Setting the Stage: Early Republic Political Culture, the Constitutional Convention, and the President’s Cabinet
This paper examines the political climate in years leading up to Washington’s inauguration on April 30, 1789 and the early months of his administration. This paper considers how the persistence of Anglophobia concerns shaped debates in the Constitutional and State Ratification Conventions. When creating a new constitution, most Constitutional Convention delegates shared the assumption that they must avoid the faults of the British government. This paper analyzes the proposals for an advisory body considered and rejected by the convention delegates, as well as the provisions remaining in the Constitution. Article II, Section 2 states that the President has the right to require written opinions from the department secretaries and consult with the Senate on foreign affairs. In order to set the stage for Washington’s inauguration, this paper will explore what those provisions meant in 1789 and how the delegates expected the President to obtain advice.
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