Centuries: 17th century - 18th century - 19th century
Decades: 1740s 1750s 1760s 1770s 1780s - 1790s - 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s
Years: 1785 1786 1787 1788 1789 - 1790 - 1791 1792 1793 1794 1795
- January 8 - George Washington gives the first State of the Union Address
- January 30 - The first boat specialized as a lifeboat is tested on the River Tyne.
- February 1 - In New York City the Supreme Court of the United States convenes for the first time.
- February 11 - Society of Friends petitions Congress for the abolition of slavery.
- March 1 - The first United States census is authorized
- May 29 - Rhode Island ratifies the United States Constitution and becomes the 13th U.S. state.
- July 9 - Russo-Swedish War: Second Battle of Svensksund - In the Baltic Sea, the Swedish navy captures one third of the Russian fleet.
- July 16 - The signing of the Residence Bill establishes a site along the Potomac River as the District of Columbia (seat of government) of the United States (see Washington, DC).
- July 31 - Inventor Samuel Hopkins becomes the first issue to be issued a US patent issued.
- August 4 - A newly passed tariff act creates the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard).
- William Pitt refuses to recognize Belgium independence.
- Construction begins on the White House.
- U.S Funding Bill introduced by Alexander Hamilton.
- Philadelphia becomes federal capital of the U.S.
- 1790 in literature:
- Ethelinde, the Recluse of the Lake - Charlotte Turner Smith
- The Adventures of John of Gaunt - James White
- March 29 - John Tyler, 10th President of the United States (+ 1862)
- May 23 - Jules Dumont d'Urville, explorer (+ 1842)
- December 16 - Leopold I of Belgium
- December 19 - William Edward Parry, Arctic explorer († 1855)
- Ignaz Assmayer, composer
- February 20 - Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor
- July 17 - Adam Smith, Scottish economist
- April 17 - Benjamin Franklin
- China - Qianlong Emperor of China, Qing Dynasty (reigned from October 18, 1735 to February 9, 1796)