Inauguration Day

20 January 2017

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation.

All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of — as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights.

For happily the Government of the United States — which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance — requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

President George Washington

To the Hebrew Congregation
in Newport, Rhode Island
August 18, 1790