...the national debt was zero. Zero! It was the only day in our nation's history we've been out of the red. With debts incurred during the American Revolution and it's aftermath, we started $75.4 million in the hole when the debt was first recorded in 1791. Even adjusted for inflation, $75.4 million is a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to today's debt, which is projected to be $14.46 trillion, according to whitehouse.gov (.pdf, page 128). That's 98.1 percent of the nation's GDP, and would buy a lot of Hessian mercenaries back in 1791.