COVID-19 (coronavirus) Update

The Capitol Visitor Center is closed for tours. All tours are cancelled. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we look forward to welcoming you to the Capitol Visitor Center at a future date.

St. Clair’s Defeat

The first congressional investigation of the executive branch concerned an American Indian victory in the Northwest Territory. On November 4, 1791, an American Indian confederacy inflicted heavy casualties on United States troops led by Major General Arthur St. Clair. When the House requested documents from the War and State Departments to understand the cause of St. Clair’s defeat, President George Washington initially restricted their access, setting a precedent for executive privilege. After Washington relented, the House committee determined that inadequate equipment and training contributed to the U.S. failure.