On this day, government begins under our Constitution

It was 229 years ago today that the federal government started to operate under the terms of the U.S. Constitution, as the Confederation Congress ceded power. However, there was a major problem with the first session of the new Congress: not enough members showed up. The significance of March 4 predates the Constitution. The Confederation Congress, which operated under the Articles of Confederation (our first Constitution) picked March 4, 1789, as the day it handed off power to the new constitutional government. So March 4th was the Constitution’s first official day in business. The first modern Congress convened in New York City at Federal Hall. It was about one month before George Washington was elected at the first president under the new Constitution. Of its 81 members, only 22 showed up for the first session. James Madison did introduce the first draft Bill of Rights for consideration by its members. And House selected Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania as its…

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