The US Presidential Inaugural Ceremony


Description of the Event

The US presidential inauguration is a crucial event in America’s history for it involves the swearing-in of the vice president and the president-elect. This event is a symbol, which represents the commencement of a new presidential term, where the term is usually four years. The event is compulsory at the beginning of a new term of the president even if it is the president’s second term. This event over the past years has been guided by traditions, where it happens on 20 January; following a general election in the United States of America. The swearing-in process involves the chief justice administering the oath of office to the President-elect on the same day. In situations where the day falls on a Sunday, the event is made private, but then made public on the 21st of the same month (Bajc, 2007). In the past, the ceremony was just a simple oath-taking event, but currently, it has been expanded to a daylong event involving speeches and parades. The event is carried out at the western front of the US Capitol to allow space for all spectators wishing to attend. Traditionally, the outdoor inauguration was carried out at the eastern front of the US Capitol but later changed to the west front by the Joint Congregational Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, who are the event’s organizers.

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The US military is also considered an important participant in the ceremony since the president is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces by law. They are also part of the event’s organizers, where the organizers are required to raise and distribute the funds for the event. The inaugural event involves attendees who include the public, who come to witness the transition of power from the former to the elected president. Other attendees are former presidents, Supreme Court justices, Medal of Honor recipients, Members of Congress, high-rank military officers, and other dignitaries.

Summary of the Event

Donald John Trump’s inaugural ceremony took place on Friday, January 20, 2017, at noon. He was inaugurated as the 45th US president where the ceremony was carried out at the western front of the US Capitol. There were several attendees including the people who are estimated to be around 900,000. Former heads of state like George Bush and Bill Clinton were also present among other dignitaries. The event began at around 6:00 am, but the official inauguration proceedings began at 11:00 am to 12:00 pm. The event saw a peaceful transitioning of power from Barak Obama to Donald Trump. The vice president and president-elect were sworn into office by the chief justice after which, they both gave short speeches to the people. The event was followed by demonstrations by protestors who are against the Trump presidency, where they took to the Washington streets and clashed with the riot police (Alcindor, Corasaniti, Davis & Gordon, 2017). The inaugural event was, however, successful where Trump’s family saw off Obama’s family where Trump proceeded to the Statuary Hall at the Capitol for an inaugural luncheon.

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Relevance of the Event to the Society

This event is relevant to the US society since it has impacts on the people and the society. It is important since the people are given a chance to witness leaders obtain power. Several sociological concepts can be used to effectively analyze and understand the proceedings of the US inaugural event.

Sociological Concepts

A social group is an example of the various sociological concepts that can be used to analyze the current event. A social group can be viewed as a collection of individuals who gather and interact with each other enabling the exchange of ideas. Social groups can be either primary or secondary, where primary groups involve individuals familiar to one another. Secondary groups, on the other hand, involve individuals who are on official business; that is, they are highly impersonal. The social group concept can be used to relate the inaugural event to the society, where groups, both primary and secondary, are evident in the ceremony. The ceremony has attendees who include the people who form a large part of the secondary social groups. This collection of people gathered at the inaugural venue to witness the changing of their leaders.

Culture is also a crucial sociological concept that can be used to analyze the event. Culture involves the ways of life of individuals belonging to the society. The ways of life can be viewed as beliefs, norms, and practices. The inaugural event is based on the US cultures since it is guided by the traditions and the Constitution. For instance, this event is normally held on January 20, following a general election, where this has been the common practice for years. Other practices carried out during the event include giving of speeches and parading by the US military. These activities must be carried out in an organized manner as stated by the Constitution, which guides the event. Norms and beliefs are the rules and guidelines that must be followed in the society, where they are all included in the cultures of the society. For instance, all the attendees to the inaugural event had to follow several rules and guidelines according to the ceremony’s traditions and cultures. The rules include the order of entrance to the venue, the order of speeches to be addressed, and the order of exit after the event.

Social stratification is another key sociological concept used to reveal the social classes in the society. Social stratification involves the organizing and dividing of individuals into social classes, stratus, where the classes involved are three; that is, high, middle, and low class. The belonging to a social class depends on several factors such as level of income, social status, and occupation. During the event, social stratification was evident based on the sitting and positioning arrangement where individuals belonging to the high social class were separated from those in the middle and low class. Individuals in the high class include the former presidents, the politicians, and other members of royal families. There was a clear distinction between them and the rest of the attendees who formed crowds at the venue. This is an indication of social stratification in the US society, where the social classes are used to identify individuals.

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Lastly, crime and deviance are other evident sociological concepts during and after the evident. The individuals against Trump took to the streets demonstrating and showing their lack of support to the president. The protests involved smashing of windows and destruction of public property in the streets. This is an indication of deviant behavior where individuals fail to conform to the society rules (Akers, 2011). Crime is an example of deviant behavior, which was evident during the protests. Luckily, the police were present to stop the protestors, and by doing so, they facilitated the bringing of social control in the society.

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  1. Bajc, V. (2007). Surveillance in Public Rituals: Security Meta-Ritual and the 2005 US Presidential Inauguration. American Behavioral Scientist, 50(12), 1648-1673.
  2. Akers, R. L. (2011). Social Learning and Social Structure: A General Theory of Crime and Deviance. Transaction Publishers.
  3. Alcindor, Y., Corasaniti, N., Davis, J., & Gordon, M. (2017). Donald Trump Inauguration: A Day of Ceremony, Protests, and Celebration. Retrieved from
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