Inauguration Day 2017

All About the Swearing In of Barack Obama's Successor

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Murse, Tom. "Inauguration Day 2017." ThoughtCo, Feb. 7, 2017, thoughtco.com/inauguration-day-2017-3368132. Murse, Tom. (2017, February 7). Inauguration Day 2017. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/inauguration-day-2017-3368132 Murse, Tom. "Inauguration Day 2017." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/inauguration-day-2017-3368132 (accessed September 21, 2017).
Donald Trump inauguration
Win McNamee / Getty Images

Inauguration Day 2017, the day Donald Trump assumed the role of chief executive of the United States, was Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. The nation's 45th president was sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at noon, when the term of President Barack Obama expired.

So how did Inauguration Day 2017 work?

Here are six things you need to know about the important day.

Inauguration Day 2017 Was Also Barack Obama's Last Day in Office

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama will technically be president of the United States right up until noon on Jan. 20, 2017. Official White House Photo/Pete Souza

That's right: President Barack Obama was technically president of the United States right up until noon on Jan. 20, 2017, under provisions sets forth in the U.S. Constitution's 20th Amendment.

He was serving the final hours of his second term and completing a historic presidency as the nation's first African-American to serve in the White House. According to the amendment: "The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January."

Related Story: Date of the 2016 Presidential Election

Donald Trump inaugural ball
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump dance at the Freedom Ball on January 20, 2017. Kevin Dietsch - Pool / Getty Images

Inauguration Day is replete with pomp and pageantry, including the traditional inaugural ball. These events have been held every four years since May 7, 1789, when the first inaugural ball was put on in honor of President George Washington. Modern-day inaugural balls cost tens of millions of dollars to put on, and there are usually way more than just one held the night of the new president's inauguration. More »

Obama greets Trump
Alex Wong / Getty Images

Obama, a Democrat, greeted president-elect Donald Trump even though he was from a different political party. It's become tradition for American presidents to allow for the peaceful transition of power from one United States president and his administration to another. More »

James Buchanan
James Buchanan served as the nation's 15th president from 1791-1868. Courtesy of the National Archives / Newsmakers

We try to shy away from making predictions about Election Day here, but this trend is difficult to ignore: Americans are fairly reluctant to elect consecutive presidents from the same political party. So if history is any indication, voters are likely to side with a Republican in 2016 after eight years under a Democratic president.

The last time voters elected a Democrat to the White House after a president from the same party had just served a full term was in 1856, before the Civil War. That president was James Buchanan, the 15th president and the only one ever to come from Pennsylvania. Buchanan succeeded President Franklin Pierce.

  More »

Trump oath
President Donald Trump takes the oath of office as his wife Melania holds the bible. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The incoming president will take the oath of office, which consists of the following statement: "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." More »

And Then There Will Be a Speech

Donald Trump speech
President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address. Alex Wong / Getty Images

Every president is expected to deliver an inaugural address, a speech whose purpose is to reunite an electorate that is still healing and divided from the election two months earlier, a speech that sets the course in policy and direction for the administration over the ensuing four years while acknowledging the work of the previous president.

"Civility," President George W. Bush said in his 2001 inaugural address, "is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos. And this commitment, if we keep it, is a way to shared accomplishment."