George Washington is angry. He’d asked for a report from the Secretary of State. Returning to Philadelphia to face a foreign policy crisis, he finds the report’s not ready.
Exasperated, he’s summoned the Attorney General and heads of Treasury, State and War to a meeting tomorrow morning.
The Constitution says little about these men—only that the president may ask for their written opinions. Some people thought they would act as independent ministers. Others imagined the Senate itself would be an “executive council” to the president.
But Washington charted his own course. He’s made the department heads into presidential advisers, accountable to him alone. More and more, he meets with them as a group.
People are calling this group his “cabinet”—after the small room in which it meets.