Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

On this day, the first African American sworn in as Supreme Court lawyer

February 1, 2019 By Sheldon Gilbert

On February 1, 1865—the same day President Lincoln signed sent the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery to the states—John S. Rock was sworn in as the first African American lawyer admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

How Frederick Douglass's first speech got him noticed

February 14, 2013 By Paige Scofield

Frederick Douglass, whose birthday is honored on February 14, was born a slave in 1818, and now remembered for his eloquence, activism, and fearless championing against slavery.

Abraham Lincoln and the two 13th Amendments

December 14, 2012 By Malcolm Lazin

Malcolm Lazin from the Equality Forum looks at Abraham Lincoln's connection to a proposed Constitutional amendment that would have legalized slavery in the South, four years before he fought for a 13th amendment that banned it.

Tax holiday inspired by freedom

April 16, 2012 By Harold Holzer

Americans are enjoying a brief tax holiday this year–filings are not due until April 17–and credit for the postponement goes to an unexpected hero: none other than Abraham Lincoln.

Federalism in 1868 and 2012

April 9, 2012 By Abigail Perkiss

Like the issue of civil rights in the 1860s and ‘70s, healthcare in 2012 has become the terrain upon which the battle over centralized power is being fought.

This week and the Constitution: Gay marriage, relevance and killer whales

February 10, 2012 By Holly Munson

Here’s a brief look at the top constitutional news stories and commentaries from this week.

Why is Feb. 1 designated as National Freedom Day?

January 31, 2012 By Matthew Pinsker

The story of this unknown holiday begins with a bit of presidential trivia but soon turns into a fascinating tale about a most extraordinary slave-turned-citizen.

On the road to freedom, one (gradual) step at a time

March 15, 2011 By Sarah Winski

There are several reasons why the Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery is a remarkable document. First, a fun fact: It’s signed by Thomas Paine of Common Sense.

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