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Steam has enabled tens of thousands of emigrants to reach that section easily, quickly, cheaply. The region that a generation ago was a wilderness given up to wild beasts and savages, is now rapidly filling with population. Countries like Kansas, that were once treeless deserts, are to-day covered with orchards and with fields of waving grain. Denver and many other prosperous cities and towns in Colorado and neighboring states and territories have sprung up in places where, when Grant became President, there were, at the most, only a few settlers' cabins. Thus, within the course of about twenty years, the railroads of the Far West have transformed that part of the republic. They have converted what was then a vast extent of unoccupied land often seemingly barren and worthless into groups of rapidly growing states, rich in silver-mines, in cattle and sheep ranches,1 in farms of corn and wheat, and in industries of every kind.
COMPLETION OF RECONSTRUCTION.
369. Completion of Reconstruction; the Chicago, Forest, and Boston Fires; "Rings" and their Work. - The reconstruction
1 Some of the cattle and sheep ranches or farms, in the Far West, embrace from 20,000 to 30,000 acres, and have 50,000 head of cattle and sheep. There are single wheat-fields of 13,000 acres, and single farms which extend for miles-covered, as far as the eye can see, with one mass of grain rolling in golden waves. See Harper's Magazine, March, 1880, "Dakota Wheat-Fields," illustrated; Thayer's "The New West"; and Charles Dudley Warner's series of papers on the "Great West" in Harper's Magazine for 1888.
of the Southern States was completed in 1870;2 and in January of the following year (1871) all the states "were represented in Congress for the first time since December, 1860." The disastrous effects of negro voting in South Carolina and some other states where the "freedmen" were in the majority, caused violent resistance on the part of the white inhabitants. Congress passed the "Force Bill," to give military protection to the black man. Experience has since proved that he can protect himself best by advancing in education and in habits of industry. Like the white man, he has the liberty to make himself what he chooses.
In the autumn of 1871, a great fire broke out in Chicago, which destroyed about eighteen thousand buildings valued at two hundred million dollars. During the same season, terrible forest fires caused great destruction and loss of life in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The year following (1872) a conflagration consumed about eighty million dollars' worth of business property in Boston.
In New York City it was discovered that "Boss" Tweed, one of the commissioners of public works, had been guilty, in connection with other city officers, of a series of stupendous frauds. In the course of years this "ring," as it was called, had robbed the city of many millions, so many in fact that it would have been cheaper to have had a great fire than to have kept these men in power. Eventually the "ring" was broken up, and Tweed died in Ludlow Street Jail.
A few years later (1875) a "Whiskey Ring" was exposed in the West. Its purpose was to cheat the government out of a large part of the tax levied on whiskey.
2 Another important work accomplished by Congress in 1870 was the establishment of the Weather Bureau. This department has its headquarters at Washington, with branches in all the principal cities. Its object is to give information of approaching storms and changes of weather. It has been the means of saving the country from heavy losses both by land and sea.
8 See Johnston's "American Politics."
4 A secret society known as the Ku Klux Klan was organized in various parts of the South, to prevent the negroes from voting.
THE BUSINESS PANIC OF 1873.
370. The Business Panic of 1873; the Centennial Exhibition; the Electric Light; the Telephone. -The success of the first Pacific Railroad encouraged the commencement of a second line across the continent, and also led to the building of more railroads at the West than the country then demanded.1 Multitudes of people put their savings into these new enterprises, hoping to get rich at locomotive speed. This, with other causes, brought on the failure of a large banking-house in Philadelphia, in the autumn of 1873.2 The failure was followed by a panic like that of 1837 and of 1857.3 In the course of a few weeks, many thousands of business men were ruined, and it became so difficult to get money that even the national government had to stop making payments on the war debt for a time, and all work on public buildings
came to a standstill. The country did not fully recover from the effects of the panic for five or six years.
A leading feature
of the celebration of the anniversary of the One Hundredth Year of the Independence of the United States was the opening of the Centennial Exhibition in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, in the spring of 1876. The
Centennial Exhibition Buildings, Philadelphia, 1876.
1 From 1871 to the autumn of 1873- or about two years and a half-over twenty thousand miles of railroad were built in the United States, at a cost of over a thousand millions of dollars.
2 The banking-house of Jay Cooke & Co. building of the Northern Pacific Railroad. of the panic.
They were largely interested in the Their failure was the immediate cause 8 See Paragraphs 274 and 310.
4 Centennial: occurring once in a hundred years; here used of the anniversary which the Exhibition commemorated.
principal buildings were immense structures of glass and iron; with numerous others, they covered a total space of about seventyfive acres. All the nations of the world sent products of their industry or their art to be exhibited; but, as in the World's Fair of 1853,1 our own country took the lead in the display of useful inventions. The Exhibition showed what a great change had taken place in the mode of doing most kinds of work. In Washington's day, and for many years later, nearly everything was done by hand; but by the time we had reached our hundredth birthday an industrial revolution had taken place. Arms of iron and fingers of steel now performed the labor, and the duty of the workman since that period has been mainly to guide and superintend a machine which is his willing, tireless servant.
Since the Exhibition, machines have multiplied with greater rapidity than ever. Two of the most remarkable novelties then exhibited were the electric light—which has since come into and an instrument invented by Mr. A. G. Bell of Washington, which we know to-day as the telephone. Professor Morse enabled men to send written messages to each other by electricity; 2 Mr. Bell, going a step farther, enabled them to talk together in the same way, so that cities as far apart as Boston and Washington are now actually within speaking distance of each other.3
1 See Paragraph 301.
2 See Paragraph 283.
8 A still more recent invention is the phonograph (greatly improved in 1888), invented by Thomas A. Edison, of Menlo Park, New Jersey. This remarkable instrument records sound in such a manner that it can be exactly reproduced any length of time afterward. By its use the tones of the human voice may be stored up for the future. Thus a business man can dictate a letter to his phonograph in the evening and the instrument the next morning will repeat what he has said to a clerk or copyist, who then writes the letter with a typewriter- a machine which enables the user to rapidly print the words instead of writing them out with a pen.
In a wholly different direction, that of astronomical instruments, Mr. Alvan Clark and his son, Alvan G. Clark, of Cambridgeport, Mass., have recently made great progress. Their telescopes now rank among the most perfect in the world, and one constructed by them in 1886 for the Lick Observatory, on Mount Hamilton, near San Francisco, is the largest instrument of the kind ever made,
Since then the application of electricity to the service of man has made very rapid progress. It is now employed to drive various kinds of light machinery for manufacturing, and the streetcars are coming to use it in place of horses. It would seem as though the age of steam was drawing to its close and that the electric age had at length fairly begun.
TREATY WITH GREAT BRITAIN.
371. Treaty with Great Britain; War with the Modoc and the Sioux' Indians. During President Grant's administration a treaty was made with Great Britain (1871), one result of which was that England agreed to pay the United States $15,500,000 for damages done by the Alabama and other Confederate warvessels built in Great Britain. In 1812 such a claim on our part would probably have led to war between the two countries. The fact that it could now be peaceably settled showed what a great change for the better had taken place in the relations of England and America.
It was unfortunate for us that we either could not or would not settle our disputes with the Western Indians in the same peaceable way. The Modocs of Southern Oregon refused to be removed from their hunting-grounds, and war ensued (1872). Later, the Sioux tribes, who had been driven from the Black Hills by gold seekers, made up their minds that they would not go to Indian Territory. General Custer, one of the bravest officers of the army, attacked them in their stronghold in Montana. The Indians numbered nearly ten to his one. In a desperate fight Custer and his entire command of several hundred men were killed on the spot. But in time, both the Modocs and the Sioux had to yield to superior force.
1 Sioux: pronounced Soo.
2 The Treaty of Washington: it referred all matters about which the two countries were in dispute to a board of arbitrators. Besides the Alabama question the Canadian Fisheries dispute came up for settlement under this treaty, and a board of arbitration decided that we should pay Great Britain $5,500,000 for using the Canadian shores in carrying on our fishing.
8 See Paragraph 326.