Inauguration of John Adams

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Presidential Inauguration of John Adams
John Adams
Date March 4, 1797; 217 years ago (1797-03-04)
Location Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Congress Hall
Participants John Adams

The inauguration of John Adams as the second President of the United States took place on Saturday, March 4, 1797. The inauguration marked the commencement of the four-year term of John Adams as President and Thomas Jefferson as Vice President. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Oliver Ellsworth swore him in. The oath of office was administered in the House of Representatives Chamber of Congress Hall in Philadelphia. This was the first inaugural oath administered by a Chief Justice of the United States.[1]


Following the swearing in of first Jefferson and then Adams, in the order traditional for the inauguration,[2] Jefferson walked over to Adams, apparently to congratulate him. As Adams wrote in his diaries, which were later published, Jefferson:

…then extended his hand to me, and, mollified by his contrite demeanor, I reached to shake it. But at the last moment, he jerked his hand away and adjusted his wig, running his hand along the side of it!

John Adams, Diary and Autobiography of John Adams

The actions of Jefferson, who had been instrumental in replacing the formal bow with the handshake in the United States,[3] were met with raucous laughter from Chief Justice Ellsworth and the remainder of those in attendance,[4] and increased the tensions between the pair, which did not dissipate completely until well after the conclusion of both their presidencies.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Inauguration of President John Adams, 1797". Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  2. ^ "The Vice President takes his oath of office before the president." Presidential Inauguration Facts –
  3. ^ "It was our nation's third president, Thomas Jefferson, who mainstreamed the modern handshake as a common greeting." How a Handshake Can Grip the World: 4 Tips to Take You to the Top"Huffpost, November 12, 2013.
  4. ^ Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, 4 March 1797, available from Adams Papers digital editions.
  5. ^ "In 1812, as retired old politicos, they renewed their friendship with cordiality and joy." Thomas Jefferson – John Adams info.


  • Papers of John Adams by: Adams, John, 1735–1826, Taylor, Robert Joseph

External links[edit]