Presidential Addresses Famous Inaugural Speeches

The nation’s first chief executive took his oath of office on April 30, 1789, in New York City on the balcony of the Senate Chamber at Federal Hall on Wall Street. General Washington had been unanimously elected President by the first Electoral College, and John Adams was elected Vice President because he received the second greatest number of votes.

On Monday, March 4, 1793, President George Washington gave his second Presidential Inaugural address after giving the oath of office.

President Washington’s second oath of office was taken in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall in Philadelphia on March 4, the date fixed by the Continental Congress for inaugurations. Before an assembly of Congressmen, Cabinet officers, judges of the federal and district courts, foreign officials, and a small gathering of Philadelphians, the president offered the shortest inaugural address ever given. Associate Justice of the Supreme Court William Cushing administered the oath of office.

The Speech

Fellow Citizens:

I am again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate. When the occasion proper for it hall arrive, I shall endeavor to express the high sense I entertain of this distinguished honor, and of the confidence which as been reposed in me by the people of united America.

Previous to the execution of any official act of the President the Constitution requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about to take, and in your presence: That if it shall be found during my administration of the Government I have in any instance violated willingly or knowingly the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring constitutional punishment) be subject to the upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony.

Short and sweet, President Washington’s inaugural speech thus began his second term as United States President.