The first session of the U.S. Congress began on this day in 1789. Of course, the U.S. Congress acts like a state parliament in that country – i.e. it is its supreme legislative body. It consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is less known that the first session of the U.S. Congress coincided with the session of the Estates General in France, which marked the beginning of the French Revolution.
Namely, French king Louis XVI convened the Estates General (French: États-Généraux) on the eve of the French Revolution. This was their first session since 1614. The reason this general representative body was convened was to approve new taxes, since the financial situation in the country was exceptionally difficult.
However, the Estates General, especially the so-called “third estate”, transformed themselves into an anti-royal body. Namely, the representatives at the Estates General formed the National Assembly, which then began the process of taking over the country.
At the same time, the first Congress elections were taking place in the USA. The senators and members of the House of Representatives were elected there – all in all just under 100 people. In contrast, the session of the Estates General in France was attended by over 1,000 people, and held in a large improvised hall in Versailles.
Thus, it occurred that both the first session of the U.S. Congress and the first session of the Estates General were held in spring 1789. The American politicians met in New York (Washington was built only later), in the Federal Hall in the famous Wall Street (near the Stock Exchange). In contrast, the French met in Versailles, near the famous royal palace.