The Father of the Fourth of July?

According to George Washington's first inaugural address, we have God to thank for America’s birthday!

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George Washington gives props to God for Fourth of July.

“There’s no place like the United States.” I’ve been hearing those words since I was a kid, especially on holidays like the Fourth of July.

You see, my parents are basically the most patriotic people in the tri-state area! They moved to the U.S. more than 40 years ago from Turkey, where they were a Christian minority. So they’ve always been especially appreciative of the freedoms our country has to offer.

I suppose it’s no wonder they’re a little obsessed with American history. On weekends, you can find them absorbed in Revolutionary War documentaries on TV. They chat about politics at the kitchen table like they’re White House correspondents. And my mom never misses a chance to share a Benjamin Franklin yarn from her archive of Founding Father stories.

I inherited my parents’ love of Founding Fathers (don’t get me started talking about James Madison!) and even studied U.S. history in college and graduate school. I’ve long been fascinated by the many factors that had to come together for America to come into existence. It’s astounding when you think about it. Miraculous really.  

Well, as it turns out, I’m not alone in my wonder. This week I was researching Fourth of July prayers, and I came across George Washington’s first inaugural address from 1789. I was surprised that one of his first orders of business as president was to give props to God, who he refers to as “the Great Author”:

“No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

My parents were right! There really is no place like the United States. And for good reason, as Washington points out. God has been working behind the scenes in the affairs of our country since the very beginning. Watching over our great nation, every step of the way.  

That’s something to remember on July 4th and always.

What do you think about Washington’s first inaugural address? Share your thoughts–and favorite Founding Father!–below. 

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