Editor’s note: The following two letters were written by students at Hopkins School as part of a class project.
20th Amendment has U.S. prepared
Inauguration Day takes place in Washington, D.C., and is the day the president comes into office. In the two months between Election Day and Inauguration Day things can go wrong, and imagine that the break between those days was longer. Well, Inauguration Day has changed over the years, but we always have a president ready to go!
January 20th is a very important day in U.S. history, it is the day that the president comes into office. People can only serve as president for up to eight years. Every four years we have an election. If the president gets reelected, he/she will begin their second term. If someone new wins the election they will begin their first term at noon on January 20th. Washington, D.C., is abuzz on this day, but at the end of the day we will have a new president ready to serve for four years.
We have always had our presidential election every four years, but we didn’t always have the same inauguration date. Before Congress passed the 20th Amendment, Inauguration Day was on March 4th. During these four months between Election Day and Inauguration Day, the old Congress could keep making laws and the president still had power as president. The president in this situation is called a lame-duck president. Senator George W. Norris believed that a lame-duck Congress was unfair. Once Congress passed the 20th Amendment in 1933 and the date of Inauguration Day was moved to January 20th, there was only a 2 1/2-month lame-duck period of time.
The 20th Amendment did not just change the date of Inauguration Day. It also stated what would happen if something went wrong during the interval between Election Day and Inauguration Day. If the new president died during that time, the vice president becomes the president. Congress may have to decide an election if there were problems counting the votes, or if the new president does not meet the requirements to be president. Even though there are some things that could go wrong, we are prepared for anything. We know what to do in a predicament like this.
Inauguration Day is the day the new president comes into office, but things can go wrong. Even if that is so, we are always ready on January 20th with a president who is ready to serve for four years!
— Antara Machiraju, Hopkinton (Grade 5)
Inauguration a special day
Inauguration Day is a very special day that happens every four years on January 20th. On Inauguration Day, the existing president will either start their second term or a new president will officially start their first, and possibly last, term. This year, on January 20th, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence’s first term ended, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s first term started.
Nowadays, the new president is always inaugurated on January 20th, but it didn’t start out this way. Inauguration Day used to be March 4, and it was that way for 148 years. But government officials realized that a lot could happen between November and March, and they realized that five months was too long to wait. You might be wondering, “Why January 20th,” but this has a reason, too. The government feels that three months is enough time for the current president to accept that they aren’t president anymore if they haven’t been reelected. It also gives the new president enough time to prepare for the biggest job in the United States.
After the inauguration, there is a massive party. Many famous pop stars, including Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez, sang at this year’s inauguration. [Performers] who have sung in the past include Ricky Martin, Demi Lovato, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Linda Ronstadt, the Beach Boys and Aretha Franklin. Many people across the country await the announcement of who will be performing at the inauguration.
There is a lot to look forward to on Inauguration Day, especially if your presidential choice has been elected. Even if the other nominee has been elected, there is still much to look forward to on Inauguration Day.
— May Shade, Hopkinton (Grade 5)
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