On the balcony of Federal Hall, in downtown New York City, George Washington took the oath of office-the first president under the United States Constitution to do so. The date was April 30, 1789. The last day of April culminated this first election.
(Federal Hall is now administered by the National Park Service, for details: www.nps.gov/feha)
In the beginning of the month—April 6—one month later than thought, the quorum was finally established in both chambers of Congress to count the electoral vote. Everyone seemed to know who was to become the first president, but after counting the ballots and tallying the numbers, this assumption became fact. He was placed first on all ballots and was unanimously elected.
As George Washington took that first oath and moved on to the first inaugural speech in United States history, one wonders if in his mind, his thoughts stretched back through his life. Possibly he thought of his childhood and how much his life had covered. What had happened since he took his first steps 57 years ago and how much of a part he had played in those changing circumstances. Were the expectations of his mother and late father, fulfilled? However, what was going through the subconscious of our first president can only be conjectured and all historians have to go on is what he wrote in his diary entry.
But, there is one thing we don’t need conjecture to figure out; the first steps that began the long walk to first executive began here at his birthplace. Come follow.