Obama inaugurated for historic second term on Martin Luther King Day

Festivities, parades and fancy dress balls are marking the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second four-year term as president of the United States of America today.


Today's news, tomorrow's lesson - 21 January

Obama inaugurated for historic second term on Martin Luther King Day


By Helen Ward

Festivities, parades and fancy dress balls are marking the beginning of President Barack Obama’s second four-year term as president of the United States of America today.

By coincidence, the event this year falls upon Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday in the US, which is celebrated on the third Monday of January each year to mark the birth of civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King.

At the ceremony in Washington DC, Obama promised to “preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States”.

A quirk of the calendar meant that the official inauguration took place in the White House yesterday in a quiet ceremony which was attended by Obama’s wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha, because US law demands that the president be inaugurated by the 20th.

Both ceremonies involved Obama putting one hand on the bible and repeating the oath of office read out by Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr.

The vice president Joe Biden was also sworn in yesterday with a similar event at the vice-presidential mansion, to which 120 guests were invited.

Obama’s first inauguration ceremony four years ago was attended by 1.8 million people when he made history by becoming the USA’s first black president. This time about half as many people were expected to attend the ceremony and the celebrations were more muted following the recent school massacre in Connecticut and because the economy remains sluggish.

The decision to mark Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday was taken in 1986 and it became a day of service – when people are asked to do voluntary work in their community – in 1994.

King, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, became famous around the world in the 1960s for his non-violent campaign against ethnic minority discrimination in the USA. He was assassinated in 1968.



Questions


  • How many current world leaders can you name?
  • Can you think of any differences between the American political system and the system we have in this country?
  • What do we mean by 'civil rights'?
  • Why is it significant that Barack Obama's inaguration falls on Martin Luther King Day?

Related resources


Obama’s first inauguration speech

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Powers of the President

  • Examine the powers held by US Presidents with these activities.

Martin Luther King Jr collection

  • Take a look at our selection of resources celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King and Barack Obama

  • Explore what makes a leader with this lesson plan.


Further news resources


First News front page

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Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide.

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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The revelation that some beef burgers on sale in the UK and Ireland contained horse meat and pork has ignited debate on the differing attitudes to what meat humans should or shouldn’t eat.

The use of religious symbolism in public places and the right to wear items of religious clothing and jewellery is the subject of heated debate in many countries.



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