While protocol may seem like a boring list of who was bowing when, we have discovered that eighteenth-century ceremonial protocol is actually much more complex and revealing than originally thought. Protocol actually provides a contemporary account of how eighteenth-century people saw each other. What’s more, by learning exactly who was sitting and where, we can get one of the most accurate and contemporary descriptions of the Old Senate Chamber on the very day Washington resigned! Our staff has conducted months of intensive research to study every ceremony conducted by Congress between 1778 and 1783 in the hopes of putting together the puzzle pieces to recreate what exactly happened on December 23, 1783.
|This print of Benjamin Franklin's reception at the French court is a perfect example of the American colonies, and later the United States, trying to communicate with other countries based around monarchies. Franklin's Reception at the Court of France, 1778, by Anton Hohenstein in the 1860s. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.|