Oath of Office
The Oath of Office:
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.
Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution requires that before presidents can assume their duties they must take the oath of office. The completion of this thirty-five-word oath ends one president's term and begins the next.
From the day George Washington placed his hand on the Bible and recited the oath, the inaugural ceremonies have been an important symbol of our government's continuity and permanence.
Why change the Inauguration date?
In 18th-century America it seemed reasonable to set aside four months between the election and the inauguration. This would provide enough time to tally the votes, to have the electoral college members send their ballots to Washington, and for the president-elect to organize the new government.
But in the modern world of communications and politics, four months was an eternity in which crises could arise or the outgoing administration could do untold amounts of mischief. In 1933 the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution changed the date of presidential inaugurations from March 4 to January 20, making Franklin D. Roosevelt the last president inaugurated in March and the first inaugurated in January.