cilley

Dueling Congressmen 

In 1838, Representative William Graves of Kentucky shot and killed Representative Jonathan Cilley of Maine in a duel at the Bladensburg dueling grounds in Maryland. Although duels had been seen as demonstrations of bravery and honor, they became an unacceptable way to resolve disputes. Members of Congress introduced two amendments to forbid duelists from holding public office, neither succeeded. 

H.R. 8 proposing an amendment to the Constitution to prohibit any person involved in a duel from holding federal office, March 5, 1838, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives

Learn more about the “Amending America” exhibit