charge uttering the cry “Lusitania,” and the fate of the day was decided.
The greatest action of the war so far for the Americans was that of July 15, when they stopped the thrust of the German Crown Prince toward Paris. The American forces were holding Jaulgonne and Dormans on the Marne. The Germans threw 25,000 of their best troops across the river. Under the shock of the great masses hurled against them the American line at first bent, but quickly rallied and threw the enemy back across the river. The Germans lost 10,000 men in killed and captured. Had the Germans broken through on that epic occasion, they would have had excellent chances of reaching the French capital.
On the following day, the Germans again attacked the American forces, only to be driven back with heavy loss. The Germans were wavering and confused. They had met with a sharp defeat, where they had confidently counted on victory. And at that critical juncture, Foch struck at them on a 28-mile front in the most magnificent counter-attack of the war. Americans in this attack were brigaded with the French troops under General Mangin and played a prominent part in the great advance to the Vesle and the Ourcq that followed the initial victory. South of Soissons, they pushed the Allied line farthest ahead. They took Fère-en-Tardenois in conjunction with the French. At Sergy, they drove the Germans beyond the Ourcq. On Aug. 1, after fighting of the severest kind, they stormed and captured Meunières Wood. At the Vesle American engineers, under fierce artillery fire, threw bridges over the stream, over which their comrades swarmed with a determination that would not be denied. In those weeks of continuous and bloody fighting the Americans were always at the front, and were everywhere victorious.
On Aug. 7, General Mangin issued the following order of the day:
Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers, and Soldiers of the American army:
Shoulder to shoulder with your French comrades, you threw yourselves into the counter-offensive begun July 18. You ran to it as if going to a feast. Your magnificent dash upset and surprised the enemy, and your indomitable tenacity stopped counter-attacks by his fresh divisions. You have shown yourselves to be worthy sons of your great country, and have gained the admiration of your brothers in arms.
Ninety-one cannon, 7,200 prisoners, immense booty and ten kilometers of reconquered territory are your share of the trophies of this victory. Besides this, you have acquired a feeling of your superiority over the barbarian enemy against whom the children of liberty are fighting. To attack him is to vanquish him.
American comrades, I am grateful to you for the blood you generously spilled on the soil of my country. I am proud of having commanded you during such splendid days, and to have fought with you for the deliverance of the world. In the operations following this great victory the American force took a brilliant part in smashing the Hindenburg line. Their steady drive against the Crown Prince's army compelled its retreat on a twenty-mile line on Sept. 4, At the battle of Juvigny, Aug. 29, the Americans captured Juvigny plateau, one division conquering four of the best of the German divisions.
In the meantime, a great American attack was being prepared in the Lorraine sector entirely under the direction of General Pershing and his assistants. The plan and strategy were American throughout, as were the bulk of the forces employed, although some French troops co-operated under Pershing's command.
The St. Mihiel salient was a wedge that had been driven by the Germans into French territory in the vicinity of the village of that name, and had been held in force by them since the first invasion in 1914. It effectually prevented an Allied offensive in the direction of Metz. During four years the French had not been able to reduce it. The Americans undertook the task and for weeks the most careful and intensive campaign was prepared. More than 100,000 detail maps were issued showing the character of the terrain and the posts held by the enemy. 40,000 photographs were distributed among the officers and men. Five thousand miles of wire were laid and 6,000 telephone instruments were connected with the wires. Nothing was left to chance, the result being one of the most signal and overwhelming victories of the war.
The position of the American army just preceding the battle is thus officially stated by General Pershing:
From Les Eparges around the nose of the salient at St. Mihiel to the Moselle river the line was, roughly, forty miles long and situated on commanding ground greatly strengthened by artificial defenses. Our 1st Corps (82d, 90th, 5th, and 2d Divisions), under command of Major-General Hunter Liggett, resting its right on Pont-à-Mousson, with its left joining our 3d Corps (the 89th, 42d, and 1st Divisions), under Major-General Joseph T. Dickman, in line to Xivray, was to swing toward Vigneulles on the pivot of the Moselle river for the initial assault. From Xivray to Mouilly the 2d Colonial French Corps was in line in the center, and our 5th Corps, under command of Major-General George H. Cameron, with our 26th Division and a French division at the western base of the salient, was to attack three difficult hills—Les Eparges, Combres, and Amaranthe. Our 1st Corps had in reserve the 78th Division, our 4th Corps the 3d Division, and our First Army the 35th and 91st Divisions, with the 80th and 33d available. It should be understood that our corps organizations are very elastic, and that we have at no time had permanent assignments of divisions to corps.
On Sept. 12, 1918, the assault was begun, and resulted in a sweeping victory. The tanks in advance broke down the enemy entanglements, and a tremendous artillery fire prepared the way for the dash of the infantry. The attack began at dawn, and within 27 hours after the beginning of the offensive, the Americans had recaptured 155 square miles of territory and had taken 433 guns and 16,000 prisoners, together with vast stores of munitions and supplies. The remainder of the enemy, numbering about 100,000, fled in hasty retreat. The victory freed Verdun from the menace of the German threat against its flank, put the dominating heights of the Meuse in American hands and cleared the way for an advance toward the Briey basin and the fortress of Metz.
While our soldiers abroad were thus demonstrating that as fighting men they had no superiors in the world, renewed endeavors had been made in this country to augment the size of American armies. A new draft law was enacted by Congress and signed by the President on Aug. 31, 1918, extending the American draft ages to all males between 18 and 45 inclusive. The number of men estimated to be affected by this law was about 13,000,000. The day of registration was set as Sept. 12, which by a coincidence chanced to be the date of the victory of St. Mihiel. It was believed that about 2,300,000 men could be obtained for military service under this registration. This would make it possible for America's total army in the field to be brought to 5,000,000 men, of whom it was believed that eighty divisions aggregating 4,000,000 could be in France by June 30, 1919. This would leave 18 divisions to be trained and held in readiness at home. It was a colossal program, and would doubtless have been carried out, had not the collapse of the Central Powers made it unnecessary.
The work of the American army at St. Mihiel was equalled by the operations of other units that were brigaded with the Allies. The 27th and 30th Divisions were brigaded with the British troops and fought in company with the Australians in the brilliant series of attacks that smashed the Hindenburg line in the vicinity of the St. Quentin canal, Sept. 29-Oct. 1. They reached all their objectives, despite the most bitter artillery and machine-gun resistance. In less than two weeks they had overrun the enemy's lines to a depth of thirteen miles and had captured 6,000 prisoners. Their casualties were heavy, but did not compare with those inflicted upon the enemy.
Two other divisions, the 2d and 36th, aided the French in driving the Germans from positions they had held for four years in the Rheims sector. In the week Oct. 2-9, they stormed and held the formidable position of Blanc Mount, and later captured the town of Ste. Etienne in bloody fighting. A little later, the 37th and 91st Divisions, which had been sent in haste to re-enforce the French troops operating in Belgium, took part in a brilliant advance that on Oct. 31 and Nov. 3 crushed the enemy's resistance, and drove his troops across the Escaut river, the American forces reaching the town of Audenarde. In Italy also American troops did gallant work in the last great Italian drive against Austria.
While these decisive operations were
proceeding on the western front, United
States troops were taking part also in
military activities in Russia and Siberia.
Russia had by this time not only
withdrawn its help from the Allies, but under
Bolshevist domination had adopted an
attitude of sullen if not active hostility.
Vast quantities of American stores that
had accumulaed at Vladivostok were
imperiled, and it was determined that
troops should be sent to protect them.
This was the ostensible reason for the
sending of the expedition, but there was
another reason of much greater
importance, based on political and military
considerations. There was still a
possibility that Russia might overthrow the
hostile Bolshevist regime and establish
a government that would once more
range itself on the side of the Entente
and rebuild the collapsed Russian front.
Certain facts lent plausibility to this
belief. A powerful body of Russian opinion
was anxious to overturn the
Lenine-Trotzky régime and form a constitutional
government. In addition the
Czechoslovaks had won decided military
victories over the Bolshevist forces, and had
revived hopes that that Government might
be overthrown. The Czecho-Slovaks were
prisoners who had been taken by the
Russians in the early part of the war.
They had been forced into the Austrian
army, but they preferred captivity
among the Russians to fighting under
the hated flag of the Hapsburg
monarchy. After the Russian debacle, these
prisoners possessed themselves of arms,
and fought their way across Russia and
part of Siberia, with the intention of
reaching Vladivostok and thence finding
their way to the western front, to fight
there in conjunction with the Allies (see
avia). They offered the
nucleus of an army that might by Allied
re-enforcements be made formidable, and
therefore the Entente, in co-operation
with America, decided to intervene.
Early in August, 1918, American forces,
under General William S. Graves and
numbering about 10,000 men, arrived in
Vladivostok. Japanese troops were sent
about the same time, together with small
British and French contingents. Even
earlier than this, on July 15, a
comparatively small detachment of Americans
had landed with Allied troops at
Murmansk, in the north of Russia. Desultory
fighting, in no case rising above
the dignity of outpost actions, followed
the arrival of the troops. The story of
the intervention is told elsewhere in
detail (See Russia in the World War).
It is sufficient here to say that the
expeditions had no practical results. The
forces at Archangel were withdrawn in
1919 and those at Vladivostok in 1920.
It was simply a military adventure that
had no practical bearing on the fortunes
of war. The logic of events had decreed
that the issue should be settled on the
western front, and the Russian situation
had ceased to be a factor in the struggle.
The total casualties of the Americans in
Siberia were 105; on the Archangel front
The greatest battles in which the Americans were engaged were those of the Meuse-Argonne, in the fall of 1918. This epic struggle with its victorious outcome will ever be a glorious page in American history. The Argonne forest was the most formidable position that any troops had been called on to take in the entire course of the war. So formidable was it that Napoleon himself had refused to attack the enemy there, deeming the forest impregnable. It was densely wooded, and in places almost impenetrable. To these natural obstacles the Germans had brought all the aids known to military science. Thousands of miles of wire were stretched from bush to bush and tree to tree. Every foot of ground had been ranged for their heavy artillery. Machine-gun nests by the thousands were hidden in shell holes and behind rocks and tree trunks. Even many of the Allied commanders doubted if success were possible. The Americans, however, undertook the task, and carried it through to a successful conclusion. On Sept. 20, after intensive artillery fire that cut lanes through some of the wire entanglements, the American troops launched a vigorous attack that on the first day mastered the first line defenses. In the next two days, fighting against terrific resistance, they penetrated to a depth varying from three to seven miles, captured a dozen towns and took 10,000 prisoners. In successive days they improved their position and continued their advance in the face of almost insuperable obstacles. In the words of General Pershing in reporting the battle, the American troops “should have been unable to accomplish any progress, according to previously accepted standards, but I had every confidence in our aggressive tactics and the courage of our troops.” By the middle of October, the important town of Grandprè had been taken and the forest practically cleared.
After this, the fighting was easier, though much stiff battling remained to be done before the Americans reached their goal. The enemy's morale had weakened before the irresistible onslaught and the successive defeats inflicted on them. Huge naval guns had been brought up by the Americans—guns capable of carrying a half-ton projectile almost twenty miles—and with these a bombardment was begun that cut the Mézières-Sedan railway line, the chief German artery of supplies for their army. By the 6th of November, the Americans had reached a point on the Meuse opposite Sedan. From that moment the German cause was doomed. The enemy's line of communications had been cut, and only an armistice or abject surrender remained. In this gigantic offensive, the Americans had captured 468 guns and 26,059 prisoners.
Taking no more time than to give his soldiers a breathing spell the American commander was preparing an advance toward Longwy and the Briey coal fields and had already commenced the attack on the morning of Nov. 11 when the order came to suspend hostilities at 11 A. M. The armistice had been signed and the greatest war in history came to an end.
The series of disasters to German arms and the impending collapse of their allies were reflected in the changed tone of German statesmen at the beginning of autumn. Hindenburg, the military idol of the German people, issued a manifesto on Sept. 6, in which he acknowledged the severity of the struggle and exhorted the army to be on its guard against enemy propaganda. The Kaiser, speaking to the municipality of Munich, a day earlier, had admitted the difficulty of the present struggle against an enemy “filled with jealousy, destruction and the will to conquer.” A week later, his agitation and apprehension were clearly marked in a halting address that he made to the workmen at Essen. The German Crown Prince supplemented his father's efforts by declaring that Germany had never wanted war and was fighting simply for her existence, ringed in as she was by a circle of foes. Von Hertling, Burian, and Czernin, in the same month, made addresses that were palpable bids for peace. There was no longer any arrogant talk about annexations and indemnities. Panic fear was beginning to spread among the statesmen of the Central Powers as they read the “handwriting on the wall.”
The first open peace proposal was made in a communication by the Austro-Hungarian Government to the governments of all neutral and belligerent powers, dated Sept. 15. While the note ostensibly came from Austria alone, it developed later that it had received the approval of Germany. The note was carefully worded, was devoid of bitterness or arrogance, and asked that a confidential and “non-binding” discussion be entered into, that might clear away misunderstandings and pave the way to peace.
But the note came too late. It was regarded on all sides as an attempt to escape an impending military defeat by causing a slackening of effort on the part of the Allies while the retreating armies of the Central Powers should have a chance to regain their poise and vanishing morale. The offer was met with rejection by all the Entente nations. The refusal of our own Government was despatched on the same day that the note was received. The President stated that the note required no extended answer for “the Government has repeatedly and with entire candor stated the terms on which the United States would consider peace, and can and will entertain no proposal for a conference upon a matter concerning which it has made its position and purpose so plain.”
Answers of a similar tenor, though in some cases more extended, were made by the members of the Entente, and the overture came to naught. Its receipt, however, was probably the moving cause of a notable address made by the President in the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, on Sept. 27, 1918. In this the President set forth what he called a “practical program” the salient points of which were as follows:
First.—The impartial justice meted out must involve no discrimination between those to whom we wish to be just and those to whom we do not wish to be just. It must be a justice that plays no favorites and knows no standard but the equal rights of the several peoples concerned;
Second.—No separate or special interest of any single nation or any group of nations can be made the basis of any part of the settlement which is not consistent with the common interest of all;
Third.—There can be no league or alliances or special covenants and understandings within the general and common family of the League of Nations;
Fourth.—And more specifically, there can be no special selfish economic combinations within the league and no employment of any form of economic boycott or exclusion, except as the power of economic penalty by exclusion from the markets of the world may be vested in the League of Nations itself as a means of discipline and control;
Fifth.—All international agreements and treaties of every kind must be made known in their entirety to the rest of the world.
This program was promptly seized upon by Austria as the basis of a new appeal which was made on Oct. 7, not to an belligerents this time, but to the President alone. It offered to conclude an immediate armistice on the basis of the fourteen points enunciated in the President's address to Congress on Jan. 8, the four points emphasized in his Feb. 1 speech and the program stated in the address in New York, Sept. 27. The substance of these three notable utterances have been given in the preceding pages.
This proposition was again refused. Events in the interim between the setting forth of these several points of view had changed the situation so that one at least of the fourteen points was no longer applicable. This was the tenth point, which had demanded the fullest possible autonomy for the peoples of Austria-Hungary. But by this time the independence, not autonomy alone, of Czecho-Slovakia had been recognized. Jugoslavia's claim also to a separate national existence had been approved by this Government.
One more attempt was made by Austria, now frantic and distracted, to secure terms. She willingly admitted the right of Czecho-Slovakia and Jugoslavia to independence and urged that immediate negotiations be initiated. She asked further that this might be done, irrespective of any correspondence that might be proceeding with any other power, the reference of course being to Germany.
By this time the fate of Austria had been sealed by the arbitrament of arms on the Italian front. There was no need of further correspondence with the doomed nation. Her note was transmitted to the Inter-Allied Conference at Versailles, and Austria was instructed to deal directly with the commander of the Italian forces.
Much more important than the Austrian peace overtures were those begun by Germany. That empire had at last abandoned all hope of military success. Her Macedonian front had crumbled, by the Kaiser's own admission; Turkey was threatened with absolute overthrow by the whirlwind campaign of Allenby; Austria-Hungary alone of all her allies was left, and could not maintain her own line, let alone render help to the hard-pressed German forces. The end was at hand, and it only remained for Germany to save as much as she could from the wreck of her military fortunes.
On Sept. 12, Vice-Chancellor von Payer had expressed the willingness of his Government to give back Belgium. Two days following the delivery of President Wilson's address of Sept. 27, the German Government began to set its official house in order, so that it might more fully conform to the President's views on popular government. The more conservative and war-insistent members of the Government were dismissed, and men of a more liberal character took their places. Changes were also made in the direction of ballot reform, looking for a more general participation by the people in the Government. The Constitution itself was changed, and the Cabinet Ministers were given the right to demand to be heard by the Reichstag. But the greatest change was made in the Chancellorship. Von Hertling, who was supposed to be persona non grata to the Allies because of his previous committals on questions connected with the war, was replaced on Oct. 2 by Prince Maximilian of Baden, who had no antagonisms to overcome and who was reputed to be of Liberal tendencies.
The first act of the new Chancellor after assuming office was to send to President Wilson through the Swiss Government as intermediary the following note:
The German Government requests the President of the United States to take in hand the restoration of peace, acquaint all the belligerent states with this request and invite them to send plenipotentiaries for the purpose of opening negotiations.
It accepts the program set forth by the President of the United States in his message to Congress on January 8, and in his later pronouncements, especially his speech of Sept. 27, as a basis for peace negotiations.
With a view to avoiding further bloodshed, the German Government requests the immediate conclusion of an armistice on land and water and in the air.
On the same day, the Chancellor outlined in a speech to the Reichstag the changes that had been made in the German administration and constitution. This was done evidently to convince the American Government that in any dealings it might henceforth have with Germany it would be dealing with a government of the German people, instead of a militaristic clique. The speech hinted also that Germany might be willing to pay an indemnity, and promised the complete restoration and rehabilitation of Belgium.
The reply of the President was despatched Oct 8. It neither accepted nor rejected the German offer, but rather deferred a positive statement pending the receipt of further information. The President declared that he would not feel at liberty to propose a cessation of arms to his associate powers until their soil had been evacuated by the German armies. He asked also whether the German note meant that the German Government actually accepted the terms that the President had set forth in his Jan. 8 address, and whether its object in entering into discussions would be only to agree upon the practical application of those terms. Furthermore, the President wanted to know whether the Chancellor was speaking merely as the mouthpiece of the constituted authorities of the empire who had hitherto conducted the war. The answer to these questions the President declared was vital.
The answer of the German Government was quick in coming. It was dated Oct. 12, and bore the signature of Dr. Solf, the former Colonial Secretary, but for the preceding six days the Imperial Foreign Secretary. The note accepted unequivocally the President's address of Jan. 8 and his subsequent utterances as the bases of peace. It pointed out the changes that had been made in the German Government to bring it closer to the masses, and declared that the Chancellor spoke in the name of the German Government and the German people. As to evacuation, readiness was expressed to agree to this, and it was proposed that a mixed commission be appointed to consider the details.
In the interval between the receipt of the first and second note, Germany, with an almost unbelievable blindness, in view of the fact that she was suing for peace and that her interests lay in conciliating rather than exasperating her enemies, had committed fresh atrocities during her retreat through Belgium and had horrified the Allied and neutral nations by a submarine sinking resembling somewhat the tragedy of the “Lusitania.” The British mail steamer “Leinster” had been torpedoed during a storm in the Irish Sea on Oct. 10 and had gone down in fifteen minutes with a loss of 480 lives, of which 135 were those of women and children.
These devastations and massacres strongly influenced the wording and tenor of the President's second reply. After stating that the matter of arranging the process of evacuation and conditions of an armistice must be left to the judgment of the military advisers of the United States and the Allied Governments, and emphasizing that there must be absolutely satisfactory safeguards and guarantees of the maintenance of the “present military supremacy of the armies of the United States and the Allies in the field,” he gave a solemn warning that no proposition for an armistice would be considered as long as Germany persisted in her illegal and inhuman practices.
“At the very time that the German Government approaches the Government of the United States with proposals of peace, its submarines engaged in sinking passenger ships at sea, and not the ships alone, but the very boats in which the passengers and crews seek to make their way to safety, and in their present enforced withdrawal from Flanders and France, the German armies are pursuing a course of wanton destruction, which has always been regarded as in direct violation of the rules and practices of civilized warfare. Cities and villages, if not destroyed, are being stripped of what they contained not only, but often of their very inhabitants. The nations associated against Germany cannot be expected to agree to a cessation of arms, while acts of inhumanity, spoliation and desolation are being continued, which they justly look upon with horror and with burning hearts.”
The President also directed the attention of the German Government to a sentence that occurred in his address at Mt. Vernon on the preceding July 4, in which as a term of peace was declared necessary, “the destruction of every arbitrary power everywhere that can separately, secretly and of its single choice disturb the peace of the world; or, if it cannot be presently destroyed, at least its reduction to virtual impotency.” This, the President declared, was the kind of power that had hitherto controlled the German people. It was within the power of the German people to alter it, and the whole possibility of securing peace rested upon this being done.
The answer was thoroughly gratifying to this nation. There had been some dissatisfaction with the first reply, but this second one received the heartiest indorsement from all quarters. The Allied nations also gave it their warmest approval.
Germany's third note was dated Oct. 20, and was received in this country on the 22d. It denied the charges of atrocities, or declared that if severities had occurred, they were due to military necessity. It reiterated that the form of the German Government had radically changed, and that the proposals put forth were supported by the approval of an overwhelming majority of the German people. As regards the armistice, it suggested that the “actual standard of power” on both sides in the field was to form the basis for arrangements safeguarding and guaranteeing that standard.
The President's reply to this third note was sent the day after it was officially received. He declared his willingness to submit the proposal for an armistice to the associated powers, but warned Germany, that the only conditions he would feel justified in recommending would be such as would make the renewal of hostilities on the part of Germany impossible. If, moreover, the changes in the German Government were only nominal, not real, and if the United States must deal with the military masters of Germany now, or if it is likely to have to deal with them later, “it must demand not peace negotiations but surrender.”
The reply received prolonged consideration by the German authorities. By that time the military situation was so hopeless that nothing remained but submission. Ludendorff resigned his command on the 26th. On the 27th, a message to President Wilson, virtually accepted the terms by declaring that it awaited the receipt of the armistice proposition from the allied military staffs.
The ultimate compliance of Germany had been counted upon as absolutely foreshadowed by the progress of events, and terms had been drawn up while the correspondence was being interchanged. On Nov. 5, Secretary Lansing announced to the German Government that peace would be made on the terms prescribed in his public utterances by President Wilson. An important reservation was made, however, namely that liberty of action was reserved on the clause relating to the freedom of the seas, since it was liable to differing interpretations. It was also demanded that compensation be made by Germany “for all damage to the civilian population of the Allies by land, by sea, and from the air.” The note closed with the statement that Marshal Foch had been authorized to receive the German delegates and acquaint them with the terms of armistice the Allied and Associated Powers were prepared to grant.
The Germans promptly requested the Marshal to appoint a time and place of meeting. The time was set as Nov. 7, and the place was the railroad car of Marshal Foch in the forest of Compiègne. The delegates proceeded there under a white flag. They were met at the French lines by guards, who conducted them to the place of meeting. There the armistice terms were read by the Generalissimo of the Allied armies. Their alleged severity aroused protests from the Germans, who were informed, however, that the Marshal's power to change them extended only to minor details. On Nov. 11, the German delegates affixed their signatures to the armistice terms, and the war was over. It is true that the treaty of peace remained to be signed, and this was not done until June 28, 1919, five years to a day from the date in 1914 when the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand, at Sarajevo, had furnished the pretext for the World War. But the actual cessation of hostilities dates from Nov. 11, 1918. The terms of the armistice were such as to make it impossible for Germany to resume the war, even if she were so inclined. Those terms were drastic, but in the general judgment of the Allied world did not go beyond what justice and security from future aggression required.
In America, as in other Allied nations, the news that the armistice had been signed was received with joyful popular demonstrations. The relief from the strain of war was unspeakable, and with this was mingled pride at the part that America had played in bringing the war to a successful conclusion.
The terms of the armistice provided that three bridgeheads on the Rhine should be occupied by Allied forces. The Coblenz bridgehead was the one assigned to the American Army of Occupation. The march was begun almost at once, and on Dec. 12 the army reached Coblenz, their forces crossing the Rhine the following morning to occupy the bridgehead. Military administration was inaugurated at once, though the municipal authorities were allowed to function, under American supervision and control. The occupation continued until the signing of the Peace treaty, after which the American troops were gradually withdrawn and sent home, the places of some of them being taken by new units sent from America. In May, 1920, there remained about 13,000 American troops at the bridgehead under the command of Major-General Henry T. Allen. In the main, the occupation, beyond a little occasional friction, was marked by few untoward incidents, and order was well maintained.
The cessation of hostilities made it possible for the American people to become acquainted with the real extent of American participation in the conflict by various arms of the service. Previous to that time, many of the operations had been recorded in fragmentary form, or had been hidden under the veil of secrecy required by the censorship. The work of the land forces had been fairly well followed, but that of the navy and the air services had not been, gauged at their full value. An official report of Secretary of the Navy Daniels, issued Dec. 3, 1918, gave interesting details of the navy's achievements.
On the day that war was declared the navy numbered 65,777 men. At the signing of the armistice, it had increased to 497,030. The ships in commission had increased in the same period from 197 to 2,003. Less than a month after war was declared, a division of United States destroyers was in European waters. By October, 1918, there were 338 ships of all classes serving abroad. Up to Nov. 1, 1918, of the total number of American troops in Europe, 924,578 had been carried over in United States naval convoys, escorted by American cruisers and detroyers. Not one eastbound American transport was torpedoed or damaged by enemy submarines, and only three were sunk on the return voyage. In 10 months, the transportation service grew from 10 ships to a fleet of 321 cargo carrying vessels, with a dead-weight tonnage of 2,800,000.
A mine barrage had been laid in the North Sea for which 85,000 mines had been shipped abroad. The work of the destroyers in curbing the submarine menace was declared by the Secretary to have been without a precedent in Allied warfare and had received the most enthusiastic commendation of the Allied naval authorities. The work of the marines in the fighting at Château-Thierry, Belleau Wood, and many other battle fields has already been described in the foregoing pages.
Statistics of the main accomplishments of America in the two years between April 6, 1917, when war was declared, and April 6, 1919, are here subjoined:
|April 6, 1917:|
|National Guard in Federal Service||80,466|
|Reserve Corps in service||4,000|
|Total of soldiers||212,034|
|Personnel of Navy||65,777|
|Total armed forces||293,438|
|Nov. 11, 1918:|
|Total armed forces||4,339,047|
|Soldiers transported overseas||2,053,347|
|American troops in action, Nov. 11, 1918||1,338,169|
|Soldiers in camps in the United States, Nov. 11, 1918||1,700,000|
|Casualties, Army and Marine Corps, A. E. F.||282,311|
|Death rate per thousand, A. E. F.||.057|
|German prisoners taken||44,000|
|Americans decorated by British, French, Belgian,|
|and Italian Armies, about||10,000|
|Number of men registered and classified under|
|selective service law||23,700,000|
|Gas masks, extra canisters and horse masks||8,500,000|
|NAVY AND MERCHANT SHIPPING|
|Warships at beginning of war||197|
|Warships at end of war||2,003|
|Small boats built||800|
|Submarine chasers built||355|
|Merchant ships armed||2,500|
|Naval bases in European waters and the Azores||54|
|Shipbuilding yards (merchant marine)|
|increased from 61 to more than 200.|
|Cost of 32 National Army cantonments and|
|National Guard camps||$179,629,497|
|Students enrolled in 500 S. A. T. C. camps||170,000|
|Officers commissioned from training camps|
|(exclusive of universities, etc.)||80,000|
|Women engaged in Government war industries||2,000,000|
|BEHIND THE BATTLE LINES|
|Railway locomotives sent to France||967|
|Freight cars sent to France||13,174|
|Locomotives of foreign origin operated by A. E. F.||350|
|Cars of foreign origin operated by A. E. F.||973|
|Miles of standard gauge track laid in France||843|
|Warehouses, approximate area in square feet||23,000,000|
|Motor vehicles shipped to France||110,000|
|ARMS AND AMMUNITION|
|Persons employed in about 8,000 ordnance plants in the|
|United States at signing of armistice||4,000,000|
|Shoulder rifles made during war||2,500,000|
|Rounds of small arms ammunition||2,879,148,000|
|Machine guns and automatic rifles||181,662|
|High explosive shells||4,250,000|
|Shipbuilding ways increased from 235|
|to more than 1,000.|
|Ships delivered to Shipping Board by end of 1918||592|
|Deadweight tonnage of ships delivered||3,423,495|
|FINANCES OF THE WAR|
|Total cost, approximately||$24,620,000,000|
|Credits to 11 nations||8,841,657,000|
|Raised by taxation in 1918||3,694,000,000|
|Raised by Liberty Loans||14,000,000,000|
|War Savings Stamps to November, 1918||834,253,000|
|War relief gifts, estimated||4,000,000,000|
Political Happenings During and After the World War. Congress passed, in 1915, another immigration bill with a literacy test. This was vetoed by the President. The Supreme Court, in June, 1915, decided against the Government in the dissolution suit against the steel trust and declared that the “grandfather clauses” of the Oklahoma and Maryland constitutions were void. The United States in September, 1915, undertook the supervision of the revenues of Haiti. A conference was called in October of that year of South American diplomats to consider the Mexican question. It was decided that Carranza should be recognized, and, on October 19, President Wilson recognized Carranza as heading the de facto Government of Mexico. In February, 1916, as a result of the failure to agree with the President's policy on national defense, Lindley M. Garrison, Secretary of War, resigned, and was succeeded by Newton D. Baker of Ohio. In January, 1915, Francisco Villa, the most powerful of the Mexican revolutionary leaders, killed several American miners and on March 9, with 500 followers, invaded the town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing seven troopers and several citizens, destroying much property. He was pursued across the border by United States troops and on the following day the President authorized a punitive expedition to pursue and capture him. An agreement was made with President Carranza permitting this force to cross the border. General Pershing pursued Villa in the mountain regions of Chihuahua. Several Engagements were fought with the Mexicans. At Parral, American soldiers were attacked by natives and General Carranza demanded that the expedition be recalled. This was refused by President Wilson on the ground that the Mexican Government was not able to keep peace along the border. In spite of the protest of the Mexican authorities, the United States forces remained in Mexico, although Villa was not captured. The State Militia was called to protect the border. On July 15, after an exchange of notes, the matter was settled temporarily by a joint commission.
There were indications early in 1916 of a reunion between the Republican and Progressive parties, and this was verified by the announcement that their conventions would meet at the same time in the same city. A committee of prominent men of both parties was appointed to reach a common ground of agreement on both candidates and platform. At the convention, Charles E. Hughes, of New York, was nominated without serious opposition. Charles W. Fairbanks, of Indiana, was nominated for vice-president. At the Democratic convention held in St. Louis, in the early part of July, President Wilson was renominated by acclamation and Thomas R. Marshall was again nominated for vice-president. An element of the Progressive party nominated Mr. Roosevelt for president, but as he declined the nomination, the National Committee of the party indorsed Justice Hughes. The campaign was bitterly fought. Colonel Roosevelt took an active part in the support of Justice Hughes, and attacked the President's policies in regard to the war and Mexico in unsparing terms. The election in November proved one of the closest in the history of the United States. The first returns made it evident that Hughes had carried all the industrial and commercial States of the North and East, with the exception of Ohio. On the day following the election, it was announced that Mr. Hughes had been elected. Later in the day, however, gains from the West indicated the possibility of the re-election of the President. Many States which had been regarded as safely Republican, went Democratic. The turning point, however, was California. After a few days of suspense during the counting of the votes, the electoral vote of the State was announced for Wilson, and it was sufficient to re-elect him. The electoral vote stood 277 for Wilson and 254 for Hughes. The President's popular vote showed a gain of 2,000,000 over that of 1912, in spite of the fact that the Republicans gained in the House of Representatives and elected many of their State candidates. The legislation of 1917 was devoted chiefly to the successful conduct of the war. The measures passed, included those providing for the Emergency Fleet Corporation, food control. Federal regulation of coal, Trading with the Enemy Act, and like measures. On Oct. 24, 1918, President Wilson issued an appeal to the people of the United States to return a Democratic Congress in the coming fall election, declaring that the election of a Republican Congress would be taken abroad by Germany and the Allies alike as a repudiation of his leadership of policies. The Republicans resented this appeal, and the result of the election was a defeat for the administration. The Republicans secured a substantial majority in the House of Representatives and in the Senate by a close margin.
On the conclusion of the war, the nation quickly returned to a peace basis, and preparations were at once begun for the return of American soldiers. The first shipload of these arrived on Dec. 2, 1918, and they were followed by an ever increasing procession of vessels from Europe to the United States, bearing home the members of the American Expedition. It was announced on Nov. 18, 1918, that the President would personally attend the Peace Conference in Paris. The President, in his message, explained that as the Allies and Germany had made his speeches the basis of their negotiations, it was due to the American people, no less than to the Entente nations, that he should be in close touch with the deliberations. Accordingly, he embarked on Dec. 4, 1918, for France, accompanied by the American delegates, with a large group of experts. The peace delegates named by the President were Robert Lansing, Secretary of State; Henry White, formerly Ambassador to France; Edward M. House; and Tasker Bliss. The President was received with the greatest warmth in Paris, as well as in Great Britain and Italy, which he visited previous to the formal meetings of the Conference.
The chief concern of President Wilson at the Peace Conference was avowedly the preparation of the covenant of the League of Nations, and to this object he devoted his chief efforts. The draft of the covenant was cabled to the United States, prior to the return of the President for a brief visit. He arrived in Boston on February 24. Opposition to the covenant had already developed, chiefly from a group of Republican Senators, who asserted that it violated the sovereignty of the United States and repudiated the Monroe Doctrine. The chief article singled out for attack was Article 10, which pledged the United States “to preserve, as against external aggressions, the territorial integrity of all the States in the League.” President Wilson returned to Paris early in March, after having delivered several speeches in support of the Treaty of the Covenant. On the signing of the Treaty on June 28, 1919, the President at once embarked for the United States, arriving on July 9.
On July 1, 1919, the prohibition of the sale of intoxicating liquors went into effect in the United States, as a result of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the Constitution by three-fourths of the States. By the terms of the provisions, however, the amendment was not effective until January, 1920.
The Peace Treaty was considered by
the Committee on Foreign Relations in
the Senate, and on the report of the
committee on September 28, it was found
to contain 38 amendments and four
reservations. The amendments were rejected
and the chief interest centered upon the
reservations. These, in the main, covered
the same ground as the amendments.
The first provided that the United States
should have the right to withdraw from
the League of Nations “upon a notice
provided in Article I of said Treaty of
Peace with Germany.” The second
reservation absolved the United States from
any obligation in Article 10 “to preserve
the territorial integrity or political
independence of any other country.” The
third reservation provided that the
United States should have a right to
decide what questions were within its
domestic jurisdiction. In the fourth
reservation, the United States declined to
submit for arbitration or inquiry any
questions depending on, or related to, the
" These reservations
were debated in the Senate. The Treaty
was defeated with the reservations, by
a vote of 55 to 39, and without the
reservations, by a vote of 55 to 38. No further
consideration of the Treaty was given
during the remainder of this session of
Congress. On April 30, Senator Knox
introduced a resolution providing for a
declaration of peace with Germany. This
resolution was adopted by both the House
and the Senate on May 27, 1920, but was
vetoed by the President.
Congress passed a comprehensive bill for the conduct and regulation of railroads. (See Railways.) Various measures were taken during December, 1919, and the following months for the suppression of anarchistic and communistic propaganda in the United States. Raids were made upon the headquarters of radical societies throughout the country, and many of the leaders were taken for the purpose of deportation. In December, about 300 anarchists, the most conspicuous of whom were Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, were deported to Russia.
Affairs in Mexico gave rise to an exchange of notes between that country and the United States, during the latter part of 1919. During the same period there were serious labor troubles. A general coal strike in bituminous fields was prevented only by the prompt action of the Government by declaring the strike illegal, and issued an injunction preventing the leaders from ordering a strike. A commission was appointed by the President in December to reconcile the differences between the employees and the employers. The railroads also assumed a threatening attitude, but these difficulties were temporarily reconciled pending the passage of railroad legislation in Congress. Several radical measures, the most important of which was the so-called Plumb Bill, were advanced by railroad employees and their representatives. This measure practically gave the railroads of the country into the hands of the employees.
On Feb. 13, 1920, Robert L. Lansing resigned as Secretary of State, as a result of severe criticism on the part of President Wilson of his conduct in summoning the cabinet during the President's illness. He was succeeded by Bainbridge Colby of New Jersey.
The presidential campaign of 1920 had for its chief issue the League of Nations. President Wilson, during the consideration of the measure in the Senate, had made an extensive tour of the country, which was ended only by a physical breakdown that for many months prevented his active participation in the affairs of the Government, and left him practically an invalid. The leading Republican candidates, prior to the convention, were General Leonard Wood; Governor Lowden, of Illinois; Senator Hiram Johnson, of California; and Herbert Hoover. The most conspicuous Democratic candidates were William G. McAdoo and Governor James M. Cox of Ohio. Preferential primary elections were held in the various States during April. The Republican national campaign opened at Chicago, on June 8.
|© Keystone View Co.|
|PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL, MARCH 4, 1921, ON THE EAST FRONT OF THE CAPITOL|
|© Keystone View Co.|
|WARREN GAMALIEL HARDING TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE IN THE INAUGURAL CEREMONIES, MARCH 4, 1921|
|© Photo, Clinedinst Studio|
|PRESIDENT HARDING AND HIS CABINET, AT THEIR FIRST CABINET MEETING, MARCH, 1921—HARDING, MELLON, DAUGHERTY, DANBY, WALLACE, DAVIS COOLIDGE, HOOVER, FALL, HAYS, WEEKS, HUGHES|
|©Keystone View Company|
|COUNTING THE ELECTORAL VOTE FOR PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES|
|©Keystone View Company|
|THE SUPREME COURT CHAMBER IN THE CAPITOL|
|©Harris & Ewing|
|THE SENATE CHAMBER IN THE CAPITOL, WASHINGTON, D. C.|
|Photo by Ewing Galloway|
|THE STATE, ARMY, AND NAVY BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D. C.|
|© Ewing Galloway|
|THE WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D. C.|
- Includes $30,000,000 received from United States Sugar Equalization Board (Inc.), as dividend on capital stock owned by United States, and $60,724,742.27 received from Federal Reserve banks as franchise tax.
- On the basis of estimates by the Government Actuary, the amount of fractional currency outstanding on Dec. 31, 1920, is carried at $2,000,000, a reduction of $4,842,066.45 on account of fractional currency estimated to have been irrevocably lost or destroyed in circulation.
- A minus sign ( − ) denotes decrease
- Appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, but did not act.