The first U.S. presidential inauguration was 232 years ago today, when George Washington took the oath of office and delivered an address to Congress. Here are some facts about George Washington’s inauguration.
- Washington’s inauguration took place at Federal Hall in New York City, the temporary U.S. capital. New York City was the first U.S. capital after the Constitution established Congress. In 1790, the capital was moved to Philadelphia, and then to Washington, D.C., in 1800.
- Horseback and other arduous travel modes delayed finalizing the presidential election and Washington’s inauguration.
- The Library of Congress notes, “Until the ratification of the Twentieth Amendment in 1933, the official day for presidential inaugurations was March 4.”
- But on that day in 1789, neither the House nor the Senate had the quorum necessary to conduct the official count of electoral votes. Both chambers had achieved quorums by April 6, when they counted the votes. Washington himself needed time to get from Virginia to New York City for the inauguration.
- Washington hand-wrote his inaugural address. In cursive. View images of the document, like the one above, from the National Archives here.
It was 100 years ago that Warren G. Harding became the first American president to ride in a car in his inaguration.