2021 and 4 other intense inauguration snubs in u.s. history

at the end of last month a few students asked me about former president donald trump not attending new president joe biden‘s inauguration. it was big news for sure, but it’s happened before. an article in the new york times by ja

Trump Is Not the First President to Snub an Inauguration

snub means reject, ignore.

john adams & thomas jefferson

john adams and thomas jefferson died on the same day: july 4, 1826–the 50th anniversary of u.s. independence

fortin describes that the first inauguration snub was between founding fathers john adams and thomas jefferson…  

when the presidency of john adams ended in 1801, it could have gone badly. the united states was in its infancy and had never seen a head of state transfer power to a political opponent–in this case, thomas jefferson, whose republican vision for the country was at odds with the strong central government favored by adams. the election of 1800 was hard fought, marred by personal attacks and deadlocked for weeks, in part because the country had not yet worked out the kinks of electing its  president and vice president at the same time.

carol berkin, a professor of history at baruch college in new york city says…

this problem overshadowed adams’s rude refusal to show up for the inauguration.

could have gone badly is a past modal.  the article suggests that civil war was a possibility. but in fact the transfer of power from adams to jefferson was peaceful. infancy refers to the earliest days of the united states. had never seen is past perfect. it refers to 1800 and the time before. republican means jefferson did not promote a strong central government and preferred that the individual states maintained power.

at odds means jefferson and adams disagreed.  hard fought means it was a difficult, intense election.  mar means spoil, harm. deadlocked means the winner couldn’t be declared for weeks after the election.  work out the kinks means fix all the little problemsthe kinks is the name of a famous british rock band too.

had not yet worked out is another example of  past perfect. had is an auxiliary verb and worked out is the past participle. yet implies that in future elections these kinks were fixed. overshadow means the problems with the electoral process got more attention than adams not attending jefferson’s inauguration. refusal is the noun equivalent of refuse and means rejection. show up means arrive, go to. rude means without manners.  it’s used in the title and lyrics of this popular track by rihanna for seducing bad boys.

in the election of 1828, john adams’ son, john quincy adams faced andrew jackson.

the election, which took place at a time when the right to vote was expanding to a slightly larger pool of white men than before, involved plenty of mudslinging.

take place means happen. a right is a guarantee, permission or liberty. slightly means a little. pool refers to the group of eligible voters. plenty means more than enough. mudslinging means quincy adams and jackson fiercely attacked each other during the campaign.

anthony hopkins as john quincy adams and john quincy adams

anthony hopkins played john quincy adams in the movie amistad 

andrew johnson was abraham lincoln‘s vice-president and replaced him after lincoln was assassinated in 1865. he lost the 1868 election to ulysses grant, a victorious general for the united states during the civil war. johnson waited until the last minute before he decided not to attend grant’s inauguration.

a carriage arrived to collect him on the morning of the ceremony and was turned away, according to a report from the new york herald.  that snub […] happened 152 years ago and reflected deep schisms in a country trying to recover from the deadliest war in its history.

collect in this context means get. turn away means refuse, send awaydeadliest is the superlative of deadly. it indicates that more people died in the civil war than any other war in u.s. history. a schism is a division. it is used in this well-known bob marley song, listen at 2:10 for this lyric:

we’re sick and tired of your ism schism game

ism is a suffix. in other words, we don’t like (sick and tired) philosophies that divide us and create conflict (capitalism and communism during the cold war for example)

the most recent example of an inauguration snub didn’t happen as the result of an election…

richard m. nixon, who resigned the presidency in 1974, did not stick around to see gerald ford take the oath of office

stick around means stay. an oath is an official promise.

richard nixon with an angry look on his face vocabulario en inglés

richard nixon didn’t stick around for gerald ford’s inauguration

so donald trump was not the first u.s. president to snub the inauguration of his predecessor (person who did his job before him), but it hasn’t happened a lot. presidential historian douglas brinkley made this observation..

for a while, i thought it would be helpful for the country if trump were there for the inauguration, but everything changed on jan. 6, when trump became an insurrectionist.

it would be helpful if trump were there is 2nd conditional–a hypothetical. trump did not actually attend the inauguration

glorieta de insurgentes vocabulario en inglés

insurgentes is the longest street in mexico city. in english insurgentes is insurrectionists. (wikipedia)

brinkley also shares this analysis…

it’s usually a sign that american society is in the midst of major political feud. the fact that the incoming and outgoing presidents can’t shake hands and co-participate in an inauguration means that something’s off-kilter in the democracy.

in the midst of means in the middle of.  incoming means arriving. outgoing means leaving. off-kilter means not right. a feud is a prolonged fight. it’s used in the title of this jay-z song that includes the participation of his wife beyoncé too

the english practice extra for this post has definitions for all of these words and expressions; so much so, college, major, poli-sci, pundit, i.e., humbly, lame-duckdeny, insurrection, whiny bitch, entitled, spooky, as well as, might, perfect fit, right about now.

additionally, there are examples of politics, political, politician; words that are often confused. they are explained in detail in this post.

the idiom ins and outs, used at 1:08, is not defined in the video. it means details. the word even is used at :22. it is not defined in the video either and is used for emphasis. see more examples here.

were u shocked that trump didn’t attend biden’s inauguration? share your thoughts under leave a reply


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