The First Inauguration
George Washington set a precedent for future presidents when he delivered the first inaugural address on April 30, 1789. Washington used the opportunity to discuss some of his positions, including his refusal to take a salary while in office:
Crowd at Lincoln's second inauguration Washington's 1793 second inaugural address is the shortest in presidential history – just 135 words!
Signs of the Time
Inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933 An inaugural address reflects the era in which it's delivered. As Franklin Delano Roosevelt explained in his third inaugural address on January 20, 1941, every president faces a different challenge:
Economics and Hope for the Future
Economic prosperity has been an important inaugural subject for almost every American president. From the concerns of James Madison and Ulysses S. Grant over apparently insurmountable debt in the nineteenth century, to the economic depression, recession, and prosperity of the twentieth century, the economy has served as a campaign platform. The economic success of a presidency is often the barometer by which people will...