We The People: War Department to reconstruct records lost to 1800 fire
Sharon Burns: More than two centuries after they were destroyed in a fire, the War Department plans a digital project to restore the “Papers of the War Department 1784-1800.”
Between 1784 and 1800 the War Department was responsible for Indian affairs, veteran affairs, naval affairs (until 1798), as well as militia and army matters. The War Department operated the nation’s only federal social welfare program, providing veterans’ benefits (including payments to widows and orphans) to more than 4,000 persons. It also provided internal security, governance, and diplomacy on the frontier, and it shaped relations with American Indians.
The Papers of the War Department 1784-1800 provided a window into a time when there was no law beyond the Constitution and when the administration first worked out its understanding and...
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