The First Congress

It occurs to me that nobody has done an top-notch study of the First Congress.  While the Constitutional Convention and the state ratifying conventions were very important in shaping our institutions, the First Congress ranks with them.  Among other things, that body created:  (1) the federal judiciary; (2) the Bill of Rights; (3) the original executive departments; and (4) the Bank of the United States. There were plenty of precedents established as well which were crucial for separation of powers and the internal operations of Congress.  If there is a fine book on this, though, I’d love to hear about it.

As an aside, I’m pleased by the brisk sales of American Founding Son thus far.  But there is always brisker.

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4 Responses

  1. John says:

    David Currie did over 100 pages on the first congress in the first volume of his The Constitution and Congress. Not sure how you define top notch — certainly he compiled a great deal of information and provided useful summarizing analysis. Some other studies of the period say a great deal about the first congress, even if they focus more on personalities. (The Age of Federalism, for example, although not so much Gordon Wood’s recent book.) You might also want to look at David Siemers, Ratifying the Republic: Antifederalists and Federalists in Constitutional Time — not a study of congress per se, but still pays interesting attention to the early congresses.

  2. mls says:

    David Currie’s “The Constitution in Congress” covers many of these issues.

  3. Gerard Magliocca says:

    I enjoy Professor Currie’s work, but I was thinking of an entire book that focuses on the First Congress.

  4. Joe says:

    Wow. $208.02 for a used copy? But, hey, “Money Back if not happy.” Seriously, congrats. Will read it eventually!