History

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by watching some of these fascinating films on the race to be the first to the moon.

Following ratification by the state of Virginia, The Bill of Rights became law on December 15, 1791. Comprised of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, they were written by James Madison in response to requests from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties. The First Amendment reads as follows:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Learn about the long history of dissent in America by checking out some of the following resources available in the Library's collection.

On July 11, 1804 former Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, and Vice-President Aaron Burr, fought a pistol duel at Weehawken, New Jersey. The culmination of long-standing personal bitterness between the two men, the duel resulted in Hamilton's death, and the end of Burr's political career. This year marks the 215th anniversary of that shocking event.

Check out these new titles recently added to the Library's History shelves.

Boston's massacre by Eric Hinderaker

On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd gathered in front of Boston's Custom House, killing five people. Denounced as an act of unprovoked violence and villainy, the event that came to be known as the Boston Massacre is one of the most familiar incidents in American history, yet one of the least understood. Eric Hinderaker revisits this dramatic episode, examining in forensic detail the facts of that fateful night, the competing narratives that molded public perceptions at the time, and the long campaign afterward to transform the tragedy into a touchstone of American identity.

Canada Day celebrates the 1867 enactment of the Constitution Act which united the three colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and the Province of Canada (Ontario and Quebec) into a single country. In honor of our northern neighbor read about some of her most illustrious native sons and daughters, past and present. For information on the history of Canada you can check here. For more noteworthy Canadians check here.

A dual portrait of the irrepressible orphan Anne of Green Gables and her creator covers such topics as the death of Montgomery's mother, her life on Prince Edward Island, and the inspiration for the "e" at the end of Anne's name..

July 1, 1867. The Constitution Act, 1867 is enacted,  uniting the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada.

The Constitution : an introduction by Michael Stokes Paulsen

July 2, 1788. The United States Constitution was ratified.

July 2, 1881. President James A. Garfield was shot as he entered a railway station in Washington, D.C. He died on September 19.

British author Eric Arthur Blair was born June 25, 1903. He published his first book in 1933 using the pen name George Orwell. Find out more about George Orwell and explore his politically-charged writing with these titles.

1984 : a novel by 1903-1950 George Orwell
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook | video

In 1918 Michigan passed a Constitutional Amendment to recognize women's right to vote. Nationally, the 19th Amendment wouldn't pass until the following year and wouldn't be official until the year after that.

The 19th Amendment clarified that the right to vote could not be denied based on sex, and was passed on June 5, 1919 and ratified by 36 states on August 18, 1920. The last state to ratify this amendment was Mississippi in 1984.

Celebrate this milestone by checking out one of the following titles and learning more about the global fight for women's suffrage. Titles geared for younger audiences are at the top, but may interest older readers.

Follow suffragettes Nell Richardson and Alice Burke's cross-country journey to campaign for women's right to vote.

Explore the history of women's suffrage, highlighting the contributions of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and such other reformers as Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Lucy Stone.

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