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In Trist v. Child, the Supreme Court invalidates contingency contracts for lobbyists. In the opinion, the Court states: To legalize the traffic of such service, would open a door at which fraud and falsehood would not fail to enter and make themselves felt at every accessible point. It would invite their presence and offer them... Read more Read more


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Anti-obscenity reformer Anthony Comstock successfully lobbies Congress to pass the Comstock Law. This is the first comprehensive anti-obscenity statute enacted at the federal level. The law targets the “Trade in and Circulation of, obscene literature and Articles for immoral use” and makes it illegal to send any “obscene, lewd or lascivious” materials or any information... Read more Read more


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The 14th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified. The amendment, in part, requires that no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” To view more information on the image featured on this post,... Read more Read more


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The Naval Appropriations Bill becomes the first campaign finance law, prohibiting federal officials from soliciting contributions from navy yard workers. The exact date associated with this historical event is unknown. To view more information on the image featured on this post, view the Library of Congress listing for this item. Read more


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By order of President Lincoln, General John A. Dix, a Union commander, suppresses the New York Journal of Commerce and the New York World and arrests the newspapers’ editors after both papers publish a forged presidential proclamation purporting to order another draft of 400,000 men. Lincoln withdraws the order to arrest the editors and the... Read more Read more


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General Ambrose Burnside of the Union Army orders the suspension of the publication of the Chicago Times on account of repeated expression of disloyal and incendiary sentiments. President Lincoln rescinds Burnside’s order three days later. To view more information on the image featured on this post, view the Library of Congress listing for this item. Read more


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Abraham Lincoln purchases German-language newspaper, the Illinois Staats-Anzeiger, and demands that it endorse the Republican Party through the 1860 election. The exact date associated with this historical event is unknown. To view more information on the image featured on this post, view the Library of Congress listing for this item. Read more


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John Stuart Mill publishes the essay “On Liberty”. The essay expands John Milton’s argument that if speech is free and the search for knowledge unfettered, then eventually the truth will rise to the surface. The exact date of the essay’s publication in 1859 could not be found. To view more information on the image featured... Read more Read more


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House of Representatives appoints a committee to investigate the practices of Samuel Swartwout, the collector of the Port of New York, regarding raising campaign funds by way of political assessments on employees at the New York Customs House. The exact date associated with this historical event is could not be found. To view more information on... Read more Read more


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The first bill to ban campaign-related political assessments from government employees is introduced by Congressman and former Speaker of the House, John Bell of Tennessee. In relevant part, the bill provided that no one shall be appointed to any government position “upon any agreement that such person or persons . . . shall exert his... Read more Read more



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