George Washington’s Second Inaugural (1793)

The shortest presidential inaugural address in American history, Washington’s second inaugural was held in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall, in Philadelphia. In front of a small gathering of politicians and members of the public, Washington reaffirmed his commitment to the new American Constitution. It was the first inaugural address given in Philadelphia, and was far less publish than his New York inaugural, delivered four years earlier. The Pennsylvania Gazette reported, two days afterwards, that Washington was unceremonious about the event, despite the admiration of the crowd in attendance. Click here for the Library of Congress’s page on the speech.

Washington’s Second Inaugural, March 4, 1793

Fellow Citizens: I am again called upon by the voice of my country to execute the functions of its Chief Magistrate. When the occasion proper for it shall arrive, I shall endeavor to express the high sense I entertain of this distinguished honor, and of the confidence which has been reposed in me by the people of united America.

Previous to the execution of any official act of the President the Constitution requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about to take, and in your presence: That if it shall be found during my administration of the Government I have in any instance violated willingly or knowingly the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring constitutional punishment) be subject to the upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the present solemn ceremony.

This transcription was taken from The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 12, 16 January 1793 – 31 May 1793, ed. Christine Sternberg Patrick and John C. Pinheiro. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2005, pp. 264–265.