First inauguration of Andrew Jackson
Crowd in front of the White House for the inaugural reception
|Date||March 4, 1829|
|Location||United States Capitol,
|Participants||President of the United States, Andrew Jackson
John C. Calhoun
The first inauguration of Andrew Jackson as the seventh President of the United States took place on March 4, 1829. The inauguration marked the commencement of the first four-year term of Andrew Jackson as President and the second term of John C. Calhoun as Vice President. Calhoun resigned during his second term. Jackson was sworn in by Chief Justice John Marshall.
Jackson's three-week journey from Nashville, Tennessee, to Washington, D.C., first by steamboat to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then onward by carriage, was marked by large crowds greeting the president-elect.
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The inauguration itself took place on March 4, 1829, and was the first time in which the ceremony was held on the East Portico of the United States Capitol. Ten thousand people arrived in town for the ceremony, eliciting this response from Francis Scott Key: "It is beautiful; it is sublime!"
By 10:00 am, the area in front of the Capitol was filled with people, and the stairs on the East Portico were blocked by a ship's cable to prevent the crowd from advancing. An excited crowd of roughly 21,000 came to see the swearing-in, even if most would not be able to hear the inaugural address. Jackson came on foot to the ceremony, but to avoid the multitude, he used a basement door on the west front to enter the Capitol; upon exiting to face the crowd, he bowed to great cheers.
The scene was described by a witness:
“Never can I forget the spectacle which presented itself on every side, nor the electrifying moment when the eager, expectant eyes of that vast and motley multitude caught sight of the tall and imposing form of their adored leader, as he came forth between the columns of the portico, the color of the whole mass changed, as if by miracle; all hats were off at once, and the dark tint which usually pervades a mixed map of men was turned, as by a magic wand, into the bright hue of ten thousand upturned and expectant human faces, radiant with sudden joy. The peal of shouting that arose rent the air, and seemed to shake the very ground. But when the Chief Justice took his place and commenced the brief ceremony of administering the oath of office, it quickly sank into comparative silence; and as the new President proceeded to read his inaugural address, the stillness gradually increased; but all efforts to hear him, beyond a brief space immediately around were utterly vain.”
As he had entered, Jackson left on the west front of the Capitol, for the crowd had broken the ship's cable and surged forward. He proceeded to mount a white horse and rode up Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. While this happened people were climbing in through the windows to get into the White House.
The White House was opened to all for a post-inaugural reception, and was filled by the public even before Jackson arrived on horseback. Soon afterward, Jackson left by a window or a side entrance, and proceeded to Gadsby's Hotel in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. The crowd continued to descend into a drunken mob, only dispersed when bowls of liquor and punch were placed on the front lawn of the White House. "I never saw such a mixture," said Joseph Story, then a justice on the Supreme Court: "The reign of King Mob seemed triumphant." The White House was left a mess, including several thousand dollars worth of broken china.
That night an official inaugural ball for administration officials and Washington's high society was held in Carusi's Assembly Rooms, and it set the stage for the scandal that would become known as the Eaton affair. Twelve hundred guests were present, but President Jackson, fatigued and still mourning the loss of his wife Rachel Jackson that December, was not. Another ball was held in the Central Masonic Hall.
- Gordon, John Steele (2009-01-20). "An Inauguration for the People". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- Mitgang, Herbert (1992-12-20). "THE TRANSITION; A Populist Inauguration: Jackson, With Decorum". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- "Presidential Inaugurations: The Capitol Connection". U.S. Capitol Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
- Cheathem, Mark Renfred (2007). Old Hickory's Nephew: The Political and Private Struggles of Andrew Jackson Donelson. LSU Press. p. 59–60. ISBN 978-0-8071-3238-8.
- Ogg, Frederic Austi. The reign of Andrew Jackson : a chronicle of the frontier in politics. New Haven: Yale university press. p. 124.
- "Inaugural Ball". Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Retrieved 2009-01-22.