« AnteriorContinuar »
THE GOVERNMENTAL INSTRUCTOR.
EXTENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
If you look at a map of North America, you will see a large country called The United States, extending across the continent from East to West. It is bounded on the North by the Russian Possessions and British America, on the East by the Atlantic Ocean, on the South by the Gulf of Mexico, Texas, and Mexico, and on the West by the Pacific Ocean.
This vast tract of land is divided into twenty-eight States, six Territories and one District.
The names of the States are as followsMaine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Michigan, Florida, Texas,
How are the United States bounded?
The names of the Territories, are Wisconsin, Iowa,
Missouri, Oregon, Indian.
Texas, The name of the District is Columbia. These States and Territories and this District, all together, form one Government, called THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
It is the object of this work to explain to the young reader the origin and nature of this Government ; its several departments, and the mode of its operation.
DISCOVERIES. Let us begin then at the beginning. Let us go back to that period when the whole Western Hemisphere was inhabited only by Indians. And let us trace our title to this land down to the
time. On the twelfth of October, in the year 1492, Christopher Columbus, the Great Navigator, discovered the New World. He was in the employment of Ferdinand and Isabella, the King and Queen of Spain ; the Queen proposed to pledge her jewels to raise the necessary funds to aid Columbus. Her generous offer, however, was not accepted. St. Angel, who was re
What are the names of the territories ?
ceiver of the church revenues of Arragon, promised to advance the necessary sum as a loan from his official treasury.
But poor Columbus previous to his death suffered many privations. He was chained and imprisoned, cast off by Ferdinand after the death of Queen Isabella, and finally died at Genoa on the 20th of May, 1506, being about 70 years of age. His last words were, “Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”
At that time it was a principle acknowledged by all the European powers, that every nation was entitled to claim and use as its own, all lands of which it was the first discoverer. And the right by which they claimed such lands was called the right of discovery.
Lands, inhabited by savage and barbarous people, were considered uninhabited, and possession was taken accordingly, without any regard to the rights of the occupiers. Hence, the first title of Spain to lands in the New World, was by right of discovery. She afterwards conquered other portions of the continent, which she continued for a long time to hold by right of conquest.
The same spirit of bold enterprise that led Columbus across the untried Atlantic, brought after him other daring adventurers. Among these were two Venetians, JOHN CABOT, and his son SEBASTIAN,
When did Columbus die?
employed by the English Government, who, on the 14th of June, 1497, discovered the coast of Labrador, and sailed along the shore of the continent as far as Florida. Hence England claimed a large portion of what is now the United States and Canada, by right of discovery.
France, Spain, and Portugal, also clairned part of the same tract by right of discovery. But England finally drove away all her competitors, and claimed and held the whole as her own. She still holds Canada, having given up all claim to that part of the United States which was formerly the Thirteen Colonies of Great Britain, by her Treaty of September 3d, A.D., 1783, in which she acknowledged the Independence of the United States of America. Hence, the title of the Thirteen original States to the lands they claimed, was derived through England.
CONQUESTS OF SPAIN.
Soon after the discovery of the continent great numbers of military adventurers came
over from Spain; some of them seeking to acquire fortunes, and others ambitious to win fame.
The ancient Mexican Empire tottered and fell be
By whom were the Cabots employed ?
fore the superior intelligence and power of these invaders, led on by the reckless Cortes.
Guatemozin, the last of her monarchs, died on the gallows, by the command of Cortes, and as his body was suspended the birds of the air picked the flesh from his bones.
But the treasury of Montezuma, and all the wealth of the Mexican Empire was not sufficient to satisfy the Spaniards' love of gold.
The report of the wealth of the Incas came to their ears, and a Spanish army, headed by the daring Pizarro, was soon on its march towards Peru. The Peruvian Empire fell before the victorious arms of the Spaniards, and Atahaulpa, the last of the Incas, was murdered in cold blood, and the treasures of the Empire, the accumulation of centuries, were seized by the avaricious invaders.
But Spain, having swallowed up the wealth of two vast Empires, still " asked for more.” Consequently a third expedition was fitted out in 1539, under the command of Hernando De Soto, for the conquest of a supposed Empire called El Dorado, which they imagined to exist somewhere within the present limits of the United States. But no gilded cities awaited
Who led the Spaniards ?