On this day in history, January 8, 1790, George Washington delivered his first State of the Union address.
On this day in history, January 8, 1790, the first president of the United States, George Washington, addressed the Congress that was the first state in the Union.
Washington’s speech took place at Federal Hall in New York and touched on a variety of topics, including national defense, foreign policy, the economy and education.
America’s first president began by congratulating North Carolina on its recent accession to the federal republic, according to History.com.
This decision followed the state’s rejection of the Constitution in 1788 because it did not include a bill of rights.
A formal Bill of Rights was eventually drafted and sent to 11 of the 13 states that adopted the Constitution before North Carolina ratified it in 1789.
Washington then outlined the policies of his administration as outlined by Alexander Hamilton.
As the former commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, Washington would have been wary of supporting the creation of a standing army.
Washington’s idea was controversial, says History.com, but he argued that “planning for a common defense deserves special attention.”
“Preparing for war is one of the most effective ways to keep peace,” said Washington, Mountvernon.org.
Washington also supported federal influence on some national issues, discussing federal issues such as foreign affairs and national defense in his speech.
The administration at the time, influenced by Hamilton, sought more money and some control over areas such as agriculture, trade and manufacturing, as well as science and literature, according to History.com.
To achieve this, Washington said, he needed a federal post office, mail roads, and a public education system, which he said would strengthen the nation in the new Constitution.
In his address, the President said: “In every country, education is the most reliable basis for the happiness of the society.”
“It contributes to the security of a free Constitution in various ways: by persuading those responsible for public administration that every valuable form of government is well served by the enlightened confidence of the people; And by teaching people to know and appreciate their rights.”
Washington saw his administration as the welfare of the United States as “the great object to which our attention and efforts must be directed.”
The President concluded, “I take great satisfaction in cooperating with you in the pleasant but difficult task of securing for our citizens the benefits they are entitled to expect from a free, efficient, and equal situation.”
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