Sept. 18, 1793: President Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. It took nearly a century to complete the building.

Sept. 18, 1850: President Millard Fillmore signed the Fugitive Slave Act. It said runaway slaves had to be returned to their masters. The Fugitive Slave Act, part of the Compromise of 1850, was meant to ease North-South tension. Northern protests erupted, and the rift that would soon become the Civil War deepened. President Fillmore opposed slavery but signed the Fugitive Slave Act anyway, fearing the South might secede from the Union.

Quote of the Day

"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." — Thomas Jefferson

More from West Wing Reports...