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Volume three of the Presidential Series continues the fourth chronological series of "The Papers of George Washington". The Presidential Series when complete, will aim to cover the eight precedent-setting years of Washington's presidency and his brief retirement at Mount Vernon until his death in 1799. These volumes deal with the public papers either written by Washington or presented to him during both of his administrations. Among the documents are Washington's messages to Congress, addresses to him from public office and documents concerned with diplomatic and Indian affairs as well as Washington's private papers which include family letters, farm reports, political letters from friends and acquaintances, and documents relating to the administration of the Mount Vernon plantation. Volume three covers most of the summer of 1789 and focuses primarily on the problems facing the new administration. Because of the president's serious illness during this period, a larger proportion of the documents than previously are letters and papers sent to Washington, including massive reports from the Board of Treasury describing the financial status of the new nation, detailed descriptions of Indian and military affairs from Henry Knox, and a plethora of applications for public office. The letters to Washington come from a cross section of Americans and present a resource on such diverse topics as foreign affairs, overseas trade and public attitudes toward the new government. Washington in these months was establishing the great departments of the federal government, and he devoted a considerable amount of his time to appointments and to the staffing of the new civil service.
University of Virginia Press
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