The new president of the United States got out his copy of the Acts of Congress, turned to the Constitution and looked up his duties.
At Article II, Section 2, where it read, “The President shall be Commander in Chief,” he marked the passage. In the margin, he penciled in, “president powers.”
At Section 3, which began, “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union,” he wrote in the margin, “required.”
It wasn’t that George Washington was unprepared for his new job. He was just the first person in history to have it, and he wanted to get it right.
Washington’s revealing copy of the first Acts of Congress is one of the jewels in the elegant, new George Washington library that opens Friday at his historic homestead, Mount Vernon.
The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon is a $106 million project designed to be the international center for Washington scholarship, with a trove of his personal books and manuscripts at its core.