Last Best Hope of Earth

A Blog Covering US History and Politics


Thomas Jefferson

The Theories of Slavery

Trout Fishing in Sullivan County, New York. By: Henry Inman.

In the 15 years leading up to the Civil War, a wide variety of theories emerged for how the federal government should deal with slavery expanding, or not expanding, into the territories acquired by the United States.

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The Role of Slavery in Splitting America

The Underground Railroad. By: Charles T. Webber.

Since the outbreak of the Civil War and continuing to the present day, the role of slavery in splitting America has been hotly debated. One may wonder whether there was merely a correlation between slavery and the Civil War or whether slavery was the cause. Investigating the nuances of the issue of slavery reveals that the Civil War resulted from sectionalism and slavery, which were practically synonymous.

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Manifest Destiny

The Democratic Review Magazine.

While many Americans would come to embrace manifest destiny, the idea that America would achieve its imperial destiny and dominate the continent, it was not a politician or president who coined the term. Rather, it was coined in 1845 in New York’s Democratic Review magazine. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 702-03.

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The Inauguration of William Henry Harrison

William Henry Harrison. By: Rembrandt Peale.

William Henry Harrison, a Whig, won the White House in the election of 1840. In March 1841, for his inauguration, he stood in the cold and wind and spoke for an hour and a half. See Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 570.

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The Decline of the Militia

Depiction of a Militia in 1828.

From the War of 1812 on, for the next few decades, the use of militias would become less and less prominent in America.

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A First Test for Separation of Church and State

A Depiction of the Cholera Outbreak in New York City in 1832.

With the communications and transportation revolution came new, unforeseeable consequences. One such consequence was the spread of cholera and other contagious diseases, which would test the mettle of Americans.

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Constitution Sunday: Jefferson Replies to Madison

011914efc09968f8736c1d523526ff1a Read today’s Constitution Sunday in Russian.

Thomas Jefferson Replies to Madison

Paris, December 20, 1787

Following are excerpts from Thomas Jefferson’s letter to James Madison:

“I like the power given the Legislature to levy taxes, and for that reason solely approve of the greater house being chosen by the people Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: Jefferson Replies to Madison”

The Fort Hill Address

Personalities AE  6
John Calhoun.

John Calhoun, by 1831, had alienated himself from President Andrew Jackson, and he wanted to “head off talk of secession,” and on July 26, 1831, he published his “Fort Hill Address” in a South Carolina newspaper. Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation of America, 1815-1848, 399.

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Constitution Sunday: Letter from James Madison to Thomas Jefferson

Letter from James Madison to Thomas Jefferson

New York, October 24, 1787

Following are excerpts from James Madison’s letter to Thomas Jefferson, dated October 24, 1787:

“It remains then to be enquired whether a majority having any common interest, or feeling any common passion, will find sufficient motives to restrain them from oppressing the minority. Continue reading “Constitution Sunday: Letter from James Madison to Thomas Jefferson”

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