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U.S. Elections

Inauguration of the U.S. President and Vice President

For more than two hundred years America’s citizens have witnessed the Inauguration ceremonies of the President and Vice President of the United States.
From the first Inauguration of George Washington, in New York City, in 1789, to today, the swearing-in ceremony represents both national renewal and continuity of leadership. As each president has offered a vision for America’s future, we reflect on the heritage of Inaugurations past.

Inauguration means taking the constitutional oath of office.

Article II, Section 1, Paragraph 7 of the Constitution:
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"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."

Amendment XX, Section 1, clarifies when the president's term shall end:
"The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January,..."

So, Inauguration day will always be held on January 20, no matter what day of the week it is. People who are involved in the inauguration in any way will have to consider this day a work day.

The first Inaugurations in history

  • April 30, 1789 / George Washington: On the balcony of Federal Hall, New York City
  • March 4, 1793 / George Washington: Senate Chamber, Congress Hall, Philadelphia
  • March 4, 1797 / John Adams: House of Representatives Chamber, Congress Hall, Philadelphia
  • March 4, 1801 / Thomas Jefferson: Senate Chamber, U.S. Capitol, (for the first time held in) Washington D.C.

2009 Inauguration of Barack Obama

The fifty-sixth Presidential Inauguration celebrates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth and the ideals of renewal, continuity, and unity that he so often expressed. As we have done every four years since 1789, Americans join together today to witness our President take a simple oath of office consisting of thirty-five words. This historic event provides an occasion for all Americans to rededicate themselves to the principles that are the foundation of our representative democracy. Framed against a backdrop of red, white, and blue bunting, the West Front of the United States Capitol features five flags. The flag of the United States is displayed in the center. On either side are two earlier flags: the flag popularly known as the “Betsy Ross flag,” with stars arranged in a circle, appeared in the early 1790s; the flag with twenty-one stars flew for one year from July 4, 1819, to July 4, 1820, in recognition of the entrance of Illinois into the Union.

The 2009 ceremony takes place at the west side of the U.S. Capitol on January 20th.
The swearing-in is planned for 11:30 a.m.; the 56th Inaugurational Parade starts at around 2:30 p.m..

On Exhibit: Presidential Inaugurations

(Washington, D.C.) The history of Presidential Inaugurations for more than 200 years can be revisited in this exhibit on display through January 24 at the White House Visitor Center. Since 1801, Presidential Inaugurations have been conducted in Washington, D.C., the culmination of our electoral process.

Inauguration Day Celebration in the Federal Hall in New York City

The site of the first presidential Inauguration in 1789, Federal Hall will mark the Jan. 20 inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president with presidential re-enactors and simulcasting of the events in Washington, D.C. on two big-screen TVs in the rotunda.
Federal Hall (National Memorial) in Lower Manhattan
Adresse: 26 Wall Street

Online / TV boradcasting

All major networks in the USA and many foreign TV and radio stations will broadcast the Inauguration. Or go to the Internet: For example, visit the 'Presidential Inaugural Committee of Barack Obama' (see web link below) or visit the MTV website.

Tribune at the west side of the Capitol / Inauguration 2009
Tribune at the west side of the Capitol / Inauguration 2009



Document Information
Source: U.S. Senate; Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC); Presidential Inaugural Committee of Barack Obama (pic2009.org); NPS; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20090118
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