Wednesday, March 4, 2015


MARCH 4, 1793 TO MARCH 4, 1933

Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) From President George Washington's second Inaugural in 1793, March 4th has been Inauguration Day, with few exceptions, until President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first Inaugural in 1933.  The exceptions were when the date fell on a Sunday.  Those Inaugurals were held on Monday, March 5th.

The first Inauguration was held in New York City on April 30, 1789, and after passage of the 20th Amendment, the date was moved to January 20th.  The move was helpful to reduce the length of time between the election of a president and the Inauguration.

The last March 4th Inauguration was the first of four for Franklin D. Roosevelt. FDR was sworn in 82 years ago today by Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes on the East Front of the United States Capitol.

Standing in the rain on a gloomy day in an equally gloomy economic period of our nation's history, Governor Roosevelt placed his hand on the family Dutch Bible published in 1686. 

FDR repeated the Oath of Office on the oldest Bible ever to be used in an inauguration.

FDR and Eleanor in Inaugural Parade


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) A century and a half ago today, March 4, 1865, Abraham Lincoln was sworn in for his second term as President of the United States.

Weeks of rain left the streets of the Nation's Capital in mud and standing water, but the completed Capitol Dome above the President's head was a visible symbol that the United States had survived during the catastrophic Civil War.

President Lincoln concluded what many scholars deem as the best presidential inaugural address ever given with these words....

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Lincoln's Second Inauguration
March 4, 1865
Photo by Alexander Gardner
Library of Congress Image