| 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 |
GRANT—A PEACEFUL VICTORY
 IN 1869 General Grant, who had made such a great name for himself
during the Civil War, became President. Grant was a brave and
honest soldier. He knew little however about politics. But now that
Lincoln was gone the people loved him better than any other man.
So he became President.
His was a simple trusting soul. He found it hard to believe evil
of any one, and he was easily misled by men who sought not their
country's good, but their own gain. So mistakes were made during
his Presidency. But these may be forgotten while men must always
remember his greatness as a soldier, and his nobleness as a victor.
He helped to bring peace to his country, and like his great leader
he tried after war was past to bind up the nation's wounds.
When Grant came into power the echoes of the great war were still
heard. The South had not yet returned into peaceful union with the
North, and there was an unsettled quarrel with Britain. The quarrel
arose in this way. During the Civil War the British had allowed the
Confederates to build ships in Britain; these ships had afterwards
sailed out from British ports, and had done a great deal of damage
to Union shipping.
The British had declared themselves neutral. That is, they had
declared that they would take neither one side nor the other. But,
said the Americans, in allowing
Con-  federate ships to be built in
Britain, the British had taken the Confederate side, and had committed
a breach of neutrality. And for the damage done to their ships the
Americans now claimed recompense from the British Government. The
ship which had done the most damage was called
the Alabama and from
this the claims made by America were called the Alabama Claims.
At first, however, the British refused to consider the claims at
all. For years letters went to and fro between the two governments,
and as the British still refused to settle the matter, feeling in
America began to run high.
But at length the British consented to talk the matter over, and
a commission of five British and five Americans met at Washington.
After sitting for two months this commission formed what is known
as the Washington Treaty. By this Treaty it was arranged that
the Alabama Claims should be decided by arbitration. A Court of
Arbitration was to be formed of five men; and of this court the
President of the United States, the Queen of England, the King of
Italy, the President of Switzerland, and the Emperor of Brazil,
were each to choose a member.
The men chosen by these rulers met at Geneva in Switzerland,
and after discussing the matter for a long time they decided that
Britain had been to blame, and must pay the United States fifteen
million five hundred thousand dollars. Thus the matter was settled
in a peaceful way. Fifty years before, a like quarrel might have
led to war between the two countries. Even at this time, with less
wise leadership on either side, it might have come to war. But war
was avoided and a great victory for peace was won.
Besides the Alabama Claims the last dispute about boundaries between
the United States and Canada was settled at this time. This also
was settled by arbitration, the new-made German Emperor being chosen
 "This," said President Grant, "leaves us for the first
time in the history of the United States as a nation, without a question
of disputed boundary between our territory and the possessions of
Grant was twice chosen as President and it was during his second
term that Colorado was admitted to the Union as the thirty-eighth
state. The new state was formed partly out of the Mexican Concession,
partly out of the Louisiana Purchase, and was named after the
great river Colorado, two branches of which flow through it. It
was admitted as a state in August, 1876.
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