Diagrams of

Sentences from the Inaugural Addresses

of the

Forty-Four Presidents of the United States

by Eugene R. Moutoux

Five U.S. presidents did not deliver an inaugural address: John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Arthur, and Gerald Ford. With respect to the first four, I substituted sentences from their first annual messages. In the case of Gerald Ford, I used a sentence from a brief speech he gave upon taking the oath of office following the resignation of Richard Nixon. One president, Grover Cleveland, was both the 22nd and the 24th president. I selected one sentence from each of his inaugural addresses. I have tried to choose sentences that impress me for historical, intellectual, and linguistic reasons, not by reason of partisan political content. I welcome your comments. Please write to me at ermoutoux@juno.com.

Page One of Four Planned Pages

We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

Barack Obama (44), Inaugural Address (January 20, 2009)

The grandest of these ideals is an unfolding American promise that everyone belongs, that everyone deserves a chance, that no insignificant person was ever born.

George W. Bush (43), First Inaugural Address (January 20, 2001)

But when most people are working harder for less; when others cannot work at all; when the cost of health care devastates families and threatens to bankrupt many of our enterprises, great and small; when fear of crime robs law-abiding citizens of their freedom; and when millions of poor children cannot even imagine the lives we are calling them to lead — we have not made change our friend.

Bill Clinton (42), First Inaugural Speech (January 20, 1993)

But if the man you have chosen to lead this government can help make a difference; if he can celebrate the quieter, deeper successes that are made not of gold and silk but of better hearts and finer souls; if he can do these things, then he must.

George H. W. Bush (41), Inaugural Addrsss (January 20, 1989)

By your gracious cooperation in the transition process, you [Jimmy Carter] have shown a watching world that we are a united people pledged to maintaining a political system which guarantees individual liberty to a greater degree than any other, and I thank you and your people for all your help in maintaining the continuity which is the bulwark of our Republic.

Ronald Wilson Reagan (40), First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1981)

I would hope that the nations of the world might say that we had built a lasting peace, built not on weapons of war but on international policies which reflect our own most precious values.

Jimmy Carter (39), Inaugural Address, January 20, 1977

As we bind up the internal wounds of Watergate, more painful and more poisonous than those of foreign wars, let us restore the golden rule to our political process, and let brotherly love purge our hearts of suspicion and of hate.

Gerald Ford (38), Remarks on Taking the Oath of Office (August 9, 1974)

The peace we seek to win is not victory over any other people, but the peace that comes "with healing in its wings"; with compassion for those who have suffered; with understanding for those who have opposed us; with the opportunity for all the peoples of this earth to choose their own destiny.

Richard Nixon (37),First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1969)

If we fail now then we will have forgotten in abundance what we learned in hardship: that democracy rests on faith, that freedom asks more than it gives, and the judgment of God is harshest on those who are most favored.

Lyndon B. Johnson (36), Inaugural Address (January 20, 1965)

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

John F. Kennedy (35), Inaugural Address (January 20, 1961)

So it is proper that we assure our friends once again that, in the discharge of this responsibility, we Americans know and we observe the difference between world leadership and imperialism; between firmness and truculence; between a thoughtfully calculated goal and spasmodic reaction to the stimulus of emergencies.

Dwight David Eisenhower (34), First Inaugural Address (January 20, 1953)

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