February 16, 2004

Presidential Fun Fact of the Day

Fun facts from George Washington's Inauguration.

1. The inauguration was originally scheduled for March 4, but not enough members of Congress could reach New York City in time. It was rescheduled for April 30. Unfortunately, it was too late to fix the souvenirs, which were printed with the original date on them.

2. Washington's inaugural address was originally written with the help of his friend and sometime poet David Humphreys. The draft was 73 pages long and included many historical facts regarding the American struggle for independence.

3. Unhappy with the original address, Washington sent a draft to James Monroe to review. Monroe used some aspects of the original speech in a new draft, which he returned to Washington. Washington liked Monroe's version and fine-tuned it before delivering that speech after he took the Oath of Office.

4. Washington's address was a mere 20 minutes long. It included religious references, which set a precedent: every inaugural speech since has referred to God (but not Jesus).

5. When Washington repeated the Oath, he added "So help me God" to the end. That line is not in the official Oath.

6. After Washington was sworn in as President, the officiant shouted, "Long live George Washington, President of the United States!" This was later criticized as too monarchistic, and has never been used again.

Posted by Jennifer at February 16, 2004 10:23 AM