An illustration or photograph can serve as the basis for writing a diary entry, newspaper article, or short story describing a presidential inauguration. Choose a president, examine some of the primary sources in this collection, and imagine what it was like to attend a past inauguration.
- Was George Washington as nervous as Pennsylvania Senator William Maclay describes in his April 30, 1789 journal entry recalling the first presidential inauguration?
- How did it feel to stand out in the rain for forty-five minutes in 1841 as William Henry Harrison delivered the longest inaugural address in American history?
- What was the prevailing mood in 1865 when Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address in the midst of the Civil War?