own factors. The gross cotton movement continues to increase, but the field of supply has been progressively lessened by the development of Galveston and other ports on the gulf. As a grain and stock market St Louis has felt the competition of Kansas City and St Joseph.
River and railway transportation built up in turn the commanding commercial position of the city. The enormous growth of river traffic in the decade before 1860 gave it at the opening of the Civil War an incontestable primacy in the West. In 1910 about twenty independent railway systems, great and small (including two terminal roads within the city), gave outlet and inlet to commerce at St Louis; and of these fifteen are among the greatest systems of the country: the Baltimore & Ohio South-Western, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, the Chicago & Alton, the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St Louis, the St Louis & San Francisco, the Illinois Central, the Missouri, Kansas & Texas, the Missouri Pacific, the Pennsylvania, the St Louis South-Western, the Southern, the Wabash, the Louisville & Nashville, the Mobile & Ohio, and the Toledo, St Louis & Western. The construction of the Missouri Pacific Railway system was begun at St Louis in 1850, and various other roads were started in the next two years. For several decades railway development served only to increase the commercial primacy of the city in the southern Mississippi Valley, but in more recent years the concentration of roads at Kansas City enabled that place to draw from the west and south-west an immense trade once held by St Louis. River freighting is of very slight importance. St Louis is a port of entry for foreign commerce; its imports in 1907 were valued at $7,442,967; in 1909 at $6,362,770.
The population of St Louis in 1840 was 16,469; in 1850 it was 77,860 (seventh in size of the cities of the country); in 1860, 160,773; in 1870, 310,864 (third in size); in 1880, 350,518; in 1890, 451,770; in 1900, 575,238; and in 1910, 687,029. Since 1890 it has been fourth in population among the cities of the United States. Of the population in 1900 (575,238) 111,356 were foreign-born and 35,516 were negroes. Of the foreign-born in 1900, 58,781 were Germans, 19,421 were Irish, 5800 were English, 4785 Russian. In 1900, 154,746 inhabitants of St Louis were children of German parents.
Under the state constitution of 1875 St Louis, as a city of 100,000 inhabitants, was authorized to frame its own charter, and also to separate from St Louis county. These rights were exercised in 1876. The General Assembly of the state holds the same powers over St Louis as over other cities. The electorate may pass upon proposed amendments to the charter at any election, after due precedent publication thereof. The mayor holds office for four years. In 1823 the mayor was first elected by popular vote and the municipal legislature became unicameral. The bicameral system was again adopted in 1839. The municipal assembly consists of a Council of 13 chosen at large for four years—half each two years—and a House of Delegates, 28 in number, chosen by wards for two years. A number of chief executive officers are elected for four years; the mayor and Council appoint others, and the appointment is made at the middle of the mayor's term in order to lessen the immediate influence of municipal patronage upon elections. Single commissioners control the parks, streets, water service, harbour and wharves, and sewers, and these constitute, with the mayor, a board of public improvement. Under an enabling act of 1907 the municipal assembly in 1909 created a public service commission, of three members, appointed by the mayor. The measure of control exercised by the state is important, the governor appointing the excise (liquor-licence) commissioner, the board of election commissioners, the inspector of petroleum and of tobacco, and (since 1861) the police board. St Louis is normally Republican in politics, and Missouri Democratic. Taxes for state and municipal purposes are collected by the city. The school board, as in very few other cities of the country, has independent taxing power. The city owns the steamboat landings and draws a small revenue from their rental. The heaviest expenses are for streets and parks, debt payments, police and education. The bonded debt in 1910 was $27,815,312, and the assessed valuation of property in that year was $550,207,640. The city maintains hospitals, a poor-house, a reformatory work-house, an industrial school for children, and an asylum for the insane.
The water-supply of the city is derived from the Mississippi, and is therefore potentially inexhaustible. Settling basins and coagulant chemical plant (1904) are used to purify the water before distribution. After the completion of the Chicago drainage canal the state of Missouri endeavoured to compel its closure, on the ground that it polluted the Mississipi; but it was established to the satisfaction of the Supreme Court of the United States that the back-flush from Lake Michigan had the contrary effect upon the Illinois river, and therefore upon the Mississippi. Except for sediment the water-supply is not impure or objectionable. No public utilities, except the water-works, markets and public grain elevators, are owned by the city. The street railways are controlled—since a state law of 1899 permitted their consolidation—by one corporation, though a one-flare, universal transfer 5-cent rate is in general operation. A single corporation has controlled the gas service from 1846 to 1873 and since 1890, though under no exclusive franchise; and the city has not the right of purchase.
St Louis was settled as a trading post in 1764 by Pierre Laclède Liguest; (1724-1778), representative of a company to which the French crown had granted a monopoly of the trade of the Missouri river country. When, by the treaty of Paris of 1763, the portion of Louisiana E. of the Mississippi was ceded by France to Great Britain, many of the French inhabitants of the district of the Illinois removed into the portion of Louisiana W. of the river, which had passed in 1762 under Spanish sovereignty; and of this lessened territory of upper Louisiana St Louis became the seat of government. In 1767 it was a log-cabin village of perhaps 500 inhabitants. Spanish rule became an actuality in 1770 and continued until 1804, when it was momentarily supplanted by French authority—existent theoretically since 1800—and then, after the Louisiana Purchase, by the sovereignty of the United States. In 1780 the town was attacked by Indian allies of Great Britain. Canadian-French hunters and trappers and boatmen, a few Spaniards and other Europeans, some Indians, more half-breeds, and a considerable body of Americans and negro slaves made up the motley population that became inhabitants of the United States. The fur trade was growing rapidly. Under American rule there was added the trade of a military supply-point for the Great West, and in 1817-1819 steamship traffic was begun with Louisville, New Orleans, and the lower Missouri river. Meanwhile, in 1808, St Louis was incorporated as a town, and in 1823 it became a city. The city charter became effective in March 1823. The early 'thirties marked the beginning of its great prosperity, and the decade 1850-1860 was one of colossal growth, due largely to the river trade. All freights were being moved by steamship as early as 1825. The first railway was begun in 1850. At the opening of the Civil War the commercial position of the city was most commanding. Its prosperity, however, was dependent upon the prosperity of the South, and received a fearful set-back in the war. When the issue of secession or adherence to the Union had been made up in 1861, the outcome in St Louis, where the fate of the state must necessarily be decided, was of national importance. St Louis was headquarters for an army department and contained a great national arsenal. The secessionists tried to manœuvre the state out of the Union by strategy, and to seize the arsenal. The last was prevented by Congressman Francis Preston Blair, Jr., and Captain Nathaniel Lyon, first a subordinate and later commander at the arsenal. The garrison was strengthened; in April the president entrusted Blair and other loyal civilians with power to enlist loyal citizens, and put the city under martial law if necessary; in May ten regiments were ready—made up largely of German-American Republican clubs (“Wide Awakes”), which had been at first purely political, then—when force became necessary to secure election rights to anti-slavery men—semi-military, and which now were quickly made available for war; and on the 10th of May Captain Lyon surrounded and made prisoners a force of secessionists quartered in Camp Jackson on the outskirts of the city. A street riot followed, and 28 persons were killed by the volleys of the military. St Louis was held by the Union forces throughout the war.