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More Slave States

Now, no one had a right to force the Southern states to set the slaves free, except—some people said—the President, in time of war. But the Northerners thought it was bad enough to have slaves in the states which already existed. You know that when Missouri was admitted as a slave state, it was decided… Read More

Slavery Quarrel

The main trouble at home during President Fillmore’s rule was the old quarrel between the slavery and antislavery parties. For a time it had slumbered, but the fact that California wished to join the Union as a free state, started it up again with new fury. Men got excited over it, and the Capitol rang… Read More

Sioux vs. Custer

While Grant was President there was much talk about the Indians. The greater part of them had, little by little, been removed to the Indian Territory, where the Choctaws, Creeks, Cherokees, and Seminoles had houses and schools, and were fast learning to be very good farmers. But, besides the orderly and industrious Indians, there were… Read More

Famous Frigate — The Constitution

The most famous American frigate at that time was the Constitution, which came out safely from so many hard fights that she earned the nickname of “Old Ironsides.” When war began, the Constitution had just come home. In her first cruise she fell in with a British squadron, and as she could not face several… Read More

James Polk

Just before Tyler finished his four years’ term, therefore, Congress decided to admit Texas (1845); but as a dispute soon arose about its southern boundary, the eleventh President, James K. Polk, found himself with a war on his hands. Many good Americans say that Texas had no right to claim the land between the Nueces… Read More

War Between Britain and France

Our greatest trouble during Jefferson’s rule was brought about by the war between France and Great Britain. The British did not want the French to have any food from abroad, and, hoping to starve them, said that no vessels should be allowed to enter French ports. The French, to take their revenge, then promptly decreed… Read More

Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln never pretended to be either wise or clever, but his life motto was “to do his level best,” and he manfully put it into practice. He did not like to hear all the quarreling that was going on, and always did all he could to stop it. But when he thought a thing right… Read More

British Shells Baltimore

Not content with burning Washington, the British next attacked Baltimore, where they shelled Fort McHenry for more than twenty–four hours. When their ships first drew near the fort, some Americans came on board with a flag of truce, to arrange for an exchange of prisoners. But fearing that these men would betray their plans, the… Read More

Treaty with Japan

Several interesting things happened while Millard Fillmore was President. For instance, it was then that the first measures were taken to build a railroad from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean. This road was to make the journey so short and easy that there would be no more need of crossing the continent in emigrant… Read More

The Mexican War

Texas had grown very tired of Mexico’s harsh rule. So Stephen Austin and Samuel Houston, two Americans who had received large grants of land in Texas, encouraged the people to revolt and form a republic of their own. They did so, and when the Mexicans tried to force them to obey, they won their freedom… Read More