Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
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
—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
—Penn having acquired the three counties on the Delaware from the duke of York (see
—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
—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,
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
—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
—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
—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
—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
—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.
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