The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government

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Simon and Schuster, Feb 9, 2016 - History - 416 pages
This “fascinating” (Chicago Tribune), “lively” (The New York Times) history tells how the First Congress and the Washington administration created one of the most productive and far-reaching governments in American history—“gracefully written…and well worth reading” (The Wall Street Journal).

The First Congress may have been the most important in American history because it established how our government would work. The Constitution was a broad set of principles that left undefined the machinery of government. Fortunately, far-sighted, brilliant, and determined men such as Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson (and others less well known today) labored to create a functioning government.

In The First Congress, award-winning author Fergus Bordewich brings to life the achievements of the First Congress: it debated and passed the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which we know as the Bill of Rights; admitted North Carolina and Rhode Island to the union when they belatedly ratified the Constitution, then admitted two new states, Kentucky and Vermont, establishing the procedure for admitting new states on equal terms with the original thirteen; chose the site of the national capital, a new city to be built on the Potomac; created a national bank to handle the infant republic’s finances; created the first cabinet positions and the federal court system; and many other achievements. But it avoided the subject of slavery, which was too contentious to resolve.

The First Congress takes us back to the days when the future of our country was by no means assured and makes “an intricate story clear and fascinating” (The Washington Post).
 

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User Review  - wagner.sarah35 - LibraryThing

I struggled to get into this book - it's a bit dry at times - but it's well worth reading for its take on how the first congress met, functioned, and passed legislation we now look back on as ... Read full review

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User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

5464. The First Congress How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government, by Fergus M. Bordewich (read 23 Apr 2017) This is an extraordinarily well ... Read full review

Contents

Nebuchadnezzars Monster
1
CHAPTER
15
xiii
182
A Gross National Iniquity
194
15
203
The Trumpet of Sedition
213
Cabals Meetings Plots and Counterplots
227
A Southern Position
238
American Dawn
301
AFTERWORD
309
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
315
NOTES
317
27
319
72
329
115
336
163
343

Indians
256
Interlude II
266
Freedoms Favrite Seat
274
A Most Mischievous Engine
284

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About the author (2016)

Fergus M. Bordewich is the author of several books, among them America’s Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in history. His articles have appeared in many magazines and newspapers. He lives in San Francisco. Visit him at FergusBordewich.com.

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