Presidential Inauguration Day
There are many ceremonies held at the nation’s capitol, but Presidential Inauguration Day is the one Americans likely know best, and there are some fascinating facts surrounding Inauguration Day.
The next Presidential Inauguration Day will be on January 20, 2021.
Did you know that in 2017 with the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States the Oath of Office has been administered not 45 times, but 72 times? We’ll explore why that is below, but first…
The First Inauguration Day
The first Presidential Inauguration Day did not go as smoothly as originally planned. In 1788, officials marked their calendars on the first Wednesday in March, 1789. But weather delays kept elected officials from traveling to what was then (temporarily) serving as the nation’s capital, New York City, to count electoral ballots and make the announcement.
When the work was finally done on April 6, 1789, it was announced that George Washington had a unanimous victory (carrying 69 electoral votes) and the first Inauguration Day finally took place on April 30, 1789.
The Oath of Office was administered by the Chancellor of New York at Federal Hall in front of a crowd gathered to witness history; the new President delivered the very first inaugural address in the Senate Chamber to a joint session of Congress.
The Earliest Inauguration Days
American traditions take time to evolve. Early Presidential Inauguration Days were scheduled for March 4 (as directed by the U.S. Constitution) each time to allow time to count election returns, and to provide travel time for elected officials.
As communications and transportation technology evolved in early America, these considerations became less important. In 1933, the 20th Amendment officially changed the date of Inauguration Day to January 20. Today, Inauguration Day is a public event with much pomp and circumstance; the day has come a long way since George Washington took the oath on a New York balcony back in 1789.
What Happens At Modern Presidential Inauguration Day
21st century inaugural events are planned by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. It’s a busy day for the President and Vice President and their families. Swearing-in is only one of the many things accomplished on this day including:
Attendance at a religious service or ceremony
Procession to the Capitol
Oath of Office/Swearing-in ceremony for the Vice President
Oath of Office/Swearing-in ceremony for the President
Departure of the Outgoing President
The Oath of Office
The text of the Oath of Office for the President of The United States includes the following:
“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.”
The U.S Constitution does not direct a specific person or entity to administer the oath, but it has in the past been administered by members of the Supreme Court, federal judges, and in at least one case, a notary public. President Calvin Coolidge was sworn in by his own father.
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