Daniel Webster and the Dazzling 1830 Defense of a Strong Federal Government

New England statesman Daniel Webster believed in strong, centralized power when it served his region’s interests. For generations, school children memorized the ending to Daniel Webster’s “Second Reply to Hayne,” delivered during the famous Webster-Hayne debate of January 1830. This most-famous-of-debates began in a modest fashion, with an argument over westward expansion and morphed into[…]

America Declaring Independence: Drafting the Documents

The committee delegated Thomas Jefferson to undertake the task, and he worked diligently in private for days to compose a document. Draft and Prints Jefferson’s letter to Weightman is considered one of the sublime exaltations of individual and national liberty — Jefferson’s vision of the Declaration of Independence and the American nation as signals to[…]

A History of Feminist Movements in the United States in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Feminist movements have generated, made possible, and nurtured feminist theories and feminist academic knowledge. Introduction “History is also everybody talking at once, multiple rhythms being played simultaneously. The events and people we write about did not occur in isolation but in dialogue with a myriad of other people and events. In fact, at any given[…]

Vast Early America: Three Simple Words for a Complex Reality

Teaching early American history needs to be expansive and accurate, not mythologized. American history courses usually begin with the peopling of the Americas, then move on to European colonization and the crisis of the British colonies. Tethered to the East Coast, historical attention turns west again as the United States expands its territorial claims in[…]

A Brief History of the United States Senate

The U.S. Senate was designed to be a more deliberative body than the U.S. House. Introduction The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States. Like its counterpart, the[…]

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 American People and the New Deal

The idea of the “people” as a united force suffused the imagery of the New Deal era. By Dr. Michael KazinProfessor of HistoryGeorgetown University In 1941, director Frank Capra and scriptwriter Robert Riskin, a passionate New Dealer, created Meet John Doe, an allegory of a failed fascist takeover of the United States. The film concludes[…]

Jefferson’s Delayed Credit as Author of the Declaration of Independence

The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Thomas Jefferson was not then credited with its authorship. By Matthew Wills / 07.02.2016 The Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. We now credit Thomas Jefferson with the Declaration’s authorship, but that was not the case[…]

“Columbia’s Noblest Sons”: Washington and Lincoln in Popular Prints

The admiration of these two former presidents has risen to the level of a posthumous apotheosis in artistic representation. By Harold Holzer Historian, Lincoln Scholar “I venture to claim for Abraham Lincoln the place next to George Washington.” So wrote George S. Boutwell, the Civil War congressman from Massachusetts who went on to serve under[…]

Deifying the First President in ‘The Apotheosis of Washington’

The Apotheosis of Washington by Constantino Brumidi, 1865 / United States Capitol rotunda, Wikimedia Commons The Apotheosis of Washington depicts George Washington sitting amongst the heavens in an exalted manner, or in literal terms, ascending and becoming a god (apotheosis). Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 12.06.2018 Public Historian Brewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The Apotheosis of Washington is the fresco painted by Greek-Italian artist[…]