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Several years ago when I was researching a very different subject at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York, I happened across several archival documents related to FDR’s first inaugural address. As a very famous presidential oration—arguably the most famous inaugural address ever delivered—FDR’s speech and the related documents were intriguing. How many drafts of the address survive? What do those drafts tell us about the strategy and tactics behind the speech? And how did the very perilous times affect the...
A New York Times headline in January 2009 captured the essence of Barack Obama’s inauguration for many...
“No Event Could Have Filled Me with Greater Anxieties”: George Washington and the First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789
George Washington’s First Inaugural Address not only launched the new Constitution but also established important and lasting precedents that later presidents have honored and followed.
University of Virginia historian Barbara Perry describes John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, including background information on the President’s life and family, the writing of the speech, and major accomplishments of his administration.
Lucas Morel, the Lewis G. John Term Professor of Politics at Washington & Lee University, discusses the role of religious belief in Lincoln’s approach to governing.
The inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States in 2009 was a...
This lesson on Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address is part of Gilder Lehrman’s series of Common Core–based units. These units were written to enable students to understand, summarize, and analyze original texts of historical significance. Students will demonstrate this knowledge by writing summaries of selections from the original document (and related documents) and, by the end of the unit, articulating their understanding of the complete document by answering questions in an argumentative writing style to...