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Launching a New Nation (1789–1800)

Painting of the Capitol in 1800
Courtesy Library of Congress

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Chapter Outline

Section 1: Washington Takes Office
Section 2: The Birth of Political Parties
Section 3: Troubles at Home and Abroad
Section 4: The Presidency of John Adams


George Washington took office as the first President of the United States. He oversaw the creation of new federal departments and asked Alexander Hamilton to serve as secretary of the treasury. Soon two political parties began to take shape—the Federalists and the Republicans.

Under Washington, the United States dealt with challenges from Native Americans in the Northwest Territory and from the British navy at sea. Later, political divisions grew bitter during the presidency of John Adams, as he struggled to keep peace with France.