United States Presidential Inaugural Addresses, 1789-2009 (ICPSR 24303)

Version Date: Mar 24, 2009 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Kenneth Janda, Northwestern University


Version V1

This collection includes the Inaugural Addresses of United States Presidents from George Washington in 1789 to Barack Obama in 2009. Article II, Section 1 of the United States Constitution provides for an executive power in the Office of President. The Constitution does not require a formal ceremony to inaugurate a president, but it does prescribe an oath that must be taken by the president-elect: "Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation: 'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.'" Before a crowd at Federal Hall in Philadelphia on April 30, 1789, George Washington became the first president to take this oath. Afterward, Washington delivered a short speech, establishing the precedent for inaugural addresses. Soon, presidential inaugurations became ceremonial events, and the speech delivered by the incoming president was studied as a guide to the next administration. (John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, and Gerald Ford -- all one-term presidents sworn in at each predecessor's death or resignation -- gave no inaugural address.) The Constitution had originally specified March 4 as the date by which the president must be chosen, and that became the inauguration date. As more presidential electors were chosen by popular vote in the November election, the outgoing president became known as a "lame duck" in the four months that separated the choice of a president from his inauguration. The Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution (adopted in 1933) provided that henceforth Congress would convene on January 3 and the presidential term would begin on January 20. On January 20, 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president nominated under the terms of the 20th Amendment.

Janda, Kenneth. United States Presidential Inaugural Addresses, 1789-2009. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-03-24. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24303.v1

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Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Janda, Kenneth. United States Presidential Inaugural Addresses, 1789-2009. ICPSR24303-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-03-24. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24303.v1


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