The Presidential Inauguration in 2017 will once again mark the peaceful transition of power from one Commander-in-Chief to another. This is very significant as it reflects one of George Washington’s goals.
Class trips were not a common occurrence in the 18th Century. The Presidential Inauguration of George Washington was in 1789 on April 30 in New York City. DC had yet to be selected as the site of the Capital. Washington was sworn in on the steps of Federal Hall on Wall Street.
He would be the only US President to take the oath of office in two different cities and not in Washington DC. He took his second oath in Philadelphia in 1793. Jefferson would be the first President to take the oath in Washington DC on March 4, 1801.
The first president to take oath on January 20th was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 for his second inauguration, as this was the first election following the 20th amendment.
“The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3rd day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin” (20th Amendment, US Constitution, Jan 23, 1933).
Throughout American History, as the laws and amendments to our constitution have evolved and changed, few things have remained the same. However, the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony is one which has, at the heart of it, American values imbedded in the very nature of it. Witnessing peaceful transition is a truly unique experience and one that every American should experience at least once in their lifetime.