Physical, Civil and Moral Power of the West.- The following is taken from an article in the Quarterly Journal of the American Education Society, for April.
Physical Power.- By the Western States, we mean to include those which are situated between the Allegheny and the Rocky Mountains, and are watered by the Mississippi, and its tributaries. The Territories of Michigan and Arkansas contain 586,000 square miles. It is only fifty-five years since the first English settlements west of the Allegheny, were made in Kentucky.
At various periods since, settlements have been made in most of the States belonging to the Western division. Thirty-eight years ago, the entire white population of all these States amounted, as we have said, by actual computation, to scarcely 150,000-making a little over seven persons to a square mile. Their ratio of increase has been not far from 100 per cent. The ration will probably diminish as the country grows older and those checks of population increase which ever exist in long settled States. But it is hazarding little to say, that in 1850, the Western States will contain a population larger than that of the other great divisions of the United States.
Of their capability to support a population equal in density to Massachusetts, no doubt can be entertained.
The number of persons to a square mile in Massachusetts in seventy. By recurring to the number of square miles in the Western States, it will be seen, that with a population equal in destiny [sic] to Massachusetts, they will contain 36,960,000 inhabitants. The effective military force of a population of 10,000,000, may safely be estimated at 1,000,000. When therefore, the Western States shall contain a population equal in destiny [sic] to Massachusetts, their effective force will be nearly 4,000,000- an army superior to that which can be brought into the field by the Autocrat of Russia. The above estimate is undoubtedly too low. A moment's reflection will satisfy any one, that the Western States are capable of sustaining a much larger population, who takes into consideration the salubrity of their climate-the extent and fertility of their soil-the richness of their mines-the facility they have for working them, - and the great navigable rivers and tributary streams by which they are watered, suited either for manufacturing establishments, or the purposes of commercial enterprize and activity.
In the preceding remarks, no regard has been paid to the unorganized territory belonging to the United States in the valley of the Mississippi. When, therefore, these immense regions between the Allegheny and the Rocky Mountains shall be filled with a population equal in density to Massachusetts, their physical power will be greater than that of the mightiest nation now in existence.
Civil Power.- By civil power is here meant that influence which any division of our country possesses in the national councils. Proceeding, then, upon the calculations laid down in the tables published in another part of the present number of the Journal,* it will be seen that the civil power of this nation will soon be wielded by the people of the West. Divide the United States into four parts, Northern, Middle, Southern and Western. The present number of Representatives in Congress, from each of the divisions, is as follows: Northern 39- Middle 67-Southern 64- Western 46.- Whole number of Representatives from the first three divisions, 176.- From the last. 56. Under the present regulations the apportionment for a representative is 40,000. According to the best calculations which can be made, it is ascertained, that in 1850, the population of the Northern, Middle, and Southern divisions of the United States will be 11,384,705; while that of the Western division will be 11,424,550. Should the rate of apportionment be the same then as at present, the first three division will have 267 Representatives, and the last 269; leaving the balance of power in favor of the West. The apportionment in future will, no doubt be much larger than at present; but upon the principle of equal representation, whatever the apportionment may be, the influence possessed by the West will be the same.
In little more than twenty years, therefore, the Western States will have a majority in Congress; and in fifty years that majority will be overwhelming. Of course they will be able to control all the measures of the General Government which are of great national importance.
Moral Power- Now, when we reflect that the Western States, according to the lowest estimate one is capable of sustaining a population of more than 36,000,000, we find their moral power must be great in them for good or evil, in proportion to their intelligence or ignorance, virtue in them prevail among their citizens. Many have before shewn [sic] that in 1850 they will have a majority in Congress, for it is well known that the character of a representative ever corresponds with that of his constituents. If the people are industrious and virtuous, then their representatives will be men of like spirit. But if ignorance, licentiousness of manner, and a disregard of religious obligation, prevail in the community, then reckless demagogues and abandoned profligates, will inhabit the sacred hall of legislation; and ambition and self aggrandizement and loss of power will take the place of patriotism and public spirit, and an unspoken attachment to the best interest of the nation. Where such a state of society exists, the elective franchise, which is the peculiar glory of America, will become one of its deadliest scourges. Nothing, therefore, will prevent a dissolution of the Union, and save our free and-happy institutions from utter subversion, but patriotism and intelligence, directed, animated and controlled by the purist moral principles, pervading all classes of people at the West.
*The tables here alluded to, give comparative increase of the several divisions of the country in the following ratios: Eastern States 12 7 per cent. Middle 32 8; Southern 19 4; Western 99. The comparative population of the same divisions of countries when as dense as the present population of Great Britain, will be as follows: Eastern States, 11,851,200; Middle, 18,072,000; Southern, 56,173,000; Western 120,960,000; unorganized territory, 153,658,000; total 360,000,000.