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The Winning of the West, Volume Three The Founding of the Trans-Alleghany Commonwealths, 1784-1790 By Theodore Roosevelt Characters: 2456

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED, WITH HIS PERMISSION

TO

FRANCIS PARKMAN

TO WHOM AMERICANS WHO FEEL A PRIDE IN THE PIONEER HISTORY OF THEIR COUNTRY ARE SO GREATLY INDEBTED

PREFACE TO THIRD VOLUME.

The material used herein is that mentioned in the preface to the first volume, save that I have also drawn freely on the Draper Manuscripts, in the Library of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, at Madison. For the privilege of examining these valuable manuscripts I am indebted to the generous courtesy of the State Librarian, Mr. Reuben Gold Thwaites; I take this opportunity of extending to him my hearty thanks.

The period covered in this volume includes the seven years immediately succeeding the close of the Revolutionary War. It was during these seven years that the Constitution was adopted, and actually went into effect; an event if possible even more momentous for the West than the East. The time was one of vital importance to the whole nation; alike to the people of the inland frontier and to those of the seaboard. The course of events during these years determined whether we should become a mighty nation, or a mere snarl of weak and quarrelsome little commonwealths, with a history as bloody and

meaningless as that of the Spanish-American states.

At the close of the Revolution the West was peopled by a few thousand settlers, knit by but the slenderest ties to the Federal Government. A remarkable inflow of population followed. The warfare with the Indians, and the quarrels with the British and Spaniards over boundary questions, reached no decided issue. But the rifle-bearing freemen who founded their little republics on the western waters gradually solved the question of combining personal liberty with national union. For years there was much wavering. There were violent separatist movements, and attempts to establish complete independence of the eastern States. There were corrupt conspiracies between some of the western leaders and various high Spanish officials, to bring about a disruption of the Confederation. The extraordinary little backwoods state of Franklin began and ended a career unique in our annals. But the current, though eddying and sluggish, set towards Union. By 1790 a firm government had been established west of the mountains, and the trans-Alleghany commonwealths had become parts of the Federal Union.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT.

SAGAMORE HILL, LONG ISLAND, October, 1894.

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