The D.C. Boarding House That Moved the Needle on Slavery

Where Abolitionists and Congressmen—Including Lincoln—Dined, Debated, and Became Bedfellows

In the early 1840s, where the steps of the Library of Congress now stand, a group of American abolitionists gathered in a modest boardinghouse to plot the destruction of slavery.

The house belonged to a relatively obscure Washingtonian, a widow named Ann Sprigg. In those days, boardinghouses like Sprigg’s were fixtures of the capital landscape—where congressmen, senators, government officials, and the like tended to live during legislative sessions. Quarters were often cramped. Men rented a room—or just a bed, or even half of a bed—and communed in shared bathrooms and living …

Richard Kreitner and Elizabeth Mitchell | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Is It Time to Consider Lincoln More Critically? 

President Abraham Lincoln’s Relationship With the Press Is a Warning on Executive Overreach

Surely, every debate about Abraham Lincoln has been had, and every story told—from his childhood splitting rails and his battle with depression to his cabinet of former rivals and his …

The German-Born Secretary Who Made Abraham Lincoln Great | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The German-Born Secretary Who Made Abraham Lincoln Great

John George Nicolay Devoted Himself to Burnishing the Memory of the 16th President—and Kept Him From Carrying Papers in His Hat

Less than a month after dark horse candidate Abraham Lincoln won the new Republican Party’s presidential nomination at its convention in Chicago, on May 18, 1860, he made a decision …

Let’s Not Play ‘Gotcha’ With the Great Emancipator

If Lincoln Seems Like a Lukewarm Abolitionist, It’s Because He Was a Nuanced Radical

“I am naturally anti slavery,” Abraham Lincoln said in 1864. “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel.” …

Did the End of the Civil War Mean the End of Slavery?

April 1865 Marked the Beginning of a New Battle for American Abolitionists

On the same morning that Abraham Lincoln died from an assassin’s bullet, noted abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison was quietly gloating by the Charleston, South Carolina graveside of John C. Calhoun. …

Where Lincoln Was President and Conqueror

The Commander-in-Chief’s Surprisingly Humble Journey into Richmond, Virginia, After the Confederacy’s Fall

April 4, 1865. The conqueror entered Richmond, Virginia, on a rowboat with his son Tad, after nearing the fallen city by military steamer. President Abraham Lincoln was escorted and guarded …