|Date||March 4, 1909|
United States Capitol
|Participants||President William Howard Taft |
Vice President James S. Sherman
The inauguration of William Howard Taft as the 27th President of the United States was held on Thursday, March 4, 1909 in the Senate Chamber at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.. The inauguration marked the commencement of William Howard Taft's only term as President and of James S. Sherman's only term as Vice President. Sherman died 3 years, 240 days into this term, and the office remained vacant for the balance of it. (Prior to ratification of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, no constitutional provision existed for filling an intra-term vacancy in the vice presidency.)
Due to a blizzard the night before that covered Washington, D.C. with 10 inches of snow, the inauguration was moved indoors, into the Senate Chamber. The presidential oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Melville Fuller, who was doing this for his sixth and final time. The new President took his oath on a century-old Bible belonging to the Supreme Court, which he used again in 1921 to take his oath as the Chief Justice of the United States. Despite the adverse weather conditions, the inaugural parade was not cancelled. 6,000 city workers used 500 wagons to remove 58,000 tons of snow to clean the parade route. For the first time in inauguration history, the incoming First Lady (in this case Helen Herron Taft) joined her husband in leading the parade from the Capitol to the White House. Probably during the parade, the choral march "Our Country" by Arthur Whiting was played.
An inaugural ball that evening was held at the Pension Building. It was the last official inaugural ball until 1949, as the next President, Woodrow Wilson, asked the city of Washington not to hold it; the tradition of inaugural balls was revived in 1949 as part of the Second inauguration of Harry S. Truman.