Inaugural Speech of President George Washington and Picture of Washington His Cabinet

The first illustration is of Washington giving his inaugural speech.  Pictured in the second illustration are President George Washington and his cabinet. Members of Washington’s cabinet included Secretary of War Henry Knox, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph. Not pictured because he was not technically a part of the Cabinet was Vice President John Adams. Historians generally agree that George Washington put together the most brilliant group of cabinet officers in our nation’s history. Unlike subsequent presidents that often polled their cabinet officers in making decisions, however, George Washington made all presidential decisions. He would often seek memos from his cabinet officers to seek their differing opinions, but he never put decisions to a vote. Instead, his cabinet was modeled after his counsel of generals underneath himself where he sought their views, but there could only be one commander. From today’s perspective, Washington might be accused of micro-managing. But given the small size of the federal government when he was President and the lack of the type of White House support staff that modern presidents have to assist them, George Washington had no choice but to become involved in almost all the details of running the new government. This was one of the reasons why George Washington was the most qualified to become the nation’s first president – since he had experience in running a large plantation (that was larger than the entire federal government when Washington was President) and had experience in commanding the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Also, George Washington was the one person that the country could unite behind in putting aside their regional differences.

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~ by americanpresidents on July 20, 2009.

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