Thursday, October 18, 2012

John Quincy and the Cincinnati Observatory

So I'm still on fun facts on Cincinnati.  John Quincy Adams was the first president to visit Cincinnati and did so to see the telescope at the Cincinnati Observatory:
On the 9th of November, 1843, the cornerstone was laid by John Quincy Adams, former President of the United States. Adams had a deep interest in astronomical science, and had tried unsuccessfully in 1825 to persuade Congress to found a National Observatory. Although 77 years old, and not in the best of health, Adams travelled to Cincinnati for the occasion because he felt that the founding of the Cincinnati Observatory was such an important step to be taken if the US were to become internationally recognized for its intellectual and scientific endeavors. It was at the dedication that Adams gave his last public speech. Mt Ida was renamed Mt. Adams following this event.

As this notes, Adams had tried to convince Congress to build a National Observatory, among other national institutions of arts and sciences!
In his first annual message to Congress, President Adams presented an ambitious program for the creation of a national market that included roads, canals, a national university, a national astronomical observatory, and other initiatives. Many congressmen, even his supporters, had trouble with his proposals. His critics challenged the supposed arrogance of a President who had been narrowly elected by the House. In their minds, Adams was not entitled to act as though he had received a national mandate for action. They mockingly criticized his observatories as Adams's "lighthouses of the skies."

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