1794 in the United States

Federal Government

  • President: George Washington (no political party-Virginia)
  • Vice President: John Adams (F-Massachusetts)
  • Chief Justice: John Jay (New York)
  • Speaker of the House of Representatives: Frederick Muhlenberg (Anti-Admin.-Pennsylvania)
  • Congress: 3rd


  • January 13 – The U.S. Congress enacts a law providing for, effective May 1, 1795, a United States flag of 15 stars and 15 stripes, in recognition of the recent admission of Vermont and Kentucky as the 14th and 15th states.[1] A subsequent act restores the number of stripes to 13, but provides for additional stars upon the admission of each additional state.
  • February 11 – The first session of the United States Senate is open to the public.
  • March 14 – Eli Whitney is granted a patent for the cotton gin.
  • March 27 – The United States Government authorizes the building of the first six United States Navy vessels (in 1797 the first 3 frigates, USS United States, USS Constellation and USS Constitution go into service), not to be confused with October 13, 1775, which is observed as the Navy’s Birthday.
  • July 17 – Whiskey Rebellion: 500 armed Pennsylvanians attack and burn the home of General John Neville.
  • August 7 – Whiskey Rebellion: President Washington invokes the Militia Acts of 1792 mobilize a federal army of 12,500 men. The force would later be put under the command of General “Light Horse Harry” Lee to be led into western Pennsylvania against the insurrection.
  • September 10 – The University of Tennessee is established at Knoxville.
  • November – Whiskey Rebellion: The federal army quells the uprising and begins the return march to Philadelphia with prisoners.
  • November 19 – The United States and Great Britain sign the Jay Treaty (coming into effect 1796), which attempts to clear up some issues left over from the American Revolutionary War and secures a decade of peaceful trade between the two nations. Britain agrees to evacuate border forts in the Northwest Territory (roughly the area north of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi) and thereby end British support for the Indians.
  • December 8 – The Great New Orleans Fire (1794) burns over 200 buildings in the French Quarter.
  • December 23 – St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans is dedicated.