The History Of The U.S.'s Peaceful Transition Of Power

By Jacob Shelton
The "President's House" in 1807. (White House/Wikimedia Commons)

For as long as the U.S. has had a government, a peaceful transition of power has been fundamental to American democracy: Without it, the whole thing comes crashing down. That doesn't mean the transition of power from one party to the next has always gone off without a hitch, however.

The First Peaceful Transition Of Power In The U.S.

It's no surprise that the initial transition of power from President Washington to President Adams took a while. Not only were they just figuring out how to even do that, there were no means of quick communication across distances longer than your average ballroom. It took weeks for telegrams with information about the transition to travel across the country and then more weeks for Adams and his people to actually get to Washington. As a result, it took three months for Adams to officially become president and move into the White House after his election in December 1796. As the years went on, technology sped up the process, but that doesn't mean that the transition became easier.