George Washington’s first State of the Union address: Little pomp and no applause linesBreaking News
tags: George Washington, State of the Union, presidential history, Trump
The president stepped into uncharted territory as he prepared to address Congress.
It was Jan. 8, 1790, the dawn of a new era of politics and government in the United States. George Washington, the first president of the new nation, had arrived by carriage at Federal Hall in New York, the temporary capital, to deliver a speech to the first Congress.
The powers and responsibilities of the office held by Washington remained in significant ways undefined in the early years of the Republic. There was “an elected president,” author Fergus M. Bordewich has written,“ but little agreement on what his job entailed.”
There was even uncertainty about decorum. Congress wrangled over the title for the chief executive — with Vice President John Adams favoring aristocratic-sounding titles such as “His Highness” or “His High Mightiness,” according to Bordewich — before agreeing to address him simply as “President of the United States.”
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