Congress of the Confederation

The Congress of the Confederation, or the Confederation Congress, formally referred to as the United States in Congress Assembled, was the governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789. A unicameral body with legislative and executive function, it was composed of delegates appointed by the legislatures of the several states. Each state delegation had one vote. It was preceded by the Second Continental Congress (1775–1781) and governed under the newly adopted Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, which were proposed in 1776–1777, adopted by the Continental Congress in July 1778 and finally agreed to by a unanimous vote of all thirteen states by 1781. It was held up by a long dispute over the cession of western territories beyond the Appalachian Mountains to the central government led by Maryland and a coalition of smaller states without western claims. The plan was introduced by Maryland politician John Hanson and was referred to as 'The Hanson Plan'. The newly reorganized Congress at the time continued to refer itself as the Continental Congress throughout its eight-year history, although modern historians separate it from the earlier bodies, which operated under slightly different rules and procedures until the later part of American Revolutionary War.[1] The membership of the Second Continental Congress automatically carried over to the Congress of the Confederation when the latter was created by the ratification of the Articles of Confederation. It had the same secretary as the Second Continental Congress, namely Charles Thomson. The Congress of the Confederation was succeeded by the Congress of the United States as provided for in the new Constitution of the United States, proposed September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia and ratified by the states through 1787 to 1788 and even into 1789 and 1790.[2]

Congress of the Confederation
United States of America
Coat of arms or logo
Term limits
3 out of 6 years
EstablishedMarch 1, 1781
DisbandedMarch 3, 1789
Preceded bySecond Continental Congress
Succeeded by1st United States Congress
SeatsVariable, ~50
CommitteesCommittee of the States
CommitteesCommittee of the Whole
Length of term
1 year
Last election
Meeting place
Pennsylvania State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (first)
City Hall, New York, New York (last)
Articles of Confederation
Though there were about 50 members of the Congress at any given time, each state delegation voted en bloc, with each state having a single vote.


The Congress of the Confederation opened in the last stages of the American Revolution. Combat ended in October 1781, with the surrender of the British after the Siege and Battle of Yorktown. The British, however, continued to occupy New York City, while the American delegates in Paris, named by the Congress, negotiated the terms of peace with Great Britain.[3] Based on preliminary articles with the British negotiators made on November 30, 1782, and approved by the "Congress of the Confederation" on April 15, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was further signed on September 3, 1783, and ratified by Confederation Congress then sitting at the Maryland State House in Annapolis on January 14, 1784. This formally ended the American Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the thirteen former colonies, which on July 4, 1776, had declared independence. In December 1783, General George Washington, commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, journeyed to Annapolis after saying farewell to his officers (at Fraunces Tavern) and men who had just reoccupied New York City after the departing British Army. On December 23, at the Maryland State House, where the Congress met in the Old Senate Chamber, he addressed the civilian leaders and delegates of Congress and returned to them the signed commission they had voted him back in June 1775, at the beginning of the conflict. With that simple gesture of acknowledging the first civilian power over the military, he took his leave and returned by horseback the next day to his home and family at Mount Vernon near the colonial river port city on the Potomac River at Alexandria in Virginia.

On March 1, 1781, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were signed by delegates of Maryland at a meeting of the Second Continental Congress, which then declared the Articles ratified. As historian Edmund Burnett wrote, "There was no new organization of any kind, not even the election of a new President." The Congress still called itself the Continental Congress. Nevertheless, despite its being generally the same exact governing body, with some changes in membership over the years as delegates came and went individually according to their own personal reasons and upon instructions of their state governments, some modern historians would later refer to the Continental Congress after the ratification of the Articles as the Congress of the Confederation or the Confederation Congress. (The Congress itself continued to refer to itself at the time as the Continental Congress.)

The Congress had little power and without the external threat of a war against the British, it became more difficult to get enough delegates to meet to form a quorum. Nonetheless the Congress still managed to pass important laws, most notably the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.

The War of Independence saddled the country with an enormous debt. In 1784, the total Confederation debt was nearly $40 million. Of that sum, $8 million was owed to the French and Dutch. Of the domestic debt, government bonds, known as loan-office certificates, composed $11.5 million, certificates on interest indebtedness $3.1 million, and continental certificates $16.7 million.

The certificates were non-interest bearing notes issued for supplies purchased or impressed, and to pay soldiers and officers. To pay the interest and principal of the debt, Congress had twice proposed an amendment to the Articles granting them the power to lay a 5% duty on imports, but amendments to the Articles required the consent of all thirteen states: the 1781 impost plan had been rejected by Rhode Island and Virginia, while the revised plan, discussed in 1783, was rejected by New York.

Without revenue, except for meager voluntary state requisitions, Congress could not even pay the interest on its outstanding debt. Meanwhile, the states regularly failed, or refused, to meet the requisitions requested of them by Congress.[4]

To that end, in September 1786, after resolving a series of disputes regarding their common border along the Potomac River, delegates of Maryland and Virginia called for a larger assembly to discuss various situations and governing problems to meet at the Maryland state capital on the Chesapeake Bay. The later Annapolis Convention with some additional state representatives joining in the sessions first attempted to look into improving the earlier original Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. There were enough problems to bear further discussion and deliberation that the Convention called for a wider meeting to recommend changes and meet the next year in the late Spring of 1787 in Philadelphia. The Confederation Congress itself endorsed the Call and issued one on its own further inviting the states to send delegates. After meeting in secret all summer in the Old Pennsylvania State House now having acquired the nickname and new title of Independence Hall, from the famous action here eleven years earlier. The Philadelphia Convention, under the presidency of former General George Washington instead of a series of amendments, or altering the old charter, issued a proposed new Constitution for the United States to replace the 1776–1778 Articles. The Confederation Congress received and submitted the new Constitution document to the states, and the Constitution was later ratified by enough states (nine were required) to become operative in June 1788. On September 12, 1788, the Confederation Congress set the date for choosing the new Electors in the Electoral College that was set up for choosing a President as January 7, 1789, the date for the Electors to vote for the President as on February 4, 1789, and the date for the Constitution to become operative as March 4, 1789, when the new Congress of the United States should convene, and that they at a later date set the time and place for the Inauguration of the new first President of the United States.

The Congress of the Confederation continued to conduct business for another month after setting the various dates. On October 10, 1788, the Congress formed a quorum for the last time; afterwards, although delegates would occasionally appear, there were never enough to officially conduct business. The last meeting of the Continental Congress was held March 2, 1789, two days before the new Constitutional government took over; only one member was present at said meeting, Philip Pell, an ardent Anti-Federalist and opponent of the Constitution, who was accompanied by the Congressional secretary. Pell oversaw the meeting and adjourned the Congress sine die.

Presiding officer

The Continental Congress was presided over by a president (referred to in many official records as President of the United States in Congress Assembled), who was a member of Congress elected by the other delegates to serve as a neutral discussion moderator during meetings. Elected to a non-renewable one-year term, this person also chaired the Committee of the States when Congress was in recess, and performed other administrative functions. He was not, however, an executive in the way the later President of the United States is a chief executive, since all of the functions he executed were under the direct control of Congress.[5] There were 10 presidents of Congress under the Articles. The first, Samuel Huntington, had been serving as president of the Continental Congress since September 28, 1779.

Meeting sites

The Second Continental Congress was meeting at the Old Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the time the Articles of Confederation entered into force on March 1, 1781, but left after a anti-government protest by several hundred soldiers of the Continental Army in June 1783. Congress moved its meeting site successively to Princeton, New Jersey, Annapolis, Maryland, Trenton, New Jersey, and then in January 1785 New York City, which remained the seat of government for several years.[6]

List of sessions

First Congress
March 2, 1781[a]
  November 3, 1781
Pennsylvania State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Independence Hall
President: Samuel Huntington of Connecticut[b] (until July 10, 1781)
           Thomas McKean of Delaware (from July 10, 1781)
Second Congress
November 5, 1781 –
  November 2, 1782
Pennsylvania State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Independence Hall
President: John Hanson of Maryland
Third Congress
November 4, 1782 –
  November 1, 1783
Pennsylvania State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(until June 21, 1783)
Independence Hall
Nassau Hall, Princeton, New Jersey
(from June 30, 1783)
Nassau Hall Princeton
President: Elias Boudinot of New Jersey
Fourth Congress
November 3, 1783 –
  June 3, 1784
Nassau Hall, Princeton, New Jersey
(until November 4, 1783)
Nassau Hall Princeton
Maryland State House, Annapolis, Maryland
(from November 26, 1783)
Maryland State House from College Ave
President: Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania
Fifth Congress
November 1, 1784 –
  November 6, 1785
French Arms Tavern, Trenton, New Jersey
(until December 24, 1784)
Flickr - USCapitol - Trenton, 1784
City Hall, New York, New York
(from January 11, 1785)
New York City Hall 1789b
President: Richard Henry Lee of Virginia (from November 30, 1784)
Sixth Congress
November 7, 1785 –
  November 2, 1786
City Hall, New York, New York New York City Hall 1789b
President: John Hancock of Massachusetts (from November 23, 1785 until June 5, 1786)
           Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts (from June 6, 1786)
Seventh Congress
November 6, 1786 –
  November 4, 1787
City Hall, New York, New York New York City Hall 1789b
President: Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania (from February 2, 1787)
Eighth Congress
November 5, 1787 –
  October 31, 1788
City Hall, New York, New York New York City Hall 1789b
President: Cyrus Griffin of Virginia (from January 22, 1788)
Ninth Congress
November 3, 1788[c]
  March 3, 1789[d]
City Hall, New York, New York New York City Hall 1789b
President: vacant

See also


  1. ^ Ratification of the Articles of Confederation was concluded on February 2, 1781, and certified as having come into force by the Continental Congress on March 1, 1781, and the United States in Congress Assembled government convened for the first time on March 2, 1781.
  2. ^ President of the Second Continental Congress from September 28, 1779.
  3. ^ November 3, 1788 was the stated first day of the 1788–89 Congressional Year. From this date to March 3, 1789, delegates from various states occasionally gathered, but never in sufficient number to constitute a quorum (namely, delegates from seven of the 13 states). As a result, Congress never transacted any official business.
  4. ^ On September 14, 1788, the Confederation Congress resolved that March 4, 1789, would be the commencement date of the federal government under the Constitution, thus dissolving the Continental Congress on March 3, 1789.


  1. ^ "Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789", Edited by Worthington C. Ford et al. 34 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904–37.
  2. ^ "Confederation Congress". Ohio Historical Society. Retrieved October 23, 2010.
  3. ^ See: Peace of Paris (1783)#Treaty with the United States of America.
  4. ^ Proposed Amendments to the Articles of Confederation Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789. Edited by Worthington C. Ford et al. 34 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1904–37. 31:494–98
  5. ^ Jensen, Merrill (1959). The Articles of Confederation: An Interpretation of the Social-Constitutional History of the American Revolution, 1774–1781. University of Wisconsin Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN 978-0-299-00204-6.
  6. ^ DiCamillo, Michael (2015). "Articles of Confederation". The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, Rutgers University–Camden. Retrieved April 19, 2019.


  • Burnett, Edmund C. "The Continental Congress". Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 0-8371-8386-3.
  • Henderson, H. James. "Party Politics in the Continental Congress". Boston: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0-8191-6525-5.
  • Jensen, Merrill (1950). "New Nation: A History of the United States During the Confederation, 1781–1789". New York: Knopf.
  • McLaughlin, Andrew C. (1935). "A Constitutional History of the United States". ISBN 978-1-931313-31-5.
  • Montross, Lynn. "The Reluctant Rebels; the Story of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789". New York: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 0-389-03973-X.
  • Morris, Richard B. (1987). "The Forging of the Union, 1781–1789". New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-091424-6.
  • Morris, Richard B. (1956). "The Confederation Period and the American Historian". William and Mary Quarterly. 13 (2): 139–156. doi:10.2307/1920529. JSTOR 1920529.
  • Rakove, Jack N. (1979). "The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress". New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-394-42370-4.

External links

Preceded by
Second Continental Congress
Legislature of the United States
March 1, 1781 – March 4, 1789
Succeeded by
United States Congress

The 1780s decade ran from January 1, 1780, to December 31, 1789.

== Events ==

=== 1780 ===

==== January–March ====

January 16 – American Revolutionary War – Battle of Cape St. Vincent: British Admiral Sir George Rodney defeats a Spanish fleet.

February 19 – The legislature of New York votes to allow its delegates to cede a portion of its western territory to the Continental Congress for the common benefit of the war.

March 1 – The legislature of Pennsylvania votes, 34 to 21, to approve the Act for the Gradual Emancipation of Slaves.

March 11

The First League of Armed Neutrality is formed by Russia with Denmark and Sweden to try to prevent the British Royal Navy from searching neutral vessels for contraband (February 28 O.S.).

General Lafayette embarks on French frigate Hermione at Rochefort, arriving in Boston on April 28, carrying the news that he has secured French men and ships to reinforce the American side in the American Revolutionary War.

March 17 – American Revolutionary War: The British San Juan Expedition sails from Jamaica under the command of Captains John Polson and Horatio Nelson to attack the Captaincy General of Guatemala (modern-day Nicaragua) in New Spain.

March 26 – The British Gazette and Sunday Monitor, the first Sunday newspaper in Britain, begins publication.

==== April–June ====

April 16 – The University of Münster in Münster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany is founded.

April 29 – American Revolutionary War: The Spanish commander of the Fortress of the Immaculate Conception on the San Juan River in modern-day Nicaragua surrenders it to the British San Juan Expedition.

May 4 – The first Epsom Derby horse race is run on Epsom Downs, Surrey, England. The victor is Diomed.

May 12 – American Revolutionary War: Charleston, South Carolina is taken by British forces.

May 13 – The Cumberland Compact is signed by American settlers, in the Cumberland Valley of Tennessee.

May 19 – New England's Dark Day: An unaccountable darkness spreads over New England, regarded by some observers as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

May 29 – American Revolutionary War – Waxhaw Massacre: Loyalist forces under Colonel Banastre Tarleton kill surrendering American soldiers.

June 2 – An Anti-Catholic mob led by Lord George Gordon marches on the Parliament of Great Britain, leading to the outbreak of the Gordon Riots in London.

June 7 – The Gordon Riots in London are ended by the intervention of troops. About 285 people are shot dead, with another 200 wounded and around 450 arrested.

June 23 – American Revolutionary War – Battle of Springfield: The Continental Army defeats the British in New Jersey.

==== July–September ====

July 11 – French soldiers arrive in Newport, Rhode Island to reinforce the colonists, in the American Revolutionary War.

July 17 – The first bank created in the United States, the Bank of Pennsylvania, is chartered.

August 16 – American Revolutionary War – Battle of Camden: British troops inflict heavy losses on a Patriot army at Camden, South Carolina.

August 9 – American Revolutionary War: Spanish admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova captures a British convoy totalling 55 vessels amongst Indiamen, frigates and other cargo ships off Cape St. Vincent.

August 24 – Louis XVI of France abolishes the use of torture in extracting confessions.

September 21 – Benedict Arnold gives detailed plans of West Point to Major John André. Three days later, André is captured, with papers revealing that Arnold was planning to surrender West Point to the British.

September 25 – Benedict Arnold flees to British-held New York.

September 29 The Danish ship-of-the-line Printz Friderich ran aground on the Kobbergrund shoal and was a total loss

==== October–December ====

October 2 – American Revolutionary War – In Tappan, New York, British spy John André is hanged by American forces.

October 7 – American Revolutionary War – Battle of Kings Mountain: Patriot militia forces annihilate Loyalists under British Major Patrick Ferguson, at Kings Mountain, South Carolina.

October 10–16 – The Great Hurricane flattens the islands of Barbados, Martinique and Sint Eustatius; 22,000 are killed.

November 4 – Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II: In the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, Túpac Amaru II leads an uprising of Aymara and Quechua peoples and mestizo peasants as a protest against the Bourbon Reforms.

November 28 – A lightning strike in Saint Petersburg begins a fire that burns 11,000 homes.

November 29 – Maria Theresa of Austria dies, and her Habsburg dominions pass to her ambitious son, Joseph II, who has already been Holy Roman Emperor since 1765.

November 30 – American Revolutionary War: The British San Juan Expedition is forced to withdraw.

December 16 – Emperor Kōkaku accedes to the throne of Japan.

December 20 – The Fourth Anglo-Dutch War begins.

==== Date unknown ====

Jose Gabriel Kunturkanki, businessman and landowner, proclaims himself Inca Túpac Amaru II.

The Duke of Richmond calls, in the House of Lords of Great Britain, for manhood suffrage and annual parliaments, which are rejected.

Jeremy Bentham's Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation, presenting his formulation of utilitarian ethics, is printed (but not published) in London.

Nikephoros Theotokis starts introducing Edinoverie, an attempt to integrate the Old Believers into Russia's established church.

The Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey distillery begins operation in Kentucky.

In Ireland, Lady Berry, who is sentenced to death for the murder of her son, is released when she agrees to become an executioner (she retires in 1810).

The original Craven Cottage is built by William Craven, 6th Baron Craven, in London, on what will become the centre circle of Fulham F.C.'s pitch.

The amateur dramatic group Det Dramatiske Selskab is founded in Christiania, Norway.

Western countries pay 16,000,000 ounces of silver for Chinese goods.

The Kingdom of Great Britain reaches c.9 million population.

=== 1781 ===

==== January–March ====

January – William Pitt the Younger, later Prime Minister of Great Britain, enters Parliament, aged 21.

January 1 – Industrial Revolution: The Iron Bridge opens across the River Severn in England.

January 2 – Virginia passes a law ceding its western land claims, paving the way for Maryland to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

January 5 – American Revolutionary War: Richmond, Virginia is burned by British naval forces, led by Benedict Arnold.

January 6 – Battle of Jersey: British troops prevent the French from occupying Jersey in the Channel Islands.

January 17 – American Revolutionary War – Battle of Cowpens: The American Continental Army, under Daniel Morgan, decisively defeats British forces in South Carolina.

February 2 – The Articles of Confederation are ratified by Maryland, the 13th and final state to do so.

February 3 – Fourth Anglo-Dutch War – Capture of Sint Eustatius: British forces take the Dutch Caribbean island of Sint Eustatius, with only a few shots fired. On November 26 it is retaken by Dutch-allied French forces.

March – Riots break out in Socorro, Santander, and spread to other towns.

March 1 – The United States Continental Congress implements the Articles of Confederation, forming its Perpetual Union as the United States in Congress Assembled.

March 13 – Sir William Herschel discovers the planet Uranus. Originally he calls it Georgium Sidus (George's Star), in honour of King George III of Great Britain.

March 15 – American Revolutionary War – Battle of Guilford Court House: American General Nathanael Greene loses to the British.

==== April–June ====

April 6 – The rebellion by Túpac Amaru II, against the Spanish colonial government of Peru, is ended as Tupac, his wife and two of his sons are captured at Checacupe.

April 10 – Future U.S. President Andrew Jackson, age 14, is slashed by a British officer's sword at his home near Waxhaw, North Carolina, after refusing to clean the officer's boots, an event that leaves physical and psychological scars.

April 14 – The Continental Congress votes a resolution thanking U.S. Captain John Paul Jones for his services.

April 18 – Future New York mayor James Duane, North Carolina representative William Sharpe and future Connecticut governor Oliver Wolcott deliver the first report to the U.S. Continental Congress about the national debt and report it to be 24,057,157 and 2/5 dollars.

April 25 – The Battle of Hobkirk's Hill took place in Camden, South Carolina

May 9 – General John Campbell, defender of the British colony of West Florida, surrenders the capital at Pensacola to Spanish forces commanded by Bernardo de Galvez.

May 18 – A Spanish army sent from Lima puts down the Inca rebellions, and captures and savagely executes Túpac Amaru II.

June 4 – The commission agrees to the rebels' terms: reduction of the alcabala and of the Indians' forced tribute, abolition of the new taxes on tobacco, and preference for Criollos over peninsulares in government positions.

==== July–September ====

July 27 – French spy François Henri de la Motte is hanged and drawn before a large crowd at Tyburn, London in England for high treason.

July 29 – American Revolution – Skirmish at the House in the Horseshoe: A Tory force under David Fanning attacks Phillip Alston's smaller force of Whigs, at Alston's home in Cumberland County, North Carolina (in present day Moore County, North Carolina). Alston's troops surrender, after Fanning's men attempt to ram the house with a cart of burning straw.

August 30 – American Revolution: A French fleet under Comte de Grasse enters Chesapeake Bay, cutting British General Charles Cornwallis off from escape by sea.

September 4 – Los Angeles is founded as El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de Los Ángeles de Porciuncula ("City of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels of Porciuncula"), by a group of 44 Spanish settlers in California.

September 5 – American Revolution – Battle of the Chesapeake: A British fleet under Thomas Graves arrives and fights de Grasse, but is unable to break through to relieve the Siege of Yorktown.

September 6 – American Revolution – Battle of Groton Heights: A British force under Benedict Arnold attacks a fort in Groton, Connecticut, achieving a strategic victory.

September 8 – American Revolution – Battle of Eutaw Springs, South Carolina: The war's last significant battle, in the Southern theatre, ends in a narrow British tactical victory.

September 10 – American Revolution: Graves gives up trying to break through the now-reinforced French fleet and returns to New York, leaving Cornwallis to his fate.

September 28 – American Revolution: American and French troops begin a siege of the British at Yorktown, Virginia.

==== October–December ====

October 12 – The first bagpipes competition is held in the Masonic Arms, Falkirk, Scotland.

October 19 – American Revolution: Following the Siege of Yorktown, General Charles Cornwallis surrenders to General George Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, ending the armed struggle of the American Revolution.

October 20 – A Patent of Toleration, providing limited freedom of worship, is approved in the Habsburg Monarchy.

November 5 – John Hanson is elected President of the Continental Congress.

November 29

English slave traders begin to throw approximately 142 slaves taken on in Accra overboard alive from the slave ship Zong in the Caribbean Sea to conserve supplies for the remainder; the Liverpool owners subsequently attempt to reclaim part of their value from insurers.

Henry Hurle officially founds the Ancient Order of Druids in London, England.

December – A school is founded in Washington County, Pennsylvania that will later be known as Washington & Jefferson College.

December 12 – American Revolutionary War – Second Battle of Ushant: The British Royal Navy, commanded by Rear Admiral Richard Kempenfelt in HMS Victory, decisively defeats the French fleet in the Bay of Biscay.

==== Date unknown ====

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor abolishes serfdom.

The Bank of North America is chartered by the Continental Congress.

Charles Messier publishes the final catalog of Messier objects.

Carl Wilhelm Scheele discovers tungsten.

Immanuel Kant publishes his Critique of Pure Reason.

Reverend Samuel Peters publishes his General History of Connecticut, using the term blue law for the first time.

Phillips Exeter Academy is founded in New Hampshire.

=== 1782 ===

==== January–March ====

January 7 – The first American commercial bank (Bank of North America) opens.

January 15 – Superintendent of Finance Robert Morris goes before the U.S. Congress, to recommend establishment of a national mint and decimal coinage.

January 23 – The Laird of Johnstone (George Ludovic Houston) invites people to buy marked plots of land which, when built upon, form the planned town of Johnstone, Scotland, to provide employment for his thread and cotton mills.

February 5 – The Spanish defeat British forces, and capture Menorca.

February 27 – The British House of Commons votes against further war in America, paving the way for the Second Rockingham ministry and the Peace of Paris.

March 8 – Gnadenhutten massacre: In Ohio, 29 Native American men, 27 women, and 34 children are killed by white militiamen, in retaliation for raids carried out by another Native American group.

March 14 – Battle of Wuchale: Emperor Tekle Giyorgis pacifies a group of Oromo near Wuchale.

March 27 – Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

March 31 (Easter Sunday) – Mission San Buenaventura is founded in Las Californias, part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain.

==== April–June ====

April 6 – Rama I overthrows King Taksin of Siam (now Thailand) in a coup d'état, and moves the political capital from Thonburi, across the Menam to Rattanakosin Island, the historic center of Bangkok.

April 12 – Battle of the Saintes: A British fleet under Admiral Sir George Rodney defeats a French fleet under the Comte de Grasse, in the West Indies.

April 19 – John Adams secures recognition of the United States as an independent government by the Dutch Republic. During this visit, he also negotiates a loan of five million guilders, financed by Nicolaas van Staphorst and Wilhelm Willink.

April 21 – A Lak Mueang (city pillar) is erected on Rattanakosin Island, located on the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River, by order of King Rama I, an act considered the founding of the capital city of Bangkok.

May 17 – The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Repeal of Act for Securing Dependence of Ireland Act, a major component of the reforms collectively known as the Constitution of 1782, which restore legislative independence to the Parliament of Ireland.

June 18 – In Switzerland, Anna Göldi is sentenced to death for witchcraft (the last legal witchcraft sentence).

June 20 – The bald eagle is chosen as the emblem of the United States of America. On the same day, the Confederation Congress adopts the design for the Great Seal of the United States.

==== July–September ====

July – Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, receives a visit from Pope Pius VI.

July 1 – Raid on Lunenburg: American privateers attack the British settlement at Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

July 16–August 29 – The Masonic Congress of Wilhelmsbad, Germany, one of history's most important ever secret society congresses, takes place. High-degree Freemasons from the whole of Europe spend the time deliberating the fate of the rite of Strict Observance, and hierarchy of the governing bodies of world Freemasonry, at the Hanau-Wilhelmsbad spa.

July 16 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail premieres at the Burgtheater in Vienna.

August 7

George Washington orders the creation of the Badge of Military Merit (or the Order of the Purple Heart) to honor soldiers' merit in battle (reinstated later by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and renamed to the more poetic "Purple Heart", to honor soldiers wounded in action).

Étienne Maurice Falconet's Bronze Horseman statue of Tsar Peter the Great is unveiled in Saint Petersburg.

August 21 – A fire breaks out in Constantinople at 9:00 in the evening and burns for two and a half days, destroying thousands of buildings and one-half of the city, and killing hundreds of people.

September 7 – Correspondents to the Jewish Calendar, 5543.

September 17 – 1782 Central Atlantic hurricane devastates a British Royal Navy fleet off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland with the loss of 3,500 lives.

==== October–December ====

October 10 – Welsh actress Sarah Siddons, the pre-eminent star of the English stage, makes a triumphant return to the theatre in the title role of David Garrick's new play, Isabella, or The Fatal Marriage.

October 18

The first franking privilege is granted for official correspondence to be sent at no charge to and from members of the Confederation Congress, at government expense, during periods when the Congress is in session.

John Adams returns to Paris as the first United States Minister to France.

November 4 – Elias Boudinot of New Jersey is elected the new President of the Congress of the Confederation.

November 30 – American Revolutionary War: In Paris, representatives from the United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain sign preliminary peace articles (later formalized in the Treaty of Paris).

December 6 – Correspondents to the Islamic calendar, 1197.

December 12 – American Revolutionary War: Action of 12 December 1782: A naval engagement off Ferrol, Spain, in which the British ship HMS Mediator commanded by James Luttrell successfully attacks a convoy of French and American ships attempting to supply the United States.

December 14 – The Montgolfier brothers first test fly a hot air balloon in France; it floats nearly 2 km (1.2 mi).

December 16 – British East India Company: Hada and Mada Miah lead the first anti-British uprising in the subcontinent against Robert Lindsay and his contingents in Sylhet Shahi Eidgah.

==== Date unknown ====

Chief Kamehameha I of Hawaii gains control of the northern part of the island of Hawaii, after defeating his cousin Kīwalaʻō.

Princess Yekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova is the first woman in the world to direct a scientific academy, the Imperial Academy of Arts and Sciences.

London creates the Foot Patrol for public security.

The British Parliament extends James Watt's patent for the steam engine to the year 1800.

The North Carolina General Assembly incorporates Washington, North Carolina.

In China, the Siku Quanshu is completed, the largest literary compilation in China's history (surpassing the Yongle Encyclopedia of the 15th century). The books are bound in 36,381 volumes (册) with more than 79,000 chapters (卷), comprising about 2.3 million pages, and approximately 800 million Chinese characters.

Foundation of the first theater in the Baltic, the Riga City Theater.

Saint Petersburg, Russia has 300,000 inhabitants.

=== 1783 ===

==== January–March ====

January 20 – At Versailles, Great Britain signs preliminary peace treaties with the Kingdom of France and the Kingdom of Spain.

January 23 – The Confederation Congress ratifies two October 8, 1782, treaties signed by the United States with the United Netherlands.

February 3 – American Revolutionary War: Great Britain acknowledges the independence of the United States of America. At this time, the Spanish government does not grant diplomatic recognition.

February 4 – American Revolutionary War: Great Britain formally declares that it will cease hostilities with the United States.

February 5 – 1783 Calabrian earthquakes: The first of a sequence of five earthquakes strikes Calabria, Italy (February 5–7, March 1 & 28), leaving 50,000 dead.

February 7 – Great Siege of Gibraltar abandoned.

February 26 – The United States Continental Army's Corps of Engineers is disbanded.

March 5 – The last celebration of Massacre Day is held in Boston, Massachusetts.

March 15 – Newburgh Conspiracy: A potential uprising in the Continental Army stationed at Newburgh, New York is defused, when George Washington asks the officers to support the supremacy of the United States Congress.

==== April–June ====

April – Peace and Commercial Treaty signed between the newly-formed United States and Sweden in Paris, the first act of state concluded between the U.S. and a foreign power.

April 8 – The Crimean Khanate, which has existed since 1441 and is the last remnant of the Mongol Golden Horde, is annexed by the Russian Empire of Catherine the Great.

April 15 – Preliminary articles of peace ending the American Revolutionary War are ratified by the Congress of the Confederation in the United States.

April 18 – Three-Fifths Compromise: the first instance of black slaves in the United States of America being counted as three fifths of persons (for the purpose of taxation), in a resolution of the Congress of the Confederation. (This was later adopted in the 1787 Constitution.)

May 13 – The Society of the Cincinnati, a fraternal organization for American veterans of the American Revolution, is formed in Newburgh, New York.

May 18 – The first United Empire Loyalists, fleeing the new United States, reach Parrtown in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada.

May 26 – A Great Jubilee Day, celebrating the end of the American Revolution, is held in Trumbull, Connecticut.

June 4 or June 5 – The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrate their montgolfière hot air balloon at Annonay, France.

June 8 – The volcano Laki in Iceland begins an 8-month eruption, starting the chain of natural disasters known as the Móðuharðindin, killing tens of thousands throughout Europe, including up to 33% of Iceland's population, and causing widespread famine. It has been described as one of "the greatest environmental catastrophes in European history".

General George Washington sends a letter to the 13 governors of the confederation of United States regarding the needs of the nation.

==== July–September ====

July 16 – Grants of land in Canada to American Loyalists are announced.

July 24 – The Treaty of Georgievsk is signed between Imperial Russia and the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti, making Georgia a protectorate of Russia.

August 4 – Mount Asama, the most active volcano in Japan, begins a climactic eruption, killing roughly 1,400 people directly and exacerbating a famine, resulting in another 20,000 deaths (Edo period, Tenmei 3).

August 10 – The British East India Company packet ship Antelope (1781) is wrecked off Ulong Island in the Palau (Pelew) group, resulting in the first sustained European contact with those islands.

August 18 – The 1783 Great Meteor passes on a 1,000-mile track across the North Sea, Great Britain and France, prompting scientific discussion.

August 27 – Jacques Charles and Les Frères Robert launch the world's first hydrogen-filled balloon, Le Globe, in Paris.

September 3 – Peace of Paris: A treaty between the United States and Great Britain is signed in Paris, formally ending the American Revolutionary War and granting the United States independence from Great Britain; and treaties are signed between Britain, France and Spain at Versailles, ending hostilities with the Franco-Spanish Alliance. This is also the beginning of the Old West.

September 9 – Dickinson College is chartered in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

==== October–December ====

October 3 – The first Waterford Crystal glassmaking business begins production in Waterford, Ireland.

November 2 – In Rocky Hill, New Jersey, United States General George Washington gives his Farewell Address to the Army.

November 3 – The American Continental Army is disbanded as the first act of business by the Confederation Congress, after Thomas Mifflin is elected the new President to succeed Elias Boudinot.

November 21 – In Paris, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent, marquis d'Arlandes, make the first untethered hot air balloon flight (flight time: 25 minutes, Maximum height: 900 m).

November 24 – In Spain, the Cedula of Population is signed, stating that anyone who will swear fealty to Spain and is of the Roman Catholic faith is welcome to populate Trinidad and Tobago.

November 25 – American Revolutionary War: The last British troops leave New York City and George Washington triumphantly returns, three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

November 27 – English rector John Michell concludes that some stars might have enough gravity force to prevent light escaping from them, so he calls them "dark stars".

November 29 – 1783 New Jersey earthquake: An earthquake of 5.3 magnitude strikes New Jersey.

December 1 – Jacques Charles and Nicolas-Louis Robert make the first manned flight in a hydrogen-filled balloon, La Charlière, in Paris.

December 4 – At Fraunces Tavern in New York City, U.S. General George Washington formally bids his officers farewell.

December 23 – General George Washington resigns his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army to the Congress of the Confederation in the Maryland State House in Annapolis, Maryland, and retires to his home at Mount Vernon. Washington's resignation, described by historian Thomas Fleming as "the most important moment in American history," affirms the United States' commitment to the principle of civilian control of the military, and prompts King George III to call Washington "the greatest character of the age."

December 31 – Louis-Sébastien Lenormand makes the first ever recorded public demonstration of a parachute descent, by jumping from the tower of the Montpellier Observatory in France, using his rigid-framed model, which he intends as a form of fire escape.

==== Date unknown ====

Loyalists from New York settle Great Abaco in the Bahamas.

The city of Sevastopol is founded on the Crimean Peninsula of the Russian Empire, by rear admiral Thomas MacKenzie.

Princess Yekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova is elected an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the first female foreign member and its second female member, after Eva Ekeblad.

The Evan Williams (bourbon) distillery is founded in Bardstown, Kentucky.

=== 1784 ===

==== January–March ====

January 6 – The Ottoman Empire agrees to Russia's annexation of the Crimea, in the Treaty of Constantinople.

January 14 – The Congress of the United States ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain to end the American Revolutionary War, with the signature of President of Congress Thomas Mifflin.

January 15 – Henry Cavendish's paper to the Royal Society of London, Experiments on Air, reveals the composition of water.

February 24 – The Captivity of Mangalorean Catholics at Seringapatam begins.

February 28 – John Wesley ordains ministers for the Methodist Church in the United States.

March 1 – The Confederation Congress accepts Virginia's cession of all rights to the Northwest Territory and to Kentucky.

March 22 – The Emerald Buddha is installed at the Wat Phra Kaew, on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.

==== April–June ====

April 23 – The Congress of the Confederation passes the Ordinance of Governance to set guidelines for adding to the original 13 states in the United States of America.

April 27 – The Marriage of Figaro, written by playwright Pierre Beaumarchais as a sequel to The Barber of Seville, premieres at the Comédie-Française in Paris.

May 12 – The Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3 the previous year, comes into effect.

May 20 – A treaty is signed in Paris between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Dutch Republic, formally ending the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War.

June 4 – Elizabeth Thible is the first woman to ride in a hot air balloon, at Lyon, France.

==== July–September ====

July 9 – The Bank of New York opens as the first in New York state and continues to operate under that name for almost 223 years until being acquired by Mellon Financial and becoming BNY Mellon.

July 29 – The United States and the Kingdom of France sign a convention for establishing diplomatic relations and "determining the functions and prerogatives of their respective consuls, vice consuls, agents, and commissaries".

August 13 – The East India Company Act, sponsored by British Prime Minister William Pitt was given royal assent.

August 15 – Cardinal de Rohan is called before the French court to account for his actions, in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace.

August 16 – Britain creates the colony of New Brunswick.

September 19 – In France, the Robert brothers (Anne-Jean Robert and Nicolas-Louis Robert) and a Mr. Collin-Hullin (whose first name is lost to history) become the first people to fly more than 100 km or 100 miles in the air, lifting off from Paris and landing 6 hours and 40 minutes later near Bethune after a journey of 186 kilometres (116 mi).

September 22 – Russia establishes a colony at Kodiak, Alaska.

==== October–December ====

October 22– North Carolina rescinds its resolution ceding its western territory (now Tennessee) to the United States, after earlier giving Congress two years to accept the terms.

October 31–December 14 – The Revolt of Horea, Cloșca and Crișan in Transylvania causes Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor to suspend the Hungarian Constitution.

November 26 – The Roman Catholic Apostolic Prefecture of the United States is established.

November 27 – The phenomenon of black holes is first posited in a paper by John Michell, in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.

November 30 – Richard Henry Lee of Virginia is selected as the new President of the Confederation Congress.

December – Immanuel Kant's essay "Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?" is published.

December 25 – The Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States is officially formed at the "Christmas Conference", led by Thomas Coke and Francis Asbury.

==== Date unknown ====

The India Act requires that the governor general be chosen from outside the British East India Company, and it makes company directors subject to parliamentary supervision.

Britain receives its first bales of imported American cotton.

King Carlos III of the Spanish Empire authorizes land grants in Alta California.

Princess Yekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova is named first president, of the newly created Russian Academy.

The North Carolina General Assembly incorporates the town of Morgansborough, named for Daniel Morgan. The town is designated as the county seat for Burke County, North Carolina and is subsequently renamed Morgantown, and later shortened to become Morganton.

The North Carolina General Assembly changes the name of Kingston, North Carolina, originally named for King George III of Great Britain, to Kinston.

The Japanese famine continues as 300,000 die of starvation.

A huge locust swarm hits South Africa.

Foundation of the first theater in Estonia, the Tallinna saksa teater.

Benjamin Franklin invents bifocal spectacles.

Benjamin Franklin tries in vain to persuade the French to alter their clocks, in winter to take advantage of the daylight.

Antoine Lavoisier pioneers quantitative chemistry.

Cholesterol is isolated.

Carl Friedrich Gauss pioneers the field of summation with the formula summing at the age of 7.

Madame du Coudray, pioneer of modern midwifery, retires.

=== 1785 ===

==== January–March ====

January 1 – The first issue of the Daily Universal Register, later known as The Times, is published in London.

January 7 – Frenchman Jean-Pierre Blanchard and American John Jeffries travel from Dover, England to Calais, France in a hydrogen gas balloon, becoming the first to cross the English Channel by air.

January 11 – Richard Henry Lee is elected as President of the U.S. Congress of the Confederation.

January 20 – Battle of Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút: Invading Siamese forces, attempting to exploit the political chaos in Vietnam, are ambushed and annihilated at the Mekong River, by the Tây Sơn.

January 27 – The University of Georgia is founded in Athens, Georgia (United States).

February 9 – Sir Warren Hastings, who has been governing India on behalf of King George III as the Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William (later British India). Sir John Macpherson administers British India until General Charles Cornwallis arrives 19 months later.

February 27 – The Confederation Congress votes an $80,000 expense to establish diplomatic relations with Morocco.

March 7 – Scottish geologist James Hutton first presents his landmark work, Theory of the Earth; or an Investigation of the Laws observable in the Composition, Dissolution, and Restoration of Land upon the Globe to the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

General Henry Knox is appointed as the Confederation Congress's Secretary of War, with added duties as the Secretary of Navy, both functions now of the U.S. Department of Defense.

March 10

American engineer James Rumsey sends a letter to George Washington informing of his plans to create a successful steamboat.

Thomas Jefferson is appointed the new U.S. Minister to France, and Benjamin Franklin's request for permission to return home is accepted.

==== April–June ====

April 19 – The Commonwealth of Massachusetts cedes all of its claims to territory west of New York State to the United States Confederation Congress. The area will become the southern portions of Michigan and Wisconsin.

April 21 – The Empress Catherine the Great of the Russian Empire issue the Charter to the Towns, providing for "a coherent, unified system of administration" for new governments organized in Russia.

April 26 – John Adams is appointed as the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, and Thomas Jefferson as ambassador to France.

April 28 – Astronomer William Herschel begins his second series of surveys of the stars, published in 1789.

May 10 – A hot air balloon crashes in Tullamore, Ireland, causing a fire that burns down about 100 houses, making it the world's first aviation disaster (by 36 days).

May 20 – The Northwest Ordinance of 1785, setting the rules for dividing the U.S. Northwest Territory (later Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan) into townships of 36 square miles apiece, is passed by the Confederation Congress. Walter G. Robillard and Lane J. Bouman, Clark on Surveying and Boundaries (LexisNexis, 1997) The survey system will later be applied to the continent west of the Mississippi River.

June 3 – The Continental Navy is disbanded.

June 15 – After several attempts, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and his companion, Pierre Romain, set off in a balloon from Boulogne-sur-Mer, but the balloon suddenly deflates (without the envelope catching fire) and crashes near Wimereux in the Pas-de-Calais, killing both men, making it the first fatal aviation disaster.

==== July–September ====

July 2 – Don Diego de Gardoqui arrives in New York City as Spain's first minister to the United States.

July 6 – The dollar (and a decimal currency system) is unanimously chosen as the money unit for the United States by the Congress of the Confederation.

July 16 – The Piper-Heidsieck Champagne house is founded by Florens-Louis Heidsieck in Reims, France.

August 1 – The fleet of French explorer Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse leaves Paris for the circumnavigation of the globe.

August 15 – Cardinal de Rohan is arrested in Paris; the Necklace Affair comes into the open.

September 10 – The United States and the Kingdom of Prussia sign a Treaty of Amity and Commerce.

September 13 –

The Bank of North America, central bank for the Confederation Congress government, loses its charter.

Benjamin Franklin returns to Philadelphia after seven years as the U.S. Ambassador to France and prepares to take office as the new Governor of Pennsylvania.

==== October–December ====

October 5 – Vincenzo Lunardi of Italy becomes the first person to pilot a balloon over Scotland.

October 13 – The first newspaper in British India, the English-language Madras Courier, is published. It continues publication as a weekly until 1794.

October 13 – France mints new Louis d'or coins, with the image of King Louis XVI on the obverse, and one-sixth less gold than the coins with King Louis XV's image.

October 17 – The Commonwealth of Virginia stops the importation of new African slaves by declaring that "No persons shall henceforth be slaves within this commonwealth, except such as were so on the seventeenth day of October, 1785, and the descendants of the females of them."

October 18 – Benjamin Franklin takes office as the new President of the Supreme Council of Pennsylvania, at the time the equivalent of a republic as one of the 13 independent governments of the United States of America under the Articles of Confederation.

November 23 – John Hancock of Massachusetts, the former President of the Continental Congress, is selected as the new President of the Congress of the Confederation, but is unable to take office because of illness.

November 28 – The Treaty of Hopewell is signed between the United States of America and the Cherokee Nation.

December 11 – An edict is issued limiting Masonic lodges throughout the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Joseph II. With the exception of Vienna, Budapest and Prague, no Empire province may have more than one lodge.

==== Date unknown ====

The University of New Brunswick is founded in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

Coal gas is first used for illumination.

Louis XVI of France signs to a law that a handkerchief must be square.

The British government establishes a permanent land force in the Eastern Caribbean, based in Barbados.

Belfast Academy (later Belfast Royal Academy) is founded by Rev. Dr James Crombie in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi publishes Letters on the Teachings of Spinoza, and starts the Pantheism controversy.

Napoleon Bonaparte becomes a lieutenant in the French artillery.

Mozart's "Haydn" String Quartets are published, as is his collaboration with Salieri and Cornetti, Per la ricuperata salute di Ofelia.

=== 1786 ===

==== January–March ====

January 3 – The third Treaty of Hopewell is signed, between the United States of America and the Choctaw.

January 6 – The outward bound East Indiaman Halsewell is wrecked on the south coast of England in a storm, with only 74 of more than 240 on board surviving.

February 2 – In a speech before The Asiatic Society in Calcutta, Sir William Jones notes the formal resemblances between Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit, laying the foundation for comparative linguistics and Indo-European studies.

March 1 – The Ohio Company of Associates is organized by five businessman at a meeting at the Bunch-of-Grapes Tavern in Boston, to purchase land from the United States government to form settlements in what is now the U.S. state of Ohio.

March 13 – Construction begins in Dublin on the Four Courts Building, with the first stone laid down by the United Kingdom's Viceroy for Ireland, the Duke of Rutland.

==== April–June ====

April 2 – The Creek Nation declares war on the U.S. State of Georgia over the matter of white settlers on land not ceded by the Creek nation. A truce is negotiated on April 17 between Creek Chief Alexander McGillivray (Hoboi-Hili-Miko) and U.S. Army General Lachlan McIntosh but is soon repudiated.

April 11 – Columbia College (now Columbia University) holds its first graduation, with eight students, including DeWitt Clinton.

April 25 – The United States and the Kingdom of Portugal sign their first commercial treaty, but it is never ratified.

April 27 – British astronomer William Herschel publishes his first list of his discoveries, Catalogue of One Thousand New Nebulae and Clusters of Stars; two additional books are published in 1789 and 1802.

May 1 – Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro premieres in Vienna.

May 21 – The trial in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace ends in Paris.

June 6 – Nathaniel Gorham is chosen as the new President of the U.S. Confederation Congress to substitute for John Hancock, who cannot take office because of illness.

June 10 – An earthquake-caused landslide dam on the Dadu River gives way, killing 100,000 in the Sichuan province of China.

June 25 – Gavriil Pribylov discovers St. George Island of the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea.

==== July–September ====

July 14 – Convention of London between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Spain: British settlements on the Mosquito Coast of Central America are to be evacuated; Spain expands the territory available to the British in Belize on the Yucatán Peninsula, for cutting mahogany.

July 31 – The Kilmarnock volume of Robert Burns' Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect is published in Scotland.


James Rumsey tests his first steamboat on the Potomac River, at Shepherdstown, Virginia.

The Cabinet of Great Britain approves the establishment of a penal colony, at Botany Bay in Australia.

August 1 – Caroline Herschel discovers a comet (the first discovered by a woman).

August 8 – Mont Blanc is climbed for the first time, by Dr. Michel-Gabriel Paccard and Jacques Balmat.

August 11 – Captain Francis Light acquires the island of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah on behalf of the British East India Company, renaming it Prince of Wales Island in honour of the heir to the British throne, the first colony of the British Empire in Southeast Asia.

August 17 – The paternal nephew of Frederick the Great, Frederick William, becomes King of Prussia, as Frederick William II.

August 18 – The Kingdom of Denmark (including Norway) charters six settlements in Iceland to trade with it, thus ending the Danish–Icelandic Trade Monopoly, and founding Reykjavík.

August 29 – Shays' Rebellion begins in Massachusetts.

September–December – Goethe undertook his Italian Journey (published in 1817).

September 2 – A hurricane strikes Barbados.

September 11–14 – The Annapolis Convention is held by delegates from six of the 13 states (Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and New York) resulting in the scheduling of the Philadelphia Convention to draft a national constitution.

September 14 – Connecticut cedes to the United States all of its claims to lands between the 41st and 42nd parallels north and west of the Connecticut Western Reserve.

September 26 – Eden Agreement: A commercial treaty is signed between the Kingdoms of Great Britain and France.

==== October–December ====

October 6 – HMS Bellerophon begins service with the Royal Navy.

October 10 – The Confederation Congress of the United States directs backpay for seven months for Virginia officers who have been waiting since 1782.

October 12 – King George III of the United Kingdom appoints Captain Arthur Phillip as the first Governor of New Holland, which comprises the area of modern Australia from the 135th meridian east to the east coast and all adjacent islands in the Pacific Ocean.

October 16 – The Confederation Congress establishes the United States Mint to make common coinage and currency for the U.S., to replace individual state coins.

October 23

The 13th century AH begins on the Islamic calendar on the 1st of Muharram 1201 AH

The settlement of Östersund is established in Sweden.

October 24 – General David Cobb of the Massachusetts militia defeats a body of rebel insurgents at Taunton, Massachusetts in one of the battles of Shays' Rebellion.

November 7 – The oldest musical organization in the United States, the Stoughton Musical Society, is founded.

November 30 – Peter Leopold Joseph of Habsburg-Lorraine, Grand Duke of Tuscany, promulgates a penal reform, making his country the first state to abolish the death penalty. November 30 is therefore commemorated by 300 cities around the world, as Cities for Life Day.

December 4 – Mission Santa Barbara is founded by Padre Fermín Lasuén as the tenth of the Spanish missions in California.

December 20 – Robert Burns's Address to a Haggis is first published, in Edinburgh.

==== Date unknown ====

The town of Martinsborough, North Carolina, named for Royal Governor Josiah Martin in 1771, is renamed "Greenesville" in honor of United States General Nathanael Greene by the North Carolina General Assembly (the name "Greenesville" is later shortened, to become Greenville).

The last reliably recorded wolf in Ireland is hunted down and killed near Mount Leinster, County Carlow, for killing sheep.

=== 1787 ===

==== January–March ====

January 9 – The North Carolina General Assembly authorizes nine commissioners to purchase 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land for the seat of Chatham County. The town is named Pittsborough (later shortened to Pittsboro), for William Pitt the Younger.

January 11 – William Herschel discovers Titania and Oberon, two moons of Uranus.

January 19 – Mozart's Symphony No. 38 is premièred in Prague.

February 2 – Arthur St. Clair of Pennsylvania is chosen as the new President of the Congress of the Confederation.

February 4 – Shays' Rebellion in Massachusetts fails.

February 21 – The Confederation Congress sends word to the 13 states that a convention will be held in Philadelphia on May 14 to revise the Articles of Confederation.

February 28 – A charter is granted, establishing the institution which will become the University of Pittsburgh.

March 3 – By a vote of 33 to 29, Harrisburg is approved as the new capital of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

March 17 – The Bank of North America, the central bank of the United States government under the Articles of Confederation, is re-incorporated after its charter had expired in 1786.

March 28 – In the British House of Commons, Henry Beaufoy files the first motion to repeal the Test Act 1673, which restricts the rights of non-members of the Church of England.; Beaufoy's motion is rejected, and the Act is not repealed until 1829.

March 30 – Biblical theology becomes a separate discipline from biblical studies, as Johann Philipp Gabler delivers his speech "On the proper distinction between biblical and dogmatic theology and the specific objectives of each" upon his inauguration as the professor of theology at the University of Altdorf in Germany.

==== April–June ====

April 2 – A Charter of Justice is signed, providing the authority for the establishment of the first New South Wales (i.e. Australian) Courts of Criminal and Civil Jurisdiction.

May 7 – The New Church is founded.

May 13 – Captain Arthur Phillip leaves Portsmouth, England with the 11 ships of the First Fleet, carrying around 700 convicts and at least 300 crew and guards, to establish a penal colony in Australia.

May 14 – In Philadelphia, delegates begin arriving for a Constitutional Convention.

May 22 – In Britain, Thomas Clarkson and Granville Sharp found the Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, with support from John Wesley, Josiah Wedgwood and others.

May 25 – In Philadelphia, delegates begin to convene the Constitutional Convention, intended to amend the Articles of Confederation (however, a new United States Constitution is eventually produced). George Washington presides over the Convention.

May – Orangist troops attack Vreeswijk, Harmelen and Maarssen; civil war starts in the Dutch Republic.

May 31 – The original Lord's Cricket Ground in London holds its first cricket match; Marylebone Cricket Club founded.

June 20 – Oliver Ellsworth moves at the Federal Convention that the government be called the United States.

June 28 – Princess Wilhelmina of Orange, sister of King Frederick William II of Prussia, is captured by Dutch Republican patriots, taken to Goejanverwellesluis and not allowed to travel to The Hague.

==== July–September ====

July 13 – The Congress of the Confederation enacts the Northwest Ordinance, establishing governing rules for the Northwest Territory (the future states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin). It also establishes procedures for the admission of new states, and limits the expansion of slavery.

July 18 – The United States ratifies its first treaty with the Sultanate of Morocco.

August 9 – South Carolina cedes to the United States its claims to a 12-mile wide strip of land that runs across northern Alabama and Mississippi.

August 27 – Launching a 45-foot (14 m) steam powered craft on the Delaware River, John Fitch demonstrates the first U.S. patent for his design.

September 13 – Prussian troops invade the Dutch Republic. Within a few weeks 40,000 Patriots (out of a population of 2,000,000) go into exile in France (and learn from observation the ideals of the French Revolution).

September 17 – The United States Constitution is signed by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

September 24 – Washington Academy (later Washington & Jefferson College) is chartered by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

==== October–December ====

October 1 – Russo-Turkish War (1787–92) – Battle of Kinburn: Alexander Suvorov, though sustaining a wound, routs the Turks.

October 27 – The first of The Federalist Papers, a series of essays calling for ratification of the U.S. Constitution, is published in The Independent Journal, a New York newspaper.

October 29 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera Don Giovanni (libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte) premieres in the Estates Theatre in Prague.

November 1 – The first secondary education school open to girls in Sweden, Societetsskolan, is founded in Gothenburg.

November 21 – Treaty of Versailles (1787) signed, forming an alliance between the Kingdom of France and the Lord Nguyễn Phúc Ánh, future Emperor of Vietnam.

December 3 – James Rumsey demonstrates his water-jet propelled boat on the Potomac River.

December 7 – Delaware ratifies the Constitution, and becomes the first U.S. state.

December 8 – La Purisima Mission is founded by Padre Fermín Lasuén as the eleventh of the Spanish missions in California.

December 12 – Pennsylvania becomes the second U.S. state.

December 18 – New Jersey becomes the third U.S. state.

December 23 – Captain William Bligh sets sail from England for Tahiti, in HMS Bounty.

==== Date unknown ====

Caroline Herschel is granted an annual salary of £50, by King George III of Great Britain, for acting as assistant to her brother William in astronomy.

The North Carolina General Assembly incorporates Waynesborough, and designates it the seat for Wayne County, North Carolina.

Antoine Lavoisier is the first to suggest that silica is an oxide of a hitherto unknown metallic chemical element, later isolated and named silicon.

Freed slave Ottobah Cugoano publishes Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species in England.

=== 1788 ===

==== January–March ====

January 1 – The first edition of The Times, previously The Daily Universal Register, is published in London.

January 2 – Georgia ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the fourth U.S. state under the new government.

January 9 – Connecticut ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the fifth U.S. state.

January 18 – The leading ship (armed tender HMS Supply) in Captain Arthur Phillip's First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay, to colonise Australia.

January 22 – the Congress of the Confederation, effectively a caretaker government until the United States Constitution can be ratified by at least nine of the 13 states, elects Cyrus Griffin as its last president.

January 24 – The La Perouse expedition in the Astrolabe and Boussole arrives off Botany Bay, just as Captain Arthur Phillip is attempting to move his colony from there to Sydney Cove in Port Jackson.

January 26 – Australia Day: Eleven ships of the First Fleet from Botany Bay, led by Captain Arthur Phillip, land at Sydney Cove (which will become Sydney), Australia, where he determines to establish the British prison colony of New South Wales, the first permanent European settlement on the continent.

January 31 – Henry Benedict Stuart becomes the new Stuart claimant to the throne of Great Britain, as King Henry IX and the figurehead of Jacobitism.

February 1 – Isaac Briggs and William Longstreet patent a steamboat.

February 6 – Massachusetts ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the sixth U.S. state.

February 7 – Sydney is named and founded, by the British Colony of New South Wales.

February 9 – Austria enters the Russo-Turkish War (1787–92), and attacks Moldavia.

February 17 – The uninhabited Lord Howe Island is discovered by the brig HMS Supply, commanded by Lieutenant Ball, who is on his way from Botany Bay to Norfolk Island with convicts to start a penal settlement there. They arrive at Norfolk Island on March 6.

March 10 – The La Perouse expedition leaves Sydney Cove for New Caledonia, never to be seen again.

March 14 – The Edinburgh Evening Courant carries a notice of £200 reward for the capture of William Brodie, a town councilor doubling as a burglar.

March 21 – The Great New Orleans Fire kills 25% of the population and destroys 856 buildings, including St. Louis Cathedral and The Cabildo, leaving most of the town in ruins.

==== April–June ====

April 7 – American pioneers establish the town of Marietta (in modern-day Ohio), the first permanent American settlement outside the original Thirteen Colonies.

April 13 – America's first recorded riot, the 'Doctors' Mob', begins. Residents of Manhattan are angry about grave robbers stealing bodies for doctors to dissect. The rioting is suppressed on April 15.

April 28 – Maryland ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the seventh U.S. state.

May 10 – The Royal Dramatic Theatre (Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern), Sweden's national drama company, is founded.

May 15 – The Australian frontier wars begin.

May 23 – South Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the eighth U.S. state.

June 7 – France: Day of the Tiles, which some consider the beginning of the French Revolution.

June 9 – The African Association, an exploration group dedicated to plotting the Niger River and finding Timbuktu, is founded in England.

June 17 – English captains Thomas Gilbert and John Marshall, returning from Botany Bay, become the first Europeans to encounter the Gilbert Islands in the Pacific Ocean. They also chart islands in "Lord Mulgrove's range", later known as the Marshall Islands.

June 21 – New Hampshire ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the ninth U.S. state, enabling the Constitution to go into effect. (The latter happens on March 4, 1789, when the first Congress elected under the new Constitution assembles.)

June 25 – The Virginia Ratifying Convention ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the tenth U.S. state under the new government.

June 26 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in Vienna, completes his antepenultimate symphony, now called the Symphony No. 39 in E-flat.

==== July–September ====

July 13 – A hailstorm sweeps across France and the Dutch Republic, with hailstones 'as big as quart bottles' that take 'three days to melt'; immense damage is done.

July 24 – Governor General Lord Dorchester, by proclamation issued from the Chateau St. Louis in Quebec City, divides the British Province of Quebec into five Districts, namely: Gaspé, Nassau, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Hesse.

July 26 – New York ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the eleventh U.S. state.

July 28 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in Vienna, completes his penultimate symphony, now called the Symphony No. 40 in G Minor.

August 8 – King Louis XVI of France agrees to convene the Estates-General meeting in May 1789, the first time since 1614.

August 10 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in Vienna, completes his final symphony, now called the Symphony No. 41 in C Major, and nicknamed (after his death) The Jupiter.

August 27 – The trial of Deacon William Brodie for burglary begins in Edinburgh, Scotland; he is sentenced to death by hanging.

September 13 – The United States Congress of the Confederation passes an act providing a timeline for the voting for the first President under the new U.S. Constitution.

September 21 – During the Austro-Turkish War, the Austrian army engages in a friendly-fire incident at the Battle of Karánsebes which results in mass casualties.

September 24 – The Theater War begins, when the army of Denmark–Norway invades Sweden.

==== October–December ====

October 1 – William Brodie is hanged at the Tolbooth in Edinburgh.

October 21 – The 14th and last session of the Continental Congress and (the 6th as Congress under the Articles of Confederation) is adjourned.

October – King George III of the United Kingdom becomes deranged; the Regency Crisis of 1788 starts.

November 8 – Voting takes place in the 11 states that have ratified the United States Constitution for the first U.S. Senators; in Virginia, Richard Henry Lee and William Grayson, both anti-federalists, receive the highest number of votes in the Virginia Senate.

November 15 – Cyrus Griffin of Virginia completes his service as the last President of the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation

November 20 – In the United Kingdom, the Houses of Parliament are given the first formal report by Prime Minister Pitt of the mental illness of King George III. Parliament adjourns for two weeks to await the results of examinations by royal physicians.

November 25 – Fifty consecutive days of temperatures below freezing strike France, a record that would be unbroken more than 200 years later.

December 6 – Russo-Turkish War (1787–92): The Ottoman fortress of Özi falls to the Russians after a prolonged siege, and a murderous storm with a temperature of −23 °C (−9 °F).

December 14 – King Charles III of Spain dies, and is succeeded by his son Charles IV.

December – Robert Burns writes his version of the Scots poem Auld Lang Syne.

==== Undated ====

Annual British iron production reaches 68,000 tons.

=== 1789 ===

==== January–March ====

January – Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès publishes the pamphlet What Is the Third Estate? (Qu'est-ce que le tiers-état?), influential on the French Revolution.

January 7 – The United States presidential election, 1788–89 and House of Representatives elections are held.

January 9 – Treaty of Fort Harmar: The terms of the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (1784) and the Treaty of Fort McIntosh, between the United States Government and certain native American tribes, are reaffirmed, with some minor changes.

January 21 – The first American novel, The Power of Sympathy or the Triumph of Nature Founded in Truth, is printed in Boston, Massachusetts. The anonymous author is William Hill Brown.

January 23 – Georgetown University is founded in Georgetown, Maryland (today part of Washington, D.C.), as the first Roman Catholic college in the United States.

February – King Gustav III of Sweden enforces the Union and Security Act, delivering the coup de grace to Sweden's 70-year-old parliamentarian system, in favor of absolute monarchy.

February 4 – George Washington is unanimously elected the first President of the United States, by the United States Electoral College.

March – The first version of a graphic description of a slave ship (the Brookes) is issued on behalf of the English Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade.

March 4 – At Federal Hall in New York City, the 1st United States Congress meets, and declares the new United States Constitution to be in effect. The bicameral United States Congress replaces the unicameral Congress of the Confederation, as the legislature of the federal government of the United States.

March 11 – The Venetian arsenal on the island of Corfu, containing 72,000 pounds (33,000 kg) of gunpowder and 600 bombshells, explodes during a fire, killing 180 bystanders and knocking down a seawall.

==== April–June ====

April 1 – At Federal Hall, the United States House of Representatives attains its first quorum, and elects congressman Frederick Muhlenberg as the first Speaker of the House.

April 6 – At Federal Hall, the United States Senate attains its first quorum, and elects John Langdon of Pennsylvania as its first President pro tempore. Later that day, the Senate and the House of Representatives meet in joint session for the first time, and the electoral votes of the first U.S. Presidential election are counted. General George Washington is certified as President-elect, and John Adams is certified as Vice-President elect.

April 7 – Selim III (1789–1807) succeeds Abdul Hamid I (1773–1789), as Ottoman Sultan.

April 21 – John Adams takes office as the first Vice President of the United States, and begins presiding over the United States Senate.

April 28 – Mutiny on the Bounty: Fletcher Christian leads the mutiny on the British Royal Navy ship HMS Bounty against Captain William Bligh, in the Pacific Ocean.

April 30 – George Washington is inaugurated at Federal Hall in New York City, beginning his term as the first President of the United States.

May 5 – In France, the Estates-General convenes for the first time in 175 years.

June – The Inconfidência Mineira is the first attempt at Brazilian independence from Portugal.June 17 – In France, representatives of the Third Estate at the Estates-General declare themselves the National Assembly.

June 20 – The Tennis Court Oath is made in Versailles.

June 23 – Louis XVI of France makes a conciliatory speech urging reforms to a joint session, and orders the three estates to meet together.

==== July–September ====

July – An estimated 150,000 of Paris's 600,000 people are without work.

July 1 – The comic ballet La fille mal gardée, choreographed by Jean Dauberval, is first presented under the title Le ballet de la paille, at the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, at Bordeaux, France.

July 4 – The U.S. Congress passes its first bill, setting out tariffs.

July 9

At Versailles, the National Assembly reconstitutes itself as the National Constituent Assembly, and begins preparations for what will become the French Constitution of 1791.

The Theatre War officially ends in Scandinavia.

July – Storofsen flood in Norway.

July 10 – Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Mackenzie River Delta.

July 11 – Louis XVI of France dismisses popular Chief Minister Jacques Necker.

July 12 – An angry Parisian crowd, inflamed by a speech from journalist Camille Desmoulins, demonstrates against the King's decision to dismiss Minister Necker.

July 13 – The people begin to seize arms for the defense of Paris.

July 14

The French Revolution (1789–1799) begins with the Storming of the Bastille: Citizens of Paris storm the fortress of the Bastille, and free the only seven prisoners held. In rural areas, peasants attack manors of the nobility.

Survivors of the mutiny on the Bounty, including Captain William Bligh and 18 others, reach Timor after a nearly 4,000-mile (6,400 km) journey in an open boat.

July 27 – The first agency of the Federal government of the United States under the new Constitution, the Department of Foreign Affairs (from September 15 renamed the Department of State), is established.

August 4 – In France, members of the Constituent Assembly take an oath to end feudalism, and abandon their privileges.

August 7 – The United States Department of War is established.

August 18 – The Liège Revolution breaks out in the Prince-Bishopric of Liège.

August 21 – A proposal for a Bill of Rights is adopted by the United States House of Representatives.

August 26 – The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is proclaimed in France, by the Constituent Assembly.

August 28 – William Herschel discovers Enceladus, one of Saturn's moons.

September 2 – The United States Department of the Treasury is founded.

September 11 – Alexander Hamilton is appointed as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.

September 22 –

Russo-Turkish War (1787–92) – Battle of Rymnik: Alexander Suvorov roundly defeats 100,000 Turks.

The United States Department of the Post Office is established.

September 24 – The Judiciary Act of 1789 establishes the federal judiciary, and the United States Marshals Service.

September 25 – The United States Congress proposes a set of 12 amendments to the U.S. constitution, for ratification by the states. Ratification for 10 of these proposals is completed on December 5, 1791, creating the United States Bill of Rights.

September 26 – Thomas Jefferson, U.S. Minister to France, is appointed as the first U.S. Secretary of State.

September 29 – The U.S. Department of War establishes the nation's first regular army, with a strength of several hundred men.

==== October–December ====

October 5 – Women's March on Versailles: Some 7,000 women march 12 miles (19 km) from Paris to the royal Palace of Versailles, to demand action over high bread prices.

October 10 – Physician Joseph-Ignace Guillotin proposes to the French National Assembly the adoption of more humane and egalitarian forms of capital punishment, including use of the guillotine.

October 24 – Brabant Revolution: Brabant revolutionaries cross the border from the Dutch Republic into the Austrian Netherlands; the first public reading of the Manifesto of the People of Brabant declares the independence of the Austrian Netherlands.

October 27 – Battle of Turnhout: The Austrian army is beaten by Brabant revolutionaries.

November 6 – Pope Pius VI creates the first diocese in the United States at Baltimore, and appoints John Carroll the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States.

November 20 – New Jersey ratifies the United States Bill of Rights, the first state to do so.

November 21 – North Carolina ratifies the United States Constitution, and becomes the 12th U.S. state.

November 26 – A national Thanksgiving Day is observed in the United States, as recommended by President George Washington and approved by Congress.

December 11 – The University of North Carolina, the oldest public university in the United States, is founded.

December 23 – A leaflet circulated in France accuses the Marquis de Favras of plotting to rescue the royal family.

==== Date unknown ====

Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, decrees that all peasant labor obligations be converted into cash payments.

The Traité Élémentaire de Chimie (Elementary Treatise of Chemistry), an influential chemistry textbook by Antoine Lavoisier, is published; translated into English in 1790, it comes to be considered the first modern chemical textbook.

German chemist Martin Heinrich Klaproth discovers the element uranium, while studying the mineral pitchblende.

Properties of Évian water first discovered.

The Bengal Presidency first establishes a penal colony, in the Andaman Islands.

Thomas Jefferson returns from Europe, bringing the first macaroni machine to the United States.

Influenced by Dr. Benjamin Rush's argument against the excessive use of alcohol, about 200 farmers in a Connecticut community form a temperance movement in the United States.

Fort Washington (Cincinnati, Ohio) is built to protect early U.S. settlements in the Northwest Territory.

Former slave Olaudah Equiano's autobiography The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, one of the earliest published works by a black writer, is published in London.

1783 in the United States

Events from the year 1783 in the United States.

Charter of Amiens

The Charter of Amiens (French: Charte d'Amiens) was adopted at the 9th Congress of the Confédération générale du travail (CGT) French trade-union, which took place in Amiens in October 1906. Its main proposal was the separation between the union movement and the political parties. The CGT was then dominated by anarcho-syndicalists who preferred the constitution of an alternate system through the elaboration of workers' union rather than moderate reforms through the electoral path. The motion for the Charter was drafted by Victor Griffuelhes, general secretary of the CGT, and Émile Pouget. The Charter was adopted by 830 participants, 8 having voted "no" and 1 abstained, and marked the victory of the current of revolutionary syndicalism in the CGT of the time.

Committee of the States

A Committee of the States was an arm of the United States government, under the Articles of Confederation. The Committee consisted of one member from each state, and carried out the functions of government while the Congress of the Confederation was in recess.

Confederation Congress Proclamation of 1783

Confederation Congress Proclamation of 1783 was a proclamation by the Congress of the Confederation dated September 22, 1783 prohibiting the extinguishment of aboriginal title in the United States without the consent of the federal government. The policy underlying the proclamation was inaugurated by the Royal Proclamation of 1763, and continued after the ratification of the United States Constitution by the Nonintercourse Acts of 1790, 1793, 1796, 1799, 1802, and 1833.During the Articles of Confederation-era, several U.S. states, particularly New York, purchased lands from Indians without the consent of Congress. In the 1980s, in the wake of the Oneida I (1974) decision permitting tribes to pursue such claims in federal courts, several tribes challenged such conveyances as contrary to the Proclamation. However, the Second Circuit has held that Congress had neither the authority nor the intent to prohibit such purchases within the borders of individual states, and thus that the Proclamation applied only to the federal territories.

Constitution of Ohio

The Ohio Constitution is the basic governing document of the State of Ohio, which in 1803 became the 17th state to join the United States of America. Ohio has had three constitutions since statehood was granted.

Ohio was created from the easternmost portion of the Northwest Territory. In 1787, the Congress of the Confederation of the United States passed the Northwest Ordinance, establishing a territorial government and providing that "[t]here shall be formed in the said territory, not less than three nor more than five states." The Ordinance prohibited slavery and provided for freedom of worship, the right of habeas corpus and trial by jury, and the right to make bail except for capital offenses. Ohio courts have noted that the Northwest Ordinance "was ever considered as the fundamental law of the territory." Ludlow's Heirs v. Johnston (1828), 3 Ohio 553, 555; State v. Bob Manashian Painting (2002), 121 Ohio Misc.2d 99, 103.

Continental Congress

The Continental Congress, also known as the Philadelphia Congress in its early iterations, was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies. The Congress met from 1774 to 1789 in three incarnations and became the governing body of the new United States of America during the American War of Independence. Much of what is known today about the activities and deliberations of the Continental Congresses comes from the yearly log books printed by the Continental Congress called Resolutions, Acts and Orders of Congress, which gives a day-to-day description of debates and issues.

The call for a Continental Congress of Britain's American colonies was made over issues of the blockade and the Intolerable Acts penalizing the Province of Massachusetts Bay. At the urging of Benjamin Franklin and other colonial leaders, delegates from twelve colonies formed a representative body that convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in early September 1774. This First Continental Congress sought to help repair the frayed relationship between the British government and its American colonies while also asserting the rights of colonists. It sent a Petition to King George III urging the repeal of the Intolerable Acts and outlined collective trade policies to follow if the King and Parliament did respond favorably to their grievances. In late October 1774, the Congress resolved to call another meeting if conditions warranted, then dissolved.

The Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia in May 1775. Early on, the delegates were divided on the question of breaking from Crown rule. Although they wrote and sent the Olive Branch Petition to the King seeking peace in June 1775, they also established the Continental Army and gave command to one of their members, George Washington of Virginia, in July of the same year. Sentiments had changed by the next summer, and on July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress unanimously passed a resolution asserting American independence. The Declaration of Independence was issued two days later, declaring that the colonies had formed a new nation, the United States of America. The Second Continental Congress was the nation's governing body during the American Revolution. It directed the war effort, forged an alliance with France, and funded the war with loans and paper money. It also wrote the Articles of Confederation, which was the first plan of government for the United States. However, it could not always meet in Philadelphia, as the city was occupied by British forces for a time.

The Third Continental Congress was officially known as the Congress of the Confederation and operated under the Articles of Confederation once the document took effect in 1781. It first convened in Philadelphia and later moved to several other cities, most notably New York. This body ratified the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the War of Independence, and passed the Northwest Ordinance, which set out the procedure for adding new states to the young nation. Due to problems with the Articles of Confederation, representatives from most of the states met to revise the document in the summer of 1787. This Constitutional Convention decided to replace the existing system of government and wrote the Constitution of the United States, which was ratified in 1788. The Congress of the Confederation disbanded in 1789, when the 1st United States Congress under the new Constitution took over the role as the nation's legislative branch.

General George Washington Resigning His Commission

General George Washington Resigning His Commission is a large-scale oil painting by American artist John Trumbull of General George Washington resigning his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783 to the Congress of the Confederation, then meeting in the Maryland State House at Annapolis, Maryland. The painting was commissioned in 1817, started in 1822, finished in 1824, and is now on view in the United States Capitol rotunda in Washington, D. C., along with three other large-scale paintings by Trumbull about the American Revolutionary War.Trumbull considered George Washington's resignation as commander-in-chief to be "one of the highest moral lessons ever given to the world".

John Lowell

John Lowell (June 17, 1743 in Newburyport, Massachusetts – May 6, 1802 in Roxbury, Massachusetts) was an American lawyer, selectman, jurist, delegate to the Congress of the Confederation and federal judge.

Known within his family as "The Old Judge," distinguishing him from the proliferation of Johns, John Lowell is considered to be the patriarch of the Boston Lowells. He, with each of his three wives, established three distinct lines of the Lowell clan that, in turn, propagated celebrated poets, authors, jurists, educators, merchants, bankers, national heroes, activists, innovators and philanthropists. John Lowell, his descendants, and many other well established New England families defined American life in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

List of United States federal legislation

This is a chronological, but still incomplete, list of United States federal legislation. Congress has enacted approximately 200–600 statutes during each of its 115 biennial terms, so that more than 20,000 statutes have been enacted since 1789.

At the federal level in the United States, legislation (i.e., "statutes" or "statutory law") consists exclusively of Acts passed by the Congress of the United States and its predecessor, the Continental Congress, that were either signed into law by the President or passed by Congress after a presidential veto.

Legislation is not the only source of regulations with the force of law. However, most executive branch and Judicial Branch regulations must originate in a congressional grant of power. See also: Executive orders of the President; regulations of Executive branch departments and administrative agencies; and the procedural rules of the federal courts.

List of delegates to the Continental Congress

The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution. The Biographical Directory of the United States Congress lists 343 men who attended the Continental Congress, including the future U.S. Presidents George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe, along with another 90 who were elected as delegates but never served. The Congress met from 1774 to 1789 in three incarnations.

The First Continental Congress, which met briefly in Philadelphia in 1774, consisted of 56 delegates from twelve of the Thirteen Colonies that would become the United States. Convened in response to the Coercive Acts passed by the British Parliament in 1774, the delegates organized an economic boycott of Great Britain in protest and petitioned the king for a redress of grievances.

By the time the Second Continental Congress met in 1775, the shooting in the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) had begun. Moderates in the Congress still hoped that the colonies could be reconciled with Great Britain, but a movement towards independence steadily gained ground. Congress established the Continental Army (June 1775), coordinated the war effort, issued a Declaration of Independence in July 1776, and designed a new government in the Articles of Confederation, which were ratified in 1781.

The ratification of the Articles of Confederation gave the Congress a new name: the Congress of the Confederation, which met from 1781 to 1789. The Confederation Congress helped guide the United States through the final stages of the war, but in peacetime the Congress declined in importance. Under the Articles, the Confederation Congress had little power to compel the individual states to comply with its decisions. Increasingly, delegates elected to the Congress declined to serve, the leading men in each state preferred to serve in state government, and the Congress had difficulty establishing a quorum. When the Articles were replaced by the United States Constitution, the Confederation Congress was superseded by the United States Congress.

Nassau Hall

Nassau Hall (or Old Nassau) is the oldest building at Princeton University in Princeton, Mercer County, New Jersey, United States. At the time it was built in 1756, Nassau Hall was the largest building in colonial New Jersey and the largest academic building in all the American colonies. The University, then known as the College of New Jersey, held classes for one year in Elizabeth and nine years in Newark before the Hall was completed in 1756. Designed originally by Robert Smith, the building was subsequently remodeled by notable American architects Benjamin Latrobe and John Notman. In the early years of Princeton University, Nassau Hall accommodated classrooms, a library, a chapel, and residential space for students and faculty. It housed the university's first Department of Psychology, for example.

During the events of the American Revolutionary War, Nassau Hall was possessed by both British and American forces and suffered considerable damage, especially during the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. From July to October 1783, Princeton was the capital of the early United States and Nassau Hall hosted the entire American government. The Congress of the Confederation met in the building's library on the second floor. According to Princeton University, "Here Congress congratulated George Washington on his successful termination of the war, received the news of the signing of the definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain, and welcomed the first foreign minister—from the Netherlands—accredited to the United States."At present, Nassau Hall houses Princeton University's administrative offices, including that of the university's president. Old Nassau refers affectionately to the building and serves as a metonym for the university as a whole. The U.S. Department of the Interior designated Nassau Hall a National Historic Landmark in 1960, "signifying its importance in the Revolutionary War and in the history of the United States."

Northwest Ordinance

The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio, and also known as The Ordinance of 1787) enacted July 13, 1787, was an organic act of the Congress of the Confederation of the United States. It created the Northwest Territory, the first organized territory of the United States, from lands beyond the Appalachian Mountains, between British North America and the Great Lakes to the north and the Ohio River to the south. The upper Mississippi River formed the territory's western boundary.

In the Treaty of Paris (1783), which formally ended the American Revolutionary War, Great Britain yielded this region to the United States. However, the Confederation Congress faced numerous problems gaining control of the land; these included: the unsanctioned movement of American settlers into the Ohio Valley, violent confrontations with the region's indigenous peoples, and an empty U.S. treasury. The ordinance superseded the Land Ordinance of 1784 (which declared that states would one day be formed within the region) and the Land Ordinance of 1785 (which described how the Confederation Congress would sell the land to private citizens). Designed to serve as a blueprint for the development and settlement of the region, what the 1787 ordinance lacked was a strong central government to implement it. This need was addressed shortly thereafter, when the new federal government came into existence in 1789. The 1st United States Congress reaffirmed the 1787 ordinance, and, with slight modifications, renewed it through the Northwest Ordinance of 1789.Considered one of the most important legislative acts of the Confederation Congress, it established the precedent by which the Federal government would be sovereign and expand westward with the admission of new states, rather than with the expansion of existing states and their established sovereignty under the Articles of Confederation. It also set legislative precedent with regard to American public domain lands. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized the authority of the Northwest Ordinance of 1789 within the applicable Northwest Territory as constitutional in Strader v. Graham, but did not extend the Ordinance to cover the respective states once they were admitted to the Union.

The prohibition of slavery in the territory had the practical effect of establishing the Ohio River as the geographic divide between slave states and free states from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River (an extension of the Mason–Dixon line). It also helped set the stage for later political conflicts over slavery at the federal level in the 19th century until the Civil War.

Organic act

In United States law, an organic act is an act of the United States Congress that establishes a territory of the United States and specifies how it is to be governed, or an agency to manage certain federal lands. In the absence of an organic law a territory is classified as unorganized.

The first such act was the Northwest Ordinance, passed in 1787 by the U.S. Congress of the Confederation (under the Articles of Confederation, predecessor of the United States Constitution). The Northwest Ordinance created the Northwest Territory in the land west of Pennsylvania and northwest of the Ohio River and set the pattern of development that was followed for all subsequent territories. The Northwest Territory covered more than 260,000 square miles and included all of the modern states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the northeastern part of Minnesota.

The District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 incorporated Washington, D.C. and placed it under the exclusive control of the United States Congress.

The Organic Act for the Territory of New Mexico was part of the Compromise of 1850, passed September 9, 1850. Primarily concerned with slavery, the act organized New Mexico as a territory, with boundaries including the areas now embraced in New Mexico, Arizona, and southern Colorado.

Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783

The Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783 (also known as the Philadelphia Mutiny) was an anti-government protest by nearly 400 soldiers of the Continental Army in June 1783. The mutiny, and the refusal of the Executive Council of Pennsylvania to stop it, ultimately resulted in Congress vacating Philadelphia and the creation of a federal district to serve as the national capital.

President of the Continental Congress

The President of the Continental Congress was the presiding officer of the Continental Congress, the convention of delegates that emerged as the first (transitional) national government of the United States during the American Revolution. The president was a member of Congress elected by the other delegates to serve as a neutral discussion moderator during meetings of Congress. Designed to be a largely ceremonial position without much influence, the office was unrelated to the later office of President of the United States. Upon the ratification of the Articles of Confederation (the new nation's first constitution) in March 1781, the Continental Congress became the Congress of the Confederation. The membership of the Second Continental Congress carried over without interruption to the First Congress of the Confederation, as did the office of president.

Fourteen men served as president of Congress between September 1774 and November 1788. They came from 9 of the original 13 states: Virginia (3), Massachusetts (2), Pennsylvania (2), South Carolina (2), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), Maryland (1), New Jersey (1), and New York (1). The median age at the time of election was 47.

Richard Henry Lee

Richard Henry Lee (January 20, 1732 – June 19, 1794) was an American statesman and Founding Father from Virginia best known for the Lee Resolution, the motion in the Second Continental Congress calling for the colonies' independence from Great Britain. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation, and his "resolution for independency" of June 1776 led to the United States Declaration of Independence, which Lee signed. He also served a one-year term as the President of the Congress of the Confederation, and was a United States Senator from Virginia from 1789 to 1792, serving during part of that time as the second President pro tempore of the upper house.

He was a member of the Lee family, a historically influential family in Virginia politics.

Thomas Sim Lee

Thomas Sim Lee (October 29, 1745 – November 9, 1819) was an American planter and statesman of Frederick County, Maryland. Although not a signatory to the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation or the US Constitution, he was an important participant in the process of their creation. Thomas Sim Lee was the second State Governor of Maryland, serving twice, from 1779 to 1783 and again from 1792 to 1794. Thomas Sim Lee also served as a delegate of Maryland in the Congress of the Confederation in 1783 and was a member of the House of Delegates in 1787. He worked closely with many of the Founding fathers and played himself an important part in the birth of his state and the nation.

United States Secretary of War

The Secretary of War was a member of the United States President's Cabinet, beginning with George Washington's administration. A similar position, called either "Secretary at War" or "Secretary of War", had been appointed to serve the Congress of the Confederation under the Articles of Confederation between 1781 and 1789. Benjamin Lincoln and later Henry Knox held the position. When Washington was inaugurated as the first president under the Constitution, he appointed Knox to continue serving as Secretary of War.

The Secretary of War was the head of the War Department. At first, he was responsible for all military affairs, including naval affairs. In 1798, the Secretary of the Navy was created by statute, and the scope of responsibility for this office was reduced to the affairs of the United States Army. From 1886 onward, the Secretary of War was in the line of succession to the presidency, after the Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President pro tem of the Senate and the Secretary of State.

In 1947, with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, the Secretary of War was replaced by the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force, which, along with the Secretary of the Navy, have since 1949 been non-Cabinet subordinates under the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of the Army's office is generally considered the direct successor to the Secretary of War's office although the Secretary of Defense took the Secretary of War's position in the Cabinet, and the line of succession to the presidency.

Government of the United States under the Articles of Confederation
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