George Washington Inaugurated As First President

April 30, 2022

On April 30, 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the United States’ first President. It wasn’t actually supposed to happen on that day, but life was frequently difficult and surprising back in those days.

The inauguration was originally scheduled for the first Wednesday in March. However, March proved to be unseasonably cold and snowy that year, and members of the First Federal Congress had a hard time getting to New York, which was the center of government at that time. This was important because the Constitution required the House and Senate to count the electoral votes for President, and there needed to be enough members present to make a quorum for them to do that. It ended up being more than a month before enough members showed up to conduct the vote count.

Once they did, on April 6, it was quickly determined that Washington had won all 69 electoral votes. Washington was informed of his victory and traveled to New York. As he traveled, cheering crowds gathered to meet him and throw flowers while bells tolled in each city he went through. 

After he arrived in New York, Washington was given the oath of office on April 30. A crowd gathered in Federal Hall to watch the oath being administered. After taking the oath, Washington went to the Senate chamber, where he gave the first-ever inaugural address to the gathered members of both chambers of Congress. The address discussed how humbling it was to be chosen as President. He also illustrated how the President and Congress together shared the responsibility of preserving “the sacred fire of liberty.”

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