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1st United States Congress
New York City Hall 1789.jpg
Federal Hall, site of the first two sessions of the 1st Congress (1789)

Duration: March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1791

President of the Senate: John Adams
President pro tempore: John Langdon
Speaker of the House: Frederick Muhlenberg
Members: 21–26 (five additions) Senators
59–65(six additions)(with one vacancy) Representatives
0 Non-voting members
Senate Majority: Pro-Administration
House Majority: Pro-Administration

Sessions
1st: March 4, 1789 – September 29, 1789
2nd: January 4, 1790 – August 12, 1790
3rd: December 6, 1790 – March 3, 1791
<Congress of the Confederation 2nd>
The "Main Hall" at Federal Hall
Congress Hall in Philadelphia, meeting place of this Congress's third session.

The 1st United States Congress, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, met from March 4, 1789 to March 3, 1791, during the first two years of George Washington's presidency, first at Federal Hall at 26 Wall Street in New York City and later at Congress Hall in Philadelphia. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the provisions of Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. Both chambers had a Pro-Administration majority.

Major events

  • April 1, 1789: House of Representatives first achieved a quorum and elected its officers
  • April 6, 1789: Senate first achieved a quorum and elected its officers
  • April 30, 1789: George Washington was inaugurated at Federal Hall in New York City
  • January 8, 1790: President Washington gave the first State of the Union Address
  • March 1, 1790: First United States census was authorized
  • April 10, 1790: Patent system was established
  • April 17, 1790: Benjamin Franklin died
  • June 20, 1790: Compromise of 1790: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton come to an agreement: Madison agrees to not be "strenuous" in opposition for the assumption of state debts by the federal government; Hamilton agrees to support the capital site being above the Potomac.

Major legislation

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Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Constitutional amendments

States admitted and territories organized

Party summary

Federal Hall (2006)
Statue of George Washington in front of Federal Hall, where he was first inaugurated as President.

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.[1]

Details on changes are shown below in the "Changes in membership" section.

Senate

Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Pro-Administration Anti-Administration Vacant
Begin 14 7 21 1
July 16, 1789 15 22 0
November 27, 1789 17 24
March 12, 1790 6 23 1
March 31, 1790 18 24 0
June 7, 1790 19 7 26
November 9, 1790 18 8
Final voting share 69.2% 30.8%
Beginning of the next Congress 15 13 28 2

House of Representatives

Party
(Shading indicates majority caucus)
Total
Pro-Administration Anti-Administration Vacant
Begin 34 25 59 0
March 19, 1790 26 60
March 24, 1790 27 61
April 6, 1790 28 62
April 19, 1790 35 63
June 16, 1790 36 64
June 1, 1790 27 63 1
August 14, 1790 35 62 2
December 7, 1790 28 63 1
December 12, 1790 36 64
Final voting share 56.25% 43.75%
Beginning of the next Congress 39 29 68 1

Leadership

Senate

House of Representatives

Members

This list is arranged by chamber, then by state. Senators are listed in order of seniority, and Representatives are listed by district.

Senate

Senators were elected by the state legislatures every two years, with one-third beginning new six year terms with each Congress. Preceding the names in the list below are Senate class numbers, which indicate the cycle of their election. In this Congress, all Senators were newly elected, and Class 1 meant their term ended with this Congress, requiring reelection in 1790; Class 2 meant their term ended with the next Congress, requiring reelection in 1792; and Class 3 meant their term lasted through the next two Congresses, requiring reelection in 1794.

Connecticut

Delaware

Georgia

Maryland

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

  • 3. Vacant, November 21, 1789 – November 27, 1789
  • 2. Vacant, November 21, 1789 – November 27, 1789

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

  • 1. Vacant, May 29, 1790 – June 7, 1790
  • 2. Vacant, May 29, 1790 – June 7, 1790

South Carolina

Virginia

President of the Senate John Adams
President pro tempore John Langdon

House of Representatives

The names of members of the House of Representatives are listed by their districts.

Connecticut

All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

Delaware

Georgia

Maryland

Massachusetts

New Hampshire

All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

New Jersey

All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

New York

North Carolina

  • 1. Vacant, November 21, 1789 – March 23, 1790
  • 2. Vacant, November 21, 1789 – March 18, 1790
  • 3. Vacant, November 21, 1789 – April 5, 1790
  • 4. Vacant, November 21, 1789 – April 18, 1790
  • 5. Vacant, November 21, 1789 – June 15, 1790

Pennsylvania

All representatives were elected statewide on a general ticket.

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Virginia

Speaker of the House Frederick Muhlenberg

Changes in membership

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.[1]

New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, were the last states to ratify the U.S. Constitution, and because of their late ratification, were unable to send full representation at the beginning of this Congress. Five Senators and nine Representatives were subsequently seated from these states during the sessions as noted.

Senate

There was 1 resignation, 1 death, 1 replacement of a temporary appointee, and 5 new seats. The Anti-Administration Senators picked up a 1 seat net gain and the Pro-Administration Senators picked up 4 seats.

State Vacator Reason for Vacancy Successor Date of Successor's Installation
New York (class 3) New seats State legislature failed to pick Senator until after Congress began. Rufus King (P) Elected July 16, 1789
North Carolina (class 3) North Carolina ratified the constitution on November 21, 1789. Benjamin Hawkins (P) Elected November 27, 1789
North Carolina (class 2) Samuel Johnston (P)
Virginia
(class 1)
William Grayson (A) Died March 12, 1790. John Walker (P) Appointed March 31, 1790
Rhode Island (class 1) New seats Rhode Island ratified the constitution on May 29, 1790. Theodore Foster (P) Elected June 7, 1790
Rhode Island (class 2) Joseph Stanton, Jr. (A)
Virginia
(class 1)
John Walker (P) James Monroe was elected to the seat of Senator William Grayson. James Monroe (A) Elected November 9, 1790
New Jersey (class 2) William Paterson (P) Resigned November 13, 1790,
having been elected Governor of New Jersey.
Philemon Dickinson (P) Elected November 23, 1790

House of Representatives

There was 1 resignation, 1 death, and 6 new seats. Anti-Administration members picked up 3 seats and Pro-Administration members picked up 2 seats.

District Vacator Reason for Vacancy Successor Date of successor's taking office
North Carolina 1st New seats North Carolina ratified the constitution on November 21, 1789. John Baptista Ashe (A) March 24, 1790
North Carolina 2nd Hugh Williamson (A) March 19, 1790
North Carolina 3rd Timothy Bloodworth (A) April 6, 1790
North Carolina 4th John Steele (P) April 19, 1790
North Carolina 5th John Sevier (P) June 16, 1790
Rhode Island At-large New seat Rhode Island ratified the constitution on May 29, 1790. Benjamin Bourne (P) December 17, 1790
Virginia
9th
Theodorick Bland (A) Died June 1, 1790. William B. Giles (A) December 7, 1790
Massachusetts 5th George Partridge (P) Resigned August 14, 1790. Remained vacant until next Congress

Employees

Senate

House of Representatives

References

  1. ^ a b Martis, Kenneth C.. The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress.  
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1989). The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.  
  • Martis, Kenneth C. (1982). The Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.  

External links


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