SOME TRIVIA ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATIONS THROUGH HISTORY
- George Washington's was the shortest inaugural address at 135 words. (1793)
- Thomas Jefferson was the only president to walk to and from his inaugural. He was also the first to be inaugurated at the Capitol. (1801)
- The first inaugural ball was held for James Madison. (1809)
- John Quincy Adams was the first president sworn in wearing long trousers. (1825)
- Franklin Pierce was the first president to affirm rather than swear the oath of office (1853). Herbert Hoover followed suit in 1929.
- William H. Harrison's was the longest inaugural address at 8,445 words. (1841)
- The first inauguration to be photographed was James Buchanan's. (1857)
- Abraham Lincoln was the first to include African-Americans in his parade. (1865)
- James Garfield's mother was the first to attend her son's inauguration. (1881)
- William McKinley's inauguration was the first ceremony to be recorded by a motion picture camera. (1897)
- William Taft's wife was the first one to accompany her husband in the procession from the Capitol to the White House. (1909)
- Women were included for the first time in Woodrow Wilson's second inaugural parade. (1917)
- Warren G. Harding was the first president to ride to and from his inaugural in an automobile. (1921)
- Calvin Coolidge's oath was administered by Chief Justice (and ex-president) William Taft. It was also the first inaugural address broadcast on the radio. (1925)
- Harry Truman's was the first to be televised. (1949)
- John Kennedy's inauguration had Robert Frost as the first poet to participate in the official ceremony. (1961)
- The only other President to feature poets was Bill Clinton. Maya Angelou read at his 1993 inaugural, and Miller Williams read at his second, in 1997. (1961)
- Lyndon Johnson was the first (and so far) only president to be sworn in by a woman, U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes. (1963)
- Jimmy Carter's inaugural parade featured solar heat for the reviewing stand and handicap-accessible viewing. (1977)
- Ronald Reagan's second inaugural had to compete with Super Bowl Sunday. (1985)
- The first ceremony broadcast on the Internet was Bill Clinton's second inauguration. (1997)
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
All but six presidents took the presidential oath in Washington, D.C. The exceptions were:
- George Washington 1789, New York City; 1793, Philadelphia
- John Adams 1797, Philadelphia
- Chester Alan Arthur 1881, New York City
- Theodore Roosevelt 1901, Buffalo
- Calvin Coolidge 1923, Plymouth, Vermont
- Lyndon Baines Johnson 1963, Dallas
- When Washington and Adams were sworn in, the U.S. capital had not yet been transferred from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. (the latter became the seat of government beginning Dec. 1, 1800).
- Arthur, T. Roosevelt, Coolidge, and L. B. Johnson had all been vice-presidents who assumed the presidency upon the deaths of their predecessors, and none was in Washington, D.C., when the oath of office was administered.
- Except for Washington's first inaugural, when he was sworn in on April 30, 1789, all presidents until 1937 were inaugurated in March in an effort to avoid bad weather. The 20th Amendment to the Constitution (passed in 1933) changed the inaugural date to January 20. Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Second Inauguration was the first to have been held on that date.
OATHS AND BIBLES
- The oath is taken with a hand upon a Bible, opened to a passage of the president-elect's choice. Each president has chosen a different passage. Theodore Roosevelt's 1901 oath was the only one not sworn in on a Bible.
Only four retiring presidents have not attended the inaugurations of their successors. Those who were absent:
- John Adams missed Thomas Jefferson's inaugural.
- John Quincy Adams was not present at Andrew Jackson's.
- Andrew Johnson was not at Ulysses Grant's ceremony.
- Richard Nixon was not present at Gerald Ford's inaugural.
THE OATH OF OFFICE
The oath to be taken by the president on first entering office is specified in Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution:
- I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.
- "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address (Jan. 20, 1961)
- "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1933)
- "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address (March 4, 1865)
SOURCES: The Associated Press; The Architect of the Capitol; Facts About the Presidents -- Joseph Nathan Kane.