My Fellow Americans

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One hour from now George W. Bush will be sworn in again, as President of the United States. He’ll place his hand on the bible and swear to protect and defend the Constitution. Then he’ll deliver his second inaugural address.

Presidents have been giving this particular speech ever since there have been Presidents. It is one of the rare occasions for oratory in America that has endured. And while many of these speeches are remembered only by tweedy presidential historians — others have left an indelible mark on this country’s collective consciousness. Think of Lincoln’s “with malice toward none”, FDR’s “fear itself” or John F. Kennedy’s “ask not.”

Today, as the country waits for its next president to take the stage, we put our ear to the words of the past.


Ron White, author of “The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words”

Geoffrey Nunberg, author of “Going Nucular: Language, Politics, and Culture in Controversial Times.”