Inauguration day facts, traditions and political protests—research paper topics

Another inauguration day occurs on January 20, 2017. During this presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C., the 45th president of the United States of America will be sworn into office.

Learn more about Inauguration Day and its history. (Credit: DC By Foot)

Learn more about Inauguration Day and its history. (Credit: DC By Foot)

The history of the pomp and tradition of this occasion, as well as the political protests surrounding the event, offer many research paper topics to consider.

Schedule of inauguration day events

The presidential inauguration follows a set order of events traditionally, starting with the swearing in of the president-elect and the vice president-elect on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at noon. After that, the new president will give an inaugural address. After the swearing in, the new president participates in a ceremonial parade down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. A research paper could compare and contrast different presidential inaugural addresses or the ways in which the addresses of a two-term president differed.

WashingtonDC.org posted “Everything You Need to Know About Inauguration Day in Washington, DC,” which included details about tickets for the event. While viewing the ceremony on video screens on the National Mall or standing along the parade route is open to the public, tickets must be obtained for the actual swearing in ceremony. The website explained, “Tickets are free, but are in high-demand and must be applied for through the local official representing the Congressional district in which you live.”

Presidential inauguration facts

There are many historically-based research paper ideas to explore surrounding the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. The historic day is filled with intriguing facts and traditions to explore over the centuries. A paper could trace the start of many of the traditions, explaining their significance.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg posted “Interesting Facts About Inauguration” on January 21, 2013, for The New York Times with some examples, including “Andrew Jackson was the first living president to be personally honored by “Hail to the Chief,’’ but it was Mrs. Tyler who first requested that the song be played specifically to announce the president’s arrival on official occasions.” Stolberg explained that Julia Tyler was the wife of President John Tyler, who served from 1841 to 1845. Other facts to explore include how and why the specific inauguration day is decided and the choice of Bibles used for the swearing in ceremony.

Political protests on inauguration day

Much preparation and construction goes into the day’s events, making security and space crucial issues for the presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C. For instance, the great number of bleachers installed on the National Mall for the presidential inauguration has turned the area into a construction zone. Add in the above average number of groups interested in participating and or engaging in political protests, the organization of everything presents a significant challenge.

National Mall Sites Shut Down for Protests during Inauguration” by Kyle Feldscher for the December 9, 2016, edition of The Examiner (Washington, D.C.), explained, “the National Park Service has filed documents securing large swaths of the Mall for inauguration events, essentially shutting them off to protesters.” It is standard to do this for a presidential inauguration, but the deep political divide that marked the 2016 election has made this procedure suspect to many on the left. A research paper topic could delve into other historical political protests that have occurred in Washington, D.C., from the causes they hoped to raise awareness for to how those events were handled.

Want to learn more about U.S. Presidents? Check out Questia—particularly the section on the presidency of the United States.

Should the traditions of the presidential inauguration be adapted to changing times? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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