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. (

Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address

With the Civil War coming to an end, Lincoln’s Second Inaugural emphasized the need for national reconciliation to continue the task of preserving the Union: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Historian and Lincoln biographer Ronald C. White Jr. deemed the Second Inaugural Lincoln’s greatest speech, describing it as a “culmination of Lincoln’s own struggle over the meaning of America, the meaning of the war, and his own struggle with slavery.”

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