Unanimously elected twice, President Washington established many crucial presidential precedents.

George Washington helped shape the office's future role and powers, as well as set both formal and informal precedents for future presidents. Washington believed that it was necessary to strike a delicate balance between making the presidency powerful enough to function effectively in a national government, while also avoiding any image of establishing a monarchy or dictatorship. In the process, President Washington significantly influenced the path for the presidency moving forward, setting standards in all aspects, including political power, military practice, and economic policy.

Washington's Election

Everyone expected George Washington to win the first election in 1789. But an equally important question remained unanswered: would he accept the job?

Learn More

The First First Lady

Just as her husband realized that his every action might set a precedent for future presidents, so was Martha Washington aware that her behavior as first lady would become the template for the wives of future chief executives.

Learn More

Cabinet Members

George Washington’s cabinet included four original members: Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph.

Learn More

First 100 Days

Today we judge our modern Presidents by how much they achieved in their first 100 days.  See how Washington stacked up to the others.

First 100 Days

The First Supreme Court

As the first president, and since there were no sitting justices at the beginning of his term, George Washington had the unique opportunity to fill the entire body of United States federal judges with his selections-- including the Supreme Court.

Learn More

State of the Union Address

On January 8, 1790, President George Washington delivered to Congress the first State of the Union address in American history. This precedent setting address presented defense, foreign policy, economic, education, and immigration related topics.

Learn More

Presidential Entertaining

In addition to his appearance in public settings, Washington paid close attention to the manner of domestic entertaining that he felt best defined the new American presidency.

Learn More
Buy Tickets What to See Calendar Shop Restaurant Donate Membership
Estate Hours

Open today from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save