Today’s blog post comes from Susan K. Donius, Director of the Office of Presidential Libraries at the National Archives. This post originally appeared on the White House blog.
Last month, President Obama began his second Inaugural Address by saying, “Each time we gather to inaugurate a President we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution.” President Obama’s words resonate as the anniversary of George Washington’s birthday approaches on February 22, popularly known as Presidents Day.
Over two centuries ago, on April 30, 1789, George Washington delivered his first Inaugural Address knowing that he had little to guide him in the job that lay ahead but the principles stated in the Constitution. The Articles of the Constitution had been debated, discussed, and agreed upon just two summers earlier by the delegates of the Constitution Convention, and were still untested. Nevertheless, Washington was a strong supporter of the Constitution and would look to it for guidance in his unprecedented role as President.
During Washington’s first year in office, Congress ordered 600 copies of the Acts of Congress to be printed and distributed to Federal and state government officials. The book compiled the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and other legislation passed by the first session of Congress.
George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress contains his own handwritten notes in the margins. The … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on February 18, 2013, under - Constitution, - Presidents, National Archives Near You, News and Events, Pennsylvania Avenue, Unusual documents.
Tags: Acts of Congress, george washington, Inauguration, Mount Vernon, notes, Presidency, presidential libraries
Today’s post comes from Christopher Abraham at the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
“I am a newspaper reporter and I would like to know if anything unusual happened during either of President Eisenhower’s inaugural ceremonies.” —Anonymous
Have you ever seen a U.S. President lassoed by a cowboy? It likely qualifies as “unusual!” General Eisenhower related this incident while describing the 1953 inaugural parade in his 1963 memoir, Mandate for Change: “A California cowboy, riding a highly trained horse, got clearance from the Secret Service, stopped in front of me, and threw a lasso around my shoulders.”
The “California cowboy” was none other than Montie Montana, motion picture star and rodeo rider. No one can say for sure what exactly was going through Eisenhower’s mind at the moment the lasso fell over his shoulders, but it might have been a severe bout of regret that the inaugural parade committee did not take up Mr. Montana’s earlier suggestion of simply presenting him and Vice President Nixon with their very own ten-gallon cowboy hats right there on the reviewing stand.
Hats for the inaugural ceremony, were, as it turns out, a topic of some consideration. Eisenhower favored a Homburg but was told that tradition dictated a silk hat. Eisenhower replied that if they should be so concerned with what happened in the past, “we could wear tricornered hats … [ Read all ]
Posted by Hilary on January 18, 2013, under - Presidents, Pennsylvania Avenue, Unusual documents.
Tags: cowboy hats, cowboys, guest blogger, inaugural parade, Inauguration, lasso, Nixon, rodeo, Secret service
On Monday, January 21, President Obama will be sworn in for a second term. It will be the 57th Presidential Inauguration. Beginning at 11:30 a.m., the President’s swearing-in ceremony will be shown live in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives.
If you are in Washington, DC, don’t miss this chance to see several Presidential Inaugurations! We will be screening historic footage of previous Presidential Inaugurations from our holdings. The films will highlight different Presidential Inaugurations every day, starting with FDR and ending with Clinton. Check the schedule below to decide which historic Inauguration you want to see.
January 16, 17 & 18, at noon
William G. McGowan Theater
Screening schedule (subject to change)
January 16 at noon
First and Last Inaugurations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (March 4, 1933, and January 20, 1945)
Inauguration of Harry S. Truman (January 20, 1949)
Inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower (January 20, 1955)
Inauguration of John F. Kennedy (January 20, 1961)
January 17 at noon
Inauguration of Lyndon Baines Johnson (January 20, 1965)
Inauguration of Richard M. Nixon (January 20, 1969)
Swearing-In Ceremony of Gerald R. Ford (August 9, 1974)
Inauguration of Jimmy Carter (January 20, 1977)
January 18 at noon
Inauguration of Ronald W. Reagan (January 20, 1981)
Inauguration of George H.W. Bush (January 20, 1989)
Inauguration of William J. Clinton (January 20, 1993)
On January … [ Read all ]
“My station is new; and, if I may use the expression, I walk on untrodden ground.”
–George Washington in a letter, January 9, 1790
Today’s post comes to us from Michael Hussey, education and exhibition specialist at the National Archives. In honor of the 2013 Inauguration, the first and last page of Washington’s first Inauguration Address are on display at the National Archives until January 31.
Unseasonably cold and snowy weather delayed the first Presidential inauguration, which had been scheduled for the first Wednesday in March 1789. Many members of the First Federal Congress were unable to arrive promptly in New York City, then the seat of government.
On April 6, 1789—over a month late—enough members had reached New York to tally the electoral ballots. George Washington won unanimously with 69 electoral votes. When notified of his victory, he traveled to New York City from his home in Virginia.
On April 30, 1789, George Washington took the Presidential oath on a second floor balcony of Federal Hall. Below, an enthusiastic crowd assembled in the streets. The President and members of Congress then retired to the Senate Chamber, where Washington delivered his first inaugural address.
Keenly aware of the momentousness of the occasion, Washington accepted the Presidency and spoke of his determination to make the American experiment a success. He humbly noted the power of the … [ Read all ]