The story of New York City's role in the birth of American government is sometimes forgotten. Most of the buildings important to the first U.S. Congress, which met here from the spring of 1789 to the late summer of 1790, have long been demolished. There's little to remind us that our modern form of government was, in part, invented here on these city streets.
Riding high on the victories of the Revolutionary War, the Founding Fathers organized a makeshift Congress under the Articles of Confederation. After an unfortunate crisis in Philadelphia, that early group of politicians from the 13 states eventually drifted up to New York (specifically to New York's City Hall, to be called Federal Hall) to meet. But they were an organization without much power or respect.
The fate of the young nation lay on the shoulders of George Washington who arrived in New York in the spring of 1789 to be inaugurated as the first president of the United States. His swearing-in would finally unite Americans around their government and would imbue the port city of New York with a new urgency.
This is Part One of a two part celebration of these years, featuring cantankerous vice presidents, festive cannonades, and burning plumage! (Part Two arrives in two weeks.)
FEATURING Washington, Adams, Madison, Livingston and, of course, HAMILTON!
NOTE: In the show we accidentally say 'Yorkville' once when we meant 'Yorktown'. Blame it on our New York-centrism; Yorkville is a neighborhood in the Upper East Side!