On March 6, 1799, President John Adams issued a proclamation “Recommending a National Day of Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer”–for “thanksgiving to the Author of All Good.”

Among the things Adams wished Americans would ask God on this day was to make American schools teach not only sound science but also sound morals and religion.

Americans, Adams said, should ask God to “smile on our colleges, academies, schools, and seminaries of learning, and make them nurseries of sound science, morals, and religion.”