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January 21, 2013 INAUGURAL ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA United States Capitol - History

January 21, 2013 INAUGURAL ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA United States Capitol - History


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January 21, 2013


INAUGURAL ADDRESS
BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

United States Capitol


11:55 A. M. EST


THE PRESIDENT: Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice,
members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a President we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, theyve never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. (Applause.) The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

And for more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from lifes worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all societys ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of todays world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers well need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people. (Applause.)

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. (Applause.) An economic recovery has begun. (Applause.) Americas possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it -- so long as we seize it together. (Applause.)

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. (Applause.) We believe that Americas prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. (Applause.)

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. (Applause.) For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.

We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. (Applause.) They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. (Applause.)

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. (Applause.) Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. Thats how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure -- our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. Thats what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. (Applause.) Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. (Applause.) Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war; who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends -- and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully - not because we are nave about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. (Applause.)

America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice - not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths - that all of us are created equal - is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. (Applause.)

It is now our generations task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law - (applause) -- for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity -- (applause) -- until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

That is our generations task -- to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. (Applause.)

For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. (Applause.) We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that todays victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction. And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this countrys course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time -- not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. (Applause.)

Let us, each of us, now embrace with solemn duty and awesome joy what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you. God bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America. (Applause.)


Barack Obama's Stonewall moment: an inaugural landmark for gay equality

A tense standoff in Greenwich Village in June 1969, after rioting followed a police raid on a gay bar.

A tense standoff in Greenwich Village in June 1969, after rioting followed a police raid on a gay bar.

T he best inaugural addresses of presidents past can be reduced to a single phrase or line: "With malice toward none, with charity for all …" (Lincoln) "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" (Roosevelt) "Ask not what your country can do for you …" (Kennedy).

Barack Obama's second inaugural may not be as enduring as those classics. But it will enter the history books for one line, perhaps even just one word: "Stonewall".

The low-ceilinged dive of a gay bar on Christopher Street in New York's Greenwich Village, which was raided by the NYPD in 1969, is now elevated to American immortality by the head of state. When I heard Obama say Stonewall, I twitched in disbelief. And then, as the president opened his second term with a call for gay equality, I realized just how profoundly, and with what amazing speed, the United States is changing.

For many gay Americans, the excitement of Obama's election in 2008 was tempered by the passage, that same election night, of California's Proposition 8 – the ballot initiative that amended the state's constitution to rescind the right of gay men and lesbians to marry. And Obama himself, both a constitutional law scholar and a committed Christian, had wavered on gay marriage throughout the campaign – and continued to do so well into his first term.

He tried to keep his own beliefs hidden, so much so that the major accomplishments of his first term, from repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell to recording an "It Gets Better" video, didn't win the favor they deserved. Yet, in the last two years or so, the terrain shifted.

Support for gay marriage and other components of gay equality now has majority support in the country and overwhelming support among the young. Obama's double game could no longer endure – and in a hastily organized interview with ABC's Robin Roberts, he announced that "for me personally", he believed gays ought to have the right to wed.

That was a memorable interview, and one with real resonance for gays. But it's one thing for a politician in an armchair to support equality "for me personally", and quite another for the head of state to bellow out to the National Mall that gays must be treated equally under the law. On the steps of the Capitol, our president declared:

"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall."

This was not "for me personally". This was the voice of the body politic, the president speaking in the name of We the People, asserting that, like women and racial minorities, the gays who faced down discrimination and violence are models of American virtue.

"Our forebears," he said, are not just the suffragettes in upstate New York and the marchers in Alabama, but the young kids, hustlers, drag queens and other marginalized members of what's now called "the gay community". The people who beat back that police raid in 1969 and chanted "Gay Power!" in the streets of Manhattan are American heroes, the president proclaimed, and their struggle is an exemplar for our times.

It's worth noting, too, his cunning use of alliteration – Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall – the choice of other S-initial locations brought women, blacks, and gays into linguistic as well as political harmony. The president went on: the task for today's Americans, Obama said, is to continue the struggle waged by earlier pioneers of equality. That means fighting for equal pay for women, ending unconscionably long waits to vote, reforming the immigration system, and keeping "the quiet lanes of Newtown" safe from gun violence. And it means something else:

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well."

A loud cheer went up on the Mall after this line, and I hope that the US supreme court justices sitting to Obama's left heard it. For, while it's inspiring to hear the president refer to gays as "brothers and sisters", what makes that line stick is its union of love and equality, making our emotional lives and our civic ones into a common enterprise.

Marriage in America is a civil undertaking, and when the high court rules on two gay marriage cases this June, it's entirely possible that they may strike down discriminatory laws on narrow grounds of privacy or states' rights. Obama, in his address, called for more. He did not say that the government should not to tell gays how to live. He said something much finer: that gay love itself is as valid at its straight counterpart, and the law must reflect that fact.

It is amazing enough that gays are even mentioned in an inaugural address. A statement like that – putting gay love at the heart of gay equality – would have been unthinkable, even a year ago. But Barack Obama is the president of a transformed America, and it's worth remembering, today, that he has been instrumental in that transformation.

Gay liberation has always sat uneasily among other struggles for justice. Civil rights leaders have occasionally bridled at the equation of gay rights to civil rights. In part, that was for the wholly correct reason that for all the discrimination that gays and lesbians face, it pales compared to the horrors of slavery and the endurance of American racism. But on Martin Luther King Day, our first African-American president used his grandest platform to write gays into this country's long struggle for equality.

Placing Stonewall alongside Selma was no mere rhetorical flourish. Nor was it just a shoutout to a loyal constituency. It was the boldest statement yet by a leader whose slow start on gay equality is maturing into full-throated leadership. And it marked the indelible inscription – by our president himself – of gay Americans into the nation's history.


Obama's Inauguration Speech and the Bible

Political pundits and the blogosphere treat every speech as a make-or-break moment, especially when the president is involved. Yet with a divided electorate, rancorous division in Congress, uncertainty about the upcoming debt-limit negotiations, well-founded fears about the sustainability of entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, and our collective shock at the tragedy in Newtown, President Obama's Second Inaugural Address will be a defining moment of his presidency.

The president has a moment, perhaps his last, to bring Americans together. In a speech that should incorporate but ultimately transcend his policy goals for the second term, he has an opportunity to chart out a course for civility and common purpose that seems largely missing from our public life. One question is whether and how he will use the Bible in this effort.

Many presidents takes the oath of office with the Bible opened to a particular passage, and there is a running list of the choices they have made throughout our nation's history. Yet a more relevant issue is the actual citation of Scripture in the speech. The selection of biblical verses and the manner in which a president employs them are among the more fascinating and revealing aspects of the inaugural address.

The citation of a biblical passage usually occurs in the service of a core goal. In the midst of financial disaster four years ago, President Obama sought to elevate our national discourse by appealing 1 Corinthians 13: "We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things." In his first address, President Clinton called Americans to action and national service by using Paul's language from Galatians: "The Scripture says, 'And let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season, we shall reap, if we faint not.'" President Carter alluded twice to the prophet Micah's call for justice, kindness and humility, as the new leader attempted to heal the wounds of Watergate and bring Americans into greater solidarity. None of these leaders addressed a more embittered nation than the one President Obama will speak to on Jan. 21.

Referencing Scripture is certainly not a litmus test of a president's personal faith or commitment to humble leadership. For example, both Presidents Eisenhower and George H.W. Bush opened their speeches with simple yet eloquent prayers that reflected their earnest hopes for the nation.

Out of respect for our religious diversity, a case can be made that Scripture has no place in this speech. Many Americans do not adhere to the Bible as the Word of God, whether because of a different faith tradition or no religious beliefs at all. Yet the Bible already lies at the center of the inauguration ceremony, and it will be noteworthy to see if its role on Jan. 21 is substantive as well as symbolic.

As we pause at one of the more uncertain moments in our nation's history, perhaps a biblical verse or two can provide us with common purpose, just as it did in the most famous of these addresses, Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural in 1865. Lincoln also spoke to a divided and weary nation at the end of the Civil War, and he cited many biblical verses as a means of bringing people together. Toward the end of the speech, he called for an end to bitterness by appealing to the Sermon on the Mount: "Let us judge not, that we be not judged."

President Obama turned to Scripture multiple times in perhaps the finest and most important speech of his presidency, when he addressed the families of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary. Now he has the world stage for a few moments that will set the larger template for his second term.

If he decides to incorporate a biblical verse or two into the speech, some will see it as opportunistic showmanship in the wake of insurmountable challenges. Yet oratory has the power to lead us to higher ground, and past inauguration speeches, especially Lincoln's, have shown that a humble address, drawing on a president's faith as expressed in the Bible, can appeal to "the better angels of our nature."


Obama inauguration: History repeats itself

President Barack Obama takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 as first lady Michelle Obama and his daughters Malia and Sasha look on. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Beyonce sings the National Anthem at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Spectators wave American flags on the National Mall in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, before the start of President Barack Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. ( AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

President Barack Obama delivers his Inaugural address at his ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Lee University Festival Choir perform at the ceremonial swearing-in for President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

John Mayer and Katy Perry arrives for the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Vice President Joe Biden, right, watches as President Barack Obama kisses Beyonce at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

President Barack Obama arrives at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

President Barack Obama kisses his daughter Sasha after being sworn-in at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A U.S. Secret Service Counter Sniper Team scans the horizon from atop the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Symone Kidd watches a broadcast of President Barack Obama’s inauguration on a live video feed at the Union League Club of Chicago on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

President Barack Obama arrives on the West Front of the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, for his ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. (AP Photo/Win McNamee, Pool)

President Barack Obama, surrounded by Congressional leaders, signs a proclamation to commemorate the inauguration, entitled a National Day of Hope and Resolve, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, following his ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. From left are, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. (AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst, Pool)

Former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton walk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21,2013, for President Barack Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, Pool

President Barack Obama dances with first lady Michelle Obama in the presidential box during the Inaugural parade Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington. Thousands marched during the 57th Presidential Inauguration parade after the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama pauses with his escorts before walking through the Lower West Terrace Door on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 201, for his ceremonial swearing-in ceremony during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. (AP Photo/Jonathan Ernst, Pool)

Photojournalist Fred Zwicky has documented life in central Illinois for the Journal Star for the past 23 years. Zwicky has won numerous awards, including: two-time National Press Photographers Region Five Photographer of the Year, three-time Illinois Press Photographers Clip Photographer of the Year, three-time winner of the Illinois AP Editors Sweepstakes Award for Best Photo of the Year. Fred also teaches photojournalism and video storytelling at Bradley University. With co-worker Teressa Hargrove, he founded a photojournalism scholarship in memory of Journal Star photographer Linda Henson, who died of breast cancer in 2000.


The text of President Obama's inaugural address

Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery

Inaugural Address

Monday, January 21, 2013

Washington, DC

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

For more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive diversity and openness an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together.

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn. We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers they free us to take the risks that make this country great.

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of for all time – but it does require us to act in our time.

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.


Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama

members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Each time we gather to inaugurate a President we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American — is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Today we continue a never-ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. (Applause.) The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.

And for more than two hundred years, we have.

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise, our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, these are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people. (Applause.)

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. (Applause.) An economic recovery has begun. (Applause.) America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive diversity and openness an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together. (Applause.)

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. (Applause.) We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. (Applause.)

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. So we must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. (Applause.) For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.

We do not believe that in this country freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us at any time may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. (Applause.) They do not make us a nation of takers they free us to take the risks that make this country great. (Applause.)

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. (Applause.) Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. (Applause.) Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. (Applause.) Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends — and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully –- not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. (Applause.)

America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe. And we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation. We will support democracy from Asia to Africa, from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice –- not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity, human dignity and justice.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths –- that all of us are created equal –- is the star that guides us still just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. (Applause.)

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — (applause) — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. (Applause.)

For now decisions are upon us and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. (Applause.) We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years and 40 years and 400 years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction. And we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.

They are the words of citizens and they represent our greatest hope. You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. (Applause.)

Let us, each of us, now embrace with solemn duty and awesome joy what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.

Thank you. God bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America. (Applause.)


January 21, 2013 INAUGURAL ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA United States Capitol - History

Keywords: Systemic Functional Linguistics, Appraisal, Attitude, Modality, President Barack Obama, Inaugural Address.

Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) views language as a meaning-making. Appraisal as a framework under SFL focuses on the ways the speakers construct particular identities and how they position themselves in front of people whom they are addressing. By analyzing the language that is used by the speakers, it can provide the sight of the speakers’ objectives and belief, as well as to understand their position in relation to the others. In this study, the researcher is interested to analyze the Appraisal on 2013 inaugural address delivered by President Barack Obama. There are two problems of the study that are proposed by the researcher: (1) what are the types of Affect, Judgement, and Appreciation elements used by President Barack Obama in his 2013 inaugural address? (2) how does the attitudinal positioning function to convey the perspective of President Barack Obama?. The researcher applies a theory from Martin and White (2005) and limits the data by selecting the utterances that contain adjectives, verbs of emotion (mental process), adverbs, and modalities

The researcher conducted her study using qualitative approach. In collecting the data, the researcher firstly searched for the transcript of President Barack Obama’s 2013 inaugural address from the Internet. Then, she read the transcript and selected the utterances that contain Attitude elements.

The study shows that President Barack Obama used all of the types of Attitude elements in his 2013 inaugural address, which are, Affect, Judgement, and Appreciation. The most dominant type of Attitude is Judgement, the second is
Appreciation, and the least is Affect. Judgement of positive capacity is the expression that is often found in Obama’s inaugural address. In Appreciation, Obama mostly used positive reaction in his speech. In Affect, Obama only used the expression that are related to dis/inclination and in/security. In relation to Judgement, the type of modality that is mostly used by Obama is intrinsic modality. By using Appraisal theory to analyze the utterances in 2013 inaugural address of President Barack Obama, the researcher found that the attitudinal positioning of Obama as the speaker function to give positive perspective towards his own feelings, the behavior of American people, as well as the phenomena that occurs in United States of America.

Finally, the researcher suggests the future researchers to conduct the Appraisal analysis in the other speech from English speakers. Future research also can be done by taking all of three aspects of Appraisal or only focusing on Engagement or Graduation.

References

Anonymous. (2013). Inaugural address by President Barack Obama. Retrieved April 1, 2014 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/21/inauguraladdress-president-barack-obama

Anonymous. (2013). President Barack Obama. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/president-obama

Ary, Donald., Jacobs, Lucy Cheser., Razavieh, Asghar. (2002). Introduction to research in education. California: Wadsworth Group.

Batluk, Liilia. (2011). Rhythm and rhetoric: a linguistic analysis of Obama’s inaugural address. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:427453/FULTEXT03.pdf

Caldwell, D (2009). Working with your words: Appraisal in the Australian Football League post-match interview. Journal of Australian Review of Applied Linguistics Volume 32, Number 2, 13.1-13.17.

Chappell, Phil. (2013). An introduction to systemic functional grammar. Retrieved April 1, 2014 from

Downing, Angela and Locke, Philip. (2006). English grammar: a university course. London: Routledge

Emilia, Emi. (2014). Introducing functional grammar. Pustaka Jaya Gouveia, C. A. M. and Alexandre, M. F. (2013). Introduction: Mapping Systemic Functional Linguistics. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from http://ww3.fl.ul.pt/pessoais/cgouveia/bc/24.pdf

Halliday M.A.K. and Matthiessen, C. M. M.. (2004). An introduction to functional grammar (third edition). London: Hodder Arnold.

Halliday, M.A.K. and Hasan, Ruqaiya. (1985). Language, context, and text: Aspects of language in a social-semiotic perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Halliday, M.A.K. and Webster, Jonathan J. (Eds.). (2009). Continuum companion to Systemic Functional Linguistics. London: Continuum.

Jatikusumo, Harimurti. (2012). Appraisal: radar for catching meaning an analysis of Michael Jackson’s ‘Earth Song’, ‘We are the World’, and ‘Heal the World’. Retrieved November 4, 2014 from http://journal.unnes.ac.id/sju/index.php/eej

Martin, J.R. (2004). Mourning: how we get aligned. Retrieved April 1, 2014 from http://www.grammatics.com/appraisal/textSpecial/martin-intro.pdf

Martin, J.R. and Rose, D. (2003). Working with discourse, meaning beyond the clause. London: Continuum.

Martin, J.R. and White, P.R. R. (2005). The language of evaluation: appraisal in English. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Oxford advanced learner’s Dictionary. (2010). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pradevi, Okta Enggiana. (2012). An Appraisal study on Barack Obama’s political speech in Indonesia. Unpublished thesis. Malang: English Study Program of Universitas Brawijaya.

Priyatmojo, Arif Suryo. (2011). Political discourse: Obama’s Appraisal Attitude. Journal of Language in Literature Volume VI/1, 13-26.


Presidential and Vice Presidential Gifts

During the Inaugural Luncheon it is traditional for the President and Vice President to be presented with gifts by the Congress on behalf of the American people. The President and Vice President will each be presented with a framed official photograph taken of their swearing-in ceremony by a Senate photographer, as well as flags flown over the U.S. Capitol during the inaugural ceremonies.

The President and Vice President will also receive one-of-a-kind engraved crystal bowls, created by the Lenox Company of Lawrenceville, NJ. President Obama will receive a bowl depicting the White House on a crystal base inscribed with “Barack H. Obama, January 20, 2009, The Presidential Inaugural.” Vice President Biden will receive a bowl depicting the United States Capitol, on a crystal base inscribed with “Joseph R. Biden, Jr., January 20, 2009, The Vice Presidential Inaugural.” The bowls were designed by Timothy Carder and hand-cut by master glass-cutter Peter O’Rourke.


Three Challenges for Obama’s Inaugural Address

President Barack Obama will make history in several ways when he steps up to the podium around midday on January 20, 2009 and delivers the inaugural address of the 44th President of the United States. An audience of millions will be paying close attention to his words. How should he craft his remarks?

He needs to begin by clearly and honestly acknowledging the seriousness of the problems we face as a nation and a world. Authenticity is everything in the opening moments. President Obama will never have a better chance to frame the terms of the national discussion. Anything that he sugar-coats or denies, he will own from that moment on. Anything that he addresses honestly will become part of the national debate and we will all own – and we can all get to work on repairing.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his first inaugural address on March 4, 1933, in an even darker time in American history, saying famously “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Yet in the next paragraph, Roosevelt put forth the economic state of the nation in blunt terms:

“Values have shrunken to fantastic levels taxes have risen our ability to pay has fallen government of all kinds is faced by serious curtailment of income the means of exchange are frozen in the currents of trade the withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side farmers find no markets for their produce the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone.

“More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? If President Obama doesn’t portray our current economic realities just as honestly, he will miss his best opportunity to set the terms of the debate.

Leaders of all kinds regularly make this mistake when faced with tough news and an audience ready to listen closely. They resort to euphemisms and try to duck the hard truths that the audience already knows to be true. Any chance of rallying your listeners to the difficult work of transformation is gone if you can’t begin with a clear-eyed analysis of the current situation, because your followers instantly learn that you can’t be trusted.

Next, Obama needs to lay out a path forward that puts us on a quest together to find a better future. The important point about a quest is that it has a goal, and Obama has to describe that goal in alluring terms, so that we will all want to do the hard work of getting there. The solution should be equivalent to the problem it is dangerous – and rhetorically ineffective – when a solution is weak, or vague, or not up to the level of the problem the audience faces.

Once we’re enlisted in the quest, we will cheerfully face any number of obstacles along the way, because that’s the nature of the quest story. It’s the leader’s job to show us the goal and ask for our help it then becomes our job to overcome the obstacles.

Finally, Obama needs to close with a call to action. If he’s described the problems we face accurately, and shown us the path to the goal of solving them, we’ll be ready to get started. He needs to tell us what the first step should be.

If President Obama can address those 3 rhetorical challenges, his first inaugural address will go down in history as one of the greats. And leaders everywhere will be able to model their speechmaking on it.

Nick Morgan is the President of Public Words Inc and the author ofTrust Me: Four Steps to Authenticity and Charisma (Jossey-Bass 2009)


Obama Inaugural Address Recalls Speech at Knox

Update: In a February 2013 article, New York magazine charted the numerous times that themes first articulated in President Obama's commencement address at Knox have reappeared in later speeches, including most recently, the 2012 Democratic National Convention and the President's second inaugural address.

President Barack Obama's head speechwriter has cited President Obama's Commencement Address at Knox College as one of the sources of inspiration for the President's second inaugural address on January 21, 2013.

Preparing to write Obama's inaugural address, Jon Favreau, director of speechwriting at the White House, told Sam Stein of the Huffington Post that he

"gathered a dozen or so of Obama's best addresses -- 'a binder full of speeches' -- and mined them for inspiration, memorable turns of phrase and compelling themes. At the top of the list was the commencement speech Obama delivered at Knox College as a senator in 2005, when he spoke generally about the need for collective action in a global society.

'We always go back' to that speech, Favreau said."

Obama's 2005 Commencement Address at Knox is already praised as a high point in American speechmaking. It was included in the book, Great Speeches by African Americans. The anthology features 20 speeches spanning more than 150 years, including orations by Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Videos of Obama's Commencement Address at Knox on YouTube have garnered more than 10,000 views in all.

Selections from Barack Obama's 2005 Commencement Address at Knox College:

How does America find its way in this new, global economy? What will our place in history be?

. our sense of mutual regard for each other, the idea that everybody has a stake in the country, that we're all in it together and everybody's got a shot at opportunity. That's what's produced our unrivaled political stability.

Today, on this day of possibility, we stand in the shadow of [Abraham Lincoln] a lanky, raw-boned man with little formal education who once took the stage at Old Main and told the nation that if anyone did not believe the American principles of freedom and equality, that those principles were timeless and all-inclusive, they should go rip that page out of the Declaration of Independence.

My hope for all of you is that as you leave here today, you decide to keep these principles alive in your own life and in the life of this country. You will be tested. You won't always succeed. But know that you have it within your power to try. That generations who have come before you faced these same fears and uncertainties in their own time. And that through our collective labor, and through God's providence, and our willingness to shoulder each other's burdens, America will continue on its precious journey towards that distant horizon, and a better day.

Knox presented an honorary doctorate to Obama, who was serving in the United States Senate at the time.

Also honored at Commencement 2005 were honorary degree recipient Elizabeth Hayford, President of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest senior class speaker Dan Lieberman and Caterpillar Faculty Achievement Award winner Jon Wagner, Professor of Anthropology.