Bonus Episode: Bicycles, Better Angels, and Biden
Play • 24 min

Since George Washington took the first presidential oath of office in 1789, inaugurations have been held during times of war and peace, prosperity and uncertainty, strong unity and deep division. How will history remember Joe Biden’s inauguration? National Geographic deployed a team of photographers and writers around the nation’s capital to document this historic moment. Editor-at-Large Peter Gwin was among them, and he and Amy Briggs, Executive Editor of National Geographic History, talk about how this day fits in with inaugurations of the past.

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Want more?

You can see Nina Berman and David Guttenfelder’s photography in articles about the first “virtual” inauguration and the celebration that followed. And check out Louie Palu’s video of the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol.

For more of their photography, you can follow Louie PaluNina Berman and David Guttenfelder on Instagram.

Also explore:

You can also listen to our interview with photographer Andrea Bruce for a reflection on what democracy means and explore dispatches from her project, Our Democracy.

And for paid subscribers, read Amy Briggs’s article on past inaugural addresses, which highlights some wise words leaders used to unite us in troubled times. And learn about fraught presidential transitions in our nation’s history.

If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to to subscribe today. 

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