Archive for '- Declaration of Independence'
Today’s post comes from Keith Donohue, communications director for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives. This post originally appeared on the White House blog.
What was the original intent behind the Constitution and other documents that helped shape the nation? What did the Founders of our country have to say? Those questions persist in the political debates and discussions to this day, and fortunately, we have a tremendous archive left behind by those statesmen who built the government over 200 years ago.
For the past 50 years, teams of editors have been copying documents from historical collections scattered around the world that serve as a record of the Founding Era. They have transcribed hundreds of thousands of documents—letters, diaries, ledgers, and the first drafts of history—and have researched and provided annotation and context to deepen our understanding of these documents.
These papers have been assembled in 242 documentary editions covering the works of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, as well as hundreds of people who corresponded with them. Now for the first time ever, these documents—along with thousands of others that will appear in additional print volumes—will be available to the public.
Posted by Hilary on June 14, 2013, under - Constitution, - Declaration of Independence, - Exploration, - Presidents, - Revolutionary War, National Archives Near You, News and Events.
Tags: Constitution, digitization, Founding Fathers, NHPRC, online, white House blog
Today’s guest post was written by Jim Zeender, senior registrar in Exhibits at the National Archives in Washington, DC. This post continues the story of Jefferson as Governor, began in Part I.
Jefferson’s term as Governor ended on June 2, 1781, a dangerous and chaotic time for Virginia. General Cornwallis had heard of the General Assembly’s move to Charlottesville and quickly dispatched Lt. Col. Banastre Tarlton’s cavalry unit to capture members. Jefferson had already retired to nearby Monticello. In the confusion and disruption of normal government activity, the Assembly was unable to elect a new Governor, and so the state remained leaderless for almost a week.
When the Assembly did meet, it initiated an official inquiry into Governor Jefferson’s actions. Ultimately, the inquiry would go nowhere, but the criticism would shadow Jefferson for the rest of his life.
* * *
After Benedict Arnold’s attack on Richmond in January, Jefferson remained worried about the limited state resources and growing British threats.
He wrote to Congress: “The fatal want of arms puts it out of our power to bring a greater force into the field than will barely suffice to restrain the adventures of the pitiful body of men they have at Portsmouth. Should any others be added to them, this country will be perfectly open to them by land as well as by water.” (Letter … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on May 16, 2013, under - Declaration of Independence, - Presidents, - Revolutionary War.
Tags: Charlottesville, Cornwallis, Governor, Jefferson, Monticello, revolutionary war, virginia
Today’s post was written by National Archives volunteer Paul Richter. It is the first in a series tracing the development of the Constitution in honor of the 225th anniversary of this document.
Eleven years after the Declaration of Independence announced the birth of the United States, the survival of the young country seemed in doubt. The War for Independence had been won, but economic depression, social unrest, interstate rivalries, and foreign intrigue appeared to be unraveling the fragile confederation.
On February 21, 1787, the Continental Congress resolved that “it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several States be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.”
The original states, with the exception of Rhode Island, collectively appointed 70 individuals to the Constitutional Convention, but a number did not accept or could not attend.
On May 14, 1787, the Federal Convention convened in the State House—now known as Independence Hall—in Philadelphia.
Almost no one showed up.
Only delegates from two states, Pennsylvania and Virginia, were present on that first day. This meant that the members met and adjourned each day until May 25, when the convention obtained a quorum of seven states.
In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, James Madison blamed bad weather for … [ Read all ]