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U.S. Presidential Inaugurations: Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt portrait
[President Franklin D. Roosevelt, bust portrait, facing front].
1933.
Prints and Photographs Division.

First Inauguration - March 4, 1933 | Second Inauguration - January 20, 1937 | Third Inauguration - January 20, 1941 | Fourth Inauguration - January 20, 1945

First Inauguration - March 4, 1933

Facts*

From the Joint National Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

  • Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt attended St. John’s Church for a morning worship service, beginning a new tradition.
  • FDR used the Roosevelt family bible for all four Presidential Inaugurations. It is the oldest Inaugural Bible, printed in 1686, and the only one written in a modern foreign language: Dutch.
  • The Roosevelts had planned to host a buffet luncheon at the White House for several hundred guests after the Inauguration. However, at the last minute, Mrs. Roosevelt cancelled the luncheon in deference to the passing of Senator Thomas J. Walsh, recently deceased. Roosevelt had selected Senator Walsh to serve as attorney general.

 

 

Inauguration of President Franklin Roosevelt.
Inauguration of President Franklin Roosevelt.
[March 4, 1933].
Prints and Photographs Division.

Aerial view of U.S. Capitol and crowd on the grounds of the east front of the U.S. Capitol, during the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
[Aerial view of U.S. Capitol and crowd on the grounds of the east front of the U.S. Capitol, during the inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, March 4, 1933].
Architect of the Capitol; [March 4, 1933].
Prints and Photographs Division.

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Second Inauguration - January 20, 1937

Facts*

  • First president inaugurated on the January 20th date, a change pursuant to by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.
  • First time the vice president-elect was inaugurated outside on the same platform with the president-elect. No vice presidential address was given.
  • The President and First Lady hosted around 600 guests for a buffet luncheon at the White House in the state dining room and East Room. They served hot coffee, sandwiches, and cake.

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Third Inauguration - January 20, 1941

Facts*

  • First president to take the oath of office for a third term.
  • President and Mrs. Roosevelt hosted 1,200 guests at the White House for a buffet luncheon consisting of tomato soup, salad, beef, ham, tongue, cake, ice cream, and coffee.
Inauguration Day.
Inauguration Day, 1941, Washington, D.C.

Dixon, Royden, photographer; January 1941.
Prints and Photographs Division.

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Fourth Inauguration - January 20, 1945

Facts*

  • First and only time a president was inaugurated for a fourth term. (The 22d Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1951, restricts the presidency to two terms.)
  • At the height of WWII, Franklin D. Roosevelt's fourth Inauguration was simple and austere with no fanfare or formal celebration following the event. There was no parade because of gas rationing and a lumber shortage.
Inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at White House.
Inauguration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt at White House.
Lakey, J. Sherrel, photographer; January 20, 1945.
Prints and Photographs Division.
Crowd stands in snow for inauguration - Washington, D.C.
Crowd stands in snow for inauguration - Washington, D.C., Jan. 20 / Harris & Ewing Photos.
Harris & Ewing; January 20, 1945.
Prints and Photographs Division.

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* This information is based on a compilation by the Office of the Curator, Architect of the Capitol, Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, from contemporary accounts and other sources. Additional research provided by Library of Congress staff..

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