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Tag: prologue blog

Inside the Vaults – Discovering the Civil War

Part Two of Discovering the Civil War opens at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on November 10!

 Rarely seen footage of Civil War veterans, intelligence gathering with balloons, prosthetic limbs, two different Thirteenth Amendments, and the Confederate States of Mexico are just a few of the ways that the National Archives Experience is showing you the Civil War as you’ve never seen it.

Watch the latest “Inside the Vaults” video below, and then visit us at the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at the National Archives in Washington, DC, on November 10.

If you enjoy this video, don’t forget to ‘Like’ it down below on Facebook and share it with your friends.

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A midterm referendum on Abe Lincoln

Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax and members of the House of Representatives (111-B-4176)

Speaker of the House Schuyler Colfax and members of the House of Representatives (111-B-4176)

History tends to show that  midterm elections are never particularly good for the sitting President. In 2006, many Republicans were moved from their seats due to dissatisfaction with George Bush’s policies. In 1994, Republicans swept the House as a referendum on the policies of Bill Clinton. Even one of the most revered Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was not spared the anti-incumbent sentiments during the 1862 midterm elections. Not only did Lincoln’s party lose the House, but Abe Lincoln’s hometown of Springfield even voted for the opposition.

There were reasons to be upset. What was supposed to be a quick war now seemed endless. Lincoln had suspended habeas corpus. There were concerns about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Earlier that summer, for the first time in U.S. history, Congress  instituted an income tax.

By 1864, the country’s mood had changed yet again, even if the circumstances on the ground had not. That endless war was still ongoing, though the outcome now favored the Union. Habeas corpus remained suspended. The Emancipation Proclamation was still unsettling to many. There was still an income tax, and to top it off, the government had instituted a draft so unpopular that Federal troops coming back from Gettysburg were sent to quell rioting in New York.

Following his party’s loss … [ Read all ]

Ten things you didn’t know about the Civil War

Part two of Discovering the Civil War opens November 10 in Washington, DC

Part two of Discovering the Civil War opens November 10 in Washington, DC

Part two of Discovering the Civil War opens at the National Archives in Washington, DC, in just 10 days! Spies, code breaking, personality conflicts over balloons, prosthetic limbs, two different Thirteenth Amendments, and the Confederate States of Mexico are just a few of the ways that the National Archives Experience is showing you the Civil War as you’ve never seen it.  One hundred and fifty years after the conflict began we’re still uncovering strange facts we didn’t know. We’ve posted ten below, but there’s no need to stop there! Help us by sharing the weirdest fact you’ve ever heard about the Civil War in the comment section.

  1. Abe Lincoln referred to Robert E. Lee as “Bobby Lee” and Jefferson Davis as “Jeffy D.”
  2. Despite serving as a member of the House of Representatives, a Senator on two separate occasions and as the President of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis never completed a full term in any office.
  3. More people earned the Medal of Honor in the Civil War than in World War I, World War II, and Vietnam combined.
  4. The same cipher code used by the Confederate government, including Jefferson Davis, was found on John Wilkes Booth’s remains, leading many to believe Davis had ordered the assassination.
  5. John Wilkes Booth’s assassination of
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FHF: The Beard Gap

Two beards have never competed for the office of the President. Pictured here is Rutherford Hayes, a bearded president who beat the clean-shaven Samuel Tilden (111-B-5739)

Two beards have never competed for the Presidency. Pictured here is Rutherford Hayes, a bearded President who beat the clean-shaven Samuel Tilden. (111-B-5739)




In the history of Presidential elections, there has never been a battle of the beards. Beards have challenged mustaches. Mustaches have challenged clean-shaven candidates. Clean-shaven candidates have challenged beards. But never in the history of our republic, have two bearded candidates duked it out on the campaign trail.

This is startling for many reasons. One, beards are awesome, and have experienced a sort of renaissance as of late. Two, statistically speaking, the beard is more “electable” than a baby face.

Look at the numbers. In Presidential elections, bearded candidates have only faced off (ha!) with clean-shaven candidates in five elections. In three of them—1868, 1872, and 1876—beards took the White House. That means the odds are with you if you run with a beard.

Year Victor Runner-up
1856 Clean-shaven Beards
1864 Beard Mustache
1868 Beard Clean-shaven
1872 Beard Clean-shaven
1876 Beard Clean-shaven
1880 Beard Mustache
1884 Mustache Beard
1888 Beard Mustache
1892 Mustache Beard
1908 Mustache Clean-shaven
1912 Clean-shaven Mustache
1916 Clean-shaven Beard
1944 Clean-shaven Mustache
1948 Clean-shaven Mustache



History buffs will be quick to point out that the 1876 beard win was something of a technicality. The oh-so-heavily bearded Rutherford Hayes lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote (Florida … [ Read all ]

Thursday’s Photo Caption Contest

“New Army Dirigibles give Doughboy Morale a Lift”

“New Army Dirigibles give Doughboy Morale a Lift”

These doughboys’ morale could use a lift, Bryan, because the original caption reads “three 5,000 cubic feet Nurse Balloons in Hangar. Fort Sill, Oklahoma, May 1, 1918.” So far as we can tell there are two balloons, not three in this photo, meaning these soldiers are one dirigible short and probably have some explaining to do. Your winning caption has won you 30% off at the National Archives eStore and the undying gratitude of the POH staff.

This week we got into the ghoulish spirit of the season and found a photo that could use a bit of sprucing up, at least so far as the caption goes. You know the rules! Give us your funniest caption, and the one that makes us laugh the most wins!

*** UPDATE *** Our guest judge this week is the National Archives Chief of Staff Deb Wall. Win her over with laughter and you’ll win 30% off at the eStore. Good luck!

To get you started:  Sad-o-Lantern

Insert your caption!

Insert your caption!

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