Manuscript/Mixed Material George Washington's first inaugural address, 30 April 1789.

About this Item

Title
George Washington's first inaugural address, 30 April 1789.
Created / Published
30 April 1789
Subject Headings
-  Presidents
-  Congress
-  Speeches
-  Inaugurations
-  Bill of Rights
-  Constitutional amendments
-  Manuscripts
Genre
Manuscripts
Notes
-  Reproduction number: A115 (color slide; page 1)
-  George Washington (1732-1799) delivered his first inaugural address to a joint session of Congress, assembled in Federal Hall, New York City, on 30 April 1789. The newly elected president delivered the speech in a deep, low voice that betrayed what one observer called "manifest embarrassment." Aside from recommending constitutional amendments to satisfy citizens demanding a Bill of Rights, Washington confined himself to generalities. He closed by asking for a "divine blessing" on the American people and their elected representatives. In delivering an inaugural address, Washington went beyond the constitutional requirement of taking an oath of office and thus established a precedent that has been followed since by every elected president.
-  The Confederation Congress had set the date of the first inauguration as Wednesday, 4 March 1789. Members of the new Congress, however, were delayed in arriving in New York and were unable to count the electoral ballots as early as anticipated. Consequently, the inauguration was postponed until Congress officially notified Washington and the president-elect travelled from Virginia to New York. Subsequent inaugurations took place on either 4 March (or 5 March when the fourth fell on a Sunday), until 1937 when the Twentieth (or Lame-Duck) Amendment changed the date to 20 January (or 21 January when the twentieth fell on a Sunday).
Source Collection
George Washington Papers
Repository
Manuscript Division
Language
English
Online Format
image
IIIF Presentation Manifest
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Rights & Access

The George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress

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The Diaries of George Washington

The following statement is made by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia, the copyright owners of The Diaries of George Washington.

Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1976-79; a series of The Papers of George Washington. Copyright 1976-79 by the Rector and Visitors of University of Virginia. Used by permission of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for the correctness and completeness of the images and texts as they appear in this online collection.

University Press of Virginia External

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

George Washington's first inaugural address, 30 April. 30 April, 1789. Manuscript/Mixed Material. https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.053/.

APA citation style:

(1789) George Washington's first inaugural address, 30 April. 30 April. [Manuscript/Mixed Material] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mcc.053/.

MLA citation style:

George Washington's first inaugural address, 30 April. 30 April, 1789. Manuscript/Mixed Material. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/mcc.053/>.