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Capitol History Blog

Discover the Capitol History Blog, where we give current and future scholars a forum for their insights on history and the relevance of those events today. Contributors include our staff, fellows, communications and research interns, and other guest contributors including historians and industry experts. To learn more about our fellowship and internship programs, follow the links.

A Potential New Future for an Enduring Draft System

Recently, discussion of the American military conscription draft system permeated news outlets, since last week the Supreme Court declined to take the case NATIONAL COALITION FOR MEN, ET AL. v. SELECTIVE SERVICE SYSTEM, ET AL., which confronts the longstanding tradition of a male-only draft in the United States. In her statement regarding the case, Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justices Breyer and Kavanaugh, explained that the Court’s reasoning for not taking the case is due to the fact that Congress is…

Environmentalism and the United States

On April 23, 2022, President Biden attended a virtual global climate summit where he, alongside other nations, committed to significant new efforts to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change. During the summit, he stated that his administration would aim to cut U.S. coal and petroleum emissions in half by 2030. To help accomplish this, Biden has introduced the American Jobs Plan and the complementary Made in America Tax Plan, which together propose $2 trillion in infrastructure spending with a…

1861 v. 2021: Quartering of Troops in the U.S. Capitol

On April 15th, 1861, a few days after Confederate cannons opened fire on Fort Sumter, President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 troops to be deployed to Washington D.C. to protect the seat of government and suppress the rebellion. Within a few days, volunteer Union troops from Pennsylvania answered the call and were quartered in the House wing of the Capitol. Next, the Sixth Regiment from Massachusetts set up camp in the Senate wing. Before long, thousands of soldiers occupied the…

2021 Capitol Insurrection in the Context of the Civil War

On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, a throng of insurrectionists attacked the U.S. Capitol in a failed effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Hundreds of rioters aggressively marched toward the Capitol to protest outside and break into the building. In the process, they harmed police officers and vandalized and looted while they sought to find and harm members of Congress. The riot led to the evacuation and lockdown of the Capitol and caused several deaths and injuries. While…