George Washington Presidency — Term, Accomplishments, Timeline of the 1st President of the United States

April 30, 1789–March 4, 1797

The Presidency of George Washington was from April 30, 1789–March 4, 1797. He was elected as the First President of the United States in 1788. He was re-elected in 1792. At the end of his second term, he announced he would not serve a third term in office, establishing a precedent for the office.

George Washington, Portrait, Stuart

President George Washington. Image Source: Wikipedia.

George Washington Presidency Timeline and Accomplishments

First Presidential Election

The First Presidential Election in the United States was held in 1788-1789. George Washington was elected as the First President of the United States. This election marked a significant milestone in American history as it established the process of selecting the nation’s leader through a constitutional framework. Washington, who was widely respected for his leadership during the Revolutionary War, was unanimously chosen as President by the Electoral College. The Electoral College consisted of delegates from each state who cast their votes — and Washington received all the votes.

Adoption of the Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights is the first ten Amendments to the United States Constitution. It was adopted in 1791 and consists of a list of individual rights and freedoms that are protected by the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution in response to concerns raised by the Anti-Federalists during the ratification process. They argued the Constitution did not adequately protect individual rights. The Bill of Rights includes key provisions protecting the freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms, and protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Learn more about the Bill of Rights:

Alexander Hamilton’s Financial Plan

Alexander Hamilton’s financial plan was a comprehensive strategy proposed in the late 18th century to strengthen the United States’ economy. It included measures such as establishing a national bank, assuming state debts, and implementing protective tariffs. Hamilton’s plan aimed to centralize economic power and promote industrialization, laying the foundation for a strong federal government.

Federalist Party and the Democratic-Republican Party

The Federalists and the Democrat-Republicans were the two main political parties that emerged in the United States in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, were supporters of a strong federal government and a strong national economy. The Democrat-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson, were supporters of a weaker federal government and a greater role for states’ rights. The Federalists and the Democrat-Republicans were often in opposition and played a significant role in shaping the early political landscape of the United States.

Learn more about the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans

French Revolution (1789–1799)

The French Revolution was a period of radical social and political change in France that took place between 1789 and 1799. It was sparked by a series of financial and political crises and was characterized by widespread upheaval and violence. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy and established a new form of government, the First French Republic. It also resulted in significant changes to French society, including the abolition of feudalism, the introduction of the Napoleonic Code, and the spread of liberal and democratic ideas. The French Revolution had a profound impact on European and world history and is considered one of the most important events in modern history.

The Judiciary Act of 1789

The Judiciary Act of 1789 was a law passed by Congress that set up the Federal Court System of the United States, as provided under the Constitution. The act defined the roles of the Supreme Court, District Courts, Circuit Courts, and the judges assigned to them. It also established the office of the Attorney General of the United States.

First Bank of the United States (1791)

The First Bank of the United States, established in 1791, was a central bank proposed by Alexander Hamilton to manage the nation’s finances. It served as a repository for federal funds, issued currency, and facilitated economic stability and growth. The bank’s charter expired in 1811, leading to debates over the role of government in regulating the economy.

Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures (1791)

Alexander Hamilton’s Report on Manufactures, presented to Congress in 1791, was a blueprint for promoting American industry and economic growth. Hamilton emphasized the need for protective tariffs, government subsidies, and infrastructure development to foster domestic manufacturing. Although not fully implemented, the report influenced later economic policies and highlighted the tension between agriculture and industry in early America.

Alexander Hamilton, Portrait
Alexander Hamilton. Image Source: Wikipedia.

Vermont Enters the Union as the 14th State (1791)

Vermont, originally an independent republic, officially joined the United States as the 14th state on March 4, 1791. Its admission followed a prolonged dispute with New York over territorial claims. Vermont’s entry added another free state to the Union and balanced the representation of interests between slave and free states in Congress.

Kentucky Enters the Union as the 15th State (1792)

Kentucky, a former part of Virginia, became the 15th state of the United States on June 1, 1792. Its admission marked the westward expansion of the United States and the further settlement of the Appalachian frontier. Kentucky’s statehood contributed to the political dynamics between slaveholding and non-slaveholding states, reinforcing the delicate balance between competing interests in Congress.

Second Presidential Election (1792)

The second presidential election held in 1792 marked the re-election of George Washington for a second term. It was a significant event in American history as it solidified the precedent of peaceful transfer of power and reinforced the stability of the newly formed federal government. Washington’s unanimous victory highlighted the nation’s support for his leadership and set a standard for future presidential elections.

Citizen Genet Affair (1793)

The Citizen Genet Affair was a diplomatic crisis that occurred in 1793 between the United States and France during the French Revolution. It involved the appointment of Edmond-Charles Genet, also known as Citizen Genet, as the French ambassador to the United States. Genet was a vocal supporter of the French Revolution and was instructed to seek support for France in the United States. However, his actions were seen as interference in American affairs, and he was recalled by the French government. The affair strained relations between the two countries and was one of the early tests of American neutrality.

Proclamation of Neutrality (1793)

The Proclamation of Neutrality was a statement issued by President George Washington in 1793 declaring the United States neutral in the conflict between France and Great Britain. The proclamation was issued in response to requests from both France and Britain for the United States to take sides in the conflict and was intended to protect American interests and avoid military involvement. The proclamation was controversial and was criticized by both Federalists and Democratic-Republicans for not supporting France, the country’s former ally, or Britain, its major trading partner.

Whiskey Rebellion (1794)

The Whiskey Rebellion was an uprising that took place in western Pennsylvania in 1794. It was sparked by the passage of the Excise Act of 1791, which imposed a tax on the production of whiskey in the United States. The rebels, who were mostly farmers and distillers, resisted the tax and clashed with federal authorities. The rebellion was eventually put down, but it was seen as a test of the strength of the new federal government and helped to establish its authority.

Jay Treaty (1794)

The Jay Treaty was a treaty signed between the United States and Great Britain in 1794 that aimed to resolve outstanding issues from the American Revolution and improve relations between the two countries. The treaty was signed by John Jay, the Chief Justice of the United States and the American negotiator, and Lord Grenville, the British Foreign Secretary. The treaty established a dispute resolution process and granted American merchants access to British West Indian markets. It was controversial and was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party, which saw it as too favorable to Britain. The treaty was ratified by the Senate in 1795 and remained in effect until 1803.

John Jay, Portrait
John Jay. Image Source: Wikipedia.

Pinckney’s Treaty (1795)

Pinckney’s Treaty, also known as the Treaty of San Lorenzo or the Treaty of Madrid, was a treaty signed between the United States and Spain in 1795 that established the boundaries between the two countries and granted the United States rights in the Mississippi River and New Orleans. The treaty was signed by Thomas Pinckney, the American minister to Spain, and Manuel Godoy, the Spanish minister of foreign affairs. It was ratified by the Senate in 1796 and played a significant role in the early expansion of the United States.

Washington’s Farewell Address (1796)

Washington’s Farewell Address was a letter written by George Washington in 1796 as he prepared to retire as the first President of the United States. In the address, Washington warned against the dangers of political parties and foreign entanglements and encouraged the nation to maintain unity and uphold the principles of the Constitution. The address was widely circulated and was influential in shaping the political discourse of the early Republic.

George Washington Presidency Video for APUSH

This video from Heimler’s History covers the APUSH topic of the New Republic, including the George Washington Presidency. Also, be sure to look at our Guide to the AP US History Exam.

Citation Information

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  • Article Title George Washington Presidency — Term, Accomplishments, Timeline of the 1st President of the United States
  • Date April 30, 1789–March 4, 1797
  • Author
  • Keywords George Washington Presidency, George Washington Presidential Term, Presidency of George Washington, Washington Presidency
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date April 20, 2024
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update February 1, 2024

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