LBJ’s 1941 U.S. Senate Campaign
Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson speaks with voters on one last campaign stop in Johnson City. The election was later that day. 6/28/41.
LBJ Library photo 41-6-130, by the Austin American-Statesman. Use free with credit to the original source.
Congressional Golf, Seventies Style
President Gerald Ford and Representatives Les Arends, Tip O’Neill, and John Rhodes show their individual styles on the Andrews Air Force Base golf course during the third annual Congressional Golf Tournament. September 16, 1974.
Remembering September 11
Photo: President George W. Bush holds the badge of George Howard, a police officer killed in the September 11 attacks.
On September 20, 2001, President George W. Bush addressed a Joint Session of Congress. Toward the end of his speech, the president held up the NYPD silver badge and said,
“I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. It is my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not end.”
-from the George W. Bush Library
In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Liberties Act, the original Executive Order 9066 as well as the 1988 law are on display for a limited time in the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.
“Here we admit a wrong. Here we affirm our commitment as a nation to equal justice under the law.” —President Ronald Reagan, remarks on signing the Civil Liberties Act of 1988
On February 19, 1942, ten weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which permitted military commanders to “prescribe military areas … from which any or all persons may be excluded.” While the order did not mention any group by name, it profoundly affected the lives of Japanese Americans.
In March and April, Gen. John L. DeWitt issued a series of “Exclusion Orders” directed at “all persons of Japanese ancestry” in the Western Defense Command.
These orders led to the forced evacuation and incarceration of 120,000 Japanese American permanent residents and Japanese American citizens at 10 major camps and dozens of smaller sites. Held behind barbed wire and watched by armed guards, many Japanese Americans lost their homes and possessions. Congress passed laws enforcing the order with almost no debate, and the Supreme Court affirmed these actions.
Forty-six years later, President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988. The law, which was preceded by a detailed historical study by a congressional commission, judged the incarceration “a grave injustice” that was “motivated largely by racial prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” It offered an apology and $20,000 in restitution to each survivor.
Image: Persons of Japanese ancestry arrive at the Santa Anita Assembly Center from San Pedro. Evacuees lived at this center at the former Santa Anita race track before being moved inland to relocation centers. Clem Albers, Arcadia, CA, April 5, 1942. (Photo No. 210-G-3B-414)
The 26th Amendment Lowers the Voting Age to 18
Today in history, July 5, 1971, the 26th Amendment to the Constitution was officially certified. President Nixon had signed the Act, which lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 years of age, on January 1, 1971.
When the Founding Fathers set the voting age at twenty-one, they were following a common law tradition that went relatively unchallenged in the United States until 1942. In October of that year, as Americans fought in World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation to lower the military draft age from 21 to 18. For many, this raised the question, “if a man is old enough to serve, is he old enough to vote?”
From 1942 until 1965, members of Congress introduced over sixty resolutions to grant young people the right to vote, and in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower became the first President to voice his support for the youth vote.
Image: Certification of the 26th Amendment, 7/5/71. From the Nixon Library.
July 3, 1930: The Veterans Administration is Created
On this day in 1930, Congress passed a bill that created the Veterans Administration. Congress authorized the president to “consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans” in an executive order. The bill known as Executive Order 5398 was later signed into law by President Herbert Hoover on July 21, 1930. Since its creation, the VA has been responsible for providing federal benefits to veterans and their dependents.
Visit the National Salute to Veterans site to explore ways to support today’s veterans.
Photo: President Herbert Hoover, General Hines and staff, following the signing of Executive Order creating the Veterans Administration July 21, 1930 (U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs).
The S.S. Mayaguez Crisis — This Week in 1975
President Ford briefs the Bipartisan Congressional Leadership on the seizure of the American merchant ship S.S. Mayaguez on May 14, 1975.
The Mayaguez had been seized in international waters off the coast of Cambodia on May 12. Over the next two days President Ford and the National Security Council closely monitored the situation, ultimately deciding to use air strikes and send in Marines to rescue the boat’s crew.
President Ford received word that the Mayaguez and its entire crew had been safely recovered shortly after 11:00 p.m. on the 14th, and at 12:30 a.m. he made the official announcement to the press.
In accordance with the War Powers Act, on May 15 President Ford sent a letter to the Speaker of the House and president pro tem of the Senate regarding the Mayaguez incident. Read the President’s account of his actions here.
-from the Ford Library
Congressional Resolution on the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt and confidence in Harry S. Truman
After the enexpected death of President Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, Harry Truman was sworn in just eighty-two days after taking the oath as Vice President.
This resolution expresses sorrow for the passing of FDR and the confidence of Congress in the new President, Harry S. Truman. It is signed by Alben W. Barkley and Leslie L. Biffle. It is dated April 20, 1945.
-from the Truman Library
By George, It’s Washington’s Birthday!
Over two centuries ago, on April 30, 1789, George Washington delivered his first Inaugural Address knowing that he had little to guide him in the job that lay ahead but the principles stated in the Constitution.
During Washington’s first year in office, Congress ordered 600 copies of the Acts of Congress to be printed and distributed to Federal and state government officials. The book compiled the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress.
George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress contains his own handwritten notes in the margins.
Washington rarely wrote on the pages of his books, and the presence of his distinct handwriting makes the historic volume even more remarkable. Customarily, Washington preferred to take notes on a separate sheet of paper, which he would insert into a book. But in his copy of the Acts of Congress, he not only wrote directly in the margins but also drew brackets next to the passages of particular interest to him.
Last year, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association secured the book at an auction, bringing it back to George Washington’s home. At $9,826,500, it broke world auction records for an American historic document.
Beginning next week, Washington’s Acts of Congress will travel the country and visit the 13 Presidential Libraries of the National Archives through a partnership with Mount Vernon. Learn more at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/18/archives-george-washington-writes-margins .
Happy birthday George Washington!
February 22, 1732 - December 14, 1799
Photo: George Washington’s copy of the Acts of Congress. His signature appears inside. Printed in 1789. Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.