225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.
On August 10, 1789, President George Washington forwarded to the Senate a statement by General Henry Knox. Knox laid out the organization of the military as established under the Articles of Confederation in 1787. He included details relating to the number of troops, their pay and rations, and where they were stationed. Knox noted at the end of his message that the articles of war needed to be amended to align with the Constitution, and that new troop oaths and officer commissions would also be required.
President George Washington’s Message on the Military Establishment with a Statement of Troops in Service from General Henry Knox, 8/10/1789, SENA1A-E4, Records of the U.S. Senate
The tradesmen and manufacturers in Baltimore began drafting this petition asking for duties on certain imported goods in February 1789, before Congress had even met for the first time. The petition is from approximately 750 citizens, and received in Congress on April 11, 1789. The new revenue system passed by the First Congress included four acts that related to foreign trade: the Impost Act, HR 2; the Tonnage Act, HR 5; the Collection Act, HR 11; and the Coasting Act, HR 16.
Petition of the Tradesmen, Manufacturers, and Others of Baltimore, 4/11/1789, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives (NAID 7788930)
It’s the first day of winter! Can you believe? We know, we can’t either! Today we are featuring a cartoon by Jim Berryman, son of Clifford Berryman, called All in the Point of View. In this cartoon, Berryman humorously highlights the differing points of view on winter snow. While on one day you might enjoy the beautiful snow on Washington’s monuments, your view changes considerably when trying to dig your car out the next day. Here’s hoping that none of you have to dig your cars out of the “drifted snow and shimmering ice” this winter!
All in the Point of View by Jim Berryman, 12/2/1928, U.S. Senate Collection (ARC 6011977)
Frugal FridayBoys! Raise Pigs To Help Win The War. Girls! 40,000 Boys and Girls are Raising Pigs. You Can Do It Too. 200,000 Members Wanted in 1918. Join a Pig Club! Don’t Delay! Join Today…”, ca. 1917 – ca. 1919.
Item from the Records of the U.S Food Administration, 1917 - 1920.
Happy Thanksgiving, Fellow Tumblrs!
Did you know that there was once so much confusion over what day Thanksgiving would be officially celebrated on that Congress had to pass a joint resolution declaring that last Thursday in November would be the legal holiday?
Here’s the story: In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation stating that Thanksgiving would be regularly commemorated on the last Thursday of November. Prior to Lincoln’s Proclamation, Thanksgiving celebrations varied from year to year with the dates and months constantly changing. Then in 1939, when Thanksgiving fell on the last day in November, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was concerned that a shortened Christmas shopping season would dampen the economic recovery. He issued a Presidential Proclamation changing the celebration to the second to last Thursday in November. Not wanting to deviated from tradition, some states refused to move the date of celebration. For two years, the nation and some states celebrated Thanksgiving on the second to last Thursday of November while other states continued to celebrate on the last Thursday of the month.
To unite the nation and end confusion, Congress decided to fix the date of the holiday. On October 6, 1941, the House passed a joint resolution declaring that the last Thursday in November was a legal holiday.
The Senate, however, amended the resolution establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday, which would take into account those years when November has five Thursdays.
The House agreed to the amendment, and President Roosevelt signed the resolution on December 26, 1941, thus establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.
H.J. Res. 41, 10/6/1941, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
Senate Amendments to H.J. Red. 41, 12/9/1941, Records of the U.S. Senate
Check out the National Archives’ latest Tumblr from our colleagues in Preservation!
Preservation at the National Archives is on Tumblr
Welcome to the Preservation at the National Archives Tumblr blog! We are excited to show off the many ways that the National Archives and Records Administration works to preserve the holdings under our care. Let us know if something piques your interest, or if you have any great ideas for posts. We look forward to hearing from you!
Honoring Representative Leo J. Ryan
Today is the anniversary of one of the saddest days in congressional history: the assassination of Representative Leo J. Ryan, the only sitting Member of Congress ever assassinated.
Congressman Ryan’s delegation, including current Representative Jackie Speier, who was then a member of Ryan’s staff, visited the People’s Temple Agricultural Community in Jonestown, Guyana, in response to concerns from constituents with relatives living in the community. Prior to the trip, Ryan wrote a letter to Clement Zablocki, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asking for permission to travel to Guyana as a representative of the committee to investigate the situation first hand.
After arriving at the People’s Temple the previous afternoon, Ryan spent the morning of November 18 speaking with members of the community. Following an attempted knife attack on Ryan at the compound, the party, which now included several residents who wanted to leave the People’s Temple, headed to the airstrip at nearby Port Kaituma for the flight back to Guyana’s capital. At the airstrip, Ryan and his party were preparing to board airplanes when a trailer of armed People’s Temple members drove onto the airfield and opened fire. Ryan and four others were murdered. Nine people, including Speier, were injured.
Ryan’s trip to Jonestown was emblematic of his crusading spirit. From his earliest days of public service he used his position to explore the needs and concerns of the less fortunate by conducting first hand investigations of complex issues such as the conditions in Folsom Prison and African American unrest in the Watts section of Los Angeles. Today we honor the life and service of Congressman Leo J. Ryan.
Letter from Congressman Leo J. Ryan, 10/4/1978, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
Today is National Donuts Day!
Vitamin Donuts Poster, ca. 1942
Around 1940, the result of 2 small studies set off a panic. A handful of subjects deprived of Vitamin B1 (thiamine) became sluggish and apathetic. One experiment concluded that thiamine deficiency was causing Americans to lack energy and motivation—conditions a country mobilizing for war could not afford. Consequently, the government endorsed products enriched with thiamine. After many letters, it was determined that these doughnuts could be called “enriched flour doughnuts” but not “enriched doughnuts” or “vitamin doughnuts.”