Governor Andrew Johnson's recommendation of a tax to support the creation of public schools in Tennessee was made law. The governor was a strong believer in mass education and forced his unenthusiastic legislature to pass the law. For the first time in its history, Tennessee had fully-operating public schools. In Johnson's first message to the Assembly on December 19, 1853, the governor mainly talked about his commitment to Tennessee's education system. He emphasized that the state constitution mandated the construction of public schools, but that the designated funds were insufficient, and the schools that did exist were practically useless. Johnson implored the representatives that millions of dollars were spent on internal improvements and state government buildings, and Can there be nothing done to advance the great cause of education? Two months later, the Assembly took that first step.