May 7, 2007

The First Inauguration

May 7, 1789 was the date of the first inaugural ball.

The ball took place in the New York City Assembly Rooms and was sponsored by some of his supporters. Washington had been sworn into office a week earlier, on April 30, at Federal Hall on Wall Street. (He had actually arrived in the city on April 23rd, but the House and the Senate had not come to an agreement on how the inauguration should be conducted.) An earlier, more "official" ball had been planned to immediately follow his taking of the oath, but had been cancelled when it was discovered that Martha had not accompanied him to New York, remaining at Mount Vernon to tie up some business matters. The ball was attended by Washington, Vice President Adams, and various members of the new Congress.

The President danced two cotillions and a minuet. He was said to have been a very good dancer.

Illustration: George Washington dances the minuet with Mrs. Maxwell.
From Harper's Bazaar, May 11, 1889. Public Domain

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