March 4th: The Original Inauguration Day
Saturday, March 4, 2017, marked the 200th anniversary of the inauguration of James Monroe.
Today we know Inauguration Day as January 20th, but for much of the country’s past it was March 4th. Prior to 1933, an incoming president took the oath of office and gave his inaugural address on March 4th. If the fourth fell on a Sunday, the proceedings were moved to the following Monday.
The original system created a four-month gap between Election Day and Inauguration Day. This time was necessary to accurately count votes and to move the new president to Washington, D.C.
As voting, communication, and travel became easier, this lengthy lame-duck period became unnecessary, and created an obstacle to governing. In 1933, the 20th Amendment changed Inauguration Day to January 20th.
Check out our infographic for a handful of significant inaugural addresses – including some of the most famous addresses, the longest (and deadliest) address, the shortest address, and other interesting inaugural facts.
Want to share this with your students?
This infographic can be easily printed or projected. And, here’s a lesson with questions (and answers) to give your students a more in-depth look at our nation’s inaugural history.
The Periodic Table of the Presidents – Inaugural Addresses Lesson
Check out our book! We the People and the President takes an infographic look at the American president and the people he serves.
© 2021 Periodic Presidents
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