Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

a member of any State Legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid and comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disabilities.

4. The validity of the public debt of the United States authorized by law, including debts. incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States or any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations, and claims shall be held illegal and

void.

5. The Congress shall have power to enforce,

by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this

article.

Art. XV. Sec. 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of

servitude.

Sec. 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF GEORGE
WASHINGTON.

FIRST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DELIVERED APRI 30, 1789.

FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES-Among the vicissitudes incident to life, no event could have filled me with greater anxieties than that of which the notification was transmitted by your order, and received on the fourecuth day of the present month. On the one hand i was summoned by my country, whose voice I can ever hear but with veneration and love, from a retreat which I had chosen with the fondest predilection, and in my flattering hopes with an immutable decision as the asylum of my declining years; a retreat which was rendered every day more necessary as well as more dear to me, by the addition of habit to inclination, and of frequent interruptions in my health to the gradual waste committed on it by time.

On the other hand, the magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my country called me being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens a distrustful scrutiny into bis qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence one who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature, and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies. In this conflict of emotions, all I dare aver is, that it has been my faithful study to collect my duty from a just appreciation of every circumstance by which it might be affected. All I dare hope is, that if, in executing this task, I have been too much swayed by a grateful remembrance of former instances, or by any affectionate sensibility to this transcendent proof of the confidence of my fellow-citizens, and have thence too little consulted my incapacity as well as disinclination, for the weighty and untried cares before me, my error will be palliated by the motives which misled me, and its consequences be judged by my country with somo share of the partiality with which they originated.

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 Sates, a government instituted by themselves for hese 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 a 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.

By the article establishing the executive department it is made the duty of the President "to recommend to your consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient." The circumstances under which I now meet you will acquit me from entering into that subject farther than to refer to the great constitutional charter under which you are assembled, and which in defining your powers designates the objects to which your attention is to be given. It will be more consistent with those circumstances, and far more congenial with the feelings which actuate me to substitute in place of a recommendation of particular measures, the tribute that is due to the talents, the rectitude, and the patriotism which adorn the characters selected to devise and adopt them. In these honorable qualifications, I behold the surest pledges that as on one side no local prejudices or attachments, no separate views, no party animosities will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests, so on another, that the foundations of our national policy

« AnteriorContinuar »