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An Overview of George Washington's Administration

In February, 1789, members of the first Electoral College met in their own states and voted. At that time, each elector voted for two persons. The candidate with the most votes became President, and the runner-up became Vice-President. Washington was elected President with 69 votes -- the largest number possible -- from the 69 electors. John Adams was elected Vice-President, with 34 votes.

George Washington took the oath as first President on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City on April 30, 1789. His second inauguration took place in Philadelphia, making him the only President to be inaugurated in two cities.

This portrait of George Washington, painted by Gilbert Stuart, is the only object in the White House that has been there since it was first occupied in 1800. It was this portrait that Dolley Madison saved before fleeing the White House ahead of the British during the War of 1812.

portrait of George Washington

His Vice-President and Cabinet
Vice-President John Adams
Secretary of Foreign Affairs (State) Thomas Jefferson
Edmund Randolph (1794)
Timothy Pickering (1795)
Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton
Oliver Wolcott, Jr. (1795)
Secretary of War Henry Knox
Timothy Pickering (1795)
James McHenry (1796)
Attorney General Edmund Randolph
William Bradford (1794)
Charles Lee (1795)

President Washington (right) confers with his first "Cabinet": (left to right) Edmund Randolph, Henry Knox, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton.
George Washington's first Cabinet

U.S. Events During His Administration
Population in 1797 4,900,000
1789, June 1 Washington signed the first act of Congress, concerning the administration of oaths.
1789, July 4 Washington signed a bill that provided income to run the government by setting taxes on imports.
1789, July 27 Congress established the Department of Foreign Affairs (now the Department of State).
1789, August 4 The Department of War was created.
1789, September 2 The Treasury Department was established.
1789, September 13 Alexander Hamilton negotiated a loan to the U.S. Government from New York banks.
1789, September 24 The office of Attorney General was established.
1789, September 25 The first ten amendments to the Constitution were enacted by Congress.
1789, November 21 North Carolina became the 12th state to ratify the Constitution.
1790, February 1 The Supreme Court held its first session.
1790, May 29 Rhode Island became the 13th state to ratify the Constitution.
1790, July Congress passed a law calling upon the United States to assume the wartime debts of the various states, authorizing the borrowing of $12 million from other countries, and paying interest on the public debts.
1790, July Congress approved a bill to transfer the government to Philadelphia until 1800, after which it would be moved to a federal district on the Potomac River.
1790, November Washington took up residence in Philadelphia.
1790-1791 The first national census was completed. It reported a population of 3,929,214 persons.
1791 The Cabinet held its first recorded meeting.
1791, February 25 Congress chartered the Bank of the United States.
1791, March 3 Congress established the District of Columbia.
1791, March 4 Vermont was admitted as the 14th state.
1791, December 15 The Bill of Rights became law.
1792, April Washington issued his first veto -- of a bill increasing the number of U.S. Representatives from 67 to 120.
1792, May 17 A group of brokers signed an agreement founding the New York Stock Exchange.
1792, June 1 Kentucky was admitted as the 15th state.
1793, February 13 The Electoral College ballots were counted and Washington was re-elected -- he received 132 votes, John Adams received 77.
1793, April 22 Washington issued the Neutrality Proclamation to keep the United States out of the war between France and Great Britain.
1793, September 18 Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
1793 Eli Whitney invented to cotton gin.
1794 The Whiskey Rebellion was crushed by federal troops.
1794, August 20 General Anthony Wayne defeated Miami Indians at Fallen Timbers.
1794, November 19 The Jay Treaty to maintain trade with Great Britain was signed.
1795 The first hard-surfaced road was completed, extending 62 miles from Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
1795, February 7 The Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution was ratified.
1796, June 1 Tennessee was admitted as the 16th state.
World Events During His Administration
1789-1799 The French Revolution took place.
1791 The British Parliament passed the Canada Constitution Act.
1794 Aga Mohammed founded the Kajar Dynasty in Persia (now Iran).
1795 Austria, Prussia and Russia partitioned Poland among themselves.
1797 The French Army under Napoleon Bonaparte drove the Austrians from Italy.

See Also

Gilbert Stuart
White House
Dolley Madison
War of 1812
John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
Edmund Randolph
Timothy Pickering
Alexander Hamilton
Department of State
North Carolina
Rhode Island
District of Columbia
New York Stock Exchange
Eli Whitney
Whiskey Rebellion
Fallen Timbers
Jay Treaty
Napoleon Bonaparte

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The Robinson Library >> George Washington's Administration, 1789-1797

This page was last updated on January 06, 2019.