Behind Inaugural Speeches, Meaningful Words

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

Wordle is an application that takes text from any source and enlarges words that appear more frequently. Conversely, words that are smaller appear less frequently. Small words, like the or of, are not included in the Wordles above. (

Harry S. Truman's Inaugural Address

When President Harry S. Truman delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 1949, the cold war was well underway: The Iron Curtain had fallen over Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union had attempted to blockade West Berlin and the United States had begun implementing its policy of “containment” by providing financial and military aid to Greece and Turkey. In his speech, Truman outlined an ambitious “program for peace and freedom,” emphasizing four courses of action: strengthening the effectiveness of the United Nations; promoting world economic recovery; strengthening freedom-loving nations against the dangers of aggression; and launching an initiative “for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas.”

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