The First Federal Congress, 1789
Oil on Canvas
Great Experiment Hall
Meeting in New York at Federal Hall, the first federal Congress initiated the committee system, levied taxes and imposts, and enacted a judicial system. The Senate exercised its powers of advice and consent. Most important, the Congress passed the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which became known as the Bill of Rights. Shown in the mural are (from left to right) James Madison (standing), speaker Frederick Muhlenberg (seated), Elbridge Gerry (standing, foreground), and Fisher Ames (standing, rear).
Left: A preacher conducts an open-air service, symbolizing the freedom of religion that is assured by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
Right: A printer at work represents another First Amendment right, freedom of the press.
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