What were the important themes of George Washington's Inaugural Address of 1789?

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mrkirschner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

George Washington's Inaugural Address  of 1789 demonstrated his modesty and reverence towards a government for the people and by the people. While Washington was most likely the most popular president to ever assume office of president, he made it clear that he did not wish to abuse his mandate. The president did not use the first inaugural address to make demands on the new Congress.  His only directive towards Congress was the hope that amendments would be passed to provide comfort for the anti-federalist who were not comfortable with the new federal system of government.

James Madison helped George Washington with his inaugural speech. They decided that the speech should be short and to the point. Washington was reluctant to take the office of president and they agreed that this would be included in the speech. Washington stated in his speech that he overcame his own hesitation out of a sense of civic duty and because he loved his country. Another important theme that Washington spoke about was the divine guidance that this country was blessed with. The importance of the speech's theme was that George Washington was going to respect the limitations that the Constitution placed on the executive branch and place trust in the elected officials in the legislative branch. At the same time, he communicated the need to put regional differences aside for the greater good of national unity.


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