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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 16 April 2013
On this day in 1789, a reluctant George Washington left Mount Vernon headed for New York City where he would be inaugurated as the first President of the United States, a trip that would take seven days. In his journal, he noted: “About 10 o’clock I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity, and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express, set out for New York…with the best dispositions to render service to my country in obedience to its call, but with less hope of answering its expectations.” 1
In 1787 on this day (or thereabouts), “The Contrast,” written by Royall Tyler, became the first play written by an American to receive a professional production. The play was a comic satire about the contrast between Americans and Europeans, integrity and pretense, merchant and inheritor, soldier and socialite, duty and desire. It illustrates the American struggle between old world conventions and the pursuit of happiness in the new world. 2
On this day in 1818, the Rush-Bagot Treaty or “Rush-Bagot Disarmament” was ratified by Congress. The treaty was the result of correspondence between U.S. Secretary of State Richard Rush and British Minister to Washington Sir Charles Bagot. The treaty limited naval armaments on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain following the War of 1812. Along with the Treaty of 1818, Britain and America agreed to a demilitarized boundary between the U.S. and what is now Canada. 3
1 “The Inauguration of George Washington, 1789,” EyeWitness to History, eyewitnesstohistory.com/washingtoninaug.htm
2 “The Contrast by Royall Tyler,” Metropolitan Playhouse, metropolitanplayhouse.org/contrastessay;
3 “Rush-Bagot Treaty,” Wikipedia; “Today in History: Rush-Bagot Treaty Signed,” James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library, jamesmonroemuseum.umw.edu/2012/04/20/today-in-history-rush-bagot-treaty-signed/