Inauguration Day

Highsmith, Carol M, photographer. Eagle float in the inaugural parade, Washington, D.C. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, .
Highsmith, Carol M, photographer. Eagle float in the inaugural parade, Washington, D.C. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

On Inauguration Day, January 20 (or January 21 if January 20 falls on a Sunday), the president-elect and vice-president-elect are sworn in at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC.

The inauguration is planned by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC). Inaugural events include the swearing-in ceremony, the inaugural address, and the pass in review–a review of the military troops before leading a procession of ceremonial military regiments, citizens’ groups, marching bands, and floats down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House.

Learn more about each event from the JCCIC –

Presidential Oath of Office

The vice-president-elect is sworn in first, and repeats the same oath of office, in use since 1884, as senators, representatives, and other federal employees:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

Around noon, the president-elect recites the following oath, in accordance with Article II, Section I of the U.S. Constitution:

“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.”

book cover imageFor Kids

The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance has created an Inauguration Celebration Kit – with interactive and downloadable versions that can be found at

To Read

Learn More in the E-Library

Visit the Current Events and Education categories:
  • America’s News/NewsBank – search through full-text U.S. newspapers from credible news sources in our area and across the country. This includes The Union Leader and the NH Sunday News (since 1989) and The Concord Monitor (since 2002).
  • Explora – This research tool enables a quick search of articles, essays, and primary source documents including journals, abstracts, magazines, newspapers, encyclopedias, dictionaries, books, biographies, and historical essays. Includes 60,000 top videos from the Associated Press, and over 1 million relevant photos, images, and maps.
  • Universal Class – offers History courses including American Government.

Informational Links

Inauguration of the President of the United States

Inaugural materials

Inauguration Music of Yesteryear

Inaugurations: Stepping into History – A Teacher Resource from the Library of Congress

Intriguing Facts about Presidential Inaugurations Past

National Portrait Gallery – American Presidents from the Smithsonian Institution
First Ladies of the United States

President-Elect Joe Biden’s Inaugural Poet, Amanda Gorman

Presidential Inaugurations Outside of Washington, D.C.: Law and Tradition

Selected Resources for Parents on Inaugurations, the Presidency, and Civic Engagement

U.S. Presidential Inaugurations: “I Do Solemnly Swear…” Resource Guide
The Library of Congress digital collections include a wide variety of primary source materials documenting presidential inaugurations. This Web guide includes diaries and letters written by presidents and those who witnessed the inaugurations, handwritten drafts of inaugural addresses, broadsides, inaugural tickets and programs, prints, photographs, and sheet music.

Weathering the Weather on Inauguration Day

Read More

Addressing America – On Inauguration Day, the newly sworn-in president delivers a speech outlining their intentions during their term in office. This interactive graphic enables you to explore the history of U.S. presidential inaugural addresses, compare how frequently specific words such as “power,” “progress” or “peace” are used, and look for trends in the language. Use the arrows at the top of every page to scroll through the speeches.

Breaking barriers: Madame Vice President Kamala Harris

FAQs about the Presidential Inauguration, the swearing-in ceremony, the parade and more

History of Unusual Presidential Inaugurations

Inaugural Addresses of the Presidents of the United States

Kamala Harris will be first woman vice president. Meet the VP contenders who paved the way

The Oddities of Inauguration Day