Dominant Forces in Western Life

THE Old Northwest is a name which tells of the vestiges which the march of settlement across the American continent has left behind it. The New Northwest fronts the watery labyrinth of Paget Sound and awaits its destiny upon the Pacific. The Old Northwest, the historic Northwest Territory, is now the new middle region of the United States. A century ago it was a wilderness, broken only by a few French settlements and the straggling American hamlets along the Ohio and its tributaries, while on the shore of Lake Erie Moses Cleaveland had just led a handful of men to the Connecticut Reserve. To-day it is the keystone of the American Commonwealth. Since 1860 the centre of population of the United States has rested within its limits, and the centre of manufacturing in the nation lies eight miles from President McKinley’s Ohio home. Of the seven men who have been elected to the presidency of the United States since 1860, six have come from the Old Northwest, and the seventh came from the kindred region of western New York. The congressional Representatives from these five States of the Old Northwest already outnumber those from the old Middle States, and are three times as numerous as those from New England.

The elements that have contributed to the civilization of this region are therefore well worth consideration. To know the States that make up the Old Northwest — Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin — one must understand their social origins.

Eldest in this sisterhood was Ohio. New England gave the formative impulses to this State by the part which the Ohio Company played in securing the Ordinance of 1787, and at Marietta and Cleveland Massachusetts and Connecticut planted enduring centres of Puritan influence. During the same period New Jersey and Pennsylvania sent their colonists to the Symmes Purchase, in which Cincinnati was the rallying-point, while Virginians sought the military bounty lands in the region of Chillicothe. The Middle States and the South, with their democratic ideas, constituted the dominant element in Ohio politics in this early part of her history. This dominance is shown by the nativity of the members of the Ohio legislature elected in 1820 : New England furnished nine Senators and sixteen Representatives, chiefly from Connecticut; New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, seventeen Senators and twenty-one Representatives, mostly from Pennsylvania; while the South furnished nine Senators and twentyseven Representatives, of whom the majority came from Virginia. Five of the Representatives were natives of Ireland, presumably Scotch-Irishmen. In the Ohio Senate, therefore, the Middle States had as many representatives as had New England and the South together, while the Southern men slightly outnumbered the Middle State men in the Assembly. Together, the emigrants from the Democratic South and middle region outnumbered the Federalist New Englanders three to one. Although Ohio is popularly considered a child of New England, it is clear that in these formative years of her statehood the commonwealth was dominated by other forces.

By the close of this early period, in 1820, the settlement in Ohio had covered more or less fully all except the northwest corner of the State, and Indiana’s formative period was well started. Here as in Ohio there was a large Southern element. But while the Southern stream that flowed into Ohio had its sources in Virginia, the main current that sought Indiana came from North Carolina ; and these settlers were for the most part from the humbler classes. In the settlement of Indiana from the South two separate elements are distinguishable: the Quaker migration from North Carolina, moved chiefly because of anti-slavery convictions ; the “ poor white ” stream, made up in part of restless hunters and thriftless pioneers moving without definite ambitions, and in part of other classes, such as former overseers, migrating to the new country with definite purpose of improving their fortunes.

These elements constituted wellmarked features in the Southern contribution to Indiana, and they explain why she has been named the Hoosier State ; but it should by no means be thought that all of the Southern immigrants came under these classes, nor that these have been the normal elements in the development of the Indiana of to-day. In the Northwest, where interstate migration has been so continuous and widespread, the lack of typical state peculiarities is obvious, and the student of society, like the traveler, is tempted, in his effort to distinguish the community from its neighbors, to exaggerate the odd and exceptional elements which give a particular flavor to the State. Indiana has suffered somewhat from this tendency ; but it is undoubted that these peculiarities of origin left deep and abiding influences upon the State. In 1820 her settlement was chiefly in the southern counties, where Southern and Middle State influence was dominant. Her two United States Senators were Virginians by birth, while her Representative was from Pennsylvania. The Southern element continued so powerful that one student of Indiana origins has estimated that in 1850 one third of the population of the State were native Carolinians and their children in the first generation. Not until a few years before the Civil War did the Northern current exert a decisive influence upon Indiana. She had no such lake ports as had her sister States, and extension of settlement into the State from ports like Chicago was interrupted by the marshy area of the northwestern part of Indiana. Add to this the geological fact that the limestone formations and the best soils ran in nearly perpendicular belts northward from the Ohio, and it will be seen how circumstances combined to diminish Northern and to facilitate Southern influences in this State prior to the railroad development.

In Illinois, also, the current of migration was at first preponderantly Southern, but the settlers were less often from the Atlantic coast. Kentucky and Tennessee were generous contributors, but many of the distinguished leaders came from Virginia, and it is worthy of note that in 1820 the two United States Senators of Illinois were of Maryland ancestry, while her Representative was of Kentucky origin. The swarms of land-seekers between 1820 and 1830 ascended the Illinois River, and spread out between that river and the Mississippi. It was in this period that Abraham Lincoln’s father, who had come from Kentucky to Indiana, again left his log cabin and traveled by oxteam with his family to the popular Illinois county of Sangamon. Here Lincoln split his famous rails to fence their land, and grew up under the influences of this migration of the Southern pioneers to the prairies. They were not predominantly of the planter class, and the fierce contest in 1824 over the proposition to open Illinois to slavery was won for freedom by a narrow majority.

Looking at the three States, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, prior to 1850, we perceive how important was the voice of the South here, and we can the more easily understand the early affiliation of the Northwest with her sister States to the south on the Western waters. It was not without reason that the proposal of the Missouri Compromise came from Illinois, and it was a natural enthusiasm with which these States followed Henry Clay in the war policy of 1812. The combination of the South, the western portion of the Middle States, and the Mississippi Valley gave the ascendency to the democratic ideals of the followers of Jefferson, and left New England a weakened and isolated section for nearly half a century. Many of the most characteristic elements in American life in the first part of the century were due to this relationship between the South and the trans-Alleghany region. But even thus early the Northwest had revealed strong predilections for the Northern economic ideals as against the peculiar institution of the South, and this tendency grew with the increase of New England immigration.

The northern two in this sisterhood of Northwestern States were the first to be entered by the French, but latest by the English settlers. Why Michigan was not occupied by New York men at an earlier period is at first sight not easy to understand. Perhaps the adverse reports of surveyors who visited the interior of the State, the partial geographical isolation, and the unprogressive character of the French settlers account for the tardy occupation of the area. Certain it is that while the southern tier of States was sought by swarms of settlers, Wisconsin and Michigan still echoed to Canadian boating-songs, and voyageurs paddled their birch canoes along the streams of the wilderness to traffic with the savages. Great Britain maintained the dominant position until after the War of 1812, and the real centre of authority was in Canada.

But after the digging of the Erie canal, settlement began to turn into Michigan. Between 1830 and 1840 the population of the State leaped from 31,000 to 212,000, in the face of the fact that the heavy debt of the State and the crisis of 1837 turned from her borders many of the thrifty, debt - hating Germans. The vast majority of the settlers were New Yorkers. Michigan is distinctly a child of the Empire State. Canadians, both French and English, continued to come as the lumber interests of the region increased. By 1850 Michigan contained nearly 400,000 inhabitants, who occupied the southern half of the State.

But she now found an active competitor for settlement in Wisconsin. In this region two forces had attracted the earlier inhabitants. The fur-trading posts of Green Bay, Prairie du Chien, and Milwaukee constituted one element, in which the French influence was continued. The lead region of the southwest corner of the State formed the centre of attraction for Illinois and Southern pioneers. The soldiers who followed Black Hawk’s trail in 1832 reported the richness of the soil, and an era of immigration followed. To the port of Milwaukee came a combined migration from western New York and New England, and spread along the southern tier of prairie counties until it met the Southern settlers in the lead region. Many of the early political contests in the State were connected, as in Ohio and Illinois, with the antagonisms between the sections thus brought together in a limited area.

The other element in the formation of Wisconsin was that of the Germans, then just entering upon their vast immigration to the United States. Wiscousin was free from debt; she made a constitution of exceptional liberality to foreigners, and instead of treasuring her school lands or using them for internal improvements, she sold them for almost nothing to attract immigration. The result was that the prudent Germans, who loved light taxes and cheap hard-wood lands, turned toward Wisconsin, — another Völkerwanderung. From Milwaukee as a centre they spread north along the shore of Lake Michigan, and later into northern central Wisconsin, following the area of the hard-wood forests. So considerable were their numbers that such an economist as Roscher wrote of the feasibility of making Wisconsin a German State. “ They can plant the vine on the hills,” cried Franz Löher in 1847, “ and drink with happy song and dance ; they can have German schools and universities, German literature and art, German science and philosophy, German courts and assemblies ; in short, they can form a German State, in which the German language shall be as much the popular and official language as the English is now, and in which the German spirit shall rule. " By 1860 the German-born were sixteen per cent of the population of the State. But the New York and New England stream proved even more broad and steady in its flow in these years before the war. Wisconsin’s population rose from 30,000 in 1840 to 300,000 in 1850.

The New England element that entered this State is probably typical of the same element in Wisconsin’s neighboring States, and demands notice. It came for the most part, not from the seaboard of Massachusetts, which has so frequently represented New England to the popular apprehension. A large element in this stock was the product of the migration that ascended the valleys of Connecticut and central Massachusetts through the hills into Vermont and New York, — a pioneer folk almost from the time of their origin. The Vermont colonists decidedly outnumbered those of Massachusetts in both Michigan and Wisconsin, and were far more numerous in other Northwestern States than the population of Vermont warranted. Together with this current came the settlers from western New York. These were generally descendants of this same pioneer New England stock, continuing into a remoter West the movement that had brought their parents to New York. The combined current from New England and New York thus constituted a distinctly modified New England stock, and was clearly the dominant native element in Michigan and Wisconsin.

The decade of the forties was also the period of Iowa’s rapid increase. Although not politically a part of the Old Northwest, in history she is closely related to that region. Her growth was by no means so rapid as was Wisconsin’s, for the proportion of foreign immigration was less. Whereas in 1850 more than one third of Wisconsin’s population was foreign-born, the proportion for Iowa was not much over one tenth. The main body of her people came from the Middle States, and Illinois and Ohio ; but Southern elements were well represented, particularly among her political leaders.

The middle of the century was the turning-point in the transfer of control in the Northwest. Below the line of the old national turnpike, marked by the cities of Columbus, Indianapolis, Vandalia, and St. Louis, the counties had acquired a stability of settlement ; and partly because of the Southern element, partly because of a natural tendency of new communities toward Jacksonian ideals, these counties were preponderantly Democratic. But the Southern migration had turned to the cotton areas of the Southwest, and the development of railroads and canals had broken the historic commercial ascendency of the Mississippi River; New Orleans was yielding the sceptre to New York. The tide of migration from the North poured along these newly opened channels, and occupied the less settled counties above the national turnpike. In cities like Columbus and Indianapolis, where the two currents had run side by side, the combined elements were most clearly marked, but in the Northwest as a whole a varied population had been formed. This region seemed to represent and understand the various parts of the Union. It was this aspect which Mr. Vinton, of Ohio, urged in Congress when he made his notable speech in favor of the admission of Iowa. He pleaded the mission of the Northwest as the mediator between the sections and the unifying agency in the nation, with such power and pathos as to thrill even John Quincy Adams.

But there are some issues which cannot be settled by compromise, tendencies one of which must conquer the other. Such an issue the slave power raised, and raised too late for support in the upper half of the Mississippi Basin. The Northern and the Southern elements found themselves in opposition to each other. “ A house divided against itself cannot stand,” said Abraham Lincoln, a Northern leader of Southern origin. Douglas, a leader of the Southern forces, though coming from New England, declared his indifference whether slavery were voted up or down in the Western Territories. The historic debates between these two champions reveal the complex conditions in the Northwest, and take on a new meaning when considered in the light of this contest between the Northern and the Southern elements. The State that had been so potent for compromise was at last the battle-ground itself, and the places selected for the various debates of Lincoln and Douglas marked the strongholds and the outposts of the antagonistic forces.

At this time the kinship of western New York and the dominant element in the Northwest was clearly revealed. Speaking for the anti-slavery forces at Madison, Wisconsin, in 1860, Seward said : “ The Northwest is by no means so small as you may think it. I speak to you because I feel that I am, and during all my mature life have been, one of you. Although of New York, I am still a citizen of the Northwest. The Northwest extends eastward to the base of the Alleghany Mountains, and does not all of western New York lie westward of the Alleghany Mountains ? Whence comes all the inspiration of free soil which spreads itself with such cheerful voices over all these plains ? Why, from New York westward of the Alleghany Mountains. The people before me, — who are you but New York men, while you are men of the Northwest ? ” In the Civil War, western New York and the Northwest were powerful in the forum and in the field. The names of Lincoln, Chase, Seward, Sherman, and Grant suffice to illustrate this power. A million soldiers came from the States that the Ordinance, passed by Southern votes, had devoted to freedom.

This was the first grave time of trial for the Northwest, and it did much eventually to give to the region a homogeneity and self-consciousness. But at the close of the war the region was still agricultural, only half developed; still breaking ground in northern forests; still receiving contributions of peoples which radically modified the social organism, and undergoing economic changes almost revolutionary in their rapidity and extent. The changes since the war are of more social importance, in many respects, than those in the years commonly referred to as the formative period. As a result, the Northwest finds herself again between contending forces, sharing the interests of East and West, as once before those of North and South, and forced to give her voice on issues of equal significance for the destiny of the republic.

In these transforming years since 1860, Ohio, finding the magician’s talisman that revealed the treasury of mineral wealth, gas, and petroleum beneath her fields, has leaped to a front rank among the manufacturing States of the Union. Potential on the Great Lakes by reason of her ports of Toledo and Cleveland, tapping the Ohio River artery of trade at Cincinnati, and closely connected with all the vast material development of the upper waters of this river in western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, Ohio has become distinctly a part of the eastern social organism, much like the State of Pennsylvania. The complexity of her origin still persists. Ohio has no preponderant social centre ; her multiplicity of colleges and universities bears tribute to the diversity of the elements that have made the State. One third of her people are of foreign parentage (one or both parents foreign-born), and the city of Cincinnati has been deeply affected by the German stock, while Cleveland strongly reflects the influence of the New England element. That influence is still very palpable, but it is New England in the presence of natural gas, iron, and coal, New England shaped by blast and forge. The Middle State ideals will dominate Ohio’s future.

Bucolic Indiana, too, within the last decade has come into the possession of gas-fields and has increased the exploitation of her coals until she seems destined to share in the industrial type represented by Ohio. Cities have risen, like a dream, on the sites of country villages. But Indiana has a much smaller proportion of foreign element than any other State of the Old Northwest, and it is the Southern element that still differentiates her from her sisters. While Ohio’s political leaders still attest the Puritan migration, Indiana’s clasp hands with the leaders from the South.

The Southern elements continue also to reveal themselves in the Democratic southwestern counties of Illinois, grouped like a broad delta of the Illinois River, while northern Illinois holds a larger proportion of descendants of the Middle States and New England. About one half her population is of foreign parentage, in which the Germans, Irish, and Scandinavians furnish the largest elements. She is a great agricultural State and a great manufacturing State, the connecting link between the Mississippi and the Great Lakes. Her metropolis, Chicago, is the very type of Northwestern development for good and for evil. It is an epitome of her composite nationality. A recent writer, analyzing the school census of Chicago, points out that " only two cities in the German Empire, Berlin and Hamburg, have a greater German population than Chicago ; only two in Sweden, Stockholm and Göteborg, have more Swedes ; and only two in Norway, Christiania and Bergen, have more Norwegians;” while the Irish, Polish, Bohemian, and Dutch elements are also largely represented. But in spite of her rapidity of growth and her complex elements, Chicago stands as the representative of the will-power and genius for action of the Middle West, and the State of Illinois will be the battle-ground for social and economic ideals for the next generation.

Michigan is two States. The northern peninsula is cut off from the southern physically, industrially, and in the history of settlement. It would seem that her natural destiny was with Wisconsin, or some possible new State embracing the iron and copper, forest and shipping areas of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota on Lake Superior. The lower peninsula of Michigan is the daughter of New York, for over twelve per cent of Michigan’s present population were born in that State, and her traits are those of the parent State. Over half her population is of foreign parentage, of which Canada and England together have furnished one half, while the Germans outnumber any other single foreign element. The State has undergone a steady industrial development, exploiting her northern mines and forests, developing her lumber interests with Saginaw as the centre, raising fruits along the lake shore counties, and producing grain in the middle trough of counties running from Saginaw Bay to the south of Lake Michigan. Her state university has been her peculiar glory, furnishing the first model for the state university, and it is the educational contribution of the Northwest to the nation.

Wisconsin’s future is dependent upon the influence of the large proportion of her population of foreign parentage, for nearly three fourths of her inhabitants are of that class. She thus has a smaller percentage of native population than any other of the States formed from the Old Northwest. Of this foreign element the Germans constitute by far the largest part, with the Scandinavians second. Her American population born outside of Wisconsin comes chiefly from New York. In contrast with the Ohio River States, she lacks the Southern element. Her greater foreign population and her dairy interests contrast with Michigan’s Canadian and English elements and fruit culture. Her relations are more Western than Michigan’s by reason of her connection with the Mississippi and the prairie States. Her foreign element is slightly less than is Minnesota’s, and in the latter State the Scandinavians take the place held by the Germans in Wisconsin. The facility with which the Scandinavians catch the spirit of Western America and assimilate with their neighbors is much greater than is the case with the Germans, so that Wisconsin seems to offer opportunity for non-English influence in a greater degree than her sister on the west. While Minnesota’s economic development has heretofore been closely dependent on the wheat-producing prairies, the opening of the ironfields of the Mesaba and Vermilion ranges, together with the development of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Duluth and West Superior, and the prospective achievement of a deep-water communication with the Atlantic, seems to offer to that State a new and imperial industrial destiny. Between this stupendous economic future to the northwest and the colossal growth of Chicago on the southeast Wisconsin seems likely to become a middle agricultural area, developing particularly into a great dairy State. She is powerfully affected by the conservative tendencies of her German element in times of political agitation and of proposals of social change, but is lacking in initiative.

Some of the social modifications in this State are more or less typical of important processes at work among the neighboring States of the Old Northwest. In the north, the men who built up the lumber interests of the State, who founded a mill town surrounded by the stumps of the pine forests which they exploited for the prairie markets, have acquired wealth and political power. The spacious and well-appointed home of the town-builder may now be seen in many a northern community, in a group of less pretentious homes of operatives and tradesmen, the social distinctions between them emphasized by the difference in nationality. A few years before, this captain of industry was perhaps actively engaged in the task of seeking the best " forties ” or directing the operations of his log-drivers. His wife and daughters make extensive visits to Europe, his sons go to some university, and he himself is likely to acquire political position, or to devote his energies to saving the town from industrial decline, as the timber is cut away, by transforming it into a manufacturing centre for more finished products. Still others continue their activity among the forests of the south. This social history of the timber areas of Wisconsin has left clear indications in the development of the peculiar political leadership in the northern portion of the State.

In the southern and middle counties of the State, the original settlement of the native American pioneer farmer, a tendency is showing itself to divide the farms and to sell to thrifty Germans, or to cultivate the soil by tenants, while the farmer retires to live in the neighboring village, and perhaps to organize creameries and develop a dairy business. The result is that a replacement of nationalities is in progress. Townships and even counties once dominated by the native American farmers of New York extraction are now possessed by Germans or other European nationalities. Large portions of the retail trades of the towns are also passing into German hands, while the native element seeks the cities, the professions, or mercantile enterprises of larger character. The non-native element shows distinct tendencies to dwell in groups. One of the most striking illustrations of this fact is the community of New Glarus, in Wisconsin, formed by a carefully organized migration from Glarus in Switzerland, aided by the canton itself. For some years this community was a miniature Swiss canton in social organization and customs, but of late it has become increasingly assimilated to the American type, and has left an impress by transforming the county in which it is from a grain-raising to a dairy region.

From Milwaukee as a centre, the influence of the Germans upon the social customs and ideals of Wisconsin has been marked. Milwaukee has many of the aspects of a German city, and has furnished a stronghold of resistance to native American efforts to enact rigid temperance legislation, laws regulative of parochial schools, and similar attempts to bend the German type to the social ideals of the pioneer American stock. In the last presidential election, the German area of the State deserted the Democratic party, and its opposition to free silver was a decisive factor in the overwhelming victory of the Republicans in Wisconsin. With all the evidence of the persistence of the influence of this nationality, it is nevertheless clear that each decade marks an increased assimilation and homogeneity in the State ; but the result is a compromise, and not a conquest by either element.

The States of the Old Northwest gave to McKinley a plurality of over 367,000 out of a total vote of about 3,734,000. New England and the Middle States together gave him a plurality of 979,000 in about the same vote, while the farther West gave to Bryan a decisive net plurality. It thus appears that the Old Northwest occupied the position of a political middle region between East and West. The significance of this position is manifest when it is recalled that this section is the child of the East and the mother of the Populistic West.

The occupation of the Western prairies was determined by forces similar to those which settled the Old Northwest. In the decade before the war, Minnesota succeeded to the place held by Wisconsin as the Mecca of settlers in the prior decade. To Wisconsin and New York she owes the largest proportion of her native settlers born outside of the State. Kansas and Nebraska were settled most rapidly in the decade following the war, and had a large proportion of soldiers in their American immigrants. Illinois and Ohio together furnished about one third of the native settlers of these States, but the element coming from Southern States was stronger in Kansas than in Nebraska. Both these States have an exceptionally large proportion of native whites as compared with their neighbors among the prairie States. Kansas, for example, has a percentage of persons of foreign parentage to total population of about twenty-six, while Nebraska has about forty-two, Iowa forty-three, South Dakota sixty, Wisconsin seventy-three, Minnesota seventy-five, and North Dakota seventy-nine. North Dakota’s development was greatest in the decade prior to 1890. Her native stock came in largest numbers from Wisconsin, with New York, Minnesota, and Iowa next in order. The growth of South Dakota occupied the two decades prior to the last census, and she has recruited her native element from Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and New York. In consequence of the migration from the States of the Old Northwest to the virgin soils of these prairie States many counties in the parent States show a considerable decline in growth in the last census decade. There is significance in the fact that, with the exception of Iowa, these prairie States, the colonies of the Old Northwest, gave Bryan votes in the last election in the ratio of their proportion of persons of native parentage. North Dakota, with the heaviest foreign element, was carried for McKinley, while South Dakota, with a much smaller foreign vote, went for Bryan. Kansas and Nebraska rank with Ohio in their native percentage, and they were the centre of prairie Populism. Of course there were other important local economic and political explanations for this ratio, but it seems to have a basis of real meaning. Certain it is that the leaders of the silver movement came from the native element furnished by the Old Northwest. The original Populists in the Kansas legislature of 1891 were born in different States as follows: in Ohio, twelve ; Indiana, six ; Illinois, five ; New York, four ; Pennsylvania, two ; Connecticut, Vermont, and Maine, one each, — making a total, for the Northern current, of thirty-two. Of the remaining eighteen, thirteen were from the South, and one each from Kansas, Missouri, California, England and Ireland. Nearly all were Methodists and former Republicans.1

Looking at the silver movement more largely, we find that of the Kansas delegation in the Fifty-Fourth Congress, one was born in Kansas, and the rest in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maine. All of the Nebraska delegation in the House came from the Old Northwest or from Iowa. The biographies of the two Representatives from the State of Washington tell an interesting story. These men came as children to the pine woods of Wisconsin, took up public lands, and worked on the farm and in the pineries. One passed on to a homestead in Nebraska before settling in Washington. Thus they kept one stage ahead of the social transformations of the West. This is the usual training of the Western politicians. If the reader would see a picture of the representative Kansan Populist, let him examine the family portraits of the Ohio farmer in the middle of this century.

In a word, the Populist is the American farmer who has kept in advance of the economic and social transformations that have overtaken those who remained behind. While, doubtless, investigation into the ancestry of the Populists and silver men who came to the prairies from the Old Northwest would show some proportion of Southern origin, yet the centre of discontent seems to have been among the men of the New England and western New York current. If New England looks with care at these men, she may recognize in them the familiar lineaments of the embattled farmers who fired the shot heard round the world. The continuous advance of this pioneer stock from New England has preserved for us the older type of the pioneer of frontier New England. I do not overlook the powerful transforming influences of the wilderness operating on this stock ever since it left the earlier frontier farms to follow up the valleys of western Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, into western New York, into Ohio, into Iowa, and out to the arid plains of western Kansas and Nebraska ; nor do I overlook the peculiar industrial conditions of the prairie States. But I desire to insist upon the other truth, also, that these westward immigrants, keeping for generations in advance of the transforming industrial and social forces that have wrought so vast a revolution in the older regions of the East which they left, could not but preserve important aspects of the older farmer type. In the arid West these pioneers have halted and have turned to perceive an altered nation and changed social ideals. They see the sharp contrast between their traditional idea of America, as the land of opportunity, the land of the self-made man, free from class distinctions and from the power of wealth, and the existing America, so unlike the earlier ideal. If we follow back the line of march of the Puritan farmer, we shall see how responsive he has always been to isms, and how persistently he has resisted encroachments on his ideals of individual opportunity and democracy. He is the prophet of the “higher law” in “bleeding Kansas” before the Civil War. He is the prohibitionist of Iowa and Wisconsin, crying out against German customs as an invasion of his traditional ideals. He is the granger of Wisconsin, passing restrictive railroad legislation. He is the abolitionist, the anti-mason, the Millerite, the woman suffragist, the Spiritualist, the adherent of Joseph Smith, of western New York. Follow him to his New England home in the days of Shays’s rebellion, paper money, stay and tender laws, and land banks. The radicals among these New England farmers hated lawyers and capitalists. “I would not trust them,” said Abraham White, in the ratification convention of Massachusetts, in 1788, “though every one of them should be a Moses. " “ These lawyers,” cried Amos Singletary, “ and men of learning and moneyed men that talk so finely and gloss over matters so smoothly to make us poor illiterate people swallow the pill, expect to get into Congress themselves ! They mean to get all the money into their hands, and then they will swallow up all us little folk, like the Leviathan, Mr. President; yea, just as the whale swallowed up Jonah.”

If the voice of Mary Ellen Lease sounds raucous to the New England man to-day, while it is sweet music in the ears of the Kansas farmer, let him ponder the utterances of these frontier farmers in the days of the Revolution ; and if he is still doubtful of this spiritual kinship, let him read the words of the levelers and sectaries of Cromwell’s army.

The story of the political leaders who remained in the place of their birth and shared its economic changes differs from the story of those who by moving to the West continued on a new area the old social type. In the throng of ScotchIrish pioneers that entered the uplands of the Carolinas in the second quarter of the eighteenth century were the ancestors of Calhoun and of Andrew Jackson. Remaining in this region, Calhoun shared the transformations of the South Carolina interior. He saw it change from the area of the pioneer farmers to an area of great planters raising cotton by slave labor. This explains the transformation of the nationalist and protectionist Calhoun of 1816 into the statesovereignty and free - trade Calhoun. Jackson, on the other hand, left the region while it was still a frontier, shared the frontier life of Tennessee, and reflected the democracy and nationalism of his people. Henry Clay lived long enough in the kindred State of Kentucky to see it pass from a frontier to a settled community, and his views on slavery reflected the transitional history of that State. Lincoln, on the other hand, born in Kentucky in 1809, while the State was still under frontier conditions, migrated in 1816 to Indiana, and in 1830 to Illinois. The pioneer influences of his community did much to shape his life, and the development of the raw frontiersman into the statesman was not unlike the development of his own State. Political leaders who experienced the later growth of the Northwest, like Garfield, Hayes, Harrison, and McKinley, show clearly the continued transformations of the section. But in the days when the Northwest was still in the gristle, she sent her sons into the newer West to continue the views of life and the policies of the half-frontier area they had left. And to-day, the Northwest, standing between her ancestral connections in the East and her children in the West, partly like the East, partly like the West, finds herself in a position strangely like that in the days of the slavery struggle, when her origins presented to her a “ divided duty.” But these issues are not put with the same imperious “ Which ? ” as were the issues of freedom or slavery.

Looking at the Northwest as a whole, one sees that, in the character of its industries and in the elements of its population, it is identified on the east with the zone of States including the middle region and New England. Cotton culture and the negro make a clear line of division between the Old Northwest and the South. And yet in important historical ideals — in the movement of expansion, in the persistence of agricultural interests, in impulsiveness, in imperialistic ways of looking at the American destiny, in hero-worship, in the newness of its present social structure — the Old Northwest has much in common with the South and the Far West.

Behind her is the old pioneer past of simple democratic conditions, and freedom of opportunity for all men. Before her is a superb industrial development, the brilliancy of success as evinced in a vast population, aggregate wealth, and sectional power.

Frederick J. Turner.

  1. For this information I am indebted to Professor F. W. Blackmar, of the University of Kansas.