Sentences from the Inaugural Addresses
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.|
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|On this auspicious occasion we may well renew the pledge of
our devotion to the Constitution, which, launched by the founders of the
Republic and consecrated by their prayers and patriotic devotion, has for
almost a century borne the hopes and the aspirations of a great people
through prosperity and peace and through the shock of foreign conflicts
and the perils of domestic strife and vicissitudes.
Grover Cleveland (22), First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1885)
|Deeply impressed with the gravity of the responsibilities
which have so unexpectedly devolved upon me, it will be my constant
purpose to cooperate with you in such measures as will promote the glory
of the country and the prosperity of its people.
Chester Arthur (21), First Annual Message (December 6, 1881)
|Sacredly preserving whatever has been gained to liberty and
good government during the century, our people are determined to leave
behind them all those bitter controversies concerning things which have
been irrevocably settled, and the further discussion of which can only
stir up strife and delay the onward march.
James A. Garfield (20), Inaugural Address (March 4, 1881)
|Let me assure my countrymen of the Southern States that it
is my earnest desire to regard and promote their truest interest—the
interests of the white and of the colored people both and equally—and to
put forth my best efforts in behalf of a civil policy which will forever
wipe out in our political affairs the color line and the distinction
between North and South, to the end that we may have not merely a united
North or a united South, but a united country.
Rutherford B. Hayes (19), Inaugural Address (March 5, 1877)
|On all leading questions agitating the public mind I will
always express my views to Congress and urge them according to my
judgment, and when I think it advisable will exercise the constitutional
privilege of interposing a veto to defeat measures which I oppose; but all
laws will be faithfully executed, whether they meet my approval or not.
Ulysses S. Grant (18) , First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1869)
|It is not too much to ask, in the name of the whole people,
that on the one side the plan of restoration shall proceed in conformity
with a willingness to cast the disorders of the past into oblivion, and
that on the other the evidence of sincerity in the future maintenance of
the Union shall be put beyond any doubt by the ratification of the
proposed amendment to the Constitution, which provides for the abolition
of slavery forever within the limits of our country.
Andrew Johnson (17) , First Annual Message (December 4, 1865)
|The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every
battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone,
all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when
again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Abraham Lincoln (16), First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1861)
|In entering upon this great office I must humbly invoke the
God of our fathers for wisdom and firmness to execute its high and
responsible duties in such a manner as to restore harmony and ancient
friendship among the people of the several States and to preserve our free
institutions throughout many generations.
James Buchanan (15), Inaugural Address (March 4, 1857)
|The stars upon your banner have become nearly threefold
their original number; your densely populated possessions skirt the shores
of the two great oceans; and yet this vast increase of people and
territory has not only shown itself compatible with the harmonious action
of the States and Federal Government in their respective constitutional
spheres, but has afforded an additional guaranty of the strength and
integrity of both.
Franklin Pierce (14), Inaugural Address (March 4, 1853)
|I can not doubt that the American people, bound together by
kindred blood and common traditions, still cherish a paramount regard for
the Union of their fathers, and that they are ready to rebuke any attempt
to violate its integrity, to disturb the compromises on which it is based,
or to resist the laws which have been enacted under its authority.
Millard Fillmore (13), First Annual Message (December 2, 1850)
|It is to be hoped that no international question can now
arise which a government confident in its own strength and resolved to
protect its own just rights may not settle by wise negotiation; and it
eminently becomes a government like our own, founded on the morality and
intelligence of its citizens and upheld by their affections, to exhaust
every resort of honorable diplomacy before appealing to arms.
Zachary Taylor (12), Inaugural Address (March 5, 1849)
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