All Things Considered
2:20 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Franklin Pierce's Inaugural Day: Unique Touches And Great Challenges

Engraving of Franklin Pierce taking the oath of office in 1853.
Engraving of Franklin Pierce taking the oath of office in 1853.
Credit Library of Congress

Every American president has taken the same oath of office that President Barack Obama took earlier today - every president except one.

Franklin Pierce, the only president to hail from New Hampshire, took a slightly different oath at his inauguration on March 4th, 1853 (in those days, presidents began their terms in March instead of January).

Dr. Peter Wallner wrote a two volume biography of Franklin Pierce. He told NHPR's Brady Carlson that Pierce began his four years at the White House with several unique inaugural flourishes - at a time of huge personal and political challenges.

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