Source 1: Washington's Tour of the States
Read As you read this secondary source, think about why a president would want to travel to different parts of the country.
Washington's Northern Tour
After he was elected president, George Washington made three tours of the United States—one to New England in 1789, another to Long Island in 1790, and a third tour to the southern states in 1791.
On his tour of New England—which he called “the Eastern States”—Washington was pleased to find the country, “in a great deal, recovered from the ravages of War.” He remarked that the recent harvests had been plentiful and that trade with foreign countries and manufacturing had grown. In general, the people of New England seemed to be satisfied with their lives. They also seemed satisfied with their new federal government.
At first, Washington had intended to visit every region of the young nation after he became president. Unfortunately, his tour of the southern states was delayed until March of 1791 because of his responsibilities as president and personal matters at Mount Vernon. Washington estimated that his journey down the East Coast and back would cover more than 1700 miles.
This coach from Mount Vernon is very similar to the one Washington used for travel.
A Tour of the Southern States
During his tour of the South, Washington asked people for their opinion about a tax that had recently passed in Congress. In South Carolina, he met with Catawba chiefs about their treaty rights. He also spoke with the governor of Georgia about the issue of fugitive slaves.
Washington was particularly interested in the economy of the region. He made lists of the agricultural goods produced in each area, and he kept track of the primary shipping ports. He also commented on how river navigation might be improved in some areas. Drawing from his experience as a farmer, Washington made note of which areas of the South had land that was good for farming and which ones did not.