Inauguration History

Inauguration Day takes place on January 20 following an election, and is a ceremony to mark the beginning of a four-year term of a president of the United States. The term officially begins at noon on that day, as the president is sworn in through an oath administered by the Chief Justice.

The Constitution itself doesn’t state much about the presidential inauguration, naming only the date, time, and place, as well as a short oath "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." Over time however, traditions have formed around the ceremony, such as the inclusion of a Bible during the oath.

The first president, George Washington, delivered the shortest inaugural speech, with only 135 words. For longest speech, William Harrison delivered the longest address, at nearly 8,500 words, which took nearly 2 hours to read. All this happened while a snowstorm raged outside.

In 2017, for Donald Trump’s inauguration, 800,000 will be expected to attend the ceremony. In comparison, for Obama’s 2009 inauguration, 1.8 million people attended, a record number of people which beat the previous record of Lyndon Johnson’s 1965 inauguration with 1.2 million people. Here are some other numbers:

President Bill Clinton, 1993: 800,000 people
President Bill Clinton, 1997: 250,000 people
President George W. Bush, 2001: 300,000 people
President George W. Bush, 2005: 400,000 people
President Barack Obama, 2013: 1 million people

Inauguration Day is an important day for the nation, and hundreds of thousands of people will attend in person, while millions more watch from home to partake in this historical day.