Every U.S. Presidential Inauguration Since McKinley, In Photos

From McKinley to Obama, see moments from over a century's worth of presidential inaugurations.
Every U.S. Presidential Inauguration Since McKinley, In Photos Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty

Much has been made of Donald Trump's inability to attract high-profile acts to appear at his inaugural festivities. Such a scenario wouldn't have been much of a concern in eras past. A look through history reveals that the presidential inauguration hasn't always been a carefully orchestrated, day-long affair filled with speeches, parades and balls.

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Emergency circumstances—typically the sudden death of the incumbent—have seen some incoming presidents sworn in under less formalized situations. Calvin Coolidge took the oath of office by kerosene light at his father's home after William Harding's death from a heart attack the prior night. Lyndon Johnson was sworn in aboard Air Force One two hours after John F. Kennedy's assassination. Andrew Johnson was reportedly drunk at his emergency inauguration after Abraham Lincoln was killed.

Even when presidents have had fair warning of the day to come, not everything has always gone as planned. Richard Nixon's inaugural parade route was littered with dead birds after he'd had it pre-emptively sprayed with repellent. James Buchanan was struck with severe diarrhea the night before his swearing-in and almost didn't attend. And many believe that William Henry Harrison's record-holding inaugural address, which lasted an hour and forty-five minutes in the freezing cold, may have caused him to catch the pneumonia that would kill him a month later.

In the slideshow above, take a look at the inaugurations of every president since William McKinley, who took office in 1897, through President Obama.

President William McKinley delivers his inaugural address on March 4, 1897. Photo12/UIG/Getty