March 18: A Rising Star Falls Twice

  The day after St. Patrick’s Day was anything but a lucky one for John G. Rowland, who found himself on the wrong end of the law on March 18, 2005, and then again ten years later on March 18, 2015. Once considered one of Connecticut’s best and brightest politicians, Rowland first won elected office…

March 13: The New Haven Black Panther Trials

  On this day in 1970, the stage was set for one of the most polarizing trials of the modern Civil Rights era as Bobby Seale, national chairman of the militant black power group Black Panthers, arrived in Connecticut to stand trial for ordering the murder of a New Haven man who had been killed…

March 5: Abraham Lincoln Speaks in Hartford

  In early 1860, sectional tensions between the northern and southern regions of the United States were approaching the breaking point over the topic of slavery and its expansion into the western American territories.  Even though it was a crucial presidential election year, the two major political parties had yet to select their running candidates,…

March 1: Samuel Huntington Becomes the United States’ First President

  On this day in 1781, more than four years after they were first adopted by the Continental Congress, the Articles of Confederation became the supreme law of the United States after being formally ratified by all thirteen states.  As a result, the previous sitting President of the Continental Congress — a Connecticut lawyer by…

February 27: Before Him, Some Cars Were Unsafe At Any Speed.

  Today in 1934, consumer advocate, author, and political activist Ralph Nader was born in Winsted, Connecticut.  The son of Lebanese immigrants who operated a popular restaurant in the moderately-sized Connecticut factory town, Nader displayed an insatiable appetite for reading and an incredible ability to retain information at an early age — traits that  helped…

February 23: Connecticut Openly Defies President Jefferson’s National Embargo

  In the early 19th century, Thomas Jefferson, who was elected to two consecutive terms as President of the United States, proved to be a constant thorn in the side of Connecticut’s political leaders.  Virtually all the members of Connecticut’s political “Standing Order” were staunch Federalists who vehemently disagreed with Jefferson’s Democratic-Republican political agenda and…

February 19: Roger Sherman Baldwin, Governor and Abolitionist

On this day in 1863, in the midst of a bloody Civil War that pitted Americans against each other over questions of slavery and freedom, scores of Connecticans mourned the passing of Roger Sherman Baldwin, one of Connecticut’s most ardent abolitionist lawyers and accomplished politicians. Baldwin was born in 1793 to a well-to-do Connecticut family,…

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,…

February 15: A Political Fight Turns Violent in Congress

  On February 15, 1798, a weeks-long spat between two fiery politicians turned violent when Connecticut Representative Roger Griswold walked up to Matthew Lyon of Vermont and, on the floor of Congress, began viciously attacking him with his walking stick.  Without a moment’s hesitation, Lyon grabbed a nearby pair of iron fireplace tongs and began…

February 9: Connecticut’s 1st African-American Congressman

Today in 1953, future Congressman Gary A. Franks was born in Waterbury.  The youngest of six children in a family of limited means, his parents put a high value on education. All six of their children went to college, and three obtained doctoral degrees.  Gary was an All State high school basketball player, and went…

January 26: The Provocative Postmaster General

  Today in 1802, Gideon Granger of Suffield took office as the nation’s fourth postmaster general, ushering in a new era for the U.S. postal service — for better and for worse.  A Yale graduate, Granger practiced law in his hometown of Suffield and served in the Connecticut General Assembly beginning in 1792.  Following an…