Americana: Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier

This patriot needs little introduction because he is the one of the best known historical figure and folk hero in American history …

Davy Crockett_03David “Davy” Crockett [August 17th 1786 – March 6th 1836] was a frontiersman, soldier and politician. He was dubbed the King of the Wild Frontier and legendary tales followed after his death and even during his lifetime. He was a representative for the state of Tennessee in the US House of Representatives, served in the Texas Revolution and died at the Battle of the Alamo.

Growing up in the eastern part of Tennessee, he gained a reputation for storytelling and his hunting prowess. After being commissioned as a colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, Tennessee, he was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821. In 1826, Crockett was elected to the US Congress, where he strongly opposed many policies of popular President Andrew Jackson, especially the Indian Removal Act, which caused his defeat in the 1834 elections. Angered he departed to Texas a Mexican governed state and in early 1836, he became a part of the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March of 1836. He was a living legend to Americans that became popularized in tales in almanacs and subject material for stage plays.

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Americana: Adams-Otis Treaty


The Adams-Otis Treaty of 1819 is also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, which solved two problems. Citizens of Georgia wanted the United States to purchase eastern Florida from Spain because Seminole natives frequently raided the state and then retreated to the Spanish territory. Spain wanted to establish the boundary between Mexico and the Louisiana Purchase before too many American settlers moved into the area.

John Quincy Adams, then the secretary of state for President James Monroe, negotiated the treaty with Luis de Onis of Spain. Onis was willing to sell eastern Florida due to Spain’s preoccupation with independence movements and Spain’s other colonial issues. John Q. Adams secured a boundary between the Louisiana Purchase lands and the Texas territory that was favorable to the interests of the United States; despite Luis de Onis’ initial insistence that Spain retain rights to much of the land involved. The boundary was set at the western bank of the Sabine, Red and Arkansas rivers to the Continental Divide. From that point the boundary line followed the 42nd parallel west to the Pacific Ocean. Spain also gave up all claims on the Oregon territory.

The purchase of Florida for $5 million, which was paid directly to citizens with claims against the Spanish government, assured the treaty’s popularity in the United States, but John Q. Adams establishing the western boundary as his best accomplishment. The treaty was signed and ratified in 1821.

Americana: John Adams


John Adams
was a lawyer, revolutionary theorist and leader, diplomat, first vice president, and second president of the United States. He was raised on
a farm in Braintree (later renamed Quincy), Massachusetts and was the first in his family to attend college at Harvard, as well as the first
professional person as a lawyer.

In 1765, John Adams lived part of the time in Boston with his wife, Abigail Adams, and their children, opposing British revenue measures and their enforcement by the military. Yet he was considered a moderate because he never joined in demonstrations or publishing inflammatory rhetoric in the manner of his cousin Samuel Adams or a friend and fellow lawyer, James Otis.

Americana: Henry Adams


(1838-1918). Henry Adams was an historian and writer, a fourth generation member of one of America’s most distinguished families. Henry Adams loved history and lived it, which became an influence on his long life. Childhood visits to his grandfather, John Quincy Adams, in the White House and family tales of great-grand parents, John and Abigail Adams allowed him to personalize facts and dates he studied as history in school. During the Civil War he witnessed history in the making as secretary to his father, Charles Francis Adams, minister to the Court of St. James.

Henry Adams was a master of English prose, and instead of becoming a physical part of history he chose to write about it. His classic account of his school years was written in a book entitled The Education of Henry Adams, privately printed in 1907 and published in 1918. Today it remains a popular historic work that includes letters, essays and Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres that was privately printed in 1904 and published in 1913. He also wrote novels: Democracy in 1880 and Esther in 1884.

Americana: Ableman versus Booth


Ableman vs. Booth was a Supreme Court case that occurred in 1859 that maintained the supremacy of federal law and federal courts over the state courts and governments; brought about by the anger of abolitionists over the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and the Dredd Scott decision – all over the issue of slavery, that should not have been continued after the Constitution of the United States was written and approved of and the United States of America established as a sovereign country.

Background: Editor of an abolitionist publication, Sherman M. Booth, was arrested in 1854 for violating the Fugitive Slave Act when he helped incite a mob to rescue a black fugitive from Wisconsin federal marshal, Stephen V. R. Ableman. Booth appealed to the state supreme court, which ruled the federal law unconstitutional and ordered Booth’s release. When Mr. Ableman turned to
the federal courts, the Wisconsin Supreme Court affirmed Booth’s release and again declared the Fugitive Act of 1850 unconstitutional.
According to Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in his opinion, state courts had no power to review or interfere with federal laws. Chief Justice Taney was involved in the Dred Scott Decision of 1848.
The Supreme Court was divided at the time over the issue of slavery being legal in a republic under a democratic form of
government whose constitution, the law of the nation, has the following phrase in its introduction: …all men are created equal.

Americana: Abolitionist Movement

The abolitionist movement occurred from the 1830s until 1870, five years after the American Civil War or the War Between the States.
The object was to achieve emancipation of all slaves and ending racial discrimination and segregation. There were those who were against slavery, but prejudiced against the African immigrant who came here by force, but abolitionists extended their cause to include an acceptance of freed slaves into the American society as equal citizens.
The abolitionists were against western expansion of slavery in the newly formed states there, as well as territories not yet states of the Union. These issues led to the Civil War as part of the argument over state rights and sovereignty between those state governments and the federal government of the United States.

Americana: Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams was a writer and First Lady whose talent as a correspondent had won her a high regard in American letters. Born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, she was a descendant of many well-known New England families. Self educated, she read widely and studied the French language. In 1764, at the age of nineteen, she married a young lawyer by the name of John Adams, and moved to his home in Braintree, where she stayed through the Revolution. There she raised four children, Abigail, John Quincy, Charles, and Thomas Boylston. Another child died in infancy.
In the 1770s, John Adams became involved in revolutionary politics. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congresses and in other wartime posts. Frequently absent, Abigail ran the household and family farm, engaged in business enterprises, purchased land, and dealt with tenants. In 1784, she joined John in Europe, where he was the American minister to Great Britain. During his terms as vice president and president (1789-1801), she lived in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, and thereafter in Quincy, Massachusetts.
Abigail Adams demonstrated her calling as a correspondent during her courtship in the 1760s with John, but more so during wartime separation from her husband. For over forty years, she wrote letters to him and to her children, relatives, and friends. As a writer she chose the form of writing that became popular to 18th century women when publication was rarely an option. Letter writing was an alternative to defining oneself and a way of expression to society. Abigail was an avid reader that spanned several subjects: literature, history, and political philosophy. Despite her phonetic spelling and faulty grammar, she perfected her style. Continue reading