To win the presidency in his own right was a crowning moment for Theodore Roosevelt. He had first come to the presidency in the dark hour after the assassination of President McKinley but now the country had voted him President on his own merits in a landslide. Thirty-three of forty-five states had voted him back into the White House, a majority that was unprecedented.
Theodore Roosevelt addresses the crowd after being sworn in as President, March 4, 1905. From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division
Theodore Roosevelt’s inauguration day on March 4, 1905, was sunny but cold with a wind that whipped the flags hung throughout Washington, D.C. in every direction. Roosevelt biographer Edmund Morris observes that the wind must have given the scene a sense of constant motion, fitting for a president who was known for his energy and zeal. Roosevelt took his oath to uphold the Constitution wearing a ring that carried a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair. The ring was a present from John Hay, Roosevelt’s Secretary of State and Lincoln’s personal secretary as a young man, Hay linked Roosevelt to Lincoln, a president he greatly admired.
Indian chiefs headed by Geronimo passing for review in the Inauguration Parade, March 4, 1905. From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division
After his oath and a short address, Roosevelt returned to the White House where he entertained over 200 guests for lunch. The guest list varied from Rough Riders to foreign dignitaries to cowboys to Chief Geronimo himself. Following lunch, Roosevelt stood in a glass-enclosed viewing stand to watch as over 35,000 parade participants marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate their president. Later that evening, a huge inaugural ball was held. Roosevelt remarked on the occasion that he would have been “too much elated, if I did not have a very real and ever-present anxiety so to handle myself as to minimize the disappointment that many good people are sure to feel in what I am able to do.”
Kathleen Dalton, Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002)
Edmund Morris, Theodore Rex (New York: Random House, 2001)