1789 1790 1791 1792 1793


16 Apr. - 23 Apr. 1789

Washington travels from Mount Vernon to New York

30 Apr. 1789

Washington inaugurated.

Washington's Inauguration 1789

May - Sep. 1789

Congress debates the character and powers of the various executive departments

Summer - Fall 1789

Nootka Sound Crisis between Spain and Britain in the Pacific Northwest sparks concerns over threats to American neutrality

14 July 1789

Fall of the Bastille in Paris

Storming of the Bastille

26 Aug. 1789

In France, Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen issued

11 Sep. 1789

Senate approves Alexander Hamilton as Secretary of the Treasury

12 Sep. 1789

Senate approves Henry Knox as Secretary of War

Henry Knox by Gilbert Stuart, 1806

26 Sep. 1789

Senate approves Jefferson as Secretary of State

15 Oct. 1789

Washington departs New York for a one-month tour through New England

11 Dec. 1789

Jefferson receives Washington's letter with commission as secretary of state

Fall - Winter 1789

In Saint-Domingue, episodes of violence begin among white factions and between whites and people of color


9 Jan. 1790

Hamilton issues First Report on Public Credit

February 1790

Debates in Congress over Hamilton's report; James Madison emerges as a prominent opponent

14 Feb. 1790

Jefferson accepts appointment as Secretary of State

21 Mch. 1790

Jefferson arrives in New York

Government House, New York, 1790

Late March or early April 1790

Jefferson makes arrangements with editor John Fenno to include foreign news from Gazette de Leide in Gazette of the United States.

3 June 1790

Jefferson and Hamilton come into conflict over arrearages in soldiers' pay

Read the Document

20 June 1790

Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton strike an agreement in which Madison ceases opposition to Hamilton's plans for the assumption of state debts in exchange for a plan to create the Federal City on the Potomac River

August 1790

U.S. government moves from New York to Philadelphia

President's House, Philadelphia, 1790

12 Aug. 1790

Jefferson inaugurates inquiry into violations by states of Treaty of Peace of 1783

15 Aug. 1790

Jefferson departs with George Washington for Rhode Island; returns on 21 Aug

26 Aug. 1790

Jefferson lays out "rule of office" in circular to consuls

1 Sep. 1790

Jefferson leaves New York with Madison

13 Sep. 1790

Jefferson confers with landowners at Georgetown about seat of government

15 Sep. 1790

Jefferson reports to Washington at Mount Vernon about conference fixing the seat of government

19 Sep. - 8 Nov. 1790

Jefferson at Monticello and environs


20 Nov. 1790

Jefferson arrives at Philadelphia

13 - 14 Dec. 1790

Hamilton offers Second Report on Public Credit


January - February 1791

Congressional debate over the Bank Bill

24 Jan. 1791

Washington issues proclamation establishing the location of the Federal District

15 Feb. 1791

In response to Washington's query, Jefferson and Hamilton offer contrasting written opinions on the Bank Bill

Read the Document

25 Feb. 1791

Washington signs Bank Bill

28 Feb. 1791

Jefferson offers Philip Freneau a post as a translator in the State Department

Philip Freneau Portrait

15 Mch. 1791

Writing to American diplomats, Jefferson seeks collaboration from France, Spain, and Portugal on navigation laws

April - May 1791

Copies of Thomas Paine's Rights of Man become available; Jefferson unintentionally provides a testimonial for the American edition critiquing John Adams

10 Apr. 1791

Jefferson gives suggestions to Pierre L'Enfant on plan for the Federal City

Plan of the City of Washington

10 - 15 April 1791

Jefferson Hamilton exchange views on payment of U.S. debt to France

17 May - 19 June 1791

Jefferson and Madison journey to New York, Connecticut, and Vermont; they meet with Philip Freneau about the possibility of establishing a newspaper to counter Fenno's Gazette of the United States

4 Aug. 1791

Philip Freneau informs Jefferson of proposals for National Gazette

12 Aug. 1791

Jefferson receives new French minister, Jean Baptiste Ternant

22 Aug. 1791

Massive slave uprising begins in Saint-Domingue

Fire in Saint-Domingo 1791, German copper engraving

2 Sep. 1791

Jefferson leaves Philadelphia for Monticello

8 Sep. 1791

Jefferson confers with District of Columbia commissioners in Georgetown

20 Oct. 1791

Arrival of British minister to the United States, George Hammond

22 Oct. 1791

Jefferson returns to Philadelphia

24 Oct. 1791

Jefferson reports on first national census

31 Oct. 1791

Philip Freneau publishes the first issue of the National Gazette

4 Nov. 1791

Expedition led by Major General Arthur St. Clair, governor of the Northwest Territory, is defeated and routed by Native Americans

Portrait of Arthur St. Clair by Charles Wilson Peale, 1782

29 Nov. 1791

Jefferson begins negotiations with George Hammond over questions around the fulfillment of the provisions of the Treaty of Paris (1783)

5 Dec. 1791

Hamilton submits Report on the Subject of Manufactures to Congress

9 Dec. 1791

Washington learns of St. Clair's defeat


1 Feb. 1792

Congress passes act expanding U.S. military forces

27 Feb. 1792

Jefferson notifies Pierre L'Enfant of his dismissal

28 Feb. 1792

Jefferson informs Washington of his intention to retire

23 May 1792

Jefferson warns Washington about Hamilton's fiscal policies

29 May 1792

Jefferson writes to George Hammond on infractions of Treaty of Paris

Read the Document

3 June 1792

Jefferson and Hammond confer about infractions of peace treaty

Read the Document

13 July 1792

Jefferson leaves Philadelphia for annual visit to Monticello

9 Sep. 1792

Jefferson denounces Hamilton in a letter to Washington

5 Oct. 1792

Jefferson returns to Philadelphia

14 Oct. 1791

Jefferson instructs William Carmichael and William Short to oppose Spanish interference with Southern Indians

15 Oct. 1792

As a result of suspension of authority of Louis XVI, Jefferson instructs Gouverneur Morris, U.S. minister to France, to halt debt payments

17 Oct. 1792

Jefferson writes to Washington responding to Hamilton's criticisms on French debt and constitution

Read the Document

7 Nov. 1792

In a dispatch to Gouverneur Morris, Jefferson enunciates policy on diplomatic recognition of revolutionary France


3 Jan. 1793

Jefferson defends French Revolution in "Adam and Eve" letter to William Short

21 Jan. 1793

In France, Louis XVI is executed as a traitor to the Republic

Portrait of Louis XVI by Antoine-François Callet, 1779

1 Feb. 1793

France declares war on Great Britain and the Netherlands

27 Feb. - 1 Mch. 1793

Resolutions censuring Hamilton introduced and defeated in the House of Representatives

Read the Document


In France, military reverses and revolt in La Vendée lead to the "Terror"

7 Mch. 1793

France declares war on Spain

12 Mch. 1793

Jefferson instructs Gouverneur Morris to resume payments on the debt to France.

Read the Document

7 Apr. 1793

Jefferson notifies Washington of war between Great Britain and France

22 Apr. 1793

Washington proclaims U.S. neutrality in war between France and Great Britain

8 May 1793

In a communication to Edmund Randolph, Jefferson criticizes Hamilton's plan for enforcing neutrality

16 May 1793

Edmond Charles Genet presents credentials as minister plenipotentiary of the French Republic

Engraving of Edmond-Charles Genêt

21 June 1793

In Saint-Domingue, Cap Français burns in struggle among white French factions; Republican officials offer freedom to insurgent slaves in exchange for their support

30 June 1793

Jefferson prepares instructions to William Carmichael and William Short on diplomatic crisis with Spain

Read the Document

July 1793

Numbers of refugees from Saint-Domingue begin to arrive in American ports

5 - 12 July 1793

Crisis over the Little Sarah, a British merchant ship captured by the French and outfitted as an armed privateer in an American port

Read Documents pertaining to the Litle Sarah

Document 1 Document 2 Document 3 Document 4

31 July 1793

Jefferson writes to Washington notifying him of his plan to retire as secretary of state at the end of September

11 Aug. 1793

Jefferson writes Washington of his willingness to remain in office until the end of the year

29 Aug. 1793

Jefferson instructs Governor Isaac Shelby of Kentucky to oppose French expedition against Louisiana

Portrait of Isaac Shelby by Matthew H. Jouett

September - November 1793

Yellow fever epidemic in Philadelphia

7 Sep. 1793

Jefferson informs Edmond Charles Genet of the U.S. government's request for his recall and instructs Thomas Pinckney, U.S. minister to Great Britain, to protest British violations of American neutral rights

17 Sep. 1793

Jefferson leaves Philadelphia for Monticello

30 Nov. 1793

Jefferson arrives back in Philadelphia

31 Dec. 1793

Jefferson submits his accounts and resigns as secretary of state