As everyone knows, the first president of the United States of America was George Washington. On April 30, 1789, George Washington took his official oath of office while standing on a balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York.
He wrote to James Madison, understanding how important his swearing in was, that “As the first of everything, in our situation will serve to establish a Precedent. It is devoutly wished on my part, that these precedents may be fixed on true principles.”
After the Revolutionary War, Washington actually longed to retire to his fields at Mount Vernon. He realized, however, that a new Constitution was necessary in America and he worked tirelessly to see that it was ratified. After its ratification at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, he was elected as president by a unanimous vote from the Electoral College.
The two party system developed by the end of his first term. By the end of his second term, weary of politics and feeling old, he retired. During his Farewell Address, he warned the people not to focus too much on geographical distinctions or on party lines. He also warned about long-term alliances in foreign affairs.
Most of us know that the President of the United States has a cabinet, but exactly who is in this cabinet? And what do these people do? The United States Cabinet is comprised of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch of the federal government. Each cabinet officer is nominated by the President and then confirmed by the Senate. After the President nominates a potential Cabinet member, the Senate takes a vote and decides, by a majority vote, whether to confirm or reject this nomination.
All Cabinet heads are referred to as “Secretary” except for the Attorney General. Today’s cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments. In addition, there are five other people who have cabinet ranks.
Interestingly, the Cabinet has been in existence since George Washington. Washington had a cabinet of four people including the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of War and the Attorney General. Even today, these four titles are the four most important members of the President’s Cabinet.
The Cabinet is a very important part of the presidential line of succession. This line of succession, in order includes: Vice President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Secretary of the Interior, and so on. The government tries to make sure not to have all of these people in the same place so that the succession can run smoothly, should something terrible happen.