Following the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, France, Americans began to propose a similar world's fair exposition, to be held in October 1892 in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in North America. Committees and officials from Washington, D. C.; St. Louis, Missouri; New York, New York; and Chicago, Illinois, attempted to persuade the United States Congress to formally appoint their respective city as host.
Several prominent and wealthy citizens of New York formed the Committee for the International Exposition of 1892, which oversaw several subcommittees, including a Committee on Legislation led by Senator Chauncey Mitchell Depew (1834-1928). Several cities sent representatives to Washington, D. C., in late 1889, and on February 24, 1890, Congress awarded the fair to Chicago. Despite the location of the event, Chauncey Depew delivered an oration at the World's Fair dedicatory ceremonies on October, 21, 1892. The World's Columbian Exposition was held in Jackson Park, Chicago, from May to October 1893, and successfully attracted exhibits and visitors from around the world.