February 16: A National Statesman and the First Mayor of New Haven

  In the midst of the American Revolution, one of the most chaotic and turbulent times in the nation’s history, it seems fitting that one of the most even-tempered and widely trusted statesmen would hail from the Land of Steady Habits.  That statesman was Roger Sherman, and even though he was a reluctant public speaker,…

January 25: The Mohegan Tribal Nation’s Quest for Federal Recognition

  Today in 1994, members of the Mohegan Tribe in southeastern Connecticut saw their fifteen-year-old petition for federal recognition move forward, as the 103rd Congress convened in Washington D.C. and legislators, for the first time, began crafting the act that would formally recognize the Mohegan Tribe on the highest (and most highly-coveted) federal level. While…

January 3: Senator Joseph Lieberman Bids Farewell to Politics

  Today in 2013, after over forty years of public service to the people of Connecticut and having earned a reputation as a politician that defied conventional political labels, Senator Joseph Lieberman retired from politics after deciding not to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Born in Stamford, Connecticut in 1942, Lieberman grew up…

December 6: Palko v. Connecticut Names Your Most Important Rights

  On December 6, 1937, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision that had a lasting impact on how American courts interpreted and applied the fundamental freedoms found in the Bill of Rights.  The landmark case, Palko v. Connecticut, specifically involved the application of the Fifth Amendment, which protects accused parties against double…

December 5: America’s First Law School’s First Hire

  As a professor at the first law school established in the United States, Connecticut legal luminary James Gould helped educate some of the most important legal minds in early 19th century America.  Born in Branford, Connecticut on this date in 1770, Gould’s parents initially doubted his promise as a scholar on account of his…

September 15: Connecticans to Vote on a New State Constitution

  On September 15, 1818, three weeks after they first assembled at the state house in Hartford, delegates voted 134 to 61 to approve a newly-written state constitution and submit it to a vote of the people of Connecticut for ratification.  In a particularly radical, last-minute twist, the delegates also voted to require only a…

August 26: State Constitutional Convention Convenes in Hartford

  On this day in 1818, delegates to the state’s Constitutional Convention gathered at the State House in Hartford for the first time, charged with the formidable task of restructuring Connecticut state government by creating a new, written constitution. Writing a new constitution was no small task, given the social, cultural, and political upheaval Connecticut…

August 24: Capture of the Slave Ship Amistad

  In early 1839, Portuguese slave traders captured dozens of native Mende Africans from the territory of modern-day Sierra Leone — technically, in violation of several international treaties — and sold them to two Spaniards in the slave markets of Havana, Cuba.  On July 1, while en route to nearby plantations aboard the Spaniards’ schooner…

August 16: Mary Hall, Connecticut’s First Female Lawyer

  On this day in 1843, Mary Hall was born in Marlborough, Connecticut.  Growing up on a farm in antebellum America, when high Victorian culture placed an increasingly stringent emphasis on female domesticity, made her perhaps one of the most unlikely candidates to defy gender norms and become the first woman in Connecticut to be…

July 4: Delegates Selected for Connecticut’s New State Constitution

  Today in 1818, the voters in every Connecticut town gathered at 9:00 am to select their town’s delegates to a convention at Hartford that would produce – a few months later – the first state Constitution ratified by a vote of the people themselves. The constitutional convention was the result of a decades-long struggle…

June 7: Establishing A Constitutional Right to Privacy

    Today in 1965, the U.S. Supreme Court established a constitutional “right to privacy” for Americans by overturning a 92-year-old Connecticut law that outlawed the use of birth control. Back in 1873, during the apex of the Victorian era in the United States, Congress passed the Comstock Law, which outlawed “the circulation of obscene…