Rise of the New West, 1819-1829

By Frederick Jackson Turner | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVII
INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS AND FOREIGN TRADE (1825-1829)

W HAT Adams had nearest at heart in his administration was the construction of a great system of roads and canals, irrespective of local interests, for the nation as a whole.1 To "exalt the valleys and lay low the mountains and the hills" appealed to his imagination. He hoped that the increased price of the public lands, arising from the improved means of communication, would in turn furnish a large and steadily increasing fund for national turnpikes and canals. But the American people were not anxious for a system of scientific administration, either of the public domain or of internal improvements. Although Benton could not secure sufficient support to carry his measure for graduating the price of the public lands and donating those which found no purchasers at fifty cents an acre,2 he voiced, nevertheless, a very general antagonism to the management of the domain by the methods of the count

____________________
1
Wheeler, Hist. of Cong., II., 154; Adams, Memoirs, VII., 59, VIII., 444; cf. chap. xiii., above.
2
Meigs, Benton, 165-172.

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