From the Archives: Loudoun, Slavery and Three Brave Men

Harry was in a terrible situation: it was 1828 and Harry was an enslaved man in Loudoun County, rented by his owner to Samuel Cox. Because Harry was chattel (personal property), he had no recognized surname, as was common among slaves in Loudoun before 1860. On learning that his owner, a “Miss Allison” of Stafford County, was planning to sell him to slave traders who would take him further south, Harry decided to escape.

Read more

Vance: Unburying Our Past

History’s hard reality has a habit of intruding uncomfortably to disrupt our present. Sometimes the disruption is driven intentionally as a means to incite and divide, other times as an effort to educate and reconcile. The events in Charlottesville last month were a horrific example of the former. I recently had the great honor to participate in an event in Purcellville that exemplifies the latter.

Read more

McNerney: Starting the School Year on the Right Foot

Chapter 9 of my book, “Homework – A Parent’s Guide To Helping Out Without Freaking Out!,” was actually written by a group of 7th graders. I was invited to my son’s English class to teach them about the writing process. It became a great opportunity for me to understand the minds of middle schoolers and what they want from their parents.

Read more

The Peoples Constitution: Presidential Power and Its Limits

Patriots fought the America Revolution for many reasons, not least of which was an intense desire to escape the rule of a distant king—George III. In fact, Americans were so opposed to the idea of a king that they didn’t include an independent president in the government created under our first constitution—the Articles of Confederation. However, it soon became apparent that a government without a president or comparable leader was insufficient for the needs of the new and growing America. Many, including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton (see for example the Federalist Papers #70) came to believe that a strong president was needed to “take the reins of government,” enforce the laws, and help steer the country forward. With its many flaws, the Articles of Confederation lasted less than 10 years before being replaced by our current Constitution.

Read more