"I have the honor to send you herein inclosed [not present] two copies duly authenticated of the Act providing for the enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States: also of the Act to establish an uniform rule of naturalization; also of the Act making appropriations for the support of Government for the year 1790..."
The Constitution gave Congress the right to determine the process by which those who were foreign-born could obtain citizenship. Thus, the 1790 Act of the First Congress spelled out the actual law for naturalization. By restricting naturalization to “free white” persons, this legislation effectively prevented aliens who were people of color, as well as indentured servants and women (technically dependents, and thus considered incapable of casting their own vote) from gaining citizenship.
Article I of the Constitution provided that “representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states...according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole numbers of free persons...three-fifths of all other Persons (meaning "slaves").” It further stipulated that “The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of Congress..., and within every subsequent term of ten years....” As a result of this requirement, to ensure equal democratic representation, the United States became the first nation to provide by law for a periodic census. When completed, largely under the careful direction of Jefferson, the census results were published as Return of the Whole Number of Persons within the Several Districts of the United States.
This 1790 appropriations bill was tied to Hamilton's controversial assumption of state revolutionary war debts. By virtue of the appropriations clause, the power of the purse extended to the disbursement as well as the raising of funds, and both were subject to congressional control. The First Congress of 1789 had not been meticulous in defining how the money appropriated should be spent. Responding to this oversight, the Congressional statute of 1791 would appropriate lump sums for the expenses of the civil list “as estimated by the Secretary of the Treasury,” a formulation that was intended to bind the Secretary—Hamilton—to the proposed allocation.
In 1791, Congress, under the urging of Hamilton, would pass one of the most controversial tax measures in American history: the Excise Act, or “Whiskey Tax,” which imposed duties not only on imported and domestic spirits. Passage of the act immediately stirred resentments among western residents who depended on whiskey for income. Whiskey provided the most efficient means to process their harvests into an easily transportable commodity and was even used as a currency. Riots against collection of the tax broke out in western Pennsylvania in 1794. President Washington called up 12,000 troops, but there was no significant violence and the rebels were quickly dispersed.
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