The 16th Amendment and the first Internal Revenue Bureau Form 1040 will be on display from April 1 to April 30 at the National Archives in Washington, DC. Today’s guest post comes to us from education and exhibit specialist Michael Hussey.
“Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever sources derived, without apportionment among the several states and without regard to any census or enumeration.” 16th Amendment to the Constitution
Each April, millions of Americans stay up late, snap pencils, and double-check their math as they complete their Federal income tax returns. This year marks the centennial of the constitutional amendment that made this a yearly ritual.
The Civil War prompted the first American income tax, a flat 3 percent on all annual incomes over $800, in 1861. Congress enacted a 2-percent tax on annual income over $4,000 in 1894, but it was quickly struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
By the early 20th century, members of both the Democratic and Republican parties advocated a constitutional amendment allowing a Federal income tax. On July 12, 1909, Congress passed a joint congressional resolution proposing such an amendment. The resolution was then sent to the states for consideration. By February 3, 1913, three-quarters of the states—the number required by the Constitution for ratification—had approved it. Certified by Secretary of State … [ Read all ]
Today’s blog post comes from National Archives social media intern Anna Fitzpatrick.
The news of the Emancipation Proclamation was greeted with joy, even though it did not free all the slaves. Because of the limitations of the proclamation, and because it depended on a Union military victory, President Lincoln recognized that the Emancipation Proclamation would have to be followed by a constitutional amendment in order to abolish slavery.
After the Senate passed a bill for an amendment in April 1864, but the House of Representatives did not, Lincoln suggested that the bill be taken up by the Republican Party in its 1864 platform for the upcoming Presidential elections.
His efforts met with success when the House passed the bill in January 1865. On February 1, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln approved the Joint Resolution of Congress submitting the proposed amendment to the state legislatures. The necessary number of states ratified it by December 6, 1865.
The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution formally abolished slavery in the United States. It provides that ”Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
The struggle for complete freedom was far from finished even with the 13th Amendment. Two more amendments were added to the … [ Read all ]
This is part of a series, written by Jim Zeender, devoted to letters written by the Founding Fathers in their own words and often in their own hand. Jim is the Senior Registrar in the Exhibits Division.
“It is impossible to increase taxes, disastrous to keep on borrowing, and inadequate to merely to cut expense.”
This is not a quote from the 2012 American elections or the current fiscal cliff debate. These are the words of Charles-Alexandre de Calonne, finance minister of France, describing the financial conditions of his country in 1786 to his king, Louis XVI.
The French monarchy was deep in debt due to continuous war expenditures, most recently from the American Revolution, when France supplied monies, ships, soldiers, and arms to the the struggling United States, not to mention its own naval engagements with the British Navy. The French people were poor and hungry, and there was great inequality among the classes. Attempts at reform failed, setting the stage for the bloody civil rupture known as the French Revolution, beginning with democratic ideas and ending in Napoleonic despotism.
With his experience in the Virginia House of Burgesses, the Continental Congress, and as Governor of Virginia behind him, Thomas Jefferson continued his practical education in world affairs in pre-revolutionary France. Across the Atlantic, the fledgling American government had its own problems, which though different, were … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on December 5, 2012, under - Constitution, - Presidents, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tags: Champs-Elysées, Constitution, Founding Fathers, guest post, Jefferson, Madison, Paris
These days, pundits, candidates, and party activists like to cite the Constitution of the United States as the moral and legal backing for whatever they’re proposing.
But the Constitution is silent on a lot of things you probably thought it said. Here are eight examples.
The President can veto a proposed amendment to the Constitution.
No. He has nothing to do with the amendments. Congress can propose an amendment with a two-thirds vote of both houses, or a Constitutional Convention can be called by a vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures. However, once the amendment is proposed either by Congress or a convention, it must be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures.
Only one amendment, the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition (the 18th Amendment), was ratified by conventions in the states.
The “Founding Fathers” who wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776 are the same men who wrote the Constitution in 1787.
Only five individuals signed both of these two founding documents. They were George Clymer, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Morris, George Read, and Roger Sherman. Some of the famous signers of the Declaration were elsewhere when the Constitution was being written. Thomas Jefferson was in France as our American minister, and John Adams was American minister to Great Britain.
The Constitution established the system of Federal courts.
No. The Constitution established “one supreme … [ Read all ]
Posted by Jim on November 15, 2012, under - Constitution, Uncategorized.
Tags: amendment, Benjamin Franklin, Congress, Constitution, democrary, Founding Fathers, history, President, republic, veot
October is American Archives Month! To celebrate, we’re running a series of “spotlights” on the many locations that make up the National Archives. Today’s post features the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and was written by Rick Blondo, management and program analyst at the National Archives.
The Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights are on permanent display in the Rotunda at the National Archives Building. But up until 2003, some visitors could not easily see these important documents or the documents displayed along with them.
The design of the original display cases, built in 1935, meant that items were displayed flat or nearly flat with the front edge of the cases about 40 inches above the floor. This height and angle made it nearly impossible for young children or people in wheelchairs to see the documents.
New display cases, installed as part of a building-wide renovation from 2000 to 2005, make those documents easily viewable by all visitors. During the renovation, we learned there was no accessible design standard for exhibit display cases containing original archival records. We consulted with experts and used a mock-up to test different heights and angles of display.
In 1999, volunteers tested and scored the original display cases and a mock-up. Three volunteers—two adults and one child—were in wheelchairs. The other eight volunteers—six adults and two children—were ambulatory
Posted by Hilary on October 25, 2012, under - Constitution, Disability History, Pennsylvania Avenue.
Tags: ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act, bill of rights, Constitution, Constitution 225, constitution day, declaration of independence, National archives and records administration recognition day, Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards