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

Washington's Troubles

The Continental soldiers who received land in the Northwest Territory had from the first quarreled with the Indians. As the latter had sworn that no white man should ever plant corn on the Ohio, settlers were obliged to float down the river in well-armed boats, and till the ground with their guns always within reach.

But, in spite of these drawbacks, the land was rapidly becoming cultivated. Hoping to check the white men, or drive them away, the Indians now began to murder them, stealing upon them when they least expected such unwelcome visits. When Washington heard of this, he sent General St. Clair with an army to attack them. Although warned to be wary with such foes, St. Clair proved over confident, and his little army was surprised and slaughtered. The news of this disaster was a great blow to Washington, but he quickly took measures to punish the Indians, and sent General Anthony Wayne into the Northwest Territory to take St. Clair's place.

St. Clair's Defeat


The Indians found "Mad Anthony" so alert that they soon declared he never slept. But although their principal chief advised them not to risk a battle, they insisted upon doing so. They were defeated on the Maumee (1794), and were pursued many miles. Then their fields and houses (for these Indians owned real houses) were laid waste and burned, to teach them never to attack the settlers again.

This done, Wayne made the Indian chiefs sign a treaty, whereby they gave up much of the land north of the Ohio, and when they had obeyed, he frightened them by solemnly warning them that if they ever broke it he would rise up out of his, grave to fight them. Although Indian troubles were really most severe in the North, they were very bad, too, in the South, and it has been said that no less than fifteen hundred men, women, and children were murdered in Kentucky alone, during this period.

As if Indian raids were not enough to trouble the country, a rebellion soon arose in western Pennsylvania, because the people did not want to pay the tax laid upon whisky. They said they could not sell their grain, and that they had to make whisky out of it or lose it. When told they must obey the government, they grew so defiant that troops had to be sent out against them. Indeed, it was only when forced to do so that they laid down their arms, and the Whisky Rebellion came to an end (1794).

As it is quite impossible to please everybody, many people found fault with all that the new government said or did. Before long, Washington himself was greatly abused, and a few rebels and politicians even began to call him the "stepfather of his country." Then, as if the troubles at home were not enough to worry him, Washington also had troubles from abroad.

In 1789, the French, who had long been dissatisfied with their government, rose up against the good but somewhat stupid Louis XVI. After some changes, they decided to set up a republic, like the Americans. To get rid of their king they finally beheaded him (1793), more in punishment for the sins of his fathers than for his own. The famous General Lafayette, who had fought in our War for Independence, took part in this revolution also, knowing that the French people had good cause to complain of their government; and when they tore down the great state prison, La Bastille, he sent one of its huge keys to his friend Washington.

But the French did not know how to make the best of the power they had seized. Before long, they made such bad use of it that much innocent blood was shed and people grew indignant at their cruelty. The English, who had always hated and had often fought against the French, soon took advantage of this sad state of affairs to begin a new war.



When the Americans heard of this, some cried that, as the French had helped us, we ought to help them. But others, cooler and wiser, with Washington at their head, said that it would be far better for the United States not to have anything to do with European quarrels. As people began to side everywhere for or against this opinion, they were soon divided into two parties. The one led by Washington was called the Federalist party, while the men who favored the French were known as Republicans. But these two parties also differed on questions concerning our own government.

Genet, a Frenchman, shortly after came to America to ask help. He felt so sure it would be granted that, without waiting for permission from either President or Congress, he began buying vessels and fitting them out to attack the British navy. He had no right to do this, and Washington immediately bade him cease, saying that the United States meant to keep neutral—that is to say, not to side with either country. Genet, however, paid no attention to Washington's orders, and, as he was not behaving as a minister should, our President forced France to recall him.

At that same time, Great Britain complained louder than ever that her subjects could not collect the money due to them in America, and began to try to hinder our commerce. To prevent this, Washington sent John Jay to London, to sign a treaty which bears his name. By it the British promised to give up the forts in the Northwest. This treaty was the best which could then be obtained, but it greatly displeased many Americans, who not only blamed Washington and the Senate for agreeing to it. (1795), but burned Jay in effigy, to show their anger.

They were better pleased, however, with a treaty made that same year with Spain. It settled the boundaries between Florida and the United States, and gave the Americans permission to sail up and down the Mississippi as much as they liked, without paying either duty or toll to Spain. This was a great advantage, for the farmers along the Ohio could now float their produce down to New Orleans, where they were sure of a good market.

A third treaty was signed with Algiers, in Africa, where many of our countrymen had been kept prisoners by pirates. All the Americans thus held were set free for $1000,000, and our ships were allowed to cruise in the Mediterranean, on condition that we paid the pirates a certain sum every year, just as other countries then did.

But there were many people who did not approve of this treaty either, and they were so ready to criticise everything Washington said or did, that he once sadly said—what many a President must have felt since: "I'd rather be in my grave than President."