“Had Mr. Lincoln Lived”: Alternate Histories, Reconstruction, Race, and Memory

Imagining what might have happened is natural. In reflecting on the legacy of the American Civil War, Robert Penn Warren observed that the war “is our only ‘felt’ history—history lived in the national imagination.” The problem, as Warren noted and historians have further explored, is that Americans have never felt the same way about the[…]

“Home Is the Martyr”: The Burial of Abraham Lincoln and the Fate of Illinois’s Capital

Many questions linger regarding the process and motivations of Lincoln’s burial in Springfield. By Dr. Jeremy PrichardHistorian, 19th Airlift WingLittle Rock Air Force BaseUnited States Air Force Introduction Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and burial have attracted broad interest from both professional and novice historians alike.[1] Authors of books and articles still find new ways of probing[…]

History Passing before Their Eyes: The Last Hours of John Quincy Adams

Adams had become widely revered in his last years. The morning of February 21, 1848, was bright and clear. Representative John Quincy Adams left his house on F Street for the Capitol, for the last time. Age had made him gnome-like: bald, frail, and a little hunched over in the sparkling winter air, but still[…]

The ‘Revolution of 1800’ and the Election of Thomas Jefferson

The Federalists won, but when the dust settled, Anti-Federalists could claim to have made their point. To understand fully the “Revolution of 1800” we have to go back to the American Revolution and the ideology which drove it. That outlook has been called the “American synthesis” – a unique blend of early liberalism, “the rights[…]

George Washington and the First Electoral College

It’s worth considering the astonishing contrast between 21st-century presidential elections and those contemplated by the 18th-century authors of the Constitution. By Craig Dimitri Everyone at the 1787 Federal Convention knew that Virginia delegate George Washington – who presided over the assembly – would be the first executive.  The challenge would be in determining how to[…]