Monday, January 21, 2013

Don't Know Much About Presidential Oath of Office...

Yup. It's pretty much a given this current president has made 'protect & defend the Constitution of the United States' a tragic farce, but there's no reason not to have a little historical fun with inaugurations past.

All info distilled from Kenneth C. Davis, and his books, 'Don't Know Much About the American Presidents' and 'Don't Know Much About History' - and stolen wholesale from a quiz over at

1. In which city did the first inauguration take place?
New York City was the temporary capital of the United States when Washington took the oath on April 30, 1789.

2. Which president gave the longest Inaugural Address?
Harrison's speech in 1841 was more than 8,000 words long and took nearly two hours to deliver on a cold, windy day. He fell ill with pneumonia and died one month later. (The shortest Inaugural Address—just 135 words long—was Washington's second.)


3. Who was the only president to take the oath of office from a woman?
After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One by Sarah T. Hughes, a U.S. district judge.

4. African-American soldiers first marched in whose inauguration parade?
At Lincoln's second inauguration, in 1865, four companies of African-American troops and lodges of African-American Masons and African-American Odd Fellows joined the procession to the Capitol.

5. Which chief justice administered the most presidential oaths?
Marshall administered the oath nine times, from Thomas Jefferson's first inauguration, in 1801, to Andrew Jackson's second, in 1833.

6. Why was Inauguration Day officially changed from March 4 to Jan. 20 with the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1933?
The transition period between the election and the inauguration of the president-elect was deemed too long. The old March 4 inaugural date had been selected when travel and communications were much slower, and the "lame duck" period for the outgoing president rarely caused problems. But the long transition became an issue in 1932 during the Great Depression, because it meant that the next president would be unable to act until four months after his election.

7. Which president tossed the Super Bowl coin the same day as his swearing-in?
On Jan. 20, 1985, Reagan took the oath privately in the Entrance Hall at the White House, and later went to the Map Room to flip the coin on live television via satellite. (The 49ers won the toss, and the game.)

8. Which president administered the oath of office to two of his successors?
Taft was appointed chief justice in 1921—eight years after his presidency—and administered the oath of office to both Coolidge (in 1925) and Hoover (in 1929).

9. Who was sworn in on a Bible written in a modern foreign language?
Roosevelt used an old family Bible written in Dutch at all four of his inaugurations.

10. Which president was given the oath of office by his own father?
Coolidge was sworn in by his father, a justice of the peace, at the Coolidge family homestead in rural Vermont on Aug. 3, 1923, after he was informed that President Harding had passed away.

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