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Yvette Ruiz
Professor Cope
American History
20 April 2016

Obamas First Inaugural Address

There are a significant amount of responsibilities that come with the job of becoming the
Leader of the Free World (President) and those responsibilities are totaled onto that person as
soon as they are sworn into office. Immediately after the newly elected president is officially
admitted into the House, he or she must have an inaugural speech ready to be presented to the
citizens of the United States. Inaugural addresses throughout the decades have slowly lost their
attention-grabbing abilities, but Barack Obama managed to be one of the few presidents to make
history with his first inaugural address.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii on August 4th, 1961, Barack Obama was born to a mother from
Kansas and a father from Kenya. After working his way through school and eventually becoming
a graduate of Harvard Law School, Obama moved up in the political ladder by involving himself
in the Illinois State Senate in 1996. Thirteen years later, at the age of 47, Barack Obama became
not only the 44th president of the U.S. but even became the first African-American to take office.
Sworn in on January 20th, 2009, Obama also happened to be elected during one of Americas epic
economic struggles.

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The tradition of inaugural addresses has been alive since George Washington made a
speech after being elected as our first United States president. An inauguration, in general, is a
ceremony officiating the newly elected president and after the president takes the oath, he/she
provides the public with a speech. Obamas inaugural address was imbedded with soaring
rhetorical ideas of a better nation intertwined with blunt policy objectives. Not only is the
President showing a way on how he is deciding to keep the morals of our Constitution intact, but
he is also going to try to capture the attention of millions of Americans on his thoughts of how to
better the country.
Being a part of the oldest existing political parties in the history of the U.S., the
Democratic president managed to tie in his the partys political beliefs into his address. Meaning,
the president and the party that supports him, are fighting for things such as, making sure all
schools receive the fair amount of education and limiting the massive amount of unnecessary
government spending. With a close tie those who are known as blue-collar workers, Obama
pushes the thought of a lower unemployment rate and providing jobs to those Americans who
lost theirs during the economic crisis. He states, The state of our economy calls for action: bold
and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth. Also,

by having a more liberal stand on important issues, Obama hopes to aim for a more peaceful
relationship with foreign countries. For example, working on a peace treaty or some way to wars
such as the one in Afghanistan and encouraging the citizens to not be scared or worry so much
about terrorism by saying And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and
slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You
cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

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Looking at this speech in the eyes of a critic, one is able to focus on the partial
disclosures that are in the speech. There is an exploration of the authors mind and how they use
the art of writing to deliver a certain effect to the audience. A constant rereading of the work is
just as helpful when one is asking themselves questions about the piece. Obama especially likes
to use words such as generations, ancestors and forefathers to help maintain a historic feel
for the nation. What makes the piece a little more fascinating is that Obama continues to use
phrases like we and us, concreting that we are a nation as a whole, and all the battle we go
through are being done as a country.
Considering the fact that we currently live in the 21st century, being the new age for
technology and its growth, it is safe to assume that a good majority of the American population
had some sort of access to the Presidents inaugural address. Whether you were in a coffee shop
in downtown New York City, watching it from a 42 TV or in the middle of Tennessee, listening
to the inauguration through a radio. The point being, most people should have seen or heard it.
With the purpose of the address being to be addressed to the American people, technology has
certainly made that to be a bit easier. Whether the people agreed or disagreed with what the
President was addressing is completely different story. Obviously, Obama is aware that not every
single person in the nation is going to support him in every aspect he brings up such as having it
to be mandatory to have health insurance. But he does ensure that the cost for health care will be
pushed to be lowered and affordable for the average American.
Now, lets take a step back and remember who was in office before Barack Obama was
elected. George W. Bush, unluckily enough, happened to be elected when America was faced
with our tragic terrorist attack, commonly known as 9/11. Although he might have had a more
successful first term, dealing with all the traumatic issues the country faced, his second didnt go

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as well. Not only did Bush manage to put America into one of the worst economic crises since
the Great Depression, he also managed to start a few wars and lobbied an unsuccessful plan to
replace Social Security with private retirement accounts. Now, you might be asking what any of
this has to do with the main topic, but consider this. This was a time where Americans were now
unhappy with Bushs presidency and were ready to move forward. At this point, there is a new
president that the American people have been watching campaign for some time now and
managed to choose this president with the majority vote of the nations citizens. Those people
who had voted for Obama are those who are looking for a change and a president that would
better America in the ways that Bush wasnt able to accomplish. With the right words, Obama
managed to capture the interests of the nations citizens and rose a feeling a new hope for the
better of the citizens and the better of the country.
The newly elected president begins his speech with, My fellow citizens:
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed,
mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors A blunt and clean introduction to his speech,
Obama immediately touches the points he wants to discuss. Without hesitation, he mentions the
violent wars that are not only costing the country billions of dollars that they dont have, but
more importantly, the loss of the lives of our troops. He begins to discuss the economy by
stating, Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the
some part Obama even touches at the thought of the loss of jobs and homes, the failures of
children not graduating and how we are slowly threatening the future of our planet as consumers.
As the Democrat that Obama is, his democratic beliefs and values shine throughout his speech,

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He likes to mention the issues of health care, immigration reform, open government, science and
To end this piece, what would a simple inaugural address from just another newly elected
president be so important? Well to start, its part of their job. Not only that but its an easy way to
look back at what the president had promised the country and gives anyone an inside view on
how the president felt at the time being. Most would say that it would also be a soft of task list
that a president makes for themselves and can be looked back to see if any of those were
accomplished. It can also be said that any inaugural address is important for the history of the
country so we can look back and reflect on these speeches to have an insight of the thoughts and
goals of presidents who have taken office. It usually depends on the moral stand points of the
reader and/or listener. In all question, what really did make this inaugural address so unique from
those that were delivered before this one? It was delivered by a man who was doubted because of
skin color and managed to capture the attention of millions of Americans with the hopeful words
he told the citizens.

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Work Cited
Foner, Eric. Give Me Liberty!: An American History. New York: W.W. Norton, 2014.
Print. Barack Obama's First Inaugural Address