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On this date in history… January 8, 1790…

George Washington gave the first State of the Union address on January 8, 1790 in New York City, then the provisional U.S. capital.

George Washington - 1st US President

The State of the Union is an annual address presented by the President of the United States to the United States Congress. The address reports on the condition of the nation and allows the president to outline his legislative agenda and his national priorities.  The practice arises from a command given to the president in the Constitution of the United States:

‘He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.’

— Article II, Section 3 of the U.S.Constitution

George Washington's first state of the union address, manuscript notes page 1

All seven pages can be viewed at – http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Washington_-_State_of_the_Union.djvu&page=1

Two other important events in American history, which took place on January 8, are –

On this date in history… January 8, 1835 –

For the first, and only time,  the U.S. national debt was zero.

US Federal Debt as a % of GDP from 1800 to 1999. Data from Niall Ferguson. Image author - gedefr

(Graph image is attributed to Wiki user gedefr) 

While this graph records only to 1999, the nation’s debt has only continued to climb.


On this very important date in history… January 8, 1867

African American men were granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C.

Front Page of Harper's Weekly - 1867. A former slaves casts his first vote as a free man.

1867 Voter Registration

It would be another fifty-three years before women were granted the same right, with passage in 1920 of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provided –

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”


On January 8, 1963

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is exhibited in the United States for the first time, at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

The Mona Lisa ( La Joconde or La Gioconda)


Self Portrait in Red Chalk - Leonardo da Vinci

And, finally….

On this day in history… January 8, 1994

Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov, on Soyuz TM-18, leaves for Space Station Mir. He would stay on the space station until March 22, 1995, for a record 437 days in space.

Valeri Polyakov

Mir (Russian: Мир, IPA: [ˈmʲir]; lit. Peace or World) was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia.

Russia's Mir space station is backdropped over the blue and white planet Earth

More information may be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mir

(Cosmonaut and Space Station Mir images are not an object of copyright according to Part IV of Civil Code No. 230-FZ of the Russian Federation of December 18, 2006.)

(Other images in this post, except as noted are in the public domain and no longer subject to copyright claim.)

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