March 4: Old Inauguration Day

two matched photographic plates showing the scene around the Capitol on inauguration day.

Historically, March 4 is a day for beginning.  In 1789, it was the day the federal government first convened under the US Constitution. From that date through 1933, it was the day when presidents–from George Washington through FDR–were inaugurated.  Then, pageantry, ritual, excitement, and uncertainty ruled the capital, combining in astonishing scenes richly documented in newspapers, eyewitness accounts, sketchbooks, albumen prints, and later celluloid.

Here is just one such image by way of tribute to our national birthdays past: a magnificent panoramic view of the Capitol on the inauguration of Theodore Roosevelt on March 4, 1905.  Please click on the image for a much enlarged view.

Image: panoramic photograph by George R Lawrence
from this source.

2 responses

  1. Wow–that’s a great picture. I didn’t know the inauguration used to be on March 4th. . . . I thought that TR only served one term?

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    • Goodness, you’re right. TR served all of McKinley’s unexpired term after the latter’s assassination, then was elected to just one full term. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

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