History of the United States eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 731 pages of information about History of the United States.

In the second place, the reception accorded the newcomers differed from that given to the immigrants in the early days.  By 1890 all the free land was gone.  They could not, therefore, be dispersed widely among the native Americans to assimilate quickly and unconsciously the habits and ideas of American life.  On the contrary, they were diverted mainly to the industrial centers.  There they crowded—­nay, overcrowded—­into colonies of their own where they preserved their languages, their newspapers, and their old-world customs and views.

So eager were American business men to get an enormous labor supply that they asked few questions about the effect of this “alien invasion” upon the old America inherited from the fathers.  They even stimulated the invasion artificially by importing huge armies of foreigners under contract to work in specified mines and mills.  There seemed to be no limit to the factories, forges, refineries, and railways that could be built, to the multitudes that could be employed in conquering a continent.  As for the future, that was in the hands of Providence!

=Business Theories of Politics.=—­As the statesmen of Hamilton’s school and the planters of Calhoun’s had their theories of government and politics, so the leaders in business enterprise had theirs.  It was simple and easily stated.  “It is the duty of the government,” they urged, “to protect American industry against foreign competition by means of high tariffs on imported goods, to aid railways by generous grants of land, to sell mineral and timber lands at low prices to energetic men ready to develop them, and then to leave the rest to the initiative and drive of individuals and companies.”  All government interference with the management, prices, rates, charges, and conduct of private business they held to be either wholly pernicious or intolerably impertinent.  Judging from their speeches and writings, they conceived the nation as a great collection of individuals, companies, and labor unions all struggling for profits or high wages and held together by a government whose principal duty was to keep the peace among them and protect industry against the foreign manufacturer.  Such was the political theory of business during the generation that followed the Civil War.

THE SUPREMACY OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY (1861-85)

=Business Men and Republican Policies.=—­Most of the leaders in industry gravitated to the Republican ranks.  They worked in the North and the Republican party was essentially Northern.  It was moreover—­at least so far as the majority of its members were concerned—­committed to protective tariffs, a sound monetary and banking system, the promotion of railways and industry by land grants, and the development of internal improvements.  It was furthermore generous in its immigration policy.  It proclaimed America to be an asylum for the oppressed of all countries and flung wide the doors for immigrants

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History of the United States from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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