An excerpt from Washington’s inaugural address (1789)


An excerpt from the first president, George Washington’s inaugural address, given to both houses of Congress on April 30th 1789:


“Fellow citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives…

No event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the 14th day of the present month.

On the one hand, I was summoned by my country, whose voice I can never hear but with veneration and love… On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me… could not but overwhelm with despondence one who, unpracticed in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies…

No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than those of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished, in the system of their united government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most governments have been established…

I behold the surest pledges that… no local prejudices or attachments, no seperate views nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests… The foundations of our national policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of free Government be exemplified by all the attributes which can win the affections of its Citizens and command the respect of the world… The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”

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