| 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 |
MADISON—THE SHOOTING STAR AND THE PROPHET
 JEFFERSON was twice chosen President. He might, had he wished,
have been elected a third time. But like Washington he refused he
refused to stand. And as those two great presidents refused to be
elected a third time it has become a kind of unwritten law in the
United States that no man shall be president longer than eight
The next president to be elected was James Madison, who had
been Jefferson's secretary and friend. He was a little man always
carefully and elegantly dressed. He was kindly natured and learned,
and, like Jefferson, he loved peace. He soon, however, found himself
and his country at war.
Ever since the Indians had been defeated by General Wayne they had
been at peace. But now they again became restless. It was for the
old cause. They saw the white people spreading more and more over
their land, they saw themselves being driven further and further from
their hunting grounds, and their sleeping hatred of the Pale-faces
And now a great chief rose to power among the Indians. He was called
Tecumseh or Shooting Star. He was tall, straight and handsome, a
great warrior and splendid speaker.
Tecumseh's desire was to unite all the Indians into one great
nation, and drive the Pale-faces out of the land. In this he was
joined by his brother Tenskwatawa or the Open Door. He took this
name because, he said, he was
 the Open Door through which all might
learn of the Great Spirit. He soon came to be looked upon as a very
great Medicine Man and prophet, and is generally called the Prophet.
Much that the Prophet taught to the people was good. He told them
that they ought to give up fighting each other, and join together
into one nation, that they ought to till the ground and sow corn;
and above all that they should have nothing to do with "fire water."
"It is not made for you," he said, "but for the white people who
alone know how to use it. It is the cause of all the mischief which
the Indians suffer."
The Prophet also told the Indians that they had no right to sell
their land, for the Great Spirit had given it to them. And so great
was the Prophet's influence that he was able to build a town where
the Indians lived peacefully tilling the ground, and where no "fire
water" was drunk.
Now about this time General Harrison, the Governor of the Territory
of Indiana, wanted more land. So he made a treaty with some
of the Indians and persuaded them to sign away their lands to him.
When Tecumseh heard of it he was very angry. He declared that the
treaty was no treaty, and that no land could be given to the white
people unless all the tribes agreed to it.
The Governor tried to reason with Tecumseh, but it was of no avail.
And as time went on it was more and more plain that the Indians
were preparing for war.
Tecumseh travelled about rousing tribe after tribe. "Let the white
race perish," he cried. "They seize our land, they trample on our
dead. Back! whence they came upon a trail of blood they must be
driven! Back! back into the great water whose accursed waves brought
them to our shores! Burn their dwellings! Destroy their stock!
Slay their wives and children! To the Redman belongs the country
and the Pale-face must never enjoy it. War now!
 War for ever! War
upon the living. War upon the dead. Dig their very corpses from
their graves. Our country must give no rest to a white man's bones.
All the tribes of the North are dancing the war dance."
After speeches like these there could be little doubt left that
Tecumseh meant to begin a great war as soon as he was ready. And
as time went on the settlers began to be more and more anxious, for
murders became frequent, horses and cattle were stolen, and there
seemed no safety anywhere.
The Governor sent messages to the various tribes saying that these
murders and thefts must cease, and telling them that if they raised
the tomahawk against their white fathers they need expect no mercy.
The Prophet sent back a message of peace. But the outrages still
went on, and through friendly Indians the Governor learned that
the Prophet was constantly urging the Indians to war.
So the Governor determined to give him war, and with nearly a thousand
men he marched to Tippecanoe, the Prophet's village. Tecumseh was
not there at the time, but as the Governor drew near the Prophet
sent him a message saying that they meant nothing but peace, and
asking for a council next day.
To this General Harrison agreed. But well knowing the treachery of
the Indians he would not allow his men to disarm, and they slept
that night fully dressed, and with their arms beside them ready
for an attack.
The Governor's fears were well founded. For the day had not yet
dawned when suddenly a shot was heard, and a frightful Indian yell
broke the stillness.
In a minute every man was on his feet, and none too soon, for the
Indians were upon them. There was a desperate fight in the grey
light of dawn. The Indians fought more fiercely than ever before,
and while the battle raged the
 Prophet stood on a hill near, chanting
a war song, and urging his men on.
Every now and again messengers came to him with news of the battle.
And when he was told that his braves were falling fast before the
guns of the white men he bade them still fight on.
"The Great Spirit will give us victory," he said; "the Pale-faces
But the Pale-faces did not flee. And when daylight came they charged
the Indians, and scattered them in flight. They fled to the forest,
leaving the town deserted. So the Americans burned it, and marched
When Tecumseh heard of this battle he was so angry that he seized
his brother by the hair of his head and shook him till his teeth
rattled. For the Prophet had begun to fight before his plans were
complete, and instead of being victorious had been defeated. And
Tecumseh felt that now he would never be able to unite all the
tribes into one great nation as he had dreamed of doing. The braves
too were angry with the Prophet because he had not led them to
victory as he had sworn to do. They ceased to believe in him, and
after the battle of Tippecanoe the Prophet lost his power over the
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