Quick Study:

Why was inauguration day changed?

In 1933, the inauguration day was changed.
In 1933, the inauguration day was changed.
Every four years on Jan. 20, a president takes the oath of office. But did you know that 226 years ago on April 30, 1789, the first president, George Washington, was inaugurated?

    Presidential electors unanimously chose Washington to be president in February 1789, according to the National Archives. Congress met for the first time on March 4, but due to bad weather and poor road conditions, newly minted government representatives weren’t able to reach a quorum until April. Washington received word on April 14 that he had been elected president.
    Until 1933, March 4 was inauguration day – and that made sense, recounts a Smithsonian National Museum of American History article:
     “In18th-century America it seemed reasonable to set aside four months between the election and the inauguration. This would provide enough time to tally the votes, to have the electoral college members send their ballots to Washington, and for the president-elect to organize the new government.”
     But it could also be a problem. Four months can be an awfully long time. In The Complete Book of Presidents, (Barricade Books; 2013), historian William A. DeGregorio wrote that after Abraham Lincoln was elected in November 1860, “the South, led by South Carolina, prepared to secede from the Union.” 
     Before President James Buchanan stepped down, “seven states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas – joined in forming the Confederate States of America under President Jefferson Davis.” Buchanan basically did nothing about it. He took the view that “although secession was illegal, the federal government lacked the constitutional authority to force any state to remain in the Union.”
     It was a likewise interminable span in the early months of 1933, when Herbert Hoover was the lame-duck president and the newly elected Franklin Roosevelt was not yet in the White House. Even on Roosevelt's first day on the job, DeGregorio writes, “the banking industry was in imminent danger of collapse.”
     The 20th Amendment to the Constitution was approved by Congress March 2, 1932, (before Hoover left office). It was ratified Jan. 23, 1933, and set the terms of the president and the vice president as ending “at noon on the 20th day of January.”
     Roosevelt’s first inauguration was March 4, 1933. His second inauguration was Jan. 20, 1937. He became the first president inaugurated on Jan. 20.

     Quick Study was compiled by YT&T editors using these sources:


     Quick Study: Who are the Founding Fathers?

     Congress: Were things ever any better?

     If you would like to comment, contact us or like us on Facebook and tell us what you think.