inaugural speeches quiz
Inaugural Speeches Quiz
Nov 27, 12:35 PM (ET)
By The Associated Press
Match the lines from inaugural speeches with the
1. A gathering darkness: "The mystic chords of memory,
stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to
every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad
land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when
again touched, as surely they will be, by the better
angels of our nature."
2. Another century, another angel: "Never tiring,
never yielding, never finishing, we renew that purpose
today, to make our country more just and generous, to
affirm the dignity of our lives and every life. This
work continues. This story goes on. And an angel still
rides in the whirlwind and directs this storm."
3. Speaking too soon: "In the large view, we have
reached a higher degree of comfort and security than
ever existed before in the history of the world. ...
In no nation are the fruits of accomplishment more
4. The windup before the pitch: "In the long history
of the world, only a few generations have been granted
the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum
danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I
welcome it. ... The energy, the faith, the devotion
which we bring to this endeavor will light our country
and all who serve it - and the glow from that fire can
truly light the world."
5. In a nutshell: "I am again called upon by the voice
of my country to execute the functions of its Chief
Magistrate. When the occasion proper for it shall
arrive, I shall endeavor to express the high sense I
entertain of this distinguished honor, and of the
confidence which has been reposed in me by the people
of united America. Previous to the execution of any
official act of the President the Constitution
requires an oath of office. This oath I am now about
to take, and in your presence: That if it shall be
found during my administration of the Government I
have in any instance violated willingly or knowingly
the injunctions thereof, I may (besides incurring
constitutional punishment) be subject to the
upbraidings of all who are now witnesses of the
present solemn ceremony."
6. Blizzard of words in a snowstorm: "Fellow-citizens,
being fully invested with that high office to which
the partiality of my countrymen has called me, I now
take an affectionate leave of you."
7. Government is the solution: "Instinctively we
recognized a deeper need - the need to find through
government the instrument of our united purpose to
solve for the individual the ever-rising problems of a
complex civilization. Repeated attempts at their
solution without the aid of government had left us
baffled and bewildered."
8: No it's not: "In this present crisis, government is
not the solution to our problem."
9. You're both wrong: "Government is not the problem,
and government is not the solution. We - the American
people - we are the solution."
10: To the audience, it must have felt like a life
sentence: "On this subject it might become me better
to be silent or to speak with diffidence."
a. John Adams
b. John Kennedy
c. Ronald Reagan
d. George Washington
e. Abraham Lincoln
f. Herbert Hoover
g. Bill Clinton
h. George W. Bush
i. Franklin Roosevelt
j. William H. Harrison
1. (e): Closing line from Lincoln's 1861 speech,
delivered with the nation on the brink of civil war.
The new president appealed to the rising Confederacy
to settle its grievances peacefully.
2. (h): Bush, in 2001, was quoting from Virginia
statesman John Page's letter to Thomas Jefferson after
the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "We
know the race is not to the swift nor the battle to
the strong. Do you not think an angel rides in the
whirlwind and directs this storm?"
3. (f): Hoover voiced confidence in the nation's
economic security in March 1929, with the United
States heading into the Great Depression. The stock
market crashed in October.
4: (b): Kennedy's gestures changed from a clenched
fist to a wagging finger as he delivered the famous
next words in his 1961 address: "Ask not what your
country can do for you, ask what you can do for your
5: (d): Washington's second inaugural speech, quoted
here in full, was the shortest in history.
6. (j): Harrison spoke for 1 hour and 45 minutes in a
snowstorm, the longest inauguration speech in history.
He died a month later of pneumonia, the shortest
presidency in history.
7. (i): Four years after he declared "the only thing
we have to fear is fear itself," Roosevelt delivered a
second inaugural speech, in 1937, taking stock of
progress lifting the nation out of depression through
an unprecedented burst of government activity.
8. (c): Reagan declared his intention to restrain
government in his first inaugural, in 1981.
9. (g): Clinton in his second inaugural address, in
10. (a): Overcoming his impulse to hold back on the
subject, Adams begins the longest sentence in an
inaugural speech. The sentence went on for 725 words,
five times the length of Washington's entire speech
four years earlier. In it, Adams said he will do his
best as president.