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1 James Fenimore Cooper, "Notions of the Americans: Picked up by a Travelling Bachelor" (Philadelphia: Carey, Lea and Carey, 1828)--a detailed description, in the guise of letters written by a fictitious Belgian traveler, of the geography, history, economy, government, and culture of the United States

2 Cooper had returned to New York in November 1833, after seven years in Europe

3 the most famous monument on the Appian Way outside Rome, commemorating the wife of Crassus (d. 53 BC), who as member of the First Triumvirate, joined with Caesar and Pompey to end the Roman Republic

4 built by the Emperor Diocletian about 290 A.D. to stage gladiator combats, it is one of the largest surviving Roman amphitheaters

5 in the early years of the 19th century the French Emperor Napoleon had sought, largely unsuccessfully, to blockade England from trade with Europe

6 Senator John C. Calhoun (1782-1850) of South Carolina

7 California, newly conquered from Mexico and where gold had been discovered in 1848, had in 1849 adopted a Constitution banning slavery, at the same time that it applied for admission to the Union as a free State; it was admitted in 1850 as part of the so-called Compromise of 1850, which included the Fugitive Slave Act empowering the Federal Government to seize and return slaves fleeing from slave to free States

8 Cooper is again ridiculing John C. Calhoun's assertion that, because the new Territories of the West acquired from Mexico belonged to the people rather than the Federal Government, Southerners had an inherent right to bring and keep their slaves in them regardless of Federal law.

9 following the French Revolution of 1848 Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (1808-1873), nephew of the first Emperor Napoleon, had been elected as President of France and was consolidating his power--in December 1851, shortly after Cooper's death, he would proclaim himself Emperor Napoleon III

10 the Electoral College

11 The New York State legislature had enacted laws giving certain tenant farmers the right to purchase the land they occupied, thus ending one of the causes of the so-called "anti-rent wars" of the 1840s in upstate New York

12 Cooper is alluding to the public ferment in upstate New York, during the "anti-rent wars" of the 1840s, resulting in laws infringing, in Cooper's view, on the legal contractual and property rights of landowners

13 Europe will, in fifty years, be either republican or cossack [French]

14 Paul I, Tsar of Russia from 1796 to 1801

15 from Aesop's Fables

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