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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 8 January 2013

On this day in 1790, President Washington delivered the first State of the Union address to Congress. Washington described the necessity of “providing for the common defense,” hinting at the establishment of a standing army, noting the necessity for a “uniform rule of naturalization,” as well as the importance of “uniformity in the currency, weights, and measures of the United States. He mentioned the need for “due attention to the post-office and post-roads. He encouraged “the introduction of new and useful inventions from abroad,” as well as the promotion of science and literature, stating, “Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” He concluded by saying, “The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed…insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.” 1

One notable birthday on this day in history in 1746, that of Nicholas Biddle. As a young man, Biddle served as secretary to American ambassadors in both France and England, including James Monroe. Upon his return, he was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature. Jefferson suggested that Biddle edit Lewis and Clark’s journals, and Biddle did so, working for a year to have them published. Later, Biddle served as President of the Second Bank of the United States. During the “Bank War” in 1832 over the re-chartering of the bank, Biddle went head to head with President Jackson who eventually prevailed. Biddle then chartered the bank as the U.S. Bank of Pennsylvania, run under a state charter, however Biddle’s days of banking success were over. 2

1 “State of the Union Addresses by United States Presidents: State of the Union Addresses by George Washington,”
2 “Nicholas Biddle,”; “The Rise and Fall of Nicholas Biddle,”


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