Teaching the Inauguration
On January 21, 2013, Barack Obama will take the oath of office to begin his second term as President of the United States. Every four years, we see the peaceful transition of power take place (usually) on the steps of the US Capitol Building in Washington DC, but how many of our students understand the history behind and importance of these transitions? Here are some resources that might help you with teaching them about the importance of Presidential power and the change of leadership:
- The American Presidency Project – The text of all Inaugural Addresses from 1789-2009. Also includes an audio and visual archive of some of these addresses from Hoover through Obama.
- “I do solemnly swear…” – From the Library of Congress, digital collections and presentations from Washington’s Inaugural in 1789 through Obama’s in 2009. They have also put together a site with lesson plans and other activities to teach with these collections.
- Inaugural Words – An interactive timeline from the New York Times that created word clouds from past inaugural addresses to give an idea of their content. A summary of each address and full text is also available.
- Inauguration Quiz – The National Archives put together this short, 10-question quiz on past inaugurations.
- Presidential Inaugurations – Ready-made lesson plans, materials, activities and multimedia resources from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
- White House History – From the White House Historical Association, a collection of links and interactive sites highlighting different aspects of Inaugural traditions from 1789-2009.