Behind Inaugural Speeches, Meaningful Words

What words do presidents focus on most in their inaugural addresses? Explore speeches, from Washington to Obama

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George W. Bush's Second Inaugural Address

President George W. Bush’s second inaugural address was delivered in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Seeking to place his foreign policy in a broad, historical context, Bush declared: “The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.” Bush had told his chief speechwriter, Michael Gerson, “I want this to be the freedom speech.” Gerson didn’t disappoint: during the course of the 21-minute address, Bush used the words “freedom,” “free” and “liberty” 49 times.

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