Inaugural Facts To Know

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    The history of presidential inaugurations can be traced back to that of George Washington on April 30, 1789.

    • Inaugurations are never held on Sundays. If January 20 falls on a Sunday, the oath is then given privately on Saturday or on Sunday and then the public inauguration day celebrations are held on Monday with the oath repeated.
    • The first inauguration actually held in Washington, D.C. was the March 4, 1801 swearing-in of Thomas Jefferson. Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to be sworn in on the specific date of January 20 in 1937, a change brought about by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
    • Although not officially part of the official oath, George Washington is credited with adding this line after he finished the oath during his first inauguration. Most Presidents have also uttered this phrase at the end of their oaths. Theodore Roosevelt, however, decided to end his oath with the phrase, “And thus I swear.”
    • Chief Justice John Marshall, having given the oath nine times, holds the record for having given the most presidential oaths on inauguration day.
    • The only President to become an oath giver himself was William H. Taft, who had become a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after he had served as President.
    • The tradition of the President taking his oath of office with his hand on a Bible was first begun by George Washington during his first inauguration. Some Presidents have opened the Bible to a random page (like George Washington in 1789 and Abraham Lincoln in 1861) while most others have opened the Bible to a specific page because of a meaningful verse.
    • America’s history all ends with two simple words spoken in response to a simple, yet elegant oath. “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that 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.” — Article II, Section 1, clause 8 – U.S. Constitution
    • The first inauguration actually held in Washington, D.C. was the March 4, 1801 swearing-in of Thomas Jefferson. Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to be sworn in on the specific date of January 20 in 1937, a change brought about by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

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