Posts

Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugural address

On this day in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd president of the United States. Our nation was in the depths of the Great Depression, and Roosevelt outlined his “New Deal” and told Americans that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Dedication of a Nation

Here’s how he closed his famous address:

“We face the arduous days that lie before us in the warm courage of national unity; with the clear consciousness of seeking old and precious moral values; with the clean satisfaction that comes from the stern performance of duty by old and young alike. We aim at the assurance of a rounded and permanent national life.

We do not distrust the future of essential democracy. The people of the United States have not failed. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it.

In this dedication of a Nation we humbly ask the blessing of God. May He protect each and every one of us. May He guide me in the days to come.” (emphasis added)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt inaugural adress March 4, 1933 Page 9

On this day in 1801, Vice President Thomas Jefferson is elected the third president of the United States. His running mate was also his opponent, as was typical for the time. That man, was the infamous Aaron Burr. A tie vote in the Electoral College and 35 indecisive ballot votes in the House of Representatives preceded Jefferson’s election.

“With all these blessings”

Thus, Thomas Jefferson shared this at his first inaugural address on March 4, 1801

“Let us, then, with courage and confidence pursue our own Federal and Republican principles, our attachment to union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the thousandth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our own industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth, but from our actions and their sense of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which by all its dispensations proves that it delights in the happiness of man here and his greater happiness hereafter — with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and a prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens — a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.”

 

Thomas Jefferson first Inaugural AddressThomas Jefferson inaugural address 2

President Ronald Reagan first inaugural address

Since 1937, Inauguration Day occurs on January 20th following a presidential election. So, here is a collection of quotes from four January 20 inaugural addresses from four different presidents:

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, fourth inaugural address, 1945

As I stand here today, having taken the solemn oath of office in the presence of my fellow countrymen–in the presence of our God— I know that it is America’s purpose that we shall not fail.

The Almighty God has blessed our land in many ways. He has given our people stout hearts and strong arms with which to strike mighty blows for freedom and truth. He has given to our country a faith which has become the hope of all peoples in an anguished world.

So we pray to Him now for the vision to see our way clearly–to see the way that leads to a better life for ourselves and for all our fellow men–to the achievement of His will to peace on earth.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, first inaugural address, 1953

My friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts that I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own. And I ask that you bow your heads:
Almighty God, as we stand here at this moment my future associates in the Executive branch of Government join me in beseeching that Thou will make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people in this throng, and their fellow citizens everywhere.

Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race or calling.

May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen.

We are summoned by this honored and historic ceremony to witness more than the act of one citizen swearing his oath of service, in the presence of God. We are called as a people to give testimony in the sight of the world to our faith that the future shall belong to the free.

In the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know the full sense and meaning of these times in which we live. In our quest of understanding, we beseech God’s guidance. We summon all our knowledge of the past and we scan all signs of the future.

It is because we, all of us, hold to these principles that the political changes accomplished this day do not imply turbulence, upheaval or disorder. Rather this change expresses a purpose of strengthening our dedication and devotion to the precepts of our founding documents, a conscious renewal of faith in our country and in the watchfulness of a Divine Providence.

John F. Kennedy, 1961

We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning–signifying renewal as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forbears prescribed nearly a century and three-quarters ago.

The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe–the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.

My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us here the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.

Ronald Reagan, first inaugural address, 1981

To a few of us here today this is a solemn and most momentous occasion, and yet in the history of our nation it is a commonplace occurrence. The orderly transfer of authority as called for in the Constitution routinely takes place, as it has for almost two centuries, and few of us stop to think how unique we really are. In the eyes of many in the world, this every 4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.

[Y]ou, the citizens of this blessed land. Your dreams, your hopes, your goals are going to be the dreams, the hopes, and the goals of this administration, so help me God.

I’m told that tens of thousands of prayer meetings are being held on this day, and for that I’m deeply grateful. We are a nation under God, and I believe God intended for us to be free. It would be fitting and good, I think, if on each Inaugural Day in future years it should be declared a day of prayer.

[B]elieve that together with God’s help we can and will resolve the problems which now confront us.

And after all, why shouldn’t we believe that? We are Americans.

 

Finally, even with no constitutional requirement for a Bible while taking the oath of office, the custom endures. After all, as Abraham Lincoln said “it is the best gift God has given to man.”

President Ronald Reagan first inaugural address

Ike American flag Dwight D. Eisenhower

On this day in 1890, Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, is born in Texas.

“Ike,” as he was affectionately called, had the words “under God” inserted in to the pledge of allegiance, and Ike made “In God We Trust” our nation’s official motto.

Those are a few reasons why “I like Ike.”

Appropriate Address

Now, “[m]y friends, before I begin the expression of those thoughts that I deem appropriate to this moment, would you permit me the privilege of uttering a little private prayer of my own. And I ask that you bow your heads.”

That’s how Eishenhower began his inaugural address on January 20, 1953.

His prayer proves pertinent, even today:

“Give us, we pray, the power to discern clearly right from wrong, and allow all our words and actions to be governed thereby, and by the laws of this land. Especially we pray that our concern shall be for all the people regardless of station, race or calling.

May cooperation be permitted and be the mutual aim of those who, under the concepts of our Constitution, hold to differing political faiths; so that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy glory. Amen.”

Then, having concluded his prayer, and getting further in to his address, he asked a question that may have no earthly answer:

“In the swift rush of great events, we find ourselves groping to know the full sense and meaning of these times in which we live. In our quest of understanding, we beseech God’s guidance. We summon all our knowledge of the past and we scan all signs of the future. We bring all our wit and all our will to meet the question:

How far have we come in man’s long pilgrimage from darkness toward the light? Are we nearing the light–a day of freedom and of peace for all mankind? Or are the shadows of another night closing in upon us?”

At such a time…

Next, he calls for a renewal of faith. That’s a call each generation needs to answer:

“At such a time in history, we who are free must proclaim anew our faith. This faith is the abiding creed of our fathers. It is our faith in the deathless dignity of man, governed by eternal moral and natural laws.

This faith defines our full view of life. It establishes, beyond debate, those gifts of the Creator that are man’s inalienable rights, and that make all men equal in His sight.”

Perhaps Our time in history isn’t much different.

Ike American flag
(Be sure to “Unscroll…” more about Ike by searching Our other posts.)

George Washington Invisible Hand t-shirt

On this day in 1789, George Washington is sworn in as the first American president. Washington delivers the first inaugural speech at Federal Hall in New York City.

He appeared holding a ceremonial army sword. Then, he took the oath of office, kissed the Bible, and delivered his inaugural address. Afterwards, Washington walked up Broadway with legislators and local leaders to pray at St. Paul’s Chapel.

People of the United States

In fact, a portion of this quote from his address inspired Our George Washington “Invisible Hand” t-shirt design:
“No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”

Find yours HERE.

George Washington Invisible Hand t-shirt