Answers: Inaugural Trivia

Test your knowledge of inaugural history.


1. What item did Teddy Roosevelt wear to his 1905 inauguration in honor of a former president?

  • Answer: C. A mourning ring containing a strand of Abraham Lincoln's hair
  • The ring was given to Roosevelt by Lincoln's secretary, John Hay. Hay later became Roosevelt's secretary of state.

2. One hundred of these animals froze to death at an inaugural ball.

3. How many inaugurations occurred because of a president's death or resignation?

  • Answer: C. Nine
  • They came after the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren G. Harding, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy, and after the resignation of Richard Nixon.

4. Where has a presidential inauguration not been held?

  • Answer: A. Boston
  • George Washington was inaugurated in New York City in 1789 and in Philadelphia in 1793, and Lyndon B. Johnson aboard Air Force One in 1963.

5. When were women first allowed to march in an inaugural parade?

  • Answer: D. 1917, for the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson, who would be in power when they won the right to vote in national elections.

6. Which president took his oath of office on not one Bible but two?

  • Answer: A. Richard Nixon
  • John Quincy Adams swore on a book of law, and Theodore Roosevelt did not use a Bible.

7. Which president had the most inaugural balls?

  • Answer: D. Bill Clinton
  • There were 14 in 1997.

8. How many words was the shortest inaugural address on record?

  • Answer: A. 135 words
  • The speech was by George Washington at his second inauguration.

9. What does the Constitution mandate about the inauguration ceremony?

  • Answer: A. The oath of office, without the phrase "so help me God."
  • George Washington added it after his own oath in 1789, and nearly every president has followed the precedent since.

10. Which of the following quotes do not come from an inaugural address?

  • Answer: C. "There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure." (Dwight D. Eisenhower)
  • Eisenhower said this in an address at Columbia University's commencement in 1950.

11. Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel, died only weeks before her husband's inauguration. What did she die of?

  • Answer: B. A heart attack triggered in part by stress from the opposing campaign's attack strategy.
  • Rachel and Andrew Jackson were accused during the campaign of having an affair while she was previously married. President Zachary Taylor's death was caused by gastroenteritis from eating too many cherries and buttermilk. Rumors persisted that he died from arsenic poisoning until a 1991 exhumation and tests indicated that to be false. President Franklin Pierce's 11-year-old son was killed in a train wreck just two months before his inauguration.

12. How much did tickets to the first official inaugural ball cost?

  • Answer: C. $4
  • That was for James Madison's inaugural ball in 1809. It included a menu of champagne, brandy punch, wild game, oysters, terrapin, "Meringue Parisian," and "Charlotte Chantilly." The dancing went until midnight.