Tag Archives: Political History

Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention


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ben_franklins_worldWhen politicians, lawyers, and historians discuss the Constitutional Convention of 1787, they often rely on two sources: The promotional tracts collectively known as the Federalist Papers and James Madison’s Notes of the Constitutional Convention.

But what do we know about Madison’s Notes?

Did Madison draft them to serve as a definitive account of the Constitutional Convention?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, we explore James Madison’s Notes on the Constitutional Convention with award-winning legal historian Mary Sarah Bilder, the Founders Professor of Law at Boston College and author of Madison’s Hand: Revising the Constitutional Convention (Harvard University Press, 2015). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/107

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The Path to Statehood Exhibit at State Museum


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Cultural Education Center State Museum ArchivesThe New York State Archives have announced a limited engagement exhibition at the New York State Museum featuring New York State’s founding documents. The Path to Statehood features New York’s first constitution (1777), journal of the Poughkeepsie Convention (1788), New York’s engrossed copy of the U.S. Constitution (1788), and New York’s current constitution (1894). The exhibition is open through November 27th. Continue reading

For Rent: Federal Hall National Monument


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National Park Service NPSNational Park Service, Manhattan Sites and the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy (Harbor Conservancy) announced that Federal Hall National Memorial is available to rent for special events.

Federal Hall National Monument is one of 413 units of the National Park Service. From 1789 to 1790, the location of Federal Hall National Memorial was the seat of the United States federal government under the new Constitution. Congress passed many of the founding laws of the nation and approved the Bill of Rights for ratification by the states. The 1883 statue of George Washington commemorates where our first president took the oath of office on April 30, 1789. Continue reading

Commemoration of 1794 Canandaigua Treaty Planned


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canandaigua-treaty-march-2015The public is invited to join in celebrating the 222nd Anniversary of the historic Canandaigua Treaty, and learn about this seminal federal treaty still in effect, on November 11th.

In 1794, a historic federal treaty signed in Canandaigua brought about peace between the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Confederacy) and the United States, each recognizing the sovereignty of the other to govern and set laws as distinct nations. On Friday, November 11, 222 years later, the Canandaigua Treaty will be commemorated. Continue reading

Sally Roesch Wagner on the Womens’ Suffrage Centennial


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Photo courtesy the National Susan B Anthony Museum & House.This speech was delivered at the Women’s Suffrage Centennial Conference on October 7, 2016.

This is a time of great potential, a celebration of significance. The U. S. government was founded on a vision of rule by the people – not a monarch or a ruling elite but each person with a voice, a vote. But 144 years later, half the people still were not recognized in the constitution as having a voice.

State by state, women carved out a voice – in school, municipal, finally state government. NY in 1917. But federally women were still silenced. Continue reading

Sandra Weber: How Long Must Women Wait


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pickets in front of white houseOne hundred years ago, on October 22, 1916, Inez Milholland Boissevain gave a powerful suffrage speech in Los Angeles. At one point, she directed a question at Woodrow Wilson: “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” As those words echoed through the hall, Inez collapsed on stage.

Today, New York State prepares to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage and the nation approaches an historic election – a woman is the presidential nominee of a major political party. The importance of casting a vote on November 8, 2016, seems obvious, and the right to vote taken for granted. But consider that women in New York State could not vote in Congressional or Presidential elections a hundred years ago. However, after decades of campaigning for women’s suffrage, it appeared that momentum was building in 1916. One woman from New York helped spur the forces to move “forward into light.” Continue reading