ATF

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

1791-1919

In the Beginning...

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) law enforcement legacy began in 1791 when the first tax on whiskey was passed under President George Washington and U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Driven by specific legislation, ATF’s legacy evolved through various eras under the U.S. Department of the Treasury, first as part of the Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue created by the U.S. Congress in 1792, and later with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, created in 1862. Today’s ATF Special Agents and Industry Operations Investigators are directly descended from the earliest Internal Revenue Collectors, Deputy Collectors, Assessors, Gaugers, Storekeepers and Inspectors who served during this long historical legacy period. The star badge is believed to be the original issue of that era.

William H. Foote, Deputy Collector 1880-1883.

William H. Foote, Deputy Collector 1880-1883

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Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue U.S. Department of Treasury 1791-1919