Inauguration Addresses- A Look Back and Forward

With Inauguration Day coming up, I decided to take a look back at a few inspirational inauguration addresses from past Democratic and Republican presidents.

Whether we voted for him or not, Trump will become our next president. (Check out my post about the election results if you’d like to read more about that: here) When he delivers his inaugural address on Friday January 20th, he will be continuing a 228-year-old oratorical tradition that began with George Washington in 1789. The nation’s 45th president will be sworn in on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at noon. Be sure to watch his inaugural address- every major news site will be covering the presidential inauguration either online and/or on TV. CNN, CSPAN, FOX, and MSNBC usually provide coverage of the swearing-in and inaugural speech on TV.

I know that many are planning not to watch the speech to take away from the ratings (and let’s be honest, most inauguration speeches aren’t that noteworthy anyways) but regardless of that and regardless of whether or not we like Trump, I think it’s important for us to be cognizant/active citizens.

Educate yourselves and get involved. Learn more about your government, about your rights, and about what’s going on around the world. Get civically involved, volunteer, help others, and just try to be a better citizen.

 

Alright, so if you guys are interested in some pretty rousing and motivating words, then keep on scrolling!

 

Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, 1865 (Republican)

“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continues until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address, 1933 (Democrat)

“This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory.”

“Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy and moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves and to our fellow men.”

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John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, 1961(Democrat)

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

“Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, ‘rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation’—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.”

“And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

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Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Address, 1981 (Republican)

“We are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope.”

 

Barack Obama’s Second Inaugural Address, 2009 (Democrat)

“On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.  On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.  We remain a young nation.  But in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.  The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea passed on from generation to generation:  the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

“America:  In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words.  With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.  Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generation.”

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