Serena Covkin

About Serena

Serena Covkin is a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago, studying nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States history. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in History. In 2013, her U.S. History Scene article on Civil War photography was cited in an amicus curiae brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court.

On June 25, 2012 the nine justices of the United States Supreme Court decided to uphold the central component of Arizona’s 2010 immigration statute—its so-called “‘show me your papers’ provision.”  Already the ruling seems to mark a pivotal turning point in the immigration debate that has dominated American politics for years. Following the decision, presumably concerned… MORE

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What often goes unacknowledged is that during the Civil War itself, steps were taken to create a more cohesive nation, fostered by legislation passed by the thirty-seventh Congress, which met between March 4, 1861 and March 4, 1863. Four pieces of legislation in particular—the Homestead Act, the Land-Grant College Act, the Pacific Railway Act, and the Anti-Bigamy Act—reflected the national government’s changing attitude about the western frontier and the use of public lands, and fundamentally altered Americans’ understanding of the nation’s obligations to its citizens, especially in light of overwhelming citizen sacrifice in war.

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