Many events have been added over the past 220 years, but the oath that the president-elect takes is essentially unchanged.
As in previous inaugural ceremonies, going back to that of George Washington, after taking the oath President
Barack Obama will give an inaugural address.
The President's inaugural speech outlines the themes for his four years in office. Since George Washington's first
inaugural address, many memorable words have been spoken and remembered.
Among the most enduring, and frequently quoted, presidential inaugural addresses:
First Inaugural, April 30, 1789
"... there is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and
course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness; between duty and advantage;
between the genuine maxims of an honest and magnanimous policy and the solid rewards of public
prosperity and felicity."
March 4, 1801
"Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the
presence of that portion of my fellow citizens which is here assembled to
express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare
a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and
awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire."
March 4, 1809
"The present situation of the world is indeed without a parallel, and that of our own country full of difficulties."
March 4, 1817
"A more interesting spectacle was perhaps never seen than is exhibited within the limits of the United
States — a territory so vast and advantageously situated, containing objects so grand, so useful, so
happily connected in all their parts."
March 4, 1829
"Of the two great political parties which have divided the opinions and feelings of our country, the candid
and the just will now admit that both have contributed splendid talents, spotless integrity, ardent
patriotism, and disinterested sacrifices to the formation and administration of this Government,
and that both have required a liberal indulgence for a portion of human infirmity and error."
March 4, 1865
March 4, 1861
"Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of
the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world?"
"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."
ULYSSES S. GRANT
March 4, 1869
"I shall on all subjects have a policy to recommend, but none to enforce
against the will of the people. Laws are to govern all alike — those opposed as well as those who favor
them. I know no method to secure the repeal of bad or obnoxious laws
so effective as their stringent execution."
March 4, 1929
We are fortunate in the ability and integrity of our Federal judges and attorneys. But the system which
these officers are called upon to administer is in many respects ill adapted to present-day conditions.
Its intricate and involved rules of procedure have become the refuge of both big and little criminals. There
is a belief abroad that by invoking technicalities, subterfuge, and delay, the ends of justice may be thwarted
by those who can pay the cost.
January 20, 1945
FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT
March 4, 1933
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless,
unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance"
"Our Constitution of 1787 was not a perfect instrument; it is not perfect yet. But it provided a firm base upon
which all manner of men, of all races and colors and creeds, could build our solid structure of democracy.
And so today, in this year of war, 1945, we have learned lessons — at a fearful cost — and we shall profit by them."
HARRY S. TRUMAN
January 20, 1949
"The peoples of the earth face the future with grave uncertainty, composed almost equally of great
hopes and great fears. In this time of doubt, they look to the United States as never before for good will, strength,
and wise leadership."
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
January 20, 1953
"Yet the promise of this life is imperiled by the very genius that has made it possible. Nations amass
wealth. Labor sweats to create — and turns out devices to level not only
mountains but also cities. Science seems ready to confer upon us, as its final gift, the power to erase human
life from this planet."
JOHN F. KENNEDY
January 20, 1961
"And so my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country."
LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON
January 20, 1965
"Justice requires us to remember that when any citizen denies his fellow, saying, “His color is not mine,”
or 'His beliefs are strange and different,' in that moment he betrays America, though his forebears created
RICHARD M. NIXON
January 20, 1969
"In these difficult years, America has suffered from a fever of words; from inflated rhetoric that promises more
than it can deliver; from angry rhetoric that fans discontents into hatreds; from bombastic rhetoric that
postures instead of persuading. We cannot learn from one another until we stop shouting at one another
— until we speak quietly enough so that our words can be heard as well as our voices."
January 20, 1977
"The world is still engaged in a massive armaments race designed to ensure continuing equivalent strength
among potential adversaries. We pledge perseverance and wisdom in our efforts to limit the world’s
armaments to those necessary for each nation’s own domestic safety. And we will move this year a step toward
our ultimate goal — the elimination of all nuclear weapons from this Earth."
January 20, 1981
"You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why,
then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?"
"To a few of us here today, this is a solemn and most momentous occasion; and yet, in the history of our nation, it is
a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place as it
has for almost two centuries and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this
every-four-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle."
"We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes
just don’t know where to look."
GEORGE H.W. BUSH
January 20, 1989
"We must act on what we know. I take as my guide the hope of a saint: In crucial things, unity; in important
things, diversity; in all things, generosity."
"I see history as a book with many pages, and each day we fill a page with acts of hopefulness and meaning. The new
breeze blows, a page turns, the story unfolds. And so today a chapter begins, a small and stately story of unity,
diversity, and generosity — shared, and written, together."
WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON
January 20, 1993
"The greatest progress we have made, and the greatest progress we have yet to make, is in the human heart. In the
end, all the world’s wealth and a thousand armies are no match for the strength and decency of the human spirit."
"This beautiful capital, like every capital since the dawn of civilization, is often a place of intrigue and
calculation. Powerful people maneuver for position and worry endlessly about who is in and who is out, who is up
and who is down, forgetting those people whose toil and sweat sends us here and pays our way."
"There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America"
GEORGE W. BUSH
January 20, 2001
"America, at its best, is compassionate. In the quiet of American conscience, we know that deep, persistent
poverty is unworthy of our nation’s promise. And whatever our views of its cause, we can agree that children at
risk are not at fault. Abandonment and abuse are not acts of God, they are failures of love."
"Through much of the last century, America’s faith in freedom and democracy was a rock in a raging sea. Now it is a
seed upon the wind, taking root in many nations. Our democratic faith is more than the creed of our country, it is the
inborn hope of our humanity, an ideal we carry but do not own, a trust we bear and pass along."
Barack Obama Presidential Inauguration Articles
Reviewing Presidential Inaugural History
The inauguration of the first black president will long be remembered as a momentous day in history, but many past
inaugurals also have had their memorable moments. Inaugurals are a mixture of pomp, festival and gravity, the
American equivalent of a coronation. Their rituals are laden with symbols of national purpose, continuity and
unity. For 220 years, they have marked the peaceful transfer of power, a feat few other countries have achieved.
Obama Presidential Inauguration Schedule & Events
With all of the excitement surrounding the event, it’s easy to forget there have been many inaugurations before it. Over
the years, the inauguration has become highly formalized, with the day’s scheduled events taking on almost ritualistic
significance. A look at the Obama Inauguration schedule, events from past inaugurals and how & when certain inaugural
events became part of Inauguration Day.
Obama Inauguration Facts, Trivia and Information for Kids
Parade, luncheon, ball. Being inaugurated sounds like fun. But what exactly is an
inauguration? What happens? Here are answers to your most pressing questions. Plus Inauguration Trivia, Presidential
Pets and the Obama Girls
Obama's new Home was Slow to Integrate
Not too long ago, Barack Obama would have found when he moved his family to Washington that his daughters
couldn’t attend the same schools white children could. They couldn’t try on clothes or shoes at most
local department stores, or eat at downtown lunch counters. Or see a play at the National Theatre or a
movie just a block or two from the White House.
Obama Isn't the Only One Being Inaugurated on January 20th
Barack Obama is not the only one being inaugurated on January 20. And that's not just because Obama has promised to make a call to service "a central cause" of his presidency.
Top 43 Hits - Memorable Lines from Past Presidential Inaugurals
On January 20, 2009 Barack Obama will stand before Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and swear the
oath prescribed in Article II, Section 1, of the Constitution as the 44th President of the United States.
After taking the oath President Obama will give an inaugural address. Since George Washington's first
inaugural address, many memorable words have been spoken and are among the most enduring and frequently
America Receives a Leading Man for the Dramas Ahead
When President Obama takes his hand off the Bible and walks to the Capitol lectern, he carries real power in his pocket,
maybe more than any president since FDR, and some of it he has earned and some is a gift.
Don't Take that Oath, Barack
Personally, I'm hoping for a new piece of presidential trivia come Inauguration Day. I'm hoping Barack Obama becomes the
first person elected president to refuse to take the Oath of Office. In other words, I hope he turns down the job.
Don't get me wrong — I like and admire Obama. But that said, and for all Obama's clearly evident wisdom and sound judgment, I just don't
know if president of the United States is the ideal job for him.
Riding on the Wings of Change
Our new president is offering us more than the promise of change. With his historic election, he offered us the
optimistic idea that we can do what we must do. In my experience studying the human condition, we only change
when there is no alternative. And now, there is no alternative. Our national challenges trickle down into our
households. We have family members at war, our jobs aren't secure, our retirement savings seem to be disappearing
and our material lifestyle is under assault.
America in Shock
As we head into 2009, America is in shock. It is not because of the unusual sight of the first black president
taking up residence in the White House. Barack Obama's profile, after all, is familiar to the diverse
population of today's ethnically and racially hybrid America. America is in shock because our economic
and financial landscape is suddenly unrecognizable.
With Barack Obama, it is the reverse. Perhaps because of his
eloquence, lithe body, handsome face and beautiful family (and because he is not George W. Bush),
expectations are so high that they are beyond the reach of any mortal. Perhaps that is why Obama
has been disparagingly referred to as "the messiah" and "the one."
Awaiting the Transformational Presidency
President-elect Barack Obama is obsessed with Lincoln, who changed the country both by changing government policy and by
using the bully pulpit to help us change ourselves.
Europeans Love 'Alabama'
With a new political era dawning in America, the world is paying attention. I remember the first time my Italian
friends expressed a curiosity and enthusiasm about some black politician named "Alabama." Now everyone knows
Obama's name, and we have a president whom people around the world want to look up to.
Is This the End of Black
Those who claim we live in a post-racial America are guilty of no sin greater than wishful thinking. But
that doesn't make them any less incorrect. Not simply because people are still being pulled over for driving
black but, more fundamentally, because Obama's victory does not mean what some of us think it does. I don't
mean to suggest it does not embody breathtaking progress — it does.
A New Way of Being on this Planet
Something has to change about how we conduct our business and live our lives . . . no, that's putting it too mildly. A spiritual
awakening has to occur, the shock and awe of awareness as we look unblinking at the state of the world as it really is.
As the Decider, The True Barack Obama will Become Clear
Over the interminably long campaign, Obama's positions "evolved" to suit his political needs. This is hardly
extraordinary. Pretty much every successful presidential candidate embarks on a similar ideological migration
Special Inaugural Crossword Puzzle
Can you solve this special inaugural crossword with your mom, dad or your favorite grown-up?
Yes, you can! Kids solve the across clues while adults tackle the down ones.