Alexander Hamilton: “I just need to write something down.”

I will always take advantage of any opportunity to promote Alexander Hamilton, and this June I have the perfect one. In conjunction with the three-month showing of Hamilton the musical in Washington, DC, this summer (and yes, I have tickets), we’re having a special exhibit of Hamilton-related documents in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives … Continue reading Alexander Hamilton: “I just need to write something down.”

Change at their fingertips: Women’s petitions to Congress

March is Women's History Month. Today’s post comes from Melanie M. Griffin from the National Archives Education and Public Programs Office. Often when one thinks of the freedoms embedded in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, one doesn't immediately think of the right to petition. A petition is a plea from an individual or a … Continue reading Change at their fingertips: Women’s petitions to Congress

Last chance to see Amending America

Today’s post comes from Christine Blackerby, archives specialist in the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives in Washington, DC. She is also co-curator of the exhibit “Amending America.” More than 11,000 constitutional amendments have been introduced in Congress since the Constitution was written in 1787. What most of these proposals have in common, … Continue reading Last chance to see Amending America

Hawaii’s long road to statehood

Today’s blog post comes from Lily Tyndall in the National Archives History Office. Hawaii’s journey to statehood was long and difficult. For centuries the islands of Hawaii were ruled by warring factions. In 1810, King Kamehameha unified all of the Hawaiian Islands into one royal kingdom. During the 19th Century, Western influence grew and by … Continue reading Hawaii’s long road to statehood

Pirates: An Early Test for the New Country

Today’s post comes from Tom Eisinger, senior archivist at the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, DC. When Richard O’Bryen, captain of the Philadelphia ship Dauphin, penned his July 12, 1790, letter to Thomas Jefferson, he had been a captive of the Barbary pirates in Algeria for almost five years. This letter, and others, helped bring … Continue reading Pirates: An Early Test for the New Country

On Exhibit: The American Debate about Alcohol Consumption During World War II

Today’s post comes from Emily Niekrasz, an intern in the National Archives History Office in Washington, DC. In March 2015 the National Archives opened “Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History,” a new exhibit that explores the complex love-hate relationship between America and alcohol. The exhibit’s curator, Bruce Bustard, has written, “These two different views of alcoholic … Continue reading On Exhibit: The American Debate about Alcohol Consumption During World War II

Protecting Copyright and the “Encouragement of Learning”

Today’s post comes from Madeline Espeseth, intern in the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, DC.  In 1789, David Ramsay, author of History of the Revolution of South Carolina and History of the American Revolution, petitioned Congress to pass a law granting him the exclusive right of “vending and disposing” the books within the United States. This … Continue reading Protecting Copyright and the “Encouragement of Learning”

From Ben Franklin to the Civil War: Antislavery Petitions in Congress

Today’s post comes from Natalie Rocchio, an archives specialist in the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives in Washington, DC. One of the most contentious issues facing our nation in the early years was slavery. Unsurprisingly, the First Congress received a series of antislavery petitions as part of the first unified campaign to the new Federal Government. … Continue reading From Ben Franklin to the Civil War: Antislavery Petitions in Congress

Changing the Boundaries: Women at Work in the Government

Today’s post comes from Samantha Payne, intern in the Center for Legislative Archives. in Washington, DC.  On January 29, 1790, Mary Katherine Goddard sent the Senate a singular request: to be reinstated as postmistress of Baltimore. After running the post office for 14 years, and paying post-riders with her own savings during the American Revolution, … Continue reading Changing the Boundaries: Women at Work in the Government

New York’s First Senators: Late to Their Own Party

Today’s post comes from Dan Ruprecht, intern in the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The Center for Legislative Archives is marking the 225th anniversary of the First Congress by sharing documents on Tumblr and Twitter; use #Congress225 to see all the postings. When Congress opened its doors under the new Constitution for the first … Continue reading New York’s First Senators: Late to Their Own Party