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Photographer's Note

In honor of United States Independence Day today, one of its greatest monuments: St. Louis's Gateway Arch, pictured above the historic St. Louis Courthouse and reflected in a St. Louis skyscraper. The reflection is of the right-hand side of the arch, as the building is many blocks away - I spent quite a while lining this up just right so it looked like one complete arch.

The Arch commemorates St. Louis's role as the gateway to the west; as the United States expanded rapidly westward in the early and middle 19th century, St. Louis was a primary jumping off point for settlers headed to California, Oregon, and other points in western lands belonging to Mexico or the United Kingdom. These settlers sparked conflicts which expanded US territory significantly (and controversially) by 1850, and made St. Louis into one of the country's largest cities.

The courthouse holds an infamous place in US history: it was the site of the start of the Dred Scott case, a major Supreme Court case concerning slavery that was decided in 1857, and remains one of the worst court decisions in US Supreme Court History. The court, hearing a case of a slave named Dred Scott who was suing for the freedom of his family, ruled that African Americans had no rights under the Constitution, and that Congress had no right to limit slavery anywhere. It was among the most important causes of the American Civil War in the 1860s, which finally brought an end to American slavery.

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Additional Photos by Andrew Lipsett (ACL1978) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 884 W: 75 N: 1695] (7511)
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