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  • Summer Video Roundup

    Summer Video Roundup

    Historical Spotlight is currently featuring a video series on the Supreme Court case of Hylton v. United States. Perhaps you are wondering why we chose such an obscure case to examine. Why couldn’t we have picked more commonly studied cases such as Marbury v. Madison, Dred Scott or Roe? The reason is because we believe that this often-overlooked case is one of the most important cases in Supreme Court history. It is actually the first case that involved judicial review. In Marbury v. Madison (1803), […]

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  • Revising Civil War History: A Kinder, Gentler William Tecumseh Sherman

    Revising Civil War History: A Kinder, Gentler William Tecumseh Sherman

    The New York Times featured an article this November titled 150 Years Later, Wrestling With a Revised View of Sherman’s March. The article looked at the controversy surrounding a recent placement by the Georgia Historical Society of a new historical marker on the grounds of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum. The marker commemorates Sherman’s historic March to the Sea and seems to be an attempt by the GHS to introduce a kinder and gentler General William Tecumseh Sherman […]

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  • Hylton v. United States Part 1: Federalists v. Antifederalists (1776-1796)

    On June 28, 2012 the Supreme Court in the Case of National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (Known as NFIB) ruled that the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare”, is constitutional. Chief Justice John Roberts surprised legal and constitutional scholars by ruling that the act was constitutional, not based on the commerce clause as some were suspecting, but on the taxing power given to Congress by the United States Constitution. He wrote,  “The same analysis here suggests that the shared […]

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  • New “Pickett-Pettigrew” Charge Interactive Panorama

    New “Pickett-Pettigrew” Charge Interactive Panorama

    Historical Spotlight is pleased to release our second panorama of the Battle of Gettysburg. This panorama depicts Cemetery Ridge as viewed from the North Carolina Memorial. This is the view Pettigrew’s Division would probably have had as they advanced toward the Copse of Trees. Again, if one scrolls over a monument its identification will appear. We have also added a new feature: If one highlights the 69th Pennsylvania, 26th North Carolina or U.S. Artillery Battery A monuments, a link is available […]

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  • The Legal Tender Acts Study Questions and Resources

    The Legal Tender Acts (1862-1865): A Revolution In U.S. Monetary Policy 1. What did Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase’s Report to Congress on December 9, 1861 reveal about the Union’s financial status? 2. Why could the government no longer borrow from the banks? 3. How much was the Civil War costing the Union per day? 4. Describe the main features of the initial Legal Tender Bill. 5. What does legal tender mean? 6. What is a fiat currency? 7. […]

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  • California Defies the Union: The War on Greenbacks

    California Defies the Union: The War on Greenbacks

    In February 1862, the federal government passed the Legal Tender Act. This law mandated that the public had to accept fiat government notes (greenbacks) for all debts public and private. However, the State of California defied the federal government for seventeen years and retained a gold standard.

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  • The Legal Tender Acts (1862 -1865): How The Federal Government Disrupted Retail Trade

    The Legal Tender Acts (1862 -1865): How The Federal Government Disrupted Retail Trade

    There are some things that governments do very well. John Locke said societies unite and form governments for the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties and property. When governments stay this course and focus on protecting man’s inalienable rights, societies flourish. However, when governments try to manipulate the marketplace and economic law, unintentional negative consequences usually result. Such was the case with the first Legal Tender Law passed by the United States Congress on February 25, 1862 during the first […]

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  • Funding the American Civil War: A Revolution in Government Finance 1861

    Historical Spotlight examines the revolutionary financial methods employed by the Federal government in 1861 to fund the Union army during the American Civil War. We explore how a new monetary system was created, and the implications of borrowing, taxation, and money printing.

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  • Shays’ Rebellion: Epilogue to the American Revolution

    Shays’ Rebellion: Epilogue to the American Revolution

    Was Shays’ rebellion an uprising by indebted farmers trying to get their debts extinguished or was it a legitimate tax revolt? This video will explore what really happened in western Massachusetts between the years 1786-1787 and reveal how Shays’ Rebellion was instrumental in bringing about the U.S. Constitution.

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  • The American System: Tariffs Part 1

    The American System: Tariffs Part 1

    The third plank of Henry Clay’s American System, and probably the most controversial was the protective tariff. This video will explore the economic, constitutional and political issues associated the tariff policy in the Unites States from 1789-1859.

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  • The American System: Tariffs Part 2

    The American System: Tariffs Part 2

    The third plank of Henry Clay’s American System, and probably the most controversial was the protective tariff. This video will explore the economic, constitutional and political issues associated the tariff policy in the Unites States from 1789-1859.

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  • The Battle of Gettysburg: 9 Reasons Why the Confederates Lost Part 1

    With their loss at Gettysburg, the high water mark of the Confederacy was reached and hopes of an independent country were dashed. The question that historians always seem to ponder is how did an army flush with success and with momentum on their side lose this battle? Relying heavily on General E. Porter Alexander’s Fighting for the Confederacy, this video will attempt to answer that question.

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