1st United States Congress facts for kids
The First United States Congress, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, met from March 4, 1789, to March 4, 1791. This was during the first two years of George Washington's presidency. Congress met first at Federal Hall in New York City and later at Congress Hall in Philadelphia. With the initial meeting of the First Congress, the United States federal government officially began operations under the new (and current) frame of government established by the 1787 Constitution. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the provisions of Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution. Both chambers had a Pro-Administration majority. Twelve articles of amendment to the Constitution were passed by this Congress and sent to the states for ratification. The ten ratified as additions to the Constitution on December 15, 1791 are collectively known as the Bill of Rights (Amendments one through ten).
- April 1, 1789: House of Representatives first achieved a quorum (required minimum number) and elected its officers
- April 6, 1789: Senate first achieved a quorum and elected its officers.
- April 6, 1789: The House and Senate, meeting in joint session, count the Electoral College ballots, then certify that George Washington has been unanimously elected President of the United States and John Adams (having received 34 of 69 votes) elected as Vice president.
- April 30, 1789: George Washington was inaugurated as the nation's first president at Federal Hall in New York City
- January 8, 1790: President Washington gave the first State of the Union Address
- June 20, 1790: Compromise of 1790: James Madison agreed to not be "strenuous" in opposition for the assumption of state debts by the federal government; Alexander Hamilton agreed to support the capital site being above the Potomac River.
Held March 4, 1789, through September 29, 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City
- June 1, 1789: An act to regulate the time and manner of administering certain oaths, ch. 1, 1 Stat. 23
- July 4, 1789: Hamilton Tariff, ch. 2, 1 Stat. 24
- July 27, 1789: United States Department of State, was established, originally named the Department of Foreign Affairs, ch. 4, 1 Stat. 28.
- July 31, 1789. Regulation of the Collection of Duties on Tonnage and Merchandise, ch.5, 1 Stat. 29.
- August 7, 1789: Department of War was established, ch. 7, 1 Stat. 49.
- September 2, 1789: United States Department of the Treasury was established, ch. 12, 1 Stat. 65
- September 24, 1789: Judiciary Act of 1789, ch. 20, 1 Stat. 93, which created courts, district attorneys and the Attorney General
Held January 4, 1790, through August 12, 1790, at Federal Hall in New York City
- March 1, 1790: Made provisions for the first Census, ch. 2, 1 Stat. 101
- March 26, 1790: Naturalization Act of 1790, ch. 3, 1 Stat. 103
- April 10, 1790: Patent Act of 1790, ch. 7, 1 Stat. 109
- April 30, 1790: Crimes Act of 1790, ch. 9, 1 Stat. 112
- May 31, 1790: Copyright Act of 1790, ch. 15, 1 Stat. 124
- July 6, 1790: Residence Act, ch. 28, 1 Stat. 130, established Washington, D.C. as the seat of government of the United States.
- July 22, 1790: Indian Intercourse Act of 1790, ch. 33, 1 Stat. 137, regulated commerce with the Indian tribes.
Held December 6, 1790, through March 3, 1791, at Congress Hall in Philadelphia
- February 25, 1791: First Bank of the United States, ch. 10, 1 Stat. 191
- March 3, 1791: Whiskey Act, ch. 15, 1 Stat. 199, which triggered the Whiskey Rebellion
- September 25, 1789: Twelve articles of amendment to the Constitution passed Congress (without recorded vote). They were officially submitted to the legislatures of the several states for consideration on September 28, 1789. Articles Three through Twelve were ratified as additions to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, and are collectively known as the Bill of Rights. Article Two was ratified on May 7, 1992, becoming the Twenty-seventh Amendment, and Article One is still technically still pending before the states.
States admitted and territories organized
- November 21, 1789: North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the United States Constitution and thereby joined the Union
- May 26, 1790: Territory South of the River Ohio organized from land ceded by North Carolina
- May 29, 1790: Rhode Island became the 13th state to ratify the United States Constitution and thereby joined the Union
There were no political parties in this Congress. Members are informally grouped into factions of similar interest, based on an analysis of their voting record.
Details on changes are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.
During this congress, two Senate seats were added for North Carolina and Rhode Island when each ratified the Constitution.
House of Representatives
During this congress, five House seats were added for North Carolina and one House seat was added for Rhode Island when they ratified the Constitution.
House of Representatives
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1st United States Congress Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.