A good example of that mess is the way Washington became the capital city of the United States. As part of the new Constitution, the founding states agreed to have a capital city that was not governed by a state, which ruled out Pennsylvania and gave New Yorker Alexander Hamilton (picture) the chance to champion his home town. Thus, on 4 March 1789 congress and the electoral college met in a refashioned British City Hall on Wall Street, New York, and unanimously selected George Washington as the nation’s first president. Hamilton was appointed scretary of the treasury. Thomas Jefferson, appointed as secretary of state, rushed back from France. He strongly opposed Hamilton’s ideas about a central US bank and a federal assumption of the debts the states had incurred during the war (sounds familiar?). But he was even more opposed to New York becoming the new nation’s capital. At a 20 June 1790 dinner party, hosted by Jefferson and James Madison, the two Virginians promised to help Hamilton’s bills go through as long as he didn’t oppose a move to the south for the federal capital. The deal was done and Congress met in New York for the last time in August 1790. Washington then insisted that the capital be located close to his Mount Vernon estate (16 miles away), with Maryland and Virgina handing over the necessary parcel of land. Thus a central bank and the creation of federal debt were traded for the site of the nation’s capital.