Presidential Inaugurations throughout History

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 25, 2009 | Go to article overview

Presidential Inaugurations throughout History


(EFE) u The ceremonies for Barack ObamaAEs historic inauguration to the presidency of the United States began on January 18 in Washington with a welcoming ceremony on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that pays tribute to the countryAEs 16th president, Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865).

Like Abraham Lincoln, Obama traveled to Washington by train for the inauguration, on a journey that included stops with celebratory ceremonies in Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore.

One more nod to the legacy of the president who brought about the abolition of slavery in the U.S. and who, in his second inauguration, on March 4, 1865, had African-Americans participate for the first time in the inaugural festivities: a group of black citizens marched in the parade through the streets of Washington, from the Capitol to the White House.

LincolnAEs inaugural speeches were marked by the drama of the Civil War (1861-1865). He delivered the first one month before the war began, and the second one month before it ended. The Civil War cost Lincoln his life; he was assassinated on April 14, 1865.

INAUGURAL BALL

The first black president of the United States took his oath before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, under his full name, Barack Hussein Obama, as did his immediate predecessors: George Herbert Walker Bush, William Jefferson Clinton, and George Walker Bush.

There is no established tradition in this regard. For example, Ronald Reagan took his oath as Ronald Reagen, not as Ronald Wilson Reagan; his immediate predecessor took his oath as Jimmy Carter, not as James Earl Carter, and Dwight D. Eisenhower and Gerald R. Ford referred to their middle names only with an initial, not with the full name.

One president did not even say his name: Lyndon B. Johnson, on board the presidential jet Air Force One, following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963, said only: "I solemnly swear."

Johnson took his oath before a Texas judge, Sarah Hughes, who became the first woman in history to hold the Bible for a U.S. president.

The Constitution does not stipulate the exact way presidents should take oath with their name and only says, in article II, the statement "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."

In keeping with tradition, Obama will took his oath outside a public building u the stairs of the Capitol in Washington u and with his hand on the Bible, followed by a party with fireworks and official inaugural balls.

In these balls, in full formal regalia, the president appeared for a few minutes at each to say a few words and to dance with the First Lady.

The swearing in outside of a public building, before hundreds of thousands of people, the speech, and the ball are traditions that go back to the countryAEs first president, George Washington, who took office on April 30, 1789, on tsdhe balcony of Federal Hall in New York, where the capital of the young American nation was provisionally established.

Later, Washington gave his inaugural speech in the Senate Chamber.

George Washington, president from 1789 to 1797, ordered the construction of the White House, which he never ended up inhabiting. …

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