History.org: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation's Official History and Citizenship Website

What's New

January 15, 2013

What’s the value of an inaugural speech?

swearing inGeorge Washington’s first inaugural address set the course for a new nation. Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural knit that nation back together after it nearly split in two. Can the modern inaugural hold a candle to the urgency and power of those that came before?

Learn more:

George Washington’s First Inaugural
George Washington’s Second Inaugural
Thomas Jefferson’s First Inaugural
Thomas Jefferson’s Second Inaugural


Leave a Reply

  1. It seems like nowadays speeches are written by a team of writers rather than the president himself. I suppose it’s politically necessary, but it’s hard to imagine a group-written speech has the same honesty as one written by the elected.

  2. George Washington’s second inaugural speech was the shortest speech with 135 words. I don’t expect Barack Obama’s speech will be that short. It would be good not to be too long though.How much can one person say about the economy and the division in Congress?