The Vice President doesn't think we need the Constitution. But even back in 1776, nine states said we did. They approved the Constitution. All sorts of objections were raised to the new plan of government. Men gathered in the taverns and village stores to debate and argue about every part of the plan. Everywhere the members of the Convention were going, they were urging the people to accept.
Washington wrote letters day and night to his friends in Virginia urging them to accept the Constitution. Hamilton and Madison wrote nearly a hundred articles explaining ever part of it. They begged the people to accept it and give it a trial. This was not an executive order, and it was done. The people had to approve it. They pointed out: if it didn't work, it could be changed. These articles were first published in newspapers but were later collected and published in a book called the Federalist. Almost a year passed, but before the end of 1788 eleven states had accepted the Constitution, and the plan for a strong, new government was well on its way. Rhode Island and North Carolina, the other two states, signed it later, and the Union of the (13) states was saved. The Union was stronger now than when they had fought the war with England. The Constitution gave the new government power. It gave the power to keep up an army and navy. It could control trading with foreign countries, and it made trade for the American citizens fair. It gave the new government power to collect taxes and raise money to pay running expenses. And it could make people in states obey its law.
Now the question was, "Would George Washington accept the office of Presidency?" Because you see, he really didn't want it. He had several lovely plantations, his life was fairly simple, and he wanted nothing else at the time but to enjoy his home at Mount Vernon. Those who weren't quite sold on the idea for the government all agreed on one thing: George Washington was their man. Everyone trusted his honor, his ability, and most of all love for his country. They knew that if it was possible to make the new government a success, he would do it! Once Washington was convinced, he would serve, if elected. He received every vote cast. Make note: no other President has ever been elected without even one opposing vote. The greatest men of the whole country met at Philadelphia and worked out a plan for a new government. A government For the People. The plan of government was called the Constitution. It would only be fitting that the home of our government would be Washington. So note this and teach it to your children, that in 1787 the Federal Convention made the Constitution.
Now the question was: "How would Washington get our government going?" It was planned to begin the new government in March 1789. But remember, these times were hard. There were no automobiles, no railroads, or airplanes. The roads were mainly dirt, and most of them were nothing more than a widened trail. During the winter of 1789, the weather was so bad and the mud and snow so deep that the members of Congress were a month late in getting to New York City. The new government was to be started, for the Capitol was not yet built at Washington, nor was the city of Washington even started. Washington wanted everything by the people. When Congress arrived in New York they counted the votes for President and Vice President. Everybody knew that Washington was elected President and James Adams was Vice-President. But Congress had to go through the red tape, as we call it today, of counting the votes and telling them of their election. Congress sent its committee to Mount Vernon to tell Washington of its election, and he left for New York at once. Washington knew that Congress could do nothing till he arrived. He was a man who lived up to his word. He was a man of his word and duty. When he was only twenty he carried a message to Governor Dinwiddie warning the French to get out of the Ohio valley. Two years later, he hailed off bullets trying to save General Braddock's army from destruction by the French and their Indian warriors. At the age of 42, he took command of the American army, and under his command it won the independence of the United States. Then he and several important men put their guns on the mantle and took up their pens to help make a new government. At 57 years old, he set out to run the new government For the People. No other man in America could have done this task so well. On April 30, 1789, President George Washington took up his duties to his beloved people and country as President of the United States.
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Next week: the trouble of running this new government! Not! Washington was indeed "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."