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The Potomac River site of the Federal City

The Potomac River site of the Federal City, seen here from a distance, was a compromise between North and South.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

The Potomac River site of the Federal City

Images of the Era: 1789-1815

During its first quarter century, the new United States government had to find its way in the world while attending to the nation’s business. Leaders met with Indian nations and faced often-hostile relations with European powers while coping with conflicts between emerging political parties and working out relationships among the three new branches of government.