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   Chapter 136 1826).

Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 2926

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: Adam's cabinet.]

The new President was handicapped from the beginning of his administration by his inability to make up a strong cabinet. Clay was eager and venturesome; the other members, except Wirt, were not men of great force. Adams manfully withstood the pressure put upon him to remove the adherents of Crawford and of Jackson in the public service; a high-minded and magnanimous man, he was determined that his administration should not depend upon the political services of office-holders.

[Sidenote: Proposed Spanish-American Congress.]

In December, 1824, Gen. Simon Bolivar had issued invitations to the Spanish American governments to send delegates to a Congress at Panama, and the invitation was later extended to the United States. One of the questions to be discussed was "resistance or opposition to the interference of any neutral nation" (§ 129). Another was "the manner in which the colonization of European Powers on the American continent shall be resisted." The evident purpose of the proposed meeting was to secure some kind of joint agreement that the Monroe Doctrine should be enforced. In such a meeting the United States might naturally expect to have a preponderating influence; and Clay accepted the invitation a few days before the first Congress under Adams's administration assembled.

[Sidenote: Objections to the Congress.]

The proposition was taking, and it was undoubtedly in line with the policy of th

e preceding administration. Nevertheless it was resolved by the opponents of Adams to make a stand against it, and it was not until March 14, 1826, that the nominations of the envoys were confirmed by the Senate. The first objection to the scheme was that it would commit the United States to a military defence of its neighbors. To this, Adams replied that he intended only an "agreement between all the parties represented at the meeting, that each will guard by its own means against the establishment of any future European colony within its borders." Among the powers invited to send delegates was Hayti, a republic of revolted slaves as yet unrecognized by the United States government. To Southern statesmen, association with Hayti meant an encouragement to slave-insurrection in the United States.

[Sidenote: Connection with Monroe Doctrine.]

The controversy was now transferred to the House, where an informal resolution was passed that the United States "ought not to become parties … to any joint declaration for the purpose of preventing the interference of any of the European powers." The necessary appropriations were with difficulty secured, and the envoys despatched Before they reached Panama the Congress had adjourned, and it never reassembled. The instability of the Spanish-American governments was such that any joint agreement must have obliged the United States to assume great responsibilities, without any corresponding advantage.

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