Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 | Next Page
The Senate and Foreign Affairs
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson by Charles W. Peale
(Courtesy of the Independence National Historical Park)

Thomas Jefferson, U.S. consul to the Court of France, had not yet returned to the United States for his requested leave of absence when Washington appointed him as his Secretary of State. Jefferson had requested leave in order to tend to the affairs of his family and property and did not take up his new duties in New York until March 21, 1790. John Jay, who had been Secretary of Foreign Affairs under the Confederation Congress, continued to advise Washington and the Congress until he assumed the position of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

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