Surprising 7: The most interesting U.S. presidential inaugural addresses

The shortest

The shortest inaugural address, consisting of a mere 135 words, was given by George Washington when commencing his second presidential mandate on March 4, 1793. With this act Washington started a tradition: the reelected presidents who followed also tended to hold shorter addresses to the public the second time around. Abraham Lincoln gave a reasonable explanation for this when he said that a shorter speech is more suitable for such a purpose, as the declarations and long-winded presentations issued for four years consume a person’s energy, so it doesn’t make much sense to say anything new.

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Illustration of George Washington Taking Oath of Office


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