What Barack Obama accomplishes in his first hundred days remains to be seen, and yet pundits are already talking about him in the same breath as Lincoln and FDR. In this hour of BackStory, the Backstory hosts look at presidential transitions, and ask whether they deserve all the attention they tend to get. First, historian Michael Holt discusses James Polk and other lesser-known presidents whose accomplishments outshine their reputations. Then, producer Catherine Moore recounts the story of America’s first inaugural parade. Last, Henry Haller, White House chef through five presidencies, talks about the differences between cooking for Democrats and Republicans.
- “I Do Solemnly Swear…“: Presidential Inaugurations at the Library of Congress
- Inaugural addresses from Washington to Obama
- Historians discuss inaugurations past and present on the PBS NewsHour
- Inauguration history from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
- National Archives reporting on abrupt transitions
- Presidential inaugurations resource list
- Why did President Polk want war with Mexico?
20th Century & Beyond
- Text & video of Barack Obama’s 2009 inaugural address
- A series of reports on presidential transitions
- White House transitions interviews from the Nixon to Clinton administrations
- Week one and counting – how presidents spent the first eleven weeks in office
- A day-by-day account of Barack Obama’s transition