The Jefferson Memorial Turns 75

On Friday, April 13, 2018, the memorial dedicated to Thomas Jefferson—our third President and principal author of the Declaration of Independence—turns 75.   The memorial’s architect, John Russell Pope (1874–1937), was also architect of the National Archives Building. While Pope lived long enough to see the opening of the Archives, he died before groundbreaking for the … Continue reading The Jefferson Memorial Turns 75

The Election of 1800

Anyone who is a fan of the hit musical Hamilton knows the song “Election of 1800.” It depicts an infamous election that ultimately led us to change our Constitution. By 1800, the nation's first two political parties were beginning to take shape. The two major candidates for President were the Federalist President, John Adams, and the … Continue reading The Election of 1800

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

The Compromise of 1790

On June 20, 1790, when Congress was temporarily meeting in New York City, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson hosted a dinner. In attendance were Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton and Representative from Virginia James Madison. Keep in mind these men were on opposing ends of the political spectrum. Hamilton, a Federalist, wanted the Federal Government … Continue reading The Compromise of 1790

Congress Counts: History of the U.S. Census

Today’s post comes from Samantha Payne, intern in the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, DC.  The Constitution requires that Congress conduct a census every 10 years to determine the representation of each state in the  House of Representatives. When the authors of the Constitution allocated seats in the House for the First Congress, they had no … Continue reading Congress Counts: History of the U.S. Census

Taking the Constitution for a Test Drive

Today’s Constitution Day guest post was written by Jim Zeender, senior registrar in exhibits at the National Archives in Washington, DC. The Constitution of the United States turned 226 this year and continues to be the oldest and longest-serving written constitution in the world. It consists of exactly 4,543 words and has been amended only … Continue reading Taking the Constitution for a Test Drive

Thomas Jefferson: Governor of Virginia

Today's guest post was written by Jim Zeender,  senior registrar in Exhibits at the National Archives. This week, we celebrate Thomas Jefferson’s 270th birthday—April 13, 1743—and look at one particular year in his life, 1781. That year did not begin auspiciously for Jefferson, and on April 13 he would have matters on his mind more … Continue reading Thomas Jefferson: Governor of Virginia

In their own words: Thomas Jefferson and the Storming of the Bastille

This post is part of a series, written by Jim Zeender, devoted to letters written by the Founding Fathers in their own words and often in their own hand. Jim is a senior registrar in Exhibits. On July 14, 1789, the U.S. Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson, was a witness to the events of  a … Continue reading In their own words: Thomas Jefferson and the Storming of the Bastille

History Crush: Alexander Hamilton

Today's "History Crush" comes from Jessie Kratz, an archives specialist with the Center for Legislative Archives. She's been carrying a torch for one of our record-makers for quite some time! Most of my colleagues are all too aware that Alexander Hamilton is my history crush. Maybe the gigantic replica $10 bill hanging in my office … Continue reading History Crush: Alexander Hamilton