George Washington

WashingtonGeneral WashingtonPresident Washington
Hamilton formulated the Jay Treaty, to normalize trade relations with Great Britain while removing them from western forts, and also to resolve financial debts remaining from the Revolution. Chief Justice John Jay, acting as Washington’s negotiator, signed the treaty on November 19, 1794; adamantly critical Jeffersonians supported France. Washington deliberated, then supported the treaty because it avoided war with Britain; he was deeply disappointed that its provisions favored Great Britain. After he mobilized public opinion and secured ratification in the Senate, Washington was subjected to severe and frequent public criticism.

John Adams

AdamsJohnJ. Adams
While in London, Adams learned of a convention being planned to amend the Articles of Confederation. In January 1787, he published a work entitled A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States. The pamphlet repudiated the views of Turgot and other European writers as to the viciousness of state government frameworks. He suggested that "the rich, the well-born and the able" should be set apart from other men in a senate – that would prevent them from dominating the lower house. Adams' Defence is described as an articulation of the theory of mixed government.


Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia, PACity of Philadelphia
The Sister Cities Park, a site of 0.5 acre located at 18th and Benjamin Franklin Parkway within Logan Square, was dedicated in June 1976. The park was built to commemorate Philadelphia's first two sister city relationships, with Tel Aviv and Florence. The Toruń Triangle, honoring the sister city relationship with Toruń, Poland, was constructed in 1976, west of the United Way building at 18th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Alexander Hamilton

HamiltonHamiltonianA. Hamilton
Hamilton and the Federalists wished for more trade with Britain, the new nation's largest trading partner. The Republicans saw Britain as the main threat to republicanism and proposed instead a trade war. To avoid war, Washington sent Chief Justice John Jay to negotiate with the British; Hamilton largely wrote Jay's instructions. The result was Jay's Treaty. It was denounced by the Republicans, but Hamilton mobilized support throughout the land. The Jay Treaty passed the Senate in 1795 by exactly the required two-thirds majority. The Treaty resolved issues remaining from the Revolution, averted war, and made possible ten years of peaceful trade between the United States and Britain.

John Rutledge

JohnRutledge, John
In 1787, Rutledge was selected to represent South Carolina in the Philadelphia Convention which was called to revise the Articles of Confederation, but instead produced the United States Constitution. He attended all the sessions and served on five committees. At the Convention, Rutledge maintained a moderate nationalist stance and chaired the Committee of Detail. After the Convention had debated the Virginia Plan and settled some major points of controversy, the Committee of Detail, which Rutledge chaired, assembled during the convention's July 4 recess.

James Madison

MadisonPresident MadisonPresident James Madison
He is hailed as the "Father of the Constitution" for his pivotal role in drafting and promoting the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Born into a prominent Virginia planting family, Madison served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates and the Continental Congress during and after the American Revolutionary War. In the late 1780s, he helped organize the Constitutional Convention, which produced a new constitution to supplant the ineffective Articles of Confederation.

Treaty of Paris (1783)

Treaty of Paris1783 Treaty of ParisTreaty of Paris of 1783
Representing the United States were Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and John Adams. David Hartley and Richard Oswald represented Great Britain. The treaty was signed at the Hotel d'York (at present 56 Rue Jacob) in Paris on September 3, 1783, by Adams, Franklin, Jay, and Hartley. Regarding the American Treaty, the key episodes came in September 1782, when French Foreign Minister Vergennes proposed a solution that was strongly opposed by his ally, the United States. France was exhausted by the war, and everyone wanted peace except for Spain, which insisted on continuing the war until it could capture Gibraltar from the British.

Second Continental Congress

Continental CongressCongressSecond
Congress formally adopted the resolution of independence, but only after creating three overlapping committees to draft the Declaration, a Model Treaty, and the Articles of Confederation. The Declaration announced the states' entry into the international system; the model treaty was designed to establish amity and commerce with other states; and the Articles of Confederation established "a firm league" among the thirteen free and independent states. These three things together constituted an international agreement to set up central institutions for conducting vital domestic and foreign affairs. Congress finally approved the resolution of independence on July 2, 1776.

Continental Congress

CongressContinental Congressman from DelawareDelegate to the Continental Congress
From what cause could so fatal an omission have happened in the Articles of Confederation?

United States Declaration of Independence

Declaration of IndependenceindependenceAmerican Declaration of Independence
In one famous story, John Hancock supposedly said that Congress, having signed the Declaration, must now "all hang together", and Benjamin Franklin replied: "Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately." The quotation did not appear in print until more than fifty years after Franklin's death. The Syng inkstand used at the signing was also used at the signing of the United States Constitution in 1787. After Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration on July 4, a handwritten copy was sent a few blocks away to the printing shop of John Dunlap. Through the night, Dunlap printed about 200 broadsides for distribution.

George Clinton (vice president)

George ClintonGovernor George ClintonClinton
In the early 1780s, Clinton supported Alexander Hamilton's call for a stronger federal government than had been provided in the Articles of Confederation. However, Clinton eventually came to oppose Hamilton's proposal to allow Congress to impose tariffs, fearing that this power would cut into his home state's main source of income. He became one of the most prominent opponents to the ratification of the proposed United States Constitution, which would grant several new powers to the federal government. After New York and other states had ratified the Constitution, Clinton focused on passing constitutional amendments designed to weaken the powers of the federal government.

United States Congress

CongressU.S. CongressCongressional
Federalists and anti-federalists jostled for power in the early years as political parties became pronounced, surprising the Constitution's Founding Fathers of the United States. With the passage of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Anti-Federalist movement was exhausted. Some activists joined the Anti-Administration Party that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were forming about 1790–91 to oppose policies of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton; it soon became the Democratic-Republican Party or the Jeffersonian Republican Party and began the era of the First Party System.

Founding Fathers of the United States

Founding FathersFounding FatherFounding Father of the United States
Morris in 1973 identified the following seven figures as the key Founding Fathers: Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington. Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin were members of the Committee of Five that drafted the Declaration of Independence. Hamilton, Madison, and Jay were authors of The Federalist Papers, advocating ratification of the Constitution. The constitutions drafted by Jay and Adams for their respective states of New York (1777) and Massachusetts (1780) were heavily relied upon when creating language for the U.S. Constitution.

New York City

New YorkNew York, New YorkNew York City, New York
New York was the last capital of the U.S. under the Articles of Confederation and the first capital under the Constitution of the United States. In 1789, the first President of the United States, George Washington, was inaugurated; the first United States Congress and the Supreme Court of the United States each assembled for the first time, and the United States Bill of Rights was drafted, all at Federal Hall on Wall Street. By 1790, New York had surpassed Philadelphia to become the largest city in the United States, but by the end of that year, pursuant to the Residence Act, the national capital was moved to Philadelphia.

New York (state)

New YorkNYNew York State
New York City was the national capital under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, the first government. That organization was found to be insufficient, and prominent New Yorker Alexander Hamilton advocated a new government that would include an executive, national courts, and the power to tax. Hamilton led the Annapolis Convention (1786) that called for the Philadelphia Convention, which drafted the United States Constitution, in which he also took part. The new government was to be a strong federal national government to replace the relatively weaker confederation of individual states.

Robert Morris (financier)

Robert MorrisMorrisMr. Morris
On September 17, Morris signed the final document produced by the convention which, rather than amending the Articles, was intended to supplant the Articles as the new Constitution of the United States. Morris was one of just six individuals to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Rather than seeking to block the new constitution, Congress simply forwarded it to each state to debate ratification. Morris's Republican faction, along with Federalist groups in other states, sought the ratification of the new federal Constitution.

History of the United States (1776–1789)

United Statesearly Americaindependence
Opponents of the plan for stronger government, the Anti-Federalists, feared that a government with the power to tax would soon become as despotic and corrupt as Great Britain had been only decades earlier. The most notable Anti-federalist writers included Patrick Henry and George Mason, who demanded a Bill of Rights in the Constitution. The Federalists gained a great deal of prestige and advantage from the approval of George Washington, who had chaired the Constitutional Convention. Thomas Jefferson, serving as Minister to France at the time, had reservations about the proposed Constitution. He resolved to remain neutral in the debate and to accept either outcome.

Robert R. Livingston (chancellor)

Robert R. LivingstonRobert LivingstonChancellor Livingston
In 1789, Livingston joined the Jeffersonian Republicans (later known as the Democratic-Republicans), in opposition to his former colleagues John Jay and Alexander Hamilton who founded the Federalists. He formed an uneasy alliance with his previous rival George Clinton, along with Aaron Burr, then a political newcomer. He opposed the Jay Treaty and other Federalist initiatives. In 1798, Livingston ran for Governor of New York on the Democratic-Republican ticket, but was defeated by incumbent Governor John Jay. He served as Chancellor until June 30, 1801. Robert R Livingston was a member of the Committee of Five, along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Roger Sherman.

Patrick Henry

American patriotPatrick Henry, Junrthat revolutionary patriot
Henry was gratified at the election of his old friend John Adams as president in 1796 over his foe Jefferson, but Henry's commitment to the Federalist Party was tested by the repressive Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. He chose to say nothing, but supported the campaign of Marshall, a moderate Federalist, for the House of Representatives; Marshall won narrowly. Henry was under considerable pressure from Virginia Federalists to return to politics, but it was not until former president Washington urged him to run for the legislature in early 1799 that Henry gave in.

Constitutional Convention (United States)

Constitutional ConventionPhiladelphia Convention1787 Constitutional Convention
Benjamin Franklin. Jared Ingersoll. Thomas Mifflin. Gouverneur Morris. Robert Morris. James Wilson. South Carolina. Pierce Butler. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Charles Pinckney. John Rutledge. Virginia. John Blair. James Madison. George Mason*. James McClurg*. Edmund Randolph*. George Washington. George Wythe*. Rhode Island. Rhode Island did not send delegates to the Convention. Confederation Period. Constitution Day (United States). Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. The Federalist Papers. Founding Fathers of the United States. History of the United States Constitution. History of the United States. National Constitution Center.

Thomas Paine

Tom PainePainePaine, Thomas
The book also included translations of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of five U.S. states. It subsequently circulated widely in South America and through it Uruguayan national hero José Gervasio Artigas became familiar with and embraced Paine's ideas. In turn, many of Artigas's writings drew directly from Paine's, including the Instructions of 1813, which Uruguayans consider to be one of their country's most important constitutional documents. It was one of the earliest writings to articulate a principled basis for an identity independent of Buenos Aires.

John Marshall

Chief Justice MarshallMarshallChief Justice John Marshall
Adams nominated former Chief Justice John Jay to once again lead the Supreme Court, but Jay rejected the appointment, partly due to his frustration at the relative lack of power possessed by the judicial branch of the federal government. Jay's letter of rejection arrived on January 20, 1801, less than two months before Jefferson would take office. Upon learning of Jay's rejection, Marshall suggested that Adams elevate Associate Justice William Paterson to Chief Justice, but Adams rejected the suggestion, instead saying to Marshall, "I believe I must nominate you."

Republicanism in the United States

republicanismrepublicanAmerican republicanism
Thus, in encouraging the states to participate in a strong centralized government under a new constitution and replace the relatively weak Articles of Confederation, Madison argued in Federalist No. 10 that a special interest may take control of a small area, e.g. a state, but it could not easily take over a large nation. Therefore, the larger the nation, the safer is republicanism. By 1805, the "Old Republicans" or "Quids", a minority faction among Southern Republicans, led by Johan Randolph, John Taylor of Caroline and Nathaniel Macon, opposed Jefferson and Madison on the grounds that they had abandoned the true republican commitment to a weak central government.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette

LafayetteMarquis de LafayetteGeneral Lafayette
Benjamin Franklin, John and Sarah Jay, and John and Abigail Adams met there every Monday and dined in company with Lafayette's family and the liberal nobility, including Clermont-Tonnerre and Madame de Staël. Lafayette continued to work on lowering trade barriers in France to American goods, and on assisting Franklin and Jefferson in seeking treaties of amity and commerce with European nations. He also sought to correct the injustices that Huguenots in France had endured since the revocation of the Edict of Nantes a century before. On 29 December 1786, King Louis XVI called an Assembly of Notables, in response to France's fiscal crisis.

Jay Treaty

Jay's Treatytreatyagreed
They denounced Hamilton and Jay (and even Washington) as monarchists who betrayed American values. They organized public protests against Jay and his treaty; one of their rallying cries said: ''Damn John Jay! Damn everyone that won't damn John Jay! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning John Jay!'' The treaty was one of the major catalysts for the advent of the First Party System in the United States by further dividing the two major political factions within the country. The Federalist Party, led by Hamilton, supported the treaty. On the contrary, the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Jefferson and Madison, opposed it.