August 4, 1790
Congress establishes the U. S. Coast Guard as part of a new revenue law.
In March 1976, Proceedings published a special issue about the U.S. Coast Guard, which included an article by Commander Roger P. Vance, U. S. Coast Guard Reserve, about the origin of the Coast Guard. Vance’s article describes how, under the newly-formed Constitution, the need for a revenue system that would discourage smuggling resulted in the creation of a small fleet of cutters responsible for enforcing the revenue laws of the new American government:
We now know our Constitution to be sound and durable. But in early 1789, it was only an ambitious, untested plan. As members of the new government gathered in New York City that year, they would have to breathe life into the new instrument. And they would have to do so under the burden of debt inherited from the Continental Congress. They faced no problem quite so immediate and serious as that of finance. Read the rest of this entry »