George Washington's Second Presidential Term

After some convincing, George Washington chose to run again for a second term in 1792. He was unanimously elected once more, so again Washington became the President of the United States, whereas John Adams became his Vice President. His second inauguration was held in Philadelphia on March 4, 1793. His second inaugural address was the shortest one delivered by any U.S. President. Since his first inauguration was held in New York, Washington became the only President to have his two inaugurations held in two separate cities. During his second term, George Washington continued to set precedents for future Presidents. He began the Presidential tradition of entertaining guests. This practice initially began as a result of Washington noticing that the members of Congress were typically overwhelmed with visitors. Furthermore, Washington and the newly formed United States of America were thrust into their first major foreign affairs predicament with the outbreak of the French Revolution. Not only had French revolutionaries executed their monarch Louis XVI and his royal family and immersed their own nation into the violent bloodbath that was the Reign of Terror, but also France declared war on both Great Britain and Spain. Washington's own Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson, expressed great support for the French Revolution. Jefferson's sentiments were echoed by many citizens in the States, as they saw in the French revolutionaries a kindred spirit with the United States' ideals of personal and political freedom. Furthermore, as a result of France's assistance in the American War for Independence, the U.S. had formal alliances with their French allies. George Washington, however, did not view the French Revolution the same as he did the American Revolution and wanted to avoid another war with Great Britain at all costs. In an effort to be "unentangled in the crooked politics of Europe," President Washington issued a Proclamation of Neutrality in April 1793, thereby suspending the States' formal alliance with France and avoiding military conflict. When France sent their new minister Citizen Edmond Genet over to America in an effort to convince the citizens and the leaders of America that the cause of the French Revolution was analogous to the State's recent fight for independence, President Washington remained very cold to his arrival. Washington's intention in maintaining international neutrality was that he desired to see the United States focus first on their internal growth and development. Upon the completion of his second term as President, George Washington gave his famous Farewell Address. In this address, Washington expressed many of his core political beliefs to the American people: national unity, international autonomy and neutrality, the absence of divisive political parties, adherence to the Constitution, and the importance of morality in politics. Following the giving of his Farewell Address, Washington retired to his home at Mount Vernon in March of 1797.