Where The Fathers Walked

As I walk the streets of Manhattan daily I often think of those who have walked here before me. Given that my office is in lower Manhattan near Wall Street, I am surrounded by history. Just a block away from my office is the statute of George Washington commemorating his inauguration as the first President of the United States in April of 1789. I have walked past that statute and the steps of Federal Hall National Memorial numerous times and have wondered what it would have been like to have been there on that day; to see George Washington and John Adams, as the first President and VP of this newly-formed county, take their position of leaders of an independent country under the fully ratified Constitution. They and the other forefathers of the United States knew that they were a part of history and must have basked in the knowledge that they achieved what they set out to do – establish a new nation where out of many, there can be one.

I am sure that Alexander Hamilton was at the inauguration on that spring day. As an immigrant to the colonies from the West Indies, Hamilton was one of many that had achieved the American dream in New York. He was appointed to be the first Secretary of the Treasury and was instrumental in establishing the federal banking system. He also created The Bank of New York in 1784, an institution that is now one of the world’s largest financial companies. I wonder, what would the founders of this country think of New York City in this present day? It goes without saying that they would probably be surprised, if not shocked, of the city that New York has become. The pace of life would be much faster and the many improvements would be obvious. But after having a chance to grow accustomed to the change in lifestyle that we now live daily, what would they really think? It is unfair to assume that they would think our lives are better. We can only wonder.

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