Friday, December 30, 2005
Federal Hall - The Blogger's Birthplace
In 1735, John Peter Zenger, an American newspaper publisher, was arrested for committing libel against the British royal governor and was imprisoned and tried in this very building. His acquittal on the grounds that the material he had printed was true, was the foundation on which the freedom of the press was established and later defined in the Bill of Rights.
Federal Hall was the first Capitol Building of the United States, which was established as the home of the first United States Congress in March 4, 1789 and later housed the offices of President Washington. It was there that the new federal government was established under the Constitution. The first official business the members did in this new building was count the votes that elected George Washington as the first President of the United States. He was inaugurated in front of this building on April 30, 1789 after being sworn-in in St. Paul's Chapel which stood across the street from the World Trade Center, and by sheer miracle survived that devastation.
So why is this part of the city so important to me.... Pay Attention!
Many of the most important legislative actions in the United States occurred with the 1st Congress at Federal Hall. First among these was the adoption of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. Not long after the new federal Constitution was ratified, many Americans began to express their concern for its limited protection of individual liberties. Ten amendments to the Constitution were drafted, and on September 25, 1789, the Bill of Rights was adopted in Federal Hall, establishing the freedoms claimed by the Stamp Act Congress on the same site 24 years earlier.
Also, the Judiciary Act of 1789 was enacted in the building which set up the United States Court System that we still use today. In addition, The Northwest Ordinance was adopted at Federal Hall which set up what would later become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, but more fundamentally it prohibited slavery in these future states.
So folks, if you come to NYC, don't call me to play tour guide unless you really want the historic tour. Because the very reason you're able to travel without restrictions, worship freely, and speak your mind in your blogs, is as a result of brave and daring men who established the birthplace of modern day democracy in this very city! If you're looking for a different kind of tour, you can pay $50.00 for the fun filled bus tour who will enlighten you on who slept at which hotel, with whom and when.
Posted by Journey at 2:57 PM