Watch 114-Year-Old Footage of Teddy Roosevelt's Presidential Inauguration

Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain

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Presidential inaugurations haven't always taken place on January 20; in fact, inauguration day was originally celebrated on March 4, until the 20th Amendment was passed in 1933. Official dates aside, the event has always been filled with pomp and circumstance, as you’ll see in the video below.

The grainy footage was filmed during the 1905 inaugural ceremonies for President Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt took his first oath of office on September 14, 1901, following President McKinley’s assassination, and in 1904 he won a second term. Soon after, on March 4, 1905, Roosevelt delivered his first inaugural address.

Thousands of onlookers lined the streets, watching as Roosevelt and a contingent of Rough Riders made their way to the U.S. Capitol. According to historians, “the inaugural celebration was the largest and most diverse of any in memory—cowboys, Indians (including the Apache Chief Geronimo), coal miners, soldiers, and students were some of the groups represented.”

Chief Justice Melville Fuller administered the oath of office on the Capitol’s East Portico, and Roosevelt made a short, elegant speech, in which he uttered famous lines, including "Much has been given us, and much will rightfully be expected from us” and “We have duties to others and duties to ourselves; and we can shirk neither."

You can read the full text here, or watch the festivities below, filmed nearly 114 years ago.