George Washington's Inaugural Speech
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As the first President of the United States, George Washington was responsible for offering the nation's first inaugural address. Washington offered his speech to the Senate and the House of Representatives in New York on April, 30rth, 1789. His inauguration followed the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
Washington's Brief Inaugural Speech
By today's standards, Washington's inaugural speech is relatively brief. The substance of the speech focuses upon Washington's feelings about the role of the President and his optimism regarding the future of the new nation. Washington demonstrates his humility by voicing his anxieties about his ability to meet the demands of the office. Washington firmly committed himself to fulfilling the duties of the President as outlined by the U.S. Constitution. However, he also voiced his concerns about the risk of exercising too much power as the President, promising instead to only use those powers that the people deem entirely necessary for the good of the nation.
Inaugural Speech and God
Washington's first inaugural speech is also notable for his frequent mention of God. He shows deference toward "the Almighty Being who rules over the universe". He notes that "Heaven" will smile down upon the United States if the nation follows Heaven's "eternal rules of order and right". Washington hoped to win a divine blessing through wise and careful governance.