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What You Need to Know About the Presidential Inauguration


This is the 57th presidential inauguration.

The first was the swearing-in of George Washington, on April 30, 1789 in New York City. Washington wore silk stockings and silver buckles on his shoes. (Obama probably will not.)

Technically, President Obama is being sworn in twice.

His inauguration date falls on a Sunday, so a private swearing-in will take place on Sunday, January 20, and public ceremonies have been scheduled for Monday, January 21. President James Monroe set this precedent in 1821; he was the first president-elect to have this scheduling dilemma, and consulted with the Supreme Court in order to determine how to proceed. The last time that Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday was when Ronald Reagan was re-elected, in 1985. Why not just reschedule? The 20th Amendment to the Constitution specifies that a president’s term must begin on January 20.

This isn’t the first time that Inauguration Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day have fallen on the same date.

The swearing-in of President Bill Clinton in 1997 also occurred on MLK Day. Take note: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday, so most of us have off work and school. 

Plus: 5 Facts About Martin Luther King, Jr. Day