225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.
Congress first went into session on March 4, 1789, in New York City. Strangely enough, there were no delegates present to represent the state of New York.Throughout February and March of 1789, the New York legislature debated who would be appointed to the Senate for the First Congress and how Senate elections would be conducted thereafter. They reached an agreement in early July and passed an act detailing the election process for Senators, but the act was vetoed. Instead of trying to pass another law, the Federalist majority of the New York legislative simply appointed Rufus King and Philip J. Schuyler as Senators on July 16, and sent them to New York City. Ten days later, they arrived at the First Congress carrying their credentials to prove that they were New York’s elected representatives.
Credentials of Rufus King, 7/16/1789, Records of the U.S. Senate