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This Day In Founding Fathers History – 30 April 2013
On this day in 1789, George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. Washington’s election was unanimous, the only election ever to be so. The vote was supposed to have taken place over a month earlier with the inauguration to take place the first Wednesday in March. However, a quorum of electors could not be met until the first week in April due to bad weather. His over 200-mile journey from Mount Vernon to New York, which was the first capital of the U.S., took eight days. Along the way, parades and other festivities awaited Washington. On this day in history, the balcony at Federal Hall on Wall Street was the scene of Washington’s inauguration. Robert Livingston presided over the swearing in ceremony, and, following that, Congress heard Washington deliver his inaugural address in the Senate chambers. Pennsylvania Senator William Maclay noted “This great man was agitated and embarrassed more than ever he was by the leveled Cannon or pointed Musket.” 1
In 1812 on this day, the Territory of Orleans was admitted into the Union as the State of Louisiana, the 18th state. Louisiana was the first state with a population where the majority was French- and Spanish-speaking Catholics. Federal law required a territory to apply to Congress for statehood. It took years of lobbying by the Orleans Territory’s citizens to convince Congress they were ready for statehood. In 1811, President Madison signed the bill which allowed Louisiana to form a state constitution. At the conclusion of the constitutional convention in New Orleans, President Madison signed the bill approving statehood to Louisiana, with formal admission scheduled for this day in 1812. 2
1 “George Washington’s Inaugural Address,” The Center for Legislative Archives, www.archives.gov/legislative/features/gw-inauguration/; “1787-1791: The meeting of the Constitutional Conventional and the ratification process,” Founding.com, www.founding.com/timeline/pageid.2466/default.asp
2 “Louisiana Statehood History,” Bicentennial of Louisiana Statehood, www.louisianabicentennial2012.com/page.php?page=Louisiana-Statehood-History