March 4, 1793 — The second inauguration of George Washington took place in the Senate Chamber of Congress Hall in Philadelphia on March 4, 1793. It marked the commencement of the second four-year term of Washington as president and John Adams as vice president. It was also the first to take place in the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Before an assembly of congressmen, Cabinet officers, judges of the federal and district courts, foreign officials, and a small gathering of Philadelphians, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court William Cushing administered the oath of office.
Today also marked March 4 as the new inauguration date for a president, as decided by the Continental Congress. (Washington’s first inauguration took place on April 30, 1789, on the second-floor balcony of Federal Hall in New York City.)
The decision to hold inaugurations on March 4 was reversed following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first inauguration, on March 4, 1933; various traditions had arisen that expanded the inauguration from a simple oath-taking ceremony to a day-long event, including parades, speeches, and balls. The revised date has been Jan. 20 ever since.
The most recent public presidential inauguration ceremony was the swearing in of President Donald J. Trump to begin his first four-year term — on Friday, Jan 20, 2017.
Words of Wisdom for March 4, 2016
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people.”
— George Washington, First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789