The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress

Time Line: The Early Republic
The Colonial Period | The American Revolution | The Early Republic

Amidst growing dissatisfaction with Articles of Confederation, Washington corresponds with James Madison and others to consider how the federal government might be formally strengthened.

May-September, presides at Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

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follows Detail of CONVENTION AT PHILADELPHIA. 1787. Elkanah Tisdale (b. 1771). Engraving, in A History of the United States, 1823. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division. Reproduction #: (b&w) LC-USZ62-92869.

April 14, secretary of Congress, Charles Thomson arrives at Mount Vernon to inform Washington of his election to the presidency. Washington accepts.Washington's letterbook record

April 30, Washington is inaugurated in New York City. He makes nominations and appointments to fill new offices; works with Congress in formation of new departments; assists Congress in adoption of amendments that become Bill of Rights. Letterbook record

June, Washington supports plan by which federal government assumes and funds Revolutionary War debts of states. Congress chooses Philadelphia as interim capital of the United States. To assuage Virginia, foremost opponent of assumption, Congress selects site on Potomac River for permanent capital, to be occupied in ten years time. July 16, Washington signs bill.

November 4, General Arthur St. Clair is decisively defeated near Wabash River by a smaller force of confederated Indians led by Miami Indian, Little Turtle.

February 13, electoral votes counted and Washington is unanimously re-elected to the presidency; John Adams elected vice-president.

August 20, General Anthony Wayne defeats Indian nations of Wabash and Maumee Rivers at Fallen Timbers (near present-day Toledo, Ohio). British, still occupying frontier forts, begin to slacken in support of Indian allies.

March 3, Congress approves and Washington thereafter signs Treaty of San Lorenzo, which opens Mississippi River to American navigation and sets boundary between United States and Florida at 31st parallel.

August 3, General Anthony Wayne concludes treaty of Greenville, by which Indian nations of Ohio River cede lands in present-day Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

August 18, Washington signs Jay's Treaty with Great Britain, which forces the British to evacuate western forts as stipulated in the Paris peace treaty of 1783. The treaty stabilizes American-British relations until the War of 1812.

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George Washington, full-length portrait, standing on bunker. Engraving by Laugier from Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. c1839. Reproduction #: (b&w) LC-USZ62-14094

1796 Washington arranges publication of his farewell address, which appears in the Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser September 19, the day of his departure from that city for Mount Vernon. Farewell Address

October-December, he attends to government matters in Washington, the new federal city.

July, in wake of the XYZ affair and deteriorating relations with the new government of France, Washington accepts nominal command of American armies preparing for the impending conflict. War, however, is averted by the Adams administration.

December 14, Washington dies at Mount Vernon, of a throat infection, after making a tour of his estate on horseback in severe winter weather. In his will he frees his slaves.

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