The National Archives and the Electoral College

When you vote in November, you won’t be casting your ballot directly for the Republican nominee or the Democratic nominee or any other candidate who wants to be President. Instead, you will be voting for the people who will actually “elect” the next President. They are called “electors,” and their names are often on the … Continue reading The National Archives and the Electoral College

Margaret Chase Smith: Breaking the Barrier

Today’s post comes from Dena Lombardo, an intern in the Office of Public and Media Communications. Seventy years ago, Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) delivered her “Declaration of Conscience” speech, criticizing Senator Joseph McCarthy and his anti-communist campaign.  Senator Margaret Chase Smith, ca. 1954 (Records of the U.S. Information Agency, National Archives) Her 15-minute speech … Continue reading Margaret Chase Smith: Breaking the Barrier

Navigating the Law: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Trials of a Journey Home

Today’s post comes from Andrew Salyer, an archives technician at the National Archives at Philadelphia. The U.S. Congress passed the first Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, though the conditions its passage sought to remediate had been brewing as early as the 1850s. From the 1850s to the 1880s, Chinese workers migrated to the United States and … Continue reading Navigating the Law: The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the Trials of a Journey Home

My Name is Alex Hamilton

In celebration of the upcoming movie version of the musical Hamilton, we are highlighting two Hamilton-related documents from the National Archives holdings.  One of my favorite documents, and timely for Independence Day, is Alexander Hamilton’s Oath of Allegiance during the Revolutionary War. Alexander Hamilton's Oath of Allegiance, May 12, 1778. (National Archives Identifier 2524343) Hamilton … Continue reading My Name is Alex Hamilton

Unratified Amendments: DC Voting Rights

This is the sixth and final installment of a series about unratified constitutional amendments. Today we’re looking at an amendment intended to give full voting rights to the citizens of the nation’s capital.  For most of its history, the residents of Washington, DC, have lacked representation in Congress and the ability to participate in elections … Continue reading Unratified Amendments: DC Voting Rights

Unratified Amendments: The Equal Rights Amendment

This is the fifth installment of a series about unratified constitutional amendments. Today we’re looking at an amendment that was first introduced nearly 100 years ago and we’re still talking about today: The Equal Rights Amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) is a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal rights under the law regardless … Continue reading Unratified Amendments: The Equal Rights Amendment

Unratified Amendments: Regulating Child Labor

This is the fourth installment of a series about unratified constitutional amendments. Today we’re looking at an amendment proposed during the Progressive Era to regulate child labor. During the Progressive Era, muckraking journalists and photographers drew public attention to a myriad of America’s social problems, one of them being the exploitation of children. Perhaps most … Continue reading Unratified Amendments: Regulating Child Labor

Unratified Amendments: Protection of Slavery

This is the third installment of a series about unratified constitutional amendments. Today we’re looking at an amendment proposed during the lead-up to the U.S. Civil War that would have protected the institution of slavery. When the second session of the 36th Congress convened in late 1860, the issue of slavery had grown increasingly divisive, … Continue reading Unratified Amendments: Protection of Slavery

President Johnson’s Impeachment Trial

Today’s post comes from Tom Eisinger, an archivist in the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives in Washington, DC. It is part two of a two-part series on the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson, which occurred 150 years ago.  On March 4, 1868, the House of Representatives formally presented 11 articles of impeachment to … Continue reading President Johnson’s Impeachment Trial

Andrew Johnson: Path to Impeachment

Today’s post comes from Tom Eisinger, an archivist in the Center for Legislative Archives at the National Archives in Washington, DC. It is part one of a two-part series on the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. Politics were unsettled during the 1864 Presidential election. The incumbent, Abraham Lincoln, was opposed by the “Radical Republicans” in … Continue reading Andrew Johnson: Path to Impeachment