• What if? The Lincoln Assassination 150 Years later

    Today we commemorate the 150th anniversary of one of the most tragic events in American history—President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.

    The “what-ifs” abound.

    What if President Lincoln had stayed home from Ford’s Theater that night, 150 years ago? What if he had left his support for African-American suffrage out of his April 11th address—a passage that led John Wilkes Booth to promise that this speech would be Lincoln’s last? Read More

  • Two Weekend Reads on Our Nation’s “Second Founding”

    To help celebrate the 150th anniversary of our Nation’s Second Founding, we will work to highlight pieces that discuss the significance of this key period in American history.  And with the 150th anniversaries of Appomattox (4/9) and President Lincoln’s assassination (4/15) looming, this weekend featured two such pieces.

    First, Professor Eric Foner—the scholar who literally wrote the book on Reconstruction—published a powerful op-ed in the New York Times.  In it, he reminded readers of the continuing relevance (and enduring constitutional legacy) of the Reconstruction Era—often referred to by scholars as our Nation’s “Second Founding.” Read More

  • Celebrating Our Nation’s Second Founding

    As we celebrate Black History Month and prepare to celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 206th birthday, controversies over civil rights abound—from the Academy’s snub of Selma to the ongoing fights over Ferguson and Staten Island to last month’s Supreme Court argument over the future of the Fair Housing Act. Given these controversies, it’s fitting that our nation is also approaching an important set of constitutional anniversaries—anniversaries that remind us of both the progress that we’ve already made as a nation and the constitutional baselines against which today’s controversies ought to be judged. Read More

  • Slavery’s end deserves a 150th celebration

    As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War winds down toward its conclusion in the spring, it’s difficult not to look back on the four years of this sesquicentennial and wonder why it all seemed so lackluster. Unlike the centennial in 1961-65, Congress decided not to create a national commission. And President Obama took a pass on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

    But the most surprisingly lackluster remembrance was the one that just slipped by us – the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in the United States. Read More