Category: History

The Forgotten Founder Part 2: The Rise of John Adams

When last we checked-in, John Adams was preparing to do what no one else would, defend the British soldiers that took part in the Boston Massacre. He was ready to stake his reputation for the believe that all accused parties have the right to representation. But how did John Adams get here in the first place? In 1735, Adams was born on the family farm in Braintree, Mass. to a modest family. His father was […]

The Forgotten Founder Part 1: The Boston Massacre

Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton. These are the names we think of when we think of our founding fathers. But there was another man there, at every critical juncture of the early republic. His thinking was ahead of its time. Without him, the Declaration of Independence would not look like it did. The judicial branch, indirectly, would not have the power it does today without him. Foreign relations for the young country could have easily gone […]

First Amendment Series: Freedom of Speech

What is free speech? That’s a question that has been debated since the First Amendment was adopted in 1791. Restrictions have come and gone, largely shaped by the Supreme court. Today, we will explore how this freedom has changed over time and what free speech looks like today. In the latter part of colonial times, speech was not as deeply censored as it was in the England proper. This set the table for political dissent, […]

Weird History: The Great Molasses Flood

The following story sounds made up. I could not believe it the first time I heard about it. But rest assured, it is completely true. In 1919, Boston experienced a tragic flood. But the liquid flowing through the streets was not water. It was molasses. You heard that right. Molasses. This may sound funny, but the truth is it was tragic. In the end, the flood killed 21, injured 150, and destroyed countless homes, businesses, […]

First Amendment Series: Freedom of the Press

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees five distinct freedoms: freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition. The guarantee of these freedoms, in writing and respected by the government, were groundbreaking at the time. Today is just the first in a series explaining each one of these freedoms, how they came to be, how they have changed over time, and what they mean. Freedom of […]

Who Was Shirley Chisholm?

In 2020, Senator Kamala Harris of California was chosen to be former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate. She becomes the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to be on a major party ticket. Many women, especially women of color, have paved the way for Harris and it would be unfair to credit one person over another. However, an important person to start with is the groundbreaking Shirley Chisholm. Born in Brooklyn, […]

Bill of Rights: Ensuring Unstated Freedoms

The Constitution did not just become the law of the land once it was written. Nine of the 13 states needed to ratify it. This was no easy process and a divide emerged. There were the Federalists, who supported the Constitution as it was, and the Anti-Federalists, who had many concerns. The Federalists defended all the protections built into the Constitution, most famously in a series of anonymous articles written in New York, an Anti-Federalist […]

Tales of Our Country: Aaron Burr, King of Mexico?

We’ve talked about Alexander Hamilton and we talked about the duel. It’s only fair that we talk about the man on the other end of the duel, Aaron Burr. When we left him last, he had just fled after shooting and killing Hamilton. This would lead to one of the strangest stories in American history, the former vice president who tried to become the king of Mexico. A little bit of background first. Burr was […]

Declaring War: How the Process Changed over the Years

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was an act of Congress in 1964 that effectively gave the president carte blanche in using force for the Vietnam War. But Congress never actually declared war against Vietnam. So was this constitutional? How did this shape the president’s authority to use military force going forward? Let’s start from the beginning. The Constitution declares the president the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces but gives Congress the power to declare war. […]

Tales of Our Country: The Duel

It’s July 11, 1804. The sun has just risen over the Hudson River that divides New York and New Jersey. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr are on separate boats crossing to New Jersey, prepared to meet on a rock near Weehawken. They are ready to duel, defending their honor after their long-time rivalry. It all started in 1791, when Burr defeated Phillip Schulyer, Hamilton’s father-in-law. Schulyer would have been a supporter of Hamilton’s federalist ideas, […]

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