Christianity in the World Today

When President Eisenhower takes his second term oath of office at a private ceremony in the White House at noon on January 20, he will become the first President of the United States ever to be sworn in on a Sunday.

The decision against waiting until Monday, prompted by the tense international situation, will prevent the nation from being without a President for 24 hours. (Religious leaders, generally, are in complete accord with the decision.)

President Eisenhower will repeat the oath at noon on Monday, January 21, in a public ceremony on the steps of the Capitol. The Monday ceremony will be broadcast and televised throughout the world.

20th Amendment

Under the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1933, the term of the President ends at noon on January 20. If a President has failed to qualify, the Vice President-elect shall serve as President until he does. Thus, President Eisenhower will have to step down as President at noon on Sunday unless he takes the oath for a second term. Presidential advisers warned against a 24-hour hiatus of executive power.

Vice President Richard M. Nixon also will take his second term oath at the private White House ceremony and will repeat it at the public ceremony on Monday.

January 20 will be the fourth time in U. S. history that an inauguration day has fallen on Sunday. On Saturday night, March 3, 1877, President-elect Rutherford B. Hayes took the oath privately at the White House. He repeated the oath publicly the following Monday. In 1849, Zachary Taylor refused to take the oath on Sunday and was not sworn in until Monday noon. In 1821, President James Monroe deferred taking his second term oath until Monday.

Plans for Church

President Eisenhower plans ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.