This Day in History: Congress defines limited goals for the Civil War

On this day in 1861, the U.S. Senate approves the Crittenden-Johnson Resolution, a version of which had already been approved by the House. The official purpose of the Civil War, Congress had decided, was to defend the Constitution and to hold the Union together, not to abolish slavery. The war, congressional members agreed, was not […]

This Day in History: Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial ends in acquittal

On this day in 1868, President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment trial comes to a close. Thirty-five Senators had voted to convict him, still one vote shy of the 36 votes needed to remove him from office. That trial has since been labeled a “political circus” and “a contest for power.” Regardless, Johnson had survived the attempt […]

This Day in History: John Quincy Adams signs the Tariff of Abominations

On this day in 1828, John Quincy Adams signs legislation that would come to be known as the Tariff of Abominations. The law was one of the early dominoes that fell and eventually pushed our nation toward Civil War. The legislation came at the end of Adams’s single term in office. He’d been elected in […]

This Day in History: The Sultana, a Titanic-sized disaster, barely noticed

On this day in 1865, the SS Sultana explodes as it steams north up the Mississippi River. The loss was the biggest maritime disaster in U.S. history, yet the event received relatively little news coverage at the time. Instead, the story got lost amid news of Robert E. Lee’s surrender, President Lincoln’s assassination, and John […]

This Day in History: The assassination of Abraham Lincoln

On this day in 1865, Abraham Lincoln passes away. He had been shot by an assassin the day before. The President had decided to spend his Good Friday evening at a comedy at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. It had been only 5 days since General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant, […]