Even though the presidential election was last November, the new president does not take office until Jan. 20. That might seem like a long time, but it gives the outgoing president time to take care of unfinished business and the incoming president time to prepare for the job.
The day the new president takes office
is called Inauguration Day. It involves a short ceremony where the president takes an oath, making a promise to the country. The new vice president is typically sworn in before the president, who takes the Oath of Office promptly at noon. The oath states:
“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.”
Jan. 20, 2017, marks the 58th presidential inauguration in our nation’s history.
The first Inauguration Day was held in New York City in 1789. Washington D.C. was not yet designated as the nation’s capital. That happened in July of 1790. But in 1789, President George Washington was sworn in on the second-floor balcony of Federal Hall in New York. Both Houses of Congress were there.
The Constitution doesn’t have a lot to say about Inauguration Day, except that the president is required to take the oath of office. Now, most of the day’s events are driven by tradition.
While each first family has things that make Inauguration Day special to them, here are some events that are common on Inauguration Day.
- Most incoming presidents and vice presidents attend a worship service with their spouses the morning of Inauguration Day. is tradition was started in 1933 by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
- The outgoing president rides with the incoming president to the swearing-in ceremony.
- The vice president is sworn in first. While the presidential oath is in the Constitution, the vice presidential oath is not. The Constitution only says that the vice president and other government officials should take an oath that upholds the Constitution.
- Next, the president is sworn in. ere have been 57 Presidential Inaugurations.
- After being sworn in, the new president gives a speech called the Inaugural Address.
- After the inaugural ceremony, the outgoing president and first lady leave. This is usually a quiet part of the day so as not to take away from the celebration of the incoming president.
- Since 1953, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies hosts an Inaugural Luncheon for the incoming president, vice president and guests.
- After the luncheon, there is an Inaugural Parade. is tradition started in 1841.
- The day concludes with the Inaugural Ball (usually several of them). President James Madison and his wife Dolley hosted the first Inaugural Ball in 1809.