Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 | Next Page
The First Federal Congress
The Constitution of the United States of America
The Constitution of the United States
(Courtesy of the National Archives)

Article I of the Constitution outlines the powers of the United States Congress. Because the revolutionary generation favored legislative supremacy, Congress was the first branch of the federal government to come into being and had the responsibility for completing the definition of the other two branches. The powers expressed or implied in the Constitution enabled the First Federal Congress to create executive departments, define the structure and jurisdiction of the federal judiciary, raise and collect revenue to meet the needs of the government, and face difficult issues such as funding the payment of the foreign and state Revolutionary War debts and locating the United States capital, which were potentially divisive of the union.

Next Panel
Go to Exhibit Home
First Federal Congress Project
  Panel Table of Contents