Pulaski High School - Oriole Yearbook (Pulaski, VA)

 - Class of 1929

Page 140 of 194

 

Pulaski High School - Oriole Yearbook (Pulaski, VA) online yearbook collection, 1929 Edition, Page 140 of 194
Page 140 of 194



Pulaski High School - Oriole Yearbook (Pulaski, VA) online yearbook collection, 1929 Edition, Page 139
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Page 140 text:

who saw the necessity of protecting his country from foreign invasion. About this time relations were becoming strained between the North and the South, relations which later terminated in the Civil War, the conflict where brother fought against brother for principles which each thought were right. We might dwell at some length on this part of the history of our nation and the great part Virginia played in that conflict, but since our space is limited and since we could hardly consider it as causing any progress in the development of our nation we shall exclude a minute and detailed account. Returning to the constitution and its interpretation, we again find that it was a Virginian who probably did more than any one man in explaining the fundamental principles and interpreting the con- stitution, and that man was John Marshall, Chief Justice of the Su- preme Court for almost thirty-five years. During this time Marshall settled many important cases, both international and domestic. In one of these he ruled an act of Con- gress unconstitutional and again an act of the State of Georgia was declared void. In the case which came up from Florida in 182S, Marshall affirmed the constitutional right to acquire territory in these words: “The constitution confers absolutely upon the govern- ment of the Union the powers of making war and of making treaties: consequently that government possesses the power of acquiring terri- tory either by conquest or by treaty.” These are just a few of the many cases where he upheld the constitution in his rulings, and as a result of Marshall’s efforts we find that our constitution is one of the strongest instruments of government in the world. Heretofore we have only considered Virginia’s part in the build- ing of the nation through the period of colonization, the Revolution and the political organization of our government. Let us now consider the part Virginia has played in opening up and taking over a greater national domain. Of the different activi- ties in which Virginia engaged the first worthy of mention was the opening up of Kentucky and Tennessee. According to l.atane’s account, we find that the very first settlers who entered Tennessee came from Virginia. We may say that James Robertson and James Sevier, both native Virginians, were the principal founders of Tennes- see and part of Kentucky. They organized a civil government under a written constitution, known as the articles of the Watauga Associa- tion, thus establishing the first independent community of native born Americans on the continent. A little later, in 1779, we find another young Virginian, George Rogers Clark, going beyond the Alleghany mountains. According X34

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he interpreted more conservatively. As a result of this debate in the Virginia Assembly, Madison proposed a bill of rights composed of seventeen articles making amendment to the original constitution. This bill of rights embodied the principles favored by a number of ratifying states and was especially influenced by the Virginia bill of rights which was drawn by George Mason. The Virginia bill of rights, a radical democratic document, has probably had more in- fluence on American political institutions than any other state paper. Another measure of great importance in Virginia’s history was the statute of religious freedom declaring the freedom and protection of all forms of religious belief. This statute was conceived chiefly by George Mason, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. As a re- sult of the efforts of these three Virginians we find that the first ten amendments in the constitution are but modifications of the Vir- ginia bill of rights and the statute of religious freedom. From these facts we see that the formation of our constitution depended to a very great extent on the efforts of four great Virginians, four of the greatest characters the world has ever known or probably ever will know, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madi- son, and George Mason. After the ratification of the constitution George Washington was elected as first president of the American Republic, and the colonies, now the United States, started on an era of progress which has made our nation probably the most prosperous nation in the world. 1 think tha t the next Virginian to be considered is James Monroe, who was elected president of the United States in 1816. We shall probably remember Monroe more for his world famous doctrine than lor anything else. The Monroe doctrine has been used more than any other instrument as a basis of our international relations and is one of the most noteworthy efforts of any Virginian. This doctrine stated that “the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintained, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects for future colonization by any Fiuro- pean powers,” and secondly, that “with the governments who have declared their independence we have, on great consideration, and on just principles, acknowledged, we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing them, or controlling, in any other man- ner, their destiny by any tiuropean power, in any other light than as the manif estation of an unfriendly disposition towards the United States.” This doctrine has been used in nearly all of our dealings with foreign countries and is used today, although interpreted from a broader and more comprehensive view point. Thus we see that the principles of our international affairs were introduced by a Virginian



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to the account in Beard and Bagley and Latane’s Histories of the United States, during the Revolution he captured the Northwest from t he British with only a handful of Virginia riflemen and opened up the great Northwest to colonization. This territory includes the states of Illinois and Indiana. The frontier was rapidly extended westward during the early years of the nineteenth century and as a result the settlers continued to have trouble with the Indians who resented being driven from their homes. The Indians under Tecumseh were forming a league of all the tribes in the Northwest and in the South with the intention of attacking and driving back the settlers from the frontiers. They probably would have succeeded had it not been for the Virginian, W illiam FT Harrison, governor of Indiana Territory, who advanced with eight hundred men and defeated the Indians at Tippecanoe ( ' reek in western Indiana. Harrison became a hero in the North- west and later became president of the United States. In 1803 Napoleon of France agreed to sell the vast Louisiana territory of nine hundred thousand scpiare miles for fifteen millions of dollars. It is of special note that almost the entire transaction was executed by Virginians, of whom the most notable was Jefferson, then president of the United States, and Monroe, then one of the ministers to France. This gave the United States the largest terri- tory that she ever purchased at one time and is considered a most re- markable piece of international diplomacy. Alter buying the Louisiana Territory, Jefferson planned imme- diately to open it up for settlers and sent out two young Virginians, Meriwether Lewis, who was trom near Charlottesville, Virginia, and W illiam Clarke, also a Virginian. These two young men, after many perilous adventures and hardships, mapped out the entire Louisiana Territory having covered eight thousand miles of wilderness. Their accounts of the trip and their maps were one of the greatest assets to the settlers who first came into this wild country. The East now began to see what a mighty new empire awaited the pioneer. But the activities of opening up our nation were not entirely confined to the west and northwest. In the south there had been some dispute as to whether parts of Florida should be included in the Louisiana Purchase. This complicated matters since Spain also claimed the territory. W hile Spain was under the rule of Napoleon ' s brother, Joseph, the United States took over this territory. When Spain again regained her power the Florida situation became very strained and difficult to manage. It remained, however, for that great Virginia president, James Monroe, to adjust this dispute, by the treaty of 1819. By this treaty 135

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