This Day in History: John Brown tries to incite a slave rebellion

On this day in 1859, John Brown launches a raid at Harpers Ferry. He hoped to incite a slave rebellion, but the effort fell flat on its face. Brown was an abolitionist who had long been involved in attempts to end slavery. Nor did he mind a little violence, if it would help his objectives! […]

This Day in History: Rose O’Neal Greenhow, Confederate Spy

On this day in 1861, Confederate spy Rose O’Neal Greenhow is placed under house arrest. When the Civil War began, Greenhow was a widow living in Washington, D.C. She was well-liked and had extensive social connections because of her late husband’s work. He’d been a medical doctor, but he’d also done some work for the […]

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 […]