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My Fellow Americans: Assessing Each President's Inaugural Address

On January 20th, the incoming president delivers their inaugural address in a tradition that goes back to 1789, with the first inauguration of George Washington. The address tells our fellow Americans – and our neighbors around the world – that the best is yet to come and provides a roadmap on how to get there.

My Fellow Americans brings together all of the inaugural addresses – from George Washington's first in 1789, up until Donald Trump's in 2016 – with 63 essays from leading scholars, speechwriters, historians, biographers, and experts on the presidents and their era. Contributors have won the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, have been New York Times Bestsellers, National Book Award winners, editors of the papers of the presidents, and are all-around experts on their subject.

What was a president going to be dealing with heading into the highest office in the land? What decisions did they make and how did they impact the trajectory of the United States? What has their legacy been in & out of office? And what did they want to do for the country? These questions, and more, are answered by the wisdom of some of the people that know these presidents best.

Who are the contributors?

  • George Washington’s 1st Inaugural Address – Stephen H. Browne @ Penn State University
  • George Washington’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Kevin Butterfield @ Mt. Vernon
  • John Adams Inaugural Address – Dr. R. M. Barlow @ The Adams Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society
  • Thomas Jefferson’s 1st Inaugural Address – Peter S. Onuf @ University of Virginia
  • Thomas Jefferson’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Annette Gordon-Reed @ Harvard University
  • James Madison’s 1st Inaugural Address – Stuart Leibiger @ La Salle University
  • James Madison’s 2nd Inaugural Address – J. C. A. Stagg @ University of Virginia
  • James Monroe’s 1st Inaugural Address– Daniel Preston @ The Papers of James Monroe, University of Mary Washington
  • James Monroe’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Sandra Moats @ UW–Parkside
  • John Quincy Adams – Dr. C. James Taylor @ The Digital Diary of John Quincy Adams, Massachusetts Historical Society
  • Andrew Jackson’s 1st Inaugural Address – Harry L. Watson @ University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Andrew Jackson’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Thomas Coens @ The Papers of Andrew Jackson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Martin Van Buren’s Inaugural Address – Michael J. Gerhardt @ University of North Carolina School of Law, Chapel Hill
  • William Henry Harrison’s Inaugural Address – Daniel Walker Howe @ UCLA
  • John Tyler’s Address Upon Assuming the Presidency – Christopher J. Leahy @ Keuka College
  • James K. Polk’s Inaugural Address – Walter R. Borneman, Historian & Lawyer
  • Zachary Taylor’s Inaugural Address – Michael F. Holt @ University of Virginia
  • Millard Fillmore’s Message Upon the Death of Zachary Taylor – Claude E. Welch Jr. @ SUNY—Buffalo
  • Franklin Pierce’s Inaugural Address – Peter A. Wallner, Historian
  • James Buchanan’s Inaugural Address – Jean H. Baker @ Goucher College
  • Abraham Lincoln’s 1st Inaugural Address – David S. Reynolds @ Graduate Center, CUNY
  • Abraham Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Richard Carwardine @ University of Oxford
  • Andrew Johnson’s Message Upon the Death of Abraham Lincoln – Michael Les Benedict @ Ohio State University
  • Ulysses S. Grant’s 1st Inaugural Address – Joan Waugh @ UCLA
  • Ulysses S. Grant’s 2nd Inaugural Address – John F. Marszalek @ Ulysses S. Grant Association’s U. S. Grant Presidential Library
  • Rutherford B. Hayes Inaugural Address – Dustin McLochlin @ Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums
  • James A. Garfield’s Inaugural Address – Charles W. Calhoun @ East Carolina University
  • Chester A. Arthur’s Address Upon Assuming the Presidency – Walter T. K. Nugent @ University of Notre Dame
  • Grover Cleveland’s 1st Inaugural Address – Mark W. Summers @ University of Kentucky
  • Benjamin Harrison’s Inaugural Address – Allan B. Spetter @ Wright State University
  • Grover Cleveland’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Matthew Algeo, Journalist & Author
  • William McKinley’s 1st Inaugural Address – Christopher Capozzola @ MIT
  • William McKinley’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Christopher McKnight Nichols @ Oregon State University
  • Theodore Roosevelt’s Inaugural Address – Jean Yarbrough @ Bowdoin College
  • William Howard Taft’s Inaugural Address – Jonathan Lurie @ Rutgers University
  • Woodrow Wilson’s 1st Inaugural Address – Robert Enholm @ The Wilson Center
  • Woodrow Wilson’s 2nd Inaugural Address – John Milton Cooper @ University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Warren G. Harding’s Inaugural Address – James Robenalt, Historian & Lawyer
  • Calvin Coolidge’s Inaugural Address – Amity Shlaes @ Coolidge Foundation
  • Herbert Hoover’s Inaugural Address – Kendrick A. Clements @ University of South Carolina
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1st Inaugural Address – Cynthia M. Koch @ FDR Foundation
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 2nd Inaugural Address – David M. Kennedy @ Stanford University
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 3rd Inaugural Address – Michael Kazin @ Georgetown University
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 4th Inaugural Address – David B. Woolner @ Marist College
  • Harry S. Truman’s Inaugural Address – Andrew E. Busch @ Claremont McKenna College
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Inaugural Address – Michael J. Birkner @ Gettysburg College
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Inaugural Address – Louis Galambos @ The Papers of Dwight Eisenhower, Johns Hopkins
  • John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address – Barbara Ann Perry @ University of Virginia
  • Lyndon B. Johnson’s Inaugural Address – Mark K. Updegrove @ LBJ Foundation
  • Richard Nixon’s 1st Inaugural Address – Ken Hughes @ University of Virginia
  • Richard Nixon’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Thomas Schwartz @ Vanderbilt University
  • Gerald Ford’s Address Upon Assuming the Presidency – John Robert Greene @ Cazenovia College
  • Jimmy Carter’s Inaugural Address – Mark Atwood Lawrence @ University of Texas at Austin
  • Ronald Reagan’s 1st Inaugural Address – Gil Troy @ McGill University
  • Ronald Reagan’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Iwan Morgan @ University College London
  • George H. W. Bush’s Inaugural Address – Mary Kate Cary @ University of Virginia
  • Bill Clinton’s 1st Inaugural Address – Steven M. Gillon @ University of Oklahoma
  • Bill Clinton’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Russell Riley @ University of Virginia
  • George W. Bush’s 1st Inaugural Address – James Mann @ Scholar in Residence, Johns Hopkins
  • George W. Bush’s 2nd Inaugural Address – Mark J. Rozell @ George Mason University
  • Barack Obama’s 1st Inaugural Address – Tracy Denean Sharpley-Whiting @ Vanderbilt University
  • Barack Obama’s 2nd Inaugural Address – James T. Kloppenberg @ Harvard University
  • Donald Trump’s Inaugural Address – Nicholas F. Jacobs @ Colby College

What kind of files will I get?

1. .epub – This works on almost all devices and apps, except Kindle.

2. .azw3 & .mobi – This works on Kindles.

3. .kepub – This works on Kobo readers.

4. .pdf – Just in case.

I thought there were only 46 presidents? Why are there 63 essays?

There are! Some presidents have been elected more than once, which means they've delivered more than one inaugural address. Others have died in office and someone else has had to take their place. While these presidents did not deliver an inaugural address proper, they often did give a speech upon assuming the office of the president. Where that's happened, I've used the speech that would be in closest proximity to the inaugural.

What about Joe Biden?

2021 will not be long enough to gauge how well he did. I plan to update this book in 2024 with a new essay. That, of course, will be a free update for everyone. I plan to do so for each president going forward at the end of each 4 year term.

What if I want to listen to the inaugural addresses?

You're in luck – you can listen to a podcast of all the addresses here:


Apple Podcasts



Google Podcasts


Is this it?

I envision this as a sort of living book. There will certainly be updates to it going forward. All updates will be delivered to readers free of charge, no matter where you purchase this book.

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  • Number of Addresses63
  • Number of Essays63
  • VersionsZip containing .epub, .azw3, .mobi, .kepub, .pdf


My Fellow Americans: Assessing Each President's Inaugural Address

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