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All Things Considered

Franklin Pierce's Inaugural Day: Unique Touches And Great Challenges

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Library of Congress
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Every American president has taken the same oath of office that President Barack Obama took earlier today - every president except one.

Franklin Pierce, the only president to hail from New Hampshire, took a slightly different oath at his inauguration on March 4th, 1853 (in those days, presidents began their terms in March instead of January).

Dr. Peter Wallner wrote a two volume biography of Franklin Pierce. He told NHPR's Brady Carlson that Pierce began his four years at the White House with several unique inaugural flourishes - at a time of huge personal and political challenges.