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On November 26, 1791, George Washington convened his department secretaries—Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Henry Knox, and Edmund Randolph—for the first cabinet meeting. Faced with diplomatic crises, domestic insurrections, and constitutional challenges, Washington decided he needed a group of advisors he could turn to. He modeled his new cabinet on the councils of war he had led as commander of the Continental Army. Lindsay M. Chervinsky reveals the far-reaching consequences of Washington’s choice to create what has become one of the most powerful bodies in the federal government: the presidential cabinet.
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