.S. House of Representatives in Congress Hall, Philadelphia (Independence National Historical Park). In this ground-floor room on March 4, 1797, John Adams was inaugurated the second president of the United States of America. He took the oath of office adjacent to the free-standing desk in the middle of the photograph. With this ceremony the young republic withstood a crucial test, as the first transfer of power took place peacefully when George Washington stepped down and Adams assumed the presidency.
Photos and text © Gleaves Whitney 2005