The ceremony at which a U.S. President takes the oath of office may be referred to as an inauguration ceremony, a presidential inauguration or simply a swearing-in ceremony. Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution stipulates the oath an elected president must take, but gives no details beyond that regarding how the ceremony should be conducted.

The Ceremony

Most recent presidential swearing-in ceremonies have been held in the White House or on the west front of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Generally, presidential inaugurations include a motorcade, the administration of the oath of office and an inaugural address by the newly elected or reelected president. Some presidential inaugurations have been lavish affairs. Others – especially those in which a vice-president has been sworn in due to the death of the president – have been very austere.

The Oath

Although the Constitution does not stipulate who should administer the oath of office, most presidents have been sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The oath of office prescribed by the Constitution is: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) 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."