A recent blog post on presidential inaugurations noted that while the Constitution requires only an oath of office, presidential inaugurations have evolved to include many more activities. Many of these elements, including inaugural addresses, are documented in primary sources from the Library of Congress.
When I've asked my students, “Would anyone be interested in a trip on a ferry?” they've all cheered with excitement. But I wonder how many of us would be brave enough to take a night voyage through an ice-clogged river on a boat battered by snow and high winds. Primary sources from the Library of Congress can let students explore this momentous--and shivery--event.
Sometime before the age of 16, Washington transcribed 110 “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation” into his school copybook. Did Washington live his adult life according to these rules?
"O, fatal day. O, noble victim. Treason has done its worst. The President has been assassinated." This hand-written diary entry, dated half past 10 o'clock PM, April 14, 1865, concludes simply, "I have just come from near the scene, it is too True."