Robin Henry

History commentator

Dr. Robin C. Henry holds a Ph.D. in US history from Indiana University and is an associate professor in the history department at Wichita State University. Her research examines the intersections among sexuality, law, and regional identity in the 19th and early 20th century United States.

She is the author of the forthcoming book, Criminalizing Sex, Defining Sexuality: Sexual Regulation and Masculinity in the American West, 1850-1927, as well as numerous articles. Currently, she is working on her second book, The Progressives’ Lincoln’: Reform and the Intellectual Life of Benjamin Barr Lindsey.

Ways to Connect

On January 22, 1973, the United States Supreme Court ruled on the Texas abortion case Roe v. Wade. In a 7 to 2 decision, the Court declared that the right to an abortion was a fundamental right included in the guarantee of personal privacy, safe guarded in the 14th Amendment’s concept of personal liberty. On the same day, the Court decided another abortion case out of Georgia, Doe v. Bolton. While the Roe decision receives most of the attention regarding the constitutionality of abortion, it is only in tandem with Doe that we fully understand the details of this right to privacy.

December 1 marks the sixtieth anniversary of Rosa Parks’s refusal to move to the colored section on a Montgomery, Alabama, city bus. A longtime member of the NAACP, Parks’s act of defiance became an important symbol of the early stages of the Civil Rights Movement. However, she was not simply tired or defiant, but had been vetted by the organization for her good, strong character as part of the NAACP’s longer, legal challenge to city and state segregation laws.

Public Domain

The United States Congress ratified the Louisiana Purchase Treaty on October 20th, 1803, officially transferring 826,000 square miles of land from French to American ownership for $15 million.

It’s considered one of the greatest real estate deals in history. But at the time, purchasing the land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains presented constitutional and political questions for the United States.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

The United States designates the first Monday of September as a day to honor the contributions of American workers and the achievements of the American labor movement.

National Photo Company, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs

On July 28, 1868, Secretary of State William H. Seward issued a proclamation certifying the ratification of the 14th Amendment to the U.S, Constitution. This amendment extended citizenship to anyone born in the United States; guaranteed equal protection, due process, and privileges and immunities; and tasked the federal government to enforce these rights for all citizens.

The Impact of Title IX

Jun 16, 2015
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

June 23rd marks the anniversary of the passage of the Education Amendments of 1972 that included the important gender non-discrimination section, Title IX.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

On May 6, 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the second of four civil rights acts that serve as the foundation of federal civil rights statutes in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Wikimedia Commons

By the end of the 20th century, the word "feminism" had acquired a definition and divisive reputation that, while historically inaccurate, spoke to the backlash against its simple, yet radical concept.

Rights Won, Rights Lost

Mar 10, 2015
National Museum of American History / flickr Creative Commons

March is often a time to think about women’s contributions, and how far women have come toward equality. However, it is also important to consider moments when women have lost rights.

The Fugitive Slave Law

Feb 10, 2015
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

On February 12th, 1793, Congress passed the first Fugitive Slave Law. It was an addition to the U.S. Constitution’s Article 4 that required states to give “full faith and credit” to other states’ laws.

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