On This Day

Historical Events in 1789

  • Jan 21 1st American novel, WH Brown's "Power of Sympathy" is published
  • Jan 23 Georgetown, 1st US Catholic college, founded

French Revolution

Jan 24 Louis XVI of France issues an edict calling for the convocation of the Estates-General, a major event in the French Revolution

  • Jan 26 John Odell signs contract for £336 to build St Peter's church in the Bronx
  • Feb 1 Chinese troops driven out of Vietnam capital Thang Long

Election of Interest

Feb 4 1st US electoral college chooses George Washington as President and John Adams as Vice-President

  • Mar 2 Pennsylvania ends prohibition of theatrical performances
  • Mar 3 First whale harpooned in the Pacific Ocean by English ship Emilia off the coast of South America [1]

Constitution of the United States

Mar 4 1st US Congress meets and declares constitution in effect (9 senators, 13 reps)

  • Mar 4 US House of Representatives 1st full meeting, NYC, F Muhlenberg 1st speaker

Historic Event

Apr 21 John Adams sworn in as 1st US Vice President (9 days before Washington)

  • Apr 30 George Washington is inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America
  • May 5 French Estates-General meets for the first time since 1614 at Versailles, summoned King Louis XVI
  • May 7 First US Presidential inaugural ball (for George Washington in NYC)
  • May 12 Society of St Tammany is formed by Revolutionary War soldiers. It later becomes an infamous group of NYC political bosses

Britain Abolishes the Slave Trade

May 12 William Wilberforce makes his first major speech on abolition in the UK House of Commons, reasoning the slave trade morally reprehensible and an issue of natural justice

  • Jun 1 1st US congressional act becomes law (on administering oaths)
  • Jun 3 Explorer Alexander Mackenzie sets out on his first expedition to the Pacific from Fort Chipewyan (finds the Arctic Ocean instead)

Bill of Rights

Jun 8 James Madison introduces a proposed Bill of Rights in the US House of Representatives

  • Jun 9 Spanish capture British schooner Northwest America near Vancouver Island
  • Jun 13 Mrs Alexander Hamilton serves ice cream for dessert to Washington

Historic Event

Jun 14 Captain William Bligh and his loyal men cast offf from HMS Bounty reach Timor, after sailing 5,800 km in a 6-metre launch

  • Jun 17 French Revolution: During the meeting of the Estates-General, the Third Estate proclaims itself the 'National Assembly'

Tennis Court Oath

Jun 20 French Revolution: The Third Estate of the French Estates-General swears the Tennis Court Oath at the Palace of Versailles, swearing not to disband until a new constitution is formed

  • Jun 23 French King Louis XVI rejects the demands of the Third Estate, calling itself the National Assembly, during the opening stages of the French Revolution
  • Jun 27 French Revolution: King Louis XVI orders the nobility and clergy of the Estates-General to meet with the Third Estate, by then called the National Assembly
  • Jul 4 1st US tariff act signed by President Washington
  • Jul 6 French Revolution: the National Assembly forms a committee of thirty members to write a new constitution
  • Jul 9 French Revolution: the National Assembly renames itself the National Constituent Assembly
  • Jul 11 French King Louis XVI dismisses finance minister Jacques Necker, sparking riots in Paris

France Celebrates Bastille Day

Jul 14 Bastille Day - the French Revolution begins with the storming of the Bastille Prison in Paris (now celebrated as France's national day)

  • Jul 15 Gilbert du Motier, marquis de La Fayette, is named by acclamation colonel-general of the new National Guard of Paris

Historic Event

Jul 16 French King Louis XVI reinstates Jacques Necker as finance minister following riots at his dismissal

  • Jul 27 US Congress establishes Department of Foreign Affairs now referred to as the State Department
  • Aug 1 US Customs begins enforcing Tariff Act
  • Aug 4 French Revolution: The National Constituent Assembly meets and issues the first decrees that abolish centuries of feudalism in France
  • Aug 7 US Congress creates the Department of War and the United States Lighthouse Establishment
  • Aug 23 French Revolution: The National Assembly proclaims freedom of religious opinions
  • Aug 24 French Revolution: The National Assembly proclaims freedom of speech
  • Aug 26 The National Constituent Assembly adopts the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen at the beginning of the French Revolution
  • Aug 27 French National Assembly issues the "Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen"

Historic Discovery

Aug 28 William Herschel discovers Saturn's moon Enceladus

  • Sep 2 US Treasury Department established by Congress

Appointment of Interest

Sep 11 Alexander Hamilton appointed 1st Secretary of the US Treasury

Historic Publication

Sep 12 Jean-Paul Marat publishes the first issue of his radical newspaper Le Publiciste parisien, later called L'Ami du peuple (The Friend of the People) in Paris

  • Sep 13 1st loan to US government (from NYC banks)
  • Sep 15 US Department of Foreign Affairs, renamed Department of State
  • Sep 17 William Herschel discovers Mimas, satellite of Saturn
  • Sep 18 1st loan is made to pay salaries of the presidents & Congress
  • Sep 22 US Congress passes act requiring the first Postmaster General to report to the President through the Secretary of the Treasury
  • Sep 24 US Congress establishes Post Office Department following the new constitution
  • Sep 24 US Federal Judiciary Act passes, creating a six-person Supreme Court

Historic Event

Sep 24 President George Washington nominates John Jay for 1st Chief Justice

  • Sep 24 US Attorney General Office is created
  • Sep 25 US Congress proposes the Bill of Rights
  • Sep 26 4th US Postmaster General: Samuel Osgood of Mass takes office

Appointment of Interest

Sep 26 Thomas Jefferson appointed 1st US Secretary of State; John Jay becomes 1st US Chief Justice

  • Sep 26 Edmund J Randolph becomes 1st US Attorney General
  • Sep 29 US War Department establishes a regular army
  • Oct 2 George Washington transmits the proposed Constitutional amendments (The United States Bill of Rights) to the States for ratification
  • Oct 3 Washington proclaims 1st national Thanksgiving Day on Nov 26

Women's March on Versailles

Oct 5 French Revolution: Women of Paris march to Versailles in the March on Versailles to confront Louis XVI about his refusal to promulgate the decrees on the abolition of feudalism, demand bread, and have the King and his court moved to Paris

  • Oct 6 French Revolution: Louis XVI returns to Paris from Versailles after being confronted by the Parisian women on 5 October
  • Oct 12 French Revolution: King Louis XVI writes secretly to the King of Spain about complaining of harsh treatment; the Count of Artois writes to the Austrian king requesting military intervention in France
  • Oct 15 1st US presidential tour by George Washington in New England
  • Oct 21 French Revolution: The National Assembly declares martial law in France to prevent uprisings
  • Nov 5 Fleeing slaves under Bonni attack military post on Suriname
  • Nov 5 French National Meeting declares all citizens equal under law

Historic Event

Nov 6 Pope Pius VI appoints Father John Carroll as the first Catholic bishop in the United States

  • Nov 8 Bourbon Whiskey 1st distilled from corn by Elijah Craig in Bourbon, Kentucky

Historic Event

Nov 13 Benjamin Franklin writes "Nothing . . . certain but death & taxes"

  • Nov 20 New Jersey is 1st state to ratify Bill of Rights
  • Nov 21 North Carolina ratifies constitution, becomes 12th US state
  • Nov 26 1st national Thanksgiving in America