Learn About the History of Inauguration Day From These Fun Facts!

January 20, 2017

Today is Inauguration Day, and while this is a day of pomp and circumstance in American history, it hasn't always been quite so celebratory. Here are some fun facts about the history of Inaugruation Day, its many traditions and the few ceremonies that were a bit more out of the ordinary.

  • The first Inauguration Day was on April 30, 1789 when George Washington was sworn in as our first President. The organizers forgot to bring a Bible for the swearing-in ceremony, so Washington borrowed one from a nearby Masonic lodge.
  • The shortest inaugural address was on March 4, 1793, when George Washington was sworn in for a second term. It was only 135 words.
  • John Adams was the first President sworn in by a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on March 4, 1797.
  • On March 5, 1805, Thomas Jefferson had an impromptu parade when he rode from the Capitol to the White House for his inauguration.
  • The first Inaugural Ball was on March 4, 1809 when James Madison was elected president.
  • John Quincy Adams chose to be sworn in on a legal book instead of a Bible at his inauguration on March 4, 1825.
  • The first time there were multuple Inaugural Balls was during Andrew Jackson's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1833.
  • William Henry Harrison died just 32 days after his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1841, after he gave a long speech in frigid temperatures.
  • James K. Polk is credited as the first president to use "Hail to the Chief" at his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1845.
  • James Buchanan's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1857 was the first one to be photographed.
  • Benjamin Harrison's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1889 was the first time the outgoing president's family invited the new First Family to a lunch before the parade.
  • Warren G. Harding was the first president to arrive by car to his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1921.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1937 was the first held in January.
  • Bill Clinton's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1997 was the first one broadcast online.

What to Know About Every Inauguration in American History [TIME]

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