As we approach Inauguration Day 2021...
What will President-Elect Joe Biden say in his inaugural address? How will his remarks compare to past U.S. presidents' speeches?
On the web you can find several databases of the complete texts of the U.S. Presidents' inaugural addresses going all the way back to our first President. Bartelby.com appears to have the most complete list.
Just a bit of trivia: the longest address was given by William Henry Harrison in 1841, totalling 8,460 words. The shortest was George Washington's second inaugural address in 1793 with only 135 words! Other presidents that have been brief (under 1,000 words): Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The library has a number of books and other types of materials on the subject. We feature some of them here:
- Rituals of Democracy [videorecording]: Inaugural addresses in American history (recording of Professor Garth Pauley's January Series presentation, 2013)
- Faith of the Fathers: religion and matters of faith contained in the Presidents' inaugural addresses from George Washington to Bill Clinton
- My Fellow Americans: Presidential addresses that shaped history
- U.S. Presidential Inaugural Addresses from Washington to Obama