At noon on Jan. 20, Donald John Trump will take the 35-word oath of office and become the 45th president of the United States. The oath is prescribed in the Constitution, but much of what happens during the peaceful transfer of power is rooted in tradition. Get ready for the big show and test your H.Q. – Historical Quotient – with our 10-question quiz. Answers are below.
1 1) Presidential inaugurations used to be on March 4. Why are they on Jan. 20, a day that’s often snowy and bone-chillingly cold?
A. Washington was rainy and muddy in March, and carriages got stuck.
B. The Supreme Court picked it.
C. The 20th Amendment says so.
D. It’s when Jupiter aligns with Mars.
2) Which president gave the longest inaugural address and what happened?
A. Bill Clinton spoke so long that when he said “in conclusion,” everybody cheered.
B. Despite a snowstorm, William Henry Harrison in 1841 spoke for an hour and 45 minutes without a hat or coat. He caught pneumonia and died a month later.
C. Ronald Reagan told so many stories about his old Hollywood days that Nancy Reagan unplugged his microphone.
3 3) Who gave the shortest inaugural address?
A. Abraham Lincoln
B. Franklin Roosevelt
C. George Washington
4) How did Thomas Jefferson at his 1801 inauguration break with his predecessors?
A. Jefferson wore the clothes “of a plain citizen without any distinctive badge of office,” a newspaper reported, unlike the elegant suits with swords favored by Washington and Adams.
B. Jefferson walked from his rooming house to the Capitol, rather than being driven in a liveried coach.
C. Both A and B
5 5) What do canaries have to do with Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration?
A) Canaries – roasted in cream sauce – were served at the inaugural luncheon.
B) At the frigid inaugural ball, hundreds of canaries in cages were suspended from the ceiling as decoration. The birds froze to death and dropped onto the heads of dancers below.
C) First lady Julia Grant’s hat was covered with canary feathers, setting off the first fashion trend by a first lady.
6) Who was the first president to ride to and from his inauguration in an automobile?
A. Warren Harding in 1921, a Packard
B. William McKinley in 1897, a Stanley Steamer
C. William Howard Taft in 1909, a Pierce-Arrow
7) Which president wore a ring containing a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair to his inauguration?
A. Barack Obama
B. Teddy Roosevelt
C. Ulysses S. Grant
D. Nobody. This is fake news.
8 8) Match the president with the theme of his inauguration -- Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
A. “Celebrating America’s Spirit Together”
B. “Crusade America”
C. “An American Journey: Building a Bridge to the 21st Century”
D. “Forward Together”
9) Whose inaugural address was the first to be broadcast on TV?
A. Dwight Eisenhower
B. John F. Kennedy
C. Harry S Truman
10) When a citizen tried to wish this newly inaugurated president joy in the White House, the president smiled and said: “I would advise you to follow my example on nuptial occasions when I always tell the bridegroom I will wait until the end of the year before offering any congratulations.” Who was the president?
A) John Calvin Coolidge
B) Thomas Jefferson
C) Franklin D. Roosevelt
1) C -- Ratified in 1933, the 20th Amendment states: “The terms of the president and vice president shall end at noon on the 20th day of January . . . the terms of successors shall then begin.”
3) C – Washington’s second inaugural address was the shortest in history at 135 words. FDR’s fourth inaugural address was 559 words, and Lincoln’s second was 700 words.
7) B – strange but true.
8 – A Bush, B Eisenhower, C Clinton, D Nixon
9 C – in 1949.
SOURCES: National Archives, American Presidency Project, www.history.com, Thomas Jefferson Foundation – Monticello, White House Historical Association
--Compiled by Marsha Mercer