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Some Thoughts on PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION DAY- Because we had an elected executive instead of a monarch, the Founding Father’s felt we needed some kind of ceremony to give the installation of the head of state the proper dignity.

From 1792 to 1933 US. Presidents took office on March 4th. "March Forth with a New President" (get it ?) Transportation being what it was in early America and the time it took to count votes and the Electoral College to ratify the election results, March seemed a convenient time. In 1937 Franklin Roosevelt moved the inauguration date to the third week in January, and with the bad economic times we’re experiencing, maybe they’ll move it to Dec 1st soon.

- When John Adams was sworn in, he still waited for outgoing president George Washington to descend the steps first. Washington deferred:" No sir, you are the president now". At Lincoln's first inaugural the man who stepped forward to offer to hold Lincoln's hat while he took the oath was his political rival Steven Douglas.

-The simplest ceremony was Tom Jefferson addressing a few guests indoors, then returning to have dinner alone at Conrad's Tavern. He was a widower and his children were away at school. John Adams was taking his time moving out of the Presidential Mansion, so Jefferson spent that night at the inn.

- George W. Bush in 2005- $40 million dollar 8 inaugural balls- Barrack Obama’s has ten balls at a cost of $140 million.

-At Jefferson' 1801 inaugural John Adams was so mad he lost, that he refused to attend the ceremony. Truman wouldn't speak to Eisenhower, Eisenhower wouldn't speak to Kennedy.

- John F. Kennedy spent most of his 1961 inauguration not wearing his top hat, which many in the fashion world saw as the fatal blow to the men’s haberdashery industry. Before JFK, a well dressed man was not considered complete without some kind of hat on.

-In 1841 President William Henry Harrison insisted despite his great age on attending the ceremony without his hat and overcoat in the March chill and caught pneumonia and died a month later, the shortest term in office. His inaugural address was 2,000 words while George Washington's was 137.

-The wildest Inauguration was Andrew Jackson's in 1829. Common folks were invited into the White House and went wild breaking crystal, muddying the carpets and spitting tobacco juice on the floor, and the men were worse! Jackson jumped out of a back window to avoid being crushed and the butlers got the crowd out only by moving tubs of liquor onto the south lawn.

- Calvin Coolidge’s inaugural by contrast was so low key that humorist Will Rogers wrote:” The party was so dull there was a call to open the Churches early to liven things up.”

-At Abe Lincoln's second inaugural in 1865 he switched vice presidents. Outgoing V.P. Hannibal Hamlin encouraged new V.P. Andrew Johnson to calm his nerves with whiskey, knowing the man had a low tolerance for alcohol. So before Lincoln's beautiful speech 'With Malice Towards None, With Charity for All..." Johnson went up drunk- burbled incoherently and was seen dribbling on the Bible until Lincoln angrily ordered him pulled off the stage.
- In the Brady photo of the audience attending on the capitol steps was actor John Wilkes Booth.

-In 1877 Rutherford Hayes wife "Lemonade-Lucy" banned all alcohol from the White House and it was said of the party:” The Water flowed like Champagne!"

-In 1973 2nd term President Richard Nixon debuted his White House Palace Guard, all with new red uniforms,, and gold braid, blaring trumpets like for an emperor. After Watergate the uniforms were sold half price to a High School Marching Band.

-In 1977 President Jimmy Carter set the style for a more people’s presidency by walking to his inaugural. When Reagan drove with Carter after defeating Carter, he tried to lighten the mood by chatting on about his Hollywood days and movie anecdotes. Later Carter asked an aide:" Who is this Jack Warner he kept going on about..?"

Enjoy the festivities! We're watching history!