Inauguration Day


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Inauguration Day

January 20
From 1789 until 1933, the day on which the newly elected president of the United States began his term of office was March 4—now known as Old Inauguration Day . The day was changed to January 20 when the 20th Amendment to the Constitution was passed in 1933. When Inauguration Day falls on a Sunday, the oath of office is administered privately, but the public ceremonies are usually postponed until the following day.
The swearing-in of the president had been held on the East Portico of the Capitol building since Andrew Jackson's 1829 inauguration. Former president Ronald Reagan changed the site for his inauguration in 1981. Since then, the swearing-in has been held on the West Terrace of the Capitol. This site, which faces out onto the Mall where thousands gather for the event, affords greater visibility for spectators. Reagan reportedly also liked the symbolism of the president facing west, out toward the rest of the country.
At noontime, the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court administers the oath of office to the president, who then delivers an Inaugural Address. This is followed by a colorful Inauguration Parade through the streets of Washington, D.C.
Inauguration festivities are usually somewhat more modest when a president is elected for a second term or when a change in the presidency does not involve a change in the ruling political party.
In the evening inaugural balls are held in a number of different locations, and the president and the first lady try to make a brief appearance at each of them. William Henry Harrison was the first American president to dance at his own inaugural ball, but the exertion proved too much for him. Already suffering from his exposure to the stormy weather during his record-breaking inaugural address (one hour and 45 minutes), he later developed pneumonia and died within a month.
CONTACTS:
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540
202-707-5000; fax: 202-707-8366
www.loc.gov
SOURCES:
AmerBkDays-2000, p. 76
AnnivHol-2000, p. 12
DictDays-1988, p. 59
PatHols-2006, p. 92
References in periodicals archive ?
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Robert Bentley said he is sorry for his sectarian remarks at a Baptist church on inauguration day.
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An early image from one of the university's science labs Students during 1941-2 The crowds standing outside the university's first home at the Penrhyn Arms on inauguration day.
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