Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts Jr. administers the oath of office during President Donald Trump's inauguration.

Olivier Douliery/Abaca (Sipa via AP Images)
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Taking Charge

Donald Trump takes over as the 45th president. 

Donald Trump’s four-year term as president officially began on January 20. He was inaugurated, or sworn in, during a ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. People who are trained to estimate crowd sizes say that more than 150,000 people stood on the National Mall to watch the inauguration. Millions more from around the world watched it on TV and online.

The inauguration is one of the hallmarks (special characteristics or features that make something unique) of our democracy. It signals the peaceful transfer of power from one U.S. president to another. During the ceremony, Trump took the oath of office, in which he promised to “preserve, protect, and defend” the U.S. Constitution. (It’s the same pledge made by every president, beginning with George Washington in 1789.) Moments earlier, Mike Pence was officially sworn in as vice president.

Plans for the Country

After taking the oath, Trump gave his inaugural address. During the 16-minute speech, he said that our leaders in Washington, D.C., need to better serve the American people—which had been one of the main messages during his presidential campaign. For too long, Trump said, our political leaders haven’t done enough to address the nation’s problems.

“We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action,” he said. “Now arrives the hour of action.”

One way Trump plans to get Americans working is to improve the country’s infrastructure.

“We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels and railways all across our wonderful nation,” he said.

Once the ceremony ended, the celebrations began. The president, vice president, and their families watched the inaugural parade from the White House. The parade included thousands of members of the U.S. military, as well as dozens of marching bands from across the country.

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Demonstrators protest on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the Women's March on Washington on January 21, 2017


A Divided Nation

Not all Americans were in the mood to celebrate, though. Protests took place this weekend in all 50 states and around the world. Protests take place at every inauguration, but the number, size, and spread of the protests this year was unusual. It is estimated that more than 3.3 million people took part in marches in more than 500 U.S. cities. Political scientist Erica Chenoweth at the University of Denver spoke to about the historic number of protestors. “Even using a conservative estimate, it was the single largest day for a demonstration in the U.S.”, Chenoweth said.

On Saturday, a protest called the Women’s March on Washington is estimated to have drawn half a million people. Hundreds of thousands of people also marched in protests in New York City and Los Angeles. Marches took place in many other U.S. cities, too. Large, peaceful marches also took place in cities around the world, including London, England; Berlin, Germany; Nairobi, Kenya; Paris, France; and Rome, Italy.

Women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, who is 82, spoke at the Women’s March on Washington. She has led many marches in her lifetime. She said on Saturday, “this is an outpouring of energy and true democracy like I have never seen in my very long life.”

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Demonstrators walk down 42nd Street toward Grand Central Terminal during the Women's March on New York, Jan. 21, 2017

CREDIT: Nicole Craine/The New York Times

Many of the protesters are upset by offensive comments Trump has made about women and minority groups. Many people fear that women’s rights and the rights of Latinos, African-Americans, and other groups will not be protected under the Trump administration.

Protesters also spoke out about Trump's policy plans, including his ideas for how the U.S. should deal with immigrants who are living in the country without permission. By some estimates, there are approximately 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Many came here to find jobs or escape violence in their home countries.

During his campaign, Trump called for major deportations, which means sending undocumented immigrants back to the countries they came from, starting with people with criminal records. He has said that those immigrants should apply to enter the U.S. legally.

President Trump tweeted on Sunday that he respected everyone’s right to protest.

“Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy,” Trump wrote. “Even if I don't always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”