At Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration in 1861, with civil war on the horizon, soldiers with bayonets and armed undercover agents roamed the crowd. “Had any hostile hand been raised against the President,” one attendee said, “its owner would very speedily have bitten the dust.”
Woodrow Wilson’s 1913 inauguration was disrupted when thousands of women demanding the right to vote staged a protest march. “Women were spit upon, slapped in the face…pelted with burning cigar stubs,” reports said. More than 160 people were arrested.
As inauguration crowds grew, so did security efforts, especially after the attacks of 9/11. SWAT teams, bomb techs, hostage negotiators and dive teams were deployed for Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration.
President Biden abandoned plans to arrive at his inauguration via Amtrak, his usual “man of the people” commute, missing out on the kind of adulation George Washington received from the women of Trenton as he rode by horse from Mt. Vernon to New York for his inauguration in 1789.