A new episode of the Madison presidency series is now available!
April 16, 2017

1.06 – Assumption, Presumption, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

1.06 – Assumption, Presumption, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Year(s) Discussed: 1790

The new government of the United States comes grinding to a halt in the spring and summer of 1790 as Congress reaches an impasse on both Hamilton’s proposed public credit scheme and the decision of where the new government should be permanently located. Ultimately, a decision is reached on both, but how it came about is rather complicated. If you’ve ever heard of the Compromise of 1790, then you’ll want to listen to this episode as there’s more to the story than has been told over the years. Meanwhile, health concerns plague a couple of major American figures, bringing even more uncertainty to an already unstable time. All the big players are in this one – Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Knox, and, of course, Mr. President.


  • Bixby, William K, and William H Samson, eds. Letters from George Washington to Tobias Lear with an Appendix Containing Miscellaneous Washington Letters and Documents. Rochester, NY: Genesee Press, 1905.
  • Bordewich, Fergus M. The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016.
  • Bowling, Kenneth R. “Dinner at Jefferson’s: A Note on Jacob E Cooke’s ‘The Compromise of 1790.’” The William and Mary Quarterly. Third Series. 28:4 (Oct 1971), p. 629-648.
  • Brady, Patricia. Martha Washington: An American Life. New York: Penguin Books, 2006 [2005].
  • Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. New York: Penguin Press, 2004.
  • Chernow, Ron. Washington: A Life. New York: Penguin Press, 2010.
  • Cooke, Jacob E. “The Compromise of 1790.” The William and Mary Quarterly. Third Series. 27:4 (Oct 1970), p. 523-545.
  • Cunningham, Noble E., Jr. In Pursuit of Reason: The Life of Thomas Jefferson. New York: Ballantine Books, 1988 [1987].
  • Hall, Kermit L, etc, eds. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • Jefferson, Thomas. “20 June 1790, to James Monroe.” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 28, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/01-16-02-0312. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 16, 30 November 1789–4 July 1790, ed. Julian P. Boyd. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961, pp. 536–538.]
  • Ketcham, Ralph. James Madison: A Biography. Charlottesville, VA and London: University Press of Virginia, 1994 [1971].
  • Keyes, Nelson Beecher. Ben Franklin: An Affectionate Portrait. Garden City, NY: Hanover House, 1956.
  • Lancaster, Bruce. From Lexington to Liberty: The Story of the American Revolution. Lewis Gannett, ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co, 1955.
  • Landry, Jerry. The Presidencies of the United States Podcast. 2017.
  • Madison, James. “22 June 1790, to Edmund Pendleton.” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 28, 2016, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Madison/01-13-02-0177. [Original source: The Papers of James Madison, vol. 13, 20 January 1790 – 31 March 1791, ed. Charles F. Hobson and Robert A. Rutland. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1981, pp. 252–253.] [Last Accessed: 17 Mar 2017]
  • Malone, Dumas. Jefferson and the Rights of Man: Jefferson and His Time Volume Two. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Co, 1951.
  • McDonald, Forrest. The Presidency of George Washington. Lawrence, KS; Manhattan, KS; and Wichita, KS: The University Press of Kansas, 1974 [1974].
  • Meacham, Jon. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power. New York: Random House, 2012.
  • Preston, Daniel, ed. The Papers of James Monroe, Volume 2: Selected Correspondence and Papers, 1776-1794. Westport, CT and London: Greenwood Press, 2006.
  • Reardon, John J. Edmund Randolph: A Biography. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co, 1974.
  • Risjord, Norman K. “The Compromise of 1790: New Evidence on the Dinner Table Bargain.” The William and Mary Quarterly. Third Series. 33:2 (Apr 1976), p. 309-314.
  • Shalhope, Robert E. John Taylor of Caroline: Pastoral Republican. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1980.
  • Washington, George. “To Thomas Jefferson, 21 January 1790,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified February 21, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-05-02-0019. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 5, 16 January 1790 – 30 June 1790, ed. Dorothy Twohig, Mark A. Mastromarino, and Jack D. Warren. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1996, pp. 29–31.] [Last Accessed: 11 Mar 2017]
  • White, Leonard D. The Federalists: A Study in Administrative History. New York: Macmillan Co, 1948.
  • Winik, Jay. The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800. New York: HarperCollins, 2008 [2007].