Crafting the “Day of Infamy” Speech

Early on a quiet Sunday afternoon in December 1941, the President of the United States was in his study at the White House working on his stamp album. It was a favorite activity and one that allowed him to shut out the troubles of the world, if only for a little while. The telephone rang, … Continue reading Crafting the “Day of Infamy” Speech

You won’t see this in the Monuments Men movie

As the recently-opened movie Monuments Men plays around the country, there's one macabre story you won't see on the silver screen. It's about the remains of German leaders, including Frederick the Great and Frederick William I. The Germans had hidden the caskets containing the bodies of the Fredericks and former Weimar President Paul von Hindenburg … Continue reading You won’t see this in the Monuments Men movie

Monuments Men Coming to the National Archives

A new movie due for release next month tells the story of a special unit of Allied soldiers in Europe at the end of World War II. They were charged with finding and savings works of art and other cultural artifacts that the Nazis had seized. Officially, this unit was called the Monuments, Fine Art, … Continue reading Monuments Men Coming to the National Archives

Amending the Constitution: 100 Days to 200 Years

The Constitution hasn’t changed much since it was adopted in 1787. However, it has been tweaked by 27 amendments—some were ratified in a few months, another took more than two centuries. The ink on the Constitution had barely dried in 1787 when people discovered what it did not say. It did not spell out adequately, … Continue reading Amending the Constitution: 100 Days to 200 Years

Eight myths about the Constitution

Constitution Day is September 17. We've got events, programs, and activities at National Archives locations across the United States. Pundits, candidates, and party activists like to cite the Constitution of the United States as the moral and legal backing for whatever they’re proposing. Or they say that something an opponent proposes is unconstitutional. But the … Continue reading Eight myths about the Constitution

At Gettysburg: Brother v. Brother

Today's post comes from our summer intern Caroline Isleib. The Battle of Gettysburg raged 150 years ago today, and many lives were lost or forever changed by the Civil War. It was a war that ripped our country apart and, in quite a literal sense, pitted brother against brother. “This was never more true than … Continue reading At Gettysburg: Brother v. Brother

Happy July 2, John Adams!

There wasn’t supposed to be a Fourth of July celebration in the vision of John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers and our second President. But in that Philadelphia summer of 1776, having successfully argued for the Second Continental Congress to declare the United States independent of Great Britain, Adams was excited. The day after … Continue reading Happy July 2, John Adams!

The 17th Amendment Observes Its Centennial

When Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas traveled around Illinois in 1858 debating each other while vying for a seat in the U.S. Senate, they weren’t looking for votes from the masses. They were seeking votes in the Illinois legislature. Douglas was the incumbent senator, and Lincoln, who had served one term in the House in … Continue reading The 17th Amendment Observes Its Centennial

The Election isn’t over yet…

If you thought the Presidential election was over and all the votes were counted, you’re wrong. The formal election is Monday, December 17, when “electors” meet in their respective state capitals to cast their votes for President and Vice President. Although the names Barack Obama and Mitt Romney appeared on the November ballot, you were … Continue reading The Election isn’t over yet…

No, it’s not in the Constitution

These days, pundits, candidates, and party activists like to cite the Constitution of the United States as the moral and legal backing for whatever they’re proposing. But the Constitution is silent on a lot of things you probably thought it said. Here are eight examples. The President can veto a proposed amendment to the Constitution. … Continue reading No, it’s not in the Constitution