Inside the Vault: George Washington's Inauguration

Join our curators, Kevin Cline, 2016 National History Teacher of the Year, and Sabrina Imamura from Hamilton as we investigate documents related to the inauguration of the first President of the United States. Discover the careful planning that went into establishing this important precedent. The documents featured will explore how Washington prepared for the inauguration, how his speech was created, and how the American people reacted to the inauguration.

Click here to download the slides from the presentation.

Classroom-ready resources for the documents presented

Use the timestamps below to jump to the documents you want to view

  • Opinions on the manner of George Washington taking the Oath of Office: 13:04–18:14
  • George Washington’s letter to Henry Knox about becoming president: 18:15–39:24
  • George Washington’s Inaugural Address: 39:25–40:12
  • A leaf from the discarded draft of George Washington’s Inaugural Address: 40:13–41:34
  • George Washington’s Inaugural Address, printed in the Gazette of the United States: 41:35–1:01:30

Transcripts of newspaper accounts of Washington’s Inauguration