This Day in History: A Demand to Surrender Fort Sumter

On this day in 1861, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard sends a demand to Union Major Robert Anderson: Surrender Fort Sumter! Tension had been building between northern and southern states for many months. In December 1860, South Carolina had seceded from the Union, starting a chain reaction of state secessions. These states formed a new government: […]

This Day in History: Lincoln’s cabinet contemplates the situation at Ft. Sumter

On this day in 1861, a newly inaugurated President Abraham Lincoln holds his first full cabinet meeting. What should be done about Fort Sumter? The issue had been simmering for a while. Lincoln was elected amid tension between the northern and southern states, as you know. Indeed, his election prompted South Carolina to secede from […]

This Day in History: A Confederate submarine torpedoes and sinks USS Housatonic

On this day in 1864, a Confederate submarine torpedoes and sinks the USS Housatonic. The H.L. Hunley changed naval warfare forever. It was the first submarine to successfully sink a warship! Americans had been trying to develop submarines for use in warfare for decades. As early as 1776, an attempt was made to use a […]

This Day in History: The 15th Amendment is ratified

On this day in 1870, Iowa ratifies the Fifteenth Amendment, thus ensuring that men could vote regardless of race. Women were not included in the Amendment, although some had been lobbying for equal suffrage for years. Obviously, the country was very divided after the Civil War. Those states that had been part of the Confederacy […]

This Day in History: West Virginia’s controversial admission into the Union

On this day in 1862, Abraham Lincoln signed a bill admitting West Virginia into the Union. At the time, some questioned whether West Virginia—formerly a part of the State of Virginia—could legally be admitted into the Union without Virginia’s consent. Virginia, of course, had not consented. It was a part of the Confederate States of […]