Behind Inaugural Speeches, Meaningful Words

What words do presidents focus on most in their inaugural addresses? Explore speeches, from Washington to Obama

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George Washington's First Inaugural Address

Text of George Washingtons first Inaugural Address

George Washington delivered his first inaugural address before a joint session of Congress in New York City’s Federal Hall on April 30, 1789. Washington, stepping into the newly created role of president, spoke of the importance of government’s duty to the public. He was deferential to his fellow patriots, almost hesitant to take on the role of the leader of the nation: “I shall again give way to my entire confidence in your discernment and pursuit of the public good.”

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