Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 | Next Page
New York as the Seat of Government

A Commentary on Federal Hall
A Commentary on Federal Hall
(New York Morning Post and Daily Advertiser,
March 14, 1789- Located in the collection of
the Dyer Library Association, Saco, Maine 04072)



Resolution of the New York Common Council Resolution of the New York Common Council, September 17, 1788
(Courtesy of the National Archives)

New York's Common Council wasted no time after the Confederation Congress designated the city as the site for the federal government to convene. The Council's resolution of September 17, 1788 granted use of the City Hall at Wall and Nassau streets to the new Congress. In addition, the city hired architect Pierre L'Enfant to renovate and redesign the building which became known as Federal Hall. The result of L'Enfant's renovation was a fine example of federal decor. Some people saw all of New York's efforts as being aimed at retention of its position as the seat of the federal government. One of these, Rep. Frederick A. Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania, described Federal Hall in this way: "The Building is really elegant & well designed--for a Trap--but I still hope, however well contrived we shall find Room to get out of it." (to Benjamin Rush, March 5, 1789, Historical Society of Pennsylvania)

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