Time Magazine commemorated the moment, just after midday on 20 January, 2009, when Senator Barack Obama put his hand on Lincoln's Bible, swore the inaugural oath and became president of the United States
History seemed to shadow Mr Obama at every step towards the White House, a point emphasised by the New Yorker which depicted the nation's first black president as its first, George Washington.
"Everywhere we look, there is work to be done," Mr Obama told the nation. From an economic crisis to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to some it seemed the presidential in-tray was impossibly full.
The president's key domestic policy goal - reform of healthcare - proved divisive. Critics branded him a socialist. The Democrats' loss of a Senate seat in January 2010 seemed likely to necessitate some backpedalling.
Mr Obama's interventions on the economy also ruffled feathers in the business community. Yet the crisis raging early in the year appears to have eased.
Rolling Stone magazine graded the president after six months in the job, giving him a solid B. His biggest victory? "Pulling the economy from its nosedive."
Some entered 2009 with near delusional hopes of what Mr Obama might achieve, but as the year neared an end, the realities of what Newsweek described as an "incremental [US] system" were clearly in focus.
In a speech to the nation in December, the president announced he was sending 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. Time observed that it was no longer George Bush's conflict.
On a visit to Japan Mr Obama was attacked for what critics called a lapse in protocol after bowing deeply to Emperor Akihito, parodied here by the New Yorker.
As 2010 began, Mr Obama was again likened to an earlier president, this time - less flatteringly, perhaps - to Jimmy Carter. The impact of Mr Obama's Afghan surge may determine how how his presidency is remembered.
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