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 »

Featured Primary Sources

George Washington arrives in New York for first inauguration, April 30, 1789 (Ne

George Washington’s First Inaugural Address, 1789

Creator: George Washington Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics, Literature Grade Levels:
John Adams, by Asher B. Durand (Naval Historical Center)

John Adams on the abolition of slavery, 1801

Creator: John Adams Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+

Reports on the yellow fever epidemic, 1793

Creator: an unknown correspondent Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:
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Teaching Resources

George Washington’s Rules of Civility

Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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Anti-Federalism and Dissent in Constitutional History

Speaker(s): Saul Cornell, James G. Basker
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