History of Ben Franklin: The Original Founding Father?

Ben Franklin

HISTORY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN We know this polymath as a writer, publisher, printer, merchant, scientist, moral philosopher, international diplomat, and inventor. He invented the glass harmonica in music, but he also invented the Franklin stove and started the first lending library and fire brigade in Philadelphia. He did experiments in electricity and developed the lightning…

Read More

History of John Adams

John Adams

HISTORY OF THE 4TH OF JULY: JOHN ADAMS Before John Adams became the first Vice President of the United States under George Washington, second President of the United States, the first resident of the White House, and writer of the Massachusetts State Constitution he had a role during the Revolutionary War period as one of the…

Read More

History of the 4th of July: Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

HISTORY OF THE 4th OF JULY: THOMAS JEFFERSON Perhaps no one person is more associated with the 4th of July in American History than Thomas Jefferson, probably because it was his hand that penned the immortal Declaration of Independence. As my friend Clay Jenkinson — who has been portraying Jefferson for over 20 years —…

Read More

History of James Madison

James Madison

HISTORY OF JAMES MADISON Among the Founding Fathers, James Madison has correctly been called “the Father of the Constitution,” and one might think that the Constitution became active on July 5, 1776, but this is not how it happened. The American Constitution didn’t go into effect until almost a decade and a half after the Declaration…

Read More

History of Juneteenth: and the Emancipation Proclamation

Juneteenth

HISTORY OF JUNETEENTH: and the Emancipation Proclamation June Nineteenth, or Juneteenth, marks the celebration of the emancipation of African-American slaves in Texas in 1865. While the annual celebration started in Texas the following year in 1866 — and became an official Texas state holiday there in 1980 — this formerly obscure holiday is now observed…

Read More

History of Father’s Day: the Beginning

Fathers Day

HISTORY OF FATHERS DAY: the Beginning [NOTE: I wrote a more extended and serious version of this article for CBS.com several years ago. It has been published on their network of sites for major cities around the country. You can find that article here.]   Origin of Fathers Day The celebration of Father’s Day goes…

Read More

History of Flag Day

Flag Day

HISTORY OF FLAG DAY June 14 is the day the United States celebrates Flag Day. While it may not be as widely celebrated as other American holidays, it is one of the oldest. It was resolved by the Second Continental Congress in 1777, even before the conclusion of the American War of Independence, the Revolutionary…

Read More

History of Memorial Day: Boalsburg, PA

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: BOALSBURG, PA The city of Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, an American village on the National Historic Register, claims to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, as do at least 24 other towns in America. I first visited this hamlet near State College, home of Penn State University, decades ago. Boalsburg’s claim goes back…

Read More

History of Memorial Day: Which War?

Arlington

HISTORY OF MEMORIAL DAY: WHICH WAR? Memorial Day was not universally recognized as a shared American Holiday until after World War I. But that’s not how it started in the United States. When did it begin?   Civil War and Memorial Day Following the American Civil War or the “War Between the States,” as it…

Read More

History of Tax Day

Tax Day

HISTORY OF TAX DAY This year, in an unprecedented move not seen since last year’s unprecedented move, the Internal Revenue Service has extended the deadline for Federal Income Tax filing for individual tax filers. This year, instead of being due today, April 15, the new deadline for individual tax filers is April 18, but not…

Read More

History of the Civil War: When was the First Shot?

Civil War

HISTORY OF THE CIVIL WAR On April 12, 1861, the first formal hostilities of the American Civil War occurred when Confederate troops attacked the military installation at Fort Sumter in South Carolina. The Fort, located in Charleston harbor, was a coastal fortification built after the War of 1812 as part of the U.S. coastal fortification…

Read More

History of the Midnight Justices: Who Appoints the Supreme Court?

Midnight Justices

HISTORY OF THE MIDNIGHT JUSTICES: WHO APPOINTS THE SUPREME COURT In the news recently, you’ve seen the topic of “court-packing” related to the U.S. Supreme Court. But is this a new thing, and what does it mean? Court-packing involves one branch of the government proposing to change the courts’ structure by either expanding or decreasing…

Read More