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U.S. Army Established

U.S. #1565-68 honors the Continental Army and other Revolutionary War troops – the precursors to our modern military.

U.S. Army Established

On September 29, 1789, Congress created the US Army after multiple requests from President George Washington.

After the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army was largely disbanded, as the US legislature believed that a standing army during peace time was dangerous and unnecessary. Some troops remained active to guard munitions and about 700 members of state militias were prepared to take on potential threats from Native Americans and the British.

U.S. #101 – As a former military man, President Washington saw the importance of creating an army and pressed the first Congress to establish one.

When the Constitution was ratified, Congress was given the power to raise and support armies. But they didn’t see this as a priority. During their first session, which began in March of 1789, they focused on creating the State, War and Treasury departments, a judicial system, and argued over where to establish the new capital.

However, President Washington saw the importance in creating an American army. On August 7, he wrote a letter to Congress urging them to make the creation of an army a priority. He said, “I am particularly anxious it should receive an early attention as circumstances will admit; because it is now in our power to avail ourselves of the military knowledge disseminated throughout the several States by means of the many well instructed Officers and soldiers of the late Army; a resource which is daily diminishing by deaths and other causes.” Even after Secretary of War Henry Knox read Washington’s letter aloud, no action was taken. Days later, Washington reminded them of his request.

U.S. #934 – Some 40 to 60 million Americans have served in the military since the creation of our nation’s first armies during the Revolutionary War.

It wasn’t until over a month later, on the last day of the session, that Congress addressed Washington’s request. They passed a bill that allowed the President “to call into service, from time to time, such part of the militia of the states, respectively, as he may judge necessary.” Thus, the US Army was born. And unlike before, states couldn’t refuse to send their men for service.

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14 responses to "U.S. Army Established"

14 thoughts on “U.S. Army Established”

  1. I do not quite recognise the building in the background of US #934 you feature in, again, this excellent piece of history. thanks. GdR

    • The building in the background is not a building but the Arch of Triumph in Paris, France. The image is based on numerous photos and newsreel clips showing the allied troops marching in Paris when it was liberated from the Germans. I think all the ” This Day In History” articles are great. Thanks

    • The building in the background of US#934 is the Arc de Triomphe de I’Etoile in Paris France. A beautiful monument and a fitting depiction of victory in Europe.

      Great daily series. Please continue.

  2. My husband was in the Army for 32 years . We as a nation need the Armed Forces, no matter which service we need to thank all who served…………

  3. The building referred to is the Arc de Triumph in Paris, the tomb of the French unknown soldier. Our soldiers were marching on parade down the Champs Elyesses (spelling) after the allies took Paris during WWII.

  4. Just a note, on US #1565-68 the Continental Marine is shown. The Marine Corps celebrates its birthday from 1775 and thus on November 10, 2015 will mark their 240th birthday. Semper Fidelis!

  5. You’re right David…..Arc de Triomphe a Paris… is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier…..a very nice and beautiful beaux arts!!!!

  6. The US Army traces its origin to the Continental Army and its birthday to 14 June 1775. It may be of interest to know that the oldest unit on continuous active service in the US Army is D Battery, 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery, which traces its lineage to Alexander Hamilton’s Battery (shown on US#629 & 630). This was one of the units that remained on duty after the war as mentioned in the article to guard the captured cannons and other armaments.


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