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Presidents and Precedents The Washington Presidency.

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Presentation on theme: "Presidents and Precedents The Washington Presidency."— Presentation transcript:

1 Presidents and Precedents The Washington Presidency

2 Annapolis, 1783: Washington resigns his commission as commander of the Continental army..

3 “The American Cincinnatus” Although he might have been crowned a king of America, Washington went home to his farm at Mount Vernon. This act was without precedent in modern history….

4 Recalled to duty: President of the Constitutional Convention, 1787

5 “I know there are some among us who would now establish a monarchy. But they are inconsiderable in number and weight of character… We were educated in royalism: no wonder if some of us retain that idolatry still. Our young people are educated in republicanism…” Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, March 15, 1789

6 "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America." Article II, Section 1

7 “…my movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied with feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution: so unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful abode for an Ocean of difficulties…” George Washington to Henry Knox, April 1, 1789

8 "As the first of everything in our situation will serve to establish a precedent, it is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles." George Washington to James Madison, 1789 “In our progress towards political happiness my station is new; and, if I may use the expression, I walk on untrodden ground… There is scarcely any part of my conduct whc may not hereafter be drawn into precedent.” George Washington to Catherine Macaulay Graham, January 9, 1790

9 The new Vice-President, John Adams, believed that the leaders of a republic should live in style to gain the respect of both the people and other nations….

10 Adams on the title of “President” “You may depend on being the Contempt, the Scorn and the Derision of all Europe, while you call your national Conductor, General or President. You may depend on another Thing. The State Government will ever be uppermost in America in the Minds of our own People, till you give a superiour Title to your first national Magistrate…” John Adams to Benjamin Rush, July 24, 1789

11 “…the word Highness is in the Mouth of every Fool & Knave—& even His Sacred Majesty has been seriously talk’r of. I am out of all Patience when I think how we suffered ourselves to be duped into Measures distructive of every Republican idea how these things sit upon the Mind of the President. I cannot judge, but if he is the Man I take him to be & hope to find him they must give him not a little pain…” Representative Thomas Tucker of South Carolina to St. George Tucker, May 13, 1789

12 The First Inauguration: New York, 1789 “…To the end that the Oath of Office may be administered to the President in the most public manner, and that the greatest number of the people of the United States and without distinction, may be witnesses to the solemnity, that therefore the Oath be administered in the outer Gallery adjoining to the Senate Chamber…” Joint Committee Report on the Ceremonial for the Inauguration of the President, April 29, 1789

13 Washington enters New York… “…about 20 Gentlemen & Ladies & with most excellent Voices, [lined out] sung an elegant Ode prepared for the Purpose to the Tune of God Save the King, welcoming their great Chief to the Seat of Government… We found the Stairs covered with Carpeting & the Rails hung with Crimson…” Representative Elias Boudinot of New Jersey to Hannah Boudinot, April 24, 1789

14 The First Inauguration, 1789 A few precedents:  Oath of office taken out-of-doors;  Added the phrase "So help me God" at the end of the oath;  Kissed the Bible after the oath;  Inaugural address;  Inaugural ball;  Fireworks to conclude the celebration.

15 A Formal Yet Accessible President… At his weekly public receptions, or levees, President Washington, in formal dress, would bow and speak to each guest---but never stoop to shaking hands.

16 James Madison, the Washington administration’s spokesman and first, although unofficial, majority leader in the House of Representatives… "We are in a wilderness, without a single footstep to guide us…" James Madison to James Madison, Sr., July 5, 1789,

17 “The President... may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments...." Article II, Section 2

18 The Power of Removal… Washington firmly believed that he had the power to remove appointees at will. After some heated debate, Congress agreed. Virginia’s Richard Henry Lee, among others, opposed the idea that that the President alone should have the power of removal.

19 Senator Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut, the chief architect of the Judiciary Act of 1789 "The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.“ Article III, Section 1

20 Judiciary Act of 1789 Created a Supreme Court consisting of a chief justice and five associate justices chosen by the President and approved by Congress. Established a network of district courts as well as the position of Attorney General

21 "Faced with a motion to commit the report on negotiations with the southern Indians and questions that he and his Secretary of War had brought to the Senate, the President started up in a Violent fret. This defeats every purpose of my coming here, were the first words that he said… He cooled however by degrees said he had no Objection to putting off the Matter… We Waited for him to withdraw, he did so with a discontented Air. had it been any other, than the Man who I wish to regard as the first Character in the World, I would have said with sullen dignity. I cannot now be mistaken the President wishes to tread on the Necks of the Senate....“ Pennsylvania Senator William Maclay's description of Washington's Senate appearance, August 22, 1789 "... by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate..." Article II, Section 2

22 Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury "All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.“ Article VI

23 Washington was the first to invoke the idea of implied powers in the “Necessary and Proper" clause of the Constitution to justify his signing the law creating the first National Bank…. "The Congress shall have Power... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States." Article I, Section 8

24 The first great compromise by the new government, the Compromise of 1790, ensured that the new national capitol would be located in the South… "The Congress shall... exercise exclusive Legislation... over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may... become the Seat of the Government of the United States...." Article I, Section 8

25 Creation of the Federal Bureaucracy… George Washington oversaw the creation of the Civil Service from 1789 onward. By 1792, it consisted of over 700 employees, most of whom worked in the Treasury Department.

26 "The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution...." Article V The First Amendments to the Constitution: The Bill of Rights

27 Washington on political parties…. “…I was no party man myself... and the first wish of my heart was, if parties did exist, to reconcile them.... Until within the last year or two, I had no conception that parties would or even could go the length I have been witness to…” George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, July 1796:

28 "Their names then ought not to have been distinguished by federalists and antifederalists, but as rats and antirats…" Representative Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts during the debate on the Bill of Rights

29 The First Vetoes… 1792: a reapportionment bill to increase House membership from 67 to 120. Washington thought the bill unfairly gave power to large-population states. Also, Congress' numbers did not match the 30,000 citizens per congressional representative as required by the Constitution. 1797: a bill to downsize the military.

30 The First National Census 1790

31 "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States...." Article I, Section 8 A tax collector is tarred and feathered …

32 “Just where he hung the people meet. To see him swing was music sweet. A Barrel of whiskey at his feet…” Anti-excise cartoon by an unknown artist, 1792

33 The Whiskey Rebellion, 1794 “…I. George Washington, President of the United States, do hereby command all persons, being insurgents… to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes… and do require all officers and other citizens, according to their respective duties and the laws of the land, to exert their utmost endeavors to prevent and suppress such dangerous proceedings. ”

34 Daniel Morgan led the troops that suppressed the Whiskey Rebellion.

35 The first Presidential Pardon (or Amnesty, if you prefer)… Presidential Proclamation, July 10, 1795: Full pardon for those who took part in the Whiskey Rebellion

36 Partial List of George Washington's Official Proclamations and Executive Orders, 1789-1797 June 8, 1789: Creation of the Department of Foreign Affairs by executive order (Soon renamed Department of State) October 3, 1789: Thanksgiving Day Proclamation August 14, 1790: Ratification of treaty with the Creek Nation August 26, 1790/March 19, 1791: Warning U.S. citizens against violations of Indian treaties January 24, 1791/March 30, 1791: Establishment of District of Columbia September 15, 1792: Whiskey Rebellion Proclamation December 12, 1792: Encouraging law officials to bring to justice those who had destroyed Cherokee Nation villages April 22, 1793: Proclamation of Neutrality March 24, 1794/August 1794: Warning citizens in Kentucky/western Pennsylvania not to take part in rebellions October 9, 1794: Executive Order to General Knox to send military supplies to Bedford, Pennsylvania

37 "The Congress shall have Power to... make needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory... belonging to the United States. New States may be admitted by the Congress." Article IV, Section 3 "Westward the course of empire takes its way…" Speech of Rep. Thomas Scott of Pennsylvania on the Land Office Bill, July 13, 1789

38 Kentucky and Vermont admitted to the Union in 1791… Congress establishes the precedent that for each new southern state a northern one would be admitted and vice versa.

39 Stabilizing the frontier was a major challenge for the Washington administration…

40 Washington, lacking money and troops for Indian wars, negotiated treaties with several tribes, but ended up fighting them anyway… Miami Chief Little Turtle’s confederation achieved major victories in 1790 and 1791.

41 The French Revolution, 1789

42 Recognizing Nations Washington established a precedent of recognition when he, rather than Congress, used executive authority to recognize the new Republic of France.

43 The Proclamation of Neutrality, 1793 “Whereas it appears that a state of war exists between Austria, Prussia, Sardinia, Great Britain, and the United Netherlands, of the one part, and France on the other; and the duty and interest of the United States require, that they should with sincerity and good faith adopt and pursue a conduct friendly and impartial toward the belligerant Powers…” George Washington April 22, 1793

44 The First Cabinet Scandal: Edmund Randolph, Secretary of State. In 1795, the British government accused Randolph of spying for France. He protested innocence, but Washington forced his resignation.

45 The Jay Treaty, 1794 The British agreed to remove their troops from U.S. territory, allow trade with India, allow restricted trade with the West Indies, to stop harassing neutral U.S. ships, and pay for seized U.S. ships. Britain refused to pay for slaves carried off at the end of the Revolution; the treaty did not address the impressment of U.S. sailors.

46 The Establishment of “Executive Privilege” Washington did so by refusing to provide Congress with: Diplomatic correspondence of Gouverneur Morris, then minister to France, that contained negative comments about the French government. (Not in the “national interest” to do so) Papers concerning the Jay Treaty negotiations. Washington: "the nature of foreign negotiations requires caution; and their success often depends on secrecy. “ Full disclosure" would violate this secrecy and overstep Constitutional boundaries fixed between government departments. Could have a negative effect on future negotiations with foreign nations.

47 The first hostage crisis: The Algerian Pirates

48 “There is but one language which can be held to these people, and this is terror.” General William Eaton, 1799

49 The Two-Term Limit…

50 Farewell Address: Political Parties “This spirit [of party], unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind… It [party] serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another; foments occasionally riot and insurrection…”

51 Farewell Address: Alliances “…[T]he great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations, is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible.... 'Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances with any portion of the foreign world;... Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies. “

52 Long before his death in 1799, Washington had become a mythic symbol… The Apotheosis of George Washington, Constantino Brumidi,1866 Washington ascending to heaven, escorted by Liberty and Victory. Thirteen maidens symbolize the states. Apotheosis: elevation to divine status

53 Lesson Plan: Presidential Precedents Work in groups of four or five. Each group will receive a set of questions, a timeline of the Washington presidency and a document authored by George Washington during his presidency. The document will be different for each group. Each individual in the group will read their documents first. They will then answer the questions provided; each group should come to a consensus on their answers. Time permitting, groups will report on their findings. Group Questions Title of document_____________________ Author of document______________________ Intended audience________________________ Date of document________________________ List any relevant events or controversies that may have been taking place at this time (Refer to timeline.)_____________________________________ To which presidential precedents does the document refer? (Refer to timeline if needed.) Does the writer attempt to justify these actions listed in #6? If yes, how does he do so? If not, why do you think a justification was omitted? Are any concerns or worries expressed in the document? If yes, please list them. Are the precedents referred to in the document still honored? Explain.

54 Web Sites: Lesson Plans and Documents George Washington, A National Treasure. Companion site to the National Portrait Gallery exhibition. Includes chronology of the president's life, a town hall message board, and an interactive version of his full-length portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Mount Vernon: Historic home and gardens of first United States president, George Washington. Includes visitor's guide, events, archaeology, photographs, and history George Washington papers at the Library of Congress. Largest collection of original Washington documents in existence. Includes his diaries, letter books, and military papers as well as a timeline and essays. George Washington Papers at University of Virginia. Project to publish a complete edition of Washington's correspondence from 1748 to 1799. Includes featured documents as well as educational resources.

55 More Web Sites George Washington, First President of the United States. Includes biography, text of his inaugural addresses and annual messages, and links. American President. George Washington in Williamsburg The Avalon Project Social Studies for Kids: George Washington The Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress.

56 Picture Credits Slide 2: Trumbull, John, artist. "General Washington Resigning His Commission to Congress, Annapolis, Maryland." Photograph of a painting by John Trumbull in the United States Capitol. Detroit Publishing Co., between 1900 and 1912. Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920, American Memory collections, Library of Congress. Slide 3: Found at Slide 4: Scene at the Signing of the Constitution." By Howard Chandler Christy. Image courtesy of Political Science Dept, College of New Jersey.Political Science Dept, College of New Jersey Slide 5:The Washington Family, by Edward Savage (Courtesy of the the National Gallery of Art, Washington, The Andrew W. Mellon Collection)the National Gallery of Art Slide 6: George Washington (Lansdowne portrait). Oil on canvas. 1796. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian InstitutionNational Portrait GallerySmithsonian Institution Slide 8:Thomas Jefferson by Charles W. Peale (Courtesy of the Independence National Historical Park)Independence National Historical Park

57 Slide 9: Portrait of George Washington by Rembrandt Peale; portrait of George III found at Slide 10: Vice President John Adams by John Singleton Copley, April 29, 1789; Richmond Hill (Courtesy of the Library of CongressLibrary of Congress Slide 12: Found at Slide 13: Found at Slide 14: National Archives and Records Administration, Still Pictures Branch # 148-CCD-92C Slide 15: Slide 16: Washington and his cabinet: left to right, President Washington, Secretary of War Henry Knox, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph (Library of Congress)Library of Congress Slide 17: Rep. James Madison of Virginia by James Sharples (Independence National Historical Park)Independence National Historical Park Slide 18: Sen. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, by Charles W. Peale (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution)National Portrait Gallery

58 Slide 19: Sen. Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut by James Sharples (Courtesy of the Independence National Historical Park)Independence National Historical Park Slide 20: 1794 portrait of John Jay by Gilbert Stuartfound at; others found at JayGilbert Stuart Slide 22: Alexander Hamilton by John Trumbull (National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Report on the Public Credit, January 9, 1790 (Library of Congress)National Portrait GalleryLibrary of Congress Slide 23: Found at Slide 25: The Bill of Rights as sent out for ratification (Courtesy of the National Archives)National Archives Slide 26: Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts by James Barton Longacre after John Vanderlyn (Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution) National Portrait Gallery Slide 29: Found at; "The Treasury Department -- The New Secretary Looking Around," from Harper's Bazaar, April 3, 1869. Slide 30:

59 Slide 31: Found at Slide 33: Anti-excise cartoon by an unknown artist, 1792 ( Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia of History)Atwater Kent Museum of Philadelphia of History Slide 34: Found at Slide 35: Daniel Morgan portrait by Charles Wilson Peale, 1794; found at Slide 38: Found at Slide 39: Found at Slide 40: Action Between the Dutch Fleet and Barbary Pirates, Lieve Pietersz Verschuier, 1670 National Maritime Museum, London Slide 41: June 5, 2004 issue of Time Magazine, found at Second image found at; Theodore Roosevelt cartoons found at

60 Slide 42: Found at Slide 43: George Caleb Bingham, Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers Through the Cumberland Gap (1851-2, Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, Missouri)Daniel Boone Escorting Settlers Through the Cumberland Gap Slide 44: Found at Slide 45: Miami Chief Little Turtle (Indiana Historical Society)Indiana Historical Society Slide 46: Found at; second image found at Slide 47: The Tennis Court Oath at Versailles by Jacques–Louis David, 1791, Musée National du Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France. Slide 49: Grant cartoon found at; FDR cartoons found at; Slide 52: Found at

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