Currently browsing: Presidency

Great inaugural addresses: Franklin Roosevelt

Constitution Daily looks back at some of the most noteworthy presidential inauguration speeches. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speeches dealt with imminent national crises and served to inspire millions. Roosevelt became president in 1933 as the United States was in the middle of the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s speech was heard by millions of people on the radio […]

Executive orders: How past presidents used them

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama issued 23 executive orders as part of his anti-gun-violence program. But what’s an executive order–and can Congress override one? According to, the federal government’s official portal, “presidents use executive orders to direct and manage how the federal government operates.” The order is a directive from the president that has […]

When presidential inaugurations go very, very wrong

As Constitution Daily counts down to Inauguration Day,  we look back at three presidential ceremonies from the 1800s that ended very badly. Usually when historians recount the pomp and circumstances of swearing in a new president, it’s the stirring speeches, the dramatic balls, and the swelling parades that are recounted. But like any large public […]

How presidents use Bibles at inaugurations

President Barack Obama will use two Bibles on Inauguration Day, which isn’t actually a break from the many traditions associated with the public ceremony. The two Bibles are both historic: one belonged to President Abraham Lincoln and the other to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He will be the fourth known president to use a […]

Constitution Check: Is the “war on terrorism” coming to an end?

Lyle Denniston looks at the legalities of officially ending “armed conflict” in the war on terrorism, in the wake of rulings made after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The statement at issue: “The authorization that was passed in 2001 was basically authorization for the military to engage in armed conflict…. Once that authorization at some point […]