Constituting America’s Tenth 90 Day Study

In the Course of Human Events:
A 90 Day Study of Important Dates in American History That
Shaped the United States and Changed the World

Preface: In the Course of Human Events, a reference to the opening of the Declaration of Independence that reads, “When in the Course of human events” speaks of dissolving political power bands destructive and divisive to any nation. The types of revised American history pushed today, feeding socialism and its end result of communism, defies the American experiment our Founders envisioned and which the United States has battled to defeat for decades. America’s Founders understood the nation could survive if the American people would learn and maintain requirements of their freedom. The 2020 Constituting America 90 Day Study of the American experiment that shaped the United States and changed the world explains how America’s Founders realized no nation is perfect, but how the United States must govern and do so differently by the Constitution and rule of law to never again repeat socialism, communism or other forms of tyranny.

Introduction

May 14, 1607 – Jamestown, Virginia Founded
The Virginia Company, a group of London entrepreneurs, many of whom were artisans, craftsmen, and laborers, landed on Jamestown Island, the Chesapeake region of North America, to establish the first permanent English settlementDespite harsh first years and starvation, the settlers instituted private ownership of land which increased productivity.

July 30, 1619 – Virginia House of Burgesses Convenes
The first legislative General Assembly of Virginia, which became the Virginia House of Burgesses, was a new form of government that could be checked as an elected representative assembly. The assembly was elected by the settlers of the American colonies and first convened in the town church at Jamestown, Virginia on July 30, 1619. At first, however, the assembly was a charter issued by the Virginia Company of London under British control, allowing the colonies to have some self-government, but the Crown increasingly placed limits on the colonies ability to govern themselves.

November 11, 1620 – Mayflower Compact Signed
Forty-one of the 101 English passengers who traveled to the New World aboard the Mayflower ship wrote and signed the compact which later influenced the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution.  The compact was written by those fleeing religious persecution by King James, to establish religious freedom, and self-governance in the New World.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

May 28, 1754 – Battle of Jumonville Glen Starts French and Indian War
In 1753, competition for the Ohio River Valley intensified aggression between British and French troops. Virginia Regiment Lieutenant Colonel George Washington responded by attempting to push back the French from the Ohio River Valley. By May 27, 1754, Washington learned of French soldiers planning to close in on the Virginians. The next day on May 28, Washington with Mingo chief Tanacharison led troops to raid against the French, but ultimately had to surrender. The attack of Jumonville Glen led to tensions escalating further, resulting in the start of the French and Indian War.

April 19, 1775 – Battles of Lexington and Concord, American Revolution Begins
British troops were on their way to Concord, Massachusetts, to seize firearms and supplies from the American colonists. Paul Revere rushed to alert everyone so that militiamen, or Minutemen, could quickly mobilize. When the British arrived on the town green in Lexington, Massachusetts, either a British soldier or an American Patriot fired, known as “the shot heard ‘round the world” and the Revolutionary War for America’s fight for freedom began.

October 13, 1775 – United States Navy Founded
In efforts to hold off British control of the seas, the Continental Navy that eventually became the United States Navy, was established by the Second Continental Congress that met in Philadelphia soon after the Revolutionary War began. Over 240 years ago, starting with only two armed vessels, the U.S. Navy grew into the largest, most advanced fighting force in the world.

July 4, 1776 – Declaration of Independence Finalized
In Philadelphia, once the Continental Congress voted on declaring freedom from  British political connections July 2, 1776, they drafted a document, headed by the Committee of Five: John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson, to present to the public. On July 4, approved version of the Declaration of Independence and sent it to the printers, initially signed by John Hancock, and later signed by other members in August. Soon after, July 4 became the day chosen to celebrate America’s independence.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

October 17, 1777 – British Surrender at Saratoga, Triggers French Alliance
The plan was to divide the colonies, starting with New York. The battles at Saratoga ending in the British force surrendering showed a significant turn in the American Revolution resulting in the French government formally recognizing the colonists as an ally in the war.

July 9, 1778 – Articles of Confederation Approved
The Articles of Confederation were enacted as the first U.S. founding document and constitution, the first document that saw the colonies working together—a  forerunner of the Union established more formally in subsequent years. The Articles of Confederation were enacted by Congress March 1, 1781.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

October 19, 1781 – British Surrender at Yorktown, Effectively Ending the Revolutionary War
The surrender of General Charles Cornwallis to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, was the final battle of the American Revolution. Then, in 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed after an appeal from the British for peace, and the American Revolutionary War was over.

December 23, 1783 – George Washington Resigns Military Commission
In an example of unrivaled statesmanship, General George Washington resigned his military commission at the State House in Annapolis, Maryland on December 23, 1783 to return to his Mount Vernon, Virginia home as a private citizen. Washington’s resignation was pivotal for American history because he willingly gave up power. He later participated in the Constitutional Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia, and was unanimously elected president of the United States in 1789. He reluctantly accepted the presidency and rejected any form of kingship. In 1797, Washington again surrendered his position, allowing a fellow American to serve as president. The example Washington set for America’s republican form of government was that of a peaceful transfer of power, a requirement the nation would need to serve by leadership and freedom rather than dictatorship.

July 13, 1787 – Northwest Ordinance Provided Process for Forming New States
The Northwest Ordinance under the Articles of Confederation helped expansion of the United States and the process of outlawing slavery among other needs, but didn’t go far enough to strengthen the growing country. While a good start toward providing a free and republican foundation for governance of the Northwest and other new states, the Constitutional Convention near the same time was at work on a U.S. Constitution that would provide a stronger national government to better preserve national interests and individual liberty for Americans.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

September 17, 1787 – Approval of the U.S. Constitution, Sent to the States for Ratification
After the major Declaration of Independence document solidified the American experiment of freedom, and then formation of the Articles of Confederation to get it all started, came the newly free nation’s U.S. Constitution. Affirming existence of the United States government as one designed to serve its citizens, the U.S. Constitution set up a new type of government with the legislative branch mentioned first in Article I as a reminder that supremacy lies with the people through their elected representatives.

April 30, 1789 – George Washington Inaugurated as First President of the United States of America
How would the United States create a leadership position such as the presidency without repeating and it turning into what the colonists fought to escape? They would need the type of role that set a precedent America could trust for their current time and future to maintain what they started. It meant not having a king so the people could live in freedom because of the way their new government worked, not ruled by it like their past tyrannical experiences. When George Washington took his oath of office, he mentioned with humility that it was his shared responsibility with Congress to preserve “the sacred fire of liberty” and a republican form of government.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

September 29, 1789 – United States Army Established
On the final day of Congress’ first session, they passed “An act to recognize and adapt to the Constitution of the United States, the establishment of the troops raised under the resolve of the United States in Congress assembled.” The act legalized the existing U.S. Army created under the Articles of Confederation. George Washington reminded Congress that the issue of need for military forces under the Continental Congress needed to be set through action under the new Constitution.

August 4, 1790 – Alexander Hamilton’s Debt Plan Passes Congress, Resolved State War Debts and Laid Foundation for American Capitalism
Foreign and domestic finances were out of sorts for the United States after the Revolutionary War. Debt was high by that time and taxes even higher. Alexander Hamilton wanted the national debt managed better. His plan was to help the new American government be more open to capitalism so that the government, along with the growing nation, could be strong and upheld rather than weak and ineffective due to hostility toward capital. Hamilton’s idea for a Bank of the United States would help propel his plan toward financial stability, though James Madison and Thomas Jefferson feared it would create government power without boundaries.

Guest Essayist: Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

December 15, 1791 – Bill of Rights Ratified
In 1789, James Madison spoke on the House floor introducing amendments to the U.S. Constitution, an attempt to persuade Congress a Bill of Rights would protect liberty and produce unity in the new government. Opposed to a Bill of Rights at first, stating that the rights of mankind were built into the fabric of human nature by God, and government had no powers to alienate an individual’s rights, and having witnessed the states violating, Madison realized in order to safeguard America’s freedoms, Congress needed to remain mindful of their role never to take a position of power by force over the people they serve.

May 17, 1792 – Buttonwood Agreement Establishes New York Stock Exchange
Named for the regular meeting place outside of the street address 68 Wall underneath a buttonwood tree, the Buttonwood Agreement created rules for buying and selling company bonds and shares. The stockbrokers and merchants who were signers of the agreement set a constitution in 1817 for a new, New York Stock & Exchange Board, eventually renamed the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Moving here and there and with ups and downs of a growing nation, trading was done in such places as coffeehouses or by selling shares in the streets, the NYSE grew throughout the 1800s eventually to find its current home on Wall Street in New York City in 1903.

March 14, 1794 – Eli Whitney Receives Patent for Cotton Gin
While similar separators existed for centuries, Eli Whitney’s machine was the first to separate seeds from cotton with shorter fibers. He learned that Southern planters were in need of a way to make cotton a profitable crop. One of Whitney’s cotton gins could clean up to fifty pounds of cotton in one day, making cotton profitable to cultivate for the first time. Yields of cotton produced steadily rose, along with demand and other inventions of the Industrial Revolution, throughout the 1800s with use of the cotton gin.

July 11, 1798 – United States Marine Corps Established
Originally established November 10, 1775 in Philadelphia to aid naval forces during the Revolutionary War, the Marine Corps was ended at the close of the war once American independence was achieved. Conflict increased once again, resulting in President John Adams signing a bill to formally establish the United States Marine Corps July 11, 1798 that would serve as a permanent military force under the Secretary of the Navy. Since the 19th century, the Marines have participated in all wars of the United States and usually the first soldiers to fight.

April 30, 1803 – Louisiana Purchase Treaty Signed
The 1803 treaty signed in Paris brought a purchase by United States for 828,000 square miles, doubling the nation’s size. Constitutional questions stirred disputes over how to best divide territory and keep the nation’s peace. Concurrently, the Louisiana Purchase helped sustain America’s growing need for agriculture, free flow of commerce along the Mississippi, and secure westward expansion by escaping the taking of the territory from Spain by Napoleon Bonaparte.

May 14, 1804 – Lewis and Clark Begin Exploration of Missouri River
Soon after the Louisiana Purchase, Meriwether Lewis, private secretary to President Thomas Jefferson, and William Clark, an army captain, were commissioned by President Jefferson to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean via the Missouri River. Starting with 45 men as the “Corps of Discovery” later joined by French-Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau, and his Native American wife Sacagawea who accompanied the travels as an interpreter. By fall of 1806, the expedition returned, having explored largely unexplored westward territories that would later make up states such as North Dakota, Montana, and Oregon.

September 13-14, 1814 – Siege of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key Writes America’s National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner
Soon after setting fire to the Capitol and White House, early on September 13, 1814, the British planned to attack again, this time Baltimore. Key, a young lawyer residing in Georgetown, went with Col. John Skinner in an attempt to get a beloved physician, Dr. William Beanes, released from a British ship. Unsuccessful, the three men were held under guard on board a sloop until the battle ended. Watching from the boat as British fired on Fort McHenry, Gen. Armistead’s huge flag was still flying after the firing stopped. Key was inspired to write a poem first entitled “Defence of Fort McHenry.” Later set to music and retitled “The Star-Spangled Banner,” it was adopted March 3, 1931 as America’s national anthem.

February 22, 1819 – Adam-Onis Treaty Cedes Florida to the United States
In the 1819 agreement, formally ratified in 1821, between Spanish minister to the United States, Do Luis de Onis, and United States. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, a purchase treaty was signed for Spain to cede the remaining portion of Florida to the U.S. The treaty set a boundary line between Spanish territory and the U.S., resolving land disputes between the U.S. and Spain, and was key to settling the U.S-Mexico border. The terms agreed to Texas being on the Spanish side of the boundary, determined the southern boundary, most of the western boundary, and Spain agreed to release its claim to northwest territory.

December 2, 1823 – Monroe Doctrine Issued
A warning was issued in 1823 by President James Monroe for European powers to cease attempts for further colonization or otherwise in order to protect the Western Hemisphere. As a matter of U.S. foreign policy, later known as the Monroe Doctrine, such attempts would be viewed as hostile acts toward the United States. The concern was autocratic colonial regimes might be restored by continental Europe and threaten the independence of the United States, thus the Monroe Doctrine created a clean break.

October 26, 1825 – Erie Canal Completed
In 1817, construction on the Erie Canal began, opening October in 1825. Initially a 363-mile waterway, 40 feet wide, four feet deep, it connected the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean flowing from the Hudson River at Albany to Lake Erie at Buffalo, New York. The canal increased transportation of bulk commercial goods at a much lower cost, widely expanded agricultural development, and brought settlers into surrounding states as the free flow of goods to the stretches of Northwest Territory were availed through the Appalachian Mountains.

March 4, 1829 – Andrew Jackson Inaugurated President, Democrat Party Formalized
Andrew Jackson started out as a lawyer and grew in politics. By the end of the War of 1812 between the United States and Britain, Jackson was a military hero of great influence. Former governor of Tennessee, he defeated John Quincy Adams in 1828, became the seventh president and first Democratic Party president, and helped found the Democratic Party.

May 28, 1830 – President Andrew Jackson Signs Indian Removal Act, Leads to Trail of Tears
Signed into law by President Andrew Jackson in 1830, the Indian Removal Act was intended to grant unsettled lands west of the Mississippi for Indian lands inside existing state borders. Some tribes agreed while others opposed. Thousands of Indians died during the travels to the new territory, leaving what became known as the “Trail of Tears.”

August 21, 1831 – Nat Turner Slave Rebellion Begins
Preparing in early August 1831, Nat Turner, a preacher and slave in Virginia, began planning a revolt against slavery. By August 21, Nat and others with him, first killing his master’s family, mounted horses and continued the same on farms and elsewhere of slave owners and their families. After, the Virginia legislature received petitions urging the menace of slavery be dealt with as a cause of political and economic failure.

April 21, 1836 – Battle of San Jacinto, Mexico Surrenders, Texas Freed
The Texas Revolution began at the Texas Declaration of Independence at Washington-on-the-Brazos in March 1836. The Battle of San Jacinto was very short but events leading up to it were long in the making. After declaring independence, news arrived that the Alamo in San Antonio was under siege. Then Texas General Sam Houston’s troops surprised the Mexican General Santa Anna and his forces, taking Santa Anna prisoner. General Santa Anna surrendered to Sam Houston, and Texas won independence from Mexico, effectively ending the Texas Revolution.

May 24, 1844 – Morse Sends First Telegraph Message
In 1844, a telegraph line was set up from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore as an experiment to show how the new electro-magnet messaging system worked. In front of Congress inside the U.S. Capitol, inventor Samuel F.B. Morse sent an electro-magnet signal message using dots and dashes, recorded on a paper tape by tapping, to Alfred Vail at a railroad station in Baltimore. The words of the message Morse sent were “What hath God wrought?” taken from Numbers 23:23 in the Bible, were received and replied to quickly from Vail with the same words. The successful experiment using Morse Code forever changed communications for the nation.

January 24, 1848 – Gold Discovered in California, Gold Rush and Western Expansion
Gold nuggets were found in the Sacramento Valley in January 1848 and by the end of the year, President James Polk confirmed the findings, starting the California Gold Rush. Bringing thousands of miners known as “forty-niners” by the end of 1849, to areas near San Francisco in search of gold, western expansion of the United States boomed.

February 2, 1848 – Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo Ends Mexican-American War, Annexes West
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed shortly after James Wilson Marshall discovered gold flakes in the area now known as Sacramento. Border disputes would continue, but the treaty ended the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) and added a large swath of western territory broadly expanding the United States. It would make up Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, Texas, and parts that would later make up Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming, and Montana. The new lands acquired from Mexico stirred sectional passions about the expansion of slavery in the West that helped lead to the Civil War after being temporarily settled by the Compromise of 1850.

July 14, 1853 – Commodore Matthew Perry Lands in Japan
Sent by President Millard Fillmore, Commodore Matthew Perry went on an expedition to Japan in 1853 to persuade, even pressure, Japan to end its policy of isolation and become open to trade and diplomacy with the United States. Japan signed a treaty with the U.S. in 1854, agreeing to trade and an American consulate. The Treaty of Kanagawa was the first by Japan with a Western nation. Among many accomplishments, Commodore Perry devised a naval apprentice system, assisted the Naval Academy, worked to develop naval officers to their fullest potentials, and helped found the New York Naval Lyceum.

March 20, 1854 – Republican Party Founded
Originally called the “Whig Party” formed in 1834, a meeting by the Whigs was held later in Ripon, Wisconsin to establish a new party in further opposition to the expansion of slavery that the original Whig Party was unable to manage on a national level. Expressly to address an increasing crisis of slavery, the group met and formed what became the Republican Party for the future of the country that wanted individual freedom at its core.

Guest Essayist:

Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

May 30, 1854 – Kansas-Nebraska Act Signed, Disrupts Years of Sectional Compromise
The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 overturned the Missouri Compromise. The Kansas-Nebraska Act proposed by Stephen A. Douglas, provided that popular sovereignty, a popular vote, would decide whether new states would be free or slave rather than the Missouri Compromise based on the 36°30′ north parallel. Conflicts about slavery grew steadily, leading to the description “Bleeding Kansas” over the volatility. Violence about wanting slavery to remain got so bad, a debate in Congress resulted in South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks severely beat with his cane, abolitionist and Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner, almost killing him.

Guest Essayist:

Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

March 6, 1857 – Dred Scott Decision
The Dred Scott Decision is named for the landmark United States Supreme Court case, Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857) (correct spelling is Sanford) first fought in the Missouri Supreme Court in 1852. The nation already deeply divided over the issue of slavery, when Dred Scott sued for his freedom after being moved to states where slavery was prohibited, was denied. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney especially refuted that Dred Scott should be free, but Abraham Lincoln repeatedly argued against Justice Taney’s points, noting how the Declaration of Independence set up a free society of self-governing individuals, and the nation was working to eliminate slavery from all of the states so the people could be their own rulers. The misinformed decision was evident, and civil war was not far off.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

October 16-18, 1859 – John Brown Raid, Catalyst for Civil War
Violence continued to erupt in the region. In 1858, abolitionist John Brown led raids in Kansas to free slaves, killing pro-slavery southerners, then returned home in 1859 to plan a raid at the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia on October 16, to fight more pro-slavery people. Brown was captured October 18, tried, then hung in December for treason against Virginia. “Bleeding Kansas” and these other acts were part of what only served to fuel an impending civil war. They furthered an inability to rid the nation of the menace of slavery which opposed core moors of the American experiment, the sanctity of personal freedom and the family.

Guest Essayist:

Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

April 12, 1861 – Battle of Fort Sumter, Civil War Begins
President Abraham Lincoln sent supplies to garrisons for the troops, but on April 12, 1861, Confederates turned the supply convoy back to the Union garrison of Fort Sumter in the seceded state of South Carolina. Shots were fired on Fort Sumter, starting the Civil War. More states would secede, not wishing to participate in the fight in the war fought across the country, and returned to the Union after the northern armies won the war.

May 20, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln Signs the Homestead Act
The Homestead Act of 1862 encouraged development of farming on land as homesteads for western expansion. Heads of households could receive up to 160 acres to farm for five years, or purchase the land after six months. If homesteaders were unable to farm successfully, the land would go back to the government to be offered again to another homesteader. Pro-slavery groups feared a homestead act would give more power to anti-slavery families moving to new territories of privatized land that could become free states, so they fought passage. 

July 2, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln Signs the Morrill Act Establishing Land Grant Colleges
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation sponsored by Congressman John Morrill intended to increase higher education across America. Per congressional delegation, 30,000 acres would be provided and the land sold by the states to fund public colleges specifically to train on agriculture and machinery. The act entitled “An Act Donating Public Lands to the Several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the Benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts,” was also known as the Land Grant College Act. The Second Morrill Act passed to expand  grants for black institutions for the segregated South. Future acts would offer higher education grants in more fields of study.

September 17, 1862 – Battle of Antietam Prompts Emancipation Proclamation and Ends Potential European Intervention in Civil War
A battle fought in a single day as part of an effort to preserve the Union, the Battle of Antietam also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg, in Northern Virginia, provided a huge breakthrough giving President Abraham Lincoln enough of a victory needed to sign the Emancipation Proclamation several days after the battle ended. Made effective in 1863, the Proclamation led to the total abolition of slavery and applied to Southern states rebelling against freedom for slaves, an even greater part of the war by end of the Battle of Antietam. It also prevented involvement in the Civil War by Europeans many of whom opposed slavery.

Guest Essayist:

Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

July 4, 1863 – Vicksburg Surrenders, Completes Anaconda Plan to Encircle the South
The Anaconda Plan of the Civil War, crafted by U.S. General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, was designed to split and defeat the Confederacy by closing in on the coasts east and south, control the Mississippi River, then attack from all sides. Union Major General Ulysses S. Grant pressed through to take Vicksburg, Mississippi, get the final Confederate strongholds and control the Mississippi River. President Abraham Lincoln believed taking Vicksburg was the key to victory. The Battle at Vicksburg would be the longest military campaign of the Civil War. Vicksburg was surrendered on July 4, 1863.

July 22, 1864 – Fall of Atlanta, Assures President Abraham Lincoln’s Re-election
In the Battle of Atlanta with the first surprise attack on July 22, 1864, General William T. Sherman was determined to take Atlanta, Georgia. Important to the Confederacy, Atlanta was a railroad hub, political, manufacturing and economic area; Savannah was a major sea port. By the battle’s end, Atlanta Mayor James Calhoun surrendered Atlanta to General Sherman who captured the city on September 2, 1864 after a long campaign for the area from May to September. The Battle of Atlanta boosted support for President Abraham Lincoln who was reelected on November 8, 1864.

April 9, 1865 – Confederate General Robert E. Lee Surrenders at Appomattox, Ends Civil War, Begins Healing of the Nation
At Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to General Ulysses S. Grant, bringing the Civil War lasting from 1861-1865 to a close. President Abraham Lincoln spoke of “malice toward none and charity for all” to “bind up the nation’s wounds.” Victory by the North would bring the end to slavery to begin living out the nation’s declaration that all men are created equal, and should be free. Satisfied with the terms of surrender between Grant and Lee that would help strengthen unity, the nation could begin reconciliation and healing.

April 15, 1865 – President Abraham Lincoln Assassinated, Changes Postwar Politics
Only five days after the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, ending the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in a theater in Washington, D.C. John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate supporter, shot the president succumbed to his wounds the next day. President Andrew Johnson took Lincoln’s place, and was less supportive of Lincoln’s anti-slavery policies, diluting the abolition of slavery Lincoln envisioned. Johnson was in favor of policies that further disenfranchised free blacks, setting political policies that would weaken the nation’s unity.

December 6, 1865 – Thirteenth Amendment Ratified, Abolishing Slavery
Shortly before the Civil War’s end, the Thirteenth Amendment, to abolish slavery, was passed in Congress January 31, 1865 then finally ratified December 6, 1865. The Thirteenth Amendment states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” President Abraham Lincoln so wanted to ensure slavery’s end that he strongly advised the constitutional amendment, one that would also help further sound an alarm concerning division the institution of slavery brought on the nation.

September 5, 1867 – First Texas Cattle Shipped From Abilene
The Chisolm Trail, named after trader and freight hauler, Jesse Chisolm, runs from Texas to Kansas. Cattle drivers would use the trails started by Chisolm, no longer used once railroads were built in Texas. Cattle, introduced to the United States by early explorers from Spain and England or indirectly by way of Mexico, became more in demand after the Civil War, and where railheads were available. In 1867, cattle dealer Joseph McCoy began looking for a way to get Texas cattle to market. When the first herd of cattle arrived in Abilene in August, the first shipment of cattle left for Kansas September 1867 via rail.

October 18, 1867 – Signing of the Alaska Treaty, The Alaska Purchase
Explorers found the region of Alaska rich in natural resources, with particular interest to fur traders. Russian settlement grew, but in 1859, Russia offered to sell Alaska to the United States hoping the U.S. could quell effects of Russia’s greatest Pacific rival, Great Britain. After the Alaska Treaty of purchase was approved by the Senate and signed by President Andrew Johnson, the sale of Alaska by Russia to the U.S. was finalized October 18, 1867. The purchase ended Russia’s presence in North America ensuring the United States’ access to the Pacific north rim. Alaska is known as “The Last Frontier” of the United States.

May 10, 1869 – Golden Spike Completes Transcontinental Railroad, Unites America
Finally connecting east and west of the United States, a ceremonial golden railroad spike was driven in Promontory Summit, Utah where the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads met, signifying the finished project. Completion of the transcontinental railroad connecting the coasts relieved westward travelers of long, dangerous wagon journeys. The Pacific Railroad Act of 1862 for public land would help get the transcontinental line completed. Laying about 2,000 miles of track, the project brought major expansion for the United States, and helped to civilize America’s Western frontier.

March 1, 1872 – Yellowstone Becomes First National Park, Begins Park System
In March 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone Act of 1872, also known as the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act, to protect public lands as designated national parklands. Doubt arose regarding advisement of designating land for parks when much of the current goal was to expand economic development in as much of American territory as possible for timber, minerals and other natural resources for expansion. The designation of parklands averted private development. Upon establishing Yellowstone as the first national park, the idea of preserving such lands for enjoyment spread across the country.

Guest Essayist:

Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

February 14, 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell Files Patent for Telephone
Alexander Graham Bell, son of Visible Speech developer, Melville Bell. After teaching at a school for the deaf in Massachusetts, Alexander realized Morse’s telegraph was a good start and designed one that worked like a telegraph and record player together, allowing speech between two parties. With continued efforts, Bell filed his patent for the development of a working telephone that transferred vibrations magnetically to a distant instrument that received a replicated sound. Filed February 14 and awarded March 7, 1876 as a patent on Improvement on Telegraphy, controversy surrounds timing of Bell’s submission.

June 25-26, 1876 – Battle of Little Bighorn
In 1868, treaties between the Indian tribes and the United States were formed in attempts to prevent conflicts and force Indians to give up lands and move to reservations in the west, but the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie meant to protect Indian access to the Black Hills, was broken by miners seeking gold. Fought near the Little Big Horn River in Montana, June of 1876, the Battle of Little Bighorn represented cultural differences between Indian tribes of the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, Arapaho, and the agricultural and industrial culture of the United States. Known as the Sioux Wars, the battles were fought over control of Western territory. The Indians won the Battle of Little Bighorn, killing General George Custer and all of his troops, but disputes over territory continued.

March 2, 1877 – President Rutherford B. Hayes Electoral Compromise, Southern Reconstruction Ends
Once elected president, Hayes set clear lines in southern policy to eliminate political acts of violence against blacks, and ensure the Civil War amendments protecting their freedoms would be effective. However, the Compromise of 1877 would gain election for Hayes without interference by Democrats if Hayes agreed to pull federal troops from the South. The result would be Democrat control over the South, ending Reconstruction. In a time when the Democratic Party controlled Congress and Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes wanted Reconstruction to solidify more fairness and freedom for blacks in the South, including integrity in elections, his efforts seemed productive, but hampered by the compromise.

August 12, 1877 – Thomas Edison Invents Phonograph
Thomas Alva Edison completed work on his first phonograph model in August 1877. While working to improve the telegraph transmitter, he noticed the telegraph machine tape made sounds when running at high speeds. He reasoned putting a needle on the diaphragm of a telephone receiver might make small holes in the tape by piercing it slightly and record sound. He tried applying a hard point to a tinfoil cylinder that, when spun, played back a sample message, “Mary had a little lamb.” He filed for the patent December 24, 1877 and received it February 19, 1878. The industry of recorded sound would develop from Edison’s phonograph.

November 4, 1879 – Thomas Edison Files Patent for Electric Light Bulb
Thomas Alva Edison is credited with 1, 093 patented inventions. Among the most famous are the phonograph, moving picture camera, and incandescent light bulb. With a team of scientists and technicians, Edison tried thousands of theories in attempts to design a long-lasting electric light for a better solution to candles, gas and lighting oils. After working to improve upon prior designs others had tried for many years, he finally found that by using a carbon filament, it worked for a long-burning light. He made further improvements, then filed for a patent November 4, 1789. His patent for the incandescent light bulb was received January 27, 1880.

December 29, 1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre, Also Known as the Battle of Wounded Knee
After the Battle of Little Bighorn, conflict remained. Concern spread about the Ghost Dance movement of the Sioux Indians who believed gods were angered because they did not keep with their traditions, but that a Ghost Dance would protect their customs. As the movement grew, Chief Sitting Bull was arrested by U.S. troops and killed. By December 29, 1890 near Wounded Knee Creek, Chief Big Foot heard about Sitting Bull and moved his people to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. By December 29, 1890, Big Foot among approximately 300 Sioux and 25 soldiers died. The massacre ended the Ghost Dance movement and was the last of the Indian Wars.

February 15, 1898 – Battleship Maine Blows Up, Leads to Spanish-American War, America Enters the World Stage
Tensions were mounting between the United States and Spain, sending the battleship Maine to Cuba to protect America’s interests. The U.S.S. Maine was one of the first American battleships, and exploded while in Cuba’s Havana harbor February 15, 1898. Of the 354 crew members, over 260 perished. It is assumed the ship experienced a fire on its own, but an investigation revealed the explosion was caused by a mine though explorers were unsure of the mine’s origin. Subsequently, war was declared against Spain the following April with victory for the U.S. in the Spanish-American War setting America’s future role in foreign policy.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

December 17, 1903 – Wright Brothers Make First Powered Aircraft Flight
Brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, aviation pioneers, began testing a glider near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in 1900. They tested over the next few years to be sure the wing, frame, and steering systems worked. The manned flight on December 17, 1903 was accomplished in a self-propelled, gasoline-powered aircraft with a propeller. After many trials, the two pilots received a patent for their “flying machine” or “Wright Flyer” on May 22, 1906. After the first flight in 1906 that focused on aerodynamics, proving successful their use of design methods including three-axis control, the Wright brothers made a public flight in 1908.

April 8, 1913 – Seventeenth Amendment Ratified, Direct Election of Senators
In 1788, as the United States Constitution was adopted, senators would be elected by state legislatures to protect the states from the federal government increasing its own power. Problems related to the election of senators later resulted in lengthy senate vacancies. A popular vote movement began as a solution, but it failed to consider importance of separation of powers as designed by the Framers to protect liberty and maintain stability in government. The popular vote was an attempt to hamper the more deliberative body that is the United States Senate, and succumb to the more passionate, immediate will of the people, so on April 8, 1913, the Seventeenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted.

August 15, 1914 – Panama Canal Opens
In June 1902, the U.S. Senate passed the Spooner bill to authorize construction of a canal through Panama. In 1903, the United States aided a revolution to help Panama gain independence from Columbia, establishing the Republic of Panama. Before the first world war, all ocean travel between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans had to route dangerous passages around southern South America. Completed August 15, 1914, the Panama Canal offered a waterway through the isthmus of Panama connecting the oceans, creating fifty miles of sea-level passage. The canal was recognized as one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

March 3, 1917 – Germany Admits to Authoring the Zimmermann Telegram,  America Enters World War I
The United States found out through British intelligence that a telegram sent by German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmermann was an attempt to start an alliance with Mexico and Japan in case the United States joined World War I. It was an effort to try and regain southwestern states Mexico lost in the Mexican War of 1846-1848. At first, some thought the message was to pressure the United States into the war. However, by March 3, 1917, Zimmermann confirmed his telegram’s purpose, and America was then set against Germany for certain ensuring entry of the United States into World War I.

Guest Essayist:

Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

August 18, 1920 – Nineteenth Amendment Ratified, Women Gain Right to Vote
Meeting in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a national leader for women’s suffrage, along with Lucretia Mott, was joined by Susan B. Anthony known as the mother of women’s suffrage, and whom the amendment is named after as the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment.” These ladies worked to engage the public and lobby Congress for women to vote. First introduced in Congress in 1878, the constitutional amendment was ratified August 18, 1920, and signed by Secretary of State, Bainbridge Colby on August 26, 1920. Decades in the making, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution finally passed, guaranteeing women the right to vote, also known as women’s suffrage.

September 3, 1928 – Philo Farnsworth Transmits First Electronic Television Broadcast
An admirer of inventors Bell, Edison, and Einstein’s theories, scientist and inventor Philo T. Farnsworth designed the first electric television based on an idea he sketched in a high school chemistry class. He studied and learned some success was gained with transmitting and projecting images. While plowing fields, Farnsworth realized television could become a system of horizontal lines, breaking up images, but forming an electronic picture of solid images. Despite attempts by competitors to impede Farnsworth’s original inventions, in 1928, Farnsworth presented his idea for a television to reporters in Hollywood, launching him into more successful efforts that would revolutionize moving pictures.

October 28, 1929 – Black Monday, Stock Market Crash
From 1927, investors saw the economy booming and many bought stocks on credit believing quick sales of those stocks would yield easy returns. By 1929, the American economy was growing rapidly, business investments with it, appearing unlimited. People sold their stocks quickly and values fell fast. This downturn was the major crash that brought on what was called Black Monday on October 28, 1929, then Black Tuesday with a complete fallout. The stock market continued to plunge and could not recover. The crash was blamed on too rapid growth causing a bubble of overvalued stocks. The economy slowed but the stock market did not show it. The more people sold their stocks to regain losses the more the market declined bringing a loss of confidence in investing.

March 4, 1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt Inaugurated, Begins “Hundred Days” Government Expansion
While the stock market crash of 1928 was credited with spurring the Great Depression, it did so in part. President Herbert Hoover made efforts to repair banking problems and restore stability with government intervention worsened by the New Deal programs implemented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Unfortunately, hopes for the New Deal’s Hundred Days of government control proved to shrink opportunities for the market to recover on its own. Instead of supporting market protections to stabilize, as America’s Founders envisioned, New Deal programs including court-packing prolonged the Depression, stifling options for investments or lasting consumer confidence for developing industry.

December 7, 1941 – Japan Attacks Pearl Harbor, America Enters World War II
On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, the United States naval base in Oahu, Hawaii, with a surprise attack. The planes fired upon the base for almost two hours. Over 2,400 Americans died, another 1,000 plus injured, service members and civilians. The U.S. Pacific fleet was destroyed. Japan wanted imperial expansion, continually in conflict with the United States and over Chinese markets and Asian policy. On December 8, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on Congress to declare war on Japan, describing the attack on Pearl Harbor as “a date which will live in infamy.” The attack marked the United States entrance into World War II.

August 6, 1945 – America Drops Atom Bomb on Hiroshima, Nuclear Age Begins
During World War II (1939-1945), the United States dropped an atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan, leaving an enormous mushroom cloud and massive destruction on August 6, 1945. President Harry Truman advised using the bomb to quickly end the war. The United States was working to develop an atomic weapon begun by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the Manhattan Project, and had warning that Nazi Germany was working on nuclear options. The bombing wiped out most of Hiroshima. Similar was done over Nagasaki soon after. It is believed around 70,000 died initially and total deaths were at least 200,000 including later casualties from radiation and related illnesses. On August 14, Japan surrendered.

June 24, 1948 – Beginning of Berlin Airlift, Cold War Begins
After the bombings on Japan, the Cold War stage was set, ignited by deteriorating relations between the United States and the communist Soviet Union. When Germany was defeated by the end of World War II in 1945, it was divided into occupations by the United States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union. On June 24, 1948, Soviet and communist leader Josef Stalin attempted to control East German land by cutting off routes to drive allied nations out of Berlin, the capital of Germany. The blockade was pushback against America and Britain for impeding Russian involvement in Germany’s economic plans. The United States airlifted food and other supplies by plane to people in West Berlin, as President Harry Truman wanted to avoid another world war. The Soviet blockade and attempt to isolate and starve the people of Berlin failed, but the Cold War persisted.

December 2, 1948 – Whittaker Chambers Exposes Alger Hiss as a Spy With Pumpkin Papers
Subpoenaed in August 1948 by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in Congress, Whittaker Chambers, on December 2, 1948, revealed two rolls of undeveloped microfilm hidden in a hollowed-out pumpkin on his Maryland farm, thus the name “Pumpkin Papers.” The microfilm contained evidence that Chambers would present against Alger Hiss, Communist Party member, who was later convicted in 1950 for perjury about being a spy for the Soviets. The evidence showed that Hiss passed papers with information to Chambers for delivery to the Soviets. Chambers had been involved with the Communist Party, but left it, realizing the truth about Josef Stalin and his Soviet regime of communist tyranny.

June 25, 1950 – North Korean Forces Invade South Korea, Korean War Begins
By the end of World War II, Korea, formerly controlled by Japan, was divided into North Korea that ended up supported by the Soviet government under communism and South Korea supported by the United States under a capitalist government. The United States made efforts to contain communism after World War II, but unrest over the spread of communism by the Soviet Union remained, including in Asia. Attempts to unify North and South Korea were failing and on June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. The United States entered the Korean War with resolve to prevent communism from infecting peace gained at home and abroad.

June 19, 1953 – Rosenbergs (Spies) Executed
Julius Rosenberg of New York became an engineer stationed at the Army Signal Corps Engineering Laboratory in New Jersey during World War II. Reports showed the Soviet Secret Police asked him to steal classified American plans for a guided missile system. His wife Ethel had her brother, David Greenglass, who was stationed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, steal information on American nuclear bomb plans for a Soviet spy. Accused of leading a spy ring to sell classified government secrets regarding the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, devoted to the Communist Party, were tried and found guilty of espionage. Appeals failed. They were executed for their crimes on June 19, 1953.

May 17, 1954 – Brown v. Board of Education
Five cases about segregated schools were eventually consolidated into the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas in attempts to stop segregation of black and white students not only in schools, but segregation in general. On May 17, 1954, Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren delivered the unanimous ruling that segregation was not “separate but equal,” and was unconstitutional. The case brought attention to needed growth of desegregation in the following years, and influenced the Civil Rights Movement resulting in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned segregation in all public facilities, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 outlawing voting restrictions based on race.

June 29, 1956 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower Signs Federal Aid Highway Act to Establish Interstate System
When Dwight Eisenhower was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army, he was part of a convoy traveling across the United States on the nation’s old roads. During World War II, Eisenhower learned of the Reichsautobahn system in Germany. These events inspired him to design a highway system in the United States for the interest of American citizens and national defense. As president of the United States, a top priority for Eisenhower was to have Congress authorize the Federal Aid Highway Act signed into law June 29, 1956. Known as the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, it makes up about 47,000 miles of highway in every state and Puerto Rico.

July 30, 1956 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower Signs Law Establishing “In God We Trust” on Currency
While speaking on June 14, 1954, Flag Day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower talked about the importance of reaffirming religious faith in America’s heritage and future, that doing so would “constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country’s most powerful resource, in peace or in war.” In 1864 during the Civil War, the phrase “In God We Trust” first appeared on U.S. coins. On July 30, 1956, “In God We Trust” became the nation’s motto as President Eisenhower signed into law a bill declaring it along with having the motto printed in capital letters on every United States denomination of paper currency.

October 4, 1957 – USSR Launches Sputnik, Shocks U.S. Into Space Age
The Soviet Union launched a new satellite on October 4, 1957 that turned out to be the first successful technological, scientific development of its kind. A small satellite, called Sputnik, with shape and size likened to that of a beach ball weighed less than 200 pounds and took about an hour and a half to orbit the earth. The new satellite also brought with it notice of new political and military developments. Following the Sputnik launch, concerns increased regarding Soviet ability to launch ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons. The Sputnik satellite was a surprise to the world, marked the beginning of the space age, and the space race, especially between the United States and the Soviet Union.

October 28, 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis Ends, Affects U.S. Policy for Decades
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 was a confrontation during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. It resulted in Soviet General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev making an agreement with Cuban premier Fidel Castro to place nuclear missiles in Cuba. Before Khrushchev’s October 28, 1962 statement saying the Soviet missiles would be dismantled and removed, on October 22, to avert nuclear war, President John F. Kennedy directed a “quarantine” to prevent a nuclear offensive against Western nations to ensure Cuba would not be used as a launch site for a Soviet attack admonishing “Our goal is not the victory of might but the vindication of right – not peace at the expense of freedom, but both peace and freedom, here in this Hemisphere and, we hope, around the world. God willing, that goal will be achieved.”

May 7, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson Speech Launches Great Society Government Expansion
After years of war and loss of President John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to carry out some of the plans President Kennedy envisioned, and help restore the nation. In a speech at Ohio University May 7, 1964, the Great Society idea first presented by President Johnson started as social reform for education, poverty, civil rights, and others. Some commended it, but others resented the amount of government intrusion in Americans’ lives including encroachment on personal liberty and parental rights, roles of charities and churches to be taken over by government control. Many viewed the results as having cost more than delivered, only creating enormous bureaucracies rather than lasting, effective solutions. 

July 2, 1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act of 1964
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, a  law banning segregation in public places and discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or religion or sex. The South opposed earlier attempts at civil rights legislation, but advances were finally made. Not long before his assassination in 1963, President Kennedy proposed stronger legislation and said the nation “will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.” After lengthy Democrat filibuster in the Senate, the bill was finally passed 73-27 and sent to the desk of President Johnson.

August 6, 1965 – President Lyndon B. Johnson Signs Voting Rights Act of 1965
President Lyndon B. Johnson went further on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by urging Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which guaranteed African Americans the right to vote. The bill made illegal any restrictions on the local, state or federal levels that denied blacks their right to vote. It was designed to ensure the Fifteenth Amendment on voting rights could not be hindered. Though voting by blacks was still challenged or ignored especially in Southern states, signed by President Johnson on August 6, 1965, their voter turnout increased and blacks were able to speak up about voting illegal restrictions and become more involved in American civic opportunities.

July 20, 1969 – U.S. Lands on Moon, Wins Space Race
“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Astronaut Neil Armstrong spoke those words after being the first man to step onto the moon’s surface July 20, 1969. From Cape Kennedy (formerly Cape Canaveral) July 16, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 mission commander with Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, lunar module pilot, and Michael Collins, command module pilot, left on the Apollo 11 mission lunar module Eagle to complete the first moon landing and return to earth, a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. Following World War II, the space race became a competition for technology to show superiority and the greatest military strength. The winner would impact sustaining of the free world.

August 9, 1974 – Richard M. Nixon Resigns as President, Ending Watergate Scandal
What became known as the Watergate scandal involved a break-in, to track phone conversations, of the Democrat National Committee in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. Initial arrests in 1972 led to further indictments in the Nixon administration. Avoiding impeachment, on August 8, 1974, Richard M. Nixon announced he would resign as president of the United States and formally left office on August 9. In efforts to heal and keep the nation focused, the new president, Gerald R. Ford, pardoned President Nixon. While others committed similar acts attempting to gain election in political campaigns prior to Watergate, the American people would spurn such behavior as unacceptable by either party.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

April 30, 1975 – Fall of Saigon – America Losing Cold War Until President Ronald Reagan Elected
Aggravated by the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, the continuing conflict with the latest being divided Vietnam, the north sided by communist China and the Soviet Union, and south Vietnam by anti-communist countries especially the United States which increased involvement by 1954. The Vietnam War ended when Saigon fell to the communists in April 1975. Fed up with the totalitarian ways of socialist/communist regimes and seeing a need for definitive strategy against them, when Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980 he went further than containment by changing American foreign policy and proving to the world the United States was serious about forcefully condemning communism to the “ash can” of history.

November 4, 1979 – Iranian Hostage Crisis Begins
Iranians entered the United States Embassy in Tehran, a province of Iran, November 4, 1979 capturing 66 people, the total released January 20, 1981. They were held 444 days. The Iranian hostage crisis started under already strained relations when President Jimmy Carter allowed the Shah of Iran into the United States for medical treatment, sparking further protests and ultimately the taking of hostages in Iran. Iranians saw the Shah as a brutal dictator and America as approving of his actions by helping him. The hostage crisis formed a solid view by America, influencing United States foreign policy to this day, that the Islamic Republic is a defiant regime that mocks international law and universal moral principles.

Guest Essayist:

Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

November 4, 1980 – President Ronald Reagan Elected, Modern Conservatism Ascends to Power
With losses from the New Deal policies, Cold War, Iranian hostage crisis and other issues weakening national stability, America’s confidence wore thin. The November 1980 presidential election would bring knowledge Ronald Reagan gained into America’s need for economic strength, national security and leadership on the world’s stage. Reagan’s Hollywood and military career not only helped him be known as “The Great Communicator,” but, more importantly, set in motion Reagan’s ability to address the corrosive effects of Socialist and Communist activism. Upon election of Reagan as president, conservatism grew and the United States began to recover.

Guest Essayist:

Scot Faulkner, Served as Chief Administrative Officer, U.S. House of Representatives and as a Member of the Reagan White House Staff; Financial Adviser; President, Friends of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

November 9, 1989 – Berlin Wall Torn Down, End of Cold War, America Wins
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan noted threats due to enormous power of the modern state, how history teaches dangers of government overreach, how political control taking precedence over free economic growth using secret police and mindless bureaucracy stifle individual excellence and freedom. He observed it in Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s forced socialism. President Reagan, though some U.S. successes were in place, envisioned bolder strategies for “peace through strength” vital to win the Cold War that would last from the end of World War II in 1945 to 1991 when the Soviet Union dissolved. On November 9, 1989, President Reagan stood at the Berlin Wall challenging Gorbachev “Mr. Gorbachev–tear down this wall!” Margaret Thatcher said of the result that “Reagan won the Cold War without firing a shot.”

September 11, 2001 – Islamic Terrorists Attack New York City and Washington, D.C.
On September 11, 2001, 19 Islamic terrorists from Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations hijacked four airplanes to attack the United States. They flew two planes into the World Trade Center in New York. Another hit the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and the fourth was taken back by American heroes and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people were killed with many more, including first responders, suffering from related illnesses after. President George W. Bush stated “Any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.” When the Taliban refused to cooperate, Operation Enduring Freedom launched, plus other counterterrorism measures, to defeat Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda and all associated terrorists.

March 23, 2010 – President Barack H. Obama Signs Affordable Care Act
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law by President Barack H. Obama on March 23, 2010 had humanitarian intentions to expand healthcare insurance coverage and Medicaid eligibility, lessen growth of Medicare payments, and increase other taxes. The new law mandated, or forced, purchase of individual healthcare controlled by the government. However, problems the law created included cancelling competitive health care insurance that worked for many, replacing them with taxpayer funded health plans at higher costs with limited care and coverage that did not fit especially for the cost. Surrounding arguments included constitutionality of forcing Americans to buy insurance, calling it an unconstitutional tax and socialized medicine.

Guest Essayist:

Joerg Knipprath, Professor of Law, Southwestern Law School; Constituting America Fellow

November 8, 2016 – Donald Trump Elected President of the United States
Donald J. Trump, a businessman from New York, was elected the 45th president and Governor Mike Pence of Indiana as vice president on November 8, 2016. President Trump was elected having no prior political experience which earned him credibility as being closer to the American people, one who would serve the United States through leadership rather than an aloof politician controlled by bureaucracy. History to be written about current United States presidents will reveal stark, but familiar differences in views about how America succeeds as a free and prosperous nation. These revelations prove what works and does not work for the persistence of the American experiment as the world watches on.

Conclusion

 

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