Washington Takes Presidential Oath

1789

George Washington, as the young nation’s first president, swears to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Washington takes the presidential oath on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City. Because there are as yet no U.S. Supreme Court justices, Washington is sworn in by Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, New York’s highest ranking judge. A crowd of onlookers fills the street below, bellowing, “Long live George Washington,” at the conclusion of the brief ceremony.