9 particularly memorable quotes from inauguration speeches in U.S. history

U.S. President Barack Obama is inaugurated for a second term as President on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Charles Ommanney/Reportage) (Getty Images)

Congratulations will be in order for soon-to-be-President Joe Biden on Wednesday, as his inauguration inches closer and closer.

Now, let’s see if he’ll make history with an inauguration speech that will be remembered forever.

After Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, all ears will be on Biden’s words to the world -- as we wait to hear how he will outline his agenda for at least the next four years in the Oval Office.

Biden’s 45 predecessors have faced the same presentation. Some quotes from their speeches will be remembered forever.

Here are 10 notable lines from inauguration speeches in U.S. history.


1. George Washington, 1789

“The magnitude and difficulty of the trust to which the voice of my Country called me, being sufficient to awaken in the wisest and most experienced of her citizens, a distrustful scrutiny into his qualifications, could not but overwhelm with despondence, one, who, inheriting inferior endowments from nature and unpracticed in the duties of civil administration, ought to be peculiarly conscious of his own deficiencies.”

2. Thomas Jefferson, 1801

“Let us then, fellow citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things.”

3. Abraham Lincoln, 1865

“With malice toward none, 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.”

4. Theodore Roosevelt, 1905

“Much has been given (to) us, and much will rightfully be expected from us. We have duties to (each) other and duties to ourselves, and we can shirk neither.”

5. Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1933

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

6. John F. Kennedy, 1961

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

7. Ronald Reagan, 1981

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”

8. George H.W. Bush, 1989

“The American people await action. They didn’t send us here to bicker. They ask us to rise above the merely partisan.”

9. Bill Clinton, 1993

“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”

Bonus: Barack Obama 2009

“Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those that prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor - who have carried us up the long rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.”


About the Author: