Skip to Main Content

U.S. Presidential Inaugurations: A Resource Guide

Presidential Inaugurations: 1969-1997

This page contains primary source materials related to presidential inaugurations from 1969 to 1997. Select a link below to jump directly to a description of that president's inauguration along with related digitized materials from the Library's collections.

Richard Nixon

The thirty-seventh president of the United States, Richard Nixon was elected president in 1968 and 1972. On August 8, 1974, Nixon resigned from office due to the Watergate scandal.

First Inauguration - January 20, 1969


  • Took the oath of office on two Bibles; both family heirlooms.
  • Nixon's Inauguration included an official, three-faith prayer service, open to the public, in the West Auditorium of the State Department.

Second Inauguration - January 20, 1973


  • Richard Nixon became the first President to resign on August 9, 1974.

Gerald Ford

The thirty-eighth president of the United States (1974-77), Gerald Ford assumed the presidency upon the resignation of Richard Nixon on August 9, 1974.

Oath of Office - August 9, 1974


  • First unelected vice president to assume the presidency.
  • First vice president to assume the presidency under the provisions of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which specifies that, upon the resignation of the president, the vice president shall become president.

Jimmy Carter

The thirty-ninth president of the United States, Jimmy Carter served one term as president (1977-81).

Inauguration - January 20, 1977


  • Folding chairs replaced wooden benches on the East Plaza.
  • Recited the oath of office with his family Bible, and the second bible used by George Washington was on the podium.
  • At Carter's request, the traditional inaugural luncheon was not held.
  • First president to exit his limousine just outside the Capitol grounds and walk along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House with his family after the ceremony.
  • Gerald Ford, outgoing President, was the first to leave the Capitol grounds by helicopter.
  • Solar heating warmed the reviewing stand.
  • Parade viewing stands included handicap accessibility.

Ronald Reagan

The fortieth president of the United States, Ronald Reagan served two terms as president (1981-89).

First Inauguration - January 20, 1981


  • First Inauguration held on the west front of the U.S. Capitol.
  • Reagan's first Inauguration was also the warmest on record with a noon temperature of 55.

Second Inauguration - January 21, 1985


  • Coldest Inauguration day on record, with a noon temperature of 7°F.
  • January 20th fell on Sunday, so Reagan was privately sworn in that day at the White House; public Inauguration on January 21st took place in the Capitol Rotunda, due to freezing weather.

George H.W. Bush

The forty-first president of the United States, George H.W. Bush served one term as president (1989-93).

Inauguration - January 20, 1989

Bill Clinton

The forty-second president of the United States, Bill Clinton served two terms as president (1993-2001).

First Inauguration - January 20, 1993

Second Inauguration - January 20, 1997


  • First Inaugural ceremony broadcast live on the Internet

*Please note: 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.