Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

Jackson Stories

The sixth President was John Quincy Adams, son of Washington's successor. He was a good and learned man, but his election had to be decided by the House of Representatives, as neither he nor any of his three rivals received a majority of the electoral votes.

During his term, in 1826, on the fiftieth anniversary of independence, while joyful bells proclaimed the nation's "Jubilee," two old men quietly passed away. They had been friends, then rivals and foes, but were now at peace. In spite of suffering, both were conscious of the day, of which one of them, John Adams of Massachusetts, had said, in 1776, that it "ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forevermore."



Ever since then he had always helped to celebrate the glorious anniversary, and, thinking of his old friend, he now murmured: "Thomas Jefferson still survives." But Adams was mistaken. A few moments before, Thomas Jefferson had passed away at Monticello, in Virginia, his last words being: "This is the fourth day of July."

It was during John Quincy Adams's rule that the Erie Canal was opened, and work was begun on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. A great crowd assembled to witness the ceremony of breaking ground for it, and when John Carroll of Carrollton took up the first sod, he solemnly said: "I consider this among the most important acts of my life, second only to that of signing the Declaration of Independence."

Among the bystanders were educated men, who foresaw what an advantage railroads would be to our country. But there were ignorant ones also, who doubtless shook their heads and asked foolish questions. Indeed, we are told that a farmer in England once scornfully asked Stephenson, the inventor of the locomotive, what would happen were a cow to get in front of it? To the farmer's amazement, the engineer simply answered, "Well, it would be very bad for the cow!"

Every state now wanted roads, railroads, and canals, and there was much discussion as to whether the states or the national government should pay for all these improvements. Besides questions of roads and canals, new political questions also arose, and people began to say that those who helped a man to become President ought to receive some reward for their efforts. The reward they wanted was some government position, and this forced each new President to turn out officeholders appointed by the President before him, or else displease his friends.

Although this had been done very little hitherto, General Jackson's friends worked so hard to have him elected seventh President of the United States that he put about two thousand of them in office. When some one objected to this, one of these friends, named Marcy, carelessly said, "To the victors belong the spoils," little thinking that words thus spoken in jest would soon become proverbial.

The party to which Jackson belonged was the Republican, but his followers now changed the name to Democratic, the name by which this party is still known.

Andrew Jackson, unlike the Presidents before him, came of a poor family, and had little education. When only fourteen he began to fight the British, and was taken prisoner by them. We are told that they once beat him most cruelly because he proudly refused to black their boots and act as their servant.

During his captivity, he took the smallpox, and shortly after recovering his liberty he lost his mother, who had procured his release and nursed him back to health. Left thus alone in the, world, Jackson studied law for a little while, but he was too active to care much for books. A story says that his spelling especially was very bad. Early in his military career, it is said, he greatly puzzled one of the officers by putting the letters "O.K." on certain papers he had to examine. The officer finally asked him what these letters stood for, and Jackson scornfully answered: "Why, all correct, of course." This same story is also told of an Indian chief; and while it may not be any more true of him than of Jackson, you will often see these two letters used in this way.

As Jackson was very hot-tempered, he got into many quarrels. But he was loyal to his friends, and very quick-witted, as the following anecdotes prove.

We are told that once, during the races, a quarrel suddenly arose among the guests at a public dinner in Virginia. Seeing that one of his friends at the other end of the room was in danger, Jackson promptly sprang upon the table, and striding along, in the midst of glasses and decanters, shouted to his friend that he was coming.



As he said this, he thrust his hand behind him into his coat pocket, and loudly clicked the lid of his snuffbox. The guests, thinking he had a pistol in his pocket, scattered in great haste, frantically crying: "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" This terror enabled Jackson to reach his friend, and made the rest of the guests forget the quarrel.

Roads in those days were quite unsafe. Once, when Jackson was driving along, he is said to have been way laid by wagoners, who, wishing to have some fun, pointed a pistol at him and bade him dance. With great presence of mind, Jackson gravely assured them he could not dance except in slippers, and when the men bade him get them out of his trunk, he had it taken down from the carriage and obediently opened it.. But, instead of slippers, he took out a pair of pistols. Pointing these straight at the wagoners, he ordered them, in an awful voice, to dance themselves; and they capered frantically up and down the road until he allowed them to rest.