On this day in 1789 George Washington stood on the second floor balcony of Federal Hall in New York City - then the capital of the United States - and in front of a large crowd that had been assembling since first light took the oath of office from Chancellor of New York Robert Livingston, who then swore in Washington's Vice President (and eventual successor) John Adams.
Washington then repaired indoors, to the Senate Chamber, where he delivered his first inaugural address to the members therein assembled. As shown above, and reproduced in part below, the 1,419 words of the address have an archaic ring to them and speak of Washington's seeming reluctance to assume the mantle of the presidency; whether genuine or not, the modesty he demonstrated is part of what made him the great leader he was.
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