The Reign of King Mob, 1829

Andrew Jackson was the first President to be a ‘Westerner’ and, writes Larry Gragg, his inauguration in Washington ‘belonged to the people’.

There have been a number of symbolic inaugurations in United States history. Despite his insistence that it be simple, George Washington’s first inaugural established many precedents with its parades, parties, and gathering of dignitaries, both foreign and domestic. In 1801 Thomas Jefferson tried to counter this trend with an inauguration of ‘Republican simplicity’ in which he walked to the ceremony in plain dress.

Other inaugurals have been notable for their moving speeches. In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt attempted to rekindle the hopes of a country in depression with his address that emphasized, ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. John Kennedy inspired the nation with a challenging 1961 address, capping it with the memorable lines, ‘My fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.’

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