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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John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address

John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech is perhaps best known for its use of the coupling, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” But, during an era of rising cold war tensions, Kennedy also addressed an international audience: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Like other presidents before and since, Kennedy expressed optimism about the ability of the current generation of Americans to confront the unique burdens that had been placed upon them.

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