April 30th

On the April 30th, 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States of America.

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George Washington, a portrait by Gilbert Stuart (1797).

As one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, he presided over the 1787 Convention, which drafted the United States Constitution which devised the federal government for the United States, after serving as Commander-in-Chief during the American Revolutionary War. After victory had been finalised in 1783, Washington resigned as commander-in-chief rather than seize power, proving his opposition to dictatorship and his commitment to American republicanism.

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Signing of the US Constitution by Howard Chandler Christy (1940).

Washington was unanimously elected by the electoral college, first in 1789 and then again in 1792. Washington was the first to swear the oath of office, but did so on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, swearing the famous oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Historian John R. Alden indicates that Washington added the words “so help me God.” During Washington’s Presidency, lasting two, four year, terms, he set the precedent for many features of holding office as President of the USA, which are still in effect today, such as;  cabinet system, the inaugural address, and the title Mr. President. It is worth noting that it was Washington’s retirement after two terms of Presidency that set the tradition that a President may only hold his position for a maximum of two terms, now reinforced by 22nd Amendment (1951), after Delano Roosevelt won a third term.

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Mount Rushmore with the likeness of George Washington under construction. The likenesses of Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are also featured on the monument.

Upon his death, Washington was eulogised as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen” by Representative Henry Lee III of Virginia. He was revered in life and in death; scholarly and public polling consistently ranks him among the top three presidents in American history. He has been depicted and remembered in monuments, public works, currency, and other dedications to the present day.

The United States of America has recently seen the inauguration of its 45th President, Donald J. Trump, a controversial figure, back in January of 2017. A seemingly a world away from his predecessor, George Washington.

Washington’s inauguration was made possible by his attainment of every single Electoral College vote, on February 4th 1789.

On April 21st 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the USA’s first Vice President. Curiously, Adams was sworn in a week before the President.

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