8 January

Except for about a year during 1835–1836, the United States has continuously had a fluctuating public debt since the US Constitution legally went into effect on 4 March, 1789.

Historically, the United States public debt as a share of GDP has increased during wars and recessions, and subsequently declined. Public debt as a percentage of GDP reached its highest level during Harry Truman’s first presidential term, during and after World War II, but fell rapidly in the post-World War II period, and reached a low in 1973. Debt as a percentage of GDP has consistently increased since then, except during the presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton.