Pres Jackson Inauguration with Chief Justice John Marshall 1829 LOC

"I Do Solemnly Swear": A History of U.S. Presidential Inaugurations

Monday, January 18, 2021 - 12:30pm
Led by 
Carolyn Crouch and Martin Murray

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Article II, Section One, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution contains the oath of office of the president.   It is taken by the man or woman elected president during an inauguration ceremony.  Since George Washington took the first oath of office in 1789, these ceremonies have grown grander and more elaborate.  They have not, however, always gone according to plan.   Arguments have erupted over whether to hold the ceremony indoors or outdoors.  Mother Nature has weighed in, producing rain showers, a snow storm or freezing temperatures on the big day.  What’s to be done when the designated parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue resembles a sea of mud?  Hear how planners, the public and the presidents-elect have responded to all manner of inauguration-related circumstances before emitting collective sighs of relief upon hearing, at last, the U.S. Marine Band perform “Hail to the Chief.”

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