Friday, January 20, 2012

Learn Our History Today: January 20

On this day in history, January 20, several US Presidents were inaugurated into office, beginning with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his second term in 1937.  Prior to this, most presidents were inaugurated on  March 4 (with exception to the presidents who took office following the death of their predecessors), but the 20th Amendment which was passed in 1933 made January 20th the official inauguration date for all future presidents.

It’s common knowledge that our president can serve up to two terms in office, meaning up to two inaugurations, but did you know that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated four times?  The two term tradition was an unwritten rule dating back to George Washington’s decision to decline a third-term run in 1796. In 1940, Roosevelt had said he would not run unless he was drafted; well, the delegates ended up nominating him by 946 to 147 on the first ballot, and he went on to win the presidency.  He ran again in 1944, carrying 36 states.  The 22nd Amendment, which was ratified in February 1951, officially set the limit to two terms in office.  In addition, it also limits a president to serving 10 years, in the event one succeeds to the office.

Also on this day in history, the Iran Hostage Crisis ended, just minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th president of the United States. Reagan’s first course of business upon entering office was to free the nearly $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets, promoting Iran to release the hostages.

You can teach your children about the Iranian Hostage Crisis and Ronald Reagan’s achievements in Learn Our History’s video, “The Reagan Revolution”, available at

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