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"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."
- Oath of Office.

Barack Obama

The speeches and the promises have been made, and the votes have all been cast.

The president-elect is now required to recite the oath of office, worded and administered in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution. This simple statement instantly transforms an otherwise normal U.S. citizen into the President of the United States.

You may hear the newly elected President append the phrase, "So help me God," to the oath, but the official version does not require it.

Inaugural Speeches

Following the ceremony, the often quotable Inaugural Address is given by the newly-elected president on how he will lead the nation for the next four years.

The address is a hallmark of all inaugurals in the grand tradition of such former U.S. presidents as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, (who is said to have first used the phrase "so help me God" during his swearing in) and John F. Kennedy, ("Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for the country.")

In the modern era, other memorable lines from inaugural speeches come from those made by Ronald Reagan ("Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.") and Bill Clinton ("There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.")

Today, the inaugural speech tops-off all that has been said during the campaign, and lays out a platform of what the world can expect from the new administration. But with the swearing-in completed and the speech made... inaugural day isn't quite over yet.

Now it's time to party at a handful of Inaugural Balls that take place around Washington DC to celebrate the new administration.

Parties celebrating a new U.S. President date back to George Washington, although not all administrations have taken part in the tradition. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding, for example, proclaimed the Inaugural Ball too excessive. President Harry Truman skipped it, as well, following the death of FDR when a big party wasn't deemed appropriate.

Today, however, the Inauguration Ball remains as one of the biggest events on Washington's social calendar. 

also see -> Presidents Day | Washington, DC | Time Person of the Year


More about Inauguration Day around the Web:

Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies - Check out the official site for the inaugural with information on tickets, the Inaugural luncheon, ball, and related events of the day with historical inaugural firsts and facts.

"I Do Solemnly Swear ..." : Presidential Inaugurations - This Library of Congress special presentation includes historic video, images and photos including hand-written inaugural speeches, notable events and inaugural trivia, and select bible quotes used by presidents in taking the oath of office.

United States presidential inauguration - Wikipedia entry features inauguration history, traditions, famous speeches, inaugural dates, fun facts & trivia, related links & resources.

The Avalon Project : The Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents - Read the complete texts from George Washington to Barack Obama..

Inauguration Day Activities - Suggested discussions and learning activities for grades K-5.


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