Volume 1: Sept. 1788 – Mar. 1789

Volume 1 of the Presidential Series covers the months immediately before Washington’s election. Opening in September 1788, at the point when it was certain that the Constitution would be ratified, the documents trace the mounting public pressure upon Washington to agree to accept the presidency. His letters reveal poignantly his own misgivings about leaving Mount Vernon to return to public life.

Well before he was offered the presidency he was deluged with applications for public offices. These letters are singularly revealing of economic and social disruption in the aftermath of the Revolution and of the political and social assumptions of Americans at the beginning of the new nation. Letters written to Washington during these months from all over the country report the gradual acceptance of the new government and the progress of the first federal elections in the states. His correspondence with foreign admirers is also extensive.

Dorothy Twohig, ed., The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series volume 1, September 1788 – March 1789. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1987.

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