1789 U. S. Treasury Department was established.
1901 U. S. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt gave his “speak softly and carry a big stick” speech. (See October 27th entry.)
1945 Japanese forces formally surrendered to the Allies. (See August 14th entry.)
The U. S. Treasury Department was established on this day in 1789. The Constitutional government had been operating for five months or so before the Treasury Department came into existence, which shows that our priorities have certainly changed since that day. Apparently, when this nation started, we were less convinced that money talks. In the beginning, of course, government was not big business; the income tax was more than a century away. People could, and many did, live off the land. The services provided by the government were minimal. But times have changed. The U. S. Treasury Department today, thanks to the Internal Revenue Service, has fingers in a lot of pies.
“Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Vice President Theodore Roosevelt made that famous statement about his foreign relations policy on this day, in 1901, at a Minnesota state fair. His words must have carried some weight with the voters. Certainly when he became President the next year, he wasn’t the last person in that office to softly warn an aggressor nation, and then send in the marines whether it was on the shores of North Africa or the South China Seas.