by Joseph J. Ellis

In April of 1789 the ink on the recently ratified Constitution was barely dry when George Washington began the trek from his Mount Vernon plantation to the national capital at New York. The public reverence usually accorded to royalty was on display throughout the weeklong trip, including a laurel crown lowered from an arch of triumph in Philadelphia, rose petals cast in Washington’s path by white-robed girls at Trenton, and a specially composed ode sung by a chorus of sailors in New York harbor to the tune of “God Save the King.” It was a rather courtly way to launch a republic.More »