A New Nation

The First Capitals of the United States

The First Capitals of the United States
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.06

     challenging words:    mansion, controversy, oath, original, courthouse, present-day, belonging, compromise, newly, inaugural, government, secretary, public, remain, location, possible
     content words:    Revolutionary War, George Washington, Mount Vernon, Continental Congress, United States, Mary Washington, Finally Washington, New York City, New York, City Hall

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The First Capitals of the United States
By Sharon Fabian

1     Each year, crowds of tourists arrive in Washington, D.C. They come to see the places where our government conducts its business. They come to learn about the history of our government. One thing that they might learn there is that the capital of our country wasn't always in its current location.
2     After the Revolutionary War, George Washington was living at Mount Vernon, near present-day Washington, D.C. One day, the secretary of the Continental Congress arrived at Mount Vernon with a letter. The letter said that Washington had been chosen to be the first president of the United States. Right away, Washington knew that he would have to pack up and move.
3     He left as soon as possible, making a stop in Fredericksburg to visit his mother, Mary Washington. Since his mother was elderly and in poor health, it was a sad visit. It would turn out to be Washington's last visit with his mother.
4     The trip from Mount Vernon to the new nation's capital took about a week. Along the way, people came out to see their first president pass by and to cheer him on. Public dinners were held in his honor in cities along the way. Finally Washington arrived at the capital city, New York City, New York. His wife, Martha, and their family would arrive the next month.
5     On April 30, 1789, the inauguration ceremony took place in New York City's old City Hall. Crowds of people attended. They saw George Washington, with his hair powdered and dressed in a brown suit with white silk stockings, take the oath of office. After taking the oath of office, Washington moved into the senate chambers to give his first inaugural address to Congress. In his address, he encouraged Congress to pass the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

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