Oil on canvas. 121.28 x 93.98 cm • 47 3/4 x 37 in. National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian), Washington, DC; jointly owned with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.
George Washington (The Athenaeum Portrait), 1796
The First Congress faced a unique challenge, and those congressmen and senators who gathered in New York in the spring of 1789 were awed by what lay ahead of them. Not only would members of the Congress have to pass some promised amendments to the new Constitution, but they would have to fill out the bare framework of a government that the Philadelphia Convention had created, including the organization of the executive and judicial departments. Some therefore saw the First Congress as something in the nature of a
second constitutional convention.