Presidents of the United States of America who did not do an inaugural speech

The following presidents never did an official inaugural speech, since they were vice-presidents who had to step in when the president was murdered, died or resigned and they never did a second term.

  1. John Tyler : 1841-1845
    [vp], Whig
    Vice President John Tyler became President upon William Henry Harrison's death one month after his inauguration. U.S. Circuit Court Judge William Cranch administered the oath to Mr. Tyler at his residence in the Indian Queen Hotel on April 6, 1841.
  2. Millard Fillmore : 1850-1853
    [vp] Whig
    Judge William Cranch administered the executive oath of office to Vice President Millard Fillmore on July 10, 1850 in the Hall of the House of Representatives. President Zachary Taylor had died the day before.
  3. Andrew Johnson : 1865-1869
    [vp], Republican
    On April 15, 1865, after visiting the wounded and dying President Lincoln in a house across the street from Ford's Theatre, the Vice President returned to his rooms at Kirkwood House. A few hours later he received the Cabinet and Chief Justice Salmon Chase in his rooms to take the executive oath of office.
  4. Chester A. Arthur : 1881-1885
    [vp], Republican
    On September 20, 1881, upon the death of President Garfield, Vice President Arthur received a group at his home in New York City to take the oath of office, administered by New York Supreme Court Judge John R. Brady. The next day he again took the oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Morrison Waite, in the Vice President's Office in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
  5. Gerald Ford : 1974-1977
    [vp], Republican
    The Minority Leader of the House of Representatives became Vice President upon the resignation of Spiro Agnew, under the process of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. When President Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, Vice President Ford took the executive oath of office, administered by Chief Justice Warren Burger, in the East Room of the White House.

Inaugural speeches

From George Washington to George Bush, Presidents have used inaugural addresses to articulate their hopes and dreams for a nation. Collectively, these addresses chronicle the course of this country from its earliest days to the present.

Inaugural addresses have taken various tones, themes and forms. Some have been reflective and instructive, while others have sought to challenge and inspire. Washington's second inaugural address on March 4, 1793 required only 135 words and is the shortest ever given. The longest on record--8,495 words--was delivered in a snowstorm March 4, 1841 by William Henry Harrison.

Invoking a spirit of both history and patriotism, inaugural addresses have served to reaffirm the liberties and freedoms that mark our remarkable system of government. Many memorable and inspiring passages have originated from these addresses. Among the best known are Washington's pledge in 1789 to protect the new nation's "liberties and freedoms" under "a government instituted by themselves," Abraham Lincoln's plea to a nation divided by Civil War to heal "with malice toward none, with charity toward all," Franklin D. Roosevelt's declaration "that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," and John F. Kennedy's exhortation to "ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country."

This collection is being published in commemoration of the Bicentennial Presidential Inauguration that was observed on January 20, 1989. Dedicated to the institution of the Presidency and the democratic process that represents the peaceful and orderly transfer of power according to the will of the people, it is our hope that this volume will serve as an important and valuable reference for historians, scholars and the American people.

Senate Committee on Rules and Administration Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies for the Bicentennial Presidential Inaugural, 1789-1989


"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."
United States Constitution, Article II, Section 1, Clause 8