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US Coast Guard Day, August 4th

Originally known as the Revenue Marine founded on August 4th 1790 and later changed the name to Coast Guard Day, by then-Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. On that date, U.S. Congress, guided by Hamilton, authorized the building of a fleet of the first ten Revenue Service cutters, whose responsibility would be enforcement of the first tariff laws enacted by the U.S. Congress under the U.S. Constitution. This was an important revenue source as there was no income taxation which was established in the early 20th century by progressive Woodrow Wilson.

The U.S. Coast Guard received its present name through an act of the U.S. Congress signed into law by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson on January 28, 1915 that merged the Revenue Cutter Service with the U.S. Life-Saving Service, and provided the nation with a single maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation’s maritime laws.

What is the Revenue Marine?

The first ten Revenue Service cutters were ten oceangoing cutters built at the behest of the 1st United States Congress in the early 1790s to crack down on smuggling. Since the United States Navy had at the time not yet been formed (it was established in 1798), these ten cutters of the newly formed Revenue Marine therefore represent the United States Government’s first official “armed force afloat”, as well as being the first seagoing vessels to operate with what would later become the United States Coast Guard.

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