This post continues our celebration of the 225th anniversary of the First Congress.
The Constitution gives the President the “power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties.”
This first time the President attempted to seek that advice occurred in August 1789 when first President George Washington sent a message to the Senate asking “to advise with them” on a treaty with the Southern Indians (at that time the United States treated Indian tribes as foreign nations).
On August 22, 1789, Washington arrived at Federal Hall in New York City (then the capital) with Secretary of War Henry Knox, and they proceeded to read aloud a series of documents related to the various Southern Indian tribes.
The incident was not recorded in the Senate Executive Journal, but Senator William Maclay of Pennsylvania kept a diary and documented what transpired: apparently the noise from the Manhattan traffic below drowned out the reading of the documents.
As a result, the Senate decided to appoint a committee rather than debate the issue in front of the President, which caused great consternation to Washington.
After regaining his composure, Washington agreed to come back to receive the Senate’s advice. Shortly thereafter, however, Washington decided that all future dealings with the Senate … [ Read all ]
August 24, 2014, marks the 200th anniversary of the British burning of Washington during the War of 1812.
In August 1814, British forces occupying the Chesapeake Bay began to sail up the Patuxent River in Maryland. Fearing an attack on the capital, Secretary of State James Monroe offered to scout the British position and report back to President James Madison. Monroe, accompanied by cavalry, left Washington and rode into southern Maryland.
On August 19 and 20, the British landed troops at the port town of Benedict, Maryland, and started advancing north. By August 22, it became clear to Monroe that the British intended to invade Washington. He quickly dispatched a messenger with a note to Madison, saying: “The enemy are advanced six miles on the road to the Woodyard, and our troops retiring. Our troops were on the march to meet them, but in too small a body to engage. . . . The enemy are in full march for Washington. Have the materials prepared to destroy the bridges.”
In the postscript, Monroe added: “You had better remove the records.”
Before Congress created the National Archives, it required each executive department to keep … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jessie Kratz on August 18, 2014, under - Constitution, - Declaration of Independence.
Tags: Burning of Washington, charters of freedom, James Monroe, national archives, war of 1812
Today’s post comes from Marisa Hawley, intern in the National Archives Strategy and Communications office.
As part of the “six weeks of style” celebration to recognize the Foundation for the National Archives’ partnership with DC Fashion Week, we are showcasing fashion-related records from our holdings. This week’s fashion theme is the Revolutionary War: Fashion during America’s Fight for Freedom
Perhaps one of the most iconic—and easily recognized—pieces of clothing from the colonial era is the tri-corner hat, or more simply known as the tricorn. Although the style originated in Europe, it is now associated with the American Revolutionary War and our nation’s fight for freedom.
In 17th-century America, hats with tall crowns and wide brims, like the steeple hats worn by the Puritans, started to go out of style. They were thought to spoil the appearance of and look precarious atop a wig, which was the newest fashion trend for men at the time.
The tri-corner, however, had three sides of the brim turned up, either pinned or buttoned in place to form a triangle around the wearer’s head—“like a mince pie,” to quote the vernacular of the time. This style then allowed the wearer to show off his latest wig fashion underneath, and thus his social status.
Also, the tricorn was smaller in size due to … [ Read all ]
Get ready to put your best fashion foot forward—and take a step back into the trends of the past—with the National Archives!
This fall, the Foundation for the National Archives is partnering with DC Fashion Week to host the opening night. This semiannual event was originally created to spotlight the nation’s capital as a dynamic center of international fashion. The National Archives’ current exhibition, “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures,” highlights the many ways people have made their mark on American history—from signature styles to signatures on groundbreaking laws.
Now celebrating its 10th year anniversary, DC Fashion Week continues to serve as DC’s premier apparel trade show. Featuring the collections of emerging U.S. and established international designers alike, DC Fashion Week will showcase major upcoming trends for spring and summer 2015.
The opening night event for DC Fashion Week will be held on Wednesday, September 24, at 7 p.m. in the National Archives Rotunda, with the fashion show starting at 7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required. Tickets will be available through DCFW later this month.
More information regarding opening night will be posted on our various social media platforms in the coming weeks.
To help us get into a fashion frame of mind for this exciting event, the National Archives will be celebrating with six weeks … [ Read all ]
By Jim Worsham
Harry S. Truman had been Vice President of the United States for only a few weeks when he showed up on February 10, 1945, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
He had agreed to take part in a show for some 800 servicemen. For his part of the show, Truman sat down at an upright piano to demonstrate his talent at the keyboard.
Soon, he was joined by the popular 20-year-old actress Lauren Bacall, who was there as part of a Hollywood contingent taking part in the show. She perched herself atop the piano, Hollywood-style. (Today, we call these photo-ops or publicity stunts.)
The crowd cheered. Cameras clicked away. The photos (there were a number of different poses) appeared everywhere.
“I was just a kid. My press agent made me do it,” Bacall, who died this week at age 89, said later of her Hollywood publicists.
Truman, however, appeared to be enjoying it, “which he was,” writes David McCullough in his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the nation’s 33rd President.
But Truman might have thought differently about it later.
Why? Mrs. Truman, often referred to by Truman as “the Boss,” was not amused. McCullough writes: “Bess was furious. She told him he should … [ Read all ]