“We believe that human happiness and moral duty are inseparably connected ; it is your love of liberty, your respect for the laws, your habits of industry and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, these are our strongest claims to national and individual happiness.” George Washington
In 1783, Washington, believing he had done his duty, gave up his command of the army and returned home to Mount Vernon. He was intent on resuming life as a farmer and family man. Only four years later in 1787, he was asked to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. He would be intricately involved in drafting the new Constitution. It was obvious to all the delegates that he was by far the most qualified man to become the nation’s first President.
At first, Washington resisted. Public opinion was so strong that eventually, he agreed to run. The first Presidential election was held on January 7, 1789, and Washington was elected with John Adams receiving the second-largest number of votes, and joining him as the first vice president. George Washington was inaugurated on April 30, 1789, in New York City.
From that address “Such being the impressions under which I have, in obedience to the public summons, repaired to the present station; it would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the Universe, who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States, a Government instituted by themselves for these essential purposes: and may enable every instrument employed in its administration to execute with success, the functions allotted to his charge. In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency. And in the important revolution just accomplished in the system of their United Government, the tranquil deliberations and voluntary consent of so many distinct communities, from which the event has resulted, cannot be compared with the means by which most Governments have been established, without some return of pious gratitude along with humble anticipation of the future blessings which the past seem to presage. These reflections, arising out of the present crisis, have forced themselves too strongly on my mind to be suppressed. You will join with me I trust in thinking, that there are none under the influence of which, the proceedings of a new and free Government can more auspiciously commence….I dwell on this prospect with every satisfaction which an ardent love for my Country can inspire: since there is no truth more thoroughly established, than that there exists in the economy and course of nature, an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness, between duty and advantage, between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy, and the solid rewards of public prosperity and felicity: Since we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained: And since the preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the Republican model of Government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
He clearly acknowledges the hand of Godly providence on us as a Nation and compels us to be grateful, productive, law abiding and assures us that the smiles of Heaven will insure our happiness.