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

Edited by: Lalor, John J.
Display paragraphs in this book containing:
First Pub. Date
New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co.
Pub. Date
Includes articles by Frédéric Bastiat, Gustave de Molinari, Henry George, J. B. Say, Francis A. Walker, and more.
819 of 1105



PENNSYLVANIA, one of the original states of the American Union. The English claim to the territory of which it is composed rested on the same grounds as in the case of New York and New Jersey, discovery by the Cabots and conquest from the Dutch. (See those states, and UNITED STATES, I.) The capture of New Amsterdam was held to carry with it the right to Pennsylvania and Delaware, the latter of which had been originally colonized by Swedes and conquered by the Dutch. (See DELAWARE.)


—William Penn, an English Quaker, possessed a very considerable influence with Charles I., partly because of the services of his father, Admiral Sir William Penn, and still more because of the favor in which he was held by Charles' brother, the Duke of York, afterward James I. This alliance of the Quaker and the Roman Catholic, both dissenters from the church of England, non-jurors, and harassed by penal laws, was not at all uncommon at the time. Penn had been trustee for one of the Quaker proprietors of New Jersey, and thus seems to have conceived the idea of a distinct Quaker colony in North America. March 4, 1681, he obtained from the king a patent for "all that tract or parte of land in America," bounded on the east by the Delaware river, from "twelve miles distance northwards of New Castle towne," and, if the Delaware river should not reach latitude 43° north, then by a due north line from the head of the river to the northern boundary; on the north by latitude 43° north; on the west by a north and south line five degrees west of "the said eastern bounde"; and on the south by latitude 40° north, to its intersection with a circle of twelve miles radius drawn around New Castle. The province was to be called Pennsylvania; and the payment therefor was to be two beaver skins annually.


—As laid down in the charter, the northern boundary would have run across the middle of the present state of New York, and the southern boundary would have lain north of the capital city, Philadelphia. Necessity produced the ingenious idea that "to the beginning" of any degree of latitude was only to the end of the next preceding degree; and Penn and his descendants, accepting latitude 42° as the northern boundary, claimed latitude 89° as the southern boundary, thus taking in the two noble bays of Chesapeake and Delaware. Lord Baltimore struggled to restrict Penn to latitude 40°, and the dispute was not finally compromised until 1762, when the Penns, by giving up part of their southern claims, succeeded in securing their capital and a free access to Delaware bay. In 1780 the western boundary, five degrees west of the eastern, was run by commissioners from Pennsylvania and Virginia. By resolution of Sept. 4, 1788, the congress of the confederation relinquished to Pennsylvania the jurisdiction over the triangular strip of land in the northwest, north of latitude 42°, and west of New York, which gives the state access to Lake Erie; and Jan. 3, 1792, the new congress authorized the president to issue letters patent, conveying the territory named, to Pennsylvania. (See also WYOMING).


—Penn having acquired the three counties on the Delaware from the duke of York (see DELAWARE), these were kept in close relation to Pennsylvania until the outbreak of the revolution, when Delaware became a distinct state. Penn gave his new province four various schemes of government, in 1681, 1682, 1683, and 1696; and Oct. 28, 1701, he gave it the final charter of privileges, under which it lived until 1776. Under this the governor was appointed by the proprietor; the assembly, of one house, was to be chosen annually by the people; and sheriffs and coroners were to be appointed by the governor out of a double number of candidates selected by popular vote. In spite of many conflicts between governor and assembly, the charter, on the whole, worked well during its existence. One of its evil features was the reservation of quit-rents to the proprietors on land sold; and these were abolished in 1779, the assembly voting £130,000 to the proprietors in compensation for them.


—CONSTITUTIONS. June 14, 1776, the last charter assembly adjourned until Aug. 26. In the meantime a state convention at Philadelphia, July 15 - Sept. 28, called by the revolutionary committees, framed a state constitution, which went into force without a popular vote. It provided for an assembly of one house, chosen annually by the freemen over twenty-one who were tax payers; for a council of twelve persons; for a president [governor] chosen annually by joint ballot of the council and assembly; and for a "council of censors," of two from each city and county, to be chosen by popular vote every seventh year, and to inquire into the conduct of state officers and into violations of the constitution.


—A new constitution was framed by a convention at Philadelphia, Nov. 24, 1789 - Feb. 26, 1790, Aug. 9 - Sept. 2, 1790, and approved by popular vote. It divided the assembly into a senate chosen for four years by counties, according to tax-paying inhabitants, not less than fifteen nor more than thirty-four in number, and a house of representatives chosen annually in the same manner as the senate, not less than sixty nor more than 100 in number; it provided for a governor, to be chosen by popular vote and to serve three years; it made judges removable by the governor on the address of two-thirds of each house: and it abolished the council of censors.


—A third constitution was framed by a convention at Harrisburgh and Philadelphia, May 2, 1837 - Feb. 22, 1838, and was ratified by a close vote, 113,971 to 112,759. It changed the term of senators to three years, and that of the judiciary from good behavior to fifteen years for the supreme court, ten years for presiding judges of lower courts, and five years for their associates; it greatly diminished the governor's patronage; and it provided for amendments by their passage in two successive legislatures and their ratification by popular vote. In 1850 the judiciary was thus made elective. In 1857 the number of the house of representatives was fixed at 100, the senate was to be chosen by districts, and the legislature was forbidden to loan the credit of the state. In 1864 the right of suffrage was secured to qualified electors in the volunteer service.


—The present constitution was framed by a convention at Harrisburgh and Philadelphia, Nov. 13, 1872 - Nov. 3, 1873, and was ratified Dec. 16, 1873, by a popular vote of 293,564 to 109,198. It fixes the number of the senate at fifty, to serve four years, and of the house at 200, to serve two years, both to be elected by districts; forbids the legislature to pass special laws on a number of subjects, nor in any case without thirty days' publication; and makes the governor's term of office four years, and that of the supreme court twenty-one years. It is notable that it provides for the trial of contested elections of electors of president and vice-president by the state; in this point Pennsylvania was probably the only state in the Union in 1874 which enforced exactly the simple idea of the electoral system. (See ELECTORS.)


—GOVERNORS. Thomas Wharton, 1777-9; Joseph Reed. 1778-81; Wm. Moore, 1781-2; John Dickinson, 1782-5; Benjamin Franklin, 1785-8; Thos. Mifflin, 1788-99; Thos. McKean, 1799-1808; Simon Snyder, 1808-17; William Findlay, 1817-20; Joseph Heister, 1820-23; John A. Schulze, 1823-9; George Wolf, 1829-35; Joseph Ritner, 1835-8; David R. Porter, 1838-44; Francis R. Shunk, 1844-8; Wm. F. Johnston, 1848-51; Wm. Bigler, 1851-4; James Pollock, 1854-7; Wm. F. Packer, 1857-61; Andrew J. Curtin, 1861-7; John W. Geary, 1867-73; John F. Hartranft, 1873-9; Henry M. Hoyt, 1879-83; Robert E. Pattison, 1883-7;—POLITICAL HISTORY. The citizens of Pennsylvania have, from the beginning of her existence as a state, claimed for her the appellation of the "key-stone state." This significant name is sufficient alone to show that the sections north and south are no recent development, but original political factors, for it was the two sections which Pennsylvania was to clamp together like a key-stone. Popular doggerel of 1790, after specifying the alternate admissions of the new states, Kentucky and Vermont, thus concludes:

"Still Pennsylvania holds the scales,
And neither south nor north prevails."


In time the appellation was sometimes used in a little different sense: since the reorganization of parties in 1825, Pennsylvania's electoral votes have never been cast for the unsuccessful presidential candidate; and a vague idea has grown up that Pennsylvania's support or opposition is decisive upon parties as well as sections.


—At first the state was internally divided. Its population was variously Quaker, Episcopalian, Presbyterian (Scotch-Irish), and Lutheran (German); and as the first two classes generally sympathized with Great Britain during the revolution, political and religious feeling were both active. Furthermore, the state was divided by the Alleghanies into a western and an eastern section, whose people had opposite interests and politics, the former being naturally democrats, while the latter were federalists. (See ANTI-FEDERAL PARTY.) At first the eastern section was strong enough to retain the state in the federal party, but the strength of their opponents was gradually increased by the flow of immigration, mostly Irish and anti-British, to the western section, by the united and even forcible opposition of that section to the excise (see WHISKY INSURRECTION), and by the claims of New England federalists to a large tract of land in the eastern section. (See WYOMING.) All these influences were potent enough to give fourteen of the state's fifteen electoral votes to Jefferson in 1796, and thirteen to Burr, and to make the state very doubtful for the future. In 1799 the eastern section was alarmed and reunited by the so-called "Fries insurrection," an armed resistance to a federal law imposing a direct tax on houses. Nevertheless, the democrats, in December, 1799, were for the first time able to elect their candidate for governor, McKean; and he at once removed all Mifflin's federalist appointees to office. In the legislature the house was democratic; and the senate federalist. As the state's electors were to be chosen by the legislature, it was with great difficulty, and only just before the time fixed for the electors to vote, that the senate forced the house to be content with eight democratic electors, leaving the remaining seven to the opposition. The democratic control of the state grew rapidly stronger, and in 1803-4 there were but five federalists in the house, and one in the senate. Indeed, the dominant party almost immediately split into two factions, the moderate democrats, or "constitutionalists," headed by Gov. McKean, and the radicals, or "friends of the people," headed by William Duane and Michael Leib. The latter were principally bent on obtaining a new state constitution, on impeaching and removing the then state judges, and on limiting the tenure of office of the judiciary for the future. In 1805 both factions nominated candidates for governor, McKean and Simon Snyder, and the former was elected by the aid of federalist votes. In 1808, however, the "conventionalists," as the "friends of the people" now called themselves, elected Snyder governor, and secured a long control of the state; but they made no further effort to obtain a new state constitution.


—Immediately after Snyder's accession to office a collision between the state and the United States was threatened in the once celebrated "Olmstead case." This was a prize case, dating from the revolutionary war. The state courts had decided it one way, and the continental congress, and afterward the federal courts, to the contrary. In 1809 the matter was brought to a head by a mandamus from the federal supreme court to the district marshal to execute a writ, and an order from the governor to the state militia to resist it by force. In the end the legislature appropriated a sum of money to pay the claim; the state chief justice decided for the federal court's view; and the militia were sentenced to a trivial punishment, which was remitted by the president.


—Pennsylvania remained overwhelmingly democratic during and after the war of 1812, and her legislature sustained the war vigorously throughout. In 1817 Heister was nominated as an independent democratic candidate for governor against the regular candidate, Findlay, by the Duane party, and was defeated; but in 1820 he was successful. It was not until 1824 that any danger was developed to the democratic control of the state; and that was indirect, the appointment of a board of commissioners for internal improvements, excited by New York's success in the Erie canal. In 1827 annual appropriations for that object began, and continued until 1836. Still more important, in its prospective antagonism to the cardinal principles of the original democratic party, was the vast wealth of the state in anthracite coal and iron. Both had been known before the beginning of the century; but it was not until June, 1839, that the anthracite was successfully applied in Pennsylvania to the manufacture of iron. From that time protection for iron by means of the tariff has been a governing object of all parties in the state.


—At first the revolt against the dominant party showed itself, as in New York, under the name of the anti-masonic party, but with more success than in New York. (See ANTI-MASONRY, I.; NEW YORK.) In 1835 the anti-masons elected Ritner governor, and thus the state, which had been one of the first to pronounce for Jackson, had given him over three-fourths of her popular vote in 1824, and had been steadily democratic ever since, became exceedingly doubtful. The anti-masonic movement came to nothing further than a few attempts at repressive legislation against the free-masons; and the party very soon fell into the whig organization. In 1836 Van Buren electors were chosen by the close vote of 91,475 to 87,111, and the democrats were able to elect Porter governor in 1838 and 1841. In 1840 the electoral votes of the state were for the first time cast for the whig candidates, the election being the closest in its history, as follows: Harrison, 144,021; Van Buren, 143,676; Birney, 343; Harrison's majority, 2 votes out of 288,040. (See also BUCKSHOT WAR.)


—In 1844 the political struggle was still more animated, for the election of the governor fell in the same year with the presidential election. The democratic managers adopted the plan of claiming the semi-protective tariff of 1842 as their own. Polk wrote, June 19, 1844, a letter to John K. Kane, of Philadelphia, in which he diplomatically declared that he was not in favor of "a tariff for protection merely"; but that he was in favor of a revenue tariff which should incidentally afford judicious protection; and that he had voted for several specified tariff acts of this nature. Under the rallying cry of "Polk, Dallas, Shunk, and the tariff of 1842," the democrats succeeded in October in electing Shunk by a majority of 4,397 in a total vote of 317,321, and in November they secured the state's electoral vote by a majority of 6,332, and twelve of the twenty-four congressmen. The democratic congress in 1846 changed the tariff of 1842 into a revenue tariff; nevertheless, Shunk's popularity obtained for him a re-election in 1847 by a majority of 17,933. He resigned the next year, and in October, 1848, the whigs elected his successor, Johnston, by the close vote of 168,523 to 168,221. This, again, was a premonition of the result in November, when Taylor electors were chosen by a majority of 3,074 over both Cass and Van Buren.


—As the slavery question rose to national importance after 1848, Pennsylvania was governed at first by the ancient feeling that her function was that of a balance wheel between the two sections. As democratic success seemed most likely to maintain national harmony, Pennsylvania was democratic until 1860 in her elections for governor, presidential electors and legislatures, with the exceptions of 1854, when the anti-Nebraska excitement carried into office Gov. Pollock and a majority of the lower house of the legislature, and 1858, when the republicans obtained a majority in the lower house. In 1860 a governor was to be elected, and the success of the republicans in electing Curtin by the unusual majority, for Pennsylvania, of 32,164 over Henry D. Foster, who was heartily supported by a fusion of all the other three parties, seemed almost decisive of the presidential election in November. The majority of the Lincoln electors over the fusion electors was increased to 59,618 in a total vote of 476,442. Both houses of the legislature were republican, and twenty-one of the twenty-five congressmen.


—Since the accession of the republican party to power, Pennsylvania has remained a steadily republican state. In congressional elections the democrats have usually obtained a fair share, and occasionally a majority, of the representatives; but in elections for governor or presidential electors, the republicans have invariably been successful. In 1878, for governor, Hoyt could only claim a plurality (22,353) over the democratic candidate, owing to 81,758 "greenback" votes for Mason; in other years the majority has been complete. In presidential elections the republican majority, though steady, has not been over 30,000, except in 1872, when Grant's majority over Greeley was 135,918 in 563,260 votes. In 1880 the vote for electors stood as follows: Garfield, 444,704; Hancock, 407,428; Weaver, 20,668; scattering, 1,988. In 1882 the legislature stands as follows: senate, thirty-two republicans, sixteen democrats, three national; house, one hundred and twenty-one republicans, seventy-eight democrats, one national.


—No single man has ever undisputedly controlled a party in the state, with the exception of Simon Cameron. At first a democrat, he was an influential leader in the state, and United States senator 1845-9. With the formation of the republican party in 1855-6 he almost immediately obtained complete control of its machinery. In 1857 he again became United States senator; in 1861 he became secretary of war under Lincoln, but resigned in 1862; and in 1867 he was returned to the senate. In March, 1877, being then seventy-eight years old, and having control of the legislature which was to elect his successor, he resigned, and his son, James Donald Cameron, was elected in his place. The son, however, had little of the suppleness which had often enabled the father to manage even hostile majorities. The party machinery, which in every state is very frequently used to evade the will of the party, was now recklessly or ostentatiously exposed to public view. In 1880 (see NOMINATING CONVENTIONS) the state vote in the republican national convention was thus instructed for Grant, though the majority of the republicans of the state, and almost a majority of the state convention, were against him. In 1881, though defeated finally in the national convention, he still held undisputed control of the state convention which nominated the candidate for state treasurer. Thereupon Charles G. Wolfe took the first step in the road which may possibly prove a release from the all controlling convention system, by nominating himself for treasurer, and stumping the state in his own behalf. In the end the vote stood for Bailey, republican, 265,295; for Noble, democrat, 258,471; and for Wolfe, 49,984. In the following year, 1882, Wolfe's movement developed into an organized revolt against the Cameron leadership. The dissentients rejected the idea of "reform within the party," for the very plausible reason that "you can not get within the organization to reform it"; were unmoved by the possibility of the success of the democrats in the state; and at a separate state convention, May 24, nominated a state ticket of their own, headed by the name of John Stewart for governor. Cameron's political existence depended on the election, at which was to be chosen not only the governor, the state officers and the congressmen-at-large, but the legislature which was to pass upon his own return to the senate in 1885. Nevertheless, his state convention, May 10, attempted no accommodation with the "independents," but nominated a full state ticket, headed by Jas. A. Beaver for governor. Meanwhile, the tide was all running with the revolt. It was recruited by John I. Mitchell, Cameron's associate in the senate, and by a great number of other influential republicans; the Cameron nominee for congressman-at-large, Marshall, refused to run; and when the state convention was resuscitated to nominate another candidate, many of the delegates denied the validity of the call and refused to attend. The result was a chaotic election, in which the following vote was cast for governor: Pattison (dem.), 355,791; Beaver (rep.), 315,589; Stewart (ind. rep.), 43,743; Armstrong (greenb.), 23,996; Pettit (prohib.), 5,196. Of the twenty-eight representatives in congress, fifteen were republicans, twelve democrats, and one greenbacker. The legislature of 1883-4 stands as follows: senate, twenty democrats, thirty republicans; house, one hundred and thirteen democrats, eighty-eight republicans; democratic majority on joint ballot, fifteen.


—Since the election the regular and independent republicans have quietly reunited, without formally abolishing the Cameron leadership. The most important action of the republican convention of 1883 was the revival of the old whig plan of distributing surplus revenue among the states. Its previous history is elsewhere given. (See DISTRIBUTION, under INTERNAL IMPROVEMENTS, II.) It has not yet been adopted by the party in other states, and must as yet be considered only a Pennsylvania policy.


—Besides the Camerons, and James Buchanan, George M. Dallas, Benjamin Franklin, Albert Gallatin, W. S. Hancock, Jared Ingersoll, John Sergeant, E. M. Stanton, and Thaddeus Stevens (see their names), the following have been prominent in the state's political history: Henry Baldwin, federalist congressman 1817-22, and justice of the supreme court 1830-44; Nicholas Biddle, president of the United States bank, 1823-41; Horace Binney, whig congressman 1833-5; Jeremiah S. Black, secretary of state under Buchanan; Benj. H. Brewster, attorney general under Arthur; Charles R. Buckalew, democratic United States senator 1863-9; Hiester Clymer, democratic candidate for governor in 1866, United States senator in 1879, and congressman 1873-81; John Covode, republican congressman 1855-63; Andrew G. Curtin, governor 1861-7, and democratic congressman 1881-5; William Findlay, democratic congressman 1791-9 and 1803-17 (see WHISKY INSURRECTION); Thomas Fitzsimons, member of the convention of 1787, federalist congressman 1789-95; John W. Forney, clerk of the house of representatives 1851-6 and 1860-61; Walter Forward, congressman 1822-5, and secretary of the treasury under Tyler; Joseph Heister, democratic congressman 1797-1805 and 1815-20, and governor 1820-23; Chas. J. Ingersoll, democratic congressman, 1813-15 and 1841-9; Joseph R. Ingersoll (brother of the preceding, and son of Jared Ingersoll), whig congressman 1835-7 and 1841-9, and minister to Great Britain 1852-3; Samuel D. Ingham, democratic congressman 1813-18 and 1822-9, and secretary of the treasury under Jackson; Wm. D. Kelley, republican congressman 1861-87; Michael Leib, democratic congressman 1799-1806, and United States senator 1809-14; Edward McPherson, republican congressman 1859-63, and clerk of the house of representatives 1863-73; Wayne McVeagh, attorney general under Garfield; John I. Mitchell, republican congressman 1877-81, and United States senator 1881-7; Gouverneur Morris, minister to France 1792-4, and federalist United States senator 1800-3; Robert Morris, one of the signers of the declaration of independence, the manager of the revolutionary finances, a delegate to the convention of 1787, and United States senator 1789-95; Frederick A. Muhlenberg, democratic congressman 1789-95 (see CONGRESS, SESSIONS OF); Henry A. Muhlenberg, democratic congressman 1829-38, minister to Austria 1838-40, and democratic nominee for governor in 1844, Shunk being afterward substituted by reason of Muhlenberg's sudden death; J. P. G. Muhlenberg, priest in the episcopal church, brigadier general in the revolutionary army, democratic congressman 1789-91, 1793-5, and 1789-1801; Asa Packer, democratic congressman 1853-7; Samuel J. Randall, democratic congressman 1863-87 (see CONGRESS, SESSIONS OF); Glenni W. Schofield, republican congressman 1863-75; Arthur St. Clair, major general in the revolutionary army and delegate to the continental congress (see ORDINANCE OF 1787); Wm. A. Wallace, democratic state senator 1862-71, and United States senator 1875-81; Wm. Wilkins, democratic and anti-masonic United States senator 1831-4 and 1843-4, minister to Russia 1834-5, and secretary of war under Tyler; David Wilmot, democratic congressman 1845-51, republican candidate for governor 1857, and United States senator 1861-3 (see WILMOT PROVISO); James Wilson, delegate to the continental congress 1775-8, 1782-3 and 1785-7, member of the convention of 1787, and justice of the United States supreme court 1789-98; Geo. W. Woodward, democratic candidate for United States senator in 1844, and for governor in 1863, judge of the state supreme court 1852-67, and congressman 1867-71; and Hendrick B. Wright, democratic congressman 1853-5, 1861-3 and 1877-81.


—See 2 Poore's Federal and State Constitution; Clarkson's Memoir of Penn; 2 Wm. Penn's Works; Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania (to 1682); Pennsylvania Archives (to 1786), and Register of Pennsylvania; Clay's Annals of the Swedes on the Delaware; authorities on Mason and Dixon's line under MARYLAND; 3 Franklin's Works, 107; Proud's History of Pennsylvania (to 1742); Gordon's History of Pennsylvania (to 1776); Fuller's Political Class Book of Pennsylvania (1853); Carpenter's History of Pennsylvania (1854); Barber's History and Antiquities of Pennsylvania (1856); Watson's Annals of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia; Sypher's School History of Pennsylvania (1868); Bates' History of Pennsylvania (1869); Cornell's History of Pennsylvania (1876); Morton's History of the Appellation Keystone State; Gibbons' Pennsylvania Dutch; Bettle's Negro Slavery in Pennsylvania; Bates' Martial Deeds of Pennsylvania; Rupp's History of Lancaster County; Harris' Biographical History of Lancaster County (to 1873); Goodwin's Pennsylvania Biography (1840); Armor's Lives of the Governors of Pennsylvania (to 1872); Biographical Encyclopœdia of Pennsylvania (to 1874); W. D. Kelley's Speeches and Addresses; and authorities under DELAWARE and WYOMING.


819 of 1105

Return to top