Brief Descriptions From the Index of the Presidential Papers 1789-1897 Letter A: Am-Ant




This term was long erroneously used in reference to our envoys to foreign countries. The United States did not appoint diplomatic representatives of higher rank than envoy or minister until the year 1893, when by act of Mar. 3 of that year the higher grade was established. Thomas F. Bayard was raised to the rank of ambassador to Great Britain, being the first to hold that rank. Later, ambassadors were duly accredited to France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Mexico (IX, 442; X, 188). In ancient times ambassadors were appointed on special occasions. Medieval republics like Venice both received and sent ambassadors.

American Protective Association

While disclaiming to be a political party, the A.P.A. has influenced results in many localities. Its principles, as set forth in a platform adopted at Des Moines, Iowa, in 1894, are (1) protection of our nonsectarian free public-school system; (2) no public funds or property to be used for sectarian purposes; (3) preserving and maintaining the Constitution and Government of the United States; (4) restriction of immigration, and (5) extension of time required for naturalization. The association was organized in 1887, and soon had well-attended councils in nearly every State of the Union.

American System

In his annual message, December, 1848, President Polk discussed what its authors and advocates called the "American system" (IV, 654). He insisted that this so-called system was founded on a departure from the earliest policy of the Government; that it depended on an enlargement of the powers of the Federal Government by construction and was not warranted by a just interpretation of the Constitution. One branch of the new system, it was claimed, was the establishment of a large national bank. The next branch was a high protective tariff, levied not to raise the revenue needed, but for protection merely; the next was a comprehensive scheme of internal improvements, and finally a plan for the distribution of the proceeds of the sales of the public lands among the States. But the term "American System," as most generally understood, is used to denote the policy of protection to home industries by means of high duties on imports. The term was probably first used by Henry Clay in the debates which preceded the enactment of the tariff law of 1824, when he called his plan of protective duties and internal improvements the "American system."

Amistad Case

The case of the United States against the Spanish vessel Amistad. A cargo of kidnapped Africans, who had been landed near Havana, Cuba, by a Portuguese slaver, was shortly afterwards placed aboard the Spanish vessel Amistad for shipment to Puerto Principe. On the voyage the negroes took possession of the vessel and ordered the crew to return to Africa; but the sailors brought her into American waters, where off the coast of Long Island, she was captured by a United States war vessel and carried into New London, Conn., August 29, 1839. On a libel for salvage the Supreme Court of the United States held on appeal that the negroes, having been kidnapped from a foreign country, were free men, and not bound by treaties with Spain.


An act of pardon for political offenses. The effect of it is that the crimes and offenses against the State specified in the act are so obliterated that they can never again be charged against the guilty parties. When amnesty is proclaimed without restriction as to persons or localities it is called absolute. Numerous instances of qualified amnesty are found in ancient and modern history. When Thrasybulus overthrew the oligarchy at Athens he proclaimed an amnesty, excepting 30 tyrants and a few of their followers. President Lincoln's first amnesty proclamation excepted all officers or agents of the Confederate government, all army officers above the rank of colonel, all naval officers above the rank of lieutenant, all persons who left the service of the United States to participate in the insurrection, and all those who had resigned from the military of naval service and afterwards participated in rebellion; also all those who had treated colored persons or those in charge of them otherwise than as prisoners of war (VI, 213). Dec. 25, 1868, President Johnson proclaimed absolute amnesty (VI, 708).

Anderson Case

A negro named Anderson was found wandering around the plantation of Seneca Diggs, in Missouri. He had no pass, and was arrested by Mr. Diggs as a fugitive slave. The negro plunged a knife into his captor's heart and made his escape to Canada. Upon demand he was surrendered to the Government of the United States under the extradition treaty. He was tried, but was discharged on a technical point.

Annals of Congress

A record of the debates and proceedings of Congress from the commencement of the First Congress, Mar. 4, 1789, to the close of the first session of the Eighteenth Congress, May 27, 1824. The Annals also contain many valuable state papers, public documents, laws, and much correspondence. (See Congressional Globe; Congressional Record; Register of Debates.)


After the adoption of the Federal Constitution the individual States ceded to the United States all territory west of the lines they established as their western boundaries. In the original charters this territory extended nominally to the Pacific Ocean, but really only to the Mississippi River, for Louisiana and Florida were Spanish possessions. In 1800 Louisiana was retroceded by Spain to France, and was acquired by the United States from the latter Apr. 30, 1803, by payment of $15,000,000. The territory embraced all of the present State of Louisiana lying west of the Mississippi River, together with New Orleans and the adjacent district east; Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, a portion of Idaho and Minnesota, all of the Dakotas, most of Kansas, all of Nebraska and Indian Territory, part of Colorado, most of Wyoming, and the whole of Montana, and contained 1,171,931 sq. miles. Feb. 22, 1819, Florida was ceded to the United States by Spain for $5,000,000. Texas, which had for 9 years existed as an independent Republic, was added to the United States as a State Dec. 29, 1845. As a result of the Mexican War and the payment of $18,250,000 to Mexico and $10,000,000 To Texas, territory including what are now California and Utah and portions of New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Wyoming, and Colorado was added, and later the southern parts of Arizona and New Mexico were by the Gadsden treaty purchased from Mexico. Alaska was acquired in 1867 by purchase, the price being $7,200,000, and Hawaii in 1898 by treaty. By the treaty between the United States and Spain at the close of the Spanish-American War, in 1899, Puerto Rico and the Philippine Islands were ceded to the United States.


A political party which opposed the adoption and ratification of the Constitution. Its fundamental principle was opposition to the strengthening of the National Government at the expense of the states. George Clinton, George Mason, and Patrick Henry were its leaders. Their strength was shown in the First and Second Congresses. They opposed Hamilton and his followers and championed a strict construction of the Constitution as against monarchical federalism. They later became merged into the Republican party under the leadership of Jefferson. There have been many political parties termed "antis." As their names imply, they have opposed some specific measure, organization, or person. Though acting as political parties, they are not such in the strict sense of the word, for they have no affirmative policy and their claims are negative. Organized with a specific purpose to oppose, they disappear with the issue. Prominent among quasi parties have been the Anti-Lecompton, Anti-Masonic, Anti-Monopoly, Anti-Nebraska and Anti-Renters.

Anti-Masonic Party

In 1826 William Morgan and David C. Miller, of Batavia, N.Y.. announced that they were about to publish an expose of Freemasonry. Before the book was produced Morgan was arrested for debt and confined in the jail at Canandaigua, whence he disappeared on the night of September 12, 1826. It was charged, but never shown to be true, that he had been foully dealt with by members of the Masonic order, as all attempts to discover his whereabouts were unavailing. The oft-reiterated charges aroused a bitter opposition to the order, and Thurlow Weed began the publication of the Anti-Masonic Enquirer at Rochester. In 1827, a convention was held by the Anti-Masons of Genesee County at Le Roy, N.Y., and a political party organized. It was claimed that many of the State officials were Masons and regarded their fraternal obligations as more binding than their civil oaths. The Anti-Masonic feeling grew rapidly. The party cast 33,000 votes in New York State in 1828, 70,000 in 1829, and 128,000 in 1830, though many of the latter were anti-Jackson men regardless of Masonry. In September, 1830, though many of the latter were anti-Jackson men regardless of Masonry. In September, 1830, a national convention met at Philadelphia, Francis Granger, of New York, presiding. In 1831 they nominated William Wirt for President, but carried only the State of Vermont. In 1835, through a Democratic split, they elected Joseph Ritner governor of Pennsylvania. After this date the Anti-Masonic party declined as rapidly as it had arisen.


A political party organized in 1884 upon a platform demanding economical government, the enactment and enforcement of equitable laws, the establishment of labor bureaus, laws providing for industrial arbitration, a direct vote of the people for United States Senators, a graduated income tax, payment of the national debt as it matures, and "fostering care' for agriculture. The platform denounced a protective tariff and the granting of land to corporations. One of the reforms demanded was the passage of an interstate-commerce law, which was subsequently enacted. In may, 1884, the Anti-Monopolists held a national convention at Chicago and nominated Gen. B.F. Butler for President of the United States. He was later indorsed by the Greenback-Labor party, and the combination was known as the People's Party. It polled about 130,000 votes.

Antietam (Md.), Battle of (1862)

After the severe engagement at South Mountain, Lee's army concentrated to the west of Antietam Creek, a small stream flowing into the Potomac River about 8 miles above Harpers Ferry. Here, near the town of Sharpsburg, between the Potomac and the creek, Lee awaited the return of Jackson, who had been sent to capture Harpers Ferry. According to Federal accounts, Lee had not more than 25,000 men until Jackson's two divisions came up. Later he was joined by D.H. Hill's, McLaw's, and Anderson's divisions. This raised the strength of Lee's command to over 45,000 combatants. Sept. 16, 1862, McClellan's army, about 70,000 strong, was assembled on the east bank of Antietam Creek. This command was reinforced to 87,164, of which 4,320 were cavalry. About 60,000 of this force bore the brunt of the battle. On the evening of the 16th Hooker's division crossed the creek and began an attack, which darkness ended. Fighting was resumed at daylight on the 17th and continued all day, with varying success and terrific slaughter. Darkness again put an end to the carnage. McClellan did not renew the attack on the 18th, but orders were issued to resume fighting on the 19th. During the night of the 18th, however, the Confederates withdrew to the west of the Potomac and proceeded toward Martinsburg. A few days later McClellan occupied Martinsburg. The total loss of the Union Army was 12,469 (2,010 killed); of the Confederates, 25,899. Other estimates of the Confederate loss are 9,000 to 12,000. The official Confederate accounts claim that this was a drawn battle, and that the total effective force of Lee was a little more than 35,000. This was called by the Confederates the battle of Sharpsburg.


Website: The History
Article Name: Brief Descriptions From the Index of the Presidential Papers 1789-1897 Letter A: Am-Ant
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From my collection of books: A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents 1789-1897 by James D. Richardson, A Representative from the State of Tennessee published by the authority of Congress 1899.
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