Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
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New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
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Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
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IOWA, a state of the American Union, formed from the "Louisiana purchase." (See ANNEXATIONS, I.) After the organization of the state of Missouri in 1820-21 (see COMPROMISES, IV.; MISSOURI), the territory north of that state extending to British America, and lying between the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, was neglected by congress until the act of June 28, 1834, made it a part of the territory of Michigan "for the purpose of temporary government"; the act of April 20, 1836, took it from Michigan territory, after July 3 following, and added it to Wisconsin territory; and the act of June 12, 1838, erected it into the territory of Iowa, after July 3 following. Oct. 7, 1844, a convention of delegates from the southern part of the territory formed a state constitution, claiming about the same boundaries as at present. This territory seemed to congress unreasonably large, and the act of March 3, 1845 (see FLORIDA), while admitting the state, assigned to it as a western boundary the meridian of 17° 30' west of Washington, and as a northern boundary the parallel passing through the mouth of the Blue Earth river, in the present state of Minnesota; Iowa would thus have been about half as wide as at present, and slightly longer from north to south. The boundaries having been submitted to the people of Iowa, in accordance with section four of the act, were rejected by a vote of 7,235 for and 7,656 against it, and Iowa remained a territory. A convention, which met May 4, 1846, at Iowa City, formed a new state constitution, which was ratified by popular vote, Aug.3. It defined the state boundaries as follows: "Beginning in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river at a point due east of the middle of the mouth of the main channel of the Des Moines river; thence up the Des Moines river to the northern boundary of Missouri; thence westward on that line to the Missouri river; thence up the Missouri to the Big Sioux river; thence up the Big Sioux to the parallel of 43° 30' north latitude; thence east on that line to the Mississippi river and down the Mississippi to the beginning." A supplementary act of congress of Aug. 4, 1846, accepted the boundaries thus defined, and the state was finally admitted by act of Dec. 28, 1846.


—The constitution of 1846 prohibited slavery, the loaning of state credit to individuals or corporations, the contraction of a state debt of more than $250,000 or county debt to more than 5 per cent. of its property valuation, and the granting of charters except by general laws; made the sessions of the legislature biennial and the governor's term two years; restricted the suffrage to white males; and fixed the capital at Des Moines. A new constitution, formed by a convention which met Jan. 19, 1857, and ratified by popular vote Aug. 3, changed none of the above particulars, and no change has since been made except that the word "white" was stricken out of it in 1868.


—The political history of Iowa falls into two periods, 1846-54 and 1855-81. In the first of these the state was democratic in all elections, presidential, congressional and state, except that a whig congressman was chosen in one of the two districts in 1848. The general election of 1854 was the turning point between the two periods; in it the republicans succeeded in electing the governor, one of the two congressmen, a heavy majority of the lower house of the legislature, and came one short of a majority in the upper house. One result was the election of James Harlan to the United States senate. Since that time (1855-81) the democratic party has been practically a nonentity in the state. Until 1859 one of the United States senators (chosen in 1853) was a democrat, and in 1854 and in 1874 a democrat was chosen in one of the congressional districts; these, and from 20 to 40 of the 150 members of the biennial legislatures, have been the extent of democratic influence upon the politics of the state. The republicans have elected all the governors, United States senators and representatives (with three exceptions), and have maintained from 60 to 70 per cent. of the popular vote. In 1874 the democrats, taking the name of "anti-monopolists," succeeded in electing one of the nine representatives, in the northeastern or Dubuque district, by a majority of but 63 in a vote of 22,069; in 1878 two of the representatives, Weaver and Gillette, were "greenbackers," the former from the southern or Keokuk district, and the latter from the southwestern district of the state; but in all these cases the lost district was again carried by the republicans. (See PROHIBITION.)


—This almost invariable regularity has operated very much to the disadvantage of the public men of the state. One party has always been careless, and the other party hopeless, as to the result of Iowa's vote; and the favors of the national parties have been reserved for the public men of states whose vote was more doubtful. Consequently, though Iowa has never lacked able men, their services have been better appreciated by the state than by the nation. Among them are W. B. Allison, republican representative 1863-71. United States senator 1873-85; Wm. W. Belknap, secretary of war under Grant (see ADMINISTRATIONS, IMPEACHMENTS, VII.); James W. Grimes, first republican governor of the state, United States senator 1859-71; James Harlan, United States senator 1855-65 and 1866-73, and secretary of the interior in 1865, John A. Kasson, representative 1863-7 and 1873-7, and minister to Austria 1877-81; Samuel J. Kirkwood, governor of the state, United States senator 1866-7 and 1877-81, and secretary of the interior under Garfield (see ADMINISTRATIONS); and George W. McCrary, representative 1869-77, secretary of war under Hayes, and appointed United States circuit judge in 1879.


—The name of Iowa was given from that of its principal river, an Indian word said to mean the sleepy ones; but its popular name is The Hawkeye State.


—GOVERNORS: Ansel Briggs (1846-50); Stephen Hempstead (1850-54); Jas. W. Grimes (1854-8); R. P. Lowe (1858-60); S. J. Kirkwood (1860-64): W. M. Stone (1864-8); Samuel Merrill (1868-72), C. C. Carpenter (1872-6); S. J. Kirkwood (1876-8); John H. Gear (1878-82).


—See Poore's Federal and State Constitutions; Plumb's Sketches of Iowa (1839); Parker's Iowa as it is (1855); Barber and Howe's History of the Western States (1867); Ingersoll's Iowa and the Rebellion (1867); Salter's Life of J. W. Grimes; the acts of June 12, 1838, and March 3, 1845, are in 5 Stat. at Large, 235, 742, and those of Aug. 4 and Dec. 28, 1846, in 9 Stat. at Large, 52, 117; Porter's West in 1880, 272.


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