The basics of inauguration are simple: the new president takes an oath of 35 words on a date set in the constitution.
But the formula left a lot of room for innovations. As the inaugurations evolved over the decades, many became turning points in the tradition marked by glitches, innovation, and spontaneous gestures.
Jimmy Carter began an informal custom when he unexpectedly stepped out of his limo and walked down Pennsylvania Avenue. Barack Obama’s first term began unusually when he became the first president to repeat his oath of office. Harry S. Truman’s second initiation was the first to be televised, and that of Bill Clinton in 1997 was the first be streamed live.
On Wednesday, the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden Jr. will also attempt to balance tradition against today’s challenges, including the pandemic and widespread political upheaval. For the first time, the White House procession is being replaced with a “virtual parade” to slow the spread of a virus that has killed nearly 400,000 Americans.
Here’s a look at some of the precedents in the history of the President’s inauguration.
The President’s oath of office is also anchored in the constitutionI solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully carry out the office of President of the United States and, to the best of my ability, maintain, protect and defend the United States Constitution.
Every president has to recite the oath of office 72 times by the 45 presidents of the United States who preceded Mr Biden.
Franklin Piercewas the first to use the word “affirm” instead of “swear” in 1853 and broke the precedent by not kissing the Bible.
Lyndon B. Johnson was the first and only President to take the oath of office on an airplane after John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. It was also the first time a woman took the oath: Judge Sarah T. Hughes of the Northern District of Texas swore in Mr. Johnson on Air Force One with a Roman Catholic missal found on board before the plane left Dallas for Washington.
The oath of Barack ObamaWho became the nation’s first black president in 2009 had a unique twist. The oath was given to him twice by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr .: the second time on January 21 at the White House, after the two men stumbled upon each other’s words during the dedication ceremony the previous day.
“In 25 seconds, President Obama became president again,” wrote the New York Times.
George Washington was a man with a few words. His second inaugural address had 135 of them, making it the shortest ever delivered. In 1817 James Monroe became the first president to take the oath and give his inaugural address in the open air before Old brick capitol. William Henry Harrison spoke the longest and delivered 10,000 words in 1841.
George Washington took his oath at Federal Hall in New York City and then delivered his speech in the Senate Houses. John Adams was dedicated in 1797 at the Hall of Congress Hall in Philadelphia. 1801 Thomas Jefferson was the first to go to and from his inauguration and became the first President to be inaugurated at the Capitol in Washington.
Inauguration day was not always January. George Washington took the oath of office on April 30, 1779. In the 19th century, March 4th was included in the constitution as the day of inauguration. However, with the ratification of the 20th Amendment in 1933, it was determined that the terms of office of the President and Vice-President would instead end on January 20 at 12:00 noon.
The first President inaugurated on January 20th was Franklin D. Rooseveltwho was sworn in for a second term in 1937 with a large crowd Watching despite the cold, soaked rain.
In 1837 Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren drove together in a carriage to the Capitol for the dedication, the first time an outgoing president has joined his successor. “We expected it now, but unfortunately we don’t have it this year,” said Jim Bendat, an initiation historian. “It’s an important symbolic moment to show that the old and the new can get along, even if they’re in a different party.”
A president whose term of office expires does not have to attend the inauguration. In 1801, John Adams was the first president to avoid the swearing-in ceremony of his successor, in this case Thomas Jefferson. After months of falsely declaring that the 2020 elections were stolen, President Trump announced that he would not attend Mr. Biden’s inauguration.
Top hats were the traditional headdress of choice for many presidential inaugurations. But Dwight D. Eisenhower replaced it in 1953 by a Homburg in a break with the “official fashion tradition”. The Times reported. kennedy returned to traditional hats in 1961 before disappearing as official garb.
kennedy was the first to add a poet to his inaugural events. The event did not go as planned. Robert Frost, then 86 years old, had planned to read “The Foreword,” verses he wrote for the occasion. But the glare on the side made it difficult for him to see. “I don’t have a good light here at all,” he said, ” according to the Times’ coverage of the event.
Johnson tried to shadow the manuscript with his cylinder. But Frost put it aside instead and recited his poem “The gift directly” what he knew by heart.
Amanda Gorman, who became the first national youth poet in 2017, will read at this year’s ceremony.
Over the years, most presidents have taken the one-handed oath on the Bible. Some chose a family Bible as a Jimmy Carter did, with that used by Washington placed on the lectern. Theodore Roosevelt was an outlier in 1901. He didn’t use one on a friend’s after the murder of William McKinley, but was sworn in with one “Raised hand.”
Others have left their unique stamp on the gesture. Kennedy, The first Roman Catholic president to be elected president used a Catholic Bible. Johnson asked his wife, Lady Bird, to keep the Bible during the oath, which made him the first to do so. And Mr obama used Abraham Lincoln’s Bible. (Mr. Trump used the same Lincoln Bible in 2017.)
LincolnThe second inauguration in 1865 marked the first time African Americans have attended an inaugural parade. At the beginning of 1917 women first took part in the opening parade Woodrow Wilsons second semester. In 1977 Mr. Carter was the first to walk more than a mile to the White House. Mr. Carters walk With his wife, Rosalynn, and their 9-year-old daughter, Amy, became a tradition that subsequent presidents – if not extensively – reconciled.
James and Dolley Madison began the tradition from a White House reception and opening ball in 1809. Tickets are $ 4, or about $ 85 in current prices.
McKinley’s second inauguration in 1901.
The inaugurations reflect innovations in technology and industry. In 1921, Warren G. Harding was the first to drive in a car for its inauguration. Fast forward to bulletproof, enclosed sedans that appeared at 1965 Johnson.
The audience was enlarged by technological developments. In 1845, James Polks The inaugural address reached more people by telegraph. In 1897 McKinleys Inauguration was recorded on a film camera, and Calvin Coolidges 1925 was broadcast on the radio.
Ronald Reagan, a former actor, had a television Camera placed in his limousine while driving from the Capitol to the White House in 1985. And in 1997, Bill Clintons The inauguration was the first to be broadcast live on the internet.
Some opening ceremonies have laid foundation stone as family matters. James Garfields Mother attended his inauguration in 1881 and set a precedent. In 1923, Calvin Coolidges Father, a Justice of the Peace in Vermont, took the oath of office on his son. The first housewarming ceremony attended by both parents of the president-elect was Kennedys1961. And George W. Bushs The 2001 ceremony marked the first and only time a former President, George Bush, attended his son’s inauguration as President.