First inauguration of George Washington

First inauguration of George Washington

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The first inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 took place on April 30, 1789.

The inauguration marked the commencement of the first four-year term of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 as President and John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 as Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

. Sworn in by Chancellor of New York
New York Court of Chancery
The New York Court of Chancery was established during the colonial administration on August 28, 1701, the colonial governor acting as Chancellor. The New York State Constitution of 1777 continued the court but required a lawyer to be appointed Chancellor. It was the court with jurisdiction on cases...

 Robert Livingston during this first presidential inauguration, Washington became the first President of the United States following the ratification of the Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

.

Travel


It was 1 p.m. at Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon
The name Mount Vernon is a dedication to the English Vice-Admiral Edward Vernon. It was first applied to Mount Vernon, the Virginia estate of George Washington, the first President of the United States...

 on April 14, 1789, when Washington received official notification that he had been unanimously selected by the Electoral College to be the nation's first president. The letter had been sent by Senator
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 John Langdon
John Langdon
John Langdon was a politician from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and one of the first two United States senators from that state. Langdon was an early supporter of the Revolutionary War and later served in the Continental Congress...

 of New Hampshire
New Hampshire
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state was named after the southern English county of Hampshire. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian...

, the first President pro tempore of the United States Senate
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
The President pro tempore is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. The United States Constitution states that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate and the highest-ranking official of the Senate despite not being a member of the body...

. Washington replied immediately, and set off in the morning two days later, accompanied by David Humphreys
David Humphreys (soldier)
David Humphreys was a American Revolutionary War colonel and aide de camp to George Washington, American minister to Portugal and then to Spain, entrepreneur who brought Merino sheep to America and member of the Connecticut state legislature...

 and a Mr. Thomson.

On his way to New York City Washington passed through Alexandria
Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...

, Georgetown
Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
Georgetown is a neighborhood located in northwest Washington, D.C., situated along the Potomac River. Founded in 1751, the port of Georgetown predated the establishment of the federal district and the City of Washington by 40 years...

, present-day Washington D.C., and Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, arriving to an elaborate welcome at Gray's Ferry
Grays Ferry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Grays Ferry, also known as Gray's Ferry, is a neighborhood in South Philadelphia bounded by 25th Street on the east, the Schuylkill River on the west, Vare Avenue on the south, and Grays Ferry Avenue on the north. The section of this neighborhood west of 34th Street is also known as The Forgotten...

 in Philadelphia just after noon on April 20. He left early the next morning for another welcome awaiting him in Trenton
Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913...

. On April 23 he took a small barge with 13 pilots through the Kill Van Kull
Kill Van Kull
The Kill Van Kull is a tidal strait between Staten Island, New York and Bayonne, New Jersey in the United States. Approximately long and wide, it connects Newark Bay with Upper New York Bay. The Robbins Reef Light marks the eastern end of the Kill, Bergen Point its western end...

 tidal strait into the Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay, or Upper Bay, is the traditional heart of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and often called New York Harbor. It is enclosed by the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and the Hudson County, New Jersey municipalities of Jersey City and Bayonne.It...

, and from there the city. A variety of boats surrounded him during the voyage, and Washington's approach was greeted by a series of cannon fire, first a thirteen gun salute by the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 warship Galveston, then by the North Carolina, and finally by other artillery. Thousands had gathered on the waterfront to see him arrive.

Washington landed at Murray's Wharf (at the foot of Wall Street
Wall Street
Wall Street refers to the financial district of New York City, named after and centered on the eight-block-long street running from Broadway to South Street on the East River in Lower Manhattan. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, or...

), where he was greeted by New York Governor George Clinton
George Clinton (vice president)
George Clinton was an American soldier and politician, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was the first Governor of New York, and then the fourth Vice President of the United States , serving under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He and John C...

 as well as other Congressmen and citizens. A plaque now marks the landing site. They proceeded through the streets to what would be Washington's new official residence, 3 Cherry Street
Cherry Street (Manhattan)
Cherry Street, is a one-way street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It currently has two sections, mostly running along parks, public housing, co-op buildings, tenements, and crossing underneath the Manhattan Bridge overpass....

.

Inauguration


The inaugural ceremony took place on the balcony of Federal Hall
Federal Hall
Federal Hall, built in 1700 as New York's City Hall, later served as the first capitol building of the United States of America under the Constitution, and was the site of George Washington's inauguration as the first President of the United States. It was also where the United States Bill of...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, then the first US Capitol and the first site where the 1st United States Congress
1st United States Congress
-House of Representatives:During this congress, five House seats were added for North Carolina and one House seat was added for Rhode Island when they ratified the Constitution.-Senate:* President: John Adams * President pro tempore: John Langdon...

 met.

Since nearly first light a crowd of people had begun to gather around Washington's home, and at noon they made their way to Federal Hall by way of Queen Street and Great Dock (both now Pearl Street
Pearl Street (Manhattan)
Pearl Street is a street in the Lower section of the New York City borough of Manhattan, running northeast from Battery Park to the Brooklyn Bridge, then turning west and terminating at Centre Street...

) and Broad Street
Broad Street (Manhattan)
Broad Street is located in the Financial District in the New York City borough of Manhattan, stretching from South Street to Wall Street.- History :...

. Washington dressed in an American made dark brown suit with white silk stockings and silver shoe buckles; he also wore a steel-hilted sword.

Upon his arrival at Federal Hall, Washington was formally introduced to the House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and Senate in the then Senate chamber, after which already sworn-in Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 announced it time for the inauguration. Washington moved to the second-floor balcony where he took the presidential oath of office, administered by Chancellor of New York
New York Court of Chancery
The New York Court of Chancery was established during the colonial administration on August 28, 1701, the colonial governor acting as Chancellor. The New York State Constitution of 1777 continued the court but required a lawyer to be appointed Chancellor. It was the court with jurisdiction on cases...

 Robert Livingston in view of throngs of people gathered on the streets. The Bible used in the ceremony was from St. John's Masonic Lodge No.1, and in haste it was randomly opened to Genesis 49:13. Livingston shouted "Long live George Washington, President of the United States!" to the crowd, which was replied to with cheers and cannon fire. The first inaugural address was subsequently delivered by Washington in the Senate chamber, running 1419 words in length.

At this time there were no inaugural balls for the day of the ceremony, though a week later on May 7 a ball was held in New York to honor the first president.

See also


  • Presidency of George Washington
    Presidency of George Washington
    With inauguration on April 30, 1789, the presidency of George Washington initiated a significant leadership role over the United States. President Washington entered office with the full support of the national and state leadership, and established the executive and judicial branches of the federal...

  • Second inauguration of George Washington
    Second inauguration of George Washington
    The second inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States took place in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall in Philadelphia on March 4, 1793. The inauguration marked the commencement of the second four-year term of George Washington as President and John Adams as Vice...


External links

  • More documents from the Library of Congress
    Library of Congress
    The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...