On April 30, 1789, George Washington was sworn in as our nation’s first president. His wife, Martha Washington, was not at his side. Washington had only received the election results two weeks earlier, on April 14, when Secretary of Congress Charles Thomson arrived at Mount Vernon to notify Washington. He left for the temporary national capital, New York City, two days later and arrived on April 23. He traveled through six states, attending celebrations in cities and towns along the route and being greeted by thousands of citizens who lined...
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Gilder Lehrman Collection curator Beth Huffer discusses General Washington's 1776 orders for troops to march to Trenton. This copy of Washington’s orders, with a map of Trenton drawn on the back, belonged to Henry Knox, chief artillery officer, and was written in his own hand. The Collection also holds Knox’s firsthand account of the battle, in a letter written to his wife Lucy on December 28.
Gilder Lehrman curator Beth Huffer discusses a letter from John Adams to Benjamin Rush in which Adams describes Washington's greatest talents as a “handsome Face,” an “elegant Form,” and “graceful Attitudes and Movement.”