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Every four years, the world watches as the United States passes the title and power of the presidency from one person to another in a peaceful and orderly manner. With a formal ceremony, a large parade, and gala inaugural balls, it’s a big, colorful show—one rich with history, tradition, and ritual.

Through a compilation of vignettes, author Jim Bendat chronicles all of Inauguration Day’s historic events. Democracy’s Big Day tells stories about the outgoing and incoming presidents who did not get along, the chief justices who improperly administered the presidential oath, the vice president who showed up to the ceremony drunk, and the nine occasions in which the United States had an unplanned and unanticipated inauguration—often for a nation in mourning.

Democracy’s Big Day presents a comprehensive history of presidential inaugurations—from George Washington through Barack Obama. From the morning White House coffee gathering to the evening’s parties, the author provides a captivating look at what is truly democracy’s biggest day.

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