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Compromise of 1790

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.


Residence Act

A 1790 federal law that settled the U.S. capitol as somewhere above the Potomac.


Jonathan Trumbull, Jr.

Became Speaker of the House in 1790 after Frederick Muhlenberg changed party allegiances to the Anti-Administrations.


Pierre Charles L'Enfant

French-born American who designed Washington, D.C..


John Fitch

Constructor of the first steamboat in 1790.


United States presidential election, 1792

Physically weary, Pres. Washington wished to retire at the end of his first term. But advisers and statesmen argued that the volatile political climate (between France and Great Britain, as well as Federalists and Antifederalists along regional lines) demanded the leadership of the immensely popular Washington. Anti-Federalists Thomas Jefferson and Madison, calling themselves Republicans, led a campaign to replace Vice Pres. John Adams with state's rights advocate George Clinton. John Adams maintained his seat, helping legitimize the presidency as an institution.


Postal Service Act

(1792) A piece of legislation that established the U.S. Post Office Department.


Coinage Act of 1792

Established the U.S. Mint and regulated the coinage of the United States.


Buttonwood Agreement

A 1792 constitution which created the New York Stock Exchange.


Fugitive Slave Act of 1793

Established that escaped slaves must be returned to their owners.


Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793

5000 people were killed in Philadelphia because of Yellow Fever spread by mosquitos. 20000 tried to flee but were rejected by major ports.


Proclamation of Neutrality

A formal 1793 announcement enforced by Washington declaring American neutrality in any conflict between Britain and France.


Cotton gin

A device invented by Eli Whitney in 1793 which increased reliance on slave labor.


Whiskey Rebellion

(1791-94) Angry about Alexander Hamilton's tax on whiskey, farmers attacked tax collectors and staged an uprising which was immediately quelled by Washington personally leading an army against them.


The 11th Amendment

(1794) Nobody can sue a state in federal court without the consent of the state concerned, it was passed to overturn Chisholm v. Georgia.


Battle of Nuʻuanu

(1795) Kamehameha I of the Island of Hawaii defeats the Oahuans, solidifying his control of the major islands of the archipelago and officially founding the Kingdom of Hawaii.


Pinckney's Treaty

(1795) Established friendship, and the boundaries between the Spanish colonies and the United States. Guaranteed U.S. navigation rights on the Mississippi River. Ended the first phase of the West Florida Controversy


Treaty of Greenville

(1795) Ended the Northwest Indian War with numerous losses for the Native American forces. The treaty also established the "annuity" system: yearly grants of federal money to Native Americans.


Jay Treaty

A 1795 treaty between the U.S. and Britain which facilitated ten years of peaceful trade between the nations, while resolving issues remaining from the Treaty of Paris of 1783. This included the withdrawal of British Army units from pre-Revolutionary forts in the Northwest Territory, who were stationed there in response to U.S. courts impeding the collection of debt owed to the British, and defying the treaty by confiscating Loyalist estates. The parties agreed that disputes over wartime debts and the American–Canadian boundary were to be sent to arbitration, and Americans were granted limited rights to trade with India and colonies in the Caribbean in exchange for some limits on the American export of cotton. The treaty became a central issue of contention, leading to the formation of the "First Party System," with the Federalists favoring Britain and the Jeffersonian republicans favoring France.


Panic of 1796-97

An economic downturn which occurred in Britain and the United States as a result of a land speculation bubble burst. It lead to several high profile scandals.


United States presidential election, 1796

John Adams (Federalist) defeated Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican), Thomas Pickney (Fed) and Aaron Burr (Anti-Fed) were also running. Hamilton and those favoring a loose interpretation of the Constitution formed the Federalist Party in 1791, those favoring a strict view with focus on state's rights gathered around Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party. Unfamiliarity with contested presidential elections and the indirectness of the electoral system led to low public interest, though the election was closely fought—in part because of the rapidly forming party divide. The Federalists compared the Democratic-Republicans with the French rebels and the Democratic-Republicans accused the Federalists of favoring monarchy and an aristocracy. Dem-Reps denounced Jay's Treaty, saying it was too favorable to the British. The French Ambassador embarrassed Jefferson by publicly backing him before the election. Jefferson narrowly became Vice President, which proved difficult for the Adams administration.


Portolà expedition

The first recorded European land entry and exploration of present day California, 1769-1770.


George Washington's Farewell Address

A letter written by Washington near the end of his second term in which he said international involvement and political parties would tear the nation in part.


Treaty of Tripoli

A treaty signed by President John Adams between America and Tripolitania, it affirmed that America is not a Christian nation by nature. Treaty was broken by the Pasha of Tripoli in 1801 when Pres. Jefferson refused to increase payments causing the First Barbary War.


XYZ Affair

A diplomatic incident during John Adams' presidency in 1797 and 98. Agents of French Foreign Minister Talleyrand demanded bribes before American diplomats could meet with him. Although it was common practice, Americans were offended and this lead to the Quasi-War. Federalists wanted war and criticized the Democratic-Republicans and Elbridge Gerry for being pro-France.


Lyon-Griswold brawl

A petty 1798 incident in which Rep. Griswold attacked Rep. Lyon with a walking stick inside Congress chambers.


Mississippi Territory

An unincorporated territory formed from land ceded by South Carolina and Georgia in 1798.



An undeclared naval war America fought with France from 1798-1800 due to the XYZ affair, and the refusal of the United States to repay its debt to France, arguing it had been owed to a previous regime. French outrage led to a series of attacks on American shipping, ultimately leading to retaliation from the Americans and the end of hostilities with the signing of the Convention of 1800 shortly thereafter.


Alien and Sedition Acts

Laws passed by Congress in 1798 during Adams' presidency suppressing freedom of speech. They were passed at the same time of the French Revolution and Quasi-War, ostensibly to strengthen national security. Included a Naturalization Act which made it harder for immigrants to become citizens, most immigrants supported Jefferson and the Democratic-Republicans.



The first American Gothic novel, written by Charles Brockden Brown in 1798.


Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions

Resolutions written by Kentucky and Virginia state governments in 1798 and 1799 that stated their supreme courts had the power to declare The Alien and Sedition Acts unconstitutional. The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions of 1798 were written secretly by Vice President Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, respectively.


Logan Act

Passed 1799, it forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.


Fries's Rebellion

An armed tax revolt among Pennsylvania Dutch farmers, from 1799-1800, historians believe Federalists overreacted and mishandled a small episode.


The Action of 9 February 1799

During the Quasi-War, the USS Constellation captures the French frigate L'Insurgente. The first American naval victory.


Oney Judge

Slave owned by Martha Washington who escaped in the 1780s. Pres. Washington attempted to have her returned but was unsuccessful.