The Administration of Jay 1789- Cabinet
Office Name Term
President John Jay September 13, 1798-–
Vice President Vacant N/A
Secretary of State Alexander Hamiltom September 13, 1798–
Secretary of Treasury *Robert Morris *January 1, 1789–
Secretary of War *Benjamin Lincoln January 1, 1793–
Attorney General *Samuel Hitchcock January 1, 1793–
Chief of Staff *Bushrod Washington January 1, 1793–

The Administration of John Jay was the workings and operations of the federal government under President John Jay, the second President. The Administration began on September 13, 1798, after John Jay took the oath of office, one day after the death of President George Washington. John Jay was the first Vice President to ascend to the Presidency following an incumbent President's death.

(Note: In the Cabinet table, an asterisk* denotes a Cabinet member carried over from the Washington Administration)

The Jay Administration (1798-1800)

Succession to the Presidency

In the middle of 1798, Washington's decline in health warned that likely situation of a mid-term death was about to happen, leading to the passage, with support from the Supreme Court, of the 11th Amendment that assured that the Vice President would become President, being inaugurated the following day. When the time came, only Congressman Benjamin Franklin Bache objected to the Jay Presidency. For the nation's first transition of power, all was taken to ensure a peaceful process, and all felt that such was accomplished.

The Resignation Precedent

On the last day of Washington's first term, every Cabinet member offered the President an optional, though some truly wished to resign, resignation to allow the President to peacefully remove Cabinet members, and this process was observed for second term and quickly became an informal traditional. The Cabinet decided to continue this tradition after the death of a President, submitting their resignations on the 12th of September. Jay denied the resignations of every member, except Secretary Thomas Jefferson.

Removal of Jefferson

Henrians were immediately outraged at the new President after Jefferson's removal. Many viewed the Jefferson appointment as Washington's greatest concession to the Henrians, and Jefferson's pro-French was acclaimed by both factions, and it helped greatly to encourage compromise and keep the factions together. Further enraging the Henrians, and even Washingtonians, Jay ended up giving the famously radical and ambitious Alexander Hamilton the post. Jay had reached out to several men including Senator John Marshall and Governor C.C. Pinckney, but neither wanted to replace Jefferson, forcing Jay to choose the eager Hamilton.

Summary of Major Policy

Foreign Policy

The only major changed from Washington was foreign policy, marked by the State head being changed from Jefferson to Hamilton. Hamilton focused on negotiating the British treaty that Jay strove to accomplish for eight years and that Jefferson considered unimportant. However, Hamilton, subtly, worked hard to avoid any conflict with the French and maintained the Jefferson relationship as much as possible. The Hamilton Treaty narrowly passed Congress and finally achieved British removal from the West and an agreeable trade deal.


Jay pushed more heavily for a Naval Department and approached proposing it in Congress, but Chief of Staff Bushrod Washington advised against it, and Jay listened. Secretary Benjamin Lincoln stayed his course from the Washington years and continued to work with militia standards and nationalization.


Secretary Robert Morris, the only person to stay in Washington's Cabinet for his entire Presidency, was given full permission to continue with his incredibly popular economic policy.

Vice President

After the Vice President's ascension, it was unclear how a new Vice President might be decided. Ultimately, it was decided to do nothing, so the office remained vacant.

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