Perfect tranquility: Some resonating words from the first inauguration

The inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States. Also present are (from left) Alexander Hamilton, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman, Mr. Otis, Vice President John Adams, Baron Von Steuben and General Henry Knox. Original Artwork: Printed by Currier & Ives.  (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
The inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States. Also present are (from left) Alexander Hamilton, Robert R. Livingston, Roger Sherman, Mr. Otis, Vice President John Adams, Baron Von Steuben and General Henry Knox. Original Artwork: Printed by Currier & Ives. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Things have changed quite a bit since the first presidential inauguration in 1789.

Wednesday, Joe Biden becomes the new president, and will take his oath of office, marking the 73rd time it will be taken, by 46 presidents.

Since 1937, inaugurations have been held on Jan. 20. Before that, March 4 was a common yet non-consistent day in which the oath was taken.

George Washington was the first person to be inaugurated, and thus began the important civic ritual.

According to the Center for Legislative Archives, in 1788, the Confederation Congress announced Washington would be inaugurated on the first Wednesday in March 1789. However, the beginning of that year was unseasonably cold, with snowy and bad weather delaying many members of the First Federal Congress from arriving promptly to New York City — the temporary seat of government.

More than a month late, enough of the members reached NYC to tally the electoral ballots, according to the archives, and Washington won unanimously with 69 electoral votes.

Illustration of American general and politician George Washington (1732 - 1799) receiving the news of his election as the first American president, 1789. Martha Washington (R) looks on. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Washington took oath as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789 in front of a crowd of 10,000 people who showed up to witness the historic event, according to History.com. He then delivered the first inaugural address to a joint session of Congress.


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