The Powerful Insurrection Act of 1807

When one realizes the Insurrection Act was written in 1807, we had been an independent country for just 24 years. The British still maintained forts on U.S. soil in the Northwest Territories and were instigating the Native Americans against the United States. They were impressing U.S. sailors into the Royal Navy and seizing our ships carrying goods to countries fighting England during the Napoleonic Wars. Our leaders felt the pressure of domestic as well as international threats. President Jefferson and Congress wanted to give the president the power to use military force if necessary to suppress a rebellion.

Read More

Madison and Mahan

Madison had lived through two of the seven – The Seven Years War and the American Revolution – studied by Mahan. He already knew several of the precepts Mahan developed in his writings seven decades later The Thirteen Colonies and the new United States is a maritime nation. It was true before we won our independence, and it is true today.

Read More

Beginnings of Copyright Law in America

Under the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress had no power to enforce any sort of copyright legislation, but it felt that it was an important enough issue that it passed a resolution that encouraged the states to pass their own copyright laws. Seven of the 13 did and used the language of the Statute of Anne as the basis of their copyright laws.

Read More

The First Nine

The above list provides common characteristic three, i.e., that for the first 58 years the United States was in existence, its leaders all shared a common experience – the trial known as the American Revolution and the difficulties in founding a country that violated all the accepted precedents of the time. Many risked their lives in combat and understood that if we lost, all would have been hung as traitors by the British.

Read More

Jefferson’s Purge of the U.S. Army

Using the authority of the Military Peace Establishment Act, Jefferson reduced the size of the U.S. Army by about one-third to 3,289 officers and men. Its order of battle now consisted of two regiments of infantry, one of artillery and a company of engineers.

Read More

Founding of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point

After Alexander Hamilton left office as the Secretary of the Treasury, Washington appointed him as the Inspector General of the U.S. Army. Believing that the relations with France would continue to deteriorate and lead to armed conflict, Hamilton introduced “a bill for establishing a military academy” in Congress to train officers. In addition to details on the curriculum, Hamilton recommended Fort Clinton, now the name of the fort at West Point, be the new school’s location.

Read More

The Tale of Deborah Sampson, a.k.a. Robert Shirtliff

She didn’t want to be taken to a hospital, but one of her fellow soldiers did so against her wishes. There, her head wound was treated by a doctor, but she left before her leg could be treated. In a barn over a mile away, she removed one of the balls with her own knife and sewed her leg closed with a needle and thread. The second ball remained in her thigh until the day she died.

Read More

Congressional Pay Has Always Been an Issue

Culture, precedent, and history played a role in the debate over how much we the people should pay our legislators. Many of the framers of the Constitution thought that members of the Senate would come from the “upper” or wealthier citizens and the members of the House would come from the masses a.k.a. the common people. This was a holdover from the British Parliament which has an upper house, the House of Lords, made up of members of the nobility, and the lower House of Commons, in which any citizen can run for office.

Read More

America’s First Swiss Banker

Jefferson wanted Gallatin to be his Secretary of the Treasury. When he gave Gallatin a recess appointment on May 14th, 1801, Jefferson is reputed to have said, “He is the only man in the United States who understands, through all the labyrinths Hamilton involved it, the precise state of the Treasury.”

Read More