The Chesapeake Wins the Capital
"THERE HAS not yet been much debating in the Senate," reported North Carolina's newly appointed senator, Samuel Johnston, early in 1790. "In some few instances where there has, it would appear that the sentiments of the Northern or Eastern and Southern members constantly clash, even when local interests are out of the question. This is a thing I cannot account for; even the lawyers from these different quarters cannot agree on the principles and construction of law, though they agree among themselves." 1 If Alexander Hamilton's Report on the Public Credit had been dropped into a Congress free from sectional tensions, it would, in all likelihood, have precipitated nothing more than an and debate on government finance, similar to the annual report of Britain's Board of Treasury. But the conflict among regional interests was never far from the surface during the first session of 1789, in tariff levels, trade policy, the judiciary, or the unending controversy over the location of the nation's capital. It was with visible relief that Congress turned the thorny problem of credit over to the Secretary of the Treasury as it departed for home in October 1789.