The first inauguration took place in New York City, our nation’s first capital. George Washington took the oath at Federal Hall on April 30, 1789.
It wasn’t until Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration that the ceremony was held in Washington, D.C. Jefferson started a new tradition called the “inaugural open house” during his second inauguration. This is when the new commander-in-chief invited the public to the executive mansion to extend their well wishes.
Due to growing crowds over the next few inaugurations, the open house was discontinued and instead, the inaugural parade grew and became a way for the public to show its appreciation for their new leader.
When you think of the inauguration, you usually think of the inaugural address. Most addresses focus on a certain theme, and some have included lines that have become indicative of the times:
“…finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds." — Abraham Lincoln
"This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper." — Franklin D. Roosevelt
"…ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country." — John F. Kennedy
These days, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies plans and conducts the inauguration ceremonies at the Capitol. This tradition began in 1901, and Sen. Marcus A. Hanna, a Republican from Ohio, became the first chairman. He was responsible for President William Mckinley’s second inauguration.
Morning worship service
Procession to the Capitol
Vice president’s swearing-in ceremony
President’s swearing-in ceremony, noon
Departure of outgoing president
Each president has been sworn in with his hand on the Bible, reciting the following words:
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.”
An interesting fact: George Washington added the “So help me God.”
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Swearing-in and address
No one needs a ticket to attend the swearing in-ceremony but if you want to sit in a reserved section, you can request them. However, be aware that tickets are limited and in high demand.
The inaugural parade is also open to the public. There are some tickets for the viewing area, but those are usually reserved for family, close friends and members of Congress.
Most people want to know how they can get their hands on tickets to one of the presidential inaugural balls. You can contact your House or Senate representatives and request a ticket. They usually cost around $50.
There are sanctioned and unsanctioned balls. The new president will only attend the sanctioned balls. Although no formal plans have been released for the 2017 inauguration, it is believed there will be more than a dozen balls.
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