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 Three of Four Planned Pages

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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