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First Congress 1789-1791

1st Congress

Convenes on March 4, 1789 and adjourns on March 3, 1791


Coinciding with George Washington’s first term in office, both houses in Congress were pro-administration called Federalists. Congress met in Federal Hall, NYC for the first two sessions and met in Philadelphia Pennsylvania for the third session..


Key Events and Legislation:


Session 1 March 4 to September 29, 1789 In NYC


  1. April 1, 1789, House reached a quorum for the first time and elected officers

  2. April 6, 1789, the Senate reached a quorum for the first time and elected officers. Also certified the electoral votes for Washington and Adams

  3. April 21, 1789 John Adams was inaugurated as Vice President

  4. April 30, 1789 George Washington was inaugurated as President

  5. June 1, 1789 Act regulating oaths for congressors was signed into law and left out mention of God in the final draft

  6. July 4 1789, Tariff

  7. July 27 1789 Department of Foreign Affairs (State) is formed

  8. July 31 1789, US Customs service established

  9. August 7 1789 Department of War (Defense) established

  10. September 2 1789 Department of the Treasury established

  11. September 24, 1789 Judiciary Act

  12. September 25, 1789, 12 amendments passed congress and were sent to the states to ratify

  13. November 21 1789 North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the constitution and join the Union


Session 2 January 4 to August 12, 1790 In NYC


  1. January 8, 1790 Washington gave his first state of the union address

  2. March 26 1790 Naturalization Act

  3. May 26 1790, Territory South of the River Ohio is organized and will become Tennessee

  4. May 29, 1790 Rhode Island ratified the constitution becoming the 13th state and last of the original 13 colonies

  5. June 20, 1790 Compromise of 1790 where a national bank is formed and the capital is moved to DC

  6. August 2 1790, First census


Session 3 December 6 1790 to March 3, 1791 In Philadelphia


  1. February 25, 1791 First bank of the United States created

  2. March 3, 1791 Tariff that led to the Whiskey Rebellion

  3. March 4, 1791 Vermont Admitted into the Union

Leadership

Senate

  • President: John Adams

  • President pro tempore: John Langdon

House of Representatives

  • Speaker: Frederick Muhlenberg


Lists of committees and their party leaders.

Senate

  • Whole

House of Representatives

  • Elections

  • Rules

  • Ways and Means

  • Whole

Joint committees

  • Enrolled Bills

Officers

Senate

  • Secretary: Samuel A. Otis, elected April 8, 1789

  • Doorkeeper: James Mathers, elected April 7, 1789

  • Chaplain:

    • Samuel Provoost (Episcopalian), elected April 25, 1789

    • William White (Episcopalian), elected December 9, 1790

House of Representatives

  • Clerk: John J. Beckley

  • Sergeant at Arms: Joseph Wheaton, elected May 12, 1789

  • Doorkeeper: Gifford Dalley

  • Chaplain:

    • William Linn (Presbyterian), elected May 1, 1789

    • Samuel Blair (Presbyterian), elected December 10, 1790

  • Reading Clerks: John Beckley


Membership


House of Representatives

Connecticut

All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

Benjamin Huntington, Roger Sherman, Jonathan Sturges, Jonathan Trumbull Jr., Jeremiah Wadsworth

Delaware

John Vining

Georgia

James Jackson, Abraham Baldwin, George Mathews

Maryland

Michael J. Stone, Joshua Seney, Benjamin Contee, William Smith, George Gale, Daniel Carroll

Massachusetts

Fisher Ames, Benjamin Goodhue, Elbridge Gerry, Theodore Sedgwick, George Partridge, George Thatcher, George Leonard, Jonathan Grout

New Hampshire

All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

Abiel Foster, Nicholas Gilman, Samuel Livermore

New Jersey

All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

Elias Boudinot, Lambert Cadwalader, James Schureman, Thomas Sinnickson


New York

William Floyd, John Laurance, Egbert Benson, John Hathorn, Peter Silvester, Jeremiah Van Rensselaer

North Carolina

John Baptista Ashe, Hugh Williamson, Timothy Bloodworth, John Steele, John Sevier

Pennsylvania

All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

George Clymer, Thomas Fitzsimons, Thomas Hartley, Daniel Hiester, Frederick Muhlenberg, Peter Muhlenberg, Thomas Scott, Henry Wynkoop

Rhode Island

Benjamin Bourne

South Carolina

William L. Smith, Aedanus Burke, Daniel Huger, Thomas Sumter, Thomas Tudor Tucker

Virginia

Alexander White, John Brown, Andrew Moore, Richard Bland Lee, James Madison, Isaac Coles, John Page, Josiah Parker, Theodorick Bland, William B. Giles, Samuel Griffin


Senate Membership

Connecticut

Oliver Ellsworth, William S. Johnson

Delaware

George Read, Richard Bassett

Georgia

William Few, James Gunn

Maryland

Charles Carroll, John Henry

Massachusetts

Tristram Dalton, Caleb Strong

New Hampshire

Paine Wingate, John Langdon

New Jersey

Jonathan Elmer, William Paterson, Philemon Dickinson


New York

Philip Schuyler, Rufus King

North Carolina

Samuel Johnston, Benjamin Hawkins

Pennsylvania

William Maclay, Robert Morris

Rhode Island

Theodore Foster, Joseph Stanton Jr.

South Carolina

Pierce Butler, Ralph Izard

Virginia

William Grayson, John Walker, James Monroe, Richard Henry Lee



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