2014 Press Releases

National Archives Celebrates 225th Anniversary of First Federal Congress with Display
Press Release · Monday, March 31, 2014

Washington, DC

Senate Journal of the First Congress Shows Electoral Tally for President

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The National Archives celebrates the 225th Anniversary of the First Federal Congress with a special display of the first Senate Journal. Open to the page dated April 6, 1789, the entry shows one of the first actions taken it its first session: counting the electoral votes for President and Vice President. The journal will be on display through April 16, 2014 in the East Rotunda Gallery of the National Archives Museum.

The National Archives Museum is located on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. Metro accessible on Yellow or Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial station. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily. Free admission. Additional information on exhibits and programs at the National Archives Museum can be found online.

225th Anniversary of the First Federal Congress
On March 4, 1789, the Congress of the United States met for the first time. However, when the representatives and senators gathered that day, there were not enough members of either body to constitute a quorum. Elected members were delayed by bad roads and harsh weather. Some states had not yet held elections, while others had not yet determined the winning candidates when the First Congress convened. The House finally reached a quorum on April 1, and the Senate followed on April 6.

One of the first duties of the new legislative body was to meet jointly and count the electoral ballots for President and Vice President of the United States. On display is the first Senate Journal open to the page showing the results of that election: George Washington of Virginia was unanimously elected President, and John Adams of Massachusetts, who finished second in the balloting, was elected Vice President

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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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