Inaugural Ceremonies - 1789-2005

An historical look at the Inaugural Ceremonies from 1789-2005:

Inauguration Date                              
Facts and Firsts
April 30, 1789 George Washington
First Inauguration; precedents set include the phrase, "So help me God," and kissing the Bible after taking the oath.
March 4, 1793 George Washington First Inauguration in Philadelphia; delivered shortest Inaugural address at just 135 words.
March 4, 1797 John Adams
First to receive the oath of office from the Chief Justice of the United States.
March 4, 1801 Thomas Jefferson
First Inauguration in Washington, D.C.
March 4, 1809 James Madison
Inauguration held in the House chamber of the Capitol; first Inaugural Ball held that evening.
March 4, 1817 James Monroe
First President to take the oath of office and deliver the Inaugural address outdoors; ceremony took place on platform in front of the temporary Brick Capitol (where Supreme Court now stands).
March 5, 1821 James Monroe
March 4, 1821 fell on a Sunday, so Monroe's Inauguration occurred the next day.
March 4, 1829 Andrew Jackson
First President to take the oath of office on the east front portico of the U.S. Capitol.
March 4, 1833 Andrew Jackson Last time Chief Justice John Marshall administered the oath office; he presided over nine Inaugurations, from Adams to Jackson.
March 4, 1837 Martin Van buren
First President who was not born a British subject; first time the President-elect and President rode to the Capitol for the Inauguration together.
March 4, 1841 William H. Harrison
First President to arrive in Washington by railroad; delivered the longest Inaugural address (8,445 words).
April 6, 1841 John Tyler
First Vice President to assume Presidency upon the death of the President.
March 4, 1845 James K. Polk
First Inauguration covered by telegraph; first known Inauguration featured in a newspaper illustration (Illustrated London News).
March 4, 1853 Franklin Pierce
Affirmed the oath of office rather than swear it; cancelled the Inaugural ball.
March 4, 1857 James Buchanan
First Inauguration known to have been photographed.
March 4, 1861 Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln's cavalry escort to the Capitol was heavily armed, providing unprecedented protection for the President-elect.
March 4, 1865 Abraham Lincoln African Americans participated in the Inaugural parade for the first time.
March 4, 1873 Ulysses S. Grant
Coldest March 4 Inauguration Day; the noon temperature was 16°F, with wind gusts up to 40 mph.
March 3, 1877 Rutherford B. Hayes
March 4, 1877 fell on Sunday, so Hayes took oath of office on Saturday, March 3 to ensure peaceful transition of power; public Inauguration on March 5.
March 4, 1881 James Garfield
First President to review the Inaugural parade from a stand built in front of the White House.
March 4, 1897 William McKinley
First Inaugural ceremony recorded by a motion picture camera; first President to have a glass-enclosed reviewing stand; first Inauguration at which Congress hosted a luncheon for the President and Vice President
March 4, 1901 William McKinley First time the U.S. House joined with the U.S. Senate, creating the JCCIC, to make Inaugural arrangements
March 4, 1909 William H. Taft
Inauguration took place in the Senate chamber because of blizzard; first time President's wife rode with President in the procession from the Capitol to the White House after Inauguration.
March 4, 1913 Woodrow Wilson
Inaugural ball was suspended for the first time since 1853.
March 4, 1917 Woodrow Wilson First President to take the oath of office on Sunday; public Inauguration held on Monday, March 5, 1917; first time First Lady accompanied President both to and from the Capitol; first time women participated in the Inaugural parade.
March 4, 1921 Warren G. Harding
First President to ride to and from his Inauguration in an automobile.
March 4, 1925 Calvin Coolidge
First Inaugural ceremony broadcast nationally by radio; first time a former President (William Taft) administered the oath of office as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
March 4, 1929 Herbert Hoover
First Inaugural ceremony recorded by talking newsreel.
March 4, 1933 Franklin D. Roosevelt
FDR and Eleanor begin tradition of morning worship service by attending St. John's Church.
January 20, 1937 Franklin D. Roosevelt First President Inaugurated on January 20th, a change made by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution; first time the Vice President was Inaugurated outdoors on the same platform with the President.
January 20, 1945 Franklin D. Roosevelt First and only President sworn in for a fourth term; had simple Inaugural ceremony at the White House.
January 20, 1949 Harry S. Truman
First televised Inaugural ceremony; Truman reinstated the official Inaugural ball.
January 20, 1953 Dwight D. Eisenhower
Broke precedent by reciting his own prayer after taking the oath, rather than kissing the Bible; first time the JCCIC hosted the Inaugural luncheon at the Capitol.
January 20, 1961 John F. Kennedy
First time a poet participated in the Inaugural program; first Catholic to become President of the United States.
November 22, 1963 Lyndon B. Johnson
First time a woman administered the oath of office (U.S. District Judge Sarah T. Hughes swore in Johnson on Air Force One).
January 20, 1969 Richard M. Nixon
Took the oath of office on two Bibles; both family heirlooms.
August 9, 1974 Gerald R. Ford
First unelected Vice President to become President.
January 20, 1981 Ronald Reagan
First Inauguration held on the west front of the U.S. Capitol.
January 21, 1985 Ronald Reagan January 20th fell on Sunday, so Reagan was privately sworn in that day at the White House; public Inauguration on January 21st took place in the Capitol Rotunda, due to freezing weather; coldest Inauguration day on record, with a noon temperature of 7°F
January 20, 1997 William J. Clinton
First Inaugural ceremony broadcast live on the Internet.

Source: U.S. Senate Website
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