| This Country of Ours|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|Stories from the history of the United States beginning with a full account of exploration and settlement and ending with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. The 99 chapters are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution. Ages 10-14 |
 IN 1885 Arthur's term of office came to an end, and Grover Cleveland
became President. He was the son of a clergyman, and it was intended
that he should have a college education. But his father died when
he was only sixteen, and he had to begin at once to earn his own
Grover Cleveland, however, determined to be a lawyer, and with
twenty-five dollars in his pocket he set out from home to seek his
fortune. He did two or three odd jobs by the way, but soon got a
place as clerk in a lawyer's office in Buffalo.
His foot was thus on the first rung of the ladder which he wished
to climb. And he climbed steadily, until twenty-six years later
he was chosen Mayor of Buffalo. As Mayor he soon made a name for
himself by his fearless honesty and businesslike ways. He would not
permit unlawful or unwise spending of public money, and he stopped
so many extravagant acts of the council that he became known as the
"Veto Mayor," and he saved the town taxpayers thousands of dollars
Next he became Governor of New York State. As Governor he continued
his same fearless path, vetoing everything which he considered
dishonest or in any way harmful.
And as President, Cleveland was just as fearless and honest as
before. During the four years of his presidency he used his power
of veto more than three hundred times.
 As one would expect from such a man Cleveland stood firm on the
question of civil service reform. "The people pay for the government,"
he said, "and it is only right that government work should be well
done. Posts should be given to those who are fit to fill them, and
not merely to those who have friends to push them into notice."
President Cleveland also tried to get the tariffs on imported goods
reduced. He discovered that there was more money in the treasury
than the country required. During the war, duties had been made
high because the Government required a great deal of money. But
after the war was over, and there was no need for so much money
these high duties had still been kept on. The consequence was that
millions of dollars were being heaped up in the Treasury, and were
lying idle. The president therefore thought that the tariffs should
be reduced, and he said so. But there were so many people in the
country who thought that a high tariff was good that, when in the
next presidency, a new tariff bill was introduced, the duties were
made higher than ever.
In 1889 President Cleveland's presidency came to an end, and
Benjamin Harrison became President. He was the grandson of that
William Henry Harrison who died after he had been President for a
During President Harrison's term of office six new states were
admitted into the Union. The two first of these were North and
South Dakota, the name in Indian meaning "allies." It was the name
the allied North-Western tribes gave themselves. But their neighbours
called them Nadowaysioux, which means "enemies." The white people,
however, shortened it to Sioux, and North Dakota is sometimes called
the Sioux State.
Both North and South Dakota were formed out of the Louisiana Purchase.
In 1861 they had been organised as
 the territory of Dakota.
Seventeen years or so later they were divided into North and South
Dakota and were admitted as states in November, 1889.
Two or three days later Montana was admitted. This state was formed
partly out of the Louisiana Purchase, and partly out of the Oregon
country. The Rocky Mountains cross the state, and its name comes
from a Spanish word meaning "mountainous."
After Lewis and Clark explored the country many fur traders were
attracted to it. But it was not until gold was discovered there
that settlers came in large numbers. In spite of terrible trouble
with the Indians, and much war and bloodshed, year by year the
settlers increased, and in 1889 the territory was admitted as a
A few days after Montana the State of Washington was admitted to
the Union. It was part of the Oregon country, and was of course
named after the great "Father of his country," George Washington.
In the following year Idaho became a state. Its name is Indian,
meaning "gem of the mountains." This state, like Washington, was
formed out of the Oregon country. The first white men who are known
to have passed through it were Lewis and Clark. But, as in Montana,
it was not until gold was discovered that settlers in any great
numbers were attracted there. One very interesting thing about Idaho
is that it was the second state to introduce women's suffrage. That
is, women within the state have the same right of voting as men.
But the first state to introduce women's suffrage was Wyoming,
which was admitted to the Union a few days after Idaho. This state
was formed out of parts of all three of the great territories
which had been added to the United States. The east was part of
the Louisiana Purchase, the west was part of the
 south part of the Mexican cession. It has much fine pasture
land and its Indian name means "broad valley."
In 1893 Harrison's term of office came to an end, and for the second
time Grover Cleveland was elected President. This is the only time
in the history of the United States that an ex-President has again
come to office after an interval of years.
Four hundred years had now passed since Columbus discovered America,
and it was decided to celebrate the occasion by holding a great
World's Fair at Chicago. It was not possible, however, to get
everything ready in time to hold the celebration in 1892, which was
the actual anniversary, so the exhibition was opened the following
There had been other exhibitions in America of the same kind, but
none so splendid as the Columbian Fair. It was fitting that it
should be splendid, as it commemorated the first act in the life of
a great nation. In these four hundred years what wonders had been
performed! Since Columbus first showed the way across the Sea of
Darkness millions had followed in his track, and the vast wilderness
of the unknown continent had been people from shore to shore.
Millions of people from all over the world came to visit the White
city as it came to be called; and men of every nation wandered
through its stately halls, and among its fair lawns and gardens
where things of art and beauty were gathered from every clime.
But most interesting of all were the exhibits which showed the
progress that had been made in these four hundred years.
There one might see copies of the frail little vessels in which
Columbus braved the unknown horrors of the Sea
 of Darkness, as well
as models of the ocean going leviathans of to-day.
During Cleveland's second term of office still another state entered
the Union. This was Utah, the state founded by the Mormons. Polygamy
being forbidden, it was admitted in 1896 as the forty-fifth state.
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