Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

The Southern States of America
Chapter IV - Missouri since the war of Secession, 1865 - 1909


Condition, in 1865.

Missouri is a central state. Classified as southern because its dominant citizenship in the early days was from south of the Ohio River, bringing slavery to the state, Missouri has become in later years central in social characteristics as it has always been in situation. Since the close of the "War of Secession Missouri has found herself. The bitterness of border strife has disappeared. The rancor aroused by the war is no more. Immigration has come from all sections, and the new Missouri, builded upon the old, partakes of the qualities of all sections. Perhaps in no state is such admixture of south and north, west and east, as in the Missouri that has come to be since the war.

During the War of Secession Missouri sent to Northern armies over 100,000 men and to Southern armies over 50,000 men, a larger number in proportion to population than any other state. Missouri kept her quota full without draft or forced enlistment in both armies, a record unequaled. The state's citizenship was of fighting stock. When the war ended, the same energy shown in warfare was transferred to soberer pursuits. The state had been devastated by contending troops. Everywhere schools were closed, commerce languished, fields were uncultivated. It was to the task of remaking a state that the returning soldiers addressed themselves. Slavery had been abolished by popular vote, Missouri being second only to Maryland in taking voluntarily this action. The war government had been, though extra-constitutional, strong and efficient. No scenes of disorder, no race conflicts, followed in the wake of peace. A new state constitution was framed, drastic in political provisions, requiring the so-called "Iron-clad Oath" to be taken by all suspected of sympathy with the Confederacy, but a constitution with liberal provision for education. The objectionable oath was declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, and with it disappeared the last vestige of partisan reconstructive legislation in Missouri. Liberal provision for education remained.

Industrial Progress and Growth of Population.

The industrial development of Missouri promptly began. Missouri was no longer, as in the earlier years, a frontier state. Economically it was speedily to become the most independent in the Union. It had been and was and is an agricultural state; it was now to become a state rich in opened mines, in established manufacture and in wide-spreading commerce. The extension of the railroad systems hastened development. The Missouri Pacific, the Missouri, Kansas and Texas, the Burlington, the "Wabash, the Chicago and Alton, and the St. Louis and San Francisco railroads built hundreds of miles of tracks. Towns grew where hamlets had been, and cities succeeded villages. "Here is good location for a depot," said the railway builder; and there, promptly, was a town. The towns founded by railroads were sustained by agriculture. Before the war and until the early seventies transportation was largely by water. The centre of commerce was the river town. With the coming of the locomotive the railway station platform succeeded the steamboat wharf. Missouri life had been concentrated on its great rivers and the lesser streams. The earlier settlers stayed close by the water courses. In the first two decades after the war, population pushed on to the prairies of north Missouri and to the rolling lands and mineral fields of the Southwest. Another decade and southeast Missouri, where had been the first settlements, received an influx of immigrants. Stimulation of agriculture accompanied the additional transportation facilities which the rail road gave, and the state's population grew apace. In 1860 its inhabitants numbered 1,182,012. In 1900 forty years afterward, the inhabitants of Missouri numbered 3,106,665, nearly three times as many as were shown by the Federal census taken at the opening of the war. There were seventeen inhabitants to the square mile in 1860; there were forty-five in 1900. The relative rank of Missouri in population among American states had grown from eighth to fifth.

The population growth was largely from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and states further to the eastward. Foreign immigration, chiefly German and Irish, was not large. The pioneers in Missouri had been of sturdy stock. Three gates had opened wide then toward Missouri. The Spanish came through the lower water gate in search of gold; the French through the upper water gate in quest of adventure or led by Marquette's noble missionary zeal; through the mountain gate from the eastward came the Virginians, their children of Kentucky, and in later times the Scotch-Irish. The Spanish are remembered in Missouri by an occasional name of town or river, and the French in the same wise or by some ancient family tree. The colonists from east of the Appalachians, seeking homes, were the real founders of the state. They builded homes. They constituted a brave, intelligent, patriotic citizenship. They founded a state in the wilderness and equipped it with all the machinery of government a year before the Congress of the United States could make up its mind to admit the sturdy youngster to sit full-privileged at the republic's council-table. They were of genuine pioneer stock. Some peoples will not bear transplanting; even in the wilderness others are the architects of states. Of the latter were the settlers in Missouri, hardy, dominant and daring. Missouri, a very Titan for strength, is the product of their handiwork, while every state from the Father of "Waters to the Golden Gate shows their skill in commonwealth-construction. To understand the Missouri since the war there must be understanding of the Missouri before that stressful period. The foundations were laid then broad and deep. Its people have been both house-builders and colonizers. The early Missourians had been church-going and school-encouraging. They had respect for law. No vigilance committee was needed to preserve order even in the most primitive community. In the first constitution Missourians recognized the providence of God, provided for the establishment of free schools, and planned for a state seminary of learning. One interior county, with population of a scant few hundred, gave, seventy years ago, by subscription, $117,000 for the founding of a college, a farmer, who could neither read nor write, heading the voluntary subscription list with $3,000, a gift, considering time and circumstance, more princely than that of any modern millionaire. It is not strange that, with such ancestry, with the newer population, the Missouri of to-day should have the largest revenue-producing, permanent school fund of any state, give fifteen million dollars yearly to public education, set apart one-third of the entire state revenue to the support of the public schools, have 2 per cent. more children in school than the average for the United States, more than 4 per cent. fewer illiterates, and a church bell in earshot of every citizen.

The population in recent years has had some admixture of foreign elements. This admixture has been of thrifty, easily assimilated, rather than of thriftless, unhomogeneous kind. Of the foreign-born citizens of Missouri only 7 per cent. of the total population there are 124,000 Teutons, 27,000 Irish, 14,000 Slavs. In the first state to the eastward Illinois where the foreign-born population constitutes 20 per cent. of the whole, 385,000 are Teutons, 130,000 Irish and 140,000 Slavs. Though Missouri sends many of her sons and daughters to colonize western and southwestern and northwestern states, 70 per cent. of the present population was born in Missouri, a striking commentary upon the homestead-loving character of the people. Such a population might well be expected to own its own homes. There are for 3,106,665 inhabitants 646,872 homes. Nor is the expectation contrary to the census facts. Conditions may best be shown by comparison. In homes owned free of encumbrance Missouri outranks Illinois, Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and New Jersey. Missouri outranks all neighboring states in farmhouses owned free of encumbrance. Texas, Kansas, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, each has a larger percentage of mortgage-encumbered farms than Missouri. Missourians are home-builders and home-owners. They have not outgrown the love of homestead.

The history of Missouri since the war has been a story of progress. The spirit of Missouri has been the spirit of a community conscious of its own secure position, somewhat too careless at times of the world's opinion, yet progressive withal. This spirit has found expression in the changing industrial development of Missouri. It is yet chiefly an agricultural state, but its industrial development along other lines has been large and rapid. In manufactures and in mining the advance has been notable. St. Louis is the greatest shoe-manufacturing centre in the United States. The mineral output of Missouri mainly lead and zinc and coal exceeds the mineral output of California or Colorado. Agriculture continues the chief business of its people, the base of its accumulating wealth. Outside the three great cities in Missouri, St. Louis, Kansas City and St. Joseph, only 7.6 per cent. of the state's population live in towns of over 4,000 inhabitants. Farming is the foundation of the state's fortune. Taking Jefferson City, the capital of the state, as a centre, within 250 miles are the centre of the area of farm values of the United States, the centre of the total number of farms, the centre of oat production, the centre of gross farm income, the centre of improved farm acreage, the centre of the production of the six leading cereals. The growth in population has been on the farms as well as in the cities.

St. Louis.

Missouri is rightly regarded as an agricultural state, but within its borders have grown up three cities of over 100,000 inhabitants, a larger number than in any other state in the Union, except five. St. Louis, the metropolis of Missouri and the chief city of the southwest, is the only city in the United States which by special constitutional enactment is a city without a county organization. It is indeed a free city.

The "War of Secession period was in St. Louis a time of feverish excitement and bitter political animosities. Largely Southern in its sympathies, St. Louis took place in the war history as the American city that kept its state in the Union against the will of the majority of the state's people. Following the close of the war there was a period of stagnation in St. Louis. The fever of war time had quieted and healthy growth had not begun. Within a dozen years, however, the spirit of progress was awakened and the new St. Louis, preeminent in its dominance of the southwest territory, was in the making. In 1876 the so-called "scheme and charter" was adopted, making St. Louis an independent city without county government or taxation. This has been called the birth of the new St. Louis. Certainly it is true that from this time the Missouri metropolis speedily took rank among the great cities of the Union. In 1884 the first St. Louis Exposition was held, being the beginning of the most successful permanent exposition known in American history and giving assurance of the success of the World's Fair held in St. Louis in 1904, to celebrate the centennial of the acquisition by Thomas Jefferson of the Louisiana territory. In 1884 also the local movement for rapid transit street railway facilities was inaugurated, culminating ultimately in securing a street car service which has made St. Louis notable for its easily accessible and spacious residence sections, as well as for its business districts. Local capital, reinforced by outside investments, attracted by the industrial and commercial possibilities of the gateway to the southwest, began its transforming influence. There was a marked increase in the number, capitalization and influence of local banks and trust companies. In addition and as a singularly helpful force, the development of St. Louis as a railway centre went forward. Two new bridges spanned the Mississippi and now a third has been voted, to be erected free forever by local taxation. The Union Station, the largest in the world, was completed in 1893. It was in that same year that St. Louis gained the title of the "solid city," because none of its banks or business houses failed in the panic and St. Louis city 4 per cent. renewal bonds were placed in London at par. The mainspring of the growth of a city, as of its prosperity, is its commerce. Pierre Liguest Laclede founded St. Louis where it is because, applying the rude rules which the pioneers had learned from their trafficking, he saw that the site would control commercially a vast territory. The growth of railway mileage in the last twenty years has been large in the west and southwest, the sections where the influence of St. Louis is largest and of which it is the metropolis and trade centre. The admission of Oklahoma as a state and the increased population of the entire southwest has added to the material greatness of St. Louis. It is now a city of more than three-quarters of a million population, the fourth in population in the United States.

St. Louis, as the World's Fair city, achieved large distinction. Contrary to the expectation of many, there was no business reaction following the Fair, but instead a continuing development. St. Louis now takes rank as the fourth manufacturing city in the world. It covers an area of eighty-three square miles, has twenty miles of river frontage and is the terminal point for twenty-four railway lines. Within fifty miles of St. Louis there is a population of 4,000,000 and 90,000 miles of railroad. This gives field for a great city. St. Louis now leads the world in the manufacture of boots and shoes, as a primary fur market, in the manufacture of tobacco, as a hardware distributive point, and in other lines of commerce and transportation. St. Louis boasts a blended population, potent for commercial and civic development. Following the French, who had been the earliest settlers, in the course of years Kentucky had joined Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas in contribution of strong blood for the city's upbuilding. "There had been a heavy accession of Germans, due to national discontent culminating in the revolution of 1848 in Germany and resulting in the emigration of Germans by thousands. These people in St. Louis have been thrifty, home-making, commercially acute to a marked degree and of admirable citizenship material. The increase of Irish citizens was also notable, constituting an element that has lent its best efforts to the service of St. Louis. The New England contingent has been materially strengthened, an enterprising, resolute and valuable component part of the local population."

Other Cities.

The two other great cities of Missouri, Kansas City and St. Joseph, are even more than St. Louis parts of the history of Missouri since the war. While both were incorporated as towns before the war, Kansas City in 1853 and St. Joseph in 1851, both have come into their own within the last two decades. Kansas City suffered for a time in the seventies from the baneful effects of an exploded real estate boom. A few years, however, changed conditions and this stirring city has now an established reputation for financial strength. Within the corporate limits of Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, cities divided merely by an imaginary state line, are nearly 300,000 inhabitants. The city is the centre of an unexcelled trade territory. Where Joseph Robidoux, a French trader, settled, in 1838, at the foot of the Black Snake Hills, in northwestern Missouri, is now the city of St. Joseph, with over 100,000 inhabitants, doubled in population in a single decade, in the centre of a fertile agricultural country. Both Kansas City and St. Joseph are on the eastern border of the region once known in history and geography as the great American desert or the great plains, now known as one of the nation's most productive farm sections.

Mining.

No material development in Missouri in the last quarter of a century has been more remarkable and romantic than that told in the history of the southwest section. Here are the lead and zinc mines, from which three-fourths of the world's supply of these minerals is taken, and here is Joplin, "the town that Jack built," now a city of 40,000 people. The history of the rich mining field dates back to August, 1870, though there had been scattered mining of jack before that time. It was in 1870, however, that mining began in earnest. Since that time the millions of tons of mineral brought from below the surface of the earth have placed "the Joplin district" among the world's great mining fields. Southward of St. Louis is the Flat River mining district, rich in lead. The development of this district has been marked. Of large historical importance as indicating the material progress of Missouri is the reclamation for agricultural use of a considerable acreage in southeast Missouri. Much land there, of almost fabulous fertility, was under water during several months of each year or all the year. By a system of ditching, the land was drained and a territory almost as large as cultivable Egypt was added to the productive area of Missouri. Immigration, of course, rapidly followed, and as the area thus reclaimed is increased the population and wealth of that important section of the state grows by leaps and bounds.

Agriculture.

The agricultural development of the entire state has been marked. The agricultural acreage has particularly increased in the drained districts and the cultivation of this acreage has become more intensive. The farmer's wealth has grown. Twenty years ago he brought his family to town or to church in a two-horse farm wagon. He has instead to-day a surrey with rubber tires or an automobile. Rural telephones and rural mail delivery have made the farmer and his family less isolated, but improved methods of farming in Missouri had preceded these. The state early accepted the foundation gift of the Federal government and established an agricultural college and agricultural experiment station, locating them wisely in connection with its State University.

A state board of agriculture was created, which disseminated information upon farm topics. The fine result of the state's interest in agriculture was the stimulation of better farm methods and the inauguration of better farm conditions. In the later eighties there was a stream of immigration from the high-priced farm lands of Iowa and Illinois to the then cheaper farm lands of Missouri. About the same time the agricultural development began to bear fruit. Farm lands increased in value because of the increased demand and because of the increased revenue which it was found they would yield. The Missouri farmer is the bank depositor, the solid citizen of the state. Corn became king in Missouri agriculture. Practically one-half of the annual harvest of the state is corn. Wheat amounts to one-fifth, and all other farm crops to three-tenths. Of the state's 45,425,000 acres, 33,997,883 acres are included in farms. This stamps the state as an agricultural commonwealth. The farms, averaging in size a fraction less than 120 acres, had an aggregate value of over a billion dollars. Agriculture, formerly confined mainly to the river counties, gradually spread until all Missouri has come into cultivation for agricultural purposes. The number of growing crops increased with the added intensity of cultivation until the Missouri farm has now an unexcelled variety of valuable crops. And the Missouri farmer, by the new methods of agriculture, has come to have no lean years. Feast does not alternate with famine.

Education.

The school has grown with the farm. The public educational system of the state provided for primary schools, high schools, normal schools for the professional training of teachers, and for a state university. In early years there were academies and colleges supported by churches or private endowment. Some of these yet remain doing excellent work. The academies were the forerunners of the present free high schools. "They did almost nothing within the higher branches of knowledge until the wonderful development of the state school system provided the public high school for the field occupied by the academy. To avoid competition with the free school and to avert a new demand, that for higher education, some academies took up more nearly the work of the college. Others passed out of existence. The stronger church colleges added to their endowment and field of usefulness. The chief educational development since the war has been, however, in the public school system. The original constitution of the state, adopted in 1820, made provision for free schools and urged upon the legislature the establishment of a state university. In the language of the revised constitution of 1865, "a general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the General Assembly shall establish and maintain free schools for the gratuitous instruction of all persons in the state between the ages of five and twenty-one years." The constitutional revision of 1875 changed the period of free schooling to that between the ages of six and twenty years. With the decadence of the old sentiments which brought the private schools into existence, the public school took on new life and power. Support came more cheerfully, better equipment resulted, and teachers of higher qualifications were in demand. A united pride in the public school and the willing support gave it a growth and prosperity in Missouri which have been known in few states. Within the last decade Missouri has perhaps invested a larger percentage of her wealth in public school property than has any other state in the same period. This is especially true of the high school. Only a generation ago the schools of this class in Missouri could be enumerated in numbers of one figure; to-day they are numbered by hundreds, and the growth in efficiency seems to have been commensurate with the growth in number. As late as 1890 only twenty-three high schools were accredited by the State University. Now nearly 200 are so accredited, notwithstanding the requirements for such honor have been largely increased within this period. The popularity of the public high school, as marked by this increased equipment and greater number, is well founded and will endure. A much larger percentage of Missouri children are now in school, a larger percentage of the entire school enrollment are now in the public high school, and a larger percentage of the population are now in higher institutions of learning than at any previous time. Moreover, these facts indicate the result of a growth in educational sentiment, not merely an expression of increased wealth. The state normal schools and the new State University are parts of the history of educational growth since the war in Missouri. The first state normal school was established in 1871, later others, in different sections of the state, were added, until to-day there are five. While the State University had been suggested in the state constitution of 1820, it was not until 1839 that the legislature founded such an institution, and it depended upon tuition fees and local contributions for its support until the early seventies. Within the last decade the legislature, spurred on by the educational sentiment of the state, has appropriated generously to its upbuilding and maintenance. The result is a state university on a plane with those of first rank in the nation. Missouri has two other universities of large endowment and usefulness, Washington University and St. Louis University, both in St. Louis. St. Louis University is under the patronage of the Catholic church, while Washington University rests upon private foundation.

Intellectual Life.

School and church and the more leisurely social life of recent years have encouraged intellectual output. Missourians have added much since the war to the nation's literature. The greatest American humorist, Mark Twain (Samuel L. Clemens), was born in Monroe county, Missouri, and grew to manhood in this state. In Missouri was born and educated the children's poet, Eugene Field, and here he did his first literary work. The most popular historical novel in recent years is by a Missourian, Winston Churchill, and has its scene laid in Missouri. The Little Booh of Missouri Verse, edited by J. S. Snoddy, and Missouri Literature, edited by President E. H. Jesse and Dr. E. A. Allen, contain the names and extracts from the excellent works of Missouri authors in verse and prose. The Missouri Bibliography, compiled by F. A. Sampson, of Columbia, secretary of the State Historical Society, contains the titles of one thousand five hundred volumes by Missourians. Among them are William Vincent Byars, William F. Switzler, J. M. Greenwood, William Marion Reedy, Henry M. Blossom, George W. Ferrel, E. E. Taylor, John T. Hughes, John D. Lawson, Frank Thilly, W. V. N. Bay, John F. Darby, Alexander Majors, R. E. Lee Gibson, John N. Edwards, Raymond Weeks, Hugh A. Garland, Constance Faunt Le Roy Runcie, W. E. Hereford, C. L. Phifer, Lee Merriwether, W. P. King, Thomas L. Snead, Robertus Love, Claude H. Wetmore, F. H. Sosey, L. W. Allen, Champ Clark, Kate Field, James K. Hosmer, John E. Musick, James Newton Baskett, W. T. Moore, J. H. Garrison, E. A. Allen, E. M. Field, W. E. Hollister, Harry Norman, D. C. Allen, N. C. Kouns, J. W. Buel, C M. Woodward, Henry Tudor, D. E. McAnally, Ernest McGaffey, and Denton J. Snider. Missouri newspapers are well-edited, widely circulated and influential. There is no county without a daily or weekly newspaper. Every shade of political, social and religious thought is represented. In 426 cities, towns and villages are published the 992 newspapers and magazines of the state. Of these, eighty-seven are daily, fourteen semi-weekly, 746 weekly, four fortnightly, ten semimonthly, 119 monthly, three bi-monthly, and nine quarterly. The Missouri Gazette now the St. Louis Republic is the oldest Missouri newspaper. Its publication dates to 1808. The Palmyra Spectator is the oldest weekly newspaper continuously in one family.

Political Conditions.

The political history of Missouri since the war has developed no radical partisanship. The issues have been largely economic, except while the fever of war days was yet unabated. Negro suffrage, while the shadow of the civil strife was still dark on the land, caused the first hard-fought battle at the polls. Shall the negro, now a free man, be permitted to vote? The legislature in 1867 had submitted an amendment to the state constitution giving the negro the right to vote. The people, at the election of 1868, refused by a majority of nearly 19,000 to adopt the amendment. In 1870 the question arose in the legislature and the legislature, practically unanimously, gave suffrage to the negro. The negro population has been slowly decreasing in proportion to the white population and numbers only 5 per cent. of the state's total. Following the settlement of the question of negro suffrage came a political campaign, growing out of the war differences. There were two political parties, the Democratic and the Republican. A campaign was waged to repeal the constitutional provisions which denied suffrage to men who had sympathized with the Confederacy. The Republican party was rent by dissensions. One element wished immediately to repeal all such legislative provisions. Another element in the Republican party opposed such repeal. The result was a division, two Republican tickets for state officers, the success of the so-called Liberal Republicans and the repeal of the objectionable provisions. The United States supreme court overthrew "the test oath," and there was manhood suffrage in Missouri from 1870 without regard to race, color or previous political sympathy.

The victory of the Liberal Republicans was followed by Democratic triumph at the election of 1872, and for over thirty years the state kept the Democratic party in power. The state was, however, carried by the Republican candidates for president in 1904 and 1908, and on other occasions elected state tickets partly or entirely Republican. Partisan political lines are less closely drawn. Politically the state is well-nigh equally divided between the two great parties. Though it has voted, with the exceptions noted, the Democratic ticket by varying pluralities for three decades, Missouri casts more Republican ballots than any other state except New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana.

Railroad debts caused much trouble in 1872 in many Missouri counties. Under the constitution of 1865 county courts were permitted to issue bonds for railroad building when two-thirds of the qualified voters gave their consent. In some instances the county courts were composed of ignorant or corrupt men. In others the "qualified voters" were men with little interest in the welfare of the community. Many voters were disfranchised under the constitution. The result of dishonesty and ignorance on the part of courts and people was that some $15,000,000 of debt in railroad bonds was saddled on the people to pay for railroads that were never built. The bonds were sold to parties in New York or elsewhere, who forced the payment. The parties who bought the bonds claimed they did not know of any fraud or sharp practice in their issuing. In several counties the people resisted the payment of these debts, claiming the railroads were never built, and the entire state was stirred with excitement. In some cases the parties who issued the bonds were attacked. In Cass county a judge, the prosecuting attorney and one of his bondmen were killed by a mob of enraged citizens. Bitterness spread to other counties and it was months before the feeling was allayed. The courts decided the bonds were legally issued and the counties must pay. After some years all the bonds were paid in full or, upon a compromise, agreed to by both sides, paid in part. The state also had railroad debts. Before the "War of Secession the state had issued bonds to the amount of $23,701,000 in aid of the building of railroads. The railroads in return agreed to pay the interest on the bonds and to forfeit to the state the roads if the interest was not paid. One railroad the Hannibal and St. Joseph paid its bonds and the interest. The other railroads failed to do so and were forfeited to the state. The state sold them at a low price, not enough to pay the debt. The debt which remained was over $31,000,000, including principal and accumulated interest. This debt, largely caused by the aid of railroad construction, has since been paid in full. It cost the state, in principal and interest, many millions, however, before it was finally settled. Missouri now has no bonded debt.

The financial depression of 1873 was felt in Missouri as throughout the entire nation. The governor, in a special message to the legislature, recommended that during the deep business depression governmental expenses be reduced to the minimum. The recommendation was adopted by the legislature and nearly one-half the expenses were cut off. As a political result of the depression the Grange was formed. What has caused hard times? The reply which many made was: bad legislation. It was sought to unite all farmers and other workingmen into an organization to correct the evils. Thus came into existence in Missouri the Grange, sometimes called the Patrons of Husbandry. The organization was chiefly composed of farmers. No lawyers, bankers or merchants were admitted. Particularly strong in the agricultural districts, the Grange entered politics and had, in 1874, a candidate for governor. He was unsuccessful, however, at the polls and the Grange soon disappeared as a political force. Legislation for the reduction of railroad rates was demanded by the Grange. Growing public sentiment favored such legislation, and, in 1887, there was a hard fight in the General Assembly to enact such measures. Failing to secure adequate laws at the regular session of the General Assembly, a special session was called. At the special session laws forbidding railroads to charge lower rates per car to large than to small shippers and forbidding them to charge higher rates for short distances than for longer distances over the same road and to the same market, were passed. These were among the first fruits of the popular agitation for railroad legislation, afterward so general in the United States. The
free silver issue, prominent in national politics in 1896, found in Missouri its earliest and one of its ablest champions, Richard P. Bland, member of Congress.

In 1875 the people of Missouri adopted a new constitution, the third in the history of the state. Unsatisfied with the drastic provisions of the constitution of 1865, the voters in 1874 authorized the calling of a convention to frame a new constitution. The convention framed a new organic law and adopted it unanimously. The people shortly afterward ratified the constitution and made it the supreme law of the state. The constitution contained stringent provisions upon the power of taxation, lengthened the terms of many state officers from two to four years and contained many new and wise provisions.

Sentiment for more rigid control of the sale of liquor has grown in Missouri. In 1887 a stringent law was enacted on the subject, giving to a locality the right to say, by majority vote, whether or not intoxicating liquor should be sold as a beverage in that locality. Elections were held in many towns and counties and there was much excitement. A considerable majority of the towns and counties voted against the sale of liquor as a beverage. Because of legal defects some elections were held by the courts to be invalid. In 1906 and subsequently the agitation was renewed and saloons were banished from a large area.

The uncovering of corruption in the municipal assembly of St. Louis attracted in 1903 the attention of the entire nation. The circuit attorney, Joseph W. Folk, discovered that franchises to own and operate public utilities had been procured from the municipal assembly by bribery. He indicted and convicted the boodlers, after a series of sensational episodes. The result was an awakening of the public conscience toward civic righteousness that went, in its good effects, far beyond the limits of Missouri.

With the successful holding of a World's Fair at St. Louis in 1904 Missouri entered upon a new era of material prosperity. The state by popular vote appropriated a million dollars the only instance in history where an American state by popular suffrage voted an appropriation for exposition purposes. The city of St. Louis voted $5,000,000, the citizens subscribed the same amount, and the Congress of the United States contributed an equal sum; other states and foreign governments appropriated large amounts. The result was an exposition unequalled in beauty, interest and magnitude. It celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the purchase of the territory of Louisiana, of which Missouri is the greatest state, by the United States under the administration of President Thomas Jefferson. The exposition served most effectively to direct the eyes of the world toward Missouri and the Southwest. Immigration and industrial development have followed.

Conclusion.

The history of Missouri since the war is the history of a state coming into its own. No longer frontier, it has the sturdiness of the pioneer yet living in its civilization. Located between the 36th and 41st parallels and between the 89th and 96th meridians of west longitude, Missouri is a part of the temperate zone in which the larger work of the world is done. Government is well administered, laws are enforced, property rights held sacred, and administration of state affairs conducted with accuracy. Banks have increased in number. Diverse industries have added to the state's wealth. Missouri has not, however, neglected those things which make for the higher life. School, church, the press are encouraged. Missouri has had an interesting and important history. At least three times within the three-quarters of a century of its life as a sovereign state has it been the central figure of national political affairs, swaying the politics of the republic. The state has given great men to the nation, the chief product of any state. Four hundred Missourians were asked to name the leaders of the state's thought, the men who had done the most for Missouri and through Missouri for the world. The list is history and popular commentary upon history. The majority named Thomas Hart Benton, Frank P. Blair, John S. Phelps, B. Gratz Brown, Richard P. Bland, Hamilton B. Gamble, James S. Green and Edward Bates, statesmen; James S. Rollins, the father of the State University; Sterling Price and A. W. Doniphan, soldiers; James B. Eads, engineer; E. M. Marvin, preacher; Eugene Field, poet; and George C. Bingham, artist.

If Missouri, which is capable of supporting as large a population in proportion to area as Egypt, equalled that land in population, there would be 64,000,000 people in this state, instead of less than 4,000,000. The state is 328 miles in extreme length from north to south, and contains 69,415 square miles. Its entire population could be placed, allowing to each a space of six square feet, upon less than a third of a square mile. The soil of Missouri is capable of yielding varied products more largely than the soil of any other country in the world. The state has space and to spare for millions upon millions of thrifty, industrious citizens.

The spirit of Missouri is the spirit of progress tempered by conservatism. It rejects not the old because of its age, nor rejects the new because it is not old. It is the spirit of a community conscious of its own secure position, somewhat too careless at times of the world's opinion, hospitable, generous, brave. The dream of the greatest statesman is a nation of useful citizens dwelling in happy homes. In Missouri the dream finds realization.

The noble Latin motto of the state has ever expressed and does the spirit of the united citizenship: "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law." Nobler motto there could not be for any commonwealth, for any citizen.

Bibliography. Barnes, C. R.: ed. Commonwealth of Missouri (1877); Carr, Lucien: Missouri (1892); Davis and Durner History of Missouri (1876); Rader, P. 8.: History of Missouri (1908); Sampson, F. A.: Missouri Authors (1904); Sharp, J. T.: History of St. Louis (1883); Switzler, Wm. F.: History of Missouri (1897); Williams, Walter: ed. The State of Missouri (1904); Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri (1901); Proceedings of Missouri State Convention of 1865 and 1875; Proceedings of the General Assembly of Missouri.

Walter Williams,
Dean of the Department of Journalism and Professor of the History and Principles of Journalism, University of Missouri; editor of The State of Missouri.


Return to Book Index Page