For over 230 years, the United States has gathered every four years to hear the words of the newest inaugurated president. I was curious. Are there patterns in all these speeches? Which president was the most long-winded? What are some common talking points? Are all speeches unicorns and rainbows?
United States Presidential Inaugurations - Summary
19th Century Tops for Average Words
William Henry Harrison’s 8,000+ wordaddress in 1841 certainly drove up the average word count for the 19th century. Presidents are using much fewer words since then, with big declines during the past two centuries.
Word counts of presidential inaugural addresses by century
The Whigs Sure Liked To Talk
You guessed right, William Henry Harrison was a Whig party member. The Free Soil Party? Only two presidents were from this party (Martin Van Buren and Rutherford B. Hayes), but they packed in the words. Republicans are slightly more long-winded than Democrats.
Average words by political party
2,300 Words Is the Average Length of a Presidential Address
Word counts of presidential inaugural addresses
Reagan Had A Lot To Say, Carter Well Below Average
The recent Republican presidents are starting a trend of using fewer words per address, while Democrats are trending to use more words.
Word counts of recent presidential inaugural addresses
United States, Government, and Congress Are Top Word Choices
The top phrases used across all past presidential inaugurations are shown. Most are not too surprising.
Key words used in presidential inaugural addresses
The Long Tail of Other References: Europe is Tops
The long tail showing many phrases referenced in presidential inaugural addresses
Republicans Offer Slightly More Positive Sentiments
I loaded every sentence given at every inaugural address into a database. I then fed this to a service from Microsoft to append sentiment analysis. You can read more about sentiment analysis in a previous blog post. The results of the sentiment analysis showed a very even split between Republicans and Democrats.
Sentiment Analysis Comparison of Republicans and Democrats
Madison and Lincoln Are Tops for Most Negative Sentiments
Most negative and positive presidents of all time
What Did Abe Say That Was So Negative?
Lincoln was president during a very turbulent time. The sentiments delivered at his inaugural addresses were definitely not all happy and jubilant. Here is a list of the top ones from his first inaugural address.
Details of negative remarks given by Abraham Lincoln at his first inauguration
Jimmy Carter Spreads Cheer Like No Other
President Carter has the second highest percentage of positive sentiments uttered during his inaugural address—second only to Andrew Jackson. Here are some of the positive things he had to say.
Positive remarks given by Jimmy Carter at his inaugural address
Recent Presidents Ranked by Positive Sentiments
Jimmy Carter leads the pack again with the highest percentage of positive statements from recent presidents.
Recent US presidents ranked by most positive inaugural addresses
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