Inauguration Day is the time set to swear in and welcome the new president and vice president of the United States. It is the day a new president officially takes control of the White House.
Although the presidential election takes place in November, there needs to be some time before the elected leader can take control. This in-between session is known as the Lame Duck period, where the outgoing commander in chief has the opportunity to pass bills and offer pardons while the new president puts together his cabinet and administration.
Historically, a four-month lapse was necessary because it took time to pack up a house and move to Washington D.C. This was before automobiles and planes, so traveling by horse and wagons took much longer. In the meantime, the current president had little power and this gap in time has caused problems in the past. For example, during the 1860 election, outgoing President James Buchanan didn’t pay heed to the nation’s civil unrest and incoming President Abraham Lincoln was forced to sit idly aside while seven states left the Union in what was called the long “Secession Winter.”
Into the Present
The 2021 Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is fraught with uncertainty and confusion. After the Capitol Building protest earlier this month, authorities are concerned about more demonstrations that could turn violent. Washington, D.C. has been shut down to stop people from attending the event, choosing safety and precaution instead.
This day represents a peaceful and smooth transition of power from one leader to the next. The new president will take his oath of office. After a celebration and speeches, the president and his family officially move into the White House.