Congress

A white Baptist woman named Harriet M. Buss taught Civil War hero Robert Smalls (pictured) how to read and write.

What a Teacher's Letters Reveal About Robert Smalls, Who Stole a Confederate Ship to Secure His Freedom From Slavery

Harriet M. Buss' missives home detail the future congressman's candid views on race and the complicity of Confederate women

Abraham Lincoln’s third annual message to Congress spurred prompt and consequential action on what became the first piece of proactive federal legislation to encourage, rather than discourage, immigration to the U.S.

Abraham Lincoln's Oft-Overlooked Campaign to Promote Immigration to the U.S.

A few weeks after the president delivered the Gettysburg Address, he called on Congress to welcome immigrants as a "source of national wealth and strength"

A pneumatic mail tube at the main Post Office Department branch in New York City, circa 1914 or 1915

When a Labyrinth of Pneumatic Tubes Shuttled Mail Beneath the Streets of New York City

Powered by compressed air, the system transported millions of letters between 1897 and 1953

A portrait of the congressman by the famous photographer Mathew Brady, c. 1860.

Why America Is Just Now Learning to Love Thaddeus Stevens, the 'Best-Hated Man' in U.S. History

The Pennsylvanian was one of America’s greatest heroes. Why hasn’t he gotten his due?

David Grusch, former national reconnaissance officer representative of the UAP Task Force at the U.S. Department of Defense, testifies during a House Oversight Committee hearing.

Whistleblower Alleges U.S. Government Is Covering Up Alien Life at UFO Hearing

A Pentagon spokesperson has denied the claims, while lawmakers are pushing for information on UFOs to be declassified

The monument, designed by artists Amanda Williams and Olalekan B. Jeyifous, will be placed at an entrance to Prospect Park.

A Monument Honoring Shirley Chisholm, the First Black Congresswoman, Is Coming to Brooklyn

After years of delays, New York City officially approved a statue commemorating the borough native and political trailblazer

An illustration of Anthony Comstock, published in Puck magazine in 1906

The 150-Year-Old Comstock Act Could Transform the Abortion Debate

Once considered a relic of moral panics past, the 1873 law criminalized sending "obscene, lewd or lascivious" materials through the mail

Lewis Wickes Hine's 1909 photograph of a young spinner in a Georgia cotton mill

The Photographer Who Forced the U.S. to Confront Its Child Labor Problem

Lewis Hine's early 20th-century "photo stories" sparked meaningful legislative reform

Representative Robert F. Broussard believed hippos imported from Africa would rid Louisiana and Florida of the water hyacinths smothering their waterways.

How the U.S. Almost Became a Nation of Hippo Ranchers

In 1910, a failed House bill sought to increase the availability of low-cost meat by importing hippopotamuses that would be killed to make "lake cow bacon"

John H. Smith (left), mayor of Prichard, Alabama, unsuccessfully campaigned for the creation of an Africatown national park.

The Forgotten 1980s Battle to Preserve Africatown

A new book tells the definitive history of an Alabama community founded by survivors of the slave trade

Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson at his desk in November 1957

When Lyndon B. Johnson Chose the Middle Ground on Civil Rights—and Disappointed Everyone

Always a dealmaker, then-senator LBJ negotiated with segregationists to pass a bill that cautiously advanced racial equality

Robert Garcia, a newly elected congressman from California, selected several items with personal significance to use at his swearing-in ceremony.

This Congressman Was Sworn Into Office With Rare Superman Comic

California’s Robert Garcia says the superhero embodies values like truth and justice

Felton advocated lynching Black men accused of raping white women—“a thousand times a week if necessary,” as she said in an infamous 1897 speech.

The Nation's First Woman Senator Was a Virulent White Supremacist

In 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton, a Georgia women's rights activist and lynching proponent, temporarily filled a dead man's Senate seat

By mid-October, adults with mild to moderate hearing loss will be able to buy hearing aids over the counter.

FDA Approves Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids

A new rule could save consumers $2,800 on a pair of hearing aids, officials say

The bill aims to help the nation slash its greenhouse gas emissions.

What the Inflation Reduction Act Hopes to Do About Climate Change

The spending bill aims to spur investment in renewable energy and slash greenhouse gas emissions

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The Story Behind One of the Most-Mocked Paintings in U.S. History

Long ridiculed, the Howard Chandler Christy artwork of the signing of the U.S. Constitution shows democracy at its most realistic

In 1951, mobster Frank Costello (seated, center) testified in front of the Kefauver Committee during a televised congressional hearing on organized crime that captivated the country.

A Brief History of Televised Congressional Hearings

From a 1951 investigation into organized crime to the Watergate scandal, the ongoing January 6 hearings are part of a lengthy political tradition

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion stands at attention during an inspection in England in 1945.

All-Black, All-Woman WWII Unit Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion cleared a six-month backlog of mail while stationed in Europe in 1945

On March 15, the Senate unanimously passed legislation calling for year-round daylight saving time.

What Happened the Last Time the U.S. Tried to Make Daylight Saving Time Permanent?

A 1974 switch to year-round DST proved unpopular, with Americans expressing "distaste" for the long, dark winter mornings

The exploration and preservation of Yellowstone in 1871 and 1872 has long been recognized as a central moment in the history of American conservation. Less well known is its role in shaping Lakota history and U.S. Indian policy.

How Sitting Bull's Fight for Indigenous Land Rights Shaped the Creation of Yellowstone National Park

The 1872 act that established the nature preserve provoked Lakota assertions of sovereignty

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