Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 | Next Page
Setting Precedent
Thomas Lloyd's shorthand notes
Thomas Lloyd's shorthand notes, May 5-6, 1789
(Courtesy of the Library of Congress)

The House of Representatives made no provision for the official publication of its debates, but several newspapers at the seat of government sent reporters to record the debate. In addition, stenographer Thomas Lloyd launched a business venture to publish and sell copies of the debates. This was a very ambitious project considering the tools he had to work with--quill pens, large sheets of paper, and a primitive form of shorthand--and the length and complexity of many of the debates. Lloyd or one of his assistants sat in the House chamber and took the notes which became the partial basis for Lloyd's publication, The Congressional Register, the most complete single version of the debates for the first session of Congress. Lloyd eventually abandoned his project after becoming overwhelmed by the work during the second session.

Text transcript of Mr. Lloyd's notes.

Previous Topic
Next Topic
Go to Exhibit Home
First Federal Congress Project
  Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page