The Smithsonian Institution was established with funds from James Smithson.docx - The Smithsonian Institution was established with funds from James

The Smithsonian Institution was established with funds from James Smithson.docx

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The Smithsonian Institution was established with funds from James Smithson (1765–1829), a British scientist who left his estate to the United States to found “at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge .” On August 10, 1846, the U.S. Senate passed the act organizing the Smithsonian Institution, which was signed into law by President James K. Polk. Congress authorized acceptance of the Smithson bequest on July 1, 1836, but it took another ten years of debate before the Smithsonian was founded! Once established, the Smithsonian became part of the process of developing an American national identity—an identity rooted in exploration, innovation, and a unique American style. That process continues today as the Smithsonian looks toward the future. James Smithson and the Founding of the Smithsonian James Smithson, c. 1765-1829 Artist: Hattie Elizabeth Burdette Smithson, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Englishman, had traveled much during his life, but had never once set foot on American soil. Why, then, would he decide to give the

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