1st United States Congress

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1st United States Congress
10th Confederation Congress ←→ 2nd
New York City Hall 1789b.jpg
Federal Hall, site of the first two sessions of this Congress (1789)

Duration: March 4, 1789 – March 4, 1791

Senate President:John Adams
Senate Pres. pro tem:John Langdon
House Speaker:Frederick Muhlenberg
Members:21–26 Senators
59–65 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
 
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"First Congress" redirects here. For the first seating of the Continental Congress, see First Continental Congress.
1st United States Congress
10th Confederation Congress ←→ 2nd
New York City Hall 1789b.jpg
Federal Hall, site of the first two sessions of this Congress (1789)

Duration: March 4, 1789 – March 4, 1791

Senate President:John Adams
Senate Pres. pro tem:John Langdon
House Speaker:Frederick Muhlenberg
Members:21–26 Senators
59–65 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

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, during the first two years of George Washington's presidency, first at Federal Hall 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. This Congress passed the ten amendments now called the Bill of Rights.

Major events[edit]

Main articles: 1789, 1790 and 1791
Congress Hall in Philadelphia, meeting place of this Congress's third session.

Major legislation[edit]

Session 1[edit]

Held March 4, 1789, through September 29, 1789, at Federal Hall in New York City

Session 2[edit]

Held January 4, 1790, through August 12, 1790, at Federal Hall in New York City

Session 3[edit]

Held December 6, 1790, through March 3, 1791, at Congress Hall in Philadelphia

Constitutional amendments[edit]

States admitted and territories organized[edit]

Party summary[edit]

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.[2]

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

Senate[edit]

During this congress, two Senate seats were added for North Carolina and Rhode Island when each ratified the Constitution.

Party
(Shading shows control)
TotalVacant
Anti-
Administration

(A)
Pro-
Administration

(P)
End of the previous congress0000
Begin713202
End818260
Final voting share30.8%69.2%
Beginning of the next congress916251

House of Representatives[edit]

1stHouse.svg

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.

Party
(Shading shows control)
TotalVacant
Anti-
Administration

(A)
Pro-
Administration

(P)
End of the previous congress0000
Begin2534590
End2836641
Final voting share43.8%56.3%
Beginning of the next congress2939681

Leadership[edit]

Senate[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

Members[edit]

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

Senate[edit]

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.

House of Representatives[edit]

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

Changes in membership[edit]

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.[2]

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[edit]

There was 1 resignation, 1 death, 1 replacement of a temporary appointee, and 6 new seats. The Anti-Administration Senators picked up a 1 seat net gain and the Pro-Administration Senators picked up 4 seats.

State
(class)
VacatorReason for changeSuccessorDate of successor's
formal installation
New York (3)New seatsState legislature failed to pick Senator until after Congress began.Rufus King (P)July 25, 1789
New York (1)Philip John Schuyler (P)July 27, 1789
North Carolina (3)North Carolina ratified the constitution on November 21, 1789.Benjamin Hawkins (P)Elected November 27, 1789
North Carolina (2)Samuel Johnston (P)
Virginia
(1)
William Grayson (A)Died March 12, 1790.John Walker (P)Appointed March 31, 1790
Rhode Island (1)New seatsRhode Island ratified the constitution on May 29, 1790.Theodore Foster (P)Elected June 7, 1790
Rhode Island (2)Joseph Stanton, Jr. (A)
Virginia
(1)
John Walker (P)James Monroe was elected to the seat of Senator William Grayson.James Monroe (A)Elected November 9, 1790
New Jersey (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[edit]

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.

DistrictVacatorReason for changeSuccessorDate successor
seated
North Carolina 1stNew seatsNorth Carolina ratified the constitution on November 21, 1789.John Baptista Ashe (A)March 24, 1790
North Carolina 2ndHugh Williamson (A)March 19, 1790
North Carolina 3rdTimothy Bloodworth (A)April 6, 1790
North Carolina 4thJohn Steele (P)April 19, 1790
North Carolina 5thJohn Sevier (P)June 16, 1790
Rhode Island At-largeNew seatRhode 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 5thGeorge Partridge (P)Resigned August 14, 1790.Remained vacant until next Congress

Employees[edit]

Senate[edit]

House of Representatives[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Journal of the First Session of the Senate of The United States of America, Begun and Held at the City of New York, March 4, 1789, And In The Thirteenth Year of the Independence of the Said States". Senate Journal. Gales & Seaton. 1820. 
  2. ^ a b Martis, Kenneth C. The Historical Atlas of Political Parties in the United States Congress. 

External links[edit]