Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Presidential Inauguration of 1829

Robert Ball Hughes and his wife, Eliza, witnessed the Inauguration of Andrew Jackson as the 7th President of the United States on March 4, 1829. Ball Hughes had arrived in New York from London only two months before and was staying in Baltimore. The inauguration of the first populist president was attended by over 15,000 people. Jackson was the first President to take the oath of office on the east front portico of the U.S. Capitol.

See for the text of Jackson's First Inaugural Address.

The Wikipedia entry for Andrew Jackson says: "Jackson was the first President to invite the public to attend the White House ball honoring his first inauguration. Many poor people came to the inaugural ball in their homemade clothes. The crowd became so large that Jackson's guards could not hold them out of the White House. The White House became so crowded with people that dishes and decorative pieces in the White House began to break. Some people stood on good chairs in muddied boots just to get a look at the President. The crowd had become so wild that the attendants poured punch in tubs and put it on the White House lawn to lure people out of the White House.”

President's Levee, or all Creation going to the White House, Washington, [March 4, 1829]

See from Drexel University for an account of the day and for an eyewitness account of the inauguration.

Ball Hughes was truly a witness of history! He later called on President Jackson at the White House and after that carved a bust of Jackson. I'll have more about that first meeting later.

The images above are from the Library of Congress at:

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