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H. E. Marshall

Adams—The Tariff of Abominations

I N 1825 Monroe's term of office came to an end and John Quincy Adams became President. He was the son of John Adams who had been second President, and he had been Secretary of State to Monroe. It was said, indeed, that it was really he who originated the famous Doctrine which came to be called by Monroe's name.

He was an honest man and a statesman. He refused to give offices to his friends just because they were his friends, and he refused to turn men out of office simply because they did not agree with him in politics. He wanted to do what was right and just. But he did it from a cold sense of duty. So no one liked him very much. Both House and Senate were against him, and he was not able to do all he would have done for his country.

Adams wanted to do a great deal towards improving the country. He wanted canals to be cut. And as the steam engine had just been discovered, he was eager to have railroads and bridges. But Congress would not help him.

Still, much was done in this direction. Several canals were cut; railroads began to be built, and the rivers were covered with steamboats.

Manufacturers also began to flourish. For during the 1812 war it had been very difficult to get manufactured goods from foreign countries. So Americans had begun to make these things for themselves.

And after the war was over, they went on manufacturing them. At length people began to be proud of using only American made things. And when Adams was inaugurated everything he wore had been manufactured in the States.

The factories were for the most part in the North, and soon the Northerners began to clamour for duties on imported goods. They wanted to keep out foreign goods, or at least make them so dear that it would pay people to buy American made goods.

But the people in the South who did not manufacture things themselves wanted the duties to be kept low. However the manufacturers won the day, and twice during Adams' presidency bills were passed, by which the tariff was made higher. The second bill made the duties so high that many people were very angry and called it the "tariff of abominations." In the South, indeed many people were so angry that they swore never to buy anything from the North until the tariff was made lower. Thus once again North and South were pulling different ways.

Adams would willingly have been President for a second term. But in spite of his honesty and his upright dealings no one liked him. So he was not re-elected.

When he ceased to be President, however, he did not cease to take an interest in politics, and for many years after he was a member of Congress, where he did good service to his country.