Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Best Inauguration Ever

A couple of days ago over at Kos, Bill in Portland Maine put up this poll about which past inauguration you wish you could have attended. An insane amount of people said JFK in 1961. This says a lot about the Baby Boomer readership of the site. Kennedy is the most overrated president in U.S. history. It took Lyndon Johnson to actually get things done. But that's not my point here.

One of the choices was Andrew Jackson's 1829 inauguration. Only 3% of respondants chose this option, but they were the knowing ones. For it was on that day that all hell broke loose at the White House.

Margaret Smith, a Washington socialite, described the scene. People from around the area came to see the popular hero take office. Those people followed him to the White House.

"But what a scene did we witness! The Majesty of the People had disappeared, and a rabble, a mob, of boys, negros [sic], women, children, scrambling fighting, romping. What a pity what a pity! No arrangements had been made no police officers placed on duty and the whole house had been inundated by the rabble mob. We came too late.

The President, after having been literally nearly pressed to death and almost suffocated and torn to pieces by the people in their eagerness to shake hands with Old Hickory, had retreated through the back way or south front and had escaped to his lodgings at Gadsby's.

Cut glass and china to the amount of several thousand dollars had been broken in the struggle to get the refreshments, punch and other articles had been carried out in tubs and buckets, but had it been in hogsheads it would have been insufficient, ice-creams, and cake and lemonade, for 20,000 people, for it is said that number were there, tho' I think the number exaggerated.

Ladies fainted, men were seen with bloody noses and such a scene of confusion took place as is impossible to describe, - those who got in could not get out by the door again, but had to scramble out of windows. At one time, the President who had retreated and retreated until he was pressed against the wall, could only be secured by a number of gentleman forming around him and making a kind of barrier of their own bodies, and the pressure was so great that Col. Bomford who was one said that at one time he was afraid they should have been pushed down, or on the President. It was then the windows were thrown open, and the torrent found an outlet, which otherwise might have proved fatal.

This concourse had not been anticipated and therefore not provided against. Ladies and gentlemen, only had been expected at this Levee, not the people en masse. But it was the People's day, and the People's President and the People would rule."

Is there any question that this was the inauguration party to end all inauguration parties?