The Diplomatic Impacts of U.S. Victory in the Civil War

The victory provided a renewed strength of the U.S. government and allowed shifting resources to fight external intervention. Introduction The outcome of the Civil War resulted in a strengthening of U.S. foreign power and influence, as the definitive Union defeat of the Confederacy firmly demonstrated the strength of the United States Government and restored its[…]

The Impact of the Trent Affair on U.S.-British Relations in the Civil War

The Lincoln administration understood that it would be unwise to risk a possible armed conflict while already in the midst of a war. Introduction On November 8, 1861, Charles Wilkes, a U.S. Navy Officer, captured two Confederate envoys aboard the British mail ship, the Trent. Great Britain accused the United States of violating British neutrality,[…]

Running for President and the Political Machine since George Washington

The technical qualifications for candidates are the same, but how people seek the nation’s highest office has shifted over the centuries. Introduction The requirements have stayed the same – just about any natural-born citizen over the age of 35 can run for president. But who decides who runs has changed substantially. So has campaigning. Nowadays,[…]

The Development of the Two-Party System in Early America

Hamiltonians became known as Federalists and Jeffersonians became known as Democratic-Republicans. Hamiltonians vs. Jeffersonians After the new United States Congress completed its first task of creating a Bill of Rights, it turned its attention to the issue of financing the new government. President George Washington appointed Alexander Hamilton as the Treasury Secretary, and Hamilton took[…]

James Madison and the Origins of Partisanship in the United States

Critics argue that Congress has become the “broken branch” of government, marked by extreme partisanship and few achievements. They prescribe nostrums ranging from campaign finance regulation to redistricting reform to foster compromise rather than conflict on Capitol Hill. Yet the American founders, especially James Madison, believed “ambition must be made to counteract ambition” as a way[…]

A History of the Civil War, from the Preceding Crisis to the End of Reconstruction

Examining the initial fractures, course, and ultimate resolution of the Civil War that divided the nation. Decade of Crisis Slave Resistance During the 1850s, Americans witnessed a decade of sectional crises that threatened the very existence of the Union. Ralph Waldo Emerson was right in predicting that the Mexican Cession would reignite the explosive issue[…]

Key Personalities of the American Civil War

Taking a look at some of the key figures who played important roles during one of our nation’s most divisive times. Abraham Lincoln February 12 1809 – April 15 1865 Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States and the first Republican elected to that office. Lincoln was president during the Civil War,[…]

Constitutional Textualism and Debate over the 14th Amendment, 1860-1870

“Equality before the law” under the Fourteenth Amendment means exactly what it says it means. Former Associate Supreme Court Justice Anton Scalia, the halcyon of judicial conservatism and the patron saint of the Supreme Court’s dominant bloc, justified his rightwing jurisprudence claiming to be a textualist. According to Scalia, “If you are a textualist, you don’t care[…]

Ebenezer Mackintosh: Shoemaker, Gang Leader, Rioter, Founding Father

Mackintosh played a key role in riots and other events related to the protest and eventual repeal of the Stamp Act in March 1766. Where it is: The marker can be seen in North Haverhill, just east of Horse Meadows Cemetery. It’s on the west side of Route 10, about 1.7 miles south of the[…]

The Progressive Presidents: Teddy Roosevelt, Taft, and Wilson

The ownership of corporations and the relationship between owners and laborers were the contentious topics of the period. Roosevelt’s Square Deal At the dawn of the twentieth century, America was at a crossroads. Presented with abundant opportunity, but also hindered by significant internal and external problems, the country was seeking leaders who could provide a[…]

Garfield, Harrison, McKinley, and the Legacy of the Front Porch Campaign

At the beginning of the 1880s, Democratic and Republicans candidates observed a tradition of reserve and silence during campaigns. Since gaining a decisive lead in the Democratic primaries, Joe Biden has faced a situation unique in contemporary politics: while preparations for the upcoming general campaign are underway, the candidate himself is locked up at home.[…]

Federalists versus Anti-Federalists in the Early American Republic

The public, expecting a revised version of the Articles of Confederation, was shocked by the Constitution that resulted. Ratification of the Constitution Leaders of the Philadelphia Convention had completed the Constitution for the United States of America, but many of the convention members had lingering doubts as to whether the states would approve it. According[…]

Falling Sacrifice to Despotism: Virginia and the Intolerable Acts of 1774

These acts worked, inadvertently, towards unifying colonists against British policy. Abstract The purpose of my project is to analyze how Virginians responded to the Intolerable Acts of 1774, which were mostly aimed towards Boston and Massachusetts. This analysis consists mainly of coal county and town resolutions passed during the summer of 1774 in response to[…]

James Madison’s Last Stand

Madison was deeply concerned with tyranny. Recent events–from Black Lives Matter protests, to a show trial for an impeached president, to the mismanaged spread of COVID-19, to Stormtrooper-like tactics in American cities—demonstrate that liberal democracy is under siege. To better understand this unique moment in the history of this worldview, a brief look at its[…]

John Adams: A Lesson in Losing and Peacefully Leaving

Adams decided that losing an election, even one for the presidency, means what it says. Students of the Presidency honor George Washington for establishing that two terms as president were enough for any man. The precedent he set, the two-term tradition, bound his successors, even those who wanted more time in office, until Franklin D. Roosevelt[…]

Stamping an Identity on America: The Beginning of the United States Post Office

George Washington convinced Congress to support a sweeping expansion of postal routes with greater scope and reliability. Introduction Research for my recent book on the postal inspector Anthony Comstock introduced me to the prominent role the Postal Service played in enabling Americans to conceive of themselves as a singular nation. Sending a letter from Virginia[…]

The Historical Background and Development of Social Security

The Great Depression of the 1930s was not the only one in America’s history. Traditional Sources of Economic Security All peoples throughout all of human history have faced the uncertainties brought on by unemployment, illness, disability, death and old age. In the realm of economics, these inevitable facets of life are said to be threats[…]

A Brief History of the Fight for Economic Equality since the Early Republic

Fears of great wealth and the need for economic equality go back to the country’s origins. Introduction Americans are increasingly worried about the rising tide of economic inequality, as fewer control more wealth. For the origins of these concerns, commentators usually point to the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century, when a[…]

Battles That Saved America: North Point and Baltimore, 1814

The young republic might have ceased to exist and may have become a mere footnote in the history of the world. By Command Sergeant Major James Clifford, USA-Ret.COCOM Exercise Logistics Planner for Air Force Reserve Command These few words—the opening line of the United States’ national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner”—are some of the most[…]

The History of Military Ordnance in America

The American Revolution established the general outlines of the future Ordnance Department. By Karl RubisOrdnance Branch HistorianUnited States Army Introduction The Ordnance Branch is one of the oldest branches of the U.S. Army, founded on 14 May 1812. However, the duties and responsibilities of the profession date back to the colonial era. In 1629, the[…]

Systems at Work: A History of the Post Office in Pictures since 1808

In 1800, postal officials began using selected post offices as distribution centers. 1808 Overview When we reflect that the objects effected by the transportation of the mail are among the choicest comforts and enjoyments of social life, it is pleasing to observe that the dissemination of them to every corner of our country has outstripped[…]

The History of the United States Post Office since 1792

The Postal Service Act, signed by President George Washington on February 20, 1792, established the Post Office Department. Introduction The United States Post Office Department (USPOD; also known as the Post Office or U.S. Mail) was the predecessor of the United States Postal Service, in the form of a Cabinet department, officially from 1872 to[…]

Lincoln’s Profound and Benign Americanism, or Nationalism Without Malice

Lincoln was that rare bird, a man who dealt in moral ideas without falling into moralism and superior self-righteousness. Abraham Lincoln is the greatest of all interpreters of America’s moral meaning. He surpasses even Thomas Jefferson, though Lincoln himself might take exception to my claim. [1] Lincoln certainly gave Jefferson high praise, and he made[…]

‘Old-Fashioned’ Nationalism: Lincoln, Jefferson, and the Classical Tradition

Seeing Lincoln’s nationalism from an unlikely, and fresh, perspective: its connection, via the Enlightenment, to classical antiquity. In 1870 the former vice-president of the Confederacy, Alexander H. Stephens, offered what has surely become the best-known characterization of Abraham Lincoln’s nationalism. In Lincoln, Stephens suggested, the sentiment of Union “rose to the sublimity of a religious[…]

A History of Tumultuous Transitions in the American Presidency

America has certainly had a lot of experience in difficulties in the change of governments in the last two centuries. Three months from now America will once again experience the tumult and stress of presidential transitions, if one believes the polls that show former Vice President Joe Biden thwarting President Trump’s attempt to win a[…]

American Politicos and the Weaponization of Conspiracy Theories in the 19th Century

Rumors of secret alliances, bank deals, and double-crossings were rampant in early American elections. From claims that NASA faked the moon landing to suspicions about the U.S. government’s complicity in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Americans love conspiracy theories. Conspiratorial rhetoric in presidential campaigns and its distracting impact on the body politic have been[…]

Philosophy of the American Revolution

It can be traced, in part, to the Enlightenment and its profound impact on colonial thinking. Political The Revolution generated radical changes in the principles, opinions, and sentiments of the American people. New ideas and issues affected social customs, political ideals, and gender and racial roles as the thirteen colonies evolved into the United States.[…]

Echoes of 1968

All the threads are there, flowing together into a raging, muddied river that serves up unimaginable challenges. The streets were on fire as National Guard troops streamed into American cities. The shouts were soaked in anger and anguish: “We’re sick of it!” There was dark talk of “radical agitators.” Violent outbursts and arrests piled up[…]

Examining the Ways in Which America Is Putting Up a Fight against the Coronavirus

Humankind’s battle against an invisible and what could be often termed as an invincible force of nature, is still a persistent one. People around the globe are putting up a brave fight in their own capacities and trying hard to combat a pandemic of this epic scale, something that has never been dealt with or[…]