Saturday, October 1, 2011

Washington’s first inaugural address...

Above photo: Federal Hall National Memorial, located at 26 Wall Street in New York City, was built in 1842. This was also the original site of the old Federal Hall where, on April 30, 1789, George Washington took the oath as the first president of the United States of America.

On that day, before a large crowd, George Washington stood on the balcony of Federal Hall with his hand on an open Bible (as depicted above). After his oath of office was completed, Washington delivered his inaugural address to a joint session of Congress. Afterwards, President Washington and Congress traveled down Broadway to St. Paul’s Church for prayer, fellowship, and worship.

Excerpts from George Washington’s first inaugural address:

It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official act my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that His benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the people of the United States a government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes, and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success the functions allotted to His charge.


We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered, perhaps, as deeply, as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.


Having thus imparted to you my sentiments as they have been awakened by the occasion which brings us together, I shall take my present leave; but not without resorting once more to the benign Parent of the Human Race in humble supplication that, since He has been pleased to favor the American people with opportunities for deliberating in perfect tranquillity, and dispositions for deciding with unparalleled unanimity on a form of government for the security of their union and the advancement of their happiness, so His divine blessing may be equally conspicuous in the enlarged views, the temperate consultations, and the wise measures on which the success of this Government must depend.

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