For a brief period following the Ratification of the Federal Constitution in 1788, New York City served as the capital of the newly formed United States. The seat of government was the old Federal Hall on Wall Street in Lower Manhattan, home to the inauguration of George Washington as the nation’s first president on April 30, 1789. Shortly after the federal capital would move to a new city, carved out of the swamps between Maryland and Virginia along the Potomac River. Right on the border between the northern and southern states, Washington, D.C. represented a compromise between north and south, neither of whom wanted the center of federal power wholly within the other’s territory. The original Federal Hall on Wall Street no longer stands; the building was demolished in 1812 and later replaced by the US Customs House, which can still be seen today. Source: Fergus Bordewich, The First Congress: How James Madison, George Washington, and a Group of Extraordinary Men Invented the Government (New York, 2016). Written by Dr. Brett Palfreyman