Today I thought of an inauguration where a man who was very popular with the people took over as president from a man who was villified and harrassed. The American people could not wait until the old president could leave so the new president could come in a bring sweeping change that was needed to right the wrongs of the new administration. The American people who could not wait until the old president, who trampled on the rights of American citizens and got us into trouble abroad.
The inauguration I am thinking of is the transfer of power between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. This is sometimes referred to as the Revolution of 1801 because it marked the first time power changed from one political faction to a rival political faction in our nation’s history. It was a peaceful transition of power. Adams did not try to nullify the election results or call out the army to prevent Jefferson from becoming president. All Adams did was to get in his carriage with his bags and baggage and returned to his home.
The election of 1800 was spirited to say the least. Adams who was unpopular with many people over his support of the Sedition Acts which crippled freedom of speech and press in the new country. Also, many Americans felt Adams and the Federalist party wanted to make the young republic a monarchy. Supporters of Adams thought Jefferson would allow mob rule and have blood flowing through the streets like the French Revolution.
Fortunately, through good times and bad, one thing the American People could count on is the peaceful transfer of power between presidents. Today is an affirmation of what our country is all about.
Side note: I watched CNN’s coverage of the inauguration and Wolf Blitzer said that Obama became president automatically at 12 noon. This not true. Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution specifically says one does not become president until they take the oath of office.