Reconstruction? The President, Constitution, States, & Congress

The Reconstruction Era is complex. The historical figures, thought processes, opinions, and situations often seem distant and a little unknown to us. The struggles of rebuilding and even re-imaging the United States after the Civil War brought the ideologies from the battlefields to the state capitals, the White House, and the Congressional chambers.

Today we’ll talk about the situation in the very beginning years of Reconstruction, focusing on Andrew Johnson, Constitution interpretations, new state governments, and Congress’s views. Continue reading

Building American Lighthouses, 1789-1851

From its earliest days, the U.S. Government took an active role in the protection of the country’s shores and an interest in building and maintaining aids to navigation. The period from George Washington’s presidency to one decade before the Civil War laid important groundwork for the establishing and administration of lighthouses, but it was also a time penny-pinching bureaucracy which ultimately endangered maritime commerce.

No longer would each colony/state control their lighthouses. The first half-century of United States lightkeeping is an era of contrasts, contradictions, and challenges. As the nation debated interpretation of the constitution, it also questioned how lighthouses, their funding, and their administration should fit into the national setting. Lighthouses are clearly part of America’s history and democracy debates – living symbols of triumph in the chambers of Washington and the wave-battered shores. Continue reading

A Revolution At Sea?


The developments in American Colonial maritime link directly to and lead to the American War For Independence (1775-1783). In fact, some of the war’s causes were part of the maritime scene. Trade. Taxes. Import/Export Regulations. And – don’t forget – The Boston Tea Party!

The war seemed ludicrous to the world powers during the 18th Century. Did a bunch of colonial farmers and seamen really think they were going to win against one of the strongest nations in Europe? The British Army and Navy had been honing the art of war on battlefields and the waves for centuries, but – perhaps – that was the American’s advantage.

This blog post focuses on some aspects of the Revolutionary War at sea. It looks into some of the problems and advantages for both sides during the conflict. It explores how the war prepared the new nation to want/need its own navy – a navy that would protect the country’s trade interests and allow for continued success in maritime ventures. Continue reading