From George Washington's first speech to Congress, January 8, 1790:
"The welfare of our country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed, and I shall derive great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.”
Young country with no defined self-image of unity quite yet. But the new (old) leader already knows that unity in vision from elected officials is the best way to succeed.
The old days, and the old ways, were not purer in cooperation, nor more efficient in governance, than today. Those Congressmen and Senators were still preoccupied with self-interest, and prochial (sic, and i don't feel like looking it up!) interests of their own states. They were still hesitant to assume large-scale powers that would override states' rights. The House is having the same argument this month as they attempt to alter 2010's health care act.
George did say that their task was to insure 'to our fellow citizens.' Was he including women in that statement, even while speaking to a roomful of men?
He probably opened with a prayer. He should have opened with poetry.