Sharpshooters, Protesters, a Secret Practice Journey

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The next day, the outgoing president, Ulysses S. Grant, invited Hayes to the White House and had him secretly sworn in, without the nation knowing. He prevented the last efforts of Tilden or the Democrats to reverse the result and protect themselves against possible violence by injured southerners. The inauguration was later repeated for the public, unaware that Hayes had already taken the oath.

Updated

Jan. 18, 2021, 6:58 p.m. ET

After winning an unprecedented fourth term, Franklin D. Roosevelt opted for a scaled-down inauguration to pay tribute to the sacrifices of a country that wages world war abroad and endures austerity domestically – and reflects its own strength in less than three months Life.

Instead of being sworn in at the Capitol, Roosevelt, with trembling hands and a weak voice, took the oath on the south portico of the White House in front of a relatively small crowd. The ceremony lasted only 15 minutes. There was no opening parade, no gala ball, just a relatively superficial lunch. “Dog catchers have come into office with more pomp and ceremony,” noted the president’s intelligence chief.

Richard M. Nixon took the oath for the first time in the midst of an entirely different foreign war without the support of the people at home. Activists protesting the conflict in Vietnam gathered at several key points along the route of the opening parade while uniformed troops stood guard.

The protesters aimed at Nixon’s passing limousine and threw stones, sticks, bottles, cans, fireworks, smoke bombs, forks, spoons, tomatoes, dung, burning miniature American flags and a Christmas ornament filled with paint. “Two, four, six, eight – organize to smash the state,” they sang. Protesters once threw a tin foil ball believed to be a possible bomb and Nixon’s driver accelerated abruptly to avoid it, causing a jolt to the President’s passengers.

Nixon, who got up from time to time in the open car, was unharmed and barely noticed the disturbance as he continued the rest of a festive day. But the police arrested 81 people and it was a sour start to a tumultuous tenure.