Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress 1789-1791
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    Funding the National Debt
Old State House, Congress Hall and Town Hall, Chesnut St., Philadelphia,
by William Russell Birch and Thomas Birch
(Courtesy of the Library Company of Philadelphia)

"All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation."

Article VI

The Confederation Congress had lacked sufficient revenue to pay the foreign and domestic debts that had accumulated to more than 54 million dollars by 1790. Some Americans, especially those to whom the federal government was indebted, believed that provision for the public credit should be one of the first issues to be dealt with during the first session of the First Federal Congress.

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